This strange noir mystery short story may have only been released as a solo ebook in November 2019, but this story actually has quite a history. This story was entered into a competition back in 2012 with a publisher who is no longer active. It came in as a semi-finalist, the first award I ever received for my writing. It was ultimately published twice by them in two editions. Once as part of the anthology, RealLies, which you still might be able to find in print somewhere. Then again as a standalone story. I almost ended up having a novel of mine published with them, but then negotiations fell apart and ultimately the publisher closed its doors.
Long story short, the rights came back to me. For the longest time I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it. At almost 10,000 words, it was too long to really submit to most short story calls and it was far too unique to really fit into an anthology of my own work. Trolls that change form, a film noir style, and a hard boiled detective story surrounded with sarcasm and a dry sense of humor, it had a hard time fitting in anywhere.
Then in November 2019, I got curious about independent publishing. I was sad that this weird and funny story was gathering dust on my computer and I didn’t like that I associated it with its previous publisher. It needed a new place to call home but was far too strange to fit in anywhere. So I decided to self publish it.
Now I’m happy to announce that it is available in AI audiobook format, free to listen to in its entirety on Youtube. For the first time in ten years, it’s available in an audiobook format.
Rest assured, it’s still a strange and has a very dry sense of humor, but I’ll always have a soft spot for it. I hope you’ll take an hour and give it a listen, if you’re okay with trolls speaking with an AI voice!
My glass of whiskey shatters on the floor as I feel the pressure around my throat. I’m pulled back in my office chair and out of the corner of my eye I see a flash of blond hair and red lipstick. It’s Julia, the intern we just hired with the warm smile and fashionable dresses. Her resume was excellent, I should have questioned what made her want to apply. I should have questioned how she could afford such lovely outfits too.
I’m seeing stars now and there’s pain building in my skull. I don’t have much time before I black out. The gun in the drawer is too obvious, so I fall forward over my desk in a pretend coughing fit to reach for the bottle at my feet. Julia struggles to keep her grip tight on the rope. The office chair is tall and she has to step around it to get close enough. She’s determined though, just like I am.
I slip my fingers around the neck of the bottle and sit back in the chair again, locking her hands behind me momentarily. It gives me just enough time to bash the whiskey bottle against her skull. Blood mingles with glass fragments as she wavers, then collapses to the floor. She might be dead, but I’m in no hurry to check.
I pull off the garrote, gasping, panting, and coughing out the pain. In my hands is the bright red necktie Julia had worn with her smart polka dot dress. If she wasn’t working alone, then there would be others. Despite a pounding skull I check out Julia. She’s pouring blood all over the dingy carpet, but she’s alive. I know she’ll need to be questioned, but still, I wish I’d swung harder.