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The robot Robot by Rhys Griffiths

Murder Extempore

by Ken Lizzi
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Page 1

Who’s the perp? She’s a looker.”

Jesus, ‘perp.’ Detective Mullins looked up from the case record at his inquisitor, Detective Braun, his junior partner—junior in rank at any rate, though not in seniority.

“The suspect is Ms. Monica Pulver.” Relenting, he added, “She is a looker though.” The detectives took a second gander through the one-way glass at Ms. Pulver: brunette (currently at least), slender, dressed in an artfully careless fashion, mid-twenties. They watched her fumble at, then rip free the activating strip from an aluminum mug of coffee. She wrapped both hands tightly about it to absorb the warmth of its percolation.

“Sure. What’s the suspect’s story?” Braun leaned over Mullin’s shoulder to scan the file.

Better. Braun wasn’t a neanderthal, but most of his notions of police work seemed to have been gleaned from tattered Mickey Spillane paperbacks.

“She was at the concert when he died,” Detective Mullins said. “Actually, she was the concert, in a manner of speaking. She’s some sort of performance artist or musician. As to her story, I’m about to go find out.”

Mullins made his way to the interrogation room. Braun followed after a moment, first flicking away at a bank of switches, activating recording devices, skin temperature monitors, and a battery of emotional response programs—facial, verbal, and olfactory. Unobtrusive cameras, microphones, and chemical collectors engaged, capturing every moment of the interview. Optical filaments directed their thread-point eyes at the room from a hundred vantages: walls, ceiling, even the floor. The padding of the chairs sampled heat fluctuation and captured trace secretions. The accumulated data were compiled and fed through analysis algorithms, and the results were displayed for Mullins and Braun to read later.

“Ms. Pulver, I am Detective Mullins,” he said, settling himself onto the cold, unpadded chair at the interrogation table directly opposite her and spreading open a file.

“Look, Detective, can someone explain why I am here?” she asked, eyes darting between the seated Mullins and Braun who stood beside the door, arms folded. “I was asked to come in for questioning. What do I know that anyone at the concert couldn’t tell you?”

“We’ll get to that soon. Why don’t you just tell us what happened. For the record.” He tried a smile, half placating, half cajoling. It might have worked for a more avuncular type, on a younger man it came across as almost flirtatious.

“If I can get out of here, then here goes.”


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About the Author

Ken Lizzi

Ken Lizzi is an attorney living in Portland, Oregon, USA, with his lovely wife Isa and an ever-growing collection of books and home-brewing equipment. Previous publications include “Trustworthy” in the anthology Noir (Dark Horse Books, 2009), “Breaking the Line” in the anthology Short-Story.Me! Best Genre Short Stories Anthology #1 (Short-Story.Me, 2010), “Bravo” in the anthology Pirates & Swashbucklers (Pulp Empire, 2011), and “Escapement” in the anthology Ancient New (Deep Wood Publishing, forthcoming 2012.)

Story Discussion

Stories by Ken Lizzi

Murder Extempore

Murder Extempore

“So who was the old man, anyway?” Monica Pulver asked after her recitation.

Braun stepped to the table, leaned forward, weight braced on forearms bared beneath rolled up sleeves. “Allow me to offer my sympathy for the loss of your father.” If he was aware of the potential irony of offering that sentiment to the murderer he kept it completely masked by his deadpan delivery.

“Dammit, Braun,” said Mullins. “Ms. Pulver, were you unaware that the deceased was your father? That he was in attendance?”

“What? Are you both serious? Dead?” She had gone pale, but stone-faced.

What happened to the elder Mr. Pulver? Is his daughter responsible? If, not, then, who? Find out!

Read More

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Murder Extempore

Murder Extempore

“So who was the old man, anyway?” Monica Pulver asked after her recitation.

Braun stepped to the table, leaned forward, weight braced on forearms bared beneath rolled up sleeves. “Allow me to offer my sympathy for the loss of your father.” If he was aware of the potential irony of offering that sentiment to the murderer he kept it completely masked by his deadpan delivery.

“Dammit, Braun,” said Mullins. “Ms. Pulver, were you unaware that the deceased was your father? That he was in attendance?”

“What? Are you both serious? Dead?” She had gone pale, but stone-faced.

What happened to the elder Mr. Pulver? Is his daughter responsible? If, not, then, who? Find out!

Read More
Eye of the Beholder by Danica Green

Eye of the Beholder

“Hello Alice,” Brian said, not looking her in the eyes. She reached out a hand and tilted his chin up, opened her mouth to ask him why he was there but was silenced by a kiss before she could voice it. Brian kicked the door closed behind him as she stumbled back, carnally locked, then started to respond to his advances. When they broke apart, both were panting, hands arranged haphazardly on each other’s bodies.

“Brian,” Alice said warningly, “your wife.”

See what happens next in this new story by Danica Green

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Finger Food by Gary Ives

Finger Food

My second day outta stir had gone down so smooth, like greased tracks smooth. The Social Services lady, Mrs. Nixon, had liked me. I could sense it. Twenty-two years at Attica was equivalent to a Ph.D. in reading emotions. Yeah twenty-two years served on a life sentence. Me, I’d gone down hard for offing a shitbag Puerto Rican who’d burned me for two kilos. I played up to the near-sighted old hen.

“Yes ma’am, whatever it takes, ma’am. All I want, really… what I need… is employment. I understand that’s the key, Mrs. Nixon. You get me a jay… oh… bee, job, and I swear by the Holy Bible ain’t no way Tony Spallano is ever gonna go back to them bad old ways. No ma’am.”

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