COLD HARD FLASH
the best western
Two supernatural gunfighters face off in an Old Western town. Sundance is a vampire sheriff and Slim is a skeleton outlaw. I want you out of town by sundown, Sundance says. I want you out of town by sunrise, Slim says. How about a drink before we get started? asks Sundance. No, no rotgut for me, says Slim.
My bodyguards met your bodyguards and everyone got along fine. All the bodyguards wore their short-sleeve dress shirts with shoulder holsters and shiny wing-tipped shoes.
Then my bodyguards and your bodyguards decided to play a game of softball. Afterwards, there was beer, music, and a barbeque. The bodyguards squinted at each other over their aviator sunglasses, teased each other, showed off their muscles, and bragged that their team was the strongest. A good time was had by all!
Don’t you think we should try to get our bodyguards together again soon?
the fake escape
Two members of a Swedish gang kidnap a young unmarried couple. Grabbing their captives, they flee police by jumping from an impossibly high bridge onto a cargo ship.
Later, the two criminals blend into the crowd in a foreign city, wearing yukatas, while the couple has escaped to the U.S. and is observed in a movie theatre, furtively embracing in the surreal glow from the screen. All appear to have found safe asylum.
Surprise ending, title: They had all died in that initial plunge. A shot of blanket-covered bodies on the deck of the slowly moving ship.
Well, I did say “impossibly high,” didn’t I?
At a fine restaurant, while seated out on the patio, I surprised my date by suddenly getting up and jumping into the goldfish pond. Then, since I was already soaking wet, I began splashing about and flapping my arms like fins.
Just stop it, she said. Stop playing koi with me!
just not done
I don’t know about presumptuous, but it just seems downright unlucky to approach the captain of a cruise vessel and say, “Excuse me, sir, but what’s your cap size?”
my relations with the cat woman
We had to be very careful, you see, because of my allergies. Difficult, very difficult. We had to kiss through tissue paper and avoid any direct contact with claws. I confess that I am a little squeamish in that way. And then I had to be careful not to say anything to send her spiraling into a hissy fit—yes, now, that’s a pretty kitty.
right in front
I tossed and turned. I wasn’t getting any younger, and when had been my last doctor’s appointment? I did a skin check and was startled by a hard lump right in front of my face. But this turned out to be my nose.
spying on the neighbors
Over the years, I have been observing an elderly neighbor couple on the circle. Finally, I think my suspicions may be justified. The woman has been spreading out as she ages, her shape billowing like a melting candle’s. The man looks like he is being sucked dry, his clothes hanging loose and his pants barely staying up.
Could it be—that she has been slowly feeding on him?!
Trying out a new Mexican seafood restaurant. The host shows me to a table in a corner by the kitchen. A businessman sitting nearby greets me with a slight nod, then buries his face again in his Journal.
Imagine my alarm when two waiters suddenly burst out of the kitchen wheeling a large manatee on a gurney! They bump into the man’s table, sloshing saltwater onto the fine linen tablecloth. Outraged, the businessman tells them, I said, bring me a large MARTINI.
M.V. Montgomery is a professor at Life University. His short story collection Beyond the Pale will be released by Winter Goose Publishing in May 2013.