Posted: May 12, 2011 in Uncategorized


For all you nice folks who have endured my endless self-promoting and bought my novels, THE DEADENDERS, SHIMMER and THE TARN on Kindle, etc., let me first give you each a big wet thank-you. Your patronage is a gift to me. Please allow me to return the gift with a cost-free short story or three. If these prove popular I may collect the whole mess under one title with a sterling new cover rendered by moi. Meanwhile, some of you may recall a few of these yarns from the now rare paperback collection TWISTED TALES (not the comics) and various slicks from days of yore–some, very yore—reformatted and in some cases re-tweaked for your reading revulsion. Happy nightmares and thanks again one and all!

Oh—fair warning: I’m starting with an R rater first.  They aren’t all this…well, you know who you are. Tread lightly…




Bruce Jones


“I took your advice about the affair,” Karen was mumbling.

She sounded distant-dreamy, echoed as the Lincoln Tunnel, barely audible and less visible to Glenda, groping her way steadily through darkened house, tripping on something and something else in the living room, calling back through the black cavity of hallway, “Hey? Where the hell are you, sweets?

“In the bathroom! Follow the wall! Did you feel the quake?”

Feel it? It terrified her. Glenda Hope, future big shot  CEO returning to hometown haunts from big city triumphs, just off the plane, just in best friend Karen’s neighborhood and driveway when what happens? The ground shudders, the Volvo sluices, street lamps wink out. Blackness. Not even a porch light to find the front door with. Feel it?

“Feel it? The whole neighborhood’s gone dark! Karen, where’s the goddamn bathroom!” She kept banging her shins on things.

“Getting warmer!”

“Keep talking. I don’t like this. I’ve been reading about your serial killer in the tabloids. Am I close?”

“Just at the door.”

“Is that you? You sound half asleep, where are you, it’s like a fucking cave!”

“In the tub. Come sit on the potty lid.”

“I can’t even see you!”

“Isn’t it divine, I adore the dark! We should live like this, like cavemen. How’s Frisco, did you get the job?”

“I got it. Where’s Ed?” Glenda found the toilet, pulled down the lid, sat, whooshed.

“Being a cop, I guess, collecting his fuck movies.”

“You sound slightly wasted—shit, what did I kick? Was that glass…?”

“Johnnie Walker.”

“Karen! Not you! Since when? What fuck movies?”

“Didn’t I tell you about his porno? He gets them from the department, confiscated or something, brings them home for us to watch. Or him to watch. I just lie there under him fighting for air. Gives him a thrill.”

“He screws you while watching porn? Wow, romantic.”

“While regaling me with all the gory details of our serial killer’s latest exploits. The bloodier the better. Twisted fuck. Have you really been gone three months? I’ve missed you.”

“Anything left to drink?”

“Sorry, I’ve been a pig. Was it a big quake do you think?”

Glenda strained impatient pupils, tried to make out the vague form swimming before her, the ghostly hulk that must be the Sanford’s tub. “Felt like it. What’s this about an affair?”

“How’s that?”

“You are drunk. You said something about an affair on my way in here.”

“I’ve been fucking like a Trooper, Glennie.”

Glenda started in blackness, unused to gentle, retiring little Karen Sanford using the F word with such casual aplomb, drunk or no. “For real? Who?”

“Haven’t the slightest idea.”

“What? You’re fading, kid.”

“I don’t know his name!”

“You don’t know his name. You’re having an affair with someone and you don’t know his name?”

“Like Last Tango. Remember, with Brando?”

“What do you know about him?”

“Well, let’s see…I know every inch of his more than considerable cock, for one. You were right, I should have cheated on Ed years ago.”

Something about it. The eerie ring of little girl voice against harsh tile? Something. Glenda fought down a distant chill. Craned about in darkness. When would they have the damn lights back on? “–And how did you meet this mysterious superstud?”

“You wouldn’t believe…you truly would not…”

“Hello? Fading again! Don’t go to sleep on me and drown. I’ll be Lamb and Rector’s new CEO with a drowned best friend, consider my resume.”

“I won’t drown. I won’t go that way. Ah, me. Where to begin…?”

Glenda heard the liquid rustle of bath water.

“…well, Ed, I guess. Fat, sloppy, cop-husband Ed and his disgusting porno vids. I think his favorite title was Anal Antics. Every night the same thing…same thing…”

“You’re drifting, stay awake.”

“…same thing. He comes in half tight, we eat dinner, he hauls out those big steel manacles, cuffs me to the four-poster, puts on his tapes and slaps it to me. Same time, same station, same position. Big gut, little pecker, that’s my Ed. Gotta love ‘im.”

“He screws you while watching porno.”

“And gives me all the latest lab report updates courtesy of our local lady killer. Have you heard about our killer, or did I already ask?”

“It’s in the Frisco papers too. Are you very scared, honey?” Glenda twitched around at invisible shapes, swallowed thickly. “I’d be terrified. I wish the goddamn electric would come back on…”

“I wasn’t, in the beginning. Scared, I mean. Mostly just disgusted. He cuts their nipples off, you know. Oh yes, Eddie tells me all about it. Cuts their titties and comes in their hair. Me, I’d have preferred flowers.”

“All right, all right! About the affair!”

“The affair, yes. I met him at the mall.”

“Karen, no.”

“I know, classy huh, but Glennie, you should have seen him. Forget those TV hunks, this guy…this guy…”

“Trailing again…”


“How much did you drink?”

“Plaid shirts. He always wore these plaid shirts. Like a lumberjack.  Lumberjack…with a big, lovely…axe…”

“Oh, you’re gone, you are.”

“I’m sitting there at Olga’s Kitchen sipping my mango iced tea, minding my iced tea business, and I look up and there’s Mr. Dream Pecs staring at me.”


“At me. Not the other chicks. Me. And you know me, Glennie, I’m blushing out to here, from the toes up. I get so hot and scrunchy I have to leave the booth.”

“You left?”

“So shook up I ducked into the nearest multiplex, sat there in the dark actually trembling.”

“I’ve got to see this guy. Hey, do you have candles, we could—“

“No. Do you want to hear about this?”

“I’d like to see you for chrissake! What happened after the theater?”

“I’m getting there. The place is practically empty. And the next thing I know this guy, this incredible-looking male model, is sitting next to me.”

“Oh, wow.”

“And then—and this is without saying a word—he’s got his hand on my leg.”


“And then he’s got it somewhere else.”

“My God! What did you do!”

“What did I do? What did I do? What do you think I did? I came like the fourth of July. Finally.  After all these years. I think I yelped.”

“Karen, this is incredible.”

“And he says, this big hunk says, ‘I don’t want to talk. I don’t want addresses. I don’t even want to know your name.’ And then he leaves.”

“Jesus. And what did you do?”

“I think I passed out there in the theater seat. It was fantastic. Incredible. At least until I got home and Ed started in with the cuffs and the smut flicks. That was the night he first told me there was a killer in the area.”

Glenda huddled against the toilet rubbing her arms; no air-conditioning, the house cloying, the bathroom worse, and she was rubbing her arms. “But the killer, Karen. I mean, weren’t you—you must have—“

“Of course. I mean, I thought about it certainly. Even if it was a long shot it was still dangerous, right? Foolhardy, really. I think that’s what made it so exciting. I think that’s why I showed up at the mall the next day.”


“He was there. We did it in the women’s john. Twice.”

“You didn’t!”

“He followed me in. I was sitting there doing my thing and all at once there he was, pulling back the door, grinning. He shoved me up against the tile, hiked up my dress and away we went. I came like a drunk nun, pounding on the wall.”

“You’re putting me on! In a mall toilet!”

“I think he liked it down and dirty like that. We did it in elevators too. Hotel halls. Any place dangerous and exciting. Outside in the park, sometimes. The warm sun on his hard, white ass. Neither of us uttering a word to each other. Just groans. And gasps. Mmm.”

“Karen, this is sick.”

“Isn’t it? We did it ten times one afternoon. Ten times. In every position. I was awash in the Big Sticky, kiddo. It was unreal. Unreal. It was…it was…”

What! Don’t drift off on me now!”

“…it was…addictive. I fell in love.”

“You fell in lust. I can’t believe this is you talking.”

“It went on that way for weeks. Every day. I was so…sore. And the more sore I got, the more I wanted it. I got so bad one night I broke the rules. I shouldn’t have done that…shouldn’t have…that’s when it all started coming apart…”

“The ‘rules’?”

“The no-address rules. I followed him home one night. He lived over on the West Side, nice place, big two-story Victorian. Dormers and all. I pulled up down the street, watched him go in, watched him come out again. I should have gone home. But I wanted him, I wanted him so bad. And the only thing at home was Ed. And his smut. So…I sneaked into lumberjack’s house…”

“Please tell me you’re making this up.”

“I snooped around downstairs like a common thief. It was thrilling. Dangerous. Nerve-wracking. Made me wet. Can you understand? I went upstairs. He had this incredible enormous canopy bed. I stripped, lay across the satin duvet, awaited my prince.”

“Christ, Karen, I can’t believe—weren’t you—“

“To death! I heard voices below, then on the staircase. He had someone with him. I hid in the closet.”

“With your clothes, I hope!”

“He brings in this really gorgeous blonde, really stacked. I’m watching through the crack in the closet door. The room is suddenly very bright, very bright, like the sun just came up. Glennie—this gets pretty sick now…”


“He’s got her bent over the bed, his big thing in her, and it’s turning me on, Glennie, I know how that sounds, but this guy…I wasn’t jealous, wasn’t mad, just so goddamn unbelievably hot. That’s when…that’s when…”

“What what!”

“He picks up the knife.”


“From atop the bureau.”

“Karen, don’t!”

“I couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe.”

“Oh Jesus, Oh Christ, I knew it! Don’t tell me anymore, I can’t do this!”

“He stabbed her, Glennie. He stabbed her. He stabbed her. The blood just…flew.”


“And the bastard, the bastard is still in her! And then and then…then I guess I passed out.”

“Please, I’m going to be sick!”

“When I woke up, the room was dark. The house was empty. I got the hell out of there. Back at home, Ed’s waiting with his damn cuffs. And his stories about how they found another girl. I threw up most of the night. Told Ed it was the flu.”

“Dear God. Dear God.” Glenda shook spastically, managed to keep it under control. “You—my God, you’re lucky to be alive! Did they catch the guy? Karen? Hey! Karen–?”


“Wake up! Did they catch the guy?”

“I…no…I didn’t tell them…”


“…you don’t understand, Glennie…you could never understand…I tell you I was addicted…I was…I was beyond sick…I’d like there in bed at night and see the knife, the red…and all I could think about was being under him. I didn’t care, don’t you see…I was ready to die for it…”

“Karen, oh God. What’s happened to you!”

“He happened. He happened. And I couldn’t let him go. Didn’t want to let him go. I got a knife from the kitchen, just for protection, took it with me. We had this Tuesday night thing at this cruddy motel. I don’t think I really intended to ever use it…didn’t really believe he’d—“

“Karen, don’t! I can’t breathe in here!”

“I panicked. He was standing over me there next to the crummy bed, naked…so big, so huge, huge…I just…I panicked. And then the knife was out of my hands and—in him. Way in. I don’t even know how it got there. And I was running…running…running…”

Glenda clutched nausea, the room listing lazily, like Uncle Fred’s yacht. “Karen? Honey? Are you there?”

Barely audible now, slipping: “…wasn’t much blood, not on me. And then I was just home again. Just suddenly home again. Like it never happened. Only it had. It had.”


“No, there’s more. I washed my face, gave myself a few minutes, then came into the living room. Ed was setting up the damn DVD player, had this sick grin on his face. ‘You’ll like this one,’ he says, ‘One of them phony snuff movies! Lots of fake blood and bad acting!” And then he’s got me down, cuffed me down, and he’s huffing away and I’m…I’m…I’m looking up at the screen, my heart…my heart just seemed to stop…”


Just a whisper: “…it’s him, Glennie, my big silent hunk, my lovely lumberjack, on the TV, humping the stacked blonde in his bedroom. That’s why the lights got so bright that night…he was making movies…stupid, phony snuff movies…

“Ed was laughing. ‘That’s Sally Palmer,’ he says. ‘We call her Sally-the-Pump down at the precinct! Hooker! Works Cimarron and Central. Saw here there tonight, in fact. Does this sort of phony snuff crap all the time.’”  

Glenda lurched up, twisting, pain spiking her ankle, groped for the lid, just got it up before her dinner and probably her lunch found the pale bowl.

The voice from the tub so feeble now, so dreadfully feeble: “…he wasn’t the killer at all, you see…I killed an innocent man…an innocent…man…”

Glenda coughed, raw-throated, slipped to her knees, sat there panting weakly, head down and swimming against the cool porcelain, dancing dots behind her lids. Pushed up and slipped again. Had she gotten some of it on the floor, have to clean it up, it was slippery all over the floor…sticky…

“Karen? Don’t fall asleep! Karen, you’ll drown…”

Her own voice sounded far away now. Probably she’d gotten it on her dress too, the Armani she’d worn at the meeting, damn. “Karen–?”

The air conditioner thumped on first.

Then the blinking fluorescents, stuttering brightness…the room coloring pink, then red…and deeper.

Red on the sticky floor, the walls, but mostly the tub, the tub filled with it, nearly black with it, sides scalloped crimson. Karen waxy as death within.

Glenda, strangely composed, stared at the friend’s corpse: breasts bobbing, chin tilted, mouth still caught in mid-sentence, livid islands in the sea of blood. The left arm, fallen free, dangled with deep slashes, leaking still.

On the sticky floor, Glenda’s shoe found the fallen razor, nudged it, smearing Karen’s blood. She stared curiously at it, dreamily, her swimming head cocked like a bird, eyes finally lifting to her own laughably shocked reflection in the sink mirror…staring silently, listening to her mind saying quite reasonably really: I’m a CEO, I live in Frisco now, I’m not part of this, any of this at all…



Copyright 2011 Bruce Jones Associates, Inc.





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