Here is the final preview for our first issue. It is the story of Dex's "one last job" told through his own tangled point of view. It's noir, but it's more scrambled than hard-boiled. So, for your perusal, Here Be Monsters presents, Alexander Newcombe's "Ten Kinds of Places":
There are ten kinds of places in the world:
I spent the day planning until the sun was pushed low enough in the sky to go meet Dic. Dic only met after dark, and only if you bought him a drink and a bite. So I was off to a number five, a place to eat.
The trick is choosing the best place of its kind. Dic had an appropriate slice of pizza for a downtown pizza joint then drank my suitable beer outside. From there, we went to one of my favourites, a number seven, a place to talk. In this case, it was a café under the bridge, all dim lights hidden even from the stars, good to tell secrets in. Dic agreed and he read from his vast mind everything he knew of the people I needed.
“Why them, Dex?” He asked. “I can’t see the connection.”
“Not even you can see it?” I was shocked. “I’m shocked.”
“Clearly,” said Dic, “the deal stands though? No harm of any kind to my clever girl Taxi?”
“The deal stands my friend.”
“Like a hand?”
“Like a kick.” I returned.
I was out after an acceptable time for drinks. Dic should be called Fish, I thought, but it didn’t matter. My mind was already drawing names to faces, making pieces into people, casting people into parts.
A number three is difficult to judge. What happens there can go well, terribly, or not at all. I drove to the university the next day; the meeting place. The campus was all bobbing hats and hairstyles, flowing from one building to another in the late morning light. I stood on a bench and held out a red plastic lunch box with She-Ra on the front. A few hands pulled up weakly from the mass below, but I held it high. Then, near the doors, I saw a disturbance. An eddy had formed as something fought its way upcampus. An incredible woman came into view, wiry brown hair breaking above the surface. Despite my raised position, I gulped like a cartoon. She stood on the ground and looked me in the eye.
Pointing up, she asked, “Is this for me?” She said it sweetly, though there was no reason to. She could snatch it from me and pull me apart like a Christmas cracker.
“It’s for whoever has Chuck’s address, Bell.”
She pouted slightly and reached up as if to cup my cheek in a caress. When my vision came back I was spitting blood and tooth out onto the well-treaded pavement. I inhaled the scent of over-priced sneaker until my breath came back. “Sorry Bell, it’s for you. There are some goldbären inside. Heard you like them.” I ran diagnostics, tested tolerances, and sat up gingerly.
“Thank you,” she said, as sweet as ever. Leaning down with astonishing flexibility she said, “Find him at the shooting gallery on Turney. He’s always alone there.”
Don't forget, the full versions of all of our stories are available this Friday, 8pm, at the launch party. Thank you for reading everyone, looking forward to seeing you at the party.