Friday, August 13, 2010

Jab Yourself With This Needle

One of my favorite authors is Tom Piccirilli, a guy who is able to write well in a number of different genres and who writes hard-hitting prose, but also manages style and sensitivity at the same time. It's not an easy thing to accomplish.

After reading several of his noir works and falling in love with the work of him and others in that genre (sub-genre?), I decided to try my hand at noir, something I had never had the confidence to do.

When the editors of the brand-new noir magazine titled Needle: A Magazine of Noir, held a little flash fiction contest, looking for noir stories up to one thousand words with all entries to be posted on their website, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. The result was "Family Ties," a tale of a guy with a history the rest of his family would just as soon forget, but he's not quite able to do so.

I got some pretty positive response to "Family Ties" and, flushed with success, decided to try another noir story, a longer one, to submit to Needle for possible publication in an upcoming issue. That issue has arrived. Needle Issue #2 is out and available now, and included in it is my story titled "The Waiting," about a gang of criminal misfits who take on a new member, a smoking hot, ice-cold chick named Gina, who may or may not be exactly what she seems.

If you like noir, or crime fiction, or preferably both, I invite you to check out the Summer issue of Needle. You won't be disappointed; I guarantee it. Just to whet your curiosity, here's a little snippet of "The Waiting":

Gary leapt to his feet, his rickety wooden chair crashing to the ancient, cracked and pitted linoleum floor behind him. He began walking slowly toward Bobby, who lay propped up against a pillow on one of the two ratty twin beds. Bobby's eyes were slits as he watched Gary approach. He didn't move a muscle.

I played hockey in high school and one of the few things I have left from those days is a beat-up old equipment bag I take with me wherever I go. It's falling apart at the seams and has seen better days - it's a lot like me in that regard - but it's mine and I always try to keep it close. Right now, it was on the floor at my feet looking like the world's rattiest nylon and leather puppy dog.

I reached down and unzipped it, not taking my eyes off Gary and Bobby. Bobby's mouth had twisted into an ugly sneer. He knew he had gotten under Gary's skin with the comment about Deanna and seemed proud of himself. He was right, though. Deanna did look like a walking skeleton. I figured the fact that a skank like her could earn a living stripping at The Little Devilz was a testament to just how scummy most guys are, especially when you add alcohol to the mix.

I rummaged around in my bag and found what I was looking for at the bottom, under a spare pair of jeans and my favorite Guns N' Roses T-shirt. I immediately felt better. The Glock 21 radiated power and felt reassuring in my hands. I wondered whether the two squabbling idiots would notice me lift it onto the card table, but I needn't have worried. They only had eyes for each other.

You may notice, Gina isn't in this portion of the story, but she plays a prominent role in how the whole thing turns out; you'll have to take my word for that. Or you could order a copy of Needle: A Magazine of Noir for yourself...


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Tom Piccirilli said...

Pleased to have helped inspire you in whatever small way towards jumping into noir, Al. Congrats on the appearance in NEEDLE, a magazine which is getting some great notice. Kudos. Keep the faith.

Al Leverone said...

Hi Tom, thanks a lot for the support and for showing how it should be done...