Friday, July 29, 2016

The Flying Catamite

by Pa Rock
Tedious Typist

I subscribe to two pulp mystery magazine which are actually "sister" publications from the same publisher:   Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.  I look forward to their arrival each month and enjoy reading the quality stories - often by well known writers.  

The two magazines are very similar and look alike, but there are a few variations.  The Hitchcock pulp, for instance, has a writing contest feature called "The Mysterious Photograph."  Each month an offbeat photograph is presented, and readers are invited to write a story about the odd picture.  The story must be 250 words or less, and it has to involve a crime.    A winning story is selected from all entries, along with nine runners-up.  The winning entry is published in an upcoming issue of the magazine and its author gets twenty-five dollars.  The nine runners-up get their names and hometowns listed in the future issue that carries the winning entry, but their stories are not published.

I entered "The Mysterious Photograph" once about twenty years ago, but my entry did not place.  Then, a few months ago, the bug to submit bit once more, and I entered again.  And while my very short story did not win, I was informed a few days ago that it was selected as one of the nine runners-up.  So, for those who subscribe to Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine or have access to it through your local grocery or bookstore, look for my name in the October issue - due out in about thirty days.

My entry was in response to the mysterious photograph that appeared in the April 2016 issue, a black and white picture of two men on the rooftop of a tall building in what appears to be a large city in the early twentieth century.  The men are on the ledge of the rooftop.  One is standing and watching while the other is balancing on his hands on a the back of a chair that is sitting atop two tables.  The fellow is an acrobatic daredevil, or what was sometimes referred to as a "chair devil."

I was fascinated by the picture and wanted to learn more about it.  I was able to find the photograph on the internet at where I discovered that the acrobat was a fellow named Jammie Reynolds, and his performance occurred in Washington, DC, around 1921. Given that information, I came up with the following story.  There are two crimes included - possession of bootleg liquor during Prohibition and child sexual abuse - as well as a prelude to homicide.

My story, The Flying Catamite, follows.  It is not a cheerful tale, but as a former state child protection worker I can attest to the fact that children do suffer hideous and horrendous abuse at the hands of adults - and sometimes the kids strike back.   Make of it what you will.

The Flying Catamite
by Rocky Macy

I’m a little drunk.

Last night, after Darius and Emil finished with me, I came out here onto the hotel rooftop and walked the entire ledge on my hands.    I was really drunk then, probably the drunkest thirteen-year-old boy in all of Washington, DC. 

Darius calls me their little bed-warmer.  A month ago when my father, Emil, found me living at the City Home I thought things were going to get better, and they did – for him – after he sold me to Darius.  At least the pair of degenerates keep plenty of good bootleg liquor lying around, and they never seem to miss what I take.

Emil says there’s a nice crowd gathering on the street, people dressed up and heading to church or just out for a Sunday stroll.  I haven’t been to the edge and looked over, but I’ll see them all on my way down.  Maybe President and Mrs. Harding are on the street looking up.  Who knows?

Right now I am sitting with my back to the door so that no one comes rushing out onto the rooftop trying to stop the show.    As soon as Darius gets in position on the chair and begins waving to the crowd, I’m going to stand - like a man - and rush headlong into Emil.    I’ll push him into Darius, and we’ll all go flying off to hell together. 

I’ll look for the President on my way down.

I’m a little drunk. 

1 comment:

Xobekim said...

Remember that copyright symbol and year of first publication.