Last summer I reported in this space that I had been selected as one of ten runners-up in a writing contest that is featured regularly in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. The contest, called "The Mysterious Photograph," centers on an oddball photograph that aspiring contestants must write a short story about. The story has to be 250 words or less, and it must feature a crime. One winner gets a $25 cash prize, and ten runners-up get their name and hometown listed in an upcoming issue of the magazine. My information appeared in the October 2016 issue, and it was all spelled correctly! Other runners-up came from across the United States and from places as far-flung as England and Australia.
My story last summer was titled "The Flying Catamite," and it focused on an adolescent boy who was being sexually abused by two adult males. It was not a cheery tale, but as the brief story concluded, the kid was set to get his revenge. It was published in the space on July 29th.
This week I learned that another of my efforts has been selected as a runner-up in one more of Alfred Hitchcock's "Mysterious Photograph" contests. This one revolved around a photograph of two hands reaching toward one another, each holding a large piece of jigsaw puzzle. The two pieces obviously fit together. My story was entitled "Jigsaw Roulette." My name and hometown will appear in the January-February (2017) issue of the magazine. Look for it in a grocery store near you!
Here then is a tale that lost, but still managed to score "runner-up" recognition. It is lighter and more comic in nature than my last entry. I hope you enjoy it.
(And if I ever break through the pulp ceiling and win that $25, I'm taking the cash and heading to Bermuda!)
by Rocky Macy
Something bad was going down. Why else would Johnny Spots call his enforcers to the Rathole Bar - and on a Sunday no less, a time when decent people should be at the track?
Johnny brought the group together by rattling the can. Ah, jeez, it was going to be jigsaw roulette! The last time we played I had to fit Tommy Torrijos up with cement shoes and take him out to the middle of the lake for a swimming lesson. The time before that I pushed a lawyer in front of an on-coming commuter train, but I sort of enjoyed that one - way more than she did!
Johnny showed his puzzle piece. "Whoever draws the one that fits with mine is gonna do Fenster."
Moe erupted, but he erupted for everyone. "Fenster? Chrissakes, Johnny, he's family!"
"Yeah," Leo pleaded. "We can't kill Fenster. He's part of the gang!"
But Johnny wasn't having it. "Fenster led the cops into that warehouse job whether he intended to or not. He cost us hard cash and nearly got Buzzboy killed. Whoever wins this contract does Fenster, or I'll do the both of them. Capiche?"
We took turns reaching into the can. Moe first, then me and Leo, with Otto drawing last. I waited nervously while my pals revealed their fates to Johnny.
No matches. Damn! As relief flooded their faces, they all turned to me.
Now what? This ain't what I signed up for. There's no way I can kill a dog!