“Dear Editor of the V.V.V.S.S.” by Ruth Sninkwinkler

10 Feb

Dear Editor of the V.V.V.S.S.,

It has been brought to my attention that my worthless, no-good, lazy, indolent, indigent, and somnolent son, one Gerald Anthony Sninkwinkler III, has passed himself off as an author of some repute. Ill repute if you ask me. And you didn’t. So hear, then, are the real facts of the life of this erstwhile and shifty do-no-gooder, waste of space, EX-son of mine, who currently goes by the moniker “Dante Ruthless.”

It was 28 years ago that the listless loser was brought forth into this bright and beautiful world. I spent months perfecting the form, gestating him with such care and concern. I even stopped smoking for two months in the hopes that he might turn out better than Clyde, his father. And don’t ask about the Sninkwinkler IIi thing, because it’s a long story. Time travel, and the baby Jesus. You know.

So anyway, here I was, a single-ish mother, and this heathen child comes along and changes my life forever. And not in a good way, no siree-bob. This child did everything to give me grey hairs. Including spending valuable school time writing silly and pointless stories about zombies or some such. Then, when I asked him to get a job, he took up with a crew of, get this, musicians. They played music. Evil rock and roll. Including that hip gyrating stuff by that Elvis person. Oh lordy.

I had no idea what to do, so I locked him in a closet.

It didn’t help.

When he left, he told me he was changing his name to Dante Ruthless. Dante, I’m sure has something to do with the devil and that evil music, but the worst part was the “Ruth-less.” See, my name is Ruth Sninkwinkler. And by calling himself “Ruthless” he was disowning his very own mother.

My heart tore into tiny bloody shreds as he tore down the castle of my love for him.

He left me there, standing in the door of our doublewide, the Coors banquet slowly warming in my hand. When he hopped on his moped, he looked back, and then, with a diabolic smirk, he puttered off.

Never even said thank you.


Worthless little shit.

Anyway. Now you have the story, and I want all of the royalties from every story he ever wrote, ‘cause I ran out of Crown Royal last week, and I’m getting the shhakes again.

Yours truly,

Ruth Sninkwinkler

P.S. I hope the name V.V.V.S.S. doesn’t stand for Very, Very, Very Satanic Stories as I donn’t want filtthy lucre raiszed through the acctionsz of the horned one. Unless there’sz lotsa’ zeross on the checkk then I can just pay Revereverend Falwell to cleaane the money. It’ll bee okaee. Anywayz. sorruiy as I szaid… Iz getting a bitz shakkyyy. Neeeds tsome booze, Isz think. Or jEsus. BYe,

“The Suspect” by Richard F. Yates

10 Feb

Mrs. Ferguson found the body behind her garage. When Mrs. Ferguson herself disappeared, she because the prime suspect—until the Widow Meltzer found Mrs. Ferguson’s body in the alley behind the Kingsberry Liquor Store. Now that the Widow Meltzer has disappeared, the police believe they’ve finally cracked the case and have issued a warrant for the Widow Meltzer’s arrest.

—Richard F. Yates

“See You Thursday?” by Richard O’Brien

10 Feb

“See you Thursday? he asked, in a casual tone.

On the other end of the line, he realized his friend did not suspect a thing. “Yessir,” the American said, as he hung up the phone and looked at his captors. He knew that Thursday would likely never come for him. An AK-47 muzzle, still warm from the previous slaughter, rested against his cheek.

“One. More. Time” the guerilla leader said, in a thick Columbian accent. To this the bound, American captive just smiled and said, “Nunca jamás. Come Mierda y Muerte.” The Columbian pursed his lips in anger; he then grabbed his large hunting knife and quickly brought it to the eyeball of the American and spat, “No, gringo, YOU will eat shit and die!”

A few feet away, another man coughed up some blood, directing attention to him. “No, man,” he said to his American friend — “Not like this. I will tell them.” “Don’t you dare!” the American yelled, “Don’t tell them anything!” The dying man, with blood running from his ears and mouth said, “Just tell Suzie that I love her.” “No!!!!!” the American screamed.

The captors now surrounded the dying man and waited for him to speak. Finally, the man weakly said, “Up-up, down-down, left-right, left-right, A-B.” The captors smiled, then went back to playing Nintendo while the Americans escaped.

As the rescue chopper took off from Cartagena, the American looked at the body bag that contained his friend and quietly said to himself, “I guess I will see you Thursday, Yates. I guess I will after all.”

—Richard O’Brien

“Coming Soon” by Richard O’Brien

6 Feb

“I work alone; I don’t need a partner – and certainly not him, captain.”

“I don’t want to hear from either of you until you bring that bastard down! Now get out!

“You shot me in the ass!” “What kind of cop shoots his own partner in the ass?” “The kind who was saving your life.”

“You two turn your shields and weapons over – you’re a disgrace to the force.”

“We can get in serious trouble for this.” “So what else is new?” “Thanks for having my back.” “You’re the best partner I ever had. Now let’s do this.”

“We want you boys back with a raise and a promotion.” “So the captain was in on it the whole time?”

Both notice a bikini-clad woman walking by. “Dibs.” “You can’t dibs – we’re grown men.” “Watch and learn, sucker.” He stands up and takes a few steps and then stops in his tracks as if he’s sensed something. Behind him, his partner has a tiny Derringer pistol.
(far away cry): “You shot me in the ass!!!”


—Richard O’Brien

“(Untitled)” by Casey Halleck

6 Feb

She wanted to give him her heart; that’s not what he took.

—Casey Halleck

“That New Car Smell” by Dante Ruthless

3 Feb

Jacob wondered at the speedometer, his new car still smelling of the showroom, it never having been brought to his attention before: the red line under the top speeds. Bright curiosity bloomed in his guts; what might happen if he made the car go that fast?

That dark night, it wasn’t the rain he needed be afraid of, or the stupidity of his decision to push into the red. It was what lay on the other side.

He pushed the accelerator to the floor and careened into night, slamming the needle against the peg. When, finally, he slowed again, the needle finally dropping to zero, the light threw strange shadows and filled the plush interior with an eldritch light.

A sudden scraping, screeching sound tearing across the new red finish shattered the cool ice of his nerves. A leathery wing dipped and flashed in the windscreen. As the creature spun and landed, he beheld its terrifying face. And he screamed.

In the misted distance, strange shapes raised their heads and looked as crunching and ripping sounds climbed into the night. Finally the screaming stopped, and the plush interior no longer shone black. Rather, in its deepest shadows, the black shone a deeper, almost luminous, fluid black.

—Dante Ruthless

“Needle and Thread” by Wontue Thrie

2 Feb

Unlike most patients admitted screaming and wailing, this one was smiling with a mischievous look in her eyes. She was gliding her small body through the long, fluorescent hall; no longer a new mother, she had remarked in her court testimony, “My baby can stare at me all the time now.”

—Wontue Thrie




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