I down the last of my Red Bull and crush the can, tossing it into the passenger footwell with the others. The pile of cans will reach onto the seat and mingle with the empty fritos bags soon. I rummage through the bags, but come up empty. I haven’t showered or shaved in days, but that’s good — soon I’ll be able to impersonate a homeless man, and move in for closer surveillance.
My canine partner isn’t with me on this one, because I’m not on duty. I’m using vacation time, and told the captain I’m in Alaska on a fishing trip. I almost said Aruba, before realizing I’d return to work without a suntan.
Some idiot DA, fresh out of law school, let talking chicken walk on a technicality. Assignment or not, I’m on the case now, and when talking chicken breaks cover, I’ll take it down for good. I check the bullets in my pistol again.
I’ve seen a city go to Hell before, and this is how it starts: first talking chickens, then lesbian rhinos, then where does it end? I scream “Where does it end?” before realizing I’m alone in the car. I flip open a pad of paper, hoping to find insight in my notes, but they’re just the words ‘talking chicken’ over and over again, on every page.
When the Fall Is All That’s Left by Arkady Martine A shipboard disaster caused by a spaceship diving “through the sun” (presumably just through its corona) to escape pursuers.
All Things to All People by DK Thompson A paranormal tattoo story that includes Christian themes and gay sex, apparently in an attempt to offend people all along the socio-political spectrum.
Super Duper Fly by Maurice Broaddus The author leads with something I can’t remember seeing before: a couple of pages of introduction/explanation – basically an admission he’s failed at writing a story. The introduction may have a point worthy of a non-fiction article, but the story comes across as whiny, and feels more like mandatory assigned reading than something you’d read for fun.
Me and Jasper, Down by the Meth Shack by Aaron Saylor What’s worse than werewolves? Werewolves on crystal meth. I enjoyed the poor Kentucky meth-head setting/characters.
The Atlas of Hell by Nathan Ballingrud This urban fantasy/horror has some scary elements, but I felt it wasn’t really a complete story, even though it’s almost as long as the two preceding stories combined.
A text message from the captain flashes on my phone, ‘Report to station. Harassment claim filed.’