The Incident Report No. 86 features highlights from the Small Crimes posts I run almost every day. If you don’t have the time to read the daily missives then this might just be for you.
The week began well for Shawn Cosby. There was an interview in Publishers Weekly and he made the cover of Booklist, a book review journal published by the American Library Association. Everything was coming up Cosby. But as Eryk Pruitt pointed out, “Book Twitter is why we can’t have nice things.”
Again, I am a 46-year-old black man who lives in the former capitol of the Confederacy. I understand that images matter and can be used to reinforce negative ideas. But I feel, no I pray that we, each of us, will do our best to slough off the shackles of our preconceived notions. That we will take time to ask ourselves why is it that when we see the words “crime fiction’ and the image of a black man we didn’t assume he was the hero?
Adrian Bardon, author of “A Brief History of the Philosphy of Time”, was interviewed for Vox to discuss how the quarantine is affecting our perception of time.
You mentioned this kind of paradoxical thing: We feel that time is dragging, but it’s also flying by. That comes out of the same situation. We’re out of our routine. We’re out of our structure. We’re out of doing tasks that we would normally feel productive and good about. It’s more like we’re treading water or trying to deal with situations we don’t want to deal with. And then in our retrospective judgment of the passage of time, it seems like things went by really quickly because we didn’t really accomplish anything.
Here are the first paragraphs of two short stories that deserve your attention: K.A. Laity’s “The Click of the Shutting” (Punk Noir) and Paul J. Garth’s “Paper Boats” (Tough).
She waited for the sound of it, the sound that meant safety, the sound that meant it was over for now. The time it was when his shouts might soften, sometimes even turn to tears and beg forgiveness, beg for comfort, remind her again how it was all her fault.
“The Click of the Shutting” by K.A. Laity (Punk Noir)
They had only been gone a few hours, just long enough to see a movie and pick up some food for the kid, but somehow that’d been long enough for Taylor Olsen to die, the boy still strapped to the metal folding chair Neil had tied him to before they left, his face blue, his little clenched mouth filled with vomit.
Garry Rodgers, author of “From the Shadows”, wrote “What Really Goes On In The Morgue” (Kill Zone). He also peppered his story with anectodes from his law enforcement career.
One was “Mister Red Pepper Paste Man”. My friend Elvira Esikanian, a seasoned forensic pathologist of Bosnian descent who cut her teeth by exhuming mass graves, is a gem. She also has a wicked eye for detail.
I brought this old guy into the morgue after finding him dead in his apartment. Neighbors reported him screaming like someone was skinning a live cat. They rushed in and found him collapsed on the floor. No idea what killed him, but no sign of foul play.
Elvira opened his stomach and it was positively crawling. She knew what it was—botulism. Elvira told me to go back to the scene and look to see what he’d been eating. I found it. It was a jar of red pepper paste that was years past its expiry date, and the inside was a mass of organic activity.
“The Faking of the President: Nineteen Stories of White House Noir” edited by Peter Carlaftes (Three Rooms Press)