“Painting With Shotguns”

Inspiration comes from a lot of places.  A snatch of song on the radio, a phrase overheard on the street, the title of a book or blog. Some people get it from watching the OwlBox.  Some people get it from staring off into space and waiting for divine lightning to strike.  For me, for this story, it came from a blog.

Every week, Chuck does a column called “Painting With Shotguns“; it’s a catchall column where he talks about the miscellaneous things that have caught his attention throughout the week, and things he thinks his readers should check out.  The column itself isn’t what’s important, the title is.

See, this week, the title caught my attention in a way it never has before. I started to wonder exactly how a person would go about painting with a shotgun, and what kinds of situations might arise from it.  Me being me, I couldn’t do a story about a Gallagher-style artist who shoots paint-filled watermelons.  No, my mind went darker places, and my fingers on the keyboard followed.

This story is not lighthearted.  In fact, it’s downright disturbing.  You can find it after the jumpcut.

Remember, I warned you.


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FlashFriday (On Wednesday) – Dead Unicorn Bridge Part Two

A few weeks ago, I posted a #FlashFriday fic that started off, “The dragon selling hotdogs on the corner gave me the 411 on the dead unicorn.”  It was a silly little fluff piece I listed under the heading “Suicidal Unicorns”.  I had no intention of ever doing anything with it again (though I said I might someday), but the story just wouldn’t leave me alone.

This second flash installment weighs in a little longer than the first one, at around 950 words.

Back by popular request — here’s lookin’ at you, Julie — I give you the second installment of what I’m now calling Dead Unicorn Bridge.

When we left Mason, he was investigating the possible suicide of a unicorn named George who had either thrown himself or been thrown off the Brooklyn Bridge.  The hotdog vendor, an unnamed dragon with questionable adherence to health code standards, gave Mason a lead to check: the unicorn’s live-in virgin, a girl named Sunshine, who’d left George the previous week for a guy she met online.  With this information in hand, Mason returned to his car, hoping against hope that his elven partner would still be inside it, instead of out chasing butterflies and talking to flowers.

The story continues after the jump.

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Flash Friday: Suicidal Unicorns

I really have no idea where this came from.  It was a prompt I posted to #storystarters this morning, and it wouldn’t leave me alone.  It checks in at 833 words, and is far from the best thing I’ve ever written.  But the point is, I wrote it.  Yeah, I wrote it. Finished it.  Completed it.

Maybe some day I’ll do more with it.


The dragon selling hotdogs on the corner gave me the 411 on the dead unicorn. ‘His virgin met a guy,’ he said.  ‘One of those social media online deals. Flitter, or Twerp or somethin’. Left him last week.  Big hullabaloo.  I could hear the screamin’ from here, practically.  George was a fuckin’ mess after she walked out. I’m not surprised he offed hisself, yanno? Dames’ll do that to ya. Drive ya fuckin’ crazy, I mean.’

Didn’t I know it. I had a Tinkerbell wannabe at home, pixie dust and slutty little green dress and all.  She kept trying to get me to give her the clap, said it would help her become a real girl.  I was holding out, but one of these days I was gonna give in.  There was a limit to how many times I could find her in my boxers before my sanity went out the window.

‘Got a name on the virgin or the guy?’ I asked, overpaying for an undercooked Italian sausage. I slathered it with sauerkraut and mustard, took a big bite and tried not to think too hard on what kind of meat I was eating.  Dragons weren’t particularly known for their nutritional selectivity.  It might have been beef or pork, but it was just as likely rat or pigeon.  It tasted a bit funny, but that could have been just my imagination.  I piled more sauerkraut on, just in case.

The dragon scratched his snout, snorted a little flame.  “Yeah,” he said after a little while. “She had some fruity hippie name. Sky or Moonbeam or Rain or somethin’ like that.  Sunshine.  Yeah. That was it.  Sunshine.” I must have had a sceptical look on my face, cos the dragon got defensive then.  “I’m not makin’ this up, Macey.  The broad’s name was Sunshine.”

I shoved the last bite in my mouth, balled up the wax paper, shot for the garbage bin and missed completely.  “And the guy?” I asked after swallowing.

“How the fuck should I know?” the dragon shot back. “I sell franks and sausages, Mace. You’re the fuckin’ detective.  Detect, for chrissake.”

“Yeah, yeah.  Anything else?”

He scratched his snout again and shot a line of flame from his nostril onto the grill.  A glob of something else shot out of his nostril and splattered on the sausages slowly turning over the fire.  Lunch suddenly felt like a lump in my stomach, but I swallowed hard and tried not to think too hard about that either. “Yeah. George loved the shit outta that girl, but I can’t really blame her for walkin’, yanno?  You know unicorns.  Takes a special kinda woman ta deal with their protective macho bullshit.  Georgie had bad luck tryin’ ta find the right one.  Sunshine was the last of a long line, you know what I mean?”

Yeah, I knew what he meant, and I knew unicorns too.  Hell, just last week we’d had to break up a bar brawl involving two unicorns, their virgins and some drunk frat boys who had done nothing but ask the ladies to dance.  “Overprotective” didn’t even begin to cover how unicorns acted towards their women.

The dragon had given me some food for thought, and a couple of leads to chase down.  George the Unicorn had probably thrown himself off the Brooklyn Bridge, but maybe he hadn’t.  Maybe there’d been a fight or maybe he’d gotten pushed.  It was my job to figure that out.  I dropped a Jackson on top of the hot dog cart.  “Thanks for the info,” I said, “and for lunch, as underdone as it was.”

I didn’t see the Jackson disappear, but I knew it had made its way into the dragon’s pockets.  No scaly slinger of questionable meat worth his salt would lose a twenty so easily.  He shrugged. “I do what I can,” he said. “Now get the fuck outta here before you chase away all my clientele. They can smell when cops come around, and I got eggs ta feed.”

I did as he asked and walked back to my car, parked a block away with my elven partner hopefully still inside and not out chasing butterflies or flowers or whatever it was she did when I was out of her sight.  I was tired of it all suddenly; the two-ton unicorn road pizza, the Tinkerbell roommate, the dragon informant, the elf partner, the troll who trained me at the gym, the leprechaun who fixed my shoes last week… I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had any sort of meaningful interaction with an actual human being.

The sausage I’d eaten at the cart was rumbling around in my stomach.  I popped a couple of antacid tabs, rubbed my gut and wondered how long it would be before I could request a transfer out of Exotic Crimes.  Nothing against the elves and fairies and mythical beasties, but after a night like last night I just wanted to deal with normal people again.