Other Short Stories
Hard Bite & Other Short Stories
Meet a wheelchair-bound vigilante with a deadly helper-monkey assistant, a woman who murders the wives of men she wants for herself, and see what happens when cannibals overtake the California State Capitol! Down in Hell, we get a glimpse into the bureaucratic blunderings of the Family Homicide Department, and there's a secret as to why one restaurant in San Francisco has dishes that taste exquisite—but you might lose your appetite when you find out why.
Anonymous-9 "came from nowhere" in 2008 and gained critical acclaim for her hard-boiled vision and darkly humorous take. Hard Bite & Other Short Stories collects her award-winning fiction, ten tales in all, for the very first time!
Praise for ANONYMOUS-9
There is a novel’s worth of ideas here and I wish there was one so I could go and buy it now. Anonymous-9 is one hell of a drug.
--BRIAN LINDENMUTH, BSC Review.com
Anonymous-9 is one of my favorite crime writers.
--NICK MAMATAS, Novelist, Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild awards nominee.
“When you read Killer Orgasm you realize 1) the writer is wicked, and 2) she had a blast writing it.
--CINDY CROSMUS, Editor, Yellow Mama
Too many self-styled noirists rely on the curdled note, the wince of revulsion – easy enough to accomplish in an opening line or scene – and never bother to develop their characters enough to make us care. Anonymous-9 does her due diligence: her prose eviscerates and then sticks around to consider the tableau. Her characters are layered and complex, and even at their most horrifying, they smack of humanity and humor and even compassion.
A Bad Day for Sorry
A Bad Day for Pretty
Who Is Anonymous-9?
Winner, 2009 Best Short Story on the Web, Spinetingler Magazine
Two-time Nominee, 2009 Derringer Awards, Short Mystery Fiction Society
Nominee, 2010 Thriller Awards, Short Story category, International Thriller Writers
Nominee, 2010 Best Short Story on the Web, Spinetingler Magazine
Copyright © 2011 by Anonymous-9 and Elaine Ash
All rights reserved.
Cover art by Rebecca Forster
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Organic Chicken Tortilla Soup with
Chopped Finger Garnish
Return of the Night of the Living Dead Monkey
from Sunset Boulevard
Eating the Deficit
The Master Bedroom
M-N-S (n) murder-necrophilia-suicide
Notes and Quotes
I like to kill people.
It’s important to admit the truth to yourself, even if you lie to others, and I do a lot of lying in my line of work. Inside my head, I try to keep the truth black and white, no grey area: I like to kill. I love to kill, people.
Sid knows we’re going somewhere tonight because my eyes keep flicking at the clock, and it usually means we’ve got a job to do.
I found my latest target online, at a news site. A national story, local to Los Angeles. Killing locally is a necessity, since I’m not really mobile. A Mac with assistive technologies enables me to work the keyboard.
Assistive technology is a code word for “stuff that helps cripples use a computer.” Easy to understand, right? Because it’s the truth. People have a hard time with truth when it comes bent and deformed, crushed, or hideous—so they invent terms like assistive technologies to sidestep the one word that makes it crystal clear: cripple.
I went from noun to action verb riding a year-long bed of pain. After flirting with suicide, which lost its appeal contemplated deeply, a fresh start in rough justice sounded right. Why settle for cripple when you can be crippling, ha ha.
I admit, I don’t look very imposing. It’s my wheelchair, the steel hand, my pencil neck that would flop over and crack from the weight of my head if it weren’t for the metal rod holding it up. I look useless, you think. You think wrong. And fuck you, by the way, for your perception. I bring righteous vengeance to evil people, make a living, and take care of myself, by myself. What do you do with your life motherfucker???? ..........Sorry, I rant sometimes. Sorry, buddy. Keep reading. Please.
I was going to tell you about a few successful kills. At first I called myself an assassin to give the impression I wasn’t just a whack job lusting for blood—there’s a larger reason why I kill. But then Merriam Webster ruined that idea by defining it as “killing for impersonal reasons” and that’s incorrect. I kill for extremely personal reasons. Starting with the individual who hit me with his black BMW, carrying me ten blocks on the grille, braking so I’d fall off, and gunning over top of me, shattering my neck, crushing my left arm and feet, and squashing my large intestine to mush. I can’t digest much of anything, but my dick still works. Go figger.
Uh oh, look at that clock. Time’s a-wastin’. Sid needs one more practice session before show time.
I drop my right shoulder so my neck is exposed. “Soft bite, Sid.”
Sid scrambles up my body, so light and fast he’s more like a breeze than a weight, and locates the bulging jugular vein. He gently squeezes it with his canines. Ever see a picture of a thirteen-year-old capuchin monkey’s canine teeth? They’re about a half inch long, curved and sharp. Sid lets go and gives me a lick.
Good boy. Get down. Fetch pencil.”
In one spring, Sid is on the desk, expertly plucking a pencil from a cup.
Here.” I extend my lips like I want to be fed.
Sid puts the pencil in my mouth. I grip it and say out of the corner of my mouth, “Hard bite.” He snaps the thing off in one crunch. I taught Sid to bite using varying pressure— from a delicate bite that wouldn’t break the skin on an overripe pear, to a hard bite right through wood. Then I got him used to biting close to my head and neck. He’s smart enough to make the mental jump, and ace a hard bite to a guy’s jugular. Later this evening, hopefully.
Sid is motivated to perform, thanks to my unique training and reward system. No nuts and bananas for Sid. When he does well, I let him watch monkey porn; a download of capuchins humping, and let him masturbate to it. Yeah, I know how you feel, but I get mine from a rental chick once a week, so he deserves some, too.
Cinda says she doesn’t give anybody else bareback BJs, but me, so I’m trusting she’s got no STDs. Of course she sees clients off her internet ads, but that’s all condomized. She trusts I’m not seeing anybody. Who would see me? I look like an AIDS patient already, my eyeballs sunk in the sockets, cheeks hollowed out. That being said, Cinda actually calls me her boyfriend and I don’t pay anymore. Says she feels safe with me. I guess when a woman’s been kicked around like Cinda, a guy bolted into a wheelchair is a plus. I might see Cinda later tonight.
Hit and runs are my thing. The kind where a driver drags a little old lady over a block of speed bumps, breaks her in pieces, and hightails it out of there. Or a methed-out witch plows through a little kid and puts the pedal down. I read every bit of news on local hit-and-runs. There are always people who can put two and two together—body shops and paint jobbers, people in the vicinity—they all have a little something for me.
What...you thought I cruise the city on a cripple scooter, playing detective? First of all, I ride an old-school motorized chair with big, spoked wheels, not a pussy scooter. I like the shock value. Second, everybody’s on the net looking for drugs, sex, whatever. Hit and run drivers are not the most upstanding citizens. Anybody who flees the broken body of a person they’ve crashed is into nefarious shit in some other area of their life, guaranteed. I find ‘em, uncover whatever illegal or immoral thing they want, and represent myself as the person who can deliver.
When necessary, I go out driving. You’re wondering how a guy like me with one hand, and feet that don’t work, got licensed. I didn’t. My driving is 100% illegal. Illegal but not unsafe; there are five hands in my vehicle. One of mine still works, and Sid has four. Even his feet have opposable thumbs. Sid can’t steer, but he hits the signal switch for me and assists with hand controls. I’ve got a chopped 1979 Chevy van with a handicap-access hydraulic ramp that extends and retracts out the rear. I cruise up the ramp, through the back, to the steering wheel. My chair locks into place.
In case you think I’m a danger on the road with a subhuman co-pilot, my advice to you is: never underestimate the abilities of a monkey with a porn habit. Can’t beat it for keeping him motivated. Sorry about the pun.
My last kill, I let the guy try some dope in the back of the van—GBH, very popular with date rapists—knocked him out cold. Then Sid and I drove out Pacific Coast Highway to the Malibu canyons till we found a good spot. Backed the van up, opened the rear doors, beamed the guy out on the hydraulic ramp and dropped him a hundred feet off the cliff. Took weeks to find his broken, maggot-rotted corpse.
Would you look at that—Sid is jumping up and down; body language for let’s roll. I tuck the van keys in my pocket. He hops on my shoulder, and we head for the elevator to the parking garage. The plan is real simple: meet the target in Lakewood, a nice ‘burb of Long Beach—at a park. Late, there won’t be anybody around. After Sid does his veinal chomp, the guy should bleed out in two minutes or less, and away we go. That’s the plan, anyway.
Outside, there’s a light drizzle, which is great, because nobody in LA goes out in any kind of wet, especially after midnight. We drive east on Washington Boulevard to Lincoln, head south a few blocks and catch the 91 to the 405. Sid is doing great with the signal switch. Wouldn’t you know my cell phone rings, but Sid is all over it, pressing Call/Ans and Speaker.
Where are you?” Cinda’s voice is low and steady. Sexy without trying.
In the van.”
Yes, on my way.”
I’m meeting the driver of a Mustang who clipped a father of four riding his bicycle at 7:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning. The daddy fought for his life a long time, hidden in a drainage ditch, while people who could have helped drove on by, not knowing. He was barely cold when a neighborhood search party traced his bike route and found him.
Are you in Long Beach now?”
Close to.” I turn into the parking area.
There were no paint traces, no witnesses. Mr. Mustang would have gone clean except for a dent he got banged out. Moron told the body shop he’d struck a bicyclist. Illegal employees won’t talk to cops, but they spilled it in Spanglish to me.
Since the hit, the driver developed a Klonopin habit. Rumor has it, a guilty conscience can cause chronic tension, and Klonopin is a powerful anti-anxiety. You should try it sometime. One 0.5mg tablet induces relaxation on par with overboiled linguine. I passed myself off as a connection for generic prescription Klonopin, and that’s supposedly why we’re meeting at the park tonight—to do a drug deal.