Friday, September 28, 2007

Powder Burn Flash # 47 - Scott Shewan


On nights like this, it was difficult to not howl at the moon. Full. Thick. Heavy. Impossible to look away from. Hanging in the air like a car wreck.

Logan made his rounds at the junkyard. Down the rust colored trails cut through mountains of fridges, toasters, dishwashers.

Logan stopped and stared up at the moon. It's funny how some things can flood you with random memories. First time you cut class, shoplifted, got locked in the trunk of an '86 Caprice Classic.



A bullet ripped into the trunk, the heat and speed peeled the metal inward. The bullet flew through, inches from Logan's head, landed in an empty jerry can sending sparks and tiny steel slivers everywhere.

First though: Oh fuck I'm dead.

But the bullet missed his head.

Second thought: Oh fuck, I'm going to get exploded.

But the gas can was empty.

Thank fuck. What a shitty way to go. Being tied up in the trunk of a shitbox sure was a motherfucker.

-You dead bro?

Bro? Who the fuck was this frat boy? What advanced psychological technique is asking if someone you just shot at is dead?

No I'm not you fucker. Ha ha. You missed.

Well thanks for the heads up, victim in the trunk. You fell for my plan thus proving I am a genius. Time to get shot and die.

Is that how he thought it would play out?

Logan struggled with the ropes. Unfortunately the rope was tearing the shit out of his forearms. Skin raw all the way up to his elbows. Persistance. Needed to get out. Claustrophobia handing him a beating. Being shot at sucked dicks. And, oh yeah, his Browning wasn't going to jump out of his waistband and into the palm of his hand by force of will.

So he wrestled. The pain made him grit his teeth. He bled and sweat. And bled some more. The rope loosened.

-Bro, I asked you a question.

Seriously, this guy was a fucking douche bag.

A little give. More blood. More give. More blood. The blood lubricated his escape from bondage. One last push.


The rope slid off faster than Logan thought. So fast in that he inadvertently stomped the inside of the trunk at about 60 km an hour.

Oh fuck.

Logan grabbed the Browning from his waist band and crouched in a corner of the trunk in the fetal position. The bullet hole looked like a full moon the way the street light seeped in. In his own little microcosm.



Three bullets ripped into the trunk. Had he been lying in the spot he was a second earlier he would've gotten one in the brain holder, one in the lung, and most likely, if he was lining up the angles properly, one right in his ball sack.

Thank fuck for that.

He stretched out and reached for the emergency release.

Had to bide his time. Hoped this fuck would slip up before he pumped more lead into the trunk.

-Bro, you're dead now right?

Logan would've rolled his eyes had he not trained them on the bullet holes. He waited, staring at the street light seeping in.

Rustling outside. Pacing maybe? Darkness overtook the trunk. The bullet holes stopped letting any light in. Logan flicked the latch and shoved his body upwards, blasting off. His shoulder connected with the inside of the trunk and sent the trunk lid sailing upwards.

Then he felt it. A connection. Rusted metal on soft flesh. Logan got out in a hurry. His kidnapper was on the ground cupping his bleeding forehead. Logan trained the gun on him.


He looks up at Logan.

-Oh fuck.

-Indeed. Get up and get in the fucking car.

Logan motioned him towards the car with business end of his gun.

-In. I'm driving. Give me the keys or I'll shoot you in half.

He handed over the keys.

After failed attempts to plead for his life, the once-predator panicked as he took in his new surroundings. Junkyard. Late, late night. No one for miles.

-So what the fuck did I do to you?

-Cause man you fucked my girl. You put your greasy weasel in my Amy.

Logan laughed.

-I guarantee that my "gentleman's situation" was nowhere near an Amy. It's attached to my body and I'm pretty sure that I'd know who I was putting my greasy weasel in.

-Fuck you bro. I know you did it ok. She fucking told me!

-She did, did she? Your old lady use any other names?

-No she doesn't. But whatever bro. Not the fucking point. She fucking told me! Fuck! Why would she lie? She fucking told me ok? She said, she fucking said 'I fucked Herman, I let Herman fuck the shit out of me'"

-I'm sorry, Herman? Is that what I heard?

-Yeah. Herman. Herman. Herman. Got that? She fucking said she fucked you!

-At some point did it ever strike you that I don't look like an 84 year old man?


-My fucking name's not Herman, you shit.


-Herman. My. Name. Is. Not. Herman. Although now I wish I were, your old lady sounds like she'd be a great roll in the hay.

-You're lying! Fuck you! Go to hell you fucking bastard.

-Hell? Look around college man. Where the fuck do you think you are?

Logan cocked his hand back and laid him the fuck out with handle of the gun. The nameless attacker mumbled a pearl necklace of curses as he collapsed face first into the trunk. Logan gave the rest of his limp body the helping hand it needed.


Logan looked away from the moon and continued his rounds. Past random piles of cutlery. Past stationary bikes and rowing machines. Past the crushed cars. Past a '54 Impala. Past a '96 Civic. Past a '91 Elantra. Past an '86 Caprice Classic.

It looked this Herman asshole was off the hook.

BIO: Scott Shewan was born and raised in Montreal where he still lives and continues to speak English despite the wishes of the Provincial Government. He is currently working on his first book, Crowbar, which he will never finish and no one will ever read. He also has a blog ( that no one reads as well. He is tall and wants to be your friend.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Powder Burn Flash # 46 - John McFetridge

In the Harbour
by John McFetridge

Gary Wilkes was standing on the deck of his brother-in-law’s lobster boat stacking the traps and running lines when he saw the black Hummer driving down to the dock. Gary’s brother-in-law, Alvin, decent guy and they loved him for marrying Annabelle, saw it too and said, “Not exactly sneaking up,” and Gary said, no, they want us to see, “Supposed to scare the shit out of us.”

Alvin said, yeah, well, it’s what they do, and went below.

Gary watched the Hummer stop and the two guys get out; early thirties, jeans and tee shirts, sunglasses and leather jackets, of course. They looked up and down the dock, a dozen boats, fishermen all minding their own business, and came up to Alvin’s, looking right at Gary.

One guy took off his sunglasses and said, “Didn’t waste any time, you right back at work.” French accent, they were from Montreal, Gary knew. Came all the way down to Shediac, New Brunswick just to talk to him.

Gary said, “Get the fuck off the dock.”

They looked at each other like he’d made a joke, like they were gonna laugh, but instead they came on the boat. The one that was taller than Gary said, “We gonna talk.”

They probably didn’t even know it, these two thugs, but that’s how this started for Gary, talking to some guy from Montreal. Gary had his own boat then, took over his father’s when the old man’s cancer moved into his bones and he was done. Had two cousins working for him, that was three families counting on him; three men, three women, seven kids and Gabrielle was pregnant again. And no fucking lobsters, or not nearly enough. Every season another guy lost his boat, lost his family, lost his will.

And Gary met this guy from Montreal, knew he was a biker right away. They don’t ride bikes anymore, they’re not about freedom and rebellion and the open road, no shit, it’s all business now. Now they drive Hummers. The guy Gary met had a plan. They were bringing coke up from Columbia and they were going to pack it in lobster traps, dump them in the water right off the coast and lobster fishermen would pick them up along with their other traps. The guy said to Gary, “You ever bring up a trap worth twenty grand?”

Of course they got busted. Started in Montreal, big organized crime investigation, surveillance, wire taps, they even had an informer, led all the way to Shediac and Gary’s boat. He was the one actually picked up with the coke in his hands.

Cop, local mountie out of Moncton, said to him, “These fucking federal lawyers are going to pressure you to give up names, but they won’t protect you for shit after.” One maritimer looking out for another.

Gary said, hey, I did the fucking crime, “I’ll do the time.” He gave them everything he had, names, dates, amounts in every shipment. All the money he made was in his boat, refitted engine, new navigation system, new traps. He was a couple months away from actually breaking even with just the lobsters, three families not going broke. They seized his boat, sold it at auction for a quarter of what it was worth to some guy from Cape Breton.

Now the tall one was saying, “You think this is done? You think you give up that many people, do two years in slam and it’s over?”

“It’s over for me.”

Two years in Dorchester Federal Penitentiary and now he was thankful to be crewing on Alvin’s boat, thankful his little sister Annabelle made her husband hire him.

But the bigshots in the deal, the top guys in Montreal, they were just coming up to trial now. Their rich fucking mob lawyers using every trick they had to delay it, to stall, question every piece of evidence, get to every witness, but now it was going to happen. And Gary was going to testify.

The short one opened his mouth for the first time, saying, “Don’t be so fucking stupid. It’s too easy for accidents to happen on boats.”

Gary said, yeah, “They happen all the time.”

The two bikers from Montreal staring at him, giving him their evil eyes.

Gary threw the trap he was holding, hit the tall one right in the face, staggered him back.

The short one was pulling a gun out of his belt and Alvin punched him the face, two, three times. Gary was on the tall one, spun him around, grabbed his greasy hair and smashed his face onto the rail, blood splattering everywhere.

Alvin had the short one’s gun and was smacking him with it, the guy was holding his arms over his head so Alvin kicked him in the balls, steel toes doing their job.

Gary grabbed the tall one by the belt and threw him off the boat and Alvin ran the small one over the side, the two assholes landing on the dock ten feet from their shiny Hummer. They stood up, legs shaking like they were standing on the deck in a storm, blood all over their faces, and tried to look tough. It was almost funny.

Gary looked down and said, “The next time I throw you off a fucking boat, it’ll be two miles out,” and he pointed at the north Atlantic.

Alvin was pointing the short one’s gun at them.

And up and down the dock, every other boat had two or three guys standing on deck holding something; pick axes, wrenches, big fucking knives.

The short one managed to say, “You’re fucking dead,” and pointed at Gary, but he got in the Hummer fast and they drove out like they were being chased.

Alvin looked at the trap that Gary threw at the tall one and said, “You have to fix that again?”

Gary said, no. “I was just starting that one, hadn’t done anything to it yet.”


Gary looked up and down the dock. Everybody else was back to work, too.


BIO: John McFetridge's first novel, Dirty Sweet, was published in 2006 and his second, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere will be published in 2008. He has had flash fiction published by Out of the Gutter and on Muzzle Flash. Check out his website at

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Powder Burn Flash # 45 - Clair Dickson

A Bo Fexler Story

"What happened to your face?" Axel pushed aside one of the peaks in the mountain range of papers on my dining table.

"Little dispute with my latest ex boyfriend."

"Oh? What about?"


"Say what?"

"The definition of the word 'privacy.'"

"Okay-- you know, girl, you have this tendency to stop before the end of a story. Keep going."

"Hm. He tried to tell me that asking his friends, neighbors, and coworkers about him was an invasion of privacy. I disagreed."

"And he hit you for that?"

"For disagreeing? No."

"Okay . . ."

"See, some of his friends informed me that he had a bit of a temper, so I actually kept my distance."

"So, he threw something."

"No. If you keep jumping to conclusions like this, I won't bother to correct you."

"All right."

"We argued about the meaning of privacy . . . with him telling me it was wrong to ask his ex-girlfriend why they broke up. I said it was acceptable because it was public knowledge."


"Anything that is told to another person cannot be considered private anymore. You can only control what you tell people yourself. If I want something to stay private, the only way to do that is to keep it to myself."

"So, you don't believe anything could be told to a person in confidence?"

"Not really. If that person comes to hate you . . ." The words got stuck for a moment. "Then they would easily break that confidence. An ex might admit that she faked orgasms. A former coworker might laugh at how you were oblivious to what everyone thought of you. People are fickle, Axel."

"But it's one thing to find these things out by accident, it's another thing to go sneaking around digging them up."


"So, even one's sex life isn't private, because it's share with someone?"


"I mean, something's should be private. You should be able to not worry about people saying things."

"I agree. But that fact is, you can't."

"Your world is a dark place."

"You live in the same world I do. I just don't turn on all the lights and pretend that it's not dark out."

Axel shook his head. "Well, I'd never tell anyone the things you've told me. Things you've said in confidence."

"Well, good for you!"

"Lemme guess-- you've asked about me."

"Of course. Just finished the background check the Monday."

His forehead scrunched up. "You called my landlady!"

I nodded. "She had good things to say about you."

"I don't fucking believe this! Bo-- you know, you have a really fucked up sense of privacy! You act like this is a good thing-- spying on people--!"

I sat back in my chair. "Would it help if I let you read the report I wrote up?"

"What? No!"


"I can't believe you did this!"

"Axel. Maybe you don't realize this-- I came across it while I was doing the background check on you-- but you don't seem to be able to conceive that people do bad things on purpose."

"Well, I guess you've showed me."

"Perhaps." I lit up a cigarette. "You asked how I got hurt."

Axel threw up his hands and muttered something.

I didn't let that faze me. "What happened was this-- my now ex informed me that he'd made a video tape of . . . one of our evenings together. He was sure his friends would get a kick out of it. He figured he'd invite everyone over and show them."

"If you don't mind my asking, what was on that tape?" Curiosity overtook anger. And his politeness almost me chuckle.

"Huh? Oh, I just talked dirty, gave him head. He came really fast. I mean, like, high school boy fast. That's all. I don't think I even took my shirt off. Not enough time."

"You gave him head?" He gaped like a boy who'd just run to his room with the lingerie ad from the newspaper like it was some sort of contraband.

"I'm sure the knowledge that I am a sexual being is a shock to your small town raising."

He shrugged, but the strange little smile on the edge of his mouth remained. "Do— do you swallow?"

"Please. That's only good for getting an STD."

"Oh. So, you use a condom?"

"Yes, Axel. Though I'm not big on the vanilla flavor."

"Okay. So, how exactly did you get hurt? I don't think I've gotten that yet."

"You haven't. See, like I said, one's sex life is hardly private. Part of mine will be broadcast. Hell, might even end up on the internet if any of them are technologically inclined that way. But that doesn't bother me."

"Oh? Because you already figured it was public information, right?"


"So, what bothers you?"

"I'm sure someone who watches that tape will make some comment about my speech."

"Your . . . your speech? Well, it's not like you're going to be there to hear it."

"I know. But that's not much of a consolation. I'd bet that someone makes a comment that with the way I talk, I'm better off with someone's cock in my mouth."

Axel's mouth hung open. Nothing intelligent came out.

"Between you and me, Axel, I hate my speech impairment. Fucking hate it. And I hate the things people say about it. So, hearing that he was going to show the tape made me so upset that when I opened the door, I hit myself with it."

"You did this to yourself?"

I nodded.

"Aren't you worried that I might spill what you've just said?"

"No. See, when I was doing the background check, I really got a sense of how honest . . . how honorable you are. Otherwise, I wouldn't have told you! Shit, I'd have lied about that, too."


"Huh? Oh, you don't want to know. Private stuff."


BIO: Clair Dickson writes between teaching Alternative High School students and her other three jobs. She primarily writes Bo Fexler short stories which have been published in places like MuzzleFlash, Out of the Gutter, Yellow Mama, Crime and Suspense, and PowderBurn. She keeps track of Bo Fexler at And she wrote this story after a comment from Mystery Dawg.