Saturday, 31 December 2011

One Man's Treasure

Illustration by Mark Satchwill
A lot of his customers had told Gillis Montgomery he looked like Jack Palance and it was true. But when they said it they were thinking of the laughing psycho bad guy character in Shane, not the haunted boxer of Requiem for a Heavyweight. That was okay with Gillis. If his customers felt like they needed to score points off him, so be it. They were the ones in his store, giving away bits and pieces of their lives for a pittance. They always seemed stunned to find out how little their precious engagement ring or designer watch was worth. They always checked the price of gold before they came in and they always had two prices in their heads—the one they really wanted and the one they’d take. Both were always much, much higher than what he was willing to offer.
Gillis blamed movies.
In movies someone would walk into a pawn shop with a silver chain and a string of pearls and walk out with five hundred dollars.
That just wasn’t going to happen at Mongomery Pawn.
The people who watched Pawn Stars were the worse. They’d always want to argue the price, telling him they’d seen the exact same item on the show.
Gillis’ standard answer was that if they thought they could get a better price, they should head for Las Vegas and try their luck.
Pawn Stars.
The show’s producers had originally approached him with the idea of starring in their reality show. They’d heard about his little North Hollywood empire and they’d heard about his movie-star looks. They’d been disappointed when he turned them down.
Disappointed and surprised.
Do I look like a Kardashian? he’d asked them, amused by their dismay.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

NoHo Noir celebrates Christmas

Food is Love

Tim “Bing’ Bingham loved his fans. Their adulation sustained him; their adoration fed him; their admiration made him feel good. When he was around his fans—appreciative talk show audiences, bleacher bums outside the Golden Globes and the Emmys; hell—even people in malls who recognized him going into Forever 21 to pick up a gift card for his latest girlfriend—it was all good.
The problems started when there weren’t fans around to stoke the engine of his ego. That’s how he’d ended up at the Food is Love Mission on Christmas, serving mashed potatoes from a chafing dish to poor people.
Not that poor people couldn’t be fans, of course.
So Bing served up the potatoes with a big smile and a hearty “How ya doing buddy?” which was the catch phrase he’d coined during the 12-year run of his sitcom The Bingham Show.
He’d never won an Emmy for the show—thank you Kelsey Grammer—but America loved him and his character, “Bing Kephart,” a lovable dad with a smart-ass wife and three adorable kids.
A lot of people dismissed the show as mindless fluff but The Bingham Show had outlasted Everybody Loves Raymond and their last year, at his insistence, the show’s writers had begun adding a little edge to their stories.
Bing was particularly proud of the episode in which his oldest son broke the news that he was transgender. The revelation turned out to be part of an elaborate practical joke he and the wife were playing on Bing Kephart, but Bing was proud that the episode provided an opportunity for open dialogue on the topic of he-shes.
Not that he’d gotten any props from GLAAD over the show. In fact, they’d blasted his “transphobia” and labeled him “criminally clueless.”
He’d gotten a chuckle out of that. Half the porn he downloaded was chicks with dicks.
“Here ya go,” Bing said to a middle-aged guy wearing what looked like a custom-made suit. “How ya doing buddy?” he added as he dropped a ladle full of potatoes on his plate.
“I’m good Bing,” the guy said. “Thanks.”

Monday, 12 December 2011

Gotham City Imposters

Gotham City Imposters, a currently online-only game scheduled for release on Play Station, X Box and PC in January, takes place in the Batman Universe but features ordinary citizens who aspire to be superheroes and villains just like Phoenix Jones (real name Ben Fodor) who dresses up like a superhero to stop crime in Seattle.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Words Fail Us!

Due to unforseen circumstances, NoHo Noir will not be posting a new story until next Sunday, December 18. See you then!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Don't Just Sit There--Read Something

We know you don't have much time these days. You're working longer and harder than ever and on top of all your other responsibilities, it's the holiday season. You don't have time to sit down and read the back of a cereal box, much less a novel.
But we're not asking you to read something right now, this minute. Instead, we're asking you to consider participating in Brian Lindenmuth's short story a day challenge starting January 1st.  That's don't have to read a thing for another three weeks!  And when you do, you'll be reading SHORT stories. You can do it.
The beauty of the challenge is that you get to choose the stories, so if you only have time for a really short story, there are plenty of them out there. If you have a little more leisure, you can call up a classic short story like "The Monkey's Paw" at one of the many excellent online resources.
Check out the challenge here.
If you need a little help getting started, here are some great links to free short stories online:
A Twist of Noir
Beat to a Pulp
Classic Short Stories
Shotgun Honey 
Available Free on Kindle:
Best Russian Short Stories
The Best American Humorous Short Stories
The Door in the Wall and Other Stories by H.G. Wells
The Empty House and Other Ghost Stories by Algernon Blackwood
The Witch and Other Stories by Anton Chekov
Here are some short fiction collections and anthologies you can buy for just 99 cents on Amazon: 
Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles by Edward A. Grainger
Dirty Old Town by Nigel Bird
Hard Bite and Other Short Stories by Anonymous-9
L.A. Nocturne by Katherine Tomlinson
Laughing at the Death Grin by Brazill, Rhatigan, Lowrance, Godwin, Duffy & more
Silver Snakes by Christian Dabnor
The Ultimate Collection of American Short Stories

Saturday, 3 December 2011

One is the loneliest number

Vera Polk was tired. Her younger sister had descended on her for the four-day Thanksgiving weekend with only a few days notice, and she’d shown up with her new girlfriend and her daughters in tow.
Illustration by Mark Satchwill
Vera had given Kim and Sarah her room and bedded down her nieces on the pull-out couch, which left her sleeping on a blow-up mattress on the floor of the room she used as her office. She hadn’t slept very well and the sleep deficit was still playing havoc with her biorhythms more than a week after her guests had gone home.
The visit had been a disaster.
She hadn’t expected to be cooking over the holiday. Usually she and her best friend hit the Thanksgiving buffet at the Sportsman’s Lodge and then went to a movie afterwards. It was low-stress and she could eat herself willy without having all those tempting leftovers sitting around afterwards.
When Kim had called her on Tuesday to announce she was coming—it was Kim’s universe, Vera just lived in it—Vera had scrambled to assemble the necessary ingredients for a Thanksgiving feast, spending way too much money on pre-made dishes so she wouldn’t have to spend way too much time in the kitchen.
It was soon obvious that Kim’s intention in coming to visit had not been to spend time with her sister but to use Vera’s condo as a free home base for a four-day vacation.
Sarah had made it very clear she was not impressed with the nest Vera had made for herself—a comfy, cozy two-bedroom off Magnolia close enough to the high school where she worked that she could walk there if she wanted.
“You should rent out this extra bedroom Vera,” Sarah had suggested when she saw Vera’s home office. “Someone to help you out with the mortgage.”
“My home is paid for,” Vera said.
“Well, for companionship then,” Sarah said. “We worry about you being alone.”
“Why would you worry about me?” Vera asked. “You just met me.”
Sarah had given her a pitying smile. “No need to be defensive Vera.”
Oh, no reason at all, you self-righteous bitch.
“Vera needs the office,” Kim had said hastily. “She’s not just a math teacher, she writes too.”
“That’s nice,” Sarah said. “Would I have read anything you’ve written?”
She didn’t bother to disguise the smirk on her face.
Not unless you have a post-graduate degree in chaos theory, Vera thought.
“I doubt it,” she said.
“Well, I don’t read many novels,” Sarah said.
Fuck you.