Enamored With Hardboiled Detective Noir Flash Fiction

phillipmarloweIf I had to pick a genre to write, it'd be hardboiled detective fiction. I'm not exactly sure when I fell in love with this style of writing, but I know it had something to do with Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammet, James CrumleyPhillip Kerr and evenings spent in front of a 19 inch television (with a broken dial that clicked through 12 channels) watching The Rockford Files and Magnum P.I.

And if I had to pin down why I love this genre more than any other, I'd say it's because of the similes. The similes, the heroes and the humor.

Here's my attempt at something hardboiled-ish submitted to a Siobhan Muir's flash fiction contest (slightly edited).


Lifting my head to look around wasn't the grand success I imagined it would be. The room spun and I felt like I'd just gone twelve rounds on the Tilt-O-Whirl at the county fair. But I knew better. The fair wouldn't come into town until the cool fall and, even inside, it was hot enough to melt the dime store lipstick off a five dollar whore.

I was bound to a wooden chair with enough duct tape to hold a gorilla. Flattering. The chair was thick, sturdy. The kind of chair that kids in school were trained to hide under in case a tornado touched down or Russia decided to drop an A-bomb and kick off a little mutually assured destruction.

I looked around out of my right eye, the one not completely swollen shut. There was just enough light to make out an exit sign about three hundred feet away and a brown stack to my left marked in big red letters "FOOD AID TO AFRICA" and in smaller red letters underneath "Corn". Judging by the foul, sour mash smell, the corn had missed the boat to Africa by about eight months.

The goons who'd beaten on me like a spirit-filled gospel singer beats a tambourine at a holy rollers' church revival would be back soon. I'd told them they had the wrong guy, that I wasn't the guy that'd stolen the money. But they knew, like I knew, I was lying.

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Matt Writes Anything

"I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about."  - Oscar Wilde