Thursday, February 17, 2005

An Unwilling Witness by Stephen D. Rogers

An Unwilling Witness” by Stephen D. Rogers, Shred of Evidence, February 2005

This short-short story is a tale of betrayal, murder, revenge, and – a little something else. A lot to get in a short-short.

The main character, Patrick, is apparently a PI, though it’s never specifically stated. Within the first two paragraphs of the story we know that he’s not terribly discriminating about the types of jobs he takes.

Patrick’s partner, Herman, was murdered before the story begins, a murder with no clues to the perpetrator. Herman’s wife, Marilyn, is desperate to find out what happened, so she hires a medium to contact the spirit of her dead husband. She wants Patrick to be at the séance to see if the medium, a man named Endicott, is faking.

Patrick isn’t thrilled about the prospect. He doesn’t have any experience with debunking, but he finally agrees. The séance is to be held in Marilyn’s house, so Patrick searches it beforehand to make sure Endicott hasn’t hidden anything. When Endicott arrives, Patrick stays with him so he won’t have a chance to plant anything before the performance.

Imagine Patrick’s surprise when during the séance a ball of mist materializes over the table and forms into Herman’s face. The Herman-face then says, “Patrick. Double-cross.”

At this point Patrick jumps up, overturning the table, plunging the room into darkness, and waves his hands frantically through the ball of mist. Trying to find out what made it, of course.

The story moves on to disclose the identity of the murderer, which, if you read closely, isn’t totally unexpected. The final twist however is unexpected.

Mr. Rogers is a prolific author with many hundreds of stories published. His skill is evident in this story, easy to read and fast moving. You won’t find any deep meanings or emotions here (tough to do in a short-short), but it is entertaining.

In short, a fun story.


At 6:40 AM, Blogger Hardluck Writer said...

I'll have to find out from Stephen what he was smoking when he wrote this one ;) Whatever it was, must be damn good stuff!

-Dave z.

At 9:53 AM, Blogger Megan said...

I do like this story. I always wanted to be open to cross-genre stories, particularly the spec fic, as Shred's basic editorial philosophy is "stuff I like reading." But since I already had other spec fic projects going I was afraid of Shred turning into Fables West. Turned out not to be an issue, as the vast majority of subs have lacked fantastic elements; I've only had a couple painful not-quite-right-for-the-zine moments.

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At 5:11 AM, Anonymous yapay kızlık zarı said...

I'll have to find out from Stephen what he was smoking when he wrote this one ;) Whatever it was, must be damn good stuff!


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