Gosh Dan Malmon is nice let’s kill him

Dan O’Shea made a promise to Jon Jordan and you can read all about it right here. Short version: Jon wanted Dan Malmon dead. In print.

I’ve never met any of the folks involved, only mingled with them on Twitter, but my murder threshold is apparently pretty low.

Dan O’Shea says we need to kill Dan Malmon?

Ok.


The Last Issue

Dan Malmon had been in Texas for two days. He’d spent the first night in a Holiday Inn. Now he was tied up and laying on the floorboards of his rental car.

“You had to buy it, didn’t you?”

The guy driving the car looked normal enough. Buzzcut. Average height. Average weight. A nice watch and brand new tennis shoes. But his eyes vibrated like eggs on a hot plate.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Dan said.

He’d said that a lot.

“Life With Archie #36.” Buzzcut drove carefully. He kept just under the speed limit and didn’t tailgate. He’d caught Dan coming out of an Applebees. Dan had only stopped there to use the bathroom. “Daredevil #5. Fatale #1. You know what you did.”

Those were good comics. He had all those comics. “Those are good books. You a Brubaker fan?”

Buzzcut jerked the car to the right. Dan’s head found the door. If he’d still had his glasses, they’d have snapped in two. Sadly Buzzcut had tossed those out the window hours ago.

“You think you’re smart with that, do you?” Buzzcut fiddled with the dash controls. “Like you don’t know who I read.”

The car’s AC kicked into overdrive. In the last week Dallas area temperatures had reached 94, 95, and 96 degrees. Sweat ran over the bridge of Dan’s nose and into his eyes. Burned.

“I don’t know what you think I did,” Dan said. “But whatever it was, I’m sorry.”

A trickle of air conditioning reached him, the ass end of an arctic kiss. He tried to raise his head to catch the airflow.

“Do you remember Source Comics and Games?” Buzzcut asked.

Source was in Roseville. Dan had bought books there before. “No.”

Buzzcut looked over his shoulder. His lips were pressed together in a bone white line. “Don’t lie to me.”

“I’m not,” he lied. “I just–maybe I forgot.”

The car changed lanes. They sped up and Dan suspected they were leaving the highway.

“How about Midtown Comics?” Buzzcut asked suddenly. “Forbidden Planet? Atomic? Bergen Street?”

When they’d accelerated the AC had throttled back. Dan was cooking in his own juices. “I might have been to a few of those shops? Maybe?”

“Maybe?”

Buzzcut pushed a button on the dash. The air cut out entirely. “You know, maybe I had you wrong. Maybe I picked up the wrong guy.”

Dan’s heart worked double-time. Either he was suffering from heatstroke, or he was believing there might be an escape. “That’s what I’ve been saying. I don’t know you.”

His kidnapper grunted. Scratched the back of his neck. “Lazarus #1?” he asked. “How many copies were left?”

Dan fished through a brain full of sludge and found only disconnected thoughts. Nothing about comics, instead only minutia. When he’d last gone to the bathroom. What he’d had for lunch.

“How about Saga #3?” Buzzcut asked. “Or the first Hawkeye trade?”

Dan remembered those. He’d scored the last copy in both cases. The clerk had complimented him on his luck. He could still smell the paper and the print. A recovered memory to blot out the stink of his own sweat.

Buzzcut jerked the car again. Dan’s brain sloshed against his skull.

“The last copy,” Dan said. “I got the last copy.”

“Yeah.” The car steadied. Accelerated. “You got the last copy.”

The silence was heavy. Dan stared at the dust-choked springs under Buzzcut’s seat, trying to figure out how he’d wound up in this spot. Then it clicked.

“You were the guy behind me,” he said.

White dust ballooned around the car. They were off the highway. Off the access road. Heading far out to nowhere on a gravel road.

“I wanted those comics,” Buzzcut said. “But instead I had to settle for something else.”

Then Buzzcut reached behind his seat, and stuck something sharp in Dan’s arm. Dan opened his mouth. Tried to explain it all away. He hadn’t seen anyone else. He really liked Brubaker. He hadn’t even read the Daredevil comic yet.

But then darkness knotted around him, and he lost track of time.

#

Awake. Dan found his hands still bound, his body propped upright. He was in a dimly lit room, stacks of newspaper holding him like scaffolding on all four sides. Sunlight streamed through cracks in the walls, providing the only illumination. Dan opened his mouth to breathe, and swallowed an oven. A small sun. Sand heated to four billion degrees.

Dan peeled his tongue from the roof of his mouth. Found his voice.

“Help,” he gasped.

Nothing. One of the newspapers fluttered.

He tilted his head back. Turned his head from side to side. He discovered a thermometer nailed to one of the walls, an angry red line on a soft bed of white. Little black numbers ticked up the side. As he watched the tip of the red line edged past one of the numbers. Without his glasses he had to squint.

135 degrees.

Dan called for help again. Screamed. Then he slid a bit and one of the stacks shifted and he thought he might be buried alive. He panicked. Threw himself backward and tried to break out of the paper fortress. He didn’t fall but the stack in front of him toppled and smashed into his chest. He was pinned between two stacks of newspapers. He couldn’t move.

Panic flooded him. Dan struggled to breathe and he felt his head pound. He waited for the blood to stop thundering in his ears and then he blinked the sweat from his eyes. He looked down for a way to free himself and discovered he wasn’t trapped under newspaper. He saw brightly colored sheets of print. Names and numbers.

Marville #1. U.S. #1. The Punisher Swimsuit Issue.

Comics.

He was trapped under comics. Some of the worst comics imaginable.

The thermometer read 150 degrees.

Dan screamed.

 

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Story in the latest Needle

Been waiting on this one. Think I wrote this story almost two years back. Tons of great writers have shown up in here:

http://needlemag.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/fallwinter-2012/

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For the three silly people following along

The first draft of the novel is done. In first wave of edits now.

Another short story draft is done. In first wave of edits now.

I’m reloading the webpage of a popular noir magazine, as I’m in the next issue and can’t wait for it to be available. Probably my best work to date.

Otherwise it’s family, writing, work, and Twitter, kids. That’s it.

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An actual blog post

The latest first draft is going well. Almost too well. I’m at 25000 words, I don’t hate the thing, and the arc of the plot and characters is more or less on target for the overall length of the book.

Obviously I’m screwed.

But in reality this is encouraging. I haven’t felt this way on a book since, well, since the last book I actually finished. Three years ago.

Yes–after the first draft this version of me will go hide. The ugly side will come out and read the novel and scream and cut large swaths through the draft. As you do. As you should do. But that version needs to stay away for the time being. I’m in exactly the correct frame of mind to get this sucker done.

Damn it all if I don’t think this might work yet.

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Empire State – Worldbuilder

I’ve got a story up at the Empire State Worldbuilder site. If you haven’t read Empire State, you should. It’s a great pulp/alternate world/superhero book by Adam Christopher, and Worldbuilder is the related shared world project.

The story is called When Her Ship Came In.

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