A Beast Without a Name, a collection of stories inspired by the music of Steely Dan, is now out from Down & Out Books. The following is an excerpt from my entry, “No Static at All.”
Someone grabbed her arm as soon as she opened her car door. With an instinct only techies had, she kicked the door shut again to protect her laptop, stashed out of sight beneath the driver’s seat. The hand spun her around to face someone in a ski mask.
Fear went through her like an electric shock even as one stubbornly rational part of her mind said, A ski mask? Really? Who wears a ski mask anymore?
The fear answered in short order. A mugger. A car thief. A rapist. She didn’t wait for the man to make a move. Her knee came up into his balls. Before he could double over, she jabbed her car keys into his eye. The man screamed.
“You bitch! You fucking bitch!”
Bitch she may be, but he was already doubled over and half blind. Had she left her car door open, a tire iron would lay within reach. Instead, she punched the attacker in the side of the head. Freed, she ran toward the Funky Perk.
Emily had heard the screaming and come running out waving a frying pan. “Hey, you!”
The attacker had not even pivoted to chase Stephanie when the pan–solid cast iron–slammed into the side of his face. He went down, sprawling on the broken asphalt of the Perk’s parking lot.
Emily knelt at the man’s side. “Sonofabitch. Attack someone in my parking lot.”
She peeled the ski mask off as Stephanie called 911. She stopped when she saw the guy’s face, and even bloody and beginning to swell on one side, she recognized him. Her stomach turned, and she nearly dropped the phone. “Ted?”