Out Now: “Honor Thy Father” in Mystery Tribune

I’ve been deep in my writing cave, working on a new book, so I’ve neglected to share some news I’m thrilled about: my story “Honor Thy Father” is in the Winter 2019 edition of Mystery Tribune. If you haven’t had the pleasure of discovering Mystery Tribune, do yourself a favor: it’s a gorgeous magazine—available in print and online—filled with short fiction, interviews, reviews, art, and photography.

Here’s how “Honor Thy Father” opens:

“You want a Coke or something?” the cop asked.

“No, thanks.” Jacob looked down. They were seated across from each other at a blond-wood table that bore deep scars from years of abuse. There was a sticker with a shiny palm tree affixed to one sturdy leg, likely covering up some particularly offensive graffiti. Jacob wondered if it was the same table from the last time he’d been in that windowless interview room. It bothered him that he couldn’t remember, even though it had been five years ago. Another lifetime, almost.

“Because you’re going to be here for a while,” the cop added. “You should know that, in case nobody warned you. They got a lot of questions for you.”

Jacob eyed him warily. He was so nervous, the cop’s name had slipped out of his mind as soon as he’d heard it, like a drop of water through a sieve. That bothered him, because details were important. He had to focus, so he studied the man in front of him. The cop was almost as broad as he was tall, with a furry fringe of graying hair, sunburned red skin, and a walrus mustache. Jacob had no doubt the man was tapped to play Santa Claus year after year at Christmas.

“We also got a vending machine with a lotta stuff, like chips, gummy bears, Oreos,” the cop went on. “We get a lotta kids in here, you know, so we try to make sure we have that stuff around. Because what kid doesn’t like Oreos?”

He gave Jacob a broad grin, like he thought the two of them were bonding over a shared love of cookies. But Jacob grimaced at being called a kid. He was only fifteen, but he was already almost six feet tall, with a deepening voice that people were starting to mistake for his father’s over the phone.

“Anyhow,” the cop continued, “you should know we’re all appreciative that you’re here today.”

“I didn’t have a choice,” Jacob said. “You brought me in.”

“Sure, but you’re going to do the right thing now, aren’t you? Because you’re a good kid, I can see that. You don’t want anybody walking away free from a murder.”

Jacob realized the cop wasn’t as dumb as the goofy chatterbox he played. His chin sank towards his chest and he took a shuddering breath. Suddenly there was a beefy hand, deep red as a lobster claw, on his shoulder.

“We don’t get to choose our parents, kid,” the cop said. “Nobody does. We’re not responsible for what they do.”

Here’s hoping you’ll want to know where “Honor Thy Father” goes from there. Print editions of Mystery Tribune are available from Artbook @ MoMA PS1 and The Mysterious Bookshop, and directly from Mystery Tribune’s own site, where there’s also a digital edition.

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