When Things Were Good

I finished writing a short story last week called When things Were Good. I use the word ‘finished’ loosely because everytime I look at it I change something. It’s about three thousand words in length and falls under the general heading of noir fiction.

The main character is Electric Bob, an ex-con released from prison after being declared dead. Bob was electrocuted in Elmira by a faulty grinder.

As the story opens Bob is driving a stolen pool service truck in a snow storm in upstate New York. He’s on his way to commit a major felony with his former cellmate, Marvin. Bob contemplates several things as he drives to the rendezvous. He’s intrigued by the fact the pool truck has a fish drawn on the side panel; Bob wonders if it’s art. Since his electrocution Bob struggles with abstract ideas, but he is fond of Renaissance Art.

Bob has a ‘to do list’ taped to the dashboard of the truck. Aside from crime, Bob has to pick up 2% milk and unsliced bread. He believes in forensic science but also believes that, if caught, the army will spirit him overseas and make him stand next to huge amounts of electric current or even a nuclear blast.

Bob and Marvin knock over a mob bank and steal four hundred grand.

They shoot a pair of ‘made guys’ and abandon the pool truck behind a local bar. Bob escapes in his girlfriend’s Camaro.

Bob swallows his to do list and drinks the 2% milk, so he has to get more. The store is out of 2% and Bob buys 1%, knowing he’ll catch hell. He’s driving home with his share of the loot when he sees the pool truck heading in the opposite direction. Unfortunately Bob feels compelled to follow the truck.

Bob is a minor character in a novel I’m writing called FLAMINGO DAWN.
Since I cut some of his scenes from the novel, I thought he might be a fun guy to write a short story about. The ending is kind of cool as Bob takes a hit to protect his girlfriend.

If anyone has any ideas about where to send a piece like this, I’d love to hear them. My short story craft is open to question and I’ve never been electrocuted. I’ve been to Batavia but not Elmira. Short story writers? Are you out there?


  1. Have a look at the Writer’s Market for short stories and novels. It contains hundreds of independent literary journals. Everything from the Middle of Nowhere Tundra Review (that’s a fake name) to places like Zoetrope, where your tidy submission will compete with thousands of others.

    It also includes tons of better known mags like Harpers, The New Yorker, etc, but you’ll probably want to have a few publications under your belt before you go beating on that door.

  2. and another thing. Most literary journals only accept submissions from Sept-May (the dates fluctuate, but that’s the general range) so you may have to sit on your story for a few weeks.

  3. I don’t know if links come through in the comments, so I’m just going to paste in a URL below. You might try Crimewave, which is an English magazine that publishes very high quality crime fiction. It also gets looked at for lots of year’s best anthology type things in the US (and is available here by subscription or at your finer newstands).


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