H A R D L A N D I N G
By ~ Steven Miscandlon
I’ve always had a thing about stairs. Part fascination, part fear. I have recurring dreams about broken stairways, about running up stairs, about falling down stairs. So standing here, on the top floor landing of a ten storey apartment building, I guess I’m somewhere between heaven and hell.
I can look over the balustrade here and watch the rhythm — stairway, landing, stairway, landing, stairway — spiral down and down. Shoddy building maintenance means the lights on the bottom five floors are out. And that means when I look down, I see the stairs ultimately descend into darkness, into shadows.
The space in the middle of the building is a pit, an abyss, a well. Not the kind of well you draw water up from, but the kind you fall down into. The kind you might push someone into. Nietzsche said something about looking into the abyss, that it looks back at you. I disagree. I think it’s more likely that you’ll fall in. Or that someone will push you in.
I flick my cigarette over the side, watch the still glowing tip tumble down into the darkness. A wisp of smoke lingers in the air, like a bitter memory. Anyone watching that casual action would see a cool, calm demeanour. A stone cold killer, ice in his veins.But it’s not like that, not on the inside. Nerves of steel? Sure, but only if that steel is a badly tuned guitar string, plucked and still resonating its greasy, uneasy tone.
My nerves are shredded, my stomach in knots. Because the reality is, if you’ve just killed a man, that’s how you feel. It might not show on the surface, but underneath it churns. I can see the look on his face, still — not fear, not exactly. More … surprise. Yeah, that’s it. Surprise that I was pushing him over a tenth floor balustrade into the abyss. Like, despite the fact that I’d chased him up here, he still hadn’t known what was coming. Hadn’t expected me to knock away his hands as he’d grasped frantically at my lapels in a desperate attempt to cling onto dear life. Too late, buddy. Too late.
The situation was what it was, and I am what I am. So many things I could have been. A mob boss, a cop, a two-bit hood. Hell, some would even say I coulda been a contender. But of all those things, of all those cards that the trickster had laid out face down in front of me, I’d chosen… Well, that’s another story for another time. Whichever card I’d flipped over, it was always going to be the ace of spades.
Anyway, time to get out of here. Before the boys in blue arrive. Someone’s going to have one hell of a mess to clean up. I pull my collar up, strike and touch a match to a fresh smoke, and start down the stairs. Down into the darkness. Into the shadows.
© DEBUT Author ~ STEVEN MISCANDLON
Cold crimes for Jump-Jivin' January NOIR ~ AT THE BIJOU
PHOTOGRAPHIC CREDIT: STEVEN MISCANDLON . . . naturally
|"Get the audience at the edge of their seats"|
~ ALFRED HITCHCOCK pic ala Hitchcockmani
You know Steven, this Absolutely*Kate show-mistress mysteriously asked me to share your recent holiday secrets into what she alliterates as the bright, brave, brazen New Year. Do you think she rather finds us suitable mental companions? Is it our style? Our suspense? Our savoir faire? I hear folks mumble about her back stage. There's not much I miss, you know. She's keen to which angles best affect best effect. I believe I do understand that and her suitable segway. Good sir, you're no young pup when it comes to cameras and effecting all the right angles yourself . . .
Take these photos, this mastering angles of elements. They're yours, aren't they Steven? Our Ms Kate, with attention to detail shadowing her motives, is aware of their copywright sanctions. But Kate being Absolutely*Kate, couldn't resist letting your greater audience know your teeming talents. Why, I believe that minx has just made me accomplice to her revelation crime. Forgiveness is in your hands. She really is a good sort.
|© STEVEN MISCANDLON PHOTOS MOST FAVORITED ON FLIKR,|
once he hit over a quarter-of-a-million rave reviews.
DOESN'T TAKE A HITCHCOCK TO CLUE IN
THAT THIS GUY . . . HAS GOT IT.
THERE'S NO MISHANDLIN' MISCANDLON.
As author, photographer and book-cover designer
Steven is memorable past mood. He evokes.
Believing in Believers,
Thanking this multi-talented whirl of aesthetic distinction
for joining in the fray of
Our NOIRtorious Tales,
AT THE BIJOU
But wait, urges Kate ~ In her copious files, she retains Santa notes from the recent Christmas holidays under Maybe Merry Miscandlon. A green post-it reads: "These are great! Will you use 'em in your interview, Alfred? Please?"
Are you going to resist a 'Please' from Absolutely*Kate,
A.H. That's not tonight's mystery killer, Mr Miscandlon. Speak forth your mind, still festively in holiday enlightenment, will you?
From Absolutely*Kate's Insight-Interview Files:
#1 What's the best Christmas gift ever received?
I guess I'll show my soft side here and say that the festive season is really about spending time with the people you care about. I don't think you can beat just chilling out with your partner or family or friends — best gift there is. Though having said that, last year my brothers gave me a Hapkido DVD signed by Carter Wong. Most people won't have a clue who that is, but trust me, he's fucking cool.
#2 The best you ever gave?
S.M. If the important thing is having time with the people you care about, then by extension the best gift I ever gave was the gift of my own fine company. Those lucky bastards.
#3 What / where / how does one gift Steven Miscandlon writings for greater holiday happiness in a world that needs it?
S.M. You'll be lucky. With the exception of my story 'Frigid Air' (which was featured at Thrillers Killers 'n' Chillers, and included as a bonus story in Julie Morrigan's 'The Writing on the Wall' horror collection) the bulk of my published writing pretty much dates back to pre-Internet days. So unless you manage to track down a 17-year-old copy of West Coast Magazine, or The Gothic Society Grimoire, or my short story anthology 'Forever Lost', then you'll just have to wait until I write some more stuff. Maybe this year.
#4 Single spotlight. Do your song and dance Bub. You're centerstage, AT THE BIJOU. You're looking right swanky. Katie's just introduced you, handed you the mike. Tell our red-velvet seated audience two things:
-- The one liner bio you wish them to remember about the author you see yourself being . . .
S.M. I'm tempted to just quote from an old 'Forever Lost' review — 'Highly readable and no squirm factor' — can't think of a much better 6-word summary of what a writer sets out to achieve...
-- Something inside of you that you've never told a full-fledged audience of readers and fellow classy authors in a ritzy theatre where the single spot has you in a pool of light that just keeps glimmerin' . . .
S.M. Sorry, but the main thing inside of me is bitter, boiling rage at the state of the world. As a whole, we're a tragic, horrible failure of a species who value absolutely the wrong things in life, in people, in government, in business, in entertainment... And if you hand me a microphone and put me in a pool of light on stage I'm likely to just rant and rant and rant until you'll have to call security to have me forcibly removed. Merry Christmas, folks, a Happier New Year to us all.
#5 Will you bestow a holiday gift, a notice of a splendid piece of your writing to come*true for all now reading you, oh author whom AT THE BIJOU's lucky-as-loaded-dice crowd is to know?
S.M. My next piece of writing isn't written yet. If anyone has liked my stuff, then I give to you the gift of ... anticipation. Enjoy it while you can.
LINK delicious INFLUENCES of ~
LINKS TO OUR NOIR SO FAR ~
NOIRTORIOUS COMING ATTRACTIONS ~
Every-other-day cold crimes . . . jump-jiving January's New*Year NEW NOIR
Paul Brazill ... Kevin J Mackey ... Leon Jackson Davenport
Helen Howell ... BR Stateham ...
Sal Buttaci ... Julian Bramwell Slater ...
Christina Vincent ... Charlie Wade ...
Darren Sant ... Aidan Fritz ... Lily Childs ...
Vic Watson ... Fiona Johnson ... Jack Bates ...
Thomas Pluck and the Lost Children benefit show
New Year, new NOIR, Publisher BLASTED HEATH
editor John Kenyon, publisher of GRIFT magazine
with stories of GRIMM TALES' greats
Rex Pickett picks a surprise ...
plus . . . return of our pally, the great Randisi ...
AT THE BIJOU'S Harry B Sanderford ... Matthew Magda ...
plus intermittent intermission pizazz by masters of the ceremonious ~
Kevin MadDog Michaels and Absolutely*Kate ...
Why ~ Who knows who's getting into the act? . . .
RAYMOND CHANDLER may be channeled!
Jump-Jivin' January's New Year, New NOIR AT THE BIJOU