Short Stories

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“Bad Brother” in Plots With Guns


“Die Wolkenfabrik” in Pulpcore (“The Cloud Factory” translated into German)


“Playing At Savior” in Crimefactory 13

wt361_cover“Suri & Sirin” in Weird Tales No. 361

crimewav“Our Mutual Friend” & “Dogs at the Door” at Crimewav (audio)

thuglit 1“The Gleaner’s Union” in Thuglit No. 1 (2012)


“The Last Ladder” in Plots With Guns (2012)

NEEDLE“The Scabrous Exploits Of Cyrus & Galina Van, Hellbent West During The Third Year Of The Harrows, 1876” in Needle (2012)

The same story, told in animated gifs

Home_of_the_Brave_Somewhere_in_the_Sand“City Of Screams” in Home of the Brave: Somewhere in the Sand (2012)

(Also appeared in Grift No. 1)

Cover-Noir-Nation-2-Final-644x1024“Slog On” in Noir Nation (2012)

cover_Superhero_200w“White Tiger” in Beat To A Pulp Superheroes (2012)

bigpulp_2013_03“Paula” in Big Pulp (Spring 2013)

3am“The Order Of Things” in 3:AM Magazine (2012)

pank“The Cloud Factory” in PANK (2011)

Reviewed by Chris Rhatigan

Ask The Author at PANK

pbf“Dogs At The Door” in Powder Burn Flash (2011)
Chris Rhatigan’s Top 5 of 2011

menacing“I Am Sam Bram” in Menacing Hedge (2012)

sh_honey_logo“St. Teresa of Avila’s Day” in Shotgun Honey (2011)

Reviewed by R. Thomas Brown

All Due 3“Two Brothers” in All Due Respect (2012)

pi 2“Glinty-Eyed Robert” in Pulp Ink 2 (2012)

“Pilgrim” in Conjurings (2013)

“Up Top The Draw” in Fires On Plain (2012)

“Gun In Your Mouth And All” in Yellow Mama (2012)

“Josie” in Open Window Review (2012)

“A Straight Face” in Spinetingler  (2012)

“Saving The Pangolins” in Toad Suck (2012)

“The Oath” in Flywheel (2012)

How The Oath was unrejected

Concrete Steel Forest in Necessary Fictions Origin Stories (2012)

“GULPWINE 68” in Jackson Hole Review  (2011)

“Back In Black” in Off The Record (2011)

“Natural Born Killers” in Off The Record 2 (2012)

“The Smooth Shoulder” in Grift (2011)

“Vacuum Man” in A Twist Of Noir (2011)

“Some Place” in Necessary Fiction (2011)
Reviewed by Jennifer M. Kaufman

“Lek” in Specter  (2011)
Reviewed by R. Thomas Brown at Spinetingler

“The Fireline” in Flash Fiction Offensive  (2011)
Reviewed by R. Thomas Brown

“Stumpy Got Away The First Day” in Staccato MicroFiction (2011)

“Long Christmas” in 50 to 1 (2011)

“First Water” in Fried Chicken & Coffee (2011)

“Thirty Miles North of Cheyenne” in Thrillers, Killers, ‘N’ Chillers (2011)

 Reviewed by R. Thomas Brown
 Reviewed by Sean Patrick Reardon

“Rooster Stew” in Midwestern Gothic (2011)

“The Patch” in M-Brane #27 (2011)

“Twenty-Five Grand” in Pulp Metal  (2011)

“Drinking With Her” in Night Train (2011)

“The Haymaker’s” in decomP (2010)

“A Hard Drinker” in Insolent Rudder (2005)

“About Ai” in Summerset Review (2004)

“Blood Test” in Identity Theory (2006)

“From Where I’m Standing” in JapanVisitor (2004)

“In Hiding” in Pindeldyboz (2004)

“Moondog Over the Mekong” in Evergreen Review (2004)

“Reg’s First Time” in Fried Chicken and Coffee (2008)

“The 30-Kilometer Walk” in Blackbird (2007)

“We Would Start Here” in Dublin Quarterly  (2006)

“A Whole Lot Bigger” (in Weber) (2006)

“A Good Girl” (in Porcupine) (2006)

“Ten Baht” (in Kyoto Journal ) (2006)



When The Door Closes, at Specter (2011)

The Nebraska Panhandle, 1988 at Numero Cinq  (2011)

What it’s like living here: Torrington, Wyoming at Numero Cinq (2010)

The Graveyard: Are The Great The Lucky?, at Numero Cinq (2011)

Dust or Displaced Electrons at Numero Cinq (2011)

What is good writing?  What is successful writing? at TeleRead


Controlled Burn, by Scott Wolven, at Dead End Follies

“The Road Lester Took”, by Stephen Graham Jones, at Spinetingler

Jailbait Justice, by Danny Hogan, here and at TeleRead

Tokyo Zero, by Marc Horne, at TeleRead

Little Dorrit, by Charles Dickens, at TeleRead

“Three-Legged Dog,” at TeleRead

American Fever, by Peter Christian Hall, at TeleRead

Password Incorrect, by Nick Name, at TeleRead

Junk Sick, by Norman Savage, at TeleRead


Selected TeleRead Posts:


Text is forever. Paper books are not.

If this is the future of the novel, the novel is finished

How to turn your MP3 player into an e-reader

Why B & N called it the Nook

Download the Bible so it can be locked up on your Kindle

E-book chapter mashups?

23 thoughts on “Short Stories

  1. Court Merrigan Post author

    My pleasure, Donigan. Any comments you have are appreciated, and you can put them right here if you’d like.

  2. Court Merrigan Post author

    Hello Burt. Thanks.

    That’s a good question – I’m going to have to think of how to sum it up, preferably in one sentence. When I do, I’ll post it thusly. Thanks for the impetus.

    Shame about Octopus Beak, huh?

  3. Donigan

    I am not finished reading all the stories posted here, but have learned a few things along the way, so far: you are a good writer, you write long short stories, and I just cannot get my brain to read comprehendingly from a computer screen.

    The second story, in Angle, would not open.

    I read “A Hard Drinker,” “Blood Test,” “From Where I’m Standing” (which I liked least), “In Hiding,” and started but have not finished “Moondog Over the Mekong.”

    Oddly, based on the beginning of Moondog, it portended to be the one I’d like best. But by the time I got to it, I was already acquiring a headache from trying to read so much dense (single-spaced, narrow columns, small font) writing from what still looks to me like a TV screen.

    It is probably only habit and conditioning; I can sit with a 500 page book, read 40 or 50 pages at a setting, but cannot read what is probably the equivalent of 5 or 10 pages on a monitor. (I would never be able to read all the way through the short story I placed on my webblog — it is way over the limit of my reading comprehension ability on a monitor.)

    But enough of my complaining about reading from a TV screen. Although that problem represents the crux of why I cannot say anything useful about your writing.

    What I can say, though, is that any literate reader knows immediately when in the presence of someone who can write well and who understands how to tell a story, and that is obvious in your work. Anything else is copy editing, and they pay people in publishing houses to do that chore for you.

    I want to finish Moondog, and my solution is to print it out.

  4. Court Merrigan Post author

    Thanks, Donigan. I appreciate the compliments. Work goes on. Looking forward to that time when someone paid for their efforts looks at my work.

    The link to “About Ai” is fixed, btw.

    Moondog comes in at 11,020 words. I had forgotten it was so long. Not ideal for reading off a computer, that’s for sure. Maybe someday I’ll be able to convince someone to put it on dead trees.

    “From Where I’m Standing” – I agree, an amateurish effort. I liked it at the time, though; 2003, if memory serves.

  5. Donigan

    11,000 seems about right, it would be 30 pages double-spaced and page formatted.

    Over time I plan to read all the ones you’ve posted here, but anything over about a thousand words I will probably print out. I took Moondog to the cafe and got just 2 pages into it, to the first next break on the computer, before being interrupted by a new friend here, and we got into a 3-hour debate about faith versus reason.

    What I have read so far I am thoroughly enjoying, although I must admit that it took a few paragraphs before I realized what you were doing with the contrasting scenes (she and he) within the same long sentence. I am not sure I wouldn’t find some more defining method of clarifying this contrasting style.

    Well, I’ll wait until I finish — 10,500 words to go.

  6. Donigan

    With no interruptions at the cafe this morning, I had time to read all of Moondog. I will begin with the obvious — this is an excellent, a particularly fine, piece of writing. I admit that it took about two pages before I first understood and then could follow the stylistic approach of illustrating the inexorable coming-together of the two main characters by showing that movement in the same place at the same time, often in the same sentence with just a comma separation. After that, I fell completely into the rhythm of the story and this style of telling it. Although the ending was subtly projected, it managed to surprise me anyway. It could have gone in half-a-dozen ways.

    I am partial to the setting (have been to Laos and Vietnam, although only a pass-thru Thailand), so I was easily drawn into the atmosphere.

    Someplace here I recall that you are working on a novel. Is this the core of it? It could be. There is a novel in it.

    Anyway. Court, I thoroughly enjoyed this story and it alone establishes you in my mind as a fine writer.


  7. Court Merrigan Post author

    Thanks very much, Donigan, for your kind words. Moondog is a personal favorite of mine, for reasons that, someday when we meet up in a cafe, I’ll tell you all about.

    This story has nothing to do with the manuscript I’m working on now. At one point I thought of expanding it to a longer piece – the original draft was almost three times as long – but in the end decided to cut it down and make a long short story out of it.

  8. Rose Hunter

    Hi Court – I’ve been enjoying your comments over at Donigan’s blog, so I thought I’d check out your some of your fiction. I agree with Donigan about “Moondog.” I liked that a lot. I also liked “A Hard Drinker.” Very snappy!

    All the best with work on the novel.

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  18. NyNy

    Because you wrote a lot of fiction, I wonder if you would be interested to uploading it to Why not post more of your fiction there, review others and get some inspiration from other writers? You can build up an audience around your story by starting small writing short stories now and allowing your readers to download and share with others. If you are aiming to be an author, novelist or writer, this is a great way to start to market your stories online. You’ll enjoy it on ReadWave! So please check out the site:


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