Nasty, Brutish, and Short
Evil Flash Fiction by Patrick M. Tracy

Here are a few letters we received in response to last month’s editorial. To view the document in question, click <here>.

Angry In Atlanta:

Irv, you should be ashamed of yourself. The comments regarding Emmy March’s “physical attributes” were not in keeping with the tenor I expect from this journal. In the past, I’ve been impressed with your writing. You take a spirited and understanding stance when it comes to our craft. However, I wonder if you’re getting too comfortable at the helm. Keep it civil. Some of us don’t appreciate the lascivious commentaries, even when they come from “historical sources”. Don’t make me come and cancel your membership to the planet.

–Cutter Wilkes, Greater Atlanta Metro Area

(Cutter, I’m sorry that the description of Ms. March bothered you. I didn’t intend it to be overly suggestive. You’ll remember that we’re talking about Roaring 20s New Orleans, though. It wasn’t exactly constrained by Victorian morality down there, nor could it ever be. That’s the magic of the city. From the beginning, I’ve said that this newsletter was meant for enthusiasts with open minds, ready to entertain new ideas. If we can talk about sawing people apart with band saws, can’t we address the physical form and its implications with the same level of frankness? Don’t go all puritan on me now, folks. As far as the threat, I think we both know that’s a bit juvenile for guys of our age. Still, if you feel the need to take it to that level, you know where I am… Irv)

Gatekeeping, etc.:

You had to know that some of us would write in about your Emmy March column, Irv. Come on, now. I thought you really cared for the craft, but now I wonder. What we do isn’t about money. It isn’t for some flag they hoist before a public building. It isn’t for revenge or justice. It’s about the art. I always thought that you’d be a gatekeeper, making sure that the craft remained in the hands of the enthusiastic amateurs. I suppose I was wrong. You can take me off the mailing list for your magazine. If this is the way it’s going, I want no part of it.

–Wallace Keltner (retired), Costa Rica

(Wallace, Sorry you feel that way. I mentioned in the article that you may disagree with me. If I only write about “safe” topics, this is going to get really boring after a few more episodes. I’d rather kick out the jams a little bit. I respect your body of work and your ideas. I’m not saying that there’s not a risk to including murder-for-hire in our little world, but I’m willing to make the occasional, well-considered exception to our idea of amateurism. I’ll keep sending the email, but you’re willing to relegate me to the spam folder if you feel you must. Irv)

Let’s Not Enter into Wild Speculation:

Your game is slipping, Irv. Really, your undisciplined gushing about Emmy March in the last issue was shameful. There are more than a few of us who have reason to believe that the whole Emmy March legend is hokum, made up by your “esteemed” author, Gobert, to sell his book. Really, is it necessary to talk up fantastical bogey-women from the sketchy past? Aren’t there enough of us working right now? Can’t you find someone with actual, proven, documented kills to her credit to write about? Geez, Irv. The ladies out here deserve better than to have their productivity impugned by comparison to a fairy tale. Get real, huh?

–Sally “X’s In Their Eyes” DiGorgio, Denver

(Sally, Your concerns are noted. You’re right that we don’t have that much good information (see the next letter, however, because some new stuff may come to light soon). Still, I think it’s good for us to be inspired by our forebears, even if some of their exploits may be somewhat overstated. I certainly meant no disrespect to any of the working females in the craft. I respect and appreciate you, and not just for making the FBI profilers think twice about their assumptions. I’d love to get together with you or another of your female colleagues for a future editorial. That way, you can be sure that I’m “keeping it real”. Irv)

The Straight Dope:

Irv, let me first say that it’s about time that you covered Emmy March. In my book, she’s the best femkiller since Elizabeth Bathory. I happen to know, from a source I hope to eventually coax a full book’s worth of craft lore out of, that her exploits are all legit. Her kill total’s well over 200. I heard a story that she walked up to a big sharecropper with hands like hams and said, “You got one shot, Jack. You don’t strike me daft, I’ma cut ya down to the neck bones.”

Needless to say, the sharecropper wasn’t heard from after that night. Let the purists say what they want, but Emmy March is in the Hall of Fame, if I get a vote.

–T.L. Nordberg, Right Behind You

(T.L., You old dog! I haven’t heard from you in a ages. I appreciate the vote of confidence. I can’t wait for you to publish your new stuff about Emmy March. Sounds like you’ve uncovered the best dirt, as usual. If only I had your sources. Your “Hall of Fame” vote makes me think that we should have ranking pole in an upcoming issue. Always a pleasure. Irv)

Love the ‘Letter!

Unlike a lot of folks who’ve been giving you grief, I think you’re doing a great job, Irv. I’ve read every issue, and I hope you keep on just like you’ve started. Don’t let ’em choke you with their conventional thinking. If it’d been up to all the critics out there, you’d have never started. It’s your crazy idea, Irv. Run with it. You’ve got at least one faithful fan. Just remembering Ray Starkweather from a few issues ago, I went out and pulled a copycat for old time’s sake. For a cutter like me, it was a little weird to do a strangulation, but I gotta admit, it was a hoot. Hope it doesn’t get Ray into any shit, but I think he’s still in lockup, so he should pull through okay. Anyway, thanks for keeping it fresh, edgy, and fun. Hope putting out the newsletter isn’t cutting into your recreational time. Peace, love, and arterial spray!

–Reeves Juarez-Castillo, SoCal

(Reeves, Thanks so much! It’s good to know that people are really digging what we’re doing here. I did a bit of digging in the papers from your area. Looks like you’ve been a busy guy. I talked to Ray, and he said that there are no nettles on his end from your pastiche kill. Hope to hear from you again. Irv)

Editor’s Note: is not real. There is no newsletter for serial killers and mass murderers. Any resembelance to real persons or crimes is purely accidental. We do not endorse or encourage any sort of murderous behavior. Furthermore, we take no responsibily for the behavior of our audience. We serve only to entertain, not as some sort of “handbook” for the budding serial killer.

Author’s Note: Well, that’s the end of the Bloodcraft experiment at NBNS. I hope you’ve enjoyed the “articles” in my series. It’s possible that there’ll be some further reference to the characters and circumstances in my upcoming stories, but I don’t want to go overboard with the concept and make everyone sick of it. So, that’s me, signing off, putting my Irv “The Trapdoor Spider” Metcalf hat in the closet, and bidding you a fond farewell. (PMT)


3 Responses to “”

  1. An interesting experiment. Perhaps a little self limiting for your kind of talent. Your stories, short and long, are always a treat to read, and your poetry blog is awsome. It’s always a treat to see you testing yourself as a writer by using so many different formats. Keep ’em coming.

  2. “…Peace, love, and arterial spray”. What a quaint salutation. Altogether an entertaining capriccio, this “”. I’m anticipating your next literary adventures. Very, very entertaining. Keep up the good work.

  3. Doc,

    Thanks. I do think that the Bloodcraft idea didn’t quite pan out as I hoped it would. I think that there was some element that I had in mind that I couldn’t quite evoke in the segments. Drats. Well, maybe the next thing’ll be great.


    Well, you have to come up with little tropes for your characters….

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