Teaser Tuesday...Oddities in Portland

This week's teaser is going to be a little different than the normal installation.  I was in Portland at one of my favorite coffee shops this last weekend catching up with my German professor from undergrad and a dear friend, Jenna.  After our elixir of life get-together, Jenna and I decided to hit up one of my favorite used bookstores in the area (not Powell's...that's on the other side of town) and browse through the book-packed rooms of the establishment.  While on this adventure, I came across Portland Noir, a collection of contemporary short stories written by local authors, edited by Kevin Sampsell.  So, because this isn't a traditional book, I will be teasing a line from every selection!  Here goes:

Karen Karbo "The Clown and Bard"
"Now Charlotte's lying on my bathroom floor, wedged between the hot water pipe and the toilet.  Is it laying or lying?  Charlotte would know.  She has a master's degree and a daily subscription to the New York Times." (19)

Luciana Lopez "Julia Now"
"Henry Lewis laughed out loud, a choking sound that brought up something from deep in his lungs. 'He cheats,' Henry Lewis said.  'You ain't caught him, but he cheats.'"  (51)

Ariel Gore "Water Under the Bridge"
"I got up to use the bathroom.  No Ladies and Gents at Dots Cafe.  Just It, Doesn't, and Matter.  I walked into Matter." (55)

Floyd Skloot "Alzheimer's Noir"
"Jimmy can see anyway.  He leads me and I follow.  The trail rises and dips, follows the contours of the bluff.  I think I'm doing well with the tricky footing for an old man.  Then I realize Jimmy is carrying me." (76)

Dan DeWeese "The Sleeper"
"The next time I saw the boy, I was glancing through the screen door as I always did, my eye scanning the bright rectangle of light.  The adults were there as usual, smoking cigarettes and watching television, but standing at the door was the child in his sleeper, looking back at me." (90)

Jonathan Selwood "The Wrong House"
"She leaves the room and I'm left to ponder why she speaks native Mex slang, who the hell Esteban is, and why the bitch doesn't even know what's in her own medicine cabinet.  I look down again at the bullet hole in my hoodie.  There's still no blood." (108)

Monica Drake "Baby, I'm Here"
"The tavern air was murky, thick with sweat, beer, and smoke, but warmer than outside.  And it was dark.  Instant night, in the middle of the day.  Scattered popcorn on the carpet was the glow of stars.  I looked for the North Star, some guiding light in that mess, like an explorer let loose on a new world." (123)

Bill Cameron "Coffee, Black"
"The only reason I originally agreed to the stakeout was because of her.  RJ has been trying to get me involved in freelance investigation since I retired, but it took a coffee case and a fat paycheck to get my attention." (148)

Jamie S. Rich and Joelle Jones "Gone Doggy Gone
"One thing they don't teach you in the movies...when you're running for your life...you don't have the time to think.  You just act." (163)

Jess Walter "Virgo"
"Then one day in early October, when we'd stopped having sex altogether, I did it.  I goosed her horoscope.  Virgo was supposed to have three stars and I changed it to five." (180)

Chris A. Bolton "The Red Room" 
"Sometimes they smoked a joint in bed afterwards and she told him stories about all the weird customer incidents at Powell's." (192)

Justin Hocking "Burnside Forever"
"I take a bad slam on my elbow.  I lie there for a while, looking at the underside of the bridge, all black and sooty and painted with pigeon shit, like an old cathedral.  My elbow turns into a swellbow, the size of a baseball, the way it always does." (211)

Zoe Trope "Hummingbird"
"Inside, I help her decipher the wall of fake wieners." (221)

Gigi Little "Shanghaied"
"I get the egg-on-the-head thing, the kick in the gut, but my eyes grab hold of hers and don't let go.  Panic turns so easy into thrill.  I stare her down until she turns away." (240)

Megan Kruse "Lila"
"I slept deeper that night than I had in what felt like years.  In the dark I reached out and felt the curve of Lila's bare back, the raised scar on her shoulder blade, and then slipped into some dream that later I couldn't remember." (255)

Kimberly Warner-Cohen "People are Strange"
"Whoever said Portland was a friendly city stated it from the comfortable vantage of already knowing people." (257)

And there you have it.  A wonderful collection of Noir stories based in Portland that showcase the seedier side of the once very seedy town.  It's been quite good so far!

A beautiful view of Portland with Mt. Hood in the background.
Keep it weird, Portland! 


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