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Five Stories

by Marcelle Heath


He drives a white van and doesn’t wear a uniform. But her parents have told her to obey the police, and she feels sorry for the lost dog.

Lake Sammamish

The man with a cast asks her for help launching his boat. Out of politeness, she follows, leaving all the carefree sunbathers behind.


Mall of America

As he leads her outside, the security guard explains that her car has been stolen. How could he know? In the dark, the thought is fleeting.

Near Yosemite

On the bed, the girls watch a soap. At the door, the handyman will get the manager. “Oh, never mind,” Carol decides, letting him in.

By the Sea

The door is ajar, which is unusual. But then, the lock hasn’t been working properly.

Ascending the stairs, Eve is mindful of the quiet.

Author's Note

These pieces are inspired by My Favorite Murder, a comedy podcast hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark about, what else? Murder, yes, and also misogyny, inadequate mental health support, the failures of the criminal justice system, and so on. At its core is a feminist vision about fear and power that’s deeply funny. One of their slogans is Fuck Politeness, and this is what I was mostly interested in, in the choices made before violence, when we ignore our intuition and fear. Near Yosemite is loosely based on the Yosemite murders and Lake Sammamish is based on Ted Bundy. The others are more oblique. I wanted to convey as much tension as I could in a short amount of space, limiting myself to 140 characters or less each.

Marcelle Heath currently serves as Series Editor for Wigleaf Top 50 (very) Short Fictions, and Managing Editor of VIDA Review. This is her third publication with matchbook—Aunt Ginny’s Lunar Bash, Los Alamos, 1974 and The Bluff are included in her short story collection, Nine times Gretchen King is mistaken. She lives in Portland, Oregon, and tweets at @marcellepdx.

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