(Untitled) by Marlene Goldberg

Mohamed, a fisherman, set out to sea at dawn. Whatever was left of his catch, not sold at the market, he’d bring home for Fahtma to clean. One day, Mohamed, unaware the Israelis had restricted the fishing areas, was shot. Fahtma became a young widow in Gaza.

Fahtma instilled in her twin boys her hatred of Israel. Their toys were stones which they were instructed to throw at Israelis. Sticks were guns to shoot at Jews. Encouraged to become shahidim (martyrs for the cause), the boys trained at summer-camp – to fight for Allah, avenge Father’s death, make Mother proud.

Employee of the Month by Ann-Louise Truschel

We are here to celebrate our Employee of the Month, a dedicated worker who has enthusiastically performed all of her duties in a timely manner and, in fact, has gone above and beyond, netting an additional $100,000 for the firm during May.

Although she’s new to the firm, she has performed her duties exceptionally well, completing all assignments neatly, quickly and quietly, without drawing attention to herself, all requirements under our Performance Standards.

For obvious reasons, we at Murderesses, Inc. use only first names during our award presentation ceremonies.

At this time, let me present the Golden Gun to Emma!

Unfamiliar Territory by Russell Conover

With a jerk, Bob woke up, panting. What a horrible nightmare! He’d been trapped on a desert island, with no way of communicating with the outside world. All he had were the clothes on his back and, well, the beautiful atmosphere around him.

Wait–something was coming back to him. He remembered people around him on the shore, reading and sunbathing. Kids were making sand castles and flying kites. All seemed so cheerful, despite the strange surroundings. He chuckled, shaking his head.

“Duh! I just returned from vacation at the beach,” Bob said to himself. “I gotta get out more.”

Malibu Nightmare by Amy Friedman

My watch pinged me awake. Yah, I know. Up n’ at em.

But where was I? Gobs of red and pink fabric swathed the ceiling and walls. Sheer pink curtains covered every window, light pink lamps rested on dark pink night tables, a light pink duvet featuring a fancy scrolled B covered the bed, and the delicate wrought iron vanity and chair were dark pink.

Sitting up, my feet did not find my Crocs, but instead, a zebra rug and a pair of high-heeled marabou mules.

This was weird.

I glanced at the vanity mirror.

Barbie’s 1959 face peered back.

(Back story: this morning, some ladies in the break room were talking about Barbie. Then I read the stories so far, and once again, Gordon was right on the zeitgeist. So thanks again for more inspiration!)

That Friday Feeling by Emma Baird

Blimey – a great start to the day Alice felt. The cat had decided against his usual 5am alarm call, opting instead for the more civil 7am.

The email inbox had brought only three instances of people/organisations trying to sell her things, and one email praising her new company’s services – asking for an extension of the contract for another two years.

Who knew that such services would prove so popular and so rewarding?

Joining forces with Murderess Inc had been the making of Alice, despatching the unwanted, the criminal and the CEOs of tax-dodging companies. Someone had to do it.

Guys and Dolls by Gordon Lawrie

Barbie stood on the corner, chewing gum authoritatively. Most of the gang were dressed in short skirts and low-slung tops, but Barbie’s demeanour marked her out clearly as leader.

“Hey dolls, time to hit the clubs,” she said.

Nodding towards a figure standing a little away, Steffi and Cindy screwed up their faces. “All of us?”

“Why not?” A command, not a question. “He can’t help being male.”

“The inferior 49%,” Steffi muttered.

They set off, Action Man a few paces behind. Then he drew out his machine gun and wasted them all.

“The violent 49%. You dolls never learn.”

The Chase by Russell Conover

The driver careened around corners, always keeping her subject in sight. The chase hadn’t been pretty, but so far she hadn’t lost track. This wasn’t easy, either, with the crazy other drivers, the casual pedestrians, and other adventures.

And, of course, she almost got pulled over at one point. A cop gave her the evil eye as she passed, but she smiled and shrugged, gesturing about why she was going so quickly. The cop then had more interest in his donut.

The subject darted between cars, but the driver steadily watched. Alice was NOT going to lose her cat again.