Stop Me

A pastel October morning. Autumn leaves soaking up the golden sun.


“She was dumped in the lake.”


She? thought Detective Brady. Duct-tape wrapped like a Halloween mummy?


“You catch a look at who done this, Bobby?”


Bobby shrugged.


Brady eyed the blood spatter on Bobby’s sweatshirt. “Something you want to tell me?”


Relieved, Bobby nodded.



Salvatore Buttaci.



At his feet, beneath the net, lay Corvo, a Christian from Thessalonica, sharp trident at his throat. Imperial thumb for death? Deliverance?

Lucius stared down at his face, waiting for snarl, grimace, hissing through bloody serpentine lips; instead, the vanquished Thessalonian’s eyes lit like fire. He smiled.

“No one truly dies,” he said.

Lucius disagreed.


Salvatore Buttaci.


Bringing It Down

No bull about it. Johnny Morgan can gulp down a jug of hootch quick as a ranch hand busts a wild stallion.

“Why drink, old pal?”

Morgan’s lips squirmin’ with hotch-potch rum says, “Donna’s run out.”

“Drinkin’ ain’t no way to bring––”

“Bring back Donna?”

Johnny pours a brimful into my glass.

“Drink up, Bill.”


Salvatore Buttaci.




“Attend his funeral? The man winning a third term when it should’ve been you?”

“Now Mary––”

“Don’t ‘Now Mary’ me. John Bell’s a scoundrel hiding behind the Constitution. Nine years since 1860 and he’s finally gone.”

“Bell kept us out of war. He convinced our Southern neighbors not to secede. Mary, he did his best.”


Salvatore Buttaci





What if it’s true?”

“There’s no dream door. Go back to sleep.”

Donna pulled up the covers. When her snoring began, Jason faced the other wall.

“It followed behind me. Explain that!”

He felt Donna at his back now. Spooning, then embracing him. He touched the smooth scaly flesh of those three arms and screamed.


Salvatore Buttaci.



Dark shades. Reeking, tattered rags. A cup of pencils and a sign: “MAKE MY DAY.” Let them call him “Blind man on Pennsylvania Avenue.” He didn’t care. If push came to shove, he’d shed the shades, let them perish in the fires ignited by his Evil Eye. He’d bring the begging city to its knees.


Salvatore Buttaci



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Shocked Fearful Man


Tony should’ve gone with his instincts. Obsessed with gargantuan-breasted women––”Himalayas”––he impulsively wed a flat-chested, “24A” Annie Davita with those piercing green eyes, long dirty-blond hair, that soft sultry voice. Big mistake. Like sleeping with a man! “Nevalayas” had to go.


Salvatore Buttaci



Pietro collected hearts. Love fascinated him. Patrizia, his first, haunted him most.

Rodriguez watched Pietro’s hands tremble.

“When did you decide––”

“You ever find a treasure, Detective, then have it stolen from you?”

“What drove––”

“Patrizia lied. Gave me her heart. Took it back.”

“The others?”

“I took that heart back! All those lying hearts!”



Salvatore Buttaci.


Galactic Spice Tour

Boot-deep, harvesting Medi-cure spices on the vermilion plains of Orestes, WingStar Ezra Morgan missed home. In the galaxy, Earth was a pebble lost in alien skies. Why had he stepped forward? To pilfer spices? Cure the wife he left behind? Ezra watched the two suns of Orestes shut like bloodshot eyes beneath the spice horizon.


Salvatore Buttaci.


My Sister Jenny

“The baby we lost” was how Mama explained Jenny all those years. An infant lost in childbirth? She never said, too choked up to speak of her. Then after Mama passed away at 96, we found in her closet, in a small box tied with ribbon, last photos of smiling Jenny at four years old.



Salvatore Buttaci.