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Spring 2014 issue available now

Needle Magazine – Spring 2014

Needle Magazine - Spring 2014

Needle Magazine is hardboiled, lean and mean. Crime fiction from some of the best — Heath Lowrance, Rob W. Hart, Patti Abbott, Taylor Brown, Jen Conley, Stephen D. Rogers, Court Merrigan, Sandra Seamans, Trent England, Christopher L. Irvin, William Boyle, William Dylan Powell, and Tom Joyce. Cover art by Scott Morse.

Five Bucks Buys Some Goddamn Vodka by Heath Lowrance 

The first big mistake I made that day was giving my money to Timmy Webber to hold on to. It was a five dollar bill some college chickie gave me that afternoon because she thought I was panhandling when all I was doing really was sitting there on the curb wondering where I was going to get some money for another pint. Manna from fuckin heaven, right?


Heath Lowrance

So I was shuffling my way to the liquor store—I say shuffling not to be cutsie but because walking hurts my hips like a cunt and I can only shuffle—when out of the store comes Timmy Webber with a big fuckin smile on his face and a fifth—a fifth!—of Arrow Vodka in his gnarled hand.

Now Timmy, everyone knows he’s got what you call anger management issues, especially when he’s drunk, which (like me) is most of the fuckin time. When I think of him now, I think of a red face, thick lips twisted in rage, his little blood eyes bulging. The guy, he’d fly off the handle over anything. He always wanted to fight somebody, even though I’d never seen him win one. He sure got the fuck beat out of him on a regular basis, though. He’d spent so long acting like the world was against him that eventually it was.

But just then he was mostly sober and so not in a blind rage. He saw me and said, “Clint, Clint, Clintie!” and tucked the bottle in his coat. “How you, my man?”

“Well,” I said, shrugging. “You know.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“You got a bottle, huh?”

“Hey, fuck you.”

“I’m just saying, you got a bottle.”

“Fuck you, Clintie.”

“Jesus, man, what’s your damage?”

“This is my bottle and I ain’t sharing it, so fuck you.”

I shrugged again and went to shuffle past him. “I don’t need you,” I said. “I got my own money.”

The A-rab who owned the store came out in the doorway right before I got in. He crossed his arms and said, “You two clear out. I don’t need that kind of language here, I have customers, decent people.”

I said, “I’m a customer, goddamnit. I got money. I wanna buy a pint.”

“Go somewhere else.”

“What the fuck!” I said. It hurt my chest to raise my voice, but I was pissed. “Take my money and give me a pint of Arrow!”

“Get out of here before I call the police.”

“You… you’re prejudiced, you asshole!”

“Get out! Every time you come in I can’t get the stink of you out of my store all day!”

Even though the A-rab was talking to me, Timmy was starting to take it personal. He stepped up, face turning bright red, said, “Hey, fuck you, you fuckin camel jockey, I’ll kick your—“

The A-rab punched Timmy in the face. Timmy stumbled back into a parked car, clutching his nose. Blood streamed between his fingers. The A-rab said, “Leave before I rip your stinking heart out, you piece of shit.”

We left.

Continue reading in print -> Needle

Two BEST OFs featuring NEEDLE favorites

Congratulations to Dennis Tafoya, whose “Satan’s Kingdom” will be included in The Best American Mystery Stories 2014 by Otto Penzler and Laura Lippman, editors. The story originally appeared in the Spring-Summer 2013 issue of NEEDLE.


And Ed Kurtz’s “The Trick,” originally published in NEEDLE, has been selected for Best Gay Stories 2014.


Looking forward to these publication and pleased as hell to have worked with these talented folks.

Honored to be in The Best American Mystery Stories 2013


Leading off the new 2013 BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES is Tom Barlow’s “Smothered and Covered,” which appeared in the sixth issue of our magazine.

Of course, it was one of our favorites. We were pleased as heck to publish it then, and we’re thrilled that Barlow’s story was picked to open the anthology, which is always one the year’s best reads.

Lisa Scottoline was this year’s editor.

Two other NEEDLE stories were selected as “Other Distinguished” stories  — Jen Conley’s story from the same issue and Timothy Friend’s story from the seventh.

Pick up the The Best American Mystery Stories 2013.

You can get issues six and seven — and the issue with Chris F. Holm’s BAMS 2011 story — at our store.

Thanks, as always, to Otto Penzler for such a great series of collections and to Lisa Scottoline for her hard work this year.

Learn more about:

Tom Barlow

Jen Conley

Timothy Friend




Nice Review in MYSTERY SCENE

Thanks to Bill Crider and the folks at MYSTERY SCENE for the nice mention of NEEDLE in their latest issue.

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