Schemers is the latest genre-crossing anthology of new short fiction from Stone Skin Press. From the classic myths to the pages of the Bible, from Shakespeare’s stage to the yellowed pulps of yesteryear, literature runs red with tales of plotting and betrayal. With all this trickery to deal with, the simple pleasures of genre play supply us with a needed palate cleansing.
We know from the title of crime yarn “Victimless Crime” that it will prove anything but. John Helfers takes the anxiety summoned by that dramatic irony and boils it hard. It will teach you to always carefully inventory your surroundings when stealing an expensive vehicle.
I should’ve known something was wrong the moment I saw her.
I’d just finished dinner in a dingy Subway shop attached to a BP gas station. She stalked into the convenience store and began prowling the aisles. Wearing tan designer slacks, a white blouse and night-black sunglasses, her artfully-tousled hairstyle cost a c-note or I’m a parking valet. Not even a hint of sweat marred her brow as she loaded up; chips, animal crackers, energy drinks, hand towelettes. She never looked around, just kept adding to the pile in her basket.
I casually glanced at the cashier, where two people waited in line at the counter. Sixty-second window, minimum.
I’d only need half of that.
It was perfect—or so I thought.
I wadded up the paper from my sandwich, slipped on my shades, and headed for the door.
Outside, the heat sucked my breath away for a moment. The late afternoon sun beat down like the gaze of God. It lent a hazy, shimmering unreality to the deserted parking lot. Around me, Denver smoldered like a shit pancake on a mountaintop griddle. But glorious sanctuary was only a few steps away.
Nearby was a huge, black Cadillac Escalade, brand-new and idling…
For the rest, get Schemers from Stone Skin Press.
John Helfers is an author and award-winning editor currently living in Green Bay, Wisconsin. During his sixteen years working at Tekno Books, he edited numerous #ction anthologies and more novels than he can count. His short fiction has appeared in more than forty anthologies, including If I Were An Evil Overlord, Time Twisters, and Places to Be, People to Kill. He’s also written fiction in the Dragonlance®, Transformers®, BattleTech® and Shadowrun® universes.