Monday, March 21, 2016

Three One-Shots from COLLIER'S

Here's a small collection of one-page crime and mystery stories from Collier's Weekly, circa 1928:

"Behind the Door."
By Percival Wilde (1887-1953).
First appearance: Collier's Weekly, February 4, 1928.
Short short short story (1 page).
Online at UNZ HERE.
"Honest to God, I didn't croak nobody!"
In even the darkest places, eventually the truth comes to light.

Principal characters:
~ Benny: "By inclination, by aptitude, by a love of the art which was so intense that he was usually engaged in scrawling on every flat surface within reach, he was a wielder of the pen, an expert in the production of signatures warranted to defy any but the closest inspection."
~ Robison: "Wife and eleven children starving at home eh? Is the gun loaded?"
~ Holloway: "He who sells what isn't his'n, he must buy it back or go to pris'n!"
~ Police captain: "It's almost enough."

- Percival Wilde was a multimedia phenom in his day, as these sources attest: Wikipedia HERE, GAD Wiki HERE, FictionMags HERE, and the IMDb HERE.

~ ~ ~
"The Witness."
By Percival Wilde (1887-1953).
First appearance: Collier's Weekly, August 11, 1928.
Reprinted in EQMM, April 1948.
Short short short story (1 page).
Online at UNZ HERE.
"His weapon leaped into view, but a revolver in the hands of one of his assailants spoke first."
When a bank robbery ends with an old man being gunned down, the A.D.A. knows that he has only one hope of nailing the gang.

Principal characters:
~ Cicoletti: " 'Witnesses? Witnesses? Well, who are the witnesses?'  There was no mistaking the threat."
~ Troon, the assistant district attorney: "You're thinking, aren't you, that once you know who they are, you'll see to it that they won't open their mouths? Yes, Cicoletti, that's what you're thinking! But this time you've left a witness who can't be bulldozed! You've left a witness who can't be intimidated! You've left a witness who saw just what happened, and who is going to tell it to the jury in the same way!"
~ ~ ~
"The Coward."
By Henry Altimus (?-?).
First appearance: Collier's Weekly, August 4, 1928.
Short short short story (1 page).
Online at UNZ HERE.
"This isn't an ordinary crime; it's almost a matter of executing justice, and the sooner it is done the better."
Sometimes the easy way out isn't easy—or the way out.

Principal characters:
~ Aldrich: "When you call these men gunmen, what exactly do you mean?"
~ The newspaper man: "I mean that they are professional criminals. They are ready at any time to commit any crime, from murder down, for a consideration."
~ Dusty: "I stepped in and I was just goin' to let him have it when I noticed his shoulders move—shiverin' like."
~ Sam: "Fer the love o' Mike, Dusty, why not?"

- The author's story list at FictionMags is HERE.

The bottom line: "Some have been thought brave because they were afraid to run away." 
Thomas Fuller

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