By Arthur Porges (1915-2006).
First appearance: Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, August 1965.
Reprinted in AHMM (U.K.), May 1967.
Collected in The Price of a Princess: Hardboiled Crime Fiction (2019).
Short short story (8 pages).
Online at The Luminist Archives (HERE; scroll down to PDF page 65, which is magazine page 65).
(Note: Text is faded.)
(Parental caution: Mild profanity.)
"At that point when physical achievement is attained, one ordinarily feels replete, but under extraordinary circumstances, one might pursue an anti-climax for emotional satiation." (Say what?)
When lives are at stake, any weapon will do . . .
Comment: Not a mystery by any means, but this suspenser does have you wondering how the central characters are going to escape their predicament (think Cape Fear without the sleaze, or The Thing from Another World but with the monster from the house next door).
~ Rex Morland:
"The heavy police revolver was pointing directly at Morland's chest, and for a moment he knew that the boy was ready to pull the trigger."
~ Julie Morland:
"She caught on quickly; Julie was always bright . . ."
~ Kathy Morland:
". . . was only sixteen, and too pretty; right now, Morland wished she were fat and raucous like her chum, Selma."
~ Fred Kessler:
"When I leave, you'll howl copper; sure. Only you won't, because I'll have one of them with me."
Typo: "an automation worked by wires".
- This past May we highlighted several other stories involving hostage situations (HERE).
- If you're curious about butane, see the Wikipedia article (HERE); some foolish people have even managed to kill themselves with it without an open flame (HERE).
- Info about Arthur Porges is freely available on Wikipedia (HERE), the SFE (HERE; only fantasy and SFF works), a dedicated webpage (HERE), and the fine bibliography at ISFDb (HERE; fantasy and SFF works only).
- We're no stranger to the versatile Arthur Porges's work, which could be SFF, crime/mystery/ miracle problems, or "horror" fiction; the ones we've featured so far: "A Small Favor" paired with "No Killer Has Wings" (HERE) (Note: the link to the latter is nonfunctional unless you
can read Russian), and "Revenge" with "One Bad Habit" (HERE) (Dead link note: The Locked Room Mystery site seems to have closed up shop).
The bottom line: