“Mess With Me” in NEEDLE

NEEDLE: A Magazine of NoirIf you’re a fan of crime fiction short stories, every issue of NEEDLE: A Magazine of Noir is an absolute must-buy. My only complaint is that it doesn’t come out often enough.

Naturally, seeing my story “Mess With Me” in the latest issue of NEEDLE has me on cloud nine. “Mess With Me” is about what happens when a Congressman visits a legislative staffer who’s responsible for drawing redistricting maps.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I’ve consulted with outside counsel, and it has been (rather strongly) recommended that I emphasize this point — Like the main character in “Mess With Me,” I’m a legislative staffer, I work for the Pennsylvania General Assembly, I drew redistricting maps, and I was visited by members of Congress. However, “Mess With Me” is in no way autobiographical. Not even a little bit. Nope.

Of course, maybe you’ll disagree. Maybe you’ll think “Mess With Me” reveals my innermost thoughts. That’s your right. Buy the Fall-Winter 2012 issue of NEEDLE today (it’s a huge double issue for just $10.75) and make up your own mind.

Even if you dislike my story, I bet you’ll like the stories from the many terrific hardboiled writers whose work is featured: Matthew C. Funk, Rob W. Hart, John Kenyon, Ed Kurtz, Kenneth Loosli, Court Merrigan, Dan O’Shea, Thomas Pluck, Chris Rhatigan, and many others.

12 Before 9Worst-case scenario, you can get that sweet cover framed and hang it on your wall.

On another note, like some of my other stories (e.g., “12 Before 9” and “Fortune”), “Mess With Me” steals its title from a song by one of my favorite bands, The Throes (from the album 12 Before 9).

One my goals in life is to twist so many of The Throes’ song titles into crime fiction stories that lead singer Bill Campbell regrets this tweet:

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