KIERAN SHEA’s fiction has appeared in dozens of venues including Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Thuglit, Dogmatika, Word Riot, Plots with Guns, Beat to a Pulp, Crimefactory, and Needle: A Magazine of Noir well as in some beefy-looking anthologies most of which will make you question the tether of his shiny, red balloon. To his self-deprecating astonishment he's also been nominated for the Story South’s Million Writers Award twice without sending the judges so much as a thank you note. He co-edited the satiric transgressive fiction collection D*CKED: DARK FICTION INSPIRED BY DICK CHENEY and his debut novel KOKO TAKES A HOLIDAY is out now from Titan Books. Kieran divides his time between 38°58′22.6″N- 76°30′4.17″W and 39.2775° N, 74.5750° W.


On Monologues

I've been digging through the archives. Well, they're not exactly archives, more like projects I've started and stopped over the past few years. For a while there was a point when I piddled around with plays and such. Back in some dark years in the early 90s I wrote two full length plays and lots and lots of monologues. Monologues came easier of course. I like the idea of hanging one actor or actress out there alone to convey a point or a feeling or a voice. Good practice. Minimal stage direction. In the files this morning I found one about a bomb maker, one about a slide show, one about someone trapped in collapsed building (pre-OK City/9-11). And this one. Kind of creepy. This one made me smile.


Lights up. JOE vibrates behind a plain counter, a clear bowl of ice, dripping a dark stain down the front of the counter. There are two glasses and a silver bullet-like, classic cocktail shaker. He addresses the audience as his victim or friend or both. He slices a bunch of limes and squeezes them into the shaker.

JOE: First, if you’re going to do this right, if you want to set the scene and boost the mood, do me a favor, okay? Use fresh lime juice. This is California for Pete’s sake. Citrus trees grow in people’s yards. Just look around. State is positively lousy with citrus trees. I mean, look at it out there. No, seriously take a look. (Pause) See it? Over there? In the corner? Yeah. If you actually paid attention and actually took care of that stubby little thing, maybe watered it, maybe loved it, maybe pruned it, maybe nurtured it— boom. You’d have a fig tree in your little slice of heaven. That is if you got off your fat ass and paid attention for a change. But no. I suppose you’re too busy for that. Too busy. Hell, nobody pays attention any more. People are too (Pause, searches for the word) fraught. Telling you, you grow some of those figs and I bet you dollars to doughnuts somebody else around here’s growing limes. You could make a trade. Barter. Underground economy and all that. Make a friend. Be nice. What? You’re antisocial? Well, then just buy wholesale. Track some brown around. Latinos, immigrants. Don’t do the barrio thing then how about some Vietnamese? Filipino? Don’t matter to me. A farmer’s market? Sure. A co-op? Yeah if that hippie shit blows your hair back. Who cares? Buy a gross of real lime and then take your time. I suppose you could get a juicer. Most good food processors have juicer attachments these days and if not slice the limes and muscle the pulp out with a fork. What? Don’t look at me like that. Look at you. You work out, cripes, you pay that goddamn money for that goddamn gym, not my fault your forearms aren’t like ropes. Gotta work for the goddamn cobblestone abdominals. You are the problem. (Pause) But back to the limes. Limes. Fresh. Period. Concentrate, pssshh, that’s for porky housewives looking to liven up their bunko games. You don’t strike me like that. (Long pause) Where was I? Right. Limes. Limes, limes, limes, limes, limes. The lime is definitely the fruit for a proper margarita. Not peach. Not strawberry. Not “tropical” which is just another way of some bar or restaurant trying to offload their rotting produce. Yep. Lime with capital friggin’ L. That acidity, that’s what you crave. That sting. It’s about respect too, showing the drink some respect, giving a beaten down people and their trashed culture some props, know what I’m saying? Top shelf ingredients, top shelf cocktail, simple equation. You know, legend has it that tequila came about through a lightning strike. Bet you didn’t know that did you? Sounds like bullshit to me and probably is but it makes for a good yarn. And I do love a good yarn. So, let’s get started. We have plenty of ice so let’s see what we have here in your liquor cabinet. (Searches below the counter, finds a bottle) Ooh. Now this. This. This is good tequila. I like white tequila. Good blanco really cuts the dust after a long day. Don’t get me wrong, I like anejo and reposado as well as the next hombre but blanco, that’s like drinking diamonds. That’s perfect. Okay. (Searches again) Hold up. What is this crap? Tsk, tsk. I’m going to have to dock you points for this orange shellac. But there’s no time for me to run out and get some French. Now we measure. Measuring is important. Do not mess with the measure. Two parts this, one part that, ice. Everything in balance. Be careful. Take. Your. Time. Patience that’s another thing. Now shake. (Hoists the cocktail shaker up and down) Rattle, rattle, rattle. Strain. (Pours, drinks, considers) Mmm. That’s the stuff. Perfect. Now then. (Holds up the knife, grinning) Where were we?