by Tommy Hancock
First, my apologies for the absence of the column these last few weeks. On March 30, I and the community of creatives within which I work received the news that one of our own had passed away at his own hand. Logan L. Masterson was an author writing for me at Pro Se Productions as well as having been published by other companies. Logan was also a friend of mine, and his passing was poignant for many reasons, one being that just a week before, I had written a column here on depression.
So, yes, I’ve been away, dealing with that loss, both professionally and personally.
And to be honest, I’m still struggling with it as many of us are, so much so that I thought about simply letting another week go by without posting. But, instead, I’d like to share something with you. Something of Logan’s.
This piece appeared in RAT-A-TAT: SHORT BLASTS OF PULP, a flash fiction volume Pro Se did a couple of years ago. It is a very short, but complete look at Logan as a writer, at the amount of talent and imagination contained in one large man, a guy with a heart bigger than the Western Hemisphere.
Miss you, man.
by Logan L. Masterson
Her fingers weave through the diamond gaps of the chain-link fence. As the pursuers grab at her, pulling at her pants and shoes, the steel wire bends, giving out in advance of her desperate strength. Eventually, she falls. The men, all gray cloth and gas-masks gather her up, ignoring her kicking and screaming.
“Atlanta ain’t what it used ta be,” one of them says. She kicks at him, receiving only an elbow in the ribs for her trouble.
“Easy!” says the other. “Don’t mark her up.”
Moments later, she is thrown into the back of the wagon. Doors slam closed, leaving steel bars and benches her only companions. She sighs, drags herself up onto a bench and straightens her hair. Her blouse is torn, and no matter how she tugs or tucks, it will not cover her bra. Looking through the bars, she notes the passing buildings: the Midtown Hotel is close. It had taken everything she had to make this escape. She will not be given back to him. She would die first.
Steeling herself to this thought, solidifying it into fact, she bashes her head against the bars, hard. It stings and aches all at once, but she does it again and again. Blood drips down the bulwark, splatters the sides of their unmasked faces. The wagon pulls over. Outside, the men argue in frantic voices. She doesn’t stop until the doors open. When the first soldier starts to climb in, she throws herself at him, toppling him back onto his partner. They struggle against her and each other. She rips the mask off his face, spitting and clawing at him. His reply is a sharp blow to the stomach.
With the breath driven from her, she slumps over. They get to their feet, straighten themselves out. She sees his vicious smile vanish under the mask, but she has a smile of her own. As they come to return her to the mobile cell, she levels the pistol at him.
He stops dead, feels his empty holster. Four ringing, echoing shots later, she has a vehicle and a mask of her own.
She will finally make it out of Atlanta tonight. Tomorrow, she will watch it burn.