For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“14 Stories”

Stephen Dixon


The boy looked at the bullet that had rolled to within a foot of him. He thought it was a stone, picked it up, dropped it because it felt so rough, almost prickly, stared at it and said “Holy G, that's a bullet. Someone tried to shoot me with a bullet,” and opened the roof door and ran downstairs. The pigeons flapped when the door slammed behind the boy, settled in the same positions they were in before. “This is Anna,” the chambermaid said on the phone, “Anna from the fourteenth, and I think there's been a shooting on my floor.” The hotel detective said maybe it was a loud car backfire she'd heard and Anna said “No sir, no backfire. I heard it while in the hallway, so you could be right if you said it came from a guest's television screen.” He told her to wait for him by the center elevators and she said “Make it snappy, sir, as who's to say there isn't a lunatic loose.”

Mr. Randall lay groaning on the floor. Bad shot, bad shot, he thought, he tried to say. That note out the window—which one?—he hoped not to his ex-wife or mother.


We read it in 14 Stories.