“Vertical Blind” was originally published by Every Day Fiction.

When police detectives come knocking at his door, the narrator of “Vertical Blind” finds out a shouting match he heard the previous night coming from a nearby alley had been the sound of a woman screaming for her life and not the usual everyday drunks he is used to. The fight he heard that night had been a fight to the death.

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Read an Excerpt from “Vertical Blind”:

vertical blind short story carl robinette every day fiction online


ang-bang-bang, pounding. Snapped awake. Dawn light slanted into the room. Someone knocking on my door. Weird. Nobody knocked on doors anymore without a call or text first. I opened up. Two men stood there flashing LAPD badges.

One was grey haired, crew cut. One was young, shaved head. Blue jacket, charcoal jacket. White shirts, dark ties. Cops.

They wanted to know if I’d heard or seen anything suspicious the night before.

“Um, no,” I said. Groggy. Then I remembered. “Well, just a couple fighting.”

“How do you mean?” The older one asked.

“People shouting in the alley back there,” I said.

“You said a couple?”

“Yeah. Pretty sure.”

“Man and woman?”

“Uh-huh. Yeah.”

They wanted to know if I knew what time this had been. I told them. They wanted to know what the fight had been about.

“I couldn’t really hear,” I said. “Just drunk people squabbling.”

“What makes you say they were drunk?”

“Just assuming. The bar, you know?”

“This didn’t raise concern for you?”

“No. I mean, it’s a pretty regular thing around here.”

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Praise for “Vertical Blind”

*** 4.4 Stars on Every Day Fiction ***

“A gritty, very believable setting with interesting characters. Well done.”
MC Tuggle