Seeing Red

Seeing Red by Cora BuhlertTwo tales of bad relationships, angry women and murder

Seeing Red

It was supposed to be just sex. But then Dan gradually wormed his way into Maggie’s life and into her apartment. And though Dan insists that he loves her, Maggie suspects he is far more interested in her sixty inch plasma screen.
Living together brings out the vast differences between Maggie and Dan. And so Maggie’s patience is stretched to a breaking point to a breaking point, until an argument about pasta sauce and Dan’s addiction to ketchup lead to murder…

Third Time Lucky

Hilda’s abusive husband Walter has already survived two massive heart attacks. But the third time’s a charm… or is it?

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More Information:

  • Seeing Red is a short story of 3600 words. Third Time Lucky is a short story of 1000 words. Both stories are digital premieres and have never been published previously.
  • Like Old Mommark’s Tale and The Iron Border, these stories were written in response to the eight-hour e-book challenge instigated by Joe Konrath and continued by a bunch of people at KBoards.
  • Seeing Red was inspired by this TV commercial for Heinz Ketchup, specifically the scene near the end, where a woman is cooking and a man distracts her with a kiss to pour ketchup into the pot behind her back. That scene annoyed me, for while ketchup has its uses, dumping it into pasta sauce is not one of them (unless you’re having Japenese style Spaghetti Napolitan that is). Besides, the patronising behaviour of the boyfriend, who kisses her just so he can dump ketchup into her pasta sauce, made me angry. The first time I saw that commercial, I said half jokingly, “If I were that woman, I’d hit him over the head with the ketchup bottle.” And then I thought, “What if the woman in the commercial really did hit her boyfriend over the head with the ketchup bottle? What if she actually killed him? What would bring her to the point of killing her boyfriend because of an argument over pasta sauce?”
  • The song that plays over the commercial, “One way or another”, originally by Blondie, is briefly mentioned in the story.
  • Coincidentally, this is the second of my stories after Family Car that was inspired by anger over a TV commercial. Apparently, TV commercials with problematic gender relations have a way of inspiring me to write crime shorts.
  • Third Time Lucky was inspired by an elderly lady of my acquaintance whose highly problematic husband, a drinker and womanizer, really did survive three coronary heart attacks as well as a stroke. And since the husband was such a jerk, people began wondering after the second or third attack why she didn’t take her time calling the ambulance next time.
  • The cover is stock art by Polish photographer Tomasz Kowalczyk.
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