An email from a mailing list I was on started with "It was a .38 wadcutter and it fed like shit."
A quick reply said that this was a great opening line to a Film Noir story. Being a hack author, I took a stab at it. here is the first three paragraphs.


It was a .38 wadcutter and it fed like shit. I got a stovepipe jam after the first shot. Which of course, missed. Cut me some slack, I was in the middle of diving over a stack of trash cans, and getting shot at myself. It was close enough to drive the slimebag's head down. I cursed that piece of shit .38 semi-auto as I worked the action. Between fighting that worthless bit of should be scrap iron, the smell of what ever I was lying on, and slimebag starting to shoot at me again, I was not a happy camper. As I cleared the jam I heard sound of slimebag cursing the fact that he emptied his wondernine without hitting me. I reared up while listening to him trying to find another magazine, and introduced myself with a double tap to his chest. Wonders of wonders, the wadcutters fed cleanly this time.

I started cursing myself as I noticed the sirens getting closer. Typical. When you needed a cop, they're chowing donuts somewhere. Here I am with a freshly dead scumbag hood killed by a scrap-iron wannbe peice 'o-shit .38 in my hand, and the cops are out set a new response time record. I started moving toward the back of the alley, away from the sirens. I couldn't be sure if the cops that showed up would be the ones I wanted to see. At least half the flatfeet in the part of town made more money off Zebo's payroll than the city's. For your information, Zebo is the gang boss who wanted me dead.

My cursing became more audible as I slipped climbing over the fence at back of the alley. Not only did what ever I landed in smell worse than what I landed in before, the fall didn't do my back any good. At least I got over the fence before the cops got to the alley entrance. I should be able to get a good head start before they worked up the nerve to actually enter it. I started moving as fast as the dim light and my back would let me. Before I got to the street at the far end of the alley, I emptied out my trenchcoat pockets and stuffed it in a dumpster. The damn thing reeked of whatever I landed in. Just on more reason you can't have nice things in my line of work. In case you haven't figured out yet, I'm a Private Detective. My latest case, a nice safe divorce job, had gotten real ugly.

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