Other Stories in this issue

Brown Cigarette

by Ross Gresham

About the Author: Ross Gresham's thriller White Shark came out in May. He lives in Colorado Springs.


Byline: Kip Mayes

In October of 1990, local television correspondent Caroline Starr disappeared from Ascension, Florida under the most mysterious and titillating of circumstances. For months afterwards, TV crews and professional picture-takers descended on the area in such numbers that the local motels hiked their rates to the 1.75 hurricane premium usually reserved for such times as the governor placed the southern counties under an order of forced evacuation.

News vans wandered the county. In those days—pre cellphone—they bunched up by rumor, by shouts through open windows, or by eavesdropping on CB radio conversations. A sliver of a hint had vehicles lining a rural road for a half-mile. Men roved forth with shoulder cameras, dragging cables, bandoliered with batteries.

And always for nothing! Always a bad tip. Instead of the money shot, they got snake bit ankles and ruined shoes.

The clothes Caroline Starr had been wearing for her newscast on her last morning (all of them) had been found folded on the passenger seat of her grandmotherly Oldsmobile. With all those professional newsmen on the case, facts came out, so that for example what we learned of the blouse, the skirt, the nylons, the panties, and the bra, if you did the math, altogether, weighed 3.7 ounces. Less than a full-blooded sandwich.

Story Comments

Add story comment: