Other Stories in this issue

Two Taxis

by William Burton McCormick

About the Author: A five-time Derringer Award finalist and 2020 Shamus Award nominee, William Burton McCormick's fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Black Mask, the CWA Anthology of Short Stories: Mystery Tour, The Saturday Evening Post and elsewhere.  He is the author of the historical novel Lenin's Harem. William tends to set his stories in Europe where he lived for seventeen years. 


“Tell the gentleman his taxi is here, Jean-Paul.”

“Which gentleman, Monsieur Rault?”

“The fellow in the black pinstriped suit with a red tie.”

Jean-Paul scanned the hotel lobby. To his astonishment, two men matched Monsieur Rault’s description.

“Do you mean the gentleman at the coffee bar or the one sitting near the elevator, Monsieur Rault?”

“Figure it out for yourself, Jean-Paul. For once.”

After such censure, Jean-Paul bothered Monsieur Rault no more. He left the concierge desk and trekked over to the man at the bar.

“Did you order a taxi, Monsieur?”

“Yes,” answered the man in the tone of an entitled foreigner. Jean-Paul could not place the accent.

“It is here.”

The man adjusted his fedora’s brim over a wide, sweaty forehead, rose from his seat and allowed Jean-Paul to direct him through the lobby exit to a taxi waiting in the street. Jean-Paul got the cab’s door, received no gratuity for his efforts, and watched the car pull out onto the Promenade des Anglais.

As the taxi sped away, a woman on the walkway performed a doubletake. She stood for moments afterwards in the hot Mediterranean sun, contemplating what she’d seen. Then with a determined expression, she marched past Jean-Paul into the hotel entrance.

Story Comments

Sep 6 - Bill Engleson

I enjoyed the story even if close to the end, it became apparent who the actual serial killer might be. That aside, fun story with a tasty ironic ending. I am tossing out my pin-stripped suit as I write.

Sep 6 - Nancy Hetherington

I love a just deserts story. Snappy and witty with a bit of noir.

Sep 6 - Warren

Fun story! Nicely written.

Sep 6 - Mickey Cherry

Absolutely fantastic! Very smooth transition.

Sep 6 - Tina Jude

Magnificent! Nice twist at the end. Great story!

Sep 7 - Donald J. Bingle

Fun story! Also nice to use characters from places a lot of writers never think of ...

Sep 7 - Elizabeth Varadan

Good story that moved well right up to the ironic ending. Good job!

Sep 7 - Frances Dunn

I sympathized with Jean-Paul, loved the character. I had a feeling about the two men dressed alike, and although I kind of saw the ending coming, I was not disappointed. Great job and especially liked the cat broach.

Sep 9 - William Burton McCormick

Thank you for the kind comments. Glad you all enjoyed this little tale of taxi mishaps.

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