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author of the award winning  Henry Grave Mysteries

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Short Stories - Lady Anaconda

won first place in the Sacramento News & Review 2010 Flash Fiction contest
Illustration by Jason Crosby

Lady Anaconda
by William Doonan

Jess Weimar stepped out of the wreckage. Parts of the airplane still burned. Judging by the vegetation, she suspected they were deep in the Amazon.

“Can you help?” someone shouted.

Jess found him. It was Billman, from the home office.

“Are you a doctor?” he asked.

“No, I’m Jess. We met in Rio. I’m a corporate headhunter.”

“That’s too bad,” he said, and he died.

She searched around, but found no other survivors. She wrapped herself in a blanket and got afraid.

The Jipitos came in the night. Jess woke to find them standing over her, thirty of them. They were naked and carried long spears.

Jess stood up. She should have been scared, but she wasn’t. The Jipitos grinned, revealing rows of sharpened teeth. Jess grinned back, already becoming something new. She would spend the next four years learning just how satisfying headhunting could be.

Judge Fioravanti had this to say about first-place winner “Lady Anaconda”:

“I admired how smooth and shapely this piece was. The dialogue, the deadpan humor, and Jess’ casual self-awareness make this story work.”

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