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Eddie McNamara's picture

Not a Sailor's Girl/Not a Trucker's Wife

By Eddie McNamara in Arrest Us

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Police officer Tommy Riordan has worked the post-9/11 World Trade Center site recovering bodies for 126 days. Now he's getting blamed for a dead body at home.


Elaine O'Connell's picture
Elaine O'Connell June 11, 2014 - 8:29am


Edna Especial's picture
Edna Especial June 11, 2014 - 10:09am

Excellent. Very fresh in both subject matter and writing style.

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK June 11, 2014 - 1:51pm

Nice. Very immersive and well researched, plus the accents really come out in the dialogue whilst avoiding too much cliché.

Angel Colón's picture
Angel Colón from The Bronx now living in New Jersey is reading A Big Ol' Pile of Books June 12, 2014 - 9:58am

You already know I dug this one, Eddie. Best of luck!

Eddie McNamara's picture
Eddie McNamara from NYC is reading High as the Horse's Bridles June 13, 2014 - 4:17am

Thanks for reading.

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland June 19, 2014 - 7:04pm

Nice work Eddie,

It's shorter than the minimum word limit so you might be exempt from the grand prize but it's still good. I almost wonder why not stretch it out to atleast 3000 words? Or am I missing part of the story? There's plenty of room to play with. You took this time in history that noone will forget, I think you could play it up more, do more with it. Develop some of the minor characters a little more. Your M.C. is great. I like wondering rather or not he knows he did it. This has an unreliable narrator similar to the one in Doug's story. Bravo there. I just think the opportunity you created with the setting and period and characters could allow for a much longer, hence more impactful piece of crime lit with a literary bent. As is though it's a nice flash of Noir. The fact that I want more means you did a great job.

Good Luck,



Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) June 20, 2014 - 4:18am

This took me a couple of reads to get a handle on it, though maybe I’m just not with it today. I do like a story with an unreliable narrator, and this is a good example. It’s easy to see too why he is so reliable. Anybody dealing with that level of carnage on a daily basis, over such a long period of time, is bound to become a little unhinged by it. I’d be surprised if there wasn’t some level of care in place for them, and strict time limits on doing that role, but that wouldn’t help the story, and artistic licence has to come into play.

The introduction of Old School into the story part way through threw me completely. I didn’t immediately grasp that he was a person, and it seemed incongruous with his happiness at the start of the story. I know that happiness was a little ironic, but nothing suggested he had just had the highly traumatic experience of dealing with the body parts of his old partner and friend. It feels like you want to keep the reader off balance, and that works to an extent. Unfortunately it kept me so unbalanced I hit the floor a couple of times, though that may just be me.

The other part that confused me was during the questioning. Restrepo asks Tommy about the timeline – who saw who first? Yet a couple of lines later Mosca states that they know she died before he left the hospital. It becomes obvious that they are covering (though it took me a second read to get that myself), but it seems strange to ask a question of Tommy and then have your partner answer it. If they “know” he was at the hospital when she died, why even bring him in and have him in handcuffs when talking to the shrink?

There’s a part of me that read the last section and figured it made sense, seeing as it is basically a confession, and part of me that would have liked not to have known for sure. Having him talk about his anger problem goes against the moment earlier when he asks if his wife is ok. Come to think of it, having the cops ask why he hasn’t asked for his wife goes against the moment later when they express surprise that the shrink doesn’t tell him that she’s dead. For all I know these inconsistencies are deliberate, but I find the contradictions too distracting.

Where he mentions the Bill Murray film, I’d just say ‘Groundhog Day’. Everybody knows what you are referring to as it’s in the popular consciousness. To skirt around saying it feels pointless.

I’ve read the other comments and I know you have a lot of people who really got this, and loved it. When you write something like this you are always going to get those who got it, and those that don’t. I’m still not sure if I’m just missing something here. All I can do is give an honest opinion of what I felt and thought while reading. If that goes against your agenda for the story, then please ignore my comments. For me though I think it needed to have either greater clarity, or less clarity. That may be the woolliest comment I’ve written so far.

Grant Williams's picture
Grant Williams from Wichita, KS is reading Friday June 20, 2014 - 8:41am

Solid.  Very short and sweet.  I too wasn't quite aware that Old School was a person for a few sentences, so I had to reread them.  Perhaps if he had been mentioned earlier it wouldn't cause such a hiccup in the middle of an intense scene.  Overall good stuff though.

Eddie McNamara's picture
Eddie McNamara from NYC is reading High as the Horse's Bridles June 20, 2014 - 4:11pm

Adam and Grant, I appreciate your thorough reading and story notes. They'll help in the revise. 

Motor-Psycho's picture
Motor-Psycho from Montreal is reading Everything By Willeford June 25, 2014 - 8:02pm

Great description. Really flows and was a super-quick read. Congrats.


EdVaughn's picture
EdVaughn from Louisville, Ky is reading a whole bunch of different stuff July 2, 2014 - 6:42pm

Hey Eddie,

This was a pretty good one overall, although I wasn't real wild about it. The writing is good and tight. It's set in an interesting time frame and the main character was intriguing. I just thought it was a little quick. It's over and done with in a heartbeat, so I don't feel like I caught everything I might was suppose to. Maybe consider slowing the pace down a bit if you decide to work on it. And I know this is real nitpicky and kind of stupid to care about, but I'm really not digging that title. It's the double title with the slash, I don't know, it really bugs me for some reason. Sorry. Good writing overall though, man. Keep it up. 

Aud Fontaine's picture
Aud Fontaine from the mountains is reading Catch-22. Since like, always. July 2, 2014 - 8:33pm


This was a fucking trip. I really enjoyed it. Mosca seemed a little...insensitive to the whole situation and some of the dialogue seemed a little jam packed with exposition but other than that it was really awesome. Personally, I would've liked it if you made it longer. Stories with unreliable narrators are fun because of the disorienting feeling so if there were more details, if we got to go a little deeper into his confusion and possible delerium, this would be even more fun. As it is, though, it's still really great. Kudos.


Eddie McNamara's picture
Eddie McNamara from NYC is reading High as the Horse's Bridles July 3, 2014 - 5:02am

Thanks for reading

Hector Acosta's picture
Hector Acosta from Dallas is reading Fletch July 7, 2014 - 9:07am


It took me two reads through, but I ended up enjoying the story quite a bit. You have a great opening segment and a really good opening line. The unreliable narrator works really well here, and I thought that as the story continued, the dialogue became stronger- I do think you might want to do a second pass, as there's a couple of bits of dialogue that feel too stiff and info dumpish.

I would have liked to have seen a bit more detail, especially when he's first talking to the shrink (any reason he was capitalized?). For example:

I would cave The Shrink’s skull in if I could but I can’t, the handcuffs won’t allow me that freedom of movement.

Maybe it's my own preferences, but the old thing about showing rather than telling applies here. I think there's a middle ground where you don't just tell the reader what your MC is feeling, while still keeping the flow of the story going.

Regarding the dialogue sometimes feeling unnatural, this part stands out:

we all appreciate what you and the guys did last night, but I think your Vicodin overdose might have had more to do with your blackout than finding Old School or the bump on your head. You swallowed all the pills they gave you in the ER—You missed roll call. We had go by your apartment and do a wellness check. That’s when we found her.”

This is important information that's very relevant to the story, and I'd like to see you pepper it through more gracefully. Maybe divide the dialogue between the two officers?

The second readthrough made me realize that we're supposed to wonder if your MC killed his wife. I'm not sure if that's clear enough yet, maybe because the officers don't really drop any hints about their suspicisions early on and the way the wife went out, seems like a more difficult way to do as a murder than straight out suicide.

I really liked the ending as well, I thought that was a great line and would like to see you build off it (you definitely have the word count available). My advice would be to get closer to your Main Character's head and not be afraid of showing us more of the details happening in your story.

As a crime/pulp fan I really would have liked for you to develop the wife more. Too often the stories revolve around either the wife being a cheater, a bitch,  or dead, and they can become too much of an old hat.

Finally, the formatting was a bit weird when I downloaded it, with there being an occasional large space betweeen paragraphs, which at first made me think were done on purpose to show time passage or scene changes, but I'm not sure if that was really intended or not.

Overall though, good story which I hope you develop further.

YouAreNotASlave's picture
YouAreNotASlave from Birmingham United Kingdom July 10, 2014 - 1:01pm

Nice tight story, I was a little confused at the beginning but it all came together nicely at the end. Riordan and his relationships are well characterised and real. But I'm unsure about his wife: I would maybe have liked more backstory between them so we understand her motivations, otherwise it can feel a little like you're resting too much on 'she was mentally ill' without giving her full characterisation. Mostly the dialogue was nice and sharp, though as mentioned above at times it falls into open exposition. 

But yeah, a well structured and entertaining read. Nice one!

Cmangano's picture
Cmangano from Maine July 11, 2014 - 2:05pm

Nicely done. I'd rather see a story be a little shorter than to be full of fluff just for word count, so I don't personally mind that your story is short, however there are a few spots were a little more detail would go a long way. More information about Old School would bring his character more into reality. He is an important character but doesn't get the attention I think he deserves.

I'd also like to see more about his wife. The story is named after her, but the only thing we find out about her is that she wants an open relationship and that she is maybe, vaguely suicidal? I'm making these suggestions are based on the shortness of your story and not the content. The story works as is, but I think it could be even better with a bit more heft. Other than those gripes I think this very well executed and overall a great read. Thumbs up.

Eddie McNamara's picture
Eddie McNamara from NYC is reading High as the Horse's Bridles July 11, 2014 - 2:19pm

Thanks for the reads and notes. I agree with a lot of what has been suggested. I wanted to write a story for Thuglit and did this one in a marathon Kerouac (but with coffee instead of Benzadrine) session.

I'd like to sharpen this fucker up with another pass.


Sincere thanks again for your suggestions. Thank you for taking the time to read and give feedback.