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What is the human condition if not a foetid tangle of greed, savagery, prurience and blackest farce?

NIGHTMARES ARE MADE OF SEGAL's short stories  - From the master of a disturbed imagination, here's a taste of the dark, macabre and sinister aspects of human nature. Nine tales of horror, perversion, the surreal and the supernatural, that promise to keep you up all night.

 

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How do you find money you haven’t got,
to pay for protection?

LICENCE TO KILL

Since coming to the UK from a troubled Cyprus, Mikki Panayotis has spent 20 years building a self-financed club and restaurant in North London’s Tottenham area. Now with the added joy and responsibilities of a baby daughter, their first child, the enterprise is just starting to show a profit; but someone posturing as a local businessman, has decided it’s time for him to take a cut. A cut Mikki can’t afford without the business failing.

At a loss to know what to do he determines on a course of action that will likely see him dead, or else locked away for the foreseeable future.

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The gunfight at the OK Corral was a kids’ party compared to this blood bath.

IN HIS OWN IMAGE

The infamous James brothers, Frank and Jesse rode with the Bloody Bill Morris gang of bushwhacking psychopaths in mid, 19th century America. Among their number, young Archie Clement. Five foot tall, with breath stinking of sour milk, and subsisting on a diet of whisky and nicotine, Archie was merciless in his treatment of anyone crossing him, using his own inimitable method of dispatching them into the arms of their maker.

But Archie couldn’t expect to have it all his own way for ever, could he? Or could he?

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How do you communicate when you don’t have the words? 

MAMMA;

The world is largely opaque; a series of colours, noises, hustle and bustle. You don’t understand what they’re saying; you’re not sure you care. You want to be left alone. You’re safe indoors; safe in the cupboard under the stairs, safe with patterns, safe with numbers.

But that won’t do for them. They want to involve you. But you don’t want to be involved. There doesn’t seem to be anything they can do about it. But they’ll go on trying, no matter how fruitless the effort.

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Can even a committed pacifist be tried too far? If circumstances prove impossible, might one be pushed to kill?

PRETTY BOY;

Bishop is beautiful, always was. From the time he was a baby, spotted in his pram and remarked upon by GIs stationed in wartime England, he always stood out. But being beautiful has its consequences; jealousy among your peers, or anyway, one of your peers, being not the least among them.

But how long can you put up with the beatings, the bullyings, the humiliations and the blame game?

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Is it the fast cars and the faster women? Or is it just the money?

I AM A GIGOLO

Best Selling Short Story:

Attractive and wealthy, the middle aged American matrons lusted after by our gorgeous hero in the luxury hotel Martinez in France’s glamorous film resort of Cannes are all there just for his benefit. And doesn’t he know it. He’s good at what he does, so why shouldn’t he boast a little; just now and then?

Trouble is, our man has a little problem he doesn’t like to talk about. He’s fine, just as long as nobody finds out.

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What does it take to make yourself into a hero in your wife’s eyes?

HAND OF PORK

It’s blisteringly hot and he’s hungry and tired. In fact he’s exhausted, but he’s not giving up. Food is low and so is his morale; but he knows he’ll win out in the end and gain his wife’s lasting admiration. Right now, she thinks he’s a wimp. Married him on impulse when he impressed her for just a moment a while back, attending to a distressed pet.

But he’s a man, a real man, and he’s proving it right now. She won’t be laughing at him anymore. Not after this.

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Being a toy-boy has its compensations, particularly in the finance department.

A PERFECT MATCH;

Donald Blacksedge had a lifelong devotion to the mother whom he held as a little boy, when she died in his arms. His taste in older women was the result. But there was the recurring problem of the unexpected deaths among so many of those he chose to marry. Of course, there were the financial compensations; albeit, never quite sufficient for Donald’s expensive habits.

Then there was wealthy Betty, and her upmarket antique shop which boasted an ornament resembling Donald and his mother. He had to have it. And Betty decided she had to have him. Her sad past was a little like Donald’s; including a series of husbands who’d sadly failed to survive to old age. Would this prove to be an obstacle to their continued happiness?

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Could you survive impossible odds in a hostile climate?

DEATH ZONE;

Can a body endure crippling starvation, thirst, cold? How long will your muscles support you? How far will your strength of mind see you through? Have you the grit to want to carry on when your body is screaming for blessed release? And for how long can you continue to endure before life slips away from you and death offers longed for tranquillity?

When it’s all too far gone, could someone special in that life inspire sufficiently to persuade one last heroic effort? And would that effort prove sufficient, or would the body finally succumb to the inevitable?

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It’s under lock and key, but who’s been tampering with the intimate diary entries?

DEAR DIARY;

It was a present for his eighth birthday, so he decided to record his most private thoughts there. Inexperienced, timid and shy, little changed as he grew up; relationships didn’t come easily to him, and he was for the most part reclusive, repressed and subject to his mother’s abuse and control.

But there was another side to him. A side he would keep secret. No-one would know about his hopes, his fears, his doubts. No-one must know.

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