SUGAR & SPICE — ANDREZ BERGEN
I wrote ‘Sugar & Spice’ for Chris Rhatigan’s crime/hardboiled anthology All Due Respect (published via Full Dark City Press) and luckily he dug the story. I was going to throw in the pun ‘respected’ but think I’ll leave the shallow laughs till later, when you’re punch-drunk and less critical.
“Crime and postmodernism go together like peanut butter and jelly,” Chris emailed me back from India (really). “Gleefully maniacal stuff.”
Fiona Johnston, a fellow contributor, wrote in her review: “The teenagers who attempt the heist haven't the common sense to work out that the rare copy they've spotted displayed might not be all it seems and they pay dearly for this mistake. Yet again, Bergen gives a masterclass in short story writing.” (ta, matey)
The All Due Respect collection brings together some wild people like Fiona, Joe Clifford, Patti Abbott, Nigel Bird, Tom Pitts, CJ Edwards, Chris Leek, Richard Godwin, Mike Monson, Matthew C. Funk, Ron T. Brown and David Cranmer — so hunt it down if you can.
This particular inclusion was put together in October 2012, while I had my head deeply buried in my third novel Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? — which is all about comic book lore and superhero culture, mixed up with noir.
No real surprise, then, that I decided to have two high school kids knock over a comic book store in a more contemporary Melbourne.
The comic shop in question is based on the one I used to hang out at while in high school. Minotaur now is a huge, highly successful institution in Melbourne (Australia), but back in the ’80s it was a small shop down a minor arcade in the city.
Off Bourke Street.
Incidentally, these kids hop on the train at South Yarra, the nearest station to my old high school Melbourne High, they have their fingers in the till at the school tuck-shop (sounds familiar) and the bicycle of choice is a classic ’70s Malvern Star chopper... same as mine when I was that age.