"Relaxed Best"
Published in: Not One of Us #38
Reprinted in: Every House Is Haunted
Date: October 2007 (Not One of Us)
October 2012(Every House Is Haunted)
January 2013 (eShort)

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Notes: What happens when a private investigator tracks a philandering husband to an eerie bar called Al Azif?

Well, if you're a Lovecraft fan, you'll know it isn't anything pleasant.
Reviews: "Relaxed Best" received an honourable mention in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2008.

Any small press publication that reaches thirty-eight issues is to be commended. A 'zine that, like Not One of Us, edited by John Benson, can do so while publishing a bunch of strong fantasy stories that either play with or defy genre conventions, deserves a much wider audience.

Take Ian Roger's "Relaxed Best," the darkest story on offer, combining as it does the tropes of hard-boiled detective fiction with elements of paganism and witchcraft to create a horror story shaded with a sense of menace and creeped-out paranoia. Private investigator Ryerson is hired by Veronica Marchand-known as the Blue Fairy for her skill in playing the stock market-to investigate husband Jonathan, whom she suspects of straying from the marital bed. The alias signals Veronica's true nature, and explains her success in predicting stock prices. It also suggests that there's more to this marriage than Ryerson anticipated, with the possibility of some kind of demonic pact being hinted at as the story strays down the kind of horror/crime hinterland explored in fiction as diverse as William Hjortsberg's Falling Angel and Jay Russell's Marty Burns stories. Like Hjortsberg's Harry Angel, Ryerson is soon way out of his depth and discovers too late the meaning of the term "relaxed best" as he pays the price for Marchand's broken contract. – The Fix
"Not One of Us #38"

"Every House Is Haunted"