MAKING THE WORLD LIVABLE AGAIN BY BEAU JOHNSON

Beau Johnson, Flash Fiction, Punk Noir Magazine, Short Stories

beau johnson

MAKING THE WORLD LIVABLE AGAIN

“Look, I’ll be honest. It was only after my third ability manifested that I knew I’d be changing the world. That I’d be attempting to, anyway.”

Their eyes follow me, but as instructed, their mouths remain closed. A near insurmountable feat with this particular bunch, junior especially, but seeing as they’d been privy to my opening salvo, completely understandable.

“And I know some of you have come around to my way of thinking, but people, too little too late became popular for a reason.” I turn to the live feed and address the world. It’s not first time I have done this. I’m sure it will not be my last. Behind me, I hear a few of them readjust their positions. Twelve is their total today. Today, I hope it’s enough.

“Here we are again, yes, but instead of the White House, today I have chosen Capital Hill. Might not mean much to some, but to others I believe the nuance is not lost.”

I hold my look. I stare into the camera. Does it work? I truly don’t know. But as I’ve always been, I’m a man who has clung to hope.

“Many of you see me as a murderer. You are not wrong in this assessment. I am the villain here. Make no mistake. But I have chosen to become a monster in order to contain a monster—because of people like the ones behind me.”

“Two wrongs don’t make a right, correct, but you know what else? The equation failed the human race long ago, we just weren’t aware it had occurred. Children in cages put an end to that. Add a black man out for a jog and an entire race placed beneath the knee of oppression for four hundred years and you’d have to be a goddamn idiot not to see why the center couldn’t hold.”

I stop there. I’m getting heated. It’s nothing new, of course, but as I said, I’m attempting something new. The thought takes me back to that photo-op.  Not only to how that bible had been held, but how those protesters were tear gassed by a man who felt he’d been made to look small.

Looking back, this was the moment I knew.

Wasn’t until he decides to address the nation from the Oval Office two days later that I reveal myself, however. And I know it appeared as though I came out of thin air beside the man, but that’s not how it works. I move differently now is all.

It’s when the secret service attempt to draw weapons upon me that the entire room becomes a vacuum, though. I wouldn’t allow them to move. Each muscle fibre within them held at bay by my second ability, the one I woke up to last fall.

I look to the camera then—the camera focused on the President of the United States in his chair that day. My promises made, I reiterate how it began for me, from his mocking of a disabled man and then back to the aforementioned children he’d chosen to keep in cages. Only when I bring up how he failed to condemn nazis, saying there were good people on both sides, do I reach into his mouth and pull out the bottom part of his jaw until it separates from his chest.

As I hoped it would, it gets my point across, but not before actions are taken and in through the window behind me, they attempt to shoot me in the back of the head. I am not phased, of course, and the world sees as much, the sniper’s bullet and my first ability combining to create an image you only find in comic books.

But I am not done.

Which brings us back to here, with the men and women I have brought together today.

“And to be fair, I did warn you I’d be back.” True. I just didn’t tell them who I’d be choosing. Makes me sympathetic to why some of them were weeping openly now. All told, caught out as they were, I’d be crying too.

“But there’s been a development,” I say, and inform them of last Wednesday, when my latest ability manifests itself and how I now had one new trait for every year of this particular Presidency.

Correction: what was this particular Presidency.

“Now I want you all to listen,” I continue, turning to address the larger audience tuning in. “For some of you, what is about to occur, it might very well happen within your personal space. Brace yourself is all I can say.” They would never be ready, though. Not as they should. I am something that has never been. Some would suggest I’m a god now. I’ve decided to go with evolution, or a different type of evolution, and one where the evil that people do can now be fought on level ground.

I raise my hand. I clench my fist.

And around the world implode the heads of more than eight hundred and sixty million rapists and pedophiles at the same time. One step better is Melania’s scream, there as she’s drenched by what remained of Lyndsey Graham.

“Hmm,” I say and hook a thumb back behind me as I do. “Always thought that Lady G business was the reason he chose to throw McCain under the bus. Looks like I was wrong.” It’s enough, and it ensures the majority can no longer abide by my one rule. But it’s not just screaming that begins. Others start to grovel. More beg. Pence, Barr, and Kelly-Anne most of all.

I snap my fingers and in an instant, they implode like Graham. The aisles of Congress now flowing with actual blood. I move on to Ivanka and Jared, pushing them through Melania and creating something that would make John Carpenter proud. I take Nunes next, his buddy Gaetz, then Eric and Don Jr.  It’s swift, compact, and Eric’s head rolls furthest of them all. McConnell I save for last, and I let him bleed out only after the last of his skin had been removed.

I turn back to my audience. I repeat that I’m not the good guy; that I know my trespasses and what they represent. I will change things regardless, I say, and then to those still listening, I go on about Russia, about China, and every other country I plan to visit.

I speak of returns as well; that I was not yet done with America and its sins. I mention Karla Homolka, Casey Anthony, Jim Jordan, Brett Kavanaugh, George Zimmerman, O.J. Simpson, Sarah Sanders, Stephen Millar, and advise every other enabler/facilitator who continued to stare at their screens and believed this all to be a dream to expect a visit from me as well.

I say I will get them all, but that I once I had, I held no plans to rule. That when I was done, I’d be done, and the only thing to ever pull me back would be if human decency chose to waver once more.

What I state last is the root of it all; the thing I would take care of next.

“All right,” I say. “Now that I have your attention, who’s up for redistributing some wealth? Who’s ready to dismantle some billionaires?”

Through the concrete, I hear the world respond.

BEAU JOHNSON IS HERE

KEEPING TABS a Bishop Rider story by Beau Johnson

Beau Johnson, Crime Fiction, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Punk Noir Magazine, Short Stories

all of them to burn

We find the shipping container within a sea of shipping containers. Inside is what we hoped were not: three distressed newborns and fifteen illegals under the age of consent. Malnourished, they’re living in the type of squalor one can only imagine. An unflushed toilet is as close as I can get, but even that is far from the wall which hits us.

Also: correction—these girls, they weren’t living. They were surviving.

What led us here is the last thing Reggie Bone told us before I relieved him of his hands.

“The abductions. The snuff films. The piece of shit admits to it being his father behind it all. He also mentioned a shipping container full of something he hoped to trade.” Batista stops in his tracks, his face seeming to recede as he absorbs the news. I feel for him. I do. But I feel more for the people these pieces of shit choose to rip apart.

“This shipping container, he give you a number?”

He did. And now we stood, doors open, the light from above and behind the Detective and me twisting our appearance into something it was not. Cowering, the girls beg, they plead, and we try our best to make them understand. Once Batista calls it in, I vacate the premises.

We weren’t done, though.

No. Not by a mile.

 

 

It was true. All of it. Angelo Bone being the one behind it all. The man hid his tracks well, too, but shell companies, they can only hold secrets for so long. What adds insult to injury is both the sentence handed down and the amount of time he actually serves.

Early release brings the number to just under eight years, and why, I’m thinking, Batista kept tabs. Means we knew his day of release months beforehand. Little more digging and Bobby Meeks pops into view, he being the person registered as Bone’s pick up that day. Outside the gate, I follow both men and the Caprice to the east side of Culver. Beyond boarded-up houses, beyond run-down streets, they slow and slide into the driveway of a house Bone no longer owned on paper but seemed to be his all the same.

Each man exits the Caprice, Angelo Bone thinner than the man who drove him there. The older man had more hair, too, all of it bunched at the back. But what I remembered most about Bone was still there: his swagger. The one that proclaimed his shit didn’t stink, not even after six decades in.

I let the engine idle. I let them get inside. Halfway to the property I decide the front door would prove the path of least resistance. Situations change though, and I could very well be wrong, but when teenagers in shipping containers is all your mind allows you to see you have to go with your gut more often than not.

I’ve found things work best that way.

 

“You do realize we are connected in a way you are unaware of,” Bone’s voice is deeper than I think it should be, and I want to hit him again but don’t believe I’ll be able to stop if I do. Behind me, coating the floor, lay Bobby Meeks, his throat a second, larger mouth. “It’s true, Rider. My youngest boy, before he’s sent upstate, he participates in a mouth train they ran on that sister of yours. This was before they made that little movie of her, of course. It’s also before you figured out it was the Abrums who did you wrong.”

Not a lot stops me cold.

Not a lot causes me to question.

What Bone says next assures me he is attempting to do both.

“But your momma? She was different. My oldest, Malcolm, he being not only the one who put her in that dumpster but the one who broke the bitch’s neck.”

I say nothing. I can’t. I do, he never gets to the car. I do, he never gets to experience life from the inside of a shipping container for himself.

As I told Batista: we couldn’t have that.

 

 

The look in his eyes is what I remember most.

“No!” he says. “Not this. NOT LIKE THIS!” But it was like that, Bone taking a knee to the face just so I could pry him from the trunk. Once inside, I take other things from the man as well. His shoes. His belt. Anything which would allow him to leave life early if he really went and tried.

When it’s over, when the bribes and pleas go away, and after I tell him we already knew about his diagnosis, this is when he finally sees things for what they are. Defeated, he looks up to me, through me, the light from behind and above me illuminating everything I have chosen to be.

It’s here I shut both doors. It’s here I add the chains. I think of those girls. I think of those newborns.

Nine years removed, they still deserve more.

Beau Johnson lives in Canada with his wife and three boys. He has been published before, usually on the darker side of town. Such fine establishments might include Out of the Gutter Online, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and the Molotov Cocktail. Besides writing, Beau enjoys golfing, pushing off Boats and certain Giant Tigers.

Find Beau Johnson online …

Website: https://www.beaujohnsonfiction.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007691865781
Twitter: https://twitter.com/beaujohnson44
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Beau-Johnson/e/B079MHF7RG/
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17692442.Beau_Johnson

DICKS AND JARS AND A THIRD WORLD WAR by Beau Johnson

Beau Johnson, Crime Fiction, Down and Out Books., Fiction, Punk Noir Magazine, Short Stories

I needed to change the way I approached things. The laziness inherent to me is what prevented this from happening earlier I think, or maybe I’m wrong and it only comes down to what most of my life came down to: fear. Fear of failure. Fear of dying. Fear of sucking cock when I know I’m not meant to. This last one is what it’s really about, the one which screamed loudest I suppose, but the admission of failure comes in at a hard second best. It was the dick sucking though, this what ate at me most. And just so we’re clear, I’m not gay, not in the slightest, but certain things tend to occur once you make your way to prison, most of them being what you already know. It’s different when you have to perform however, and goddamn if that ain’t the truth. Does things to a man who isn’t right with what’s going down, making him a bigger target if he chooses to go and buck the program placed before him. Lucky for me I’m a fast learner.

Why was I like this? Fuck, who knows? I could say no mother or father but that’d be me making shit up. My life is what it is, and all I can do now is push forward and acknowledge my attempt at change. A planner now, everything I do is put down to paper and everything on it is then scoped out. No more cash and grabs for me. No more going in on a wing and a prayer. Two little things need to happen before I fully embrace this new way of life. It means facing certain fears already stated, sure, and only because the man instrumental to the big one is released just last week. Vic Sessions. Head queer of cellblock nine.

The man who made me his bitch.

***

Vic was actually Big Vic and he was larger than most of the men on the inside, in muscle as well as meat; my backside as tender today as that very first day, especially if the chair I choose is mostly made of wood. “You been duckin’ me, I know.” Eating at the worst type of mean he was the kind of bull queer who liked his eyeliner thick and his mustache thicker. The first time he and his boys come looking they find me in the laundry. I wasn’t alone. Not then. But the silence their presence brings causes that to change, the place clearing out faster than fat kids to cherry cola. After that it’s the cold steel of a big industrial trying to take an imprint of my face. Done, it’s a sea of orange above me, and then a happy ending for all. “Not bad, Hollister. Not bad at all. Thing is, we’re still gonna have to do something about them teeth.” Monstrous. Evil. Prison-issued leather a taste no man would ever think to acquire.

Shit was enough to drive even the most well-adjusted straight man insane.

Vic wasn’t done with me, though. Not for another nine months, three days, and as many goddamn hours.

Only then was I reborn.

***

Reborn by way of freedom—time served in lieu of good behavior. Vic doesn’t miss a beat at this, ensuring the honeymoon stage of our relationship is resurrected the night before I’m released. “You best not be shittin’ on my dick none either. You do, it’s you who pulls clean up duty. You get me?” And just in case you’re wondering, I did try to kill him during my time inside, once, but the attempt was by the old me, the Jimmy who Feared. The Jimmy I am now is going to rectify this oversight, having had a good long time to figure things out. I believe that. I really do. And only because there’s more than a lovely shade of brown in the bottom of the bowl whenever I stop to wipe.

I also gag if I let myself think about things too much. Hard enough not to, not with how many times I’d been forced to perform. I will change this though, as I think I’ve said, the outcome I seek worth every goddamn thing they’ve done to me.

Am I bitter? I counter: Can you fucking blame me?

I have to force these thoughts to the back of my mind though, ensuring they won’t fuck up my plans. This is easier said than done and anyone who suggests otherwise is either lying or straight up doesn’t know.

“You want me to do what?” said Brady Aldeen. Of my childhood friends he was the last to remain and the second little thing to this plan I have set in motion. And just so we are clear, I didn’t like him much, not anymore. The old Jimmy liked him well enough, the one who really couldn’t be bothered to put the pieces together and see how he might have ended up in the joint to become Vic’s bitch in the first place. This was another thing I was getting better at by approaching life with new eyes; at seeing the forest for the trees. It’s liberating really, what it offers a man. I say this not because of what I have learned but because of the opportunity it presents me. All told, they will never see me coming.

“It’s only for a night and it’s only pretend. Five hundred if you say yes.” What I wanted him to do was minor, his role only to get Vic into the car. He had to act the part however, and this was the thing giving Brady second thoughts.

“And you think this guy is gonna believe I’m a queer?” What could I say? That yeah, maybe, especially with the length Brady now kept his hair. Or maybe I go and mention the overly soft features he’d been born with. Maybe that. Instead I lie, saying it would be a hell of a stretch but if anyone could pull it off it’d be him. I also suggest an extra five hundred just to smooth the shit out.

Brady exhaled, closed his eyes. “Make it fifteen and you and me got business.”

“You have to be able to sell it though. I mean, this is one mean mother he gets to thinkin’ something’s up.”

“Now you saying I might not be up to snuff?”

“No, I’m just sayin. Christ, Brady. Gimme a bone here. This piece of shit had his way with me for almost a year. If anything, you think you could understand that.” For a moment I couldn’t believe the words I hear coming from my mouth. Seems I had changed already. Understandable, sure, but be it a good thing or bad was still up for debate.

“Yeah. Yeah. You were his bitch. I get it.” I see red as Brady says this, and any second thoughts I might have had in regards to him being the one who ratted me out are out the window and on their way to goddamn fucking Alaska before the man I grew up with removes himself from the bar stool. Hands going hard into his leather jacket I watch as he leaves without looking back.

Who needs enemies, right?

***

Granted, sucking a man’s dick day in and day out for the better part of a year would probably do some damage to even the most resilient of heterosexual minds. This is something I can’t quantify completely mind you. But I have to admit such things might be possible. Why else had I so easily lumped Brady into the back part of my plan? Instantaneously choosing to add him to the carnage meant for Vic? Yeah, something had broken inside of me. I just can’t give you the words. I can try. And I think I will. I’m just not sure you’ll understand. But most of that could be misconstrued, as Brady had always been in the running as the one who sold me out. I might not want to admit this but I have to. The old Jimmy refused this, his fears and the reprisals they could bring allowing the blinders to stay where they were, lapping the shit up. But this is the new me we are talking about, the one who got shit done. So maybe it wasn’t so easily I lumped Brady into my plan at all. He was only always meant to die. I just hadn’t known it yet.

Or maybe it’s just the dreams, the ones I wake from colder than I usually am. They are full of penises, these dreams, and they will not stop. Sort of leads me into what I’ve planned for Vic. If I wanted a chance at any kind of normalcy I was going to have to cut some things out. Trim the fat, so to speak.

Because it concerned Vic, it was going to involve a pretty big knife.

Good for him.

***

“Back here, man.” I could only see the outlines of their bodies because the light in the alley was far from good. Underneath me the ground is wet with rain, it finishing not minutes before I hear Brady and Big Vic’s voices coming toward me.

“Your mouth better be ready to take me, boy. That’s all you gotta know.” I’d heard the speech before, usually before lights out, but this time it would be different. If I wanted any type of life for myself it’s what had to happen. Doors shutting, I make my move and slide in the back, right behind Brady. From the passenger seat up front I see Vic’s eyes go wide as he realizes who I am and then that I’m holding a piece.

As the commercials preach: motherfucking priceless.

And I wanted to have a conversation with him; I really did, it too being part of my plan. This was not to be, not as I had hoped. No regaling of what I was about to do or gloating of any kind. Just screaming as the rage inside me steps forward and proves it has a mind of its own. Just pop-pop into each of them and then each of them goes forward. I have to pull Brady back to stop the horn from blaring but in the end it’s no real biggie. Vic’s penis is the exact opposite of this and I smile as I tighten the lid to the jar it still now rests in. Brady’s too is now behind glass but the size of his jar is better suited to jams. Each now sit on my bedside table, there for me to admire. I should be getting rid of them, both pieces being evidence and all, but I’m finding it hard to part with what I’ve done. This upsets me more than I think it should. Worrying me for reasons contrary to what I’ve already said; that by changing the way I approached things I might be able to purge certain tendencies inherent to my life. This has yet to happen. Not as I hoped it would. One step beyond is what scares me even more.

What if I just like sucking dick now? Fuck, what if I always have?

I needed to change the way I approached things. The laziness inherent to me is what prevented this from happening earlier I think, or maybe I’m wrong and it only comes down to what most of my life came down to: fear. Fear of failure. Fear of dying. Fear of sucking cock when I know I’m not meant to. This last one is what it’s really about, the one which screamed loudest I suppose, but the admission of failure comes in at a hard second best. It was the dick sucking though, this what ate at me most. And just so we’re clear, I’m not gay, not in the slightest, but certain things tend to occur once you make your way to prison, most of them being what you already know. It’s different when you have to perform however, and goddamn if that ain’t the truth. Does things to a man who isn’t right with what’s going down, making him a bigger target if he chooses to go and buck the program placed before him. Lucky for me I’m a fast learner.

Why was I like this? Fuck, who knows? I could say no mother or father but that’d be me making shit up. My life is what it is, and all I can do now is push forward and acknowledge my attempt at change. A planner now, everything I do is put down to paper and everything on it is then scoped out. No more cash and grabs for me. No more going in on a wing and a prayer. Two little things need to happen before I fully embrace this new way of life. It means facing certain fears already stated, sure, and only because the man instrumental to the big one is released just last week. Vic Sessions. Head queer of cellblock nine.

The man who made me his bitch.

***

Vic was actually Big Vic and he was larger than most of the men on the inside, in muscle as well as meat; my backside as tender today as that very first day, especially if the chair I choose is mostly made of wood. “You been duckin’ me, I know.” Eating at the worst type of mean he was the kind of bull queer who liked his eyeliner thick and his mustache thicker. The first time he and his boys come looking they find me in the laundry. I wasn’t alone. Not then. But the silence their presence brings causes that to change, the place clearing out faster than fat kids to cherry cola. After that it’s the cold steel of a big industrial trying to take an imprint of my face. Done, it’s a sea of orange above me, and then a happy ending for all. “Not bad, Hollister. Not bad at all. Thing is, we’re still gonna have to do something about them teeth.” Monstrous. Evil. Prison-issued leather a taste no man would ever think to acquire.

Shit was enough to drive even the most well-adjusted straight man insane.

Vic wasn’t done with me, though. Not for another nine months, three days, and as many goddamn hours.

Only then was I reborn.

***

Reborn by way of freedom—time served in lieu of good behavior. Vic doesn’t miss a beat at this, ensuring the honeymoon stage of our relationship is resurrected the night before I’m released. “You best not be shittin’ on my dick none either. You do, it’s you who pulls clean up duty. You get me?” And just in case you’re wondering, I did try to kill him during my time inside, once, but the attempt was by the old me, the Jimmy who Feared. The Jimmy I am now is going to rectify this oversight, having had a good long time to figure things out. I believe that. I really do. And only because there’s more than a lovely shade of brown in the bottom of the bowl whenever I stop to wipe.

I also gag if I let myself think about things too much. Hard enough not to, not with how many times I’d been forced to perform. I will change this though, as I think I’ve said, the outcome I seek worth every goddamn thing they’ve done to me.

Am I bitter? I counter: Can you fucking blame me?

I have to force these thoughts to the back of my mind though, ensuring they won’t fuck up my plans. This is easier said than done and anyone who suggests otherwise is either lying or straight up doesn’t know.

“You want me to do what?” said Brady Aldeen. Of my childhood friends he was the last to remain and the second little thing to this plan I have set in motion. And just so we are clear, I didn’t like him much, not anymore. The old Jimmy liked him well enough, the one who really couldn’t be bothered to put the pieces together and see how he might have ended up in the joint to become Vic’s bitch in the first place. This was another thing I was getting better at by approaching life with new eyes; at seeing the forest for the trees. It’s liberating really, what it offers a man. I say this not because of what I have learned but because of the opportunity it presents me. All told, they will never see me coming.

“It’s only for a night and it’s only pretend. Five hundred if you say yes.” What I wanted him to do was minor, his role only to get Vic into the car. He had to act the part however, and this was the thing giving Brady second thoughts.

“And you think this guy is gonna believe I’m a queer?” What could I say? That yeah, maybe, especially with the length Brady now kept his hair. Or maybe I go and mention the overly soft features he’d been born with. Maybe that. Instead I lie, saying it would be a hell of a stretch but if anyone could pull it off it’d be him. I also suggest an extra five hundred just to smooth the shit out.

Brady exhaled, closed his eyes. “Make it fifteen and you and me got business.”

“You have to be able to sell it though. I mean, this is one mean mother he gets to thinkin’ something’s up.”

“Now you saying I might not be up to snuff?”

“No, I’m just sayin. Christ, Brady. Gimme a bone here. This piece of shit had his way with me for almost a year. If anything, you think you could understand that.” For a moment I couldn’t believe the words I hear coming from my mouth. Seems I had changed already. Understandable, sure, but be it a good thing or bad was still up for debate.

“Yeah. Yeah. You were his bitch. I get it.” I see red as Brady says this, and any second thoughts I might have had in regards to him being the one who ratted me out are out the window and on their way to goddamn fucking Alaska before the man I grew up with removes himself from the bar stool. Hands going hard into his leather jacket I watch as he leaves without looking back.

Who needs enemies, right?

***

Granted, sucking a man’s dick day in and day out for the better part of a year would probably do some damage to even the most resilient of heterosexual minds. This is something I can’t quantify completely mind you. But I have to admit such things might be possible. Why else had I so easily lumped Brady into the back part of my plan? Instantaneously choosing to add him to the carnage meant for Vic? Yeah, something had broken inside of me. I just can’t give you the words. I can try. And I think I will. I’m just not sure you’ll understand. But most of that could be misconstrued, as Brady had always been in the running as the one who sold me out. I might not want to admit this but I have to. The old Jimmy refused this, his fears and the reprisals they could bring allowing the blinders to stay where they were, lapping the shit up. But this is the new me we are talking about, the one who got shit done. So maybe it wasn’t so easily I lumped Brady into my plan at all. He was only always meant to die. I just hadn’t known it yet.

Or maybe it’s just the dreams, the ones I wake from colder than I usually am. They are full of penises, these dreams, and they will not stop. Sort of leads me into what I’ve planned for Vic. If I wanted a chance at any kind of normalcy I was going to have to cut some things out. Trim the fat, so to speak.

Because it concerned Vic, it was going to involve a pretty big knife.

Good for him.

***

“Back here, man.” I could only see the outlines of their bodies because the light in the alley was far from good. Underneath me the ground is wet with rain, it finishing not minutes before I hear Brady and Big Vic’s voices coming toward me.

“Your mouth better be ready to take me, boy. That’s all you gotta know.” I’d heard the speech before, usually before lights out, but this time it would be different. If I wanted any type of life for myself it’s what had to happen. Doors shutting, I make my move and slide in the back, right behind Brady. From the passenger seat up front I see Vic’s eyes go wide as he realizes who I am and then that I’m holding a piece.

As the commercials preach: motherfucking priceless.

And I wanted to have a conversation with him; I really did, it too being part of my plan. This was not to be, not as I had hoped. No regaling of what I was about to do or gloating of any kind. Just screaming as the rage inside me steps forward and proves it has a mind of its own. Just pop-pop into each of them and then each of them goes forward. I have to pull Brady back to stop the horn from blaring but in the end it’s no real biggie. Vic’s penis is the exact opposite of this and I smile as I tighten the lid to the jar it still now rests in. Brady’s too is now behind glass but the size of his jar is better suited to jams. Each now sit on my bedside table, there for me to admire. I should be getting rid of them, both pieces being evidence and all, but I’m finding it hard to part with what I’ve done. This upsets me more than I think it should. Worrying me for reasons contrary to what I’ve already said; that by changing the way I approached things I might be able to purge certain tendencies inherent to my life. This has yet to happen. Not as I hoped it would. One step beyond is what scares me even more.

What if I just like sucking dick now? Fuck, what if I always have?

Bio:

Beau Johnson lives in Canada with his wife and three boys. He has been published before, usually on the darker side of town. Such fine establishments might include Out of the Gutter Online, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and the Molotov Cocktail. Besides writing, Beau enjoys golfing, pushing off Boats and certain Giant Tigers.

Find Beau Johnson online …

Website: https://www.beaujohnsonfiction.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007691865781
Twitter: https://twitter.com/beaujohnson44
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Beau-Johnson/e/B079MHF7RG/
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17692442.Beau_Johnson

all of them to burn

 

THE STRUGGLE IS REAL BY BEAU JOHNSON

Beau Johnson, Crime Fiction, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Punk Noir Magazine

New plan: find a better class of man.

This is what’s going on under my extensions as Renee’s “friend” levels his gun at my head.  Well okay, there’s a little bit more to it than that, I suppose, but stuff such as this is meant to come with the territory, no?  Instead I have what I have: my sixteenth failed relationship in as many goddamn years.

Man had a handle too, which maybe-kinda-sorta should have been a tip off right out of the gate.  Me and judgement though, we tend to pretend we understand one another right up until the bruises appear, the money runs out, or the dope and drink start quenching things better than I have ever been able to.

Brings us to Renee, the newest guy in my life.  A Frenchman, I still recall his smile when we met, his big hairy hands over mine.  Hey, you would like to dance?  He says with his mouth.  His eyes are a whole other story.  Finding Dory, perhaps.  But rebooted.  The end result coming to hold not just one type of shark, but the whole damn species.

Okay, those eyes said, but first I’m gonna go on and eat you up.  And you know what?  You are going to enjoy the way I chew. 

               So yeah, I’d known from the get go I might have been out of my depth.  Sure, I like to fool myself as much as the next person and really, who doesn’t?  But there comes a time.  Christ, does there.

“No hands.  Just suck.”  A tall order, sure, but one I have always been game for.  Oh yes.  Every inch of the way.  Not because the performance is a particular thing of mine, but because I am a people pleaser to my core.  Might be because daddy touched me I’m like this.  Might be because my mother did not.  Either way, it comes down to a combination of loneliness, gentlemen callers, and bad decision making so epic, statue, honor, and erected should be the only names I respond to.  Doesn’t help I like to be fucked often and well either, but even that right there is me stretching things somewhat.  I need to always be with someone I suppose.  For the majority of time I’m awake and breathing I mean.  Gets me into trouble is what this does, and mixed up with guys one rung below the bar of standards methinks.

Brings us to the fridge full of body parts Renee and I end up staring into.  “Well, pet, would you look at this?”  He didn’t have to say it.  Not in the least.  My eyes just about outta my goddamn skull.  We’d already found what we’d come for: the dope.  What I was told was in lieu of a payment owed.  Renee’s “friend”, our “ower”, some sorta Richie-Rich type.  Chandeliers and paintings the whole place over.  Stairs and sofas and rugs so plush I could more or less swim.  Why the hell didn’t we leave when we had the chance then?  Why make our way to the lower level and the red/black curtains we should have never pulled back?

“Just want to take a peek around, pet.  Won’t be but a tic.”  But it was a tic.  Many tics.  Arms and legs.  Torsos and thighs.  Wasn’t the worst of it though.  Not by a country fucking mile.

Turning, I feel the heat of the bullet that enters the back of Renee’s head go past the bridge of my nose like breath coming from God.  My man’s chest hair and skinny jeans fly forward in response, what remains of his head slamming into a crisper full of ring fingers and thumbs.  I scream.  Go to my knees with my hands held tight against my ears.  Takes me a few seconds but I begin to realize I’m still alive.  I look up, unable to control my shaking, my eyes right into the bright blue of the dude holding the gun.  He’s older than Renee, darker, and the man-bun he’s attempting has just about come undone.

“You here by choice or did that piece of shit force you?”

There are many things I could have said.  Many things I could have done.  Wishing to remain whole, I recount my life as best I can.  Done, he says: “That so?  If it is, prove it.”

I rise.  Wipe my face.  Tuck my hair.  Take hold of the axe he motions to, the one hanging just back from the side of the fridge.  I dig in and swing, the power I unleash into what remained of Renee something I never knew I had.  It’s cathartic, primal, and I scream the entire time it takes to take his body apart.

“See?”  I say, and my breath comes out of me as it does after sex.

He says he does, yes, and then he lowers the gun.  I seem to see him for the first time as he does this, and the exchange that comes scares me more than what I have just been through.

It is the look of lust which stares back at me.  The look of love.

Fuck—just my type.

BIO: Beau Johnson has been published before, usually on the darker side of town.  He is the Author of A BETTER KIND OF HATE and THE BIG MACHINE EATS, both published by Down and Out Books.  Look for Bishop Rider’s continuing struggles in ALL OF THEM TO BURN, coming 2020, also from Down and Out Books.

beau johnson

John Wisniewski interviews Beau Johnson

Beau Johnson, Crime Fiction, Down and Out Books., Indie, Interviews, John Wisniewski, Punk Noir Magazine, Short Stories

JW: When did you begin writing, Beau? Did you write short stories?

Hi John, thanks for having me. I have written seriously the last ten years or so, once my youngest was out of diapers. It was then I found the time to get back to what I started before “life” (as I’ve been known to say) got in the way. I’m primarily a short story writer and have never published anything over five thousand words. One day I’ll crack the novel nut. You just wait and see!!

JW: Could you tell us about writing “A Better Kind of Hate”? What inspired this
Collection of stories?
Hmm. I would have to say Bishop Rider inspired A BETTER KIND OF HATE. I mean, once I’d written four or five stories about him and realized I had something with legs, well, things sort of took off from there. It’s been fun too, and I have always told his story out of sequence for some reason, so it’s always nice when pieces of his life I never knew existed start falling into place.
JW: How did you develop the Bishop Rider character, did you see him as your

Alter-ego?
Ha! I would say Bishop and I are as far from each other as people can get. I’d like to say I could go out and do what he does, but besides defending myself and the people who put up with me, I have too much empathy to vanquish people in some of the ways that he does. As for how he came to be, well, I came up with April Rider first, Bishop’s sister, and only after she is raped and murdered by six men in masks does he enter the fray. It’s a different kind of beginning, that’s for sure, but seeing where the big guy and I are now, I’d take it no other way.
JW: What makes a good pulp/noir story or novel? Any favourite pulp/noir authors?
Well, I think that may be more subjective than I like for a first date, John. I mean, we HAVE just met. Nah, I kid. For me it’s many things, a collection of sorts, but I guess I’d go with voice if pressed. Character coming in at a close second and plot for third. I also enjoy a good revenge tale, preferably with some dark humour thrown in. As for the names you require, there are just too many to choose from, too many greats out there, and I’d hate to miss someone and forever feel poorly because of it. However, I will mention my master, my great Uncle Stevie, and that it was his book Misery that put me on this path.
JW: What will your next book be about, Beau?
ALL OF THEM TO BURN is also a collection of shorts, but one which deals with Bishop Rider and Co. in a way that THE BIG MACHINE EATS and A BETTER KIND OF HATE did not. There are also other, unconnected tales, sure, but I found myself filling in some of the gaps in Bishop’s story, from close to the beginning of his struggles and right up to the end of his life. If might deal with a baton passing of sorts as well, but either way, as I’ve been known to say: the struggle will conclude.
BIO: Beau Johnson has been published before, usually on the darker side of town.  He is the Author of A BETTER KIND OF HATE and THE BIG MACHINE EATS, both published by Down and Out Books.  Look for Bishop Rider’s continuing struggles in ALL OF THEM TO BURN, coming 2020, also from Down and Out Books
beau johnson

PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A CONSUMER: Beau Johnson

Beau Johnson, Crime Fiction, Down and Out Books., New Musical Express, Portait Of The Artist As A Consumer, Punk Noir Magazine, Short Stories

TELEVISION

I do love good TV, yup.  Some of my favourites being Breaking Bad, Justified, Lost, The Golden Girls, Hannibal (gone too soon) Bosch, X-files (season 1-7 only, sorry Doggett), the first 2 seasons of Battlestar Galactica and the TV movie Razor, The Office, Friends…I could go on.  Currently I’m in love with Fleabag and Barry, with Good Omens and on deck while I patiently await The Boys.

BOOKS

King. Anything King.  As I’ve said before, that Dude is my Vader.  Not Anakin.  Vader. Thomas Harris, of course, along with copious amounts of what I have come to call home, crime fiction.

FILMS

Oh man, where to begin?  Silence of the Lambs, of course, along with Tombstone, Terminator 2, Back to the Future (all 3), Pet Semetary (original and best), Stand By Me, Shawshank Redemption, the first two Aliens, Ironman (original and #3), Captain America: the Winter Soldier, Avengers: Endgame, Misery, The Shining, The Dead Zone, Rocky 4, They Live, John Carpenter’s The Thing, 28 Days Later, Groundhog Day, Fargo, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Manchurian Candidate (Sinatra version), Unbreakable…man, I could go on, but yup, those are a few I could watch over and over again.

MUSIC

I will always say The Tragically Hip, the best Canadian band to ever come out of the Great White North in my opinion.  We lost Gord Downie a bit ago and man, to be truthful, it still hurts.

TRAVEL

Wherever my wife tells us we are going, me and the boys are almost ready on time.  Me, I’m always on time.  The boys, though, two of them anyway, they take after their grandmother…

FOOD

All of it, thank you.  Save for olives (ack, the Devil’s balls) and Cheeze Whiz.  You do know Cheeze Whiz is grey before it’s put on the shelves yes…

DRINK

Coffee, water, and when I find the perfect amount of time, Bud light with ice.

ART

Don’t know him.  Never have.  I hear good things though.

OTHER

We have a Dinner Cruise Business called The Grand River Dinner Cruises which runs from May until October.  This year we are attempting something new.  We call it Beau’s Book Nook.  A little library where you can discover the greatness which is crime fiction.  If you ever find yourself in the neighbourhood, Caledonia, Ontario, Canada, specifically, drop on by.  As I’ve been known to say: come for a cruise, leave with a book!

 

BIO: Beau Johnson has been published before, usually on the darker side of town.  He is the Author of A BETTER KIND OF HATE and THE BIG MACHINE EATS, both published by Down and Out Books.  Look for Bishop Rider’s continuing struggles in ALL OF THEM TO BURN, coming 2020, also from Down and Out Books.

beau johnson

ANNIVERSARIES OF THE HEART BY BEAU JOHNSON

Beau Johnson, Blue Collar Noir, Crime Fiction, Down and Out Books., Fiction, Flash Fiction, Flash Fiction Offensive, Punk Noir Magazine

It weighs on my mind every second of every minute of every day.  Obsession does not describe me though, not to an accurate degree.  I am him now.  He, unfortunately, me.  The difference, the main difference, being our retaliations and how we’ve chosen to implement the pain.

“Your ribs are showing.” I close the cell door and put the tray down atop the roughed-in toilet.  The chains around his wrists rattle as he adjusts himself upon the mattress, his demeanour in an instant changing to what it always changes to once he realizes what’s on top of the tray.  Took some doing getting him here too, emotionally I mean, and it isn’t until his right eye is removed that he comes to understand what I have always known.  That I was capable of doing what he only ever paid his men to do.

It meant his need of solid food was no longer required.

It meant he would never again wear shoes.

“You don’t start drinking more, you’re only going to give me a reason to go in there and excavate.”  He’d respond if he could, more so in fact, but his tongue had been one of the first things to go, going early, pretty much at the beginning of what we’ll call year one.  It was joined by his left thumb and right nipple later that same year.  All three combining to become the least of what Reggie deserved.  Little could I know how difficult it would prove to keep things healthy, let alone infection free.

“Not that I’d be adverse to such a thing.  Not at all.  Inner, outer, you know it’s all the same to me.”  He makes the noise in the back of his throat, the one he’s come to use to beg.  I respond by asking him if he recalls when it had been me who’d begged.  He turns his head at this, lowers it, the concrete wall suddenly the most interesting thing in the room.  The response is far from new, coming into play about the time his need to stand while urinating became obsolete.  The old-fashioned way could still be used, sure, but the dribble aspect it creates, this is what forces the desired effect.  Year three is when this occurs.  Along with his nose and left ear it coincides with what would have been Becka’s sixteenth year.

Today is a different day altogether.  Today, Daniel would have turned ten.

“Do you remember what you said to me as you had them brought in?  When your goons were holding me to the glass?  You said how much you appreciated their names and that each of them sounded strong.  I remember this, Reggie.  I have never been able to forget.”  I have gone down this road before.  I probably would again.  As ever, he only nods, but then again, I’ve never given him much of a choice, not since tracking him down.

Caught, I’d been posing as a surgeon in a body parts ring when my own cover is blown.  Forced to watch, Reggie whispers in my ear as my children are strapped to operating tables and ripped apart and then thrown into bins.  The reason I’m left alive is meant to be viewed as a deterrent, for when me and the agency I work for decide to come at him again.

Reggie’s words.  His arrogance.  Not mine.

But it took years for me to find him, long after Janet left and I’d resigned.

“My son, he would have hit double digits today.  Means he would have been just out of diapers when you had him taken down.”  More mewling.  More trying to push himself into a corner which would never relent.  “Because of this, in honour of this, I believe it’s time I let you choose.”  He stops at that, waits, then raises his one good eye to mine.  On his face sits everything he wants, everything he needs.  It just might finally end.  The chance having come at last.

It hadn’t though.  And never would.  Not after everything that’d been done.  But it gives me what I require.  What I will continue to take from Reggie until I no longer can.

It meant we’d just begun.

Find out more about BEAU JOHNSON here.

a better kind of hate

 

MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME BY BEAU JOHNSON

Beau Johnson, Blue Collar Noir, Crime Fiction, Down and Out Books., Fiction, Flash Fiction, Pulp, Punk Noir Magazine

the big machine eatsFor his eighty-six years, Mantooth appears stronger than he is.  Veins on his forearms like cables.  A chest that could still be classed as barrel.  None of it mattered.  Not once we begin.  Four teeth falling from his mouth and we’re halfway to the place I want us to be.

“You’re going to tell me if there were more of you, Father.  More than just Bobby and you.  You tell me that and your ability to chew holds a much better chance of staying intact.”

Cheap tent or not, he folds, admitting to everything that had been speculation up to the point in time to where Bobby LeBec decides a boy no older than ten deserved the very same thing the Father had allegedly done to him.

Bleeding, repentant, the old man tries his best to wrap himself around my knees.  He pleads.  He begs.  He causes me to rethink my offer of allowing him to live.

“Things are wrong upon this world,” he says, his hands finally realizing that my right leg was not as whole as it appeared.  “Things are not right within me.”

“You don’t say,” and I’m already past the point of no return before I register his screams.  He ends up beneath the majority of my boot, his jaw and the pew he ends up against a greyish pink mush by the time I realize his skull has become something less than bone.

Batista was right: age would never be anything but a number.

“The prosthetic works fine.  No worries.”  I tell Batista.  I needed to get it out of the way quickly.  If I didn’t, there was no way of telling how far he’d try to take things.  Not that I could blame him, the man only acting as nature made him.

a better kind of hate  “Your balance is fine, then?  No real problems with speed?”  I look over at him.  He’s thinner now.   Too thin, in fact.  As if he knows what I’m thinking, he readjusts his shirt, then does it again, ending with a hand which travels through a beard that’s no longer there.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  Textbook and Batista, they are one and the same.

“It’s been a year, John.  The leg works.  It gets it done.  Can we just get on with it?”  I lost the lower part of my right leg more than a year ago, to an axe and a man who no longer breathes.  Where I see this as time lost to cleaning up walking, talking garbage, Batista sees it as something else.  We’d had the same difference of opinion years ago, when we first started out.  But the Detective, he came around to my way of thinking, which is exactly what I hoped would happen here.

“Fine,” he says, but the face he gives me says he wished to say more.  Wonders of wonders, he doesn’t, and almost like that we are back to saving the world the only way we knew how: one shit-stain at a time.

Overweight, wearing an orange track suit past the point of structural integrity, Bobby LeBec sits on the edge of his bed, blood gushing from his mouth.  The fabric of the track suit absorbs most of the liquid, accentuating cracks and crevices years in the making.  I raise the hammer again and LeBec screams, holding up his hands to ward off the coming blow.

“There were others,” he cries.  “I lied.  I LIED!”

Now we were getting somewhere.

I just hoped we weren’t too late.

But we were too late.  Only two of the six monsters were still alive.  Three had been taken by cancer, another by DUI.

“Three of the four died hard, Rider.  If anything, we can at least take solace in that.”  It wasn’t enough.  Would never be enough.  Batista knew as much, believed as much, but has always been a glass-half-full type of guy.  Saying such a thing might suggest I am the opposite, but this is not the case.  More to the point: the glass, in my world, it fails to exist.

None of this changes what Batista does, how he roots out the remaining two, the pair of them still holding ties to the church.  A little more digging and he sets them and me on a collision course—one their wheelchairs would have a hard time saving them from.

The thinner one protests the entire way to the edge of the building.  Over and gone, the screams continue, trailing off as I turn my attention to his buddy, this other “man of God.”  He’s trembling, covered in liver spots, trying with all his might to remove himself from the chair.  I slide behind him, release the brakes, and move us to the edge.

I remind him of the lives he touched.  I remind him of the lives he destroyed.

I repeat it was time to fly.

Find out more about BEAU JOHNSON here.

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Fiction: A BETTER KIND OF HATE by Beau Johnson

Beau Johnson, Crime Fiction, Down and Out Books., Fiction, Flash Fiction, Punk Noir Magazine

a better kind of hateFirst time I meet Lamar Purdue is in another life.

Squat for his age, he’s thicker at fourteen than the height he’d come to be in all his years.

Little man had a hound dog face and jerry curl eyes.  He was polite too, politer than most, which is why things played out the way they did I suppose; all his yes-sirs and no-sirs music to my rookie ears.  The coldness in his eyes I didn’t see until later, at his hearing, and then behind bars.  Rookie mistake #1: you cannot fix things.  You can only try.  Not me, though.  Not then.  I knew things.  I was there to save the day.

I didn’t know a damn thing.

We found Lamar’s mom slumped in a chair, the back of her head now the top of her throat.

“Lamar.  I’m Detective Rider.  This is Detective Batista.  You up for some questions?”  I look over at Batista and he gives me the nod.  Go ahead kid, it’s your show.  We’d been partners three weeks.  Three weeks and this was the first time he’d given me the reigns.

“She said her banana…said it tasted like suicide.”  Poor kid is what we thought, but that was it, the kid and our investigation giving us nothing more than what it looked like.  Three months later I enter another house to find Lamar.  He’s on the steps, same hound-dog face, same jet-black eyes.  His hands are bound behind his back though, cuffed and ready to go.  Doesn’t take me much to figure it out from there.

The foster family he’d been living with had been gutted and then cut into more manageable pieces.  By the look of the tub and the bottles of bleach beside, Lamar was looking to try something new.

“Don’t let it wear on you too much, kid.  Sociopaths will always be the hardest ones to catch.”  Batista was right, but even then, it still didn’t sit.

Kuwait had yet to start.

April and my mother were still alive.

But I could not save lives because I had yet to fully see.

I see now, though.  I see very well indeed.  So does Lamar, even after I go to town on his eyes.

“That all you got, Rider?”   He’d been released this morning, seventeen years to the day we shut him down.  From behind I stayed close, followed him to an IHop just off the 15, picked him up just as he sat to eat.  “’Cause they’re worse than you from where I been.”  I move forward, towards the chair, and put a bullet through his right knee.

He screams.  Curses.  Other knee bouncing up and down like mad.

“Man, you was a cop once!  This ain’t right!”

“And all you’ve done is?”  He stops at that, and then everything is still.  We look at each other.  I see the future as well as the past.  I want to go back.  I want to see the murder hidden in that young punk’s eyes.  I want to stop what he did.  I can’t though, and I know that, just as I know I will never stop what I do; what men like Lamar have forced me to become.  I’d like to say its centrifugal force, that something is pushing me on, that it’s pulling as well, but it’s not and I realize as much.

It’s just a different kind of killing.   A better kind of hate.

It’s here I begin to cut.

Find out more about BEAU JOHNSON here.