Beget By Alex Z. Salinas

alex salinas

Beget

By Alex Z. Salinas

This is an almost true story. This is an almost untrue story. Money makes miracles. Miracles make money, ocean, the stars. Larvae and straight white teeth. Larry Rios takes off work, works from home. One foot in front of the other. One word after another, description of a face—The Snake-Haired Lady’s: forehead long as the desert. Skin pale like wolf-trodden snow. Tongue black as rot in the forest. He sometimes thinks he’ll escape the nightmare. Sometimes thinks he’ll avoid hell’s lash. I forgot to mention something earlier, dear reader: miracles beget miracles, but they don’t resolve the consequence of time.

Bio:
Alex Z. Salinas lives in San Antonio, Texas. He is the author of two full-length poetry collections, WARBLES (2019) and DREAMT, or The Lingering Phantoms of Equinox (2020), both published by Hekate Publishing. His poems, short fiction and op-eds have appeared in various print and electronic publications. He holds an M.A. in English Literature and Language from St. Mary’s University.

 

MAKING THE WORLD LIVABLE AGAIN BY BEAU JOHNSON

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

Summer Wine by K. A. Laity

nancyHow does that grab you, darlin’? I told you it was good, didn’t I? You can taste it all in there. Strawberries, cherries, and some special herbs. I make it myself. From my mama’s recipe. Kiss of an angel, she’d say as she handed it to my poppa. Kiss of an angel in the first blush of spring. 

See, that’s the colour. Blush. I know, most men are afraid to drink something pink. Don’t think of it as pink. It’s a blush. Like that first glow when you see a man is looking at you in that way. You know what I mean, I see you do. 

Go on, get comfortable. Take off those heavy boots. Have another glass. Sure is hot out! That’s why I always keep the wine nice and cool. It’s sweet, but when it’s kept cold that sweetness doesn’t overwhelm you. With a little cheese it’s just a perfect match. Maybe I’ll get some cheese out in a little while. Here, let me pour you some more. 

This is last year’s wine. It has to sit over the winter to really bloom. I know it’s called aging. When it’s in a cask that seems right, but I let this sit in a big glass bottle. They call it a demijohn. I think that’s kind of cute. There’s a few more steps to it but that’s not very interesting.

The fruit comes from the trees out there and the berry garden. When I was a girl we had a neat orchard and the brambles were well maintained, but it was more difficult to keep up with it all once poppa died. Would you believe there are black currants in there? Too many and it gets a little too red, gaudy really. But I like the flavour they give.

With all the rain see how lush everything has got? Last year’s pickings were a little slimmer. My late husband said we needed better fertilizing but he couldn’t be bothered to do anything about it, alas. Everything’s much better this year. The right fertilizer definitely helps.

No, don’t get up. What do you need? Oh. How about some more wine? No? Just a little? Funny how sleepy it can make you, right? More than regular wine. People say homemade wine gives you a bad head in the morning, but that’s down to a sloppy process. My process is very precise. My herbal flourish is a part of that. That’s what makes my wine different.

See—no, don’t nod off just yet!—see, I need to tell you about my herbs. You have to know the right amounts of course, but you also have to worry about the taste. You can’t have something so bitter a man won’t take more than one swig without complaining. It took me a few years to perfect it. My late husband was a tough customer. He’d just spit it right out if he didn’t like it. No manners. No consideration for my hard work. Not much to recommend him at all.

Anyway, I perfected the taste. He never even guessed how fast it could work. All I had to do was get him to take a second glass. I knew it had enough it to do him in. He loved it! Even drank a third glass. I won’t say he was easy to kill. It took years to get to that recipe.

There now. Just let your head rest right there. You won’t feel a thing. Just the kiss of an angel.

Gay For A Day by Judge Santiago Burdon

PhotoFunia-1591088957Gay For A Day

 

My son Dashiel invited me to the Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco. He was participating in the Fandango as a person on one of the floats. I was thrilled he wanted  to share this event with his father, so I enthusiastically accepted his invitation. I flew into Oakland instead of the SFO in an attempt to avoid the throngs of people arriving for the celebration.

The City of Oakland has always fascinated me.  It was once the Headquarters for the Black Panthers , Jack London had lived here and wrote his stories. The most notable fact is that it is the home of my favorite NFL team the Oakland Raiders.

I made the decision to rent a car which seemed like a good idea at the time. It would later prove to be a poor choice being that San Francisco has a more than efficient mass transit system in place.

There was a promotion available by the rental agency for a budget priced Toyota Prius and I readily took them up on their offer.

The car was smaller than I’d had been accustomed to driving and other cars in traffic were so much larger causing some concern. I wasn’t sure if they could even notice me and as the message displayed in my sideview mirrors warned… objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.

I made my way over the East Bay Bridge into San Francisco to meet my son at Washington Square. Amazingly I arrived at my location near the Cable Car Museum without an incident. A parking space opened up just as I  rounded the block and I parked the mini-mobile with ease into the space.

I walked across Stockton Street to  Park Tavern where I was to meet Dashiel. I was 15 minutes early for our agreed meet up time and wasn’t expecting him to be there since being punctual wasn’t one of his strong characteristics. I noticed him immediately looking so much like a man. We hadn’t seen one another in over ten years since my daughter’s funeral.

His signature Hollywood smile radiated throughout the tavern after he saw my reflection in the mirror behind the bar.

“Hey Santi you made it! I was worried you’d run into some type of problem as usual.” He said with a laugh.

” I’m happy to report that I didn’t encounter a single dilemma.”

He stood and gave me a hug that didn’t seem to last as long as I would have liked. I’m so in esteem of my son for the person he has become. My emotions are a mix of pride, joy and melancholy and they begin  to surface but I quash those feelings not wanting to sully our reunion. I ask if  he would like a late lunch before heading to his apartment in the Mission District. He accepts and we pour down a few brews with our Bar Burgers and  head out to the Micro-Mobile.

“We grab the bus on the other side of the park.” Dashiel instructs.

“Oh I rented a car! They had a screaming deal at the rental agency, I couldn’t pass it up.”

” Really? Ok,well you’re going to end up wasting more time searching for a parking spot than it would take to ride a bus.”

There it was! My son lecturing and advising me on my poor decision. I learned early in our relationship that we were much more than just father and son. Even at a young age he served as a teacher, a prophet of sorts enlightening me.. There is so much we can learn from our children. I respected his opinion and ideals and he accepted mine I think.

He often defended my acts of indiscretion that caused the

family,  relatives and acquaintances considerable agitation.

“It’s not all his fault. Life has always had it out for Santiago. He is at the mercy of fate’s left hand.”

No one ever questioned his logic.  He seemed to enjoy the part I played in his life. For Father’s Day one year,  I received a greeting card he created with a photo taken of me sitting down  between two scantily clad prostitutes at a bar I once owned. Their ass cheeks exposed  facing the bar with their backs to the camera,

me facing the camera with a pleased expression. The caption read; ” My father is not a role model. He is a cautionary tale. Happy Father’s Day Santiago.”

It is a gift I shall always cherish.

We reach the Tiny-Toyota and he erupts into a laughing jag pointing at the car in disbelief.

“What the fuck is this? This is what you rented a goddamn Prias? Never would have imagined you in a car like this.” He jokes  “Are you an Environmentalist now? This is definitely not you!”

I was a bit hurt by his sarcasm but understood the humor in his remark.

” Ya I know,  what  was I thinking?”

” You weren’t thinking. You were feeling. See, that’s the downside of emotion, it has no logic.”

“Hey Dash stop with the philosophy lesson. I’m having to deal with the consequence of my folly. I  know why my decision making has temporarily become unreliable.”

” Ya I know. I have heard your quote more times than I can remember.

“Most of my poor decisions were made when I was sober.,” It’s a great quote Santi and I’ve used it many times.  It always gets a great laugh and as you requested I always give you credit as the author. Let’s giddy up.”

We both squeezed into the Tonka “TOYota” pushing the seats to the farthest back position. He is six foot four or five inches tall and still unable to extend his legs. I entered the afternoon traffic with a questionable confidence in the abilities of other drivers. Then a SUV cuts me off just missing my driver’s side front fender while merging into my lane without a fucking signal.. I slam on the brakes pounding on the horn at the same time.

” Cocksucker.” I scream out the window.

“Ooo really, where is he?”

His comment causes me to laugh and at the same time it creates a disturbing vision in my mind.

” I think I threw up a little in my mouth from your comment Dash.”

He responds with a bout of hysterical laughter.

” You should know however the driver was a woman.”

He immediately stops laughing now with a disgusted expression.

” I think I threw up a little in my mouth. Thanks a lot.”

We’re both moved to tears from laughing.

” Dash I thought I’d get a Hotel room instead of staying at your place. That way you and your roommates won’t be uncomfortable or feel the need to alter their lifestyle.”

“Sure Santi if that’s what you want to do. Although my roommates are pretty low-key and know you’re cool. I’m the one who is famous for my acts of decadence. I inherited my depraved sometimes immoral behavior from none other than the master of epicurean conduct…my father.”

” Is that a compliment or are you using me as an excuse?  Let me fill you in…it’s a road riddled with potholes, unpaved sections with gravel, large rocks and boulders lining the way. I wouldn’t recommend anyone travel that particular stretch of highway.”

We reached the Renoir Hotel with moderately priced rooms and a time-worn charm located in the Tenderloin District near a unique Farmers Market. Dashiel headed home on the bus after I checked in. We agreed to have dinner together later and after visit some clubs to meet up with his friends.

I was excited to spend the night partying with my son and appreciated his willingness to introduce me to his friends. I quickly fell asleep tired from my journey, having three hours to recharge before hitting the San Francisco nightlife.

The phone startles me awake with a ring of astounding decibels of loudness. It’s Dash informing me he’s on his way and will arrive in twenty six to thirty four minutes. Strange reference to time. His way of wanting to be unique and eccentric which he is. The shower is delightful with a large shower head and great water pressure. I’m not able to enjoy the refreshing spray for long after hearing a knock on my door. I exit with a towel wrapped around my body dripping wet to answer.

” Is that you Dash? I just hung up with you.” I say while opening the door.

” Pardon me Mister Santiago I’m Frederick the concierge. Your son left a request at the front desk to wake you up personally. Is everything to your satisfaction?”

” Well Frederick I will not kill the messenger but I am a bit perturbed. I was in the shower.

I believe everything is to my liking. Thanks for asking.”

“Wonderful. If there is anything you need and I mean anything please don’t hesitate to ask. My name again is Frederick. Anything.”

He appeared to be a friendly sort of fellow, young and hopelessly hip, so against my better judgement which I seldom seem to use I decided to make a request.

“Anything you say!” He shakes his head yes.

” Can you find me an eight ball of Cocaine? No fucking trash! I’ll pay for quality. And deliver it here in half an hour?”

” Certainly, it’ll be my pleasure. You have cash?”

” Yes American dollars. So we’re on?”

“I’ll return in half an hour or sooner.”

I close the door shivering from the cool air, still wet from the shower. I’m not sure I demonstrated good judgement but I’ll  accept any  consequences that may result from my decision.

I’m clean shaven and dressed in a matter of five minutes. The view of the city is intoxicating, an abstract panorama of multicolored lights painting a masterpiece.

Still have a few minutes before Dash will be here, so I lie down on the bed and click on the Television. As soon as I get all cozy and comfortable there’s a knock at the door.

” Voy” I holler in a disgusted manner.

” It’s Frederick Mr. Santiago the concierge.”

” That certainly was quick. Are you liquid? Please come in ”

He smiles reassuringly while pulling the baggie from inside his vest.

” I’m sure you’ll be more than satisfied with the product. I got it from..”

I hold up my hand to stop him  from talking.

” I don’t need to know the details. It is not a good idea to relay sensitive information regarding the score. You don’t know who the fuck I am and the less I know the better. You understand what I’m saying? Uh see I forgot your name already.”

” My name is Frederick.”

” Okay nevermind.”

I inspect the package and it appears to be three and half grams almost all in one shiny rock. I dip my finger into the bag and place a taste on my tongue.

” I think We’re in good shape here guy. Good job. How much do I owe you?”

“Aren’t you going to do a line to test it?”

” I don’t think I need to at this time. I am going out for dinner and don’t want to ruin my appetite. You work here and I’m confident you wouldn’t rip me off. How much?”

” It’s one hundred and eighty. I know that’s a little pricey but I know you’ll be happy.”

I give the fellow two hundred and tell him to keep the change. After he leaves I repackage a fair amount to take with for the evening and hide the other away under a bureau drawer.

I kick back once again on the bed waiting for Dashiel. As my head hits the pillow there’s a knock at the door. I’m sure it’s my son this time and I open the door.

” Hey Dash,ready for dinner and a night on the town?”

” I’ve been looking forward to this for awhile. I was thinking we’d head over to Lolo’s for some Mexican. Does that sound good to you?”

” Excellent choice. Think we should take a Taxi. I’m not up for driving.”

We had the pleasure of a Japanese cabbie. He was a talkative gent from Japan having been in the United States for twenty five years.

I was surprised by his blatant prejudice of  the Chinese. He commented how pleased he was that we weren’t  going to Chinatown.

The Mission District is by far my favorite neighborhood in San Francisco.

Hispanic culture is alive and proudly displayed, along with a variety of Mexican Restaurants all with delicious cuisine. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Lolos as well as some engaging conversation pertaining to the days when we were a family. I was impressed by Dashiel’s memory of vacations and holidays spent with relatives. There is one event which occurred on vacation at SeaWorld in San Diego that is one of my favorite stories to relate concerning Dash. There is a large map of the United States painted on the concrete, each state marked with the name of the State Capitol. He was maybe five years old at the time and already quite intelligent. We all stood together on Arizona paying tribute to our home. Later in the day we lost Dasheil and notified Security immediately. We were desperately searching for our son when the location of where he might be came to me.

I quickly ran to the area with the large painted map, there was Dash waiting patiently to be found, standing on the State of Arizona.

We met up with some of Dashiel’s friends at The Stud one of San Francisco’s oldest gay bars. They were a diverse group of intelligent, amicable, humorous, talented and polite young adults. The future of the World would be left in good hands with these type of individuals. A method of determining a person’s character is knowing the company they keep. I was treated courtesly with a touch of teasing and taunting which I enjoyed. They seemed comfortable with my presence and it felt good to be accepted into the ranks. Although I was somewhat confused being referred to as a “Breeder” I never considered my heterosexual lifestyle as unordinary nor thought of a homosexual lifestyle being strange or unnatural. We are all residents of the same planet with different characteristics, beliefs and preferences living the same crazy life surviving adversity. There are enough negative vibes in the cosmos without adding hate for a sexual preference. I knew it was all in good fun and not intended to be hurtful. We all took turns singing karaoke. There were some excellent crooners in the crowd.

I wanted to catch a Drag Queen show but it was getting late and Dasheil had to be up early for the Parade. We’d have to catch the shows next night. I gifted the group with a generous amount of Cocaine we hadn’t consumed.

We return to the Hotel room and get tucked into our beds and after a few minutes I hear Dasheil start to giggle bursting into laughter.

“You okay over there Dash or having a humorous dream?”

“Sorry, I was remembering a time when we were on vacation heading to Wisconsin I  think. It was late at night, you were driving while we were asleep in the back. I remember McKenzie woke up and came up front with you. To keep her entertained you allowed her to play beautician and she placed a bunch of barretts, hair clips and ribbon with bows in your hair. You looked like a bad day at the beauty parlor but you told her she did a wonderful job. After an hour or so we made a pit stop at a Gas Station Restaurant. You exited forgetting about all the barretts and other things in your hair. Entering inside to pay for gas and a cup of coffee in the restaurant you returned to the van confused and embarrassed.”

” I remember the incident clearly.”

” Shauna, McKenzie and I watched through the window the reactions of people and you having no clue as to what it was they found so humorous.”

” After I looked in the rear view mirror I joined in the laughing. One of many times in my life I provided laughs for others at my expense. The memory was worth it though.”

” I love you Dad.” He whispered.

” You love who? You said Dad.”

” I know. Just thought you should know I think of you as my father although I always call you by your name.”

” That’s a good thing to know. I love you Dasheil. Good night son.”

Off to Dreamland we both traveled.

The phone rang with the sound of a Fire Alarm. A clanging instead of actual ringing. Of course Dashiel stayed sleeping undisturbed by the call. How is that some people can sleep through a damn hurricane or screaming sirens?  Myself, a light sleeper and one that always has trouble falling asleep. I’ve seen people sleeping upright in bus seats or on benches, concrete floors and in places filled with hundreds of different noises around them. I envy their ability to sleep under adverse conditions

I order room service for some coffee, English muffins with jam and orange juice. Actually I had an appetite for poached eggs but Dasheil has a strong dislike for them and gets sick to his stomach at the sight of them.

We wolf down the meager breakfast I showered first and was dressed in Superman changing time. Dashiel however took close to half an hour to make himself presentable for the Parade. He came out of the bathroom dressed in regalia fitted for a Drag Queen performance. The red boa accenting the colorful costume.

” You look incredible Dash. How’d you fit all those clothes in your small bag? I’m totally blown away by your costume.”

” Thanks. I was hoping you wouldn’t be critical of my dressing up like this.’  He looked at me with a disappointed expression. Causing me to answer with a defensive “What?”

” Is that what you’re wearing to the parade?’

” Yes. What are you saying?”

I was dressed as I normally do. I’m no fashion icon and I’m not trying to make a statement about who I am.

” You’re going to stick out like a bad penny in a pile of quarters. Hawaiian shirts are passe. The 60’s are long gone, dead. Sandals are an ancient statement of a Doc Martin mentality.”

” This is all I brought with me. What do you want me to do?”

” Wait let me get my makeup bag.”

Now there’s an expression I can bet most of  you would never expect to hear your son say. Understand how perfectly bizarre my life is. I am one lucky man to be part of this kind of experience. How fortunate I am to have my son’s confidence allowing me to participate in his lifestyle.

First he ties my shirt at the bottom exposing my stomach. Then he takes mascara and applies a generous amount on my eyelashes making them appear longer. Next some black eye shadow with a small amount of blush to my cheeks and finishing with a blue lip gloss. He hands me some long dangling  earrings  to replace the ones I have in my pierced ears.

“There ya go. Now you look presentable. And if anyone asks just say you’re a Chicken Hawk. They’ll get it.”

” Shouldn’t I have some wings to be a Chickenhawk?”

” Forget it. It’s not important.”

We grab a taxi and head to the Parade route. He has the Cab drop me off at a place along the parade route. Dash heads to the staging area where the parade floats start there run.  We had set a meeting place earlier for after the event.

There was an enormous crowd of spectators assembled on the streets. Together they created a kaleidoscope spectacle all in colorful costume.

The procession passed by with floats, supporting gay rights, lesbians, dykes, transvestites and transgendered. Everyone I encountered was friendly and in a gay mood. Someone handed me a large rainbow flag and instructed me to wave it enthusiastically as the media was on the scene. I was having a wonderful time and happy to be part of the celebration. Then I heard the music of one of Dashiel’s favorite songs. This had to be his float next to pass by.

“It’s raining men hallelujah. It’s raining men. Amen. Gonna run outside and get soaking wet. It’s raining men.”

There he was on top of an enormous float with the song blaring. They were all dancing and a few lip syncing the song.

The theme of the float confused me. There was a large fist displaying  the middle extended upright.  Only three words in large letters painted on each side and across the front and back “FUCK YOU DAD”  Dashiel noticed me in the crowd and pointed to me laughing while dancing on the float. He blew me a kiss and waved. I then understood the gist of intention was not a statement of our relationship but a declaration of what it didn’t represent. I began laughing as well with him applauding as he rolled by. What a great way for all those persecuted by their own father because of a trait determined by birth not by choice to express their feelings. I was filled with pride and elation. Our relationship was never poisoned because of his sexuality. To be truthful I believe I knew when he was at an early age that he was blessed. It never bothered me in the least. There was no long drawn out decision to ponder.

I began euthusiastiicly waving my gay pride flag. After a short while I began to sweat profusely from the exercise. A spectator standing next to me commented on my eyeshadow and mascara  running, giving me the appearance of a raccoon she said. I looked at my reflection in a store front window and she was correct. My makeup had run over my face and eyes now looking like I had lost a fight leaving me with black eyes. I looked ridiculous but had nothing to clean off the makeup.

So I returned to the formation of spectators and resumed waving my flag.

A woman reporter stepped in front of me with a cameraman behind her and asked if she could do a quick interview. I answered yes but had forgotten about  my appearance.

” Why aren’t you dressed as anything for the parade to express your gay pride?” she asked.

” I am.  I’m a Chicken Hawk.” I blurted loudly. ” It’s hard to tell without wings.”

Can you imagine how embarrassing it was being interviewed at the Gay Pride Celebration broadcast  on National television … looking as I did, with makeup running all over my face. I found out later a Chickenhawk in gay slang is defined as an older homosexual man that preys on young gay boys.

This event I will fondly remember, when I was…

Gay for a day”.

Hotel Room Blues by Mark McConville

PhotoFunia-1590832754Hotel Room Blues…

Lifting the mood is this mundane hotel room would take effort. The sparkle in the beer has dissipated, and it has turned into a flat liquid. The curtains are shut to stave off the spies and onlookers. Those people are the fans and the disturbed, the maniacs and the fiends. Through time, these voices diminish, leaving a quiet, a silence so hurtful to the human mind, as demons appear as instigators. Meeting these visions could kill a heart, offloading them is an almighty task.

Stuck to the itchy sheets is a man developing thoughts in his blemished brain. A brain productive, but one that is overly melancholic. If you could pick it, you’d be thrown into a lion’s cage. A force to be reckoned with. It isn’t always a drug infused party in there; it is a bear pit. Blood trickles down the sides, fights break out, the heart of it owned by a queen of pain.

Guitars are layered up. Many of them played to their death. They’re vessels of sound, of bitterness, of chords, of blood. They keep the user sane enough to live, to walk, to dream. Over the course of the night, some are thrown off the walls, some are broken into intricate little pieces. But he’s not a fading artist. In this moment, he’s one of the most revered musicians, masterminding songs of dirty luck and teen spirit.

Smoke flurries through the noise. Paper notes are strewn everywhere. Lyrical bibles are open. The room is far from being holy. Ghosts are on the edges, phantoms ingrain the psyche. The walls aren’t fabricated, they’re paper-thin, and this useful music protector and innovator walks around in circles. His tongue is tied. His breathing fast, rapid at times, these walls are closing in and the blood surging through his body is curdling.

Injecting junk into his soul relieves this feeling of hopelessness. He’s lying next to his most beloved guitar, talking in tongues to himself. Diverting the noise of the interfering voices is impossible. He sees mannequins with black eyes transferring a power through the room. Little babies crawl across the ceiling, they’re demonic creatures, fastened to sadistic ways.

Under the bed. He can’t look under the bed. There will be something dark and vicious under there. The phantoms appear and gloat, their pretentious smirks and frightening tone of voice add to the atmosphere.

‘Go away, go away’ he says.

They carry on remarking and the pulsating power they have is ludicrous. The walls cascade like cards and this young man is confronted by a blonde girl. She’s attractive, and he’s saw her before. She carries a microphone and a guitar. He walks towards her but she crumbles into sand.

A screen, there’s a screen in the background. Within the screen, there is a crowd. They’re singing All Apologies at the top of their lungs.

Back in the room, the man opens his eyes. Standing there are two people close to him. One holding a bass guitar and the other holding drumsticks.

He’s groggy and shaky, but alive.

 

The Ghost Of Gimmick Fall by John Patrick Robbins

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The Ghost Of Gimmick Falls

The damn air conditioner was on it’s last leg and a thousand some dollar television camera, was yet again on the fritz.

And with Saturday’s television taping approaching, most bookers would be pulling their hair out.

Freddy Carson, was far from most bookers of a professional wrestling territory, as you could get.

Half mad genius and a hundred percent bullshit artist, he had one of the best minds in the business.

As he sat in the offices that stood over top the television studio. Where sunshine state pro wrestling was filmed going over bookings and numbers. It was just another day at the office for the semi retired wrestler.

“Jesus Christ  Skip! It’s bad enough you can roast chickens in here without you cutting those stinking ass farts of yours!”

“Hey you’re the one that ordered the take out from that greasy spoon, so don’t blame me pal.”

“Hell I don’t recall you eating a damn thing, unless you count a bottle of Johnny Walker you prick.”

Freddy said, as he shot back to his best friend and the man whose voice was synonymous with S.S.P.W. television.

It was just then there was a knock at the door, as one of the production crew let Freddy know a young guy was looking for him, downstairs by the ring.

It wasn’t unusual for young kids to stumble in off the street, it was usually all the same old bullshit.

Either they had a belly full of beer and wanted a fight, or they were some amped up jock wanting to chase what they believed was their dream.

What stood before Freddy was the latter of that equation.

A bleach blonde giant, who looked to be six foot six and ripped like he was born with a barbell

In his hands.

“Mr Carson?”

“That’s what they call me kid, how can I help you?”

“Sir I want to be like you, I mean I want to be a wrestler.”

And with that Freddy like a robot went into the spiel.

The kid was a mark as they called them and even though he looked chiselled from granite.

Upstairs he was still green as a glade of grass.

The kid was persistent and he kept just begging for a chance.

But just like Freddy himself understood, when it came to this business just because you knocked at the door didn’t mean anyone had to let you in.

It was a life few understood and most never truly wanted.

But as they kept talking the television crew started to pay more and more attention.

They were eager for entertainment. It was a side to the business that was a harsh reality.

“Please Mr Carson, I just want a chance!”

Freddy knew there was no talking the kid out of it so he just told him to get in the ring.

And as he stopped before leaving the studio to go smoke a cigarette, he whispered to Shooter Stevens who simply looked at him deadpan as always and replied.

“Alright Boss.”

Freddy enjoyed watching the loudmouths get stretched, hell when he had a snoot full he was known to still get in there and do it himself from time to time.

And as the crew started taking bets and one even bothered to film the damn thing.

Freddy was already out the door and behind the building when he noticed the guy hunched down near the dumpsters.

“Fred!”

The dishevelled brute called out, as he struggled to pull himself to his feet in vain as he fell on his ass.

“Hell Doc, don’t hurt yourself let me come to you.”

Freddy said as he sat down next to his old tag team partner as he tried to ignore the stink.

Doc had shown him the ropes and together they had drawn big money in New York.

They were one of the best heel teams so they say.

Freddy had made a real name for himself and Doc had fallen from grace so to speak.

“Hell chief, how long have you been out here?”

“Long enough to catch a buzz you old bastard hell I’ve missed hanging with you!”

“Yeah we had some damn good times, I see rehab went well.”

Doc busted up laughing and launched into another coughing spell, which had Freddy worried his old friend was going to drop dead right there.

Which although he had respect for the man. He damn sure didn’t want to have to be giving C.P.R. to someone. Who smelled like they drank Kentucky dry of it’s bourbon and maybe chewed on dead dog’s ass somewhere in between.

Finally his friend caught his breath.

The two friends spoke for a while talking about old road stories and ring rats.

All the highs and lows and that shit that goes somewhere in between.

Doc stared off into the distance.

“Sometimes I wonder why I’m still alive man, I used to be something, kids asked me for my autograph now people act like they don’t even see me.”

Tears began to flow from Doc’s eyes as Freddy just put his arm around his shoulder.

The business was a cruel bastard to some and a dream come true for the rare few.

Freddy stayed with his friend as long as he could but time was money even Doc understood that.

“Hell Doc, I got to split man but I almost forgot hell you lent me some money when we were out in Kansas running the loop figured it’s about time I paid up.”

Freddy handed him what he had in his wallet and told his friend to swing by the motel, just down the street where they would have room for him.

And with that Freddy was halfway back to the entrance of the studio.

When he noticed that kid being supported by two of the crew members.

Apparently old Shooter, had broken his leg or at least he thought so.

Freddy told the crew to take him to the emergency room and get it looked at.

He also told him if he still wanted this, to come back if he really wanted to train.

He prayed he would never see that kid again but he knew he most likely would.

The business treated wrestlers like the diving horses down at the local state fairs.

Soon as a horse broke its leg, they just shot it in the head and found another.

Freddy was one of the fortunate ones unlike his old friend Doc.

The kid had a broken leg but that was no match for a man with a broken soul.

Doc was a sad reflection of what he himself could have easily been.

The show went on and so did Freddy Carson.

Avoid that rear-view at all costs for its truths can easily haunt you to the grave.

 

John Patrick Robbins, is the editor of the Rye Whiskey Review and Under The Bleachers. His work has appeared here at Punk Noir Magazine,  Piker Press, The San Antonio Review,  San Pedro River Review,  Heroin Love Songs, Romingos Porch,  Sacred Chickens,  Oddball Magazine, The Blue Nib, The Dope Fiend Daily. 
His work is always unfiltered

Do You Believe in Magic by JUDGE SANTIAGO BURDON

PhotoFunia-1591088957Do You Believe in Magic

A Psychic was considering to rent the store front next to the bar I owned. She asked my opinion as a business owner about foot traffic and specifically if I thought it was a good idea and if she would be successful. She wasn’t sure if it would be a wise investment. I was bewildered by her line of questioning finding it quite confusing. With a surprised tone in my voice I answered. ” I’m somewhat puzzled by your question. Being a Psychic isn’t that something you would know having the ability to see the future?

She looked at me with a loathing expression, threw her hands in the air and with a disgusted tone called me a smart ass turned and walked away.

The space remained vacant for three months and was eventually rented by an extremely pleasant guy named Marvin from Boston. He opened a magic shop and claimed to be related to Harry Houdini. He became a regular at the bar and drank Sam Adams with a shot of Old Grandad. He was a gifted story teller entertaining customers with humorous tales of his career as a magician in his younger days.

Occasionally he’d do magic tricks for patrons although almost exclusively for good looking women.

I realized an opportunity to book his act in the bar. I asked “Mystic Marvin Master of Illusion.” if by chance he’d be interested in performing once a week with payment to be negotiated.

The bar had a small stage and I let a local musician host an Open Mic on Wednesday and Sunday nights. On Friday and Saturday nights  Comedians performed hosted by a local Radio Personality and City Councilman. He didn’t possess much charisma and lacked audience appeal. Neither he or the Comedians he booked were very funny and didn’t draw much of a crowd as promised.

Mystic Marvin was excited at the opportunity to perform his magic. We arranged for his first performance the upcoming Friday night at nine o’clock as an opening act before the so-called Comedians.

The word spread quickly around the pueblo and I did a small bit of advertising, putting posters outside the bar and passing out  flyers to everyone that entered.

My novia (girlfriend) at the time was a gorgeous woman who I was fortunate to be able to afford. She was a vixen in bed with a voracious sexual appetite. I found it necessary to increase my testosterone dosage to keep up with her. She was also a thief and pathological liar which I considered minor character flaws I chose to overlook in light of her other qualities.  Marvin and Veronica seemed to get on well together despite the language barrier. She spoke little to no English and Mystic Marvin was one of those” I know enough Spanish to get by” type of people. Which I’ve discovered actually translates into “they don’t know shit.”

He asked if it would be possible to have Veronica act as his assistant for the magic performance. There wasn’t any reason that I could imagine not to grant his request. Veronica appeared thrilled at the prospect to be on stage without having to take her clothes off. Besides our relationship had been waning and I’d been trying to come up with a way to terminate our arrangement. I was pleased she would be occupied and not hanging around, getting in my way. She was suppose to be working as a waitress but never caught on to exactly what the job entailed.

They took their gig very seriously practicing twice a day and sometimes into the early morning hours at the magic shop. After five days Veronica came to me and asked me to purchase a costume for her to wear for the performance. The sequined costume she wanted cost one hundred twenty- five dollars.

“Are you serious? I’m not laying out that kind of cash for a costume. That should be Marvin’s expense. You tell him what I said.”

” You are so mean to me. You never want me to look nice because you’re jealous other men look at me.”

” First of all I am not the jealous type. If it were so I would’ve kicked your ass out of here long ago. I’m well aware of your flirtatious nature.

Secondly, this was Magic Marvin’s idea to have you perform as his assistant. This falls under the responsibility of the talent. Don’t make it my problem.”

Marvin walks in at the height of the heated discussion standing behind Veronica with an apologetic look on is face. I’d finished my oration, turned to walk back behind the bar when Marvin decided to add his commentary.

” I know you think there’s something going on between Veronica and me. You have a right to feel that way. I know I’ve been monopolizing a lot of her time.”

” Marvin that’s not at all what the conversation was about. If there’s something going on between you two, well that’s something I haven’t considered and honestly don’t give a shit.”

I knew he was banging her and it honestly didn’t upset me. I was getting more sleep at night. “The disagreement was over her wanting me to pay for a costume for the performance. And I believe it is an expense you should be responsible for not me. I find it interesting however you assumed the disagreement was about me being suspicious of the two of you having sex.”

”  She mentioned that you were jealous she was spending so much time with me. That’s what I thought you were arguing about.  I bought the costume for the show yesterday. She tried it on and modeled it for the customers. You were gone, went to pay the electric and water bills I was told. Strange that she would ask you for money when she knew it was paid for.”

I look around the bar, check the kitchen, office and bathroom, Veronica is nowhere around. I call out for her but she still doesn’t appear. Then I’m told by one of the customers she’d left after I started the conversation with Marvin.

” It’s not strange at all Marvin. As a matter of fact it’s her modus operandi. She’s a con and pathological liar. Don’t try to make sense of it, that’s just the way she is. Are you ready for tomorrow night? There should be a good sized crowd from what I’ve heard.”

” Yes I’m good to go. My act will last about forty five minutes to an hour is that ok?”

” Just fine. I’ll see you tomorrow night then. You go on at nine so be sure to get here around eight thirty or so to get set up.”

” You bet Santiago. I’m going to try to find Veronica she may be upset. See ya tomorrow.”

” She’s most likely at the bar in the Casino. Catch you later.”

Can you believe that insensitive  snake trying to shake me down for money knowing it was already paid for. She thinks I’m a dipshit gringo and it’s my first experience dealing with women and their underhanded ways.  After all I’ve done and tolerated from that stripper prostitute. Her dishonesty goes with the territory.

The night of the performance the bar was jam packed with standing room only. I was a bit upset with myself that I  hadn’t thought to  charge a cover of a couple of bucks a head. I did up the price on the drinks however.

Mystic Marvin and the Lovely Veronica put on an entertaining and professional show. He included an audience participation segment which received thundering applause as well as laughs for it’s humorous content.

After a few weeks the crowd dissipated and his act became less amazing. Although he performed one of the most mystifying magic tricks I’d ever witnessed. It was a disappearing act that ended with both him and Veronica vanishing. The next morning I noticed the Magic Shop empty and Veronica’s clothes had disappeared from my apartment along with some cash. There was no note no goodbye they just disappeared.

I was actually quite elated there wasn’t a long drawn out break up. Melissa a young, beautiful and personable woman I hired as a replacement that afternoon.

That night at the bar I bought a couple of rounds for all as  a tribute to my single status. The comedians even seemed to be funny although I’d heard the same jokes for months.

I bumped into Marvin about eight months later when I took a short vacation with Melissa to the beach in Guanacasta. He was sitting alone at a bar looking somewhat unhappy, overweight and desheveled. When he recognized me his expression revealed both fear and surprise. I waited for him to initiate conversation which he did with questioned confidence.

” Hello Santiago it’s Marvin how ya doing? It’s been a while.”

” Doing just dandy Marv. Man you look like you’ve been  tortured by Jehovah’s Witnesses that beat you with Bibles. Are you still with Veronica? You two left together so I was told.”

” Ya well that’s right. I should apologize for how I acted after you giving me an opportunity to perform at your bar.”

” Okay go ahead.”

” Go ahead what?

” Go ahead and apologize for being a back stabbing prick.”

” I’m truly sorry.” He whimpered.

” I really don’t fucking care.”

“She blindsided me Santiago. I got all caught up in her web of deception and couldn’t get out.”

He continued his voice cracking as he spoke.

” I thought she loved me. I did everything for her and she pulled the rug out from under my feet. Took off with some surfer bum but not before cleaning out my bank accounts and stealing anything of value I had. Took my little dog Abracadabra too.”

I  wanted to say how sorry I was but I wasn’t.

” Well ya know what they say.”

” No what do they say?”

” Love is great until the magic wears off. See ya around maybe.”

Never saw the guy again. Soon afterwards I began learning card tricks and graduated to some elementary sleight of hand tricks as well. I never developed a quality trick always screwed it up somehow.

”  Do you believe in magic. In a young girls heart…”

Lovin’ Spoonful.

Cut From A Different Cloth by Robert Ragan

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Cut From A Different Cloth

An alarm clock goes off. Outside, what little dark there is left waits for the sun to show up. Fuck my life, having to get up and go to work.

It would be okay, but I always do something wrong giving the people I work with a reason to bitch and talk shit.  Most days it’s unbearable, I want to tell them all to fuck off and walk all the way home.

Can’t do it, what’s my pride, health, and peace of mind when I have bills to pay. Without going through all this hell, I’ll lose everything I’ve got, which isn’t a whole hell of a lot. But every bit of it I worked for.

It all came honestly. I feel like I may have been switched at birth. First of all, my momma never done no harm to anyone. It would have taken too much of her energy, maybe even forced her off the couch.

Momma had no ambition, no goals in life. All she had to look forward to was whatever was coming on TV. Her bed was lonely, she was never unfaithful to my father. Not even when he stayed gone; off somewhere getting in trouble and not when he was locked up facing the consequences for his actions. Let’s just say my older brother, Sean, kept her busy trying to keep him out of trouble.

People always said that I was the quiet, more mature one. I’d make straight A’s at school but have my accomplishments over-shadowed by him busting a kid’s eye socket on the school bus.

He tried to get me to smoke marijuana and do speed. But I left all the mind-altering drugs to him. Growing up I was always the pussy little sissy boy.

Other kids saw my older brother picking on me. It became open season. I got my ass kicked by a gang of bullies. Sean stood there and watched. Never lifting a hand.

He only said, “Brad, you better punch that little prick in the mouth.”

After it was over, on the walk home from school, he made fun of my black eye and busted lip.

“Dad would be so proud of you,” he  said before laughing.

“Oh, I’m sure he would have been proud of you for just standing there watching,” I said.

Sean stopped beside the road, with both clean hands against my chest, he pushed me down in a ditch bank filled with over-grown weeds.

Looking down on me, he said, “I fight my own battles buddy boy, you fight yours.”

When we got older, I got a job and he went to jail. Apparently, Sean was pissed off over a woman and decided to break some guys ribs with a baseball bat. Needless to say, I didn’t see my brother for a few years.

Mom did one time, but just like dad he told her not to come back. Said he didn’t want her to see him that way. Too bad he wasn’t out when dad came home.

I was working and paying all the bills for mom. But the old man was more proud of his oldest son doing time for roughing someone up. I told my mother if she needed anything to call me. I left her there with the madman she married.

It didn’t take long, and my father tried to steal another car. This time he raised the stakes toting a little 38 with ragged tape on the handle. Daddy done lost his mind! Pulling over and shooting at the law. Luckily, they didn’t kill him. But this time he was going up the river forever.

While all this goes on, I’m getting up early everyday going to a job I hate. Sometimes I think…man my father wouldn’t put up with this shit. He’d see his wife and kids starving and sleeping on the streets before he’d get out of bed early and hear a bunch of bullshit at a job.

My brother wouldn’t either. That lazy fuck wouldn’t work at a pie factory tasting pies for a living. His crimes and failures have always up-staged my success and trying to be a decent person. At least I can say I got him one time.

Sean ran up a huge debt fronting ice for himself and his little lowlife buddies. When drug dealers were threatening to kill him, all his buddies disappeared. With no where on earth to turn, he called and asked for my help.

I said, “I fight my own battles buddy boy, you fight yours.”

Fuck fighting, I’ve got to go to work like a responsible adult. Still, I don’t want to see my brother get horribly beaten or shot. So, I told one of my cop friends what was going on. Asked him to look out for Sean.

This cop and I were good friends back in high school. Pulling no punches, he says, “I’ll do what I can but if someone’s after Sean then you know he’s probably got it coming.”

I tried to tell Sean to get a job and live like a normal human being. But  deep down I guess he just always wanted to be like our father.

Doing stupid shit and being locked in a cage just never appealed to me. Work doesn’t appeal to me either, but I’ve got to get up and go whether I like it or not, because the bills keep coming.

Fuck my life!

Vortex Of Disrepair by Mark McConville

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Vortex Of Disrepair.

You told me the drugs don’t work when I wiped the sweat from your forehead. All over this untidy room are pills and empty bottles which contained cheap wine, the wine that rots your insides. On the bedside cabinet lies medicine bottles, those orange ones they have in movies, those capsules holding your misery. Since you started, your body has changed, you’ve become skin and bone, your hair has thinned, the face that once took my breath away has changed from radiant to grey. This whole story is filled deeply in disdain, rejection hurts you, even when you say you’re ready to give up the rat race, the dependence for narcotics.

I used to be under the strain of drugs. A man who chased wisdom, who sucked power from the livestream. I walked on side of town where shots were fired, where people smeared blood on walls and happiness was an afterthought. Love hid its face, hope had no influence, and dreams were only bubbling in the heads of powerful men. I stood under the baking sun on days when my I felt hungover, selling drugs, consuming drugs, loving drugs, hating drugs. At one point, my reflection frightened me, my features screwed up, I looked disheveled and beyond my years.

Back in this room, I don’t want to be here, but my heart has directed me to this chaotic space. Disarmed of everything good, I pick you up from the floor, brush off the dust, and kiss you on the cheek. You smile, you place your head onto my shoulder. You’re still stuck in a trip of dissatisfaction, hoping for your world to click back into place, but normality seems stranded in a vortex of disrepair.

You ask me to tell you what my favorite song is. Even under the influence, you still make some sense. I can’t choose as there are many, many songs that take me to distant places that make me think about different faces. Those faces crumble in my mind though, their expressions dissipate leaving only debris. I have scars; you have scars, deeper than a chamber of secrets. This room is your dark chamber, one stinking of human odors.

I put you to bed, caressing your cracked skin, looking into your disorientated eyes. Through them, I try to see what you can become. Someone with aspirations and ambitions, a woman stripping back the world and then studding goodness into its core. You can do it, run free, mark your space, and carry banners through the streets. Times will be hard, cutting the shackles of this common devil, will drive you to the brink.

Don’t let the devil slip back into your life. Let the angels clean up your mess.

Like Those Old Western Movies by Stephen J. Golds

PhotoFunia-1590663152

Like Those Old Western Movies

 

Darkness…

*

Pain…

*

Raptures…

*

He wrenched the cleaning woman to her feet and shoved her out in front of him. A shield. He screamed at her to get the fucking door. Get the door! GET THE FUCKING DOOR!

The pulsing lights were blinding.

Cops barked and shouted.

Tremors shook his body and he didn’t know if it was the woman or him that was trembling. Voltage passing through them both like a train. Her long brown hair had come lose and was trickling over his hand and the pistol. She crossed herself erratic as he ripped her head back and stabbed the muzzle into the soft flesh of her jaw.

Him and the maid together, like those old western movies. Butch Cassidy and The Sun Dance Kid.

*

Shards of glass, splinters of wood and plaster dust exploded around the room. Red and blue colors flashed and danced on the early morning walls.

He gripped the maid around the throat, held her down with one sweat-drenched hand and clasped at the pistol with the other.

The gunfire tapered off.

He peeked out of the shattered window at the bodies on the ground. He was a cop killer now. More black and whites sped into the motel’s parking lot.

A voice mumbled over a megaphone.

Dust clouds whirled and twisted.

The maid whimpered and fumbled at a black beaded rosary. He tried to remember how many rounds he had left. Not enough.

*

The bitch wouldn’t shut up.

He’d had to shut her up.

He waited until he hit a quiet stretch, swerved, pulled her piece of shit Honda over to the side of the highway and shoved her out into a ditch.

He found a cloth in the glove box and used it to soak up some of the puddles of blood and then tossed that out too.

Pushed the pistol back under the driver’s seat.

He reached over into the back, grabbed the holdall and pulled it upfront. Dropped it in the passenger’s seat. Its weight made him grin.

Almost nightfall.

Almost at the border and not a cop car in sight.

He needed to stop. He drove past a motel. Dumped the Honda and walked back an hour to the motel and checked himself into a room on the end.

*

Three black and whites swung into the jewellery store parking lot, sirens screaming as they burst out the front doors.

Vincent and Tony started blasting. Stupid fucks thought they were in a spaghetti western. The cops weren’t fucking around either. He’d watched Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. He knew how that old western had ended.

He saw Vincent jump around, collapse in his peripheral, kick out. He didn’t wait around for Tony. To hell with him. Let Tony play at Cops and Robbers. He snatched a bag and got the fuck out of there.

Around the motel, down a back alley, over a chain link fence, through some kind of a forecourt, over another chain link fence, up an embankment and out onto the freeway.

Panting like a rabid mutt.

Running.

The handles of the holdall ripping into the flesh of his palm.

Horns blared.

A baby blue Honda braked, screeching hard when he put a couple of rounds through the windshield.

The women in the driver’s seat screeched hard too as he stabbed the muzzle of the pistol into the flesh of her neck and forced her into the passenger’s seat.  The bitch screamed.

*

Jerk-off Joe behind the counter pushed the button.

Tony pushed the button on Jerk-off Joe.

Customers screamed.

He swung the sledgehammer, smashed at display cases and stuffed the holdall with everything that glittered and glistened.

Vincent pistol whipped a kid making a move for the door. The kid screamed like a little girl.

He looked at his wristwatch and pulled at the sweat soaked stocking covering his features. He could hear sirens wailing in the distance and shouted to Vincent and Tony to move, fucking move! MOVE!