Three Poems from Robert Ragan

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Initiation

 

I never had a father figure

My old man was always locked up

now he’s in the grave.

So, here I am among my brothers

To be down, I must face them all for one minute

To these tattooed trailer park savages I look like raw meat.

They have me surrounded

Rushing in, they all swing on me

Punches connect with my face, back and ribs.

I fight back, but quickly run out of breath

A punch in the sternum doesn’t help.

I fell down and one of them started to stomp me

Before the others stopped him and said to let me up.

Back on my feet, I feel blood running down my cheek

“Jesus Christ,” I say.

It feels like it’s been a good 15 minutes

A member keeping time on his phone says,

“There’s 15 more seconds.”

Backing away from them

I put my hands up.

 

That Things In The Car

 

Nancy had all intentions of being a good mother,

She made everyone believe her life was pointed in the positive direction.

Then she left her two-month-old baby in a hot car while she went inside a dope spot and bought smack.

On another blistering hot day, she left the baby boy so she could go in the grocery store and pick up a few items.

High she roamed around the store in a daze.

Until the manger came over the loud speaker asking who owned the red 4 door Ford Focus in the parking lot.

She was terrified seeing the cops outside

Waiting for her…

 

Actors/Scripts

 

“How much pain are you in on a scale from one to ten?”

 

Grabbing his lower back John howls in pain.

 

Trying his best to produce tears,

 

He says, “It’s about a billion, Doc!”

 

Every time he visits the E.R, his name is brought up on a list of potential addicts.

 

Once he went into a rage when prescribed 800 mg Ibuprofen.

 

Hospital security had to call the police to come and remove him from the premises.

 

Guess the poor guy will have to buy his opiates off the street.

 

The prices are steadily rising…

 

Robert Ragan, from Lillington North Carolina, has had short fiction published online at Vext Magazine, Punk Noir Magazine, Yellow Mama Webzine, Synchronized Chaos, and Terror  House Magazine. In January 2020, he had his second short story collection, It’s Only Art, published by Alien Buddha Press.

Not Backing Down by Robert Ragan

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Not Backing Down

 

Jerry Riley truly lived the good life. So big in the dope game that he hadn’t laid eyes on the product in forever. He did all this while fronting as a businessman. 

Believe it or not, he was even a deacon at his local church. The man was so good at fooling people guess he thought he could fool God too. 

There were lots of men like J.R. out there counting blood money with clean hands while others were hunted down like animals for doing the same things on a smaller level. With his every move covered, J.R. had a lot of time and money to do whatever he wanted. The man would have been on a street corner betting on a dice game between hustlers. Instead, he traveled all over NC attending high school basketball games.

In 2017 and 2018, J.R. lost over seventy thousand on a couple of State Championship games. Was it Karma? Around that same time, his used car dealership was exposed for selling lemons. Plus the criminals he hired to work at his plumbing company were stupid and did a lot of half-ass work driving customers away.

Even the dope game was causing him to take losses. J.R. could have fixed that part. Instead, he was a coward, afraid to meet with the right people. Next thing you know the poor guy’s wife files for divorce citing infidelity.

Behind closed doors, he made jokes about paying someone a lot of money to make her death look like an accident. Everyone around him witnessed his mind unraveling.

The 2019 State Championship game was coming up and this season J.R. decided he’d take a more hands-on approach to win. Instead of betting on the two time defending champions, Western Harnett Eagles, J.R. decided to bet on the underdogs again, being his home team, the North Mecklenburg Vikings.

The Eagles won their first State Championship against the Vikings. J.R. lost fifty thousand on that game. 

The next year another team played Western Harnett in the Championship game. J.R, still holding a grudge, was quick to throw down twenty thousand against the Eagles and lost again. 

That year, with his Vikings getting a rematch, J.R. figured he’d leave Charlotte and visit Harnett County. The plan was to meet with a very athletic and talented young man from Shaw Town, NC. 

For Harris Woods to attend Western Harnett, his mother got up and drove him to school every day. She never thought much of Harris’ dreams of playing pro basketball. But damned if the boy wasn’t doing his thing so far. 

Two State Championships in a row, Harris was the second-best player as underclassman during the first title run. The following season, he won MVP of the tournament. 

Harris looked up to Kobe Bryant, mimicked his jump-shot plus had that natural Mamba mentality. 

More than his success on the court, his mother admired who he was as a person. She had another son who decided to live a fast life. Jamal was out there feeling out-shined by his more athletic little brother. He was always on some outlaw shit but never absent from his mother’s prayers. 

Harris never tried living that life. He was good-hearted and compassionate. Not once did he look down on his teammates. But he didn’t want the teachers fixing his grades so he could play basketball. No, he actually wanted to study and learn. Harris knew nothing was promised on the court, not with so many talented players to never see the spotlight.

Whatever happened, Harris would make it in life and never fall into the trap his brother fell into. He definitely never looked down on Jamal. Watching Lakers games with his bro is how he got interested in basketball in the first place. Needless to say, Jamal was never absent from his little brother’s prayers either.

With the 3rd State Championship game in a row coming up, Harris’s mind was on basketball a lot. It threw him off when one of his neighbors approached him asking if he’d gotten in any kind of trouble. Squinting his eyes, Harris asked, “Ole no, but why do you ask?”

The word was that a white man was at the store. A square who looked like the police asking everyone how to find Harris Woods.

Thinking it over, Harris said, “If it was the police they’d gladly come up in the school to get me, so I don’t think it’s them.” Joking around, he said, “Besides, I haven’t done anything wrong, unless they’re gonna charge me with larceny for all those steals I’ve been getting on the court this year.” Harris was humble, laughing, and tapping his neighbor on the shoulder.

Instead of meeting with Harris, that piece of shit J.R. found out where his mother worked. He approached her outside a factory during her break. Saying he was a major fan of her son and wanted to meet him. Straightening the tie he wore, J.R. said, “My name is Jerry Riley, by the way, and I didn’t want to bother Harris at school.

Confused, his mother asked, “Are you a college recruiter? Because you know my son’s only a junior right?”

Being totally honest for once in his life, he said, “Ma’am, I’m not a college recruiter. I’m just someone willing to give your family a lot of money if Harris throws the game coming up against the North Mecklenburg Vikings.”

Laughing out loud, Vivian Woods said, “First of all, I’m sure you’ll make more money on it than us. Second, I know my son and he would look at that like selling his soul. So, you just get outta here and place your bet on the Western Harnett Eagles, baby.”

J.R. said, “Mrs. Woods, I was trying to help you. My other ideas, well I don’t think you’ll like those very much.”

Vivian asked him, “Are you threatening me?”

With a shit-eating grin, J.R. said, “You can contact the authorities about this matter. But even behind bars I’ve got people paid off with full knowledge of your family’s whereabouts.”

Nobody was willing to kill an ant for Jerry Riley, but he put on a big act and actually managed to intimidate the woman. Yet, if they’d thrown hands, bet your money on Vivian because she would have whooped his skinny little twerp ass.

When Harris found out what happened he was devastated. Yet, glad to figure out what was up with the white guy looking for him. Faced with this crisis the first thing Harris did was contact Coach C.

Mitch Carson was deep and kind, he actually cared about his players. He was a  History teacher who idolized Coach K from Duke the same way Harris looked up to Kobe Bryant. 

Coach C claimed that meant being honorable both on and off the court. Always brutally honest, C admitted that his program was no longer honorable. Not with the guys playing because their grades were fixed. He reached out to each of them, explained to them how important it was to get their education. Coach C even offered to tutor them in his spare time.

When Harris called him about the threats against his family’s lives, he made sure to tell Coach C that going to the cops was out of the question. Immediately C put his player first, saying, “If we have to, we’ll just throw the game.”

That touched Harris’s heart, but really he was just calling the coach to talk with him about it. Tell him he’d already spoken with his teammates and that the Western Harnett Eagles weren’t throwing anything but sharp, crisp, on-point passes in the State Championship game. 

C asked if he was sure. Harris said, “Yes.”

Coach C said, “Alright, so let’s make this happen again.”

Despite them winning back to back championships, C made sure to keep them thinking they were the underdogs. The team to beat gets everyone’s best shot. So if they didn’t stay hungry, someone else would eat off the plate they wanted. 

The night before the game, Vivian had a talk with her son. She said, “We didn’t take the money so now they’re gonna have to kill us, right?” 

Grabbing Harris’s hands, she squeezed them tight and said, “Either way you’re gonna go out a champion baby.”

Letting his hands go, she was out of character going for a high five and saying, “Three-peat bitch!”

Harris said, “Momma, you crazy,” and gave her a huge hug.

The family tried to keep quiet about everything but it was impossible. And the day of the Championship game everyone could sense the black clouds hovering over that high school gymnasium despite the bright sun they saw.

The game took place in Raleigh, so neither team would have a home-court advantage. While warming up during shootarounds, Harris had his heart touched again when his big brother showed up out of no where with close to thirty Folk goons with him. Of course, security called the police, and half of them couldn’t get in. Jamal told them to leave peacefully.

The whole thing was his way of showing those fucking crackers what would happen if anyone harmed his mother or his little brother. He and his Folk superior all sat with his mother. It was the closest Vivian had ever been to a gang. 

She spotted J.R. when he walked in wearing his North Mecklenburg High t-shirt and hat with sunglasses. Vivian didn’t tell Jamal, knowing he was a live wire and might ruin the whole game. She was wrong because as long as everyone stayed in line, Jamal was only eager to see his little bro do his thing and get his third championship. True, he used to feel a little outshined but he was still proud, telling everyone his little brother was a star basketball player. 

Showing more trust in Harris, Vivian pointed out J.R. to him. 

Right before tip-off, a couple of Viking players tried to check Harris at half court. One of them pushed him and right away his teammates came to his aid.

When the ball went up in the air, Harris grabbed the tip-off.  Going straight to the rim, he rocked it with a thunderous reverse dunk then looked at the man sitting in the bleachers wearing sunglasses and flexed his muscles with both arms, just to let him know the Eagles weren’t backing down. 

Coach C normally would have yelled at him saying, “Don’t showboat!” But he knew the heart Harris brought to this game and couldn’t fault him. 

Harris played like a man possessed, stealing the ball, and blocking shots. He even stepped in and took charges.

Scoring wise, he was on fire, knocking down all four threes he took, plus three more dunks during fast breaks. 

At half time, Western was up by fifteen. Jerry Riley, dear old JR, removed his sunglasses. Staring across the court, he made eye contact with Vivian. He dragged his finger slowly across his throat, as a way of further intimidating her. Yet, he got up and walked out, knowing he’d blown another fifty thousand betting against Western and there really wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it. 

Harris started the second half picking up where he left off. Steals, dunks, and threes. Before you knew it, Western was up by 29 points. No backing down, no looking back, they built a 36 point lead before Coach C put in his second and third-string players. 

The first two championships were tight, nail biters. Going down to the wire. This time it felt good to pull a blowout.

Walking off the court when the game was over, Harris hugged his mother then Jamal. After that, he found Coach C and thanked him for offering to throw the game if they needed to.

C said, “This is just a game and I would have done the same thing for any of you.”

Harris grabbed Coach and gave him this huge almost bear hug and said, “I know you would.”

Once Harris let him go, he reminded C that they have to win this thing again, at least one more time in 2020.

They bump fists together and C said, “We’ll be ready when the time comes.”

Harris didn’t know tragedy was coming and that he’d be dedicating the next one to the memory of the Mamba, Kobe Bryant. R.I.P. 

 

Robert Ragan, from Lillington North Carolina, has had short fiction published online at Vext Magazine, Punk Noir Magazine, Yellow Mama Webzine, Synchronized Chaos, and Terror House Magazine. In January 2020, he had his second short story collection, It’s Only Art, published by Alien Buddha Press.

 

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!

Come Get Me by Robert Ragan

Come Get Me

An artist, I draw guns on small time dealers making their little re-up. Stuck up assholes, treating their friends like shit until they’re crying to their buddies saying, “Fiends pulled a stick up on me.”

Even with drug problems, I’m dressed nice. Still with money in my pocket and my ears to those places decent people won’t go.

I always hear so and so is talking shit. Someone sent word, said tell me my name tastes like pussy in their mouth.

“Sending word back,” I said, “Tell ‘em soon it’s gonna taste like blood.”

THC gangstas, Dirty White Boys. Anybody can get it if they’ve got it and I want it.

I’ve been lucky so far. Running into bitches not willing to die over their product.

Great! Cause I swear I don’t want to hurt anybody. Get my ass whooped almost every time I fight.

Anyone else with a gun on ‘em would smoke somebody first. Not me, but the way things are going, I’m gonna have to pull the trigger.

My name is on a lot of people’s hit lists. Just the other day someone warned me to stay away from a certain part of town. Said if I get caught out that way, I’m getting my head busted wide open, if not something much worse.

Little no name gang at least put out a warning. Some people claim it’s going down on site if they spot me anywhere.

Motherfuckers act like I’m a recluse in isolation. Terrified to come out. Hell no!

So, tell whoever’s talking shit to come get me! I already know it’s inevitable. So, who will be the first to make me pull the trigger? I’ve gotta do what I gotta do.

Started out breaking into the dope spot. Flipping everything upside down. Sometimes we found drugs plus cash and guns too. Other times we didn’t find shit.

When I say we, well, back then there was my partner, his girlfriend and me. Marcy was a thieving bitch, but once we introduced firearms to our game, she wanted out.

Lester couldn’t let her go, so I told him to go back to playing middleman and cashing bad checks.

Those two will still be breathing once I‘m buried and covered with worms.

I know it’s coming. When my time does come, whoever it is better be ready.

I’m always watching my back; a scared man is a dangerous man.

They better remember to watch their back!

They’ll see me face my fears if I go broke.

So fucking real, they can’t stop me. That’s why those cowards make threats. I hear ‘em all, even pick it apart when they try to say something slick.

If they’re ever brave enough to do all the shit they talk about, I’ll be ready.

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Not That Mean by Robert Ragan

it's only art

Not That Mean

 

What am I doing? So in love, I’m starting to question my own morals. Yes, even criminals have morals.

One time, I was forced to pull a gun on someone. It was during a burglary, my best friend and I thought no one was home. This friend, who I’m sure would rather me not mention his name, told me to shoot this guy. But being the kind person that I am, I just couldn’t do it. Instead, I just grabbed the barrel and whipped its handle across his cheek. Instantly, blood started gushing from his face.

We both just ran. If we had stuck around any longer, I would have passed out cold at the sight of blood.

That was the worst thing I ever did. The stealing and selling dope, I knew it was all wrong. After getting away with assault with a deadly weapon, karma would have gotten me if I hadn’t stopped right then.

Going legit, I got a job as a painter. Working a day job meant having to go to sleep at a decent hour. Even worse was having to wake up early to the sound of an alarm clock. Sometimes, so tired and worn out, it feels like I’m dying. Still, at the end of the day, I’m making an honest living.

I never wanted to steal from anyone. Honestly, I was being a sorry piece of shit. No, more like the whole turd.

Every day I still worry about getting caught up. Till my last day, these crimes could always catch up with me. Right now though, I’ve got a lot on my mind.

Again, what am I doing? So in love, I’ve been ignoring all the warning signs. I went and fell in love with a single mother. Now, I can’t stand the thought of anyone else ending up with Ellen.

Her long blonde hair, deep blue eyes, and just the sweetest voice. Sunny and cheerful but you should see the way she acts behind-the-scenes. Bitch done raked her long manicured nails across my face, clinched her tiny fist, and punched me in the nose the way a man would.

Another time, Ellen actually hit me repeatedly with a broomstick. My buddy, my old partner in crime who I still refuse to name, he would have said, “That bitch would hit me one time. After that, she’d be too scared to ever raise her hand at me again.”

He would never hit a woman unless she struck him first. Me? Most times, I can take the heat. Other times, I just get up and say, “Fuck you, bitch, I hope you die,” then leave.

I would go to work then crash at my cousin’s house. Every time Ellen would start texting me after a few days. Just to make her sweat, I wouldn’t respond for awhile. Before it’s over though, she’s calling and I’m always eager to answer it.

Honestly, the pussy is too good to worry about the broad beating me up. But, the way she treats her nine-year-old son Justin, oh man, a few times, I wanted to punch the bitch in the face.

The first time I ever went to her house, I had just gotten off work and accidentally sat down on her couch with wet gray paint on my jeans. It was obvious she freaked out, yet, she screamed at Justin! Ellen ordered him, “Go and get a wet rag!” But she told me, “Don’t worry about it it’s fine.”

When the kid didn’t come back fast enough, Ellen backhanded the child hard across the face! Right away I said, “Hold on! Don’t hit him, it’s my fault.”

She looked at me dead in the eyes said, “Don’t ever tell me not to hit my child.” her eyes widened, “My mother and father both whooped my ass. With his father running off to be with some stripper, that leaves me to give him double the ass whoopin’s.”

I looked at young Justin, his own blue eyes said he was suffering. A part of me wanted to say there’s a difference between whipping the boy and backhanding him across the face.

Really, I can’t help but love the little blonde headed bastard. He has his mother’s hair color but apparently he looks just like his father. I never actually called the kid a bastard, I tried my best to be good to him. Lord knows his mother wasn’t.

Like any other child, Justin cursed saying, “Fuck!”

I’ve heard of washing someone’s mouth out with soap, but this crazy bitch squeezed the bottle of Dawn, squirting dish detergent into Justin’s mouth. Damn kid swallowed it and ended up getting sick. I said something about it and she spat in my face.

Before leaving, I asked Justin if he wanted to go with me. Flying into a rage, Ellen said, “If you ever take him anywhere without my consent, I’ll have your sorry ass locked up for kidnapping!”

I said, “I try to be good to Justin, but sitting here watching as you lash his bear back with a leather belt, I can’t help but feel like shit. We’ve been together a while now and I’ve witnessed the kid take some pretty vicious beatings!”

Talkin about leather belts…well, Justin got the metal belt buckle across his back once. Immediately, I snatched the belt out of her hands saving him. Then Ellen focused all of her anger on me, it was that night when her tiny fist socked me in the nose! My eyes teared up and blood started to flow. I wanted to pick the bitch up and body slam her in the middle of the floor!

What am I doing letting this continue to go on? I can’t get the law involved because people like me don’t have shit to do with cops. I could report her to Social Services. But anything I do might have Justin taken away and placed in foster care. Nobody in his father’s family wants him. Ellen was an only child and neither of her parents would have anything to do with him. So basically, Justin doesn’t have anyone but his mother and me.

My buddy, who I used to sling dope and rob people with, he comes to mind a lot as I think about what he would say. If I told him about the way Ellen treats her son…well, I couldn’t take his advice on this one because he would say, “Kill the sorry bitch, wrap her in plastic, and dump her body in the river!”

Honestly, I don’t know what I’m doing. The more I think about it, I’m not really in love with Ellen.

Thinking about it even more, I don’t believe it’s the sex that keeps me around. As a matter of fact, I know it’s not. Not when the bitch pulled a knife on me!

I think I should leave Ellen for real, once and for all. But what about Justin? What will happen to him? I guess I’m sort of like his protector, but who in the hell is going to protect me?

To see Ellen out in public, she’s dressed to kill, very polite, and outgoing. You have to really get to know her before you learn how savage she really is. I’m still dealing with it all but I don’t know what to do. I’m far from a saint, maybe I pistol-whipped someone, but I could never be that mean to a child.

ROBERT RAGAN’S LATEST BOOK IS ‘IT’S ONLY ART.’

Robert Ragan

No Loyalty by Robert Ragan

Everyone had their own God. A set of rules they lived by. Brent used to believe, but he was about to throw forgiveness out the window.

Jesus should have been able to handle his problem with Judas. A fistfight and the loser got crucified.

Brent, riding in the passenger seat, watched the world go on outside his window. Sunny, cheerful people were leaving the shopping center in their fancy cars. They didn’t understand what it was like having to deal with thieves and liars to get ahead.

Good for them. They deserved the peace of mind for doing the right thing.

You don’t see the people that Brent fit in with in the daylight. They’re mainly out at night with mangy, skinny, barking dogs, breaking the silence they moved in.

The driver named Larry asks, “Are you glad you’re out of jail?”

Scrolling through his phone, Brent says, “I kind of wanted to stay.” Larry gives him a strange look, and Brent says, “Hell yeah, I’m glad to be out! What the fuck you think?”

Behind bars, he got into it with a couple of black gang members, without a single member of his group to stand by him. These thugs made it hell for Brent.

Outnumbered, there was nothing he could do. But this only motivated him to deal with the bastard responsible for his incarceration. When the time comes, Brent will show him that he fucked with the wrong one.

Checking Larry, Brent says, “So what’s up with our people? Is everything okay?

Turning down the radio, Larry says, “Everything is fine.”

Brent studies his expression, then asks, “Has Sean been holding things down?”

Changing the subject, Larry asks, “What’s he going to do about their rivals setting him up?”

”Don’t worry,” says Brent, “I’m going to take care of it.”

First things first, he wanted a bottle of whiskey and a pack of cigarettes. Before walking in the store, he gets a call from Hendrix telling him to meet him at the warehouse.

This older man, always dressed in a nice suit and tie, was the mastermind behind all the groups criminal activities. Basically, he never got his hands dirty but still counted all the money.

Every hoodlum on his payroll knew they were getting ripped off, yet they still wanted to be in his good graces. Hendrix having your back during drama meant a lot.

Inside this dusty, abandoned warehouse, the lookouts were in place. Hendrix walks in wearing a long overcoat with Sean by his side in all black.

Hendrix spots Brent and says, “Welcome back, son!” Looking around at his men, he says, “Give him a hand, he took a lot of heat for us.” Each of them clapped their hands, but none as loud as Sean.

Hendrix motions for Brent to come near him. Standing there, he’s starts to worry when Hendricks tells him to stop playing dumb.

The boss says, “You know it was Sean who set you up.”

Stepping back, Sean says, “Bet you didn’t know Hendrix was the one who put me up to it.”

Shaking his head, Brent says, “So, all of you made me the designated fall guy.”

He had planned on scraping the skin off Sean’s face with a dull knife. Now he just wanted to blast everyone there, Hendricks more than any of them.

Outnumbered like he was in jail, there was nothing he could do. They’d already double-crossed Brent leaving him to do the hard time, the only thing left for them to do now was kill him.

The whole thing started with jealousy. Sean didn’t like Brent being at Hendrix right hand. The lies he spread eventually changed the boss’s mind.

For quite a while the warehouse was silent. Holding up his hands, Brent says, “Go ahead! Do whatever the fuck you’re going to do!”

Lighting a cigar, Hendrix says, “Sean told me about the money you stole from me.”

Looking at Sean, Brent says, “Goddammit old man, can’t you see this fucking prick is lying to you?”

Exhaling smoke, Hendrix says, “Why don’t you two just fight it out.”

Laughing hysterically and clapping his hands Brent says, “I told myself I’d get that mother fucker if it was the last thing I did.”

He stood there running his mouth, shit talking.

Sean didn’t look eager to start things off. Sick of all this pussy bullshit, Hendrix shoves Sean forward into Brent. They both start swinging but neither one of them connects with a punch.

Sean rushing forward, slips and falls on the concrete floor. Dropping to his knees, Brent begins to hit him in the face. When blood starts to fly, he grabs Sean’s hair and starts bashing the back of his head into the hard floor, over and over.

Brent says, “This is what you get for fucking with me!”

Hendrix saw enough, giving the word he says, “Shoot him!”

Larry, who picked him up from jail, raises his gun like others. They all fired shots dropping Brent to the floor.

Bleeding profusely, Sean tries to get up but stumbles. Finally making it to his feet, he says, “Sorry boss.”

Putting his cigar out, Hendrix says, “I don’t want to hear it!” Turning to his men, he says, “Shoot his ass too.”

Given the word, each one pulls their trigger filling Sean full of holes.

Blood covered the floor of this old, abandoned warehouse. Just like that, two major players in the group were let-go.

The remaining flunkies didn’t care which member moved up and took the top spot. All of them will stay loyal and do whatever the boss wants. They already saw what would happen if they don’t.

Robert Ragan, from Lillington North Carolina, has had short fiction published online at Vext Magazine, Punk Noir Magazine, Yellow Mama Webzine, Synchronized Chaos, and Terror House Magazine. In January 2020, he had his second short story collection, It’s Only Art, published by Alien Buddha Press.

Robert Ragan

Switched Sides by Robert Ragan

I’m standing in line at the Kangaroo Circle with a pink can of Seagram’s Spiked Jamaican Me Happy. Two of the cashiers are talking about someone who just robbed the store and drove off in a black Explorer.
Sure enough, two cops walk in the door wearing vests all in black.
Immediately, my heart skips a beat and I patted my pockets expecting to feel my glass bowl and an eighth of loud called Birthday Cake.
I’m relieved to have nothing on me.
I get high at home but don’t carry it everywhere with me anymore.

In a way, I’ve turned into a law-abiding citizen.
I listen to these two women tell these cops what happened and I say to myself, whoever you are I hope you get away with this. I’m pulling for you even if I give a fuck now and try to stay out of trouble.
Trust me, I once won ‘Petty Thief of the Year.’ I’d go in your car and steal all the change out of your center console.

I once was shot at after spotting a double-barreled shotgun in the back window of some old rednecks’ truck. Of course, he was smart enough to lock his doors. I stood there for a good twenty minutes trying to pick the lock with a knife. When the lights on the balcony came on, I started running and felt gunshots hit the ground near my feet. I spent the rest of the night ducked down hiding in the woods.
The good ‘ole boys teamed up with local hick cops to finally catch this bastard who’s been stealing everything not bolted down. They shined spotlights through the woods up and down the road but never got me that night.
I was in a small town doing small-time shit. But in my mind, I had a pistol and was out committing violent armed robberies. I even saw myself stab people.
I once imagined myself with a gun in each hand, and sticking the barrels to someone’s eyeballs and pull both triggers at the same time.
Did they or did they not see it coming?
What I always wanted to do the most was strangle someone.

Sadly, I didn’t have the heart to do any of this.
All these gory things in my head and I couldn’t even hold an unloaded pistol on a little old lady.
I sat in the car disgusted at the low lives I was with. I broke the law, but there were codes I didn’t break.
Still, you can bet your ass I helped them spend every dime of the older woman’s social security check she’d just cashed.
So, I wasn’t the one to pull a home invasion with guns blazing. It’s okay, I’d just wait till they left home and break-in. That was really better for both of us. I could take whatever I wanted, and nobody had to get hurt.
At the same time, I know the real money is in the bank and someone may have to be home to go make a late-night withdrawal.
There are so many contradictions in the game. Most times, you have to play every situation differently.
Listen to me…
Nowadays, I hold doors open for people. Last week I helped an older woman on a walker cross the street with traffic coming.
I’m an all-around good guy these days as long as my mind is obliterated on drugs and alcohol.
Still, I don’t have a problem.
Sometimes you see me drinking, then you don’t.
Sometimes I sniff pills, but I can stop anytime I want.
You see me smoking the best marijuana. And then you…well no, you always see me smoking that shit. If not, I’m somewhere raging at the world.
Having a job is the only thing that keeps my head above water, and I feel like I’m drowning there every day.

No matter how tough it gets I know I have to do it…working is the only thing that keeps me out of people’s shit.

They can leave their car doors, even the front door of their homes unlocked. Somebody might get you but nobody can say I did it.

A couple of years ago someone stole a car a town over from mine. Whoever it was terrorized the community.

The prints of a size 12 Reebok Classic were on front doors all over the neighborhood. Said three of them would storm inside and demand these people to give up everything they had.
They swore I was in on that shit! Too violent for me to mastermind, but I had to be in on it.
Funny how at the same time this was going on someone stole a honeybun and Twix bar at the store near my house.
Wouldn’t you know they swear that was me!
I’m like, I know they have cameras they’ve caught me stealing on them before.

This time the film proved I was innocent.
Hell, I know the three goons who went on that robbing spree, and I know who stole the snacks from the store.
I may be on the straight and narrow, but I was still pulling for them.
Just like I’m pulling for whoever robbed the Kangaroo Circle tonight.
I may have switched sides, but I’ll always be a criminal piece of shit at heart.

Bio: Robert Ragan, from Lillington NC, lives his life for art and writing. He has stories and poetryonline at Vext Magazine, Punk Noir Magazine, Synchronized Chaos, and Terror House Magazine. Alien Buddha Press had published his short story collection “Mannequin Legs and Other Tales.

Robert Ragan

Positive Role Model by Robert Ragan

Larry Daniels was smooth, taking long drives from North Carolina to wherever the best prices were.

Doctor’s weren’t prescribing pills the way they once were…so most of the heads were turning to heroin.

With nothing but some kush, the re-up money, and a loaded 38 revolver…Larry crossed state lines thinking of everything that could go wrong. Maybe they didn’t have the product and just wanted to rob him for the cash. If the deal went successfully there was always the law to worry about on the way back.

Larry knew a lot of people but never brought on a right hand man. When it came down to it, partners wanted their share of the money but would want him to take all the blame if things went wrong.

Around his part of town there was no one to trust anyway.

A guy he once hung out with, James Breyer, just got pulled over with 20 grams of ice and a loaded shotgun in the trunk of a stolen car.

His bond was set at $15,000.

A sure sign that ole James was singing to em.

Larry knew people caught with less, who ended up with a $50,000 bond and up.

Not like it mattered, a petty loser like James couldn’t get out on a $15,000 bond unless his mama put up her land.

Back when they used to hang out and do business, it didn’t take long for things to go sour.

Worse was the fact that it happened over a woman.

Some dirty blonde dope fiend stole James’s heart. So he didn’t like it when she gave up the pussy to Larry. For weeks James, with his hat turned backwards hiding his thinning hair, went all over town telling people he would beat the fuck out of Larry if he caught him without his pistol.

Just so happens they ran into each other at a bootlegger spot way off from the road.

The yard was filled with cars on a rainy Friday evening. Larry was only there to make a sell when he spotted James, drunk and stumbling. As soon as he saw Larry he threw his hands up and waved. “What’s up man,” he said, “I haven’t seen you in awhile.”

Cutting the bullshit Larry says, “I heard you wanted to fight me over that bitch Sandra.”

James’s smile and eyes both dropped as his expression changed to fear.

Still trying to hang tough he says, “Larry, you knew I was talking to her. Why did you have to mess with her?”

Clenching his fists hanging down by his sides Larry says, “The bitch wanted some dope but didn’t have my money. So I got her to suck my dick.”

He reaches to pull the pistol from his jeans and James backs away quickly. Tossing the revolver on the ground he says, “If that’s what’s keeping you from jumping…well I don’t have it..so come on motherfucker.

Shocked, James’s mouth was hanging wide open. Lying, he stuttered, “You’re right, just an ole dope whore…no reason for us to fight.”

Before walking away Larry says, “Just keep my name out of your mouth…or next time I’ll smack the shit out of you with the pistol.”

People stood outside in the rain just to see some shit go down. Disappointed a couple of em ragged on James, “Man he threw the gun down, so what you gonna say now?”

Larry was a bigshot in the area. Everyone used to say he won’t play no fucking games.

Away from the drugs and violence, he wasn’t happy with how his life turned out at all.

His son was in high school now and never bothered to call or text.

Larry was sure the boys mother filled his head with all kinds of nonsense. He could just hear Lisey telling Jack, No, your father can’t make it to your basketball game, his dope dealing and whores are more important.

He and Jack used to be pretty tight. More lenient than most fathers, he’d let Jack stay up all night shooting zombies on Black Ops.

It got to the point that Jack hated to see his mother pull up to get him at the end of those weekends.

Then 6 months ago, Lisey met some clean cut guy named Mark. A decent man who worked hard and didn’t do the things that Larry did.

Driving by this guy’s place one evening, he saw him and Jack shooting hoops in the yard.

Later on, Larry called to pick up Jack for the weekend and Mark had taken him on a fishing trip.

It worked out this way because Mark worried about not remodeling a house in time. Unlike Larry who was concerned about killing his clientele with heroin cut with fentanyl.

They had extremely different lives and Mark was honestly best suited to take care of Jack.

Angered by his failures as a father, Larry started getting into altercations almost everywhere he went.

With his pistol tucked away he fist fought a tough nod head who owed him money. It was outside a bar and Larry nearly beat this poor guy to death.

Before taking off he pulled the revolver on the bar owner and threatened to come back and blow his brains out if he mentioned his name.

Larry had enough! Soon, he’d get in touch with Jack and try to work on their father son relationship.

True he was a good for nothing dope dealer about as sorry as they get, but Larry did believe that he should spend time with his son.

He called Lisey and asked to see Jack.

Right away she said this really isn’t a good time.

“What the fuck do you mean it’s not a good time!” said Larry, “I haven’t seen my son in months.”

“And trust me, you don’t want to see him now,” said Lisey, “Jack is acting like a total prick lately. It’s all your fault, he’s turning out to be a lot like you.”

“Okay, I’ve heard enough,” Larry said, “I’m on my way to get him.”

On the drive Larry’s mind flashed back to Lisey in the delivery room. He pictured himself holding newborn baby Jack for the first time.

His mind raced through memories as Jack grew up.

It was terrifying to think his son might end up just like him. Larry wanted a better life for his only child.

In his beat up ragged Honda Accord, he was ashamed to pull into the driveway next to Mark’s huge shiny Ford F250.

Sitting there he sprayed cologne in the air to try and cover up the scent of marijuana.

Jack rushed out the door…turning back he yelled, “Fuck you mom!”

Mark came out in tight fitting jeans and buttoned up shirt tucked in. He said, “Don’t ever let me hear you talk to your mother that way again!”

Standing toe to toe with him, Jack looked to be in good shape. He said to Mark, “What are you gonna do about it, you’re not my father.”

Mark said “I’m gonna knock the Hell out of you…that’s what I’m gonna do.”

Larry had heard enough. Getting out of the car, he said, “What the Hell is the problem?”

Turning to his father Jack says, “You know Mark says you’re too stupid to work a real job. He says that’s why you don’t do anything but slang dope.”

Looking Mark dead in the eyes, Larry says, “I don’t care what you say about me but if you put your hands on my son…I’ll shoot your do gooder ass right here.”

Mark says, “Put that damn gun down and talk that shit big boy.”

Larry’s voice raises, losing it he throws the gun down once again.

Stepping towards Mark he says, “I’ll show you I’m a Goddamn man.”

Lisey rushes out. In Mark’s face she says, “Really? You’re gonna let Larry provoke you into a fight.”

Her shoulder length brown hair blows as a breeze passes through. Her green eyes scan the neighborhood. She says, “You know people are peeking out their windows.”

Mark says, “You act like this is your place. I lived here before you and I’ll still be here after you.”

Lisey turns to Jack,”Are you happy now? You’re finally starting to ruin the best relationship I’ve ever had.”

Larry looks at Jack, he asked him, “Do they bitch and argue like this all the time?”

Jack, without missing a beat says, “Everyday of the week.

Larry says, “Lisey I’m gonna take him for awhile. We’ll figure out something about school.”

Shaking her head with fresh tears in her eyes, she says, “You’ll let him drop out, that’s what you’ll figure out.”

Mark says, “Don’t freak out honey, he’ll get tired of this loser and be back in a few days.” Larry and Jack both ignore the comment and get into the car.

They were almost out of the development when Jack says, “Dad, you know that cheap cologne ain’t covering up that funk.”

Larry thought he heard it wrong and had to run it back. Smiling he says, “When did you start smoking? I thought you were playing basketball and doing good in school.”

Riding shotgun Jack resembled his father with high cheekbones and short haircut .

He said, “I was doing good but then I failed math and missed a free throw late in a game to tie it. After that, I just got tired of giving a fuck.”

Larry says, “Well, you better rest up and start giving a fuck again.” He tells his son, “You don’t want to go anywhere near this road I’m on.”

Changing the subject, Jack says, “You know I get super deals on a quarter if you need some dank ass bud.”

The rest of the way neither of them say a word.

Larry feels guilty after thinking, here’s my right hand man, my 16 year old son sitting right beside me.

There was no way he’d ever introduce Jack to that lifestyle. Not when he so desperately wanted to leave it behind himself.

Over the weekend they played video games and smoked pot. Both of them were fine with ordering pizza all weekend.

Talking to Jack, Larry couldn’t deny that he had totally failed as a father. Jack didn’t speak to him as if he were an adult. No, he talked to his old man as if he were his best friend.

Jack, pounding the buttons on Larry’s Playstation controller, stares at the screen and says, “If I tell you something, will you promise never to tell mom?”

Larry agrees and Jack goes into the story never taking his eyes off the horde of zombies he’s mowing down with bullets.

“Well, I had my first girlfriend you see and we were fucking without me wearing a condom.”

Some huge master zombie emerges from the shadows on the screen and kills Jack’s character.

Now looking at Larry he goes on saying, “Anyway, I got the bitch pregnant and her father agreed to pay for an abortion as long as she didn’t have anything to do with me again.”

Hitting the bowl Larry says, “Damn boy, you out here trying to make me a grandpa at 38 years old?”

Jack’s cell phone starts to ring, he has some gangsta rap ringtone. Picking up his pack of cigarettes he opens the front door and walks out on the porch.

Larry, now trying to gun down this master zombie himself, could almost hear everything Jack was saying out on the front porch.

When he heard his son ask someone to save him a couple of Percocets he paused the game and got up right away. Larry opened the door and told Jack to get off the phone.

Once they were both back inside, he tells Jack, “I don’t care if you smoke reefer and cigarettes but under no circumstances do I want you out here doing pills. Do you hear me?”

Rolling his eyes Jack says, “You haven’t been there for me, you can’t tell me shit.”

Larry says, “You know percs will lead you to doing heroin right?”

Jack says, “You should know all about it dad…you’re the one out here poisoning the community.”

Larry says, “I just want you to be Okay. I don’t want anything bad to happen to you. Is that so wrong?”

Jack says, “Damn, you sound worse than mom. Chill out, I’m not gonna get strung out on pills, heroin, or none of it. I mainly just like to smoke loud weed.”

A knock at the door startled both of them. It’s Sandra, skinny as hell with her oily hair put up.

Her eyes are sunk far back in her skull so much Larry wonders how she can even see.

Larry says, “I thought I told you I had my son and wasn’t doing anything this weekend.”

Nearly in tears herself Sandra said, “You did and I’m sorry to bother you but I really need something…right now!”

Playing the game Jack says, “Don’t hold up your business just because I’m here.”

Before they walk in Larry’s bedroom, Sandra said, “You know I’m back with James now.” Laughing she says, “He told me he’d slit my throat if I ever had anything to do with you again.”

Towards the end of his senior year, Jack took a gun to school. Plus he got caught selling marijuana and percocet .

He thought he could get used to this life.

He’d be just fine on the same road his father was on.

 

Robert Ragan from Lillington NC lives his life for art and writing. He has stories and poetry online at Vext Magazine, Outlaw Poetry, The Dope Fiend Daily, The Rye Whiskey Review, Drinkers Only, Under The Bleachers, Cajun Mutt Press, Punk Noir Magazine, Synchronized Chaos, Terror House Magazine, and Rust Belt Review, Horror Sleeze Trash. Alien Budha Press has published his short story collection “Mannequin Legs and Other Tales”.

Robert Ragan

John Wisniewski interviews Robert Ragan

 

robert-ragan.jpegJW: When did you start writing, Robert?

RR: As a child I use to make up scary stories and drawing horrible pictures to go along with them. I won essay contests at school. When I was 19, I tried to write poetry every day, I did that for 10 years.

 

JW: Did you write short stories?

 

RR: When I was 29, I started writing short stories. I have been writing them ever since. Short fiction has become my true passion as far as the arts.

 

JW: Any favourite crime/noir writers

RR: The first crime fiction I remember reading was in prison. I read a novel by Donald Goines. Favourites? I’d have to say Don Winslow and Frank Bill. Lately, I really enjoy reading crime fiction at Punk Noir Magazine, Flash Fiction Offensive, and Shotgun Honey. I really enjoy short stories by Morgan Boyd and Tom Leins.

 

JW: What makes a good pulp/crime novel?

RR: In my opinion a good pulp/crime novel has a good story line, characterizations, and mystery involving anti-heroes dealing with violent situations.

 

JW: Any favourite noir films?

RR: Reservoir Dogs, and Training Day. One of my favourite crime stories was HBO’s The Wire.

 

JW: Besides writing crime noir, Robert, you also write poems. What may inspire you to write? 

RR: Personal life experiences, conversations with people from different walks of life, dreams, and music; countless things can inspire me.

 

JW: Could you tell us what your next book will be, Robert? Any future plans and projects?

RR: I like writing in a number of different genres. Crime Fiction, Horror, Comedy, even stories with romantic elements. I don’t exactly know what direction I’m going in next but it will definitely be a short story collection.

 

Bio: Robert Ragan from Lillington NC lives his life for art and writing. He has stories and poetry online at Vext Magazine, Outlaw Poetry, The Dope Fiend Daily, The Rye Whiskey Review, Drinkers Only, Under The Bleachers, Cajun Mutt Press, Punk Noir Magazine, Synchronized Chaos, Terror House Magazine, and Rust Belt Review, Horror Sleeze Trash. Alien Budha Press has published his short story collection “Mannequin Legs and Other Tales”

Bio: John Wisniewski is a writer who resides in NY. He has written for the LA Review of Books, AMFM magazine, and Perfect Sounds Forever. This is his first article with Punk Noir.

There by Robert Ragan

I was sitting on the couch playing a video game about to unlock a magical secret door when my own front door was kicked off the hinges.

Agents rushed inside and drew their weapons on me. My hands were clenched around the controller.
Two of them watched over me as the rest of the team proceeded to search my trailer. I sat there with a huge smile.
Lighting a cigarette, I exhaled smoke and said, “I’m sorry, but you guys are wasting your time, there’s nothing here hidden or out in the open.”

Throughout the trailer, I hear drawers being pulled out and mattresses being flipped over.

The two standing over me with their guns out were hotshot rookies. If they’d put down their pistols and nightsticks, I’d beat the fuck out of both of them.

The other agents all meet back up in the living room, the oldest one has a full beard, and I assume he’s in charge after saying, “We came at the wrong time but eventually we’ll catch you slipping.”

They all walked out.

Over the next few weeks, I set up shop away from home at a buddies house.
He didn’t care as long as I hooked him up.
The last thing I expected was for the law to show up there. But they did, rolling up four cars deep.
My buddy Dwight, freaked out, “Come on! Help me hide this shit.”

Knowing I was defeated, I told him there’s no way we can hide everything.

Then came that knock on the door.

Dwight looked at me.

“You might as well go ahead and answer it,” I said.

Once he did, I got up and walked to where they could see me with my hands up. They would have gladly shot me had I given them the slightest reason.

I knew it was over for me long before they put me in the back of the car. I knew I didn’t have a chance before the morning came when a CO transported me to court.

I didn’t even ask for a court-appointed attorney. The judge would give me what he would give me. I was fully prepared to sit it on down and do the time.
Vanessa, the woman I was seeing, and I were already arguing and taking a break at the time they got me. I’d have been a fool to believe she would be faithful.

It seems like we only got along whenever I had extra coke to give her along with a little spending money.

 

I called her on my second day in jail. I told her where I was, and she started to cry.

“When is visitation?” asked Vanessa. “I’m coming to see you.”

“Vanessa,” I said, “Don’t make any empty promises about being there for me and waiting out my sentence.”
She said, “Well, that’s exactly what I’m gonna do.”

“So you admit that you just made a promise you won’t keep.”

“No,” she said, “I’m gonna be here for you and wait it out till you come home.”

It felt good to hear it, but I knew better than to get my hopes up.

It’s hard for a straight-laced woman to remain faithful under circumstances like these. But when she does cocaine, drinks, and smokes cigarettes, then it just increases the odds that she’s gonna find another man out there.

If Vanessa was fucking around, she had me fooled. She came during every visitation making me sick to see how beautiful she was. Her light brown hair done differently every time.

Jokingly I say, “I told you to move on and live your life. But you’ve got my hopes up now, so I better not find out you’ve hooked up with someone else.”

Vanessa was in the courtroom and cried again when the judge gave me three years.

My first week in prison, she sent commissary money, and everything was fine.

 

It was hard to believe Vanessa was hanging on like this. Her efforts were much appreciated as I began to long for her.

At night, I was dreaming of her in my arms as some sad love song played in the background.

It all lasted about a year. Then one day I sat at the picnic table alone as the other inmates lifted weights and played softball.
I hadn’t been expecting a letter from Vanessa until the following week. But there I sat under the hot sun with this letter from her in my shaking hands.

Opening it up and unfolding the paper I started to read. Right away I wanted to cry but forced myself to laugh instead.

Now after all this time she was ready to give up. Said she had given her heart to someone else. He made the ultimate sacrifice for her, me, and every one by dying for all of our sins.

Basically, she wanted to change her life. Get off the powder stop drinking, and become a better person.

Vanessa wrote that she couldn’t do that while waiting on her convict boyfriend to get out of prison.

Me, I figured what probably happened was she went to church with family members and met some well to do guy with money he made while making an honest living.

Guess I’ll never know.

The next two years went by at a snail pace.
I never did hear from Vanessa again.
When I asked friends and family members none of them had seen her, except one who said she was moving away from NC.

When my time was up, I got out and borrowed my mom’s car. I was supposed to be looking for work, but instead, I drove all over town trying to find Vanessa’s relatives. Maybe an old friend, anyone who could tell me about her.

I didn’t have any luck at all.

If you’re out there Vanessa, I hope you’re doing well. Hopefully, you’re still in church and living the kind of life that makes you happy.

But if you’re not and just want to say to hell with it all, just come and find me.
It shouldn’t be too hard; I’m always hanging around the same town we grew up in.

Oh, and if you’d like to get geeked out say for old times sake, I can still get some really good coke.

 

Wherever you are, no matter what you’re doing, you were there for me as long as you absolutely could be and I thank you.

 

Bio: Robert Ragan from Lillington NC lives his life for art and writing. He has stories and poetry online at Vext Magazine, Outlaw Poetry, The Dope Fiend Daily, The Rye Whiskey Review, Drinkers Only, Under The Bleachers, Cajun Mutt Press, Punk Noir Magazine, Synchronized Chaos, Terror House Magazine, and Rust Belt Review, Horror Sleeze Trash. Alien Budha Press has published his short story collection “Mannequin Legs and Other Tales”

Robert Ragan