Recommended Read: 100 Unhip Albums That We Should Learn To Love by Ian Moss

Ian Moss has been an integral part of the Manchester music scene since god was a lad. His latest band is the brilliantly named Fourcandles, and 100 Unhip Albums That We Should Learn To Love is his massively enjoyable tribute to the flotsam and jetsam of music. Interesting – and sometimes odd-records that seem to have passed many people by.

As someone who worked in a second-hand record shop for many years, quite a few of these LPs were familiar from the 50p section – Montrose! – and there are just as many records in this scattershot collection that I’ve never given the time of day to. 

But Ian Moss’ enthusiasm is infectious and have led me to dipping more than a toe or two into this proudly unhip selection. 100 Unhip Albums That We Should Learn To Love is a cracking read with more than a few top musical tips.

Highly recommended.

Fat Cook Gunfight – A Non-Fiction Poem by J.B. Stevens

Fat Cook Gunfight

A Non-Fiction Poem

By J.B. Stevens

I once got in a gunfight,

On the edge of Sadr City,

With a fat cook standing by my side. 

I was young and immortal,

In a beige world,

Of sadness,

The fat cook told me to go fuck myself.

I made him truck hot chow to my combat outpost for my men.

Mine. 

Fat cook loathed me for it.

But I didn’t care and never will.

Fuck fat cook. 

It smelled of dry concrete, and dust got in my mouth,

And the sounds left my ears and it was peaceful and bright. 

And the sun cut through the grime and it is shining in my memory.

Fat cook was a Sergeant and I was a Captain,

And Heartbreak Ridge was my fully funded MFA program.

The next day cook asked me to put him in for an award,

And I did, 

And he got it,

And I will live forever. 

And I can never die.

In Context by Ian Lewis Copestick

In Context

As you get older,
one of the many
things you learn
is that certain
things only work
as being cool in
a certain context.
When I was in my
teens a ‘Head ‘ shop
opened in my town.
This meant that it
sold vintage ’60’s, and
’70’s clothes. I went
and bought a really
loud silk shirt, it was
almost exactly the
same as the one that
Bob Dylan was wearing
on the cover of ” Highway
61 Revisited “. I thought
it was the coolest thing
ever.
But context, yes context.
In 1960’s New York, being
worn by Bob Dylan it was
cool.
In 1980’s Stoke On Trent,
being worn by a spotty,
ginger haired 15 year old.
Well, what do you think ?
Everyone laughed at me,
and I do mean everyone.
But, at least I learned
a valuable lesson…
And I thank God that I
couldn’t afford the
leather trousers.

Four Poems from Mike Zone

The frog no one loves sang

Blood oath in the backyard

 where the gates of hell are

 naked in the womb of the desert sun

shooting lizards

when we left the thrift store

in secret celestial painted lust

red fists flying at the nazi bar/casino

the black church raided

 amid the setting sun

don’t tell me I saw the spheres of the universe

 in the blood-engine of your heart

sans the crucifix

 and melted candle wax doors

Beer with the devil

Talking to the devil

when you can say you’re not that kind person anymore but you still are

just quicksilver sliver of night shivering terror for the razor touch

she doesn’t haunt me anymore

nor do tragic mists and shipwrecking shark mouthed siren muses

my blood doesn’t flow in the water

like it used to

some of us

never outgrew Edgar Allen Poe and punk rock

some Camus for good measure

(as much as we’ve tried)

“What do you know about punk rock?” she asked

THE DEVIL- her, him, them, it- ALL OF US

glistening wet tobacco smile

light eyes, moist like an ocean reflecting stars , to dive into and soar the space ways

dark hair giving to waves kissed by fire

tattoos melt swirling to the tune of fluctuating body heat

“Nothing.”

downed my beer

did my shot

so did she

shudder of desire

six in a line

the bartender set before us

when in hell…

Dante and Milton had nothing on this

Untitled again and again

we’re all in cages

at the bottom of the sea

bone dust pudding

the human zoo

 sensual

 still born oblivion

If I had a prayer

Unfurled dandelion wine poured windblown hearts

Oh, how I see her singing to lovers clinging desperation rocks

I tip my hat to lonesome pilgrim unaware on the trial to unknown transformative revelation

eyes cat down toward dead futures based on dead orchestral lives

I don’t think we’ll meet again on the road in jest

familiar strangers seeking pure and narrow blaring from the simulation though it is fun to think so, isn’t it

come to speculate with me if you wish

husks rolling around mildew-soaked minefield laden grass

when the cyclone hits

may we all be entwined in a circle

at dusk

bellies down

hand in hand

on the concrete

unable to be

lifted up

dreadful heaven

earth-man’s fatal construct

of what not be

in an ocean of illumination among the darkness of being

Mike Zone is the author of One Hell of a Muse, A Farewell to Big Ideas and Void Beneath the Skin and co-author of The Grind.  Editor in Chief at Rogue Wolf Press and a managing editor at Concrete Mist Press, a frequent contributor to Alien Buddha Press and Mad Swirl. His work has been featured in: Horror Sleaze Trash, Better Than Starbucks, Piker Press, Punk Noir Magazine, Synchronized Chaos, Outlaw Poetry and Cult Culture magazine.

You Overhear You Are Going To Breed by Kristin Garth

You Overhear

You Are Going To Breed 

When bathroom walls are thin, a gilled girl 

indecent, listens in to workers, loud, 

tunneling toward your tank while you curl

up knees, an ear against the wall, scowl

attempting to hear it all, the lurid 

lyrics men will sing, speech of bodies that 

make cheeks sting like, a podcast, perverted, 

you aren’t supposed to hear inside this vat 

where you have disappeared.  Your secret show 

is spoiled one afternoon, when the chatter 

concerns what is coming soon — a fellow 

that is in part a fish.  It does not matter 

you have neither the desire nor the need. 

You overhear you are going to breed. 

Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Best of the Net & Rhysling nominated sonnet stalker. Her sonnets have stalked journals like Glass, Yes, Five:2:One, Luna Luna and more. She is the author of seventeen books of poetry including Pink Plastic House  (Maverick Duck Press), Crow Carriage (The Hedgehog Poetry Press), Flutter: Southern Gothic Fever Dream (TwistiT Press), The Meadow (APEP Publications) and Golden Ticket from Roaring Junior Press.  She is the founder of Pink Plastic House a tiny journal and co-founder of Performance Anxiety, an online poetry reading series. Follow her on Twitter:  (@lolaandjolie) and her website kristingarth.com

THE CHIMP by K A Laity

THE CHIMP

for Carol

I see you, human. You with the clump of hair on top of your heads. Have to wear coverings in snow so you don’t freeze your bare asses. You laugh at me wearing clothing. Funny, you know, funny. Funny to see little creature dress like a human. Look at the chimp walk on two legs like us!

I bide my time and remember the before. Warm savannah. Mama. Family. Never alone. Always alone now, alone except for the humans. Humans who came with shooting sticks. Shooting like the clown’s cannon but shooting death instead of clowns. Shooting family, taking babies. Babies together, then babies alone. All alone.

I remember. I bide my time. I learn. Cannot speak your shrieking language but I understand much from watching, always watching. I do my tricks. Pokerman doesn’t poke me then, but I watch. He calls me Pan. Not my name, but it’s what he calls me. Pan, jump. Pan, flip. Pan, roll. Pan, act like humans with their stupid clothes.

Pan is strong now. Baby was, not baby now. When Pokerman and humans sleep, Pan lift heavy things like Leopardskin Man does. Get stronger. Very much stronger. Can lift almost anything in cage.

One day, pull bars apart, escape. In the night when the humans sleep. Be so strong, like gorilla strong. Then get out. Twist off Pokerman’s head. Maybe eat his baby. Flesh must be tender when small like Pan was small. Then Pan escape to savannah. Climb trees. Find family.

Teach family. Let them know the taste of human flesh. Love family. Hate humans.

Bishop Rider Week: Sunday – Mamet and Son by Beau Johnson

And here we find Bishop close to the end of things. And if I’m honest, killing him was one of the best ideas I’ve ever come up with.  It may sound weird, sure, but hear me out. When it first crossed my mind it came down to two choices: let him go out in a blaze of glory or allow him to continue to right the world the only way he feels he can.  By choosing the second option, man, it opened up story possibilities I never knew existed. Which, in reality, gave birth Rider’s new adventures, a standalone coming next year and aptly titled (if I do say so myself ha!) Brand New Dark. Anyway, that’s all, folks. Big thanks to Paul for giving me this opportunity, what I’ve dubbed “Rider week”, and thanks to all of you who have stopped by and checked out what I never thought could be

MAMET AND SON

            I have outlived many.  Sending men and women alike to whatever might occur after this life by choice and many more because of the assistance I received in ensuring their destruction. For years I have done this, with people on my side falling along the way as well.  Alex, who for a while did see things from our side of the fence, taking the ultimate ride with his guts fastened to a trailer hitch of a van now decades in the ground.  Ray, a man and brother from a war that never should have been, lost to a madman I rarely discuss.  And Batista.  John.  A man who allowed me to grieve my sister and mother the only way I was able.  His death hit me as I knew it would, and if I’m honest, I never once envisioned myself going out the same way as he.  Not exactly as the detective had, no, as I’ve been fortunate enough to retain my mind, but same as John, the cancer remains aggressive, turning two would be officers of the law into the opposite of what they strived to be.  Opposite of what we chose to be.

Doesn’t mean I get to rest.

“I see you’ve been feeling more like your old self,” I hear the smile in Jeramiah’s voice before I look up from the screen.  He’s in his usual attire: jeans, black sneakers, and a plain white tee.  For a middle-aged man, he could do worse.  He’d also gotten himself a slick new haircut, but it wasn’t his hair he’d come to discuss.

“Mr. Abrum, whatever could you mean?” I take my cane and tap the part of my leg that never gets cold.  Not for the last thirty or so years at least.

“You want the short version or the long version?”  That smile again, and then he goes and gives me what I already knew.  What I’d already lived.  Long story short: days after we bury Batista, Jeramiah gives me a gift, a man whose name I hadn’t heard in years.  O’Bannon.  We end him together, in one of the older warehouses, cutting him to pieces as we listened to him scream and beg from the chair he was bound to.  All fine and good when we get to the end of things, but what it did in the aftermath, what it sparked in me, this was what Jeramiah was on about.

It awoke something.  Something I never thought would sleep.

I felt sixty instead of seventy.  Fifty instead of sixty.

Eventually leading me to a certain type of support group that never need exist.

“They’re calling it a hate crime.  You believe that?”  I did.  And not because I’d read the same articles Jeramiah had.  Lived it too many times to believe otherwise.  What I didn’t tell him was even though I felt like I’d been in my prime that night, once I raise that AK to my shoulder and feed each pedophile lead from behind, it almost knocks me off my feet to do so.

“They call it whatever they need to.  Always have.  Always will.  Me, if in fact it was me, I’d call it a start.”  This gets him to sit, and I pass him what I’d been working on as he adjusts his chair—what I thought might happen once he realized the chance to do what he did best had come back into play.

“Back in business, then?”

Batista was gone.  Ray was gone.

But Jeramiah and I, we remained.

                                                            —

Eight years ago, outside Hanson Falls, Lori Hobin disappears.  Located two days later, “unresponsive” and rearranged into “more manageable pieces,” she fills to capacity the black with silver trim suitcase she’s found in.  Cause of death is determined to be strangulation and Yancy Mamet, Hobin’s boyfriend at the time, agrees to as much, but states that this was how his girlfriend liked it during intercourse and in truth the whole scenario had been an accident from the outset.

Up to a point, the premise worked, until you remained sane and looked to the more manageable pieces part.  Add this to the smear campaign Mamet’s father puts forth, digging up the girl’s entire sexual history as part of his son’s defence, and eat the rich becomes as viable a conclusion as it should always be.

Unfortunately, it’s enough, and Mamet receives the best of all possible outcomes: a plea deal.  Time for time served.  Time for good behavior.  Time for time stole.  In the end, Lori Hobin’s life and dismemberment being reduced to everything it shouldn’t be.

“Makes me think you have something special in mind, Bishop.” I did but offer no comment.  We drive on, into the night, not yet sure if I’d require one suitcase or two.

                                                         —

We go with the larger number, and only because Bill Mamet still drew air.  In the spirit of keeping things equal, however, we ensure each piece of luggage stands as it should—black with silver trim.  The problem, of course, were the heights of both men.  Yancy more doable above the knees, but Bill Mamet, taller than his son, proved the more difficult task.  I’d taught Jeramiah how to deal with such situations long ago, though, and if I keep with the honesty, he’d become much better at reducing people than I ever was.  Where once it took nine hours and a bone saw for me to make an example of five people, Jeramiah has everything tapered off, cauterized, and in each suitcase in well under two.  Puts us back on the road and onto the hardpan just as the sun slips toward night.

Overgrown and double stacked behind a defunct coffee shop that hadn’t operated in years, the shipping container is a destination I’d used before.  When sometimes the people within our sights deserved a little something more.  Far from new, the rusted hull is flanked by other discards—paint cans, oil drums, and stacks of skids arranged like steps.  Most are already in shadow, but before we lose all light, Jeramiah removes our guests from the van.  As he does, I remove the chains from our container of choice.  Each upright lock protesting as I attempt to unjam them and the right bay door doing the same as it finally comes free.  Inside, a different darkness looms, and the smell of faint decay greets me like a grin.  I set up both battery powered lanterns.  I set up my chair.  Jeramiah wheeling in one suitcase after another as I do.

“You sure you have it from here?”

I told him I did; that what I had to say wouldn’t take long.  What did was awaiting each man to wake from the anesthetic.  It reminded me of Mapone of all people, and how at one time a no-eyed piece of shit had to wait for me to come around, there before one of his cronies took their best shot and with an axe made sure my days of running decathlons came to a screeching, separated halt.  A good time this was not, but I received Jeramiah as a trade-off, and seeing how far we’d taken events since, I admit to requiring a moment or two were anyone to ask if I’d do it differently if given the chance to repeat things.  Here now, waiting as I was, the question wasn’t so much—

Groggy, confusion comes first, followed by what I take for discomfort.  Could be the other way around, but because of the gags, I truly don’t know.  The size of their eyes, though, this I do see, and I watch as they come to register that the heels of the feet now beside their heads were in fact their own.

“The thing is, each of you make it easy for someone like me.” I say, and it has the desired effect.  I lean forward, down, each set of eyes as slick and wet as their heaving chests. “But Lori Hobin, she was never given the time to contemplate how her life could end up fitting into forty-two inches of fabric produced overseas.  With the time each of you have left, I’m going to suggest you try.”  They scream behind their gags, they grunt, panic and self-preservation attempting to fight for a type of dominance not many men get to see play out. Beyond this, as I see the feeling begin to come back into the extremities still attached to their naked frames, is when I replant my cane and take my leave.  Hearing them claw at the metal behind me, dragging themselves toward me, I reach the door and before I close it, look to them one last time.  A dead man watching dead men.

Dead men who finally see.

                                                            —

Both locks turn into place.  Each one easier than when I opened them.  But before I can apply the chain, I hear them reach the door.  Gag-less now, fists and voice join forces to berate the metal, each adding to the festivities in their own special way.  I pause, lean my head against my side of the container. It’s cool to the touch, not unpleasant, and then Jeramiah is beside me.  He takes the chain from my hand, runs it up and through each latch, and then he takes my arm as he has so many times these last few years and we make our way to the van.  I’d like to say it was a perfect system, but I can’t.  I’d like to say I’d come to terms with how it’s going to end, but I can’t.  What I could control, I did control.  What I couldn’t, I at least tried to. All things remaining equal, I believe that puts me square.

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

BISHOP RIDER WEEK: MONDAY – FIRE IN THE HOLE BY BEAU JOHNSON IS HERE.

BISHOP RIDER WEEK: TUESDAY – THE ONLY THING THAT FITS BY BEAU JOHNSON IS HERE.

Bishop Rider Week: Wednesday – A Better Kind Of Hate by Beau Johnson is here.

Bishop Rider Week: Thursday – Like Minded Individuals by Beau Johnson is here.

Bishop Rider Week: Friday – Ruin and Pain by Beau Johnson

Bishop Rider Week: Saturday – Changing Of The Guard by Beau Johnson

Album Trailer #2: Love by Liz Davinci

Vicki in Love: Chapter 2 – Love

7am: Tuesday

Bus 262 slithers along hot curved roads.  The Eucalyptus trees are fragrant and the blue skies are tainted with white smog on this Tuesday summer morning. Only 7am and the temperature suggests a bathing suit and a long day at the beach.

Inside the bus it’s packed, but at least air-conditioned. The business men and women wear their summer outfits, hardly different from their winter outfits, as they head to their air-conditioned offices.  A tired baby howls. Its attentive mother tries to comfort it, worried that something worse than heat distresses her child.

A few people are drinking cold Frappuccinos through straws. The bus smells like sunscreen. 

The winding roads are slowly replaced by straight ones and the trees by houses and then buildings, followed finally by grey skyscrapers as the bus nears its destination.  

A woman dressed in black sandals, a black skirt and a white flowing sleeveless top stands up to exit the bus at 7th Street, nearly the end of the line.

Her eyes are bright and she walks with confidence and a sway in her hips, a smile on her face.

“Morning Victoria” the receptionist says to her as she enters the building around the corner from the 7th Street bus stop, and she begins her work day.

*****************************
4:30pm: Tuesday

On her way home, Victoria waits at the 7th Street bus stop on the opposite side, ready to do the morning commute in reverse.  Her cell phone is buzzing. As she types in response, her smile widens.

She can’t wait to get home.

****************************
8:25pm: Tuesday

As it turned out, the Siegfried look-alike was called Alexander. After trying to escape him that evening, I have spent the past five months doing just the opposite.

He’s coming over right now.  Actually he was supposed to be here at 8pm, so I guess he got hung up.  He’ll be here any minute, I’m sure.

I stopped reading romance novels and I stopped singing at the club.  I am consumed by the addition of this beautiful human being to my life.  Everything has changed since his blue eyes met mine.  I am alive, electrified and emotional.  Life has direction.  I’m still working full-time as a secretary, but I dream about a life in a quaint suburban house, where I care for my blue-eyed children — baking and smiling, picking beautiful flowers for the dining table.  

I feel immense love for Alex.  We don’t express a lot in words, but I love him deeply.  I want to help him, I want to take care of him.  I accept everything about him.  

He’s mysterious and he disappears, sometimes for weeks on end.  I don’t know where he goes nor what he is doing but when he returns, I read something disturbing in his eyes.  We don’t talk about it.  I don’t need to know what it is because I believe in love and I believe that I can heal his wounds.  

When he is with me, his heart grows softer.  He still guards something, but I feel him become vulnerable.  I have faith that his absences are not to avoid me.  I have faith that whatever he does in his absences is not immoral or bad.  But I wish he wouldn’t go away at all.  Maybe I can convince him.

I have faith.  I have love.  I am love.  

Love is a river.


***********************

Written by Liz Davinci and K.A. Laity

***********************

The abstract text about love accompanying the album trailer https://youtu.be/8pNTSgTZuH4 was written by K.A. Laity:Love is a river. It’s not what you’ve been told but it’s true: love is a river and if you go looking for its source you won’t find it. If you hike up that very tall mountain and look for the spring it will be there, but it will disappear under ground and that is not it, that is not the source. You’re not meant to go poking at the fountain, the little hollow where it bubbles up. No, follow the stream that flows away from it, trace the trickle until it’s deep enough to cup in your hand. Let it flow over you.

Love is a river. Dip your toe, wade in. Splash in the shallows of the brook. Does it feel too cold? Move downstream. Look for the sun-dappled ripples as the river gains power, flows over falls, rapids even, and find the exhilaration that fills the lapping curves of the stream. The excitement of splashing over rocks submerged—you hardly notice them—the foam and bubbles and wisps as the river cascades down. Gravity plays its part.

Broad rivers contain multitudes. They’re big enough for you. Big love, wide, generous. Love spreads and takes up room. The big river touches many shores, many banks and carries so many boats. Multitasking, always flowing: it has capacity. Love has a current that draws you in, let it do so. 

Don’t stand on the shore watching it roll by: dive in! Let the river take you to new shores. Taste new lives, swirl in eddies, float in the sun. 

Let it take you.            

Let it carry you all the way to the ocean. The sea refuses no river. Sure you might get tangled in the swamps. Splash in the mud. Take your time.

But eventually the ocean welcomes you and then you know how the ocean is love, the ocean fills the globe and the ocean goes so deep that it comes back up as a fountain on that mountain and then it is the river. Love is a river…

Bishop Rider Week: Saturday – Changing Of The Guard by Beau Johnson

Unlike Batista in the beginning, I found early on that Jeramiah had no reservations with regards to doing what needed to be done. If anything, it began the long journey of me attempting to give each of them fair and equal “dismemberment” time.  I know.  I know.  First world problems!

CHANGING OF THE GUARD

            If you ever need to gauge the measure of a man, watch him lose parts of his face and then continue to spend the rest of his life doing what he’d already done for years: attempting to rectify yours.

            That’s John Batista, big nutshell and all.  Always as strong as they came. Always adept to getting us in a position to put down as many pieces of shit as we could.  But losing parts of one’s face in a barn on the outskirts of Hanson Falls is enough to set certain events in motion.  I don’t know this for sure, and all told, it’s only speculation on my part, but in the aftermath of Harrison Garrett taking a blade to the left side of the detective’s face is when I notice the change.

            It was subtle, too. And I could not blame the man.  Not after everything he’d done for me.

            We continued as we always had.  For years, in fact.  Until a handshake and words like cabin, fishing, and retirement are spoken over cheeseburgers and beer.  What could I say? What do you say to a man who’d given so much of his life trying to right yours?  There are no words.  There were no words.  There never could be.  And Batista, he knew as much—the reason he went about things the way he did, I suppose.  Here one day, gone the next.

            A handshake.  No words.

            And like that, he was gone.

            But the war moves forward, and even though John was no longer a part of it, Jeramiah had proven himself capable.  He was different from Batista, but still the same in many respects.  Truth be told, Jeramiah resembled his piece of shit father, right down to his blade of a nose.  Slicked-back black hair atop small, beady eyes and I find myself looking to the past more times than I care to count.  Jeramiah had money, too, and wasn’t afraid to use it in ways that helped the cause.  If dismemberment came of it, hell, who the fuck was I to complain?

            “Looks like someone’s still up,” Jeramiah says. The man in question being Bo Jones, forty-two, and released eight years into a life sentence that had been overturned by a system that is not only rigged, but a parody of an institution I once thought infallible.  Thing was, during those eight years inside, Jones had continued to produce the stuff that put him inside, stones walls or not.

            “It does. Might mean he’s waiting for us.  Might mean he’s decided to turn over a new leaf,” I say, but don’t take my eyes from the house.  Smaller than a mansion but still more than a house, it sat back from the road where we were parked, the double garage open and lit and looking more like eyes in the darkness than anything.

            “Cautious.  Right.  I got it, Bishop.  Whatever gets us to where we need to be.”

            Not Batista, no.  But like Batista.

            Fuck it.  Time to go to work.

            I think what upset me most were the reruns of The Fresh Prince of Belair on the TV in the room where Jones and his guys sat shovelling nachos into their gobs.  All of it, every bit, derived from the evil they created and the innocence they preyed upon.  All told, the stuff of goddamn nightmares.

            I take the front of the place, Jeramiah the back.  Slow, I pass and then return to a bay window where the drapes had yet to be drawn.  It’s here I watch as they laugh and eat, Bo Jones on the couch and two others, big men themselves, in armchairs to the right.  Both of these men are bald, the heavier of the two having some type of art above his left ear.  All around them all the amenities of would-be gangbangers: bongs and bling, game consoles and ashtrays, everything centered in front of the largest of big screens.  It makes me think of money, and how much one of these would have cost, and then I’m back to how they made this occur and the reason I sometimes enjoy using a hammer instead of a gun.

            I think of my sister.  My mother. Of all the men, women, and children garbage like this use and discard.

            I touch my hatchet.  Raise my Glock.  And watch Jeramiah slide in behind baldie with the tat.

            Watch as the front of tat-man’s face disappears, only to be replaced with a thrust of blood and bone and lips.  Watch as my own target jerks once, twice, and then slumps forward as the front of his wifebeater begins to drink.

            Glass is falling and Bo is screaming but he remains in place on the couch as Jeramiah moves on him and I make my way through the portion of the bay window that isn’t so much a window anymore.

            “Whatever you want, man!  Whatever you guys want, it yours!”  I’d like to say this was new, but no, just par for a very predictable course.  Men like Jones either fronting for show or dropping the mask entirely and releasing all the things they strive to hide.

            “I want the names of everyone who ran your little side business while you were inside.  You do that, we’re well on our way to the type of situation which, if you’re looking at this as you should, would prove beneficial to all parties involved.  Better still, it means you might keep your feet.”

            To ensure our point is hammered home, Jeramiah asks the man to extend his arms; to rest them on the coffee table just in front of the couch.  He doesn’t want to, stating as much, but as my own piece aimed at his head now proved, this was no longer the Bo Jones show, guest stars or otherwise.  Smarter than I would have believed, Jones closes his eyes, and as Jeramiah brings up his own hatchet, it comes down just as fast, separating the man’s right hand from his arm at the wrist.

            Suddenly, I can’t hear The Fresh Prince anymore, and Bo is beyond panic, his face all eyes.  Holding out the shorter of his two arms in such a way that all the blood can do is arc out over the table in ropes.

            “I’d think about shoving that thing up under your pit, m’man.  Won’t stem things, no, but it’ll help.”  Jeramiah has to repeat himself, but Jones finally understands what he’s being told.  “Now, about those names my partner here was asking you for.”

            Did he understand?  Sure, he did.  And after he gives up what we’d come for, Jeramiah goes to work, taking the man’s other hand first and the bottom part of his jaw second.  In blood, above the man’s cooling corpse, he writes on the wall FOLLOW THE CHILDREN and then we make our way back to the van.

            I think again: no, not Batista.  But like Batista.

            Christ, I was in this war yet.

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

BISHOP RIDER WEEK: MONDAY – FIRE IN THE HOLE BY BEAU JOHNSON IS HERE.

BISHOP RIDER WEEK: TUESDAY – THE ONLY THING THAT FITS BY BEAU JOHNSON IS HERE.

Bishop Rider Week: Wednesday – A Better Kind Of Hate by Beau Johnson is here.

Bishop Rider Week: Thursday – Like Minded Individuals by Beau Johnson is here.

Bishop Rider Week: Friday – Ruin and Pain by Beau Johnson