G.P. DeSalvo

After the Meteor Shower

We set the collapsible table up in the garage. Our house was 175 years old and the garage was a cave of pink insulation and fifty pound salt bags (for the water softener).  It was haphazardly connected to the slat board shack where we slept and fought.  The night before the picnic, dad moved the Buick, our two rabbits and the tractor so we could sweep the place out.  We were so busy we missed the meteor shower.

The next day it was ugly hot, air so damp like breathing water.  I was sweating in my party suit.  Why did I wear this?

When I went to stir the bean dip, there was this enormous cockroach looking bug that was the typical color… like super-tanned hide, with a waxy sheen. Then, another thing appeared: a combination slug/turtle with the same exoskeleton.  It surfaced, shell first, in the chilé con queso, tilted back revealing its soft underbelly, and, from its behind, sprayed a viscous yellow fluid across the gingham table cloth.

Neither mom nor dad were anywhere to be found.  All the people arriving, that I thought I knew, were strangers of the most simple and needy variety.

As I prepared to start gathering things up, dulled by the lame horror creeping in my synapses and the doddering party attendees, I saw the “insects” outside: through the window in the garage.  Fat, pulsing larvae with wet green eyes and veined wings.  They swarmed in clouds clicking against the siding like sleet, splattering kamikaze on the windows.  There were so many of them, they snuffed the sun.  Now they were flying in, pinging off the guests, falling in the baked beans, dying in the Jello Pudding.  I was distracted by something else at that point.  I kept thinking, I need to immediately throw away all this food because there was no salvaging it; the creatures were dying, squirting and multiplying among the pot luck offerings faster than I could stumble across the oil-stained garage floor.

What is everyone going to eat?  A picnic isn’t a picnic without food.

I slipped on the nasty things three times, almost hitting my head on the picnic table bench as I scurried, responding to the conditions and questions from people I no longer recognized yet who seemed to know everything.  That is, everything except for where my parents where.

Overwhelmed, I ran around trying to act normal as possible while trying desperately to distract everyone from the increasingly grotesque environment. I belted an acapella version of One Direction’s ‘Bring Me Down’ while I dumped uneaten food, crockery and all, into the trash can.  As the fourth Pyrex dish of vermin riddled picnic food disappeared with a thud and a sharp crack into the plastic container, I noticed several homunculoid creatures (also with waxen flesh. but more ostensibly human) shivering in out-of-the-way places… as if they were consciously hiding, waiting for their opportunity to do… whatever.  One in particular was a larger half-formed ‘male’ dragging his misshapen torso and impotent legs around using heavily veined and sinewed arms.  The abomination was maybe a foot and a half long, its face a shrunken-head-mask consumed by grin: the hands claws.  When it moved, it left jellied blood streaks on the pavement.  When it noticed me noticing it with its one pus filled eye, it shambled under our tool bench at the far end of the garage as quickly as it could.  Which wasn’t very quickly at all.

I thought, “I have to kill these things.  I can kill the ones that have heads, and even the ones that don’t, by hitting them with a shovel.”  The shovel is always the go-to answer, isn’t it?   The best way to kill any slow-moving or maimed thing in the garage or backyard.  Shovel or hoe.  To avoid the splatter and mess, my solution was to open the rear door.  It was insane, considering this allowed more of the things to enter that way.  Nothing was leaving; the space was filling.  But, in my disordered thinking, maybe the chaos of the garage would be too much and, at least, the larger things would seek escape outside.  Then, I could follow and relentlessly smash… as many of them as I could… to death.

Kevin J. Kennedy

A Little Bitch

As Rebecca left the apartment she had one last look around to make sure she had wiped down everything she had touched then closed the door behind her. Her heart racing, she felt an overwhelming sense of euphoria that most people never got to experience in this life.

She walked down the hallway of the little apartment block, keeping her head down in case there were any security cameras. The only noise was the click of her heels. She always made sure that she left her victims homes after most other people would be in bed. It minimized the risk of anyone remembering seeing her when they were later questioned. She wasn’t the type of girl that people forgot easily. Standing at five feet ten inches tall, with a slim but curvy figure most men couldn’t scrape their eyes off of her. Her long wavy red hair cascaded down her back and it was a rare occasion when she wasn’t dressed to attract attention.

Rebecca knew she could be a lot more discreet in her appearance but she was a predator and her looks were exactly what attracted the right kind of victim. Even in modern day, men were still incapable of clear thought after she flashed them a slither of her panties or let them have a sneaky peak at a nipple. She liked to watch the change in their persona as they went from hoping they would get laid to the cocky assumption that they were onto a sure thing. She didn’t consider herself a man hater but she did believe that men were the lesser species and had grown to believe she was doing society a favour by weeding out the weak. That wasn’t why she did it of course.

At an early age Rebecca’s sexual wanting grew quickly. She came from a deeply religious family and had been brought up to be a lady. It had never worked. Even as a young girl she was always getting into trouble for one thing or another but it all got out of hand when she turned eighteen. She was one of the few girls she knew that still held onto her virginity. She had lost count of the amount of guys that she had let eat her out and she had sucked a fair amount of dick even though it wasn’t as much fun as letting them eat her. The main reason she hadn’t let anyone fuck her was solely fear. She knew if it got back to her parents she would get kicked out of the house and as much as she would have preferred to live on her own, she had nowhere else to go. The last thing she wanted was to end up a single mum, living in a slum on welfare.

When Rebecca decided it was time to go for it and deal with whatever consequences may arise, she chose Derek from the school football team. He had been trying to get into her pants for a while and she knew he had already slept with a few girls from the school so hoped he would know what he was doing. Like many youthful encounters it had ended in disaster. Derek had picked her up at 8pm as planned and taken her straight to a seedy motel. She had believed they would go for dinner or the movies first but it wasn’t to be. As they entered the room she was further surprised to see it was just a dirty old room. No roses, no chocolates, no small gift, nothing to make her feel special. Her heart had sunk as low as it could go but never the less, her mind was made up to go through with it. Her virginity was starting to feel like an anchor that was weighing her down.

Deciding to put aside her hurt feelings she wrapped her arms around Derek and kissed him on the lips. His hand rose to her chest and softly pushed her back.

“Calm down babe. There will be time for all that. Let’s get wasted first,” Derek, told her.

It was at this point that she realised Derek had been into the room already and left some things for them. Drink, a pack of smokes and a small amount of weed. She could feel the fury building inside her but pushed it down, knowing she had come here to do a job, even if it was with a guy that was turning out to be more of a dick than she had known.

Derek jumped onto the worn out bed and pulled the tab on a can of beer.

“Grab yourself one babe.”

He grabbed the remote from the bedside table and flicked on the TV.

“Score! Can’t beat an Arnie movie,” he said, without even looking at her.

Over the next few hours, Rebecca sat and watched as Derek drank ten cans to her two, while flipping from one shitty movie to another. She had a few draws from each joint he rolled but was still feeling reasonable clear headed as he started to fumble with her breasts. The fool couldn’t even get her bra off so she helped him. A few minutes later and he was pushing her back onto the bed and pulling her panties off her ankles roughly. After uselessly thrusting his semi against her vagina for a few minutes she offered to blow him. Ten minutes of sucking later and it was just about hard enough to slide it in. His penis was small and the feeling was minimal, even though it was her first time. She was no stranger to a dildo though and her own was twice the size of Derek’s minute prick. When he started grunting a minute into the shambolic fuck, she almost screamed at him in rage. His body lay on her, crushing the breath from her for a few minutes before he started to push himself up with a lopsided grin on his face.

“Sorry babe. Don’t know what happened there. I usually last ages,” was all she got from him. No kiss, no, thank you, that was amazing. Not even a fucking kiss on the lips.

“Is that fucking it?” came her angered response.

“What the fuck you wanting? You wanted fucked. I fucked you. If you are looking for romance you’re with the wrong guy honey.”

“Romance? I’m not looking for romance but I barely felt a thing. Do you think you even lasted a minute?” What the fuck?” Rebecca asked, as her temper began to go.

Until that point, Derek’s actions had been slow and subdued but in a flash he was up off the bed, completely naked and had his hand wrapped around her throat, pinning her to the wall.

“Listen you little bitch, if you tell anyone about this, you’ll regret it. I fucking mean it!” Derek said and then loosened his grip.

Rebecca couldn’t remember a time when she had felt such rage. Who did this cunt think he was, putting his fucking hands on her? She look to her right and then her left and lifted the old vase from the table and brought it crashing down over Derek’s scull as he walked back towards the bed. He went down like a sack of potatoes. The vase shattered to pieces but didn’t make too much noise then the room was quiet. The first thing Rebecca thought about was what if someone came to the room’s door but then she realised that in flee bag motels like this, no one bothered with anyone else’s business. Half of the rooms were taken by people who lived here year round and didn’t care about life anymore, never mind what others got up to. She was also confident that Derek wouldn’t have booked the room using his own name.

After a few minutes, with no one coming to the door she went to check Derek. She crouched down, still entirely naked and felt exhilarated as she felt for a pulse. It was weak but he was still alive. She smiled to herself. Here as this great hulk of a football player and she had taken him down with ease. She couldn’t lie to herself, she was feeling great. She had never felt such a sense of power. Her mind started to wander what would happen when he woke up. Would he hurt her? Would he tell his parents who were rich beyond words and who could cause her major problems? Would he tell everyone and completely destroy her reputation? She couldn’t think of a scenario where they both came out of it unscathed. No way was she letting her whole reputation be destroyed for 60 seconds of supposed pleasure. Fuck that!

Standing up from next to Derek she went to her overnight bag. She pulled out the one of the spare plastic bags she had in the side compartment and started to gather up the empty cans. She couldn’t remember which ones she had touched so she took them all. Next she picked the joint roaches out of the ashtray and put them in the bag too. She knew she hadn’t touched much but decided she would give the place a wipe down before she left, knowing they always did that in the movies. Once the room looked exactly as it did before they had entered it she put all the rubbish into her overnight bag to dispose of later.

Derek still lay passed out of the floor. He hadn’t moved a muscle. The blood from his head wound had started to dry into the carpet and the flow seemed to have stopped. She could see he was still breathing but doubted he was going to wake back up. Then, an idea came to her.

Kneeling down next to him, she took his smallish dick between her fingers and started to rub it. To her surprise, it started to harden.

“It’s true what they say. Men have no control over this shit.”

She pulled his legs out straight, swung her long, shapely, left leg over his legs and sat straddling him just below his cock. She spat on her hand and rubbed the saliva into his cock. Not that she thought she would need it. She couldn’t remember the last time she had gotten so wet. Raising her hips she positioned herself over his disappointing member and slipped down into it. Even with its small size she felt it spread her slightly as she started to rock. This time the sensations started to tear through her body straight away. Derek managed to last longer than two pumps and a squirt this time as well but she realised that what was making it so hot was the fact that he was passed out cold and she had complete control. She began to ride him harder, pushing her hips down onto his. She bit her soft bottom lip as the orgasms started to rack her body. It wasn’t until the orgasm subsided that she realised that she had begun slapping his jaw as she came. As she stepped off of Derek she realised that he hadn’t come at all this time. She wondered if being passed out or potentially seriously injured allowed for the dick to get hard but there wasn’t enough there to make them ejaculate. Not that she gave a fuck. He hadn’t been trying to bring her any pleasure.

“You should always make sure you leave your lady satisfied,” she told him with a smirk as she used the panties she took off to wipe her pussy dry. She flung them in the bag alongside everything else. She quickly slipped her tartan pleated skirt back on then pulled her tight white t-shirt over her head. She decided against putting her bra back on so it went in the bag too. She carried the bag and her heels to the door and placed them next to it. Looking around everything seemed to be taken care of. She searched around the room wondering what she could use for a weapon before deciding the heavy porcelain lid from the cistern of the toilet would work just fine. She carried it back into the room and looked Derek over again. He hadn’t moved. She sat the toilet lid against the bed and took her panties from her bag. She used them to wipe his dick clean of her juices and threw them back into her bag. She then picked the cistern lid back up, lifted if overhead and brought it crashing down on Derek’s scull. Both lid and scull cracked. A low moan escaped Derek’s lips but she wondered if it was just the last of his air escaping. She then took a towel and wiped everywhere that she may have touched and shoved the towel into her bag. That was eleven years ago now and Rebecca had never looked back. She liked to be in charge. She also realised later that she can’t orgasm if the man is a awake. She had tried various fetishes over the years like chocking the guy out and then riding them but nothing worked. To achieve any sort of orgasmic bliss, her man had to be knocked clean out and ideally on the way to his grave.

Years of finding guys that wouldn’t be missed coupled with disposing of bodies and honing her skill set to evade capture had become a full time job but luckily she had never had to work thanks to the money and items she often robbed from her victims. Rebecca had kept almost no contact with her family since she left town. The police had questioned her after Derek’s body was found. He had told a few of his friends that he was going to fuck her that night and they had told the police. Rebecca has told them that she had chickened out of going to meet him because she knew he was only looking for one thing and that she was a good Catholic girl. Her family was well known in town and attended the same church as both the judge and the chief of police which seemed to be enough for her to be removed from any suspects list. There was very little crime in their town and the police department just weren’t equipped to do any real kind of investigation but also still operated under a ‘they could handle everything themselves’ way of working. Rebecca had hung around for six months after the murder before leaving. She didn’t tell her parents. They would have caused a fuss. She had taken the small amount in her savings account, hopped on a train and left, never to return. It was rare that Rebecca would settle anywhere for too long in fear of becoming a suspect in any of the crimes she committed.

As the years passed by, it began to dawn on her that she was a serial killer. She had never thought of herself as such. Often she would consider herself a sexual killer. She knew it was for the thrill that only came from fucking a dying victim. It wasn’t really the actual killing part that got her off. It was the power. This allowed her to kill different victims in different ways so that they weren’t linked together. She had never been charged with a crime in her life so there were no law enforcement departments with any knowledge of her. She started to read more about other serial killers. There were so many books on the subject. She learned that sex tied into various killers crimes in one way or another so in that she wasn’t alone. She didn’t however keep any mementos from any of her victims or eat parts of their bodies. She found that to be extremely sick. What she did realise though in the early years after she left town was that the gratification lessened with each kill. After a few disappointing fucks she had begun to up the ante and look for new ways to torment her victims. What had previously been a case of knocking them out, tying them up and riding them became finding somewhere secluded to take them, a little torture, a little sex and then repeat. She had kept a few of them alive for days. Riding them until her legs gave out and her thighs were covered in her pussy juice then having a rest before beginning a new method of torture. Again, she got no real pleasure from the torture part. It was just necessary. She loved when they begged. Even if they were gagged she could still tell when they tried to reason with her. The gags never came off. She had no interest in what they had to say. Seeing them in a state of helplessness and despair was enough to keep her soaking as she slipped herself back onto their cocks. That was the thing. No matter how many times she tortured them, she still managed to get their cock hard again with relative ease. With a few of them she had to go home and return in one of the various costumes she acquired. Some guys had tastes that meant they only got hard for a nurse or a school girl or some other type of kink. It made no difference to her. One way or another she would keep them hard and fuck them until they died.

Rebecca’s clean up technique improved with each kill and she knew that there was almost nothing to link her to the men she used and disposed of. There was always the possibility of someone having seen her with them but mostly, within a day or two she moved onto the next town. She bought old phones from second hand stores and used pay-as-you-go to top up so there were no links to her. She set up new emails in each town and joined whatever dating app the locals used. It never took her more than a few hours to line up a fuck.

Halloween was always a favourite time of year for Rebecca. She had always enjoyed dressing up and it meant she could make her victim turn up in in silly costumes which tickled her for some reason. She often reasoned it was just another element of control that she had. Over the last few years she had even started to decorate the room she planned to take them like a murder scene from a horror movie. Not one of the idiots had questioned it. Each had happily strolled into their death room, assuming that she was a Halloween nut and impressed by the effort she had gone to. Almost none of them even questioned when she told them to lay down and began tying them to the bed. Each had believed they were in for the best sexual experience of their life. She always played it up online, telling them all the things she would do to them that their wives and girlfriends just wouldn’t do. She had learned early that to turn a man into putty in your hands, all you really had to do was tell him he could put it in your ass. After that compliance was a given. The other various acts that she would describe to them online were just for her. She imagined them sitting there, cocks rock solid, more than likely having a wank. The fact that they didn’t realise that they were effectively wanking over their death kept her pussy dripping until the actual event.

It had been years since Rebecca had masturbated. In the early days a few toys had managed to get her off but as she got deeper into the serial killer life, she became numb to all forms of sexual stimulation that came from anything other than a dying man. She had told herself that if she hit a stage where she had killed fifty men that she had probably come as far as she could and would stop it all before she got caught but she had passed an eighty man death toll now and was still going strong. If anything she found that she was losing any sense of reality she once carried and wanted to spend all day every day fucking to exquisite orgasms. She read more and more books about serial killers, learning how they were caught and what mistakes they made to make sure she didn’t fall into the same trap but the more she killed the more her thirst grew. Some days she felt like her pussy was trying to bite her leg off. While the kills became more frequent, as did the town moves, the need grew quicker. She began to realise that most of the killers who had been caught must have gone through something similar and that they probably hadn’t been caught through stupidity but instead through an inability to control an insatiable hunger.

As the years passed by Rebecca asserted as much control as she could over her circumstances but as the body count rose and her knowledge of other serial killers grew, she realised that she would never get caught. It wasn’t because she was the best or that luck was on her side. It wasn’t that she had come up with an infallible plan. The more she thought about it, the more she was sure. They would never catch her. Why? Because men are fucking stupid and their brains are in their dicks.

She was right. Rebecca died at the age of seventy four, never having been caught. She died between the bodies of two dying men, thirty years her junior. Each was tied over a table with their asses sticking out towards her. One was directly in front of her pussy and the other was behind her in ass to ass fashion. She wore two strap-ons. The front one that fed through the front of her panties slotted nicely into her pussy. The other was on back to front and stuck out from her ass. As she rocked back and forward, a strap-on slipped from one as the other buried into the other ass and then she’d rock back. It was a move she had found online called a Bosnian Seesaw. While she got no real pleasure from the actual act, she found it to be extremely degrading which help set the moment. She had planned to turn one of the men over and ride him until she could no longer walk but as her hips thrust back and forth; her heart gave out on her. She died lying on the back of one guy with her strap-on buried deep inside him while the tip of the other rested just inside the other guy’s ass. If she could have seen herself she would have been more than happy with how she went.

Joseph Farley

Fecalphilia

Every morning Lawrence would take a picture of his shit while still fresh in the bowl. Every afternoon he would post the photo on Facebook and Instagram along with a description of what he had eaten the day before. He would post links to his videos on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. In this way his name and reputation gradually grew until he had enough followers to justify advertising revenue, product placement, endorsements.

When his followers on various social media surpassed a million, he was ready to make the leap to reality television. His was a classy show compared to some of the others out there. He would talk about his meals and show pictures of his bowel movements, then interview celebrities asking about their meals and show pictures of their bowel movements. The show became a hit, and received many awards.

After the sixth season, Lawrence was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This made him restless. He knew that in the natural progression of things, the next step would be for him to enter politics. As a celebrity he was already expected to state his opinions on all manner of subjects to the media. His views on every new scientific development, fashion trend, satellite launch, movie, ecological issue, and political issue were required daily. His opinions on animal rights, seawater, aphids, wars, religion, nutrition, the constitution, and the world at large could be found all over the internet. But actually running for office? That was a big step.

Lawrence fell on his knees and prayed during a live feed while he debated whether or not to run for office. Fan response persuaded him to throw his hat in the ring. Politicos already in the game did not welcome the new comer. He was attacked by more experienced, more entrenched power brokers. The shit came at him from all directions, metaphorically for the most part, but occasionally hands on and dirty. Lawrence was used to shit. It had gotten him to where he was. He countered the shit storm with his own shit storm. The public loved it.

There’s no need to tell you what happened. You all know. You voted for him. It’s what you wanted right? Loved the slogan didn’t you, “Give’m Shit Larry.” Hope you can live with it. Well, maybe it won’t be so bad. It’s just four, maybe eight years. The nation will survive. We’ve been through worse, haven’t we? We can survive this shit.

Who are you fooling? You got what you deserved. We all did. We made this mess, this pile of shit, now we’ve got to live in it. Or at least you do. I’m washing my hands of whole thing. I’ve got my visa. The world is my toilet.

Douglas Hosdale

Just A Bunch Of Hypocrites

Manhattan is an island of drunks. They say that there’s a bar for every ten people. Rusty’s down in Hell’s Kitchen was no exception. It was 9am on a Saturday and there were already ten guys drinking at the bar. If you walked into Rusty’s at anytime you could count on one of these ten guys being there, but Saturday mornings were their special meeting time. Rusty’s opened at 7 and closed at 4, and they’d be there all day.

On this particular Saturday Joey Canizzaro had to leave early. His daughter was getting married.

“To my daughter, Sophie!” Joey had a shot of JD in one hand and a Bud in the other. “She’s getting married today.”

A couple of guys cheered Joey.

“But she don’t want me there,” Joey continued. “She says I’m a drunk.”

There were some boos.

Joey settled them down. “It’s all right. I ama drunk.”

More cheers and some laughter.

“But I’ll tell you what. Even if I’m a goddamneddrunk, and even if my daughter called me up asked me not to come,” he paused for a moment, “I’m going to go to my daughter’sgoddamnedwedding!” There were cheers. “And I’m going to walk her down the goddamnaisle!”

Joey slammed back his shot. He made a sour face, and chugged the rest of his Bud. He stared at the label and remembered Sophie as a bright-eyed kid swinging in the park. She didn’t mind daddy’s drinking then. Not when he was pushing her on the swing and making her laugh.

Joey walked out into the slanty sun. Saint Nicolai was only a few blocks away, but the streets were mirrors bouncing the sun back into his eyes, and all the cars with their shiny grills were lined up against him. It was going to be a tough few blocks, especially if he had to walk past the coffin factory with its bright black coffins awaiting their final destination.

Joey knew the wedding wasn’t going to start until nine-thirty. He figured he still had plenty of time. He decided to take the long way around. That way he’d get to avoid the coffins and pass by Tito’s Wines and Liquors instead.

Joey walked into Tito’s and bought a small bottle of Jack Daniel’s. He took a couple of big swigs then he slipped it into the breast pocket of his jacket. He took out some chewing gum and walked over to the church. Sophie was going to get married to this neighborhood kid, Johnny. Johnny was a good guy. He was a butcher for Manganeros, which was the best meat shop in the Kitchen. Joey was glad that Sophie was marrying a neighborhood kid.

The bells were chiming and the door was open. Joey popped a fresh piece of gum in his mouth and climbed the old stone stairs. He saw that the doors were decorated with white streamers and above the door was a white paper bell. Joey thought that was a nice touch.

Joey wiped his brow and straightened the collar of his shirt and then stepped into the church. He breathed in the familiar frankincense that came with all Catholic churches, and it brought him right back to when he believed in Jesus.

“Joey?”

He heard a worried voice. Joey looked to his left. It was Frankie. Frankie looked ridiculous stuffed into his one good suit. His big cheeks were hanging down over the stretched collar.

“Hey, Frankie. Where’s Sophie?”

“Joey, you shouldn’t be here.”

“Yeah, yeah. I know all that. Now where’s Sophie? I just want to wish her well. Can’t a father do that?”

“Joey…”

“Frankie, I’m not asking.”

Frankie shook his head and dabbed his sweaty brow and big cheeks with his starched white handkerchief.

“She’s down there.” Frankie nodded to his left.

Joey patted him on the chest. “Thanks Frankie. You’re the best.” And then he walked on down the hall.

There was an open door at the end of the hallway. Joey looked in. There was Sophie looking like a princess dressed in all white. Her hair was long, and dyed a nice shade of blonde. Joey was glad for this moment. Even if everything else went wrong, this moment would be his forever.

Sophie took a couple of deep breaths and her tight chest expanded. A pained expression crossed her face.

“Daddy?”

“Sophie, Babydoll. Come here. I want to give you a kiss.”

“Daddy, you shouldn’t be here. I asked you not to come.” Tears started forming right away. It was just like when she was nine years old and he stumbled home drunk and demanded that the door be opened. At first, he pounded at the door and yelled, and then he pleaded and begged and that’s when the tears really started to come down.

“Babydoll, I love you. You’re my little girl.”

“Are you drunk?” Joey’s ex-wife Patricia floated into view. She was all red-lipsticked and white-faced and angry. Just like he remembered.

“Don’t start with me Patty.” Joey pointed his finger at Patty.

“Ohmigod, you aredrunk!”

Sophie held her head in her hands and cried.

“Don’t cry Babydoll. Daddy’s not here to fight.” Joey kneeled down and patted her crunchy hair. He accidently knocked some bobby pins out. He tried to put the bobby pins back in her hair. “Remember that time that you opened the door for me when Mommy locked me out? I want it to be like that again.”

Sophie shrank back. “Don’t touch me.”

Joey looked confused. “I just want to walk my baby girl down the aisle. I’m your father. I’ve got a right to do that. You understand, don’t you baby?”

“All right, that’s enough!” Patty stepped forward. Her big tanned breasts pushed towards Joey. “You have some nerve!”

Joey jabbed his thick finger at Patty. “You stay out of this! This isn’t about you!”

The Church’s organ groaned to life and the wedding march echoed off the hard stonewalls. Joey’s eyes flickered in the light.

“This is it, baby!” Joey held out his hand.

“Daddy, I don’t want you to walk me down the aisle. I don’t evenwant you to be here,” Sophie cried out.

“Somebody go get Frankie,” Patty yelled out. One of the bridesmaids ran out.

“You hear the music baby?” Joey waved towards the sound of the music. “This is it baby.”

“Daddy, your breath stinks.”

“Joey, come’on you gotta get outta here.” Someone grabbed Joey’s arm. It was Frankie. His heavy jowls shook around the tight collar of his shirt.

“Frankie, what the fuck you doing?” Joey jerked his arm away. “This is a family matter.”

“Joey, come’on. You heard the girl. She don’t want you here.”

“And, Frankie, I’m telling youI don’t want youhere.”

The organ swelled. It was time for the bride to make her entrance.

“Come on, babydoll let’s go.” Joey grabbed Sophie’s arm. He jerked her to her feet. She tried to pull away.

“Let go of her, you jerk!” Patty smashed Joey over the head with a bottle of hairspray.

“Patty, I’m warning you!” Joey raised his hand. “Don’t push me.”

Patty sprayed him in the face with some hairspray. Joey backhanded her hard across the jaw. Her red lipstick smeared across Joey’s knuckles. Frankie stepped towards Joey, but Joey kicked him in the balls. Frankie collapsed down onto one knee. Joey pulled Sophie out into the hallway, “Nnnnooooo!” she shrieked. “Daaaaadddddyyyy, Nnnnnooooo!”

“Nobody’s telling me I’m not walking my own daughter down the aisle! Nobody has the right!”

Five tiny bruises were already appearing on Sophie’s arm. The organ played on. Joey yanked Sophie to the left and they started down the aisle. There was a collective gasp from the congregation.

“Joey, what are you doing?” Someone yelled out.

“Being a goddamn father! That’s what!” Joey yelled out. “You got a problem with that?”

“Stop him!” Patty’s cheek was swollen. “Somebody, stop him!”

A bunch of big guys filled the aisle.

“Oh look, the Manganeros butcher boys are going to stop me.”

“Let go of me Daddy!” Sophie broke free of Joey’s grip.

“Sophie! Babydoll, get back here!” Joey demanded.

“Leave her alone Joey.” One of the butchers grabbed Joey’s shoulder and spun him around. It was Johnny.

“Johnny, you stay out of this!” Joey punched Johnny squarely in the jaw, but he didn’t budge. Joey tried to punch him again, but Johnny’s big fist slammed into Joey’s face. There was another slam and some noise and then Joey was out.

Joey opened his eyes and the blurry face of Father Tom the priest came into view.

“Tom, I’m her father. You understand, don’t you? I’m not a bad man.”

Father Tom pointed down at Joey. “When it’s your turn to kneel before the cross Jesus may forgive you, but right now I want you to get the Hell out of my church.”

A couple of big hands grabbed Joey’s jacket and yanked him back.

“I’m her father! I’ve got a right!” Joey yelled. The big men pulled Joey down the aisle and out the door. Once they were outside, they threw Joey down the old stone steps.

“Fuck you guys! You don’t know nothing about Jesus!”

The rest of the Manganeros butcher boys spilled out of the church and stood at the top of the steps.

“Jesus was a forgiver!” Joey yelled at those useless hypocrites. Those fuckin’ blasphemers.

Joey reached into his jacket and pulled out the bottle of Jack. He searched out Sophie on the steps. She was clinging to Johnny’s arm. Joey pointed at Sophie.

“You never loved me. You’re just an ungrateful little shit like your mother.” Joey drank down the rest of the Jack and then showed them the empty bottle. “See you in Hell.” He dropped the bottle and it clanked off the sidewalk.

Joey turned away and stumbled back to Rusty’s. This time he took the short way back. He passed the shiny black coffins and a plane passed overhead throwing its shadow down over the street. Joey shivered and looked up. It was still early, but the city was already taking on that old familiar yellowy feel of stained sheets, of struggle without success, of decay. Joey liked it like that. He pushed open the doors to Rusty’s and fell back into the darkness.

“Joey’s back!” Someone yelled out.

“Who needs fuckin’ family? They’re just a pain in your ass anyway.” Joey made a wide sweeping gesture with his hand. “You guys are the only family I need.”

“We love you too Joey,” someone joked.

Joey breathed in the thick sour smell of the bar. He was glad to be back.

 

Andrew Darlington

The Man Who Had Power Over Women

Every now and then, the earth moves. Even for geeky Gruber Hoover.

He suffers from what he calls his ‘problem’. That’s why he takes a couple of extra Y-fronts when backpacking in the Peak District or along the Pennine Way. Activities also done to avoid situations that cause his embarrassing condition. City precincts, particularly in summer, tend to provoke his ‘problem’. Girls wear short dresses, tight T-shirts and often less. Thin fabrics that contour their frequently bra-less and visibly quivering breasts, and that sets off stirrings in his underpants which he can’t control. And his Y-fronts fit him as tight as a warm handshake from a friend. If he had a friend. Which he doesn’t.

Gruber is meek as a squeak, with a train-spotter’s dress-style. The recession never bothered him. He’d been a failure even during the boom. He’s also invisible. Meet him, and ten seconds later you’ve forgotten what he looks like; which is geeky. Even at thirty-two, living with Mumsie, he’s got explosions of facial acne like complex Braille texts, lank hair that’s long and greasy where it’s not already receding, and heavy-rimmed glasses as thick as bottles.

So when he’s in precincts or Shopping Malls, and its summer, he’s worked out some survival strategies. A girl, a T-shirt so sheer the nipple pigmentation and dimpled areola are not only visible, but tactile. Two playful snub-nosed mounds just begging to be petted. So first you deliberately don’t look, so as not to alert her to your intention. Walk towards her, your eyes hunting dropped coins on the pavement, or sight-cruising the Music Centres, lap-tops and DVD displays behind the reflecting shop windows. Until the last possible moment. Then look up sharply – as if surprised, pausing as long as is safe to gaze directly at the breasts. Sometimes, if that gaze lingers a nano-second beyond the acceptable limit, she intercepts your attention. Luckily Gruber is – remember, invisible, and her expression of shocked distaste soon fades as, a moment later, she’s forgotten he ever existed. Of course – if the furtive gaze had come, not from geeky Gruber, but from a good-looking hunk, her expression would be a secretive smile of approval. He knows this. Sometimes the unfairness of it all gets to him.

Public transport is also a dangerous provocation. Even before sitting down in the No.167 bus to Halifax, or the 07:46 train to Cleckmoorside, he knows the seat-vibration on his clenched buttocks will cause instant arousal. And that once arousal begins its unstoppable expansion within the tight confines of his trousers, the friction that results between the sensitive tip of the glans and the slightly coarser material of the Y-fronts will speed up the process. If there’s a girl there on the seat across the aisle it then goes into overdrive. Which is where the extra underpants become important. On a bus or a train it’s impossible to control an in-pants ejaculation – so what do you do? Stuff a handkerchief into your fly, hoping no-one notices, and bite your lip to stifle the groan? Cross you legs furiously, close your eyes, and hope against hope the ‘problem’ will subside first…? But you know it won’t.

So Gruber goes backpacking by himself in the Peak District or along the Pennine Way where he can avoid the things that bring on his ‘problem’. Humming Abba songs to himself. Sitting on a smooth rock looking over Ribbledon he can noisily chomp the cheese & tomato sandwiches Mumsie has prepared, and slurp sweet milky coffee from his red thermos. The air sharp and cool. But even here, miles from anywhere, there can be daydreams of shocking nymphs doing delectably dirty things. And his cock achieves lift-off beneath his anorak…

Of course, he’s a virgin. And would be still, were it not for the intervention of the Octopus-Alien from some Bubblegum planet.

It begins like this. He’s humming “Voulez Vous”, striding his ungainly uncoordinated gait along the drizzle-drab Pennine Way towards his planned overnight stop at Luddenthorpe, when the rapid dot of a Spacecraft cuts the clouds. Then he loses sight of it beyond the sudden jump of a hill. Until, with a spiral cavorting across a cleanly slashed sky and a sound like the air itself retching, the craft comes in low over his head. He can see it in detail now. All winking green lights and the chuntering clunking motion of something wounded.

It’s a UFO. He knows that immediately. He’s seen the blurry out-of-focus photographs and the ‘artist’s impressions’ in his magazines, The Unexplained and UFO Watcher. And now it’s coming down violently a close hundred yards away, beyond the dry-stone wall and just in front of the trees…

***

And every now and then, the earth moves.

This can’t be happening. Not to geeky Gruber Hoover. But it is.

From where he’s lying on his back on the floor of the reception hall of the B&B he can see right up Mavis Bisselrode’s dress. The effect is sensually shattering. She’s middle-aged. A little over-weight. But all Gruber can see is legs ascending to heaven above him, smooth sleek female legs that go all the way up to her stocking-tops. And the dark M&S suspenders. And the white knickers with shadowy traces of pubescence curling from beneath their lacy rim.

Only moments before he’d come lurching and staggering down from the tree-line above Luddenthorpe, his moss-green anorak scorched, his long greasy hair crisped, and his face blackened but for the two large round circles around his eyes, where his shattered glasses had been. He’d come all wonky-legged and shaky to Mrs Bisselrode’s B&B, where he’d earlier ‘phoned through a reservation, and as Mrs Mavis opens the door to his frantic buzzing, he falls inside, flat on his back, spread-eagled on the carpet. His eyes – looking straight up her dress, are glazed. His breath rasping somewhere deep in his throat, where little gasping groans get caught up in each ragged bubble of exhalation. But, there in his trousers, in instant reaction to the vista of her revealed crotch, his problem starts stirring.

“Oh, Mr Hoover, whatever’s the matter?” she gasps, her motherly concern an overwhelming thing that urges her to stoop protectively over him. So that the secret odour of her scented underwear reaches his nostrils. And the unbidden dirty thoughts storm his head even as he lies there. The knickers. The nest of coiling hair. The taste of those moist vaginal lips where the pubescence must delicately part. It’s all too much.

Her expression changes in a subtle way, as his thoughts rage feverishly out of control. Although he can’t see her face, even as she’s reaching down to help him unsteadily to his rubber legs, and shepherding him attentively up the staircase towards the room he’s been allocated. “My My Mr Hoover, what’s happened to you then, Dear? You’re in a proper state and no mistake. Here we go, not far now, just lean on me Dear, almost there. We’ll get you cleaned up quicker than a jiff.”

The door opens inwards. The room is not a large one, the ceiling slopes down towards a single dormer window. There’s a bed with a pale blue floral duvet, and a bedside table with an old-fashioned angle-poise lamp. They stumble around awkwardly. His brain on fire as he’s pressed up against her huge breasts and the aroma of her engulfs him. She sprawls him back onto the bed.

He watches her breathing heavily from her exertion. Remembers her stocking-tops in startling clarity. Savours the imagined taste of what must lie between her legs. And even as his problem goes near-critical and his imagination roars into overdrive, she reaches up under her dress, wriggles her hips in a provocatively feline way as she tugs her knickers free and down to her knees. They drop to her ankles. She steps out of them one foot at a time.

He lies on his back, spread-eagled on the duvet. And she climbs up to straddle him. “Here we go Mr Hoover. Breathe deeply now.” Lifting her dress. Her thighs bare now. A riot of pubes above the stocking tops. He’s transfixed as she moves up over him until she’s sitting gently on his face. Her hair tickles his nose. The scent is intoxicating. The vaginal lips part, flesh-pink and glistening. His tongue extends, lapping helplessly. At first a faint sourness attacks his taste-buds.

“OOOOOO Mr Hoover! That feels sonice. The late Mr Bisselrode never did anything like that to me. You naughty man!” She grinds her hips down into his face less gently now, and he’s devoured by the sweet rush of her moistures, the hard bud of her clitoris moving insistently on his agitated lips. He can hear her breath racing as he slavers and slurps unbelievingly. His cock so stiff and angry it’s almost painful, until she reaches round to slide the zip and release it shimmering and pulsing into the cool air, and into the tight grasp of her warmly enveloping fist. As he hoped she would. Her eyes grind shut with agonised concentration. He licks and laps and sucks like a man possessed. And orgasm hits him suddenly, shooting long gooey strands over her hand and over his trousers.

“Now never you mind Mr Hoover,” gasping out one word at a time, to the rhythm of his tongue on her clit. “Just keep on doing what you’re doing. We’ll get you cleaned up just as soon as you’ve finished. Then we’ll get you – and this (squeezing his messy penis affectionately) ready for whatever else you have in mind…”

***

The following morning he lies in bed trying to reconstruct it all.

It had all started so differently.

There’s a knock on the bedroom door. For a moment he can’t quite understand what the sound is. His mind turning slowly like a sluggish wheel.

Now he remembers. The UFO. The saucer that came down beyond the dry-stone wall, and just in front of the trees. Normally he’d have put as much distance between him and it as possible. But instead he found himself lumbering towards it as if wound in by an invisible spool. Over the wall he goes, rasping his ankle. Until he can see it clearly, a crashed saucer of flesh-imitating plastic, with a crawling green luminosity that crackles, faintly droning like a damaged insect. He gives his head a punch-drunk shake. His entrails move unpleasantly. A smoking hatch gull-wings open. There are chumbling light-displays set in smooth ebonite beyond. So why does he enter the wrecked ship? Some kind of Compulsion-Beam or Force-Ray. Must have been.

“Come in.” He raises up on his elbows as the bedroom door opens inwards.

“Good Morning Mr Hoover. Feeling better today, are we?” She comes into the room with a tray. There’s coffee on the tray. A silver toast-rack with fresh slices of toast slotted in. And a white carnation in a tall-stem glass. She looks about twenty-one. A younger daughter-shaped version of Mrs Mavis Bisselrode. Wistful brown eyes that closely resemble two Coco-Pops adrift in a bowl of milk. He watches her come in. And his problem begins almost immediately.

The saucer creature watches him with its single huge segmented eye. An Octopus. Or Octopoid-type thingy. He watches it, loathes it. Its disgusting warty skin repulses him. He wants to be sick over and over again. The machine noise ascends in a dangerously accelerating whirr. The whole thing is going to explode. And yet he’s helping that foul warted Octo-beast out onto the Pennine grass beneath the Yorkshire trees and beside the dry-stone wall. There must have been some kind of telepathic compulsion.

She leans over to place the tray on the bedside cabinet beside the old-fashioned angle-poise lamp. He can feel the derangement of his libido beating and pumping in response to her nearness. A rush of blood to the groin. A stiffening of… resolve. An orgy of erotic images in his head.

She smiles at him so closely he can smell the sweetness of her breath. “I’m Rosie. Mother says you were too badly shaken to come down for breakfast, so I should bring it up for you. Is there anything else you need?”

He looks at her unwaveringly, and concentrates his thoughts hard. “As you ask, yes, there issomething.” Should he? Can he? He draws the covers down breathlessly, scarcely daring to believe his new talent will work a second time.

The Octopoid is as chill and warty as a knob of well-chewed bubblegum. Its single eye watching his every move. Controlling his every move. He half-drags half-carries it leg-by-leg-by-leg towards the safety of the dry-stone wall as the ascending whine gets unbearably shrill. Then the UFO explodes. Waves of black flame as thick as oil flashing out slowly, like in a weird rental special-FX DVD. And the blackness hits them. Swallows them. Fusing them together as close as one single entity…

He looks down unbelievingly, over the skinscape of his undulating stomach. Rosie’s eyes looking up, meeting his eyes looking down. Her head in his groin bobbing up and down his engorged shaft gently. His cock trapped between the agonising tenderness of her full warm lips. Her fingers smoothly working on his balls. She even seems to be smiling her approval, although it’s difficult to tell. Only a throaty slurping noise escapes with a trickle of saliva down her chin. Telepathic compulsion. And he has it! As that warty Octopoid died he must have acquired its powers, fused into him by the blast. So that now Rosie is here cheerfully and eagerly sucking his cock.

He lies back luxuriating in the sensation, flexing his legs, toes curling in ecstasy. He took his last breath what seems like five years ago, and the way she’s sucking at him it’ll be another five before he gets to the next. The challenge is to keep his flag flying for long enough to enjoy it fully. He looks down again, thinks a different set of instructions at her. A momentary puzzlement comes into her eyes. Reluctantly she releases his cock from her mouth so it slaps wetly back up against his gut. Then she shrugs her clothes off with indecent haste. She’s agreeably rounded in an agreeably round slightly chubby Yorkshire sort of way, with generous snub-nosed breasts that bob and shimmy, just begging to be petted. And beneath them, a fan of pubic hair so rich and dark it just insists you bury your face – and other parts of your anatomy, into it. She pauses for just long enough to let him see it all, then she licks her lips determinedly, as though she can still taste his cock there, and climbs up onto him, her fingernails biting into his skin in her urgency. She flips his cock vertical to kiss her lower lips with a practised ease that says she’s done this before, and, already moist, slides down onto it with a satisfying squelch.

She leans forward – resting one hand either side of his face, so her breasts sway and jiggle hypnotically an inch from his nose as she moves up and down on him with a vulgar suction sound to provide a voluptuous audio aphrodisiac. He reaches out to trap and suck first one nipple, then the other, so large and warm each one in turn fills his mouth. And just when he can stand it no longer and begins jetting deep and wet inside her, she grinds low and moans “yes yes Mr Hoover, do it to me, do it to me, pump me full of your lovely spunk,” just like he’s willed her to…

***

Sometimes the earth moves, and sometimes it doesn’t.

How long will the effect on these women last? He dresses quickly, his shirt-tail flapping mournfully out from his pants at the back. He sneaks out the B&B – without paying, unnoticed, walking at speed down the curving road towards Luddenthorpe. He’s invisible. They won’t be able to photofit him. A No.167 bus will take him back home to Mumsie. There will be plenty more women. But first it’s important to get as far away from here as possible before they realise what they’ve done. Before they realise what he’sdone to them. And what he’s compulsion-beamed them to do to him. His groin still tingles with aftershocks. A lascivious smile spreads as he replays each moment in his head.

Other moments too. He’s thinking of that warty alien Octopoid, presumably dead – and the remains of its Starship from the Bubblegum planet. They must still be up there. Somewhere just off the Pennine Way. But no… of course, there’s no way that Gruber can know what’s really happening out there. He’s unaware of the furiously circling lights that UFO-ologists from as far apart as Huddersfield and Halifax have been reporting during the night. He doesn’t know about the alien Mothership rescue-mission hovering there in the clouds, beaming the salvage aboard, and reanimating the stunned but still-living Octopoid. Taking it home. It’s influence already receding.

It’s then that the Police car slews around the bend. Gruber cringes, cold fingers passing up and down his spine. It slows to a halt so close he can touch it. A Policewoman. She must know. She must have come for him. ‘SEXUAL HARASSMENT in the B&B’. He can see it already in the papers. On local TV reported by that nice woman announcer.

She winds the window down. He looks into her eyes. And suddenly, all that fear is replaced by that tell-tale stirring in his Y-fronts. Gruber Hoover smirks an odd and unpleasant smirk, unzips, and extracts his stiff cock. Then pokes it in through the Police car window, concentrating his thoughts on her…

It’s only later, in the cell, that it occurs to him. Charged with indecent and offensive behaviour towards the officer investigating reports of a strange explosion above Luddenthorpe. He paces up and down the confines of the cell. Slumps down onto the hard bench. Now it dawns on him, that – just possibly, the alien compulsion-effect might be a temporary thing…?

What will Mumsie say?

Then he remembers Mavis. And he remembers Rosie. His problem begins again. And this time, he has no spare Y-fronts left…

Judge Santiago Burdon

Absinthe Oranges and Alligators

It’s the Saturday before Fat Tuesday “Mardi Gras” and New Orleans is in full swing like the tits on a woman jogger. The French Quarter is so packed you can tell what flavor of gum the person next to you in the crowd is chewing. The smell of vomit, piss, and day-old beer fills the afternoon air. It’s the aroma of a decaying city that shall rise from the pestilence, the filth and garbage on Ash Wednesday.

I’d had more than I could stomach of the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd. Women flashing sagging, stretched-out, wrinkled fake tits for plastic beads made in China. Drunks staggering aimlessly, unable to navigate through the throngs of fraternity boys and tourists screaming “show us your tits!”

Locals are convinced the reason New Orleans is sinking is due to the weight of all the imported beads.

I decide to get the hell outta the French Quarter and heel toe express it to St. Charles Street and catch some parades, with a more passive and less inebriated group.

The Crew of Bacchus always presents an exciting, colorful and festive parade. This year it more than lived up to their past performances. As Bacchus rolls by on his Chariot of grapes shrouded in purple, I hear the voice of an angel whispering in my ear from behind.

“Hey Sailor, looking for a good time?”

I  turn around, abruptly spilling my cup of Johnny Walker on the mysterious voice and myself.

“Of all the parades, in all the towns, in all the world, you’ve gotta show up at mine,” I say with the worst Bogey imitation ever spoken.

“Sailor, you’re suppose to drink that there whiskey, not shower in it,” she says with a smile. She wipes the spilled liquor from her chest and puts her booze-soaked fingers in my mouth.

“Yummy like sugar, huh sugar?” she whispers in a Cajun drawl that causes my heart to race.

“Tell me Santiago, you still hooked up with that coon-ass queen slut from Irish Bayou? Or do I finally get my chance to fuck you ’til tomorrow becomes a memory?”

Now, I  want to just jump on that bus of suggestion like a commuter late for work,  but I decide to play it poker style, just checking her raise. What a cosmic event, running into Gitane after five years. I knew this exotic, erotic, and somewhat toxic mulata princess from my days of living in Fat City, when she bartended at Pat’s Pub. The woman she’s referring to is Pamela, pronounced pa-mel-la, an old flame of mine that was extinguished after I finally pissed on it.

“I am no longer engaged in sharing that tangled web of lies and lunacy with that spider of a woman. She ran off with the bass player of some Aerosmut cover band. The word around Irish Bayou was that she got pregnant and he abandoned her somewhere in Nevada. Now that’s some bad fucking luck… Nevada, God’s toilet. Dream woman dream until your dreams come true!” I sing, raising my glass in a toast. I’ve since grown fond of Tyler and his band; seems I  have discovered the reason why.

Gitane grabs me and lays a kiss on my lips that would make cooked spaghetti hard again.

“Well sugar, whatya say? It’s Mardi Gras baby, time to throw out the old an bring in the new.”

“Did you say bring you in nude?” I joke.

She just smiles and grabs my hand.

“Santiago, you always make me laugh. I’ve got some LSD, a bottle of green fairy direct from France, my body achin’ for some tender loving and no one to share with. Come on sugar, we were meant to be together, this meeting wasn’t by chance! My aunt Gerty read my tea leaves yesterday and it was in the stars. You don’t wanna disappoint aunt Gerty, she jus’ might put a Gypsy curse on ya. Laissez los Bons Temps Roulez,” she sings.

Here we go, Cajun Gypsy curse, how does anyone accept this type of bullshit as gospel? I pretend to be afraid with a display of my body shaking and a terrified facial expression. It evidently doesn’t appear to be all that convincing, because she starts laughing.

“I certainly can’t chance hurtin’ aunt Gerty’s feelings,” I say, “what a callous fellow I would be.”

We start walking to her apartment on Napoleon, her arm around my waist, mine around her shoulders. Strange, but I suddenly develop a taste for a cup of hot tea with honey.

I’m not one to express my softer side, but this is turning into quite a  romantic moment. I didn’t just write that did I? I did? Damn, I must be becoming a romance novelist.

“So tell me baby, what brings you back to the Crescent City?” she pries. “You aren’t still doing that work for Marcellus, are you?”

“What work, for whom, and where did you hear such exaggerated bullshit like that? Don’t start believing rumors, Gitane. I’m just an unemployeed musician on a quest to capture those mythical golden notes belonging to the melody of magic.”

“Uh huh, and I’m really a princess kidnapped by Gypsies when I was just a baby.  Now I’m leading a life of palm and tarot card reading to make my living. I’m learning what a humble life is like before I’m discovered and restored to my throne to reign as queen, now that my mother has died.”

“I always suspected just that! You  possess a regal air about you, the demeanor of royalty.
Your Majesty, I do admire your talent for story telling.”

“Oh stop flattering me. Still your charming old self, Santi. That story is so Sam Clemens it rings of Twain. So are you?” she asks again. “You know, working?”

“Where? What work you say?”

She slaps me in a loving manner and doesn’t inquire again. However, she hit the proverbial nail on the head, driving it deep into my thoughts. I was there waiting for a load of cocaine to deliver to Chicago within the next few days.

The crowd grows as the sun begins to set, permitting the night to spill its darkness into a jealous sky pouting over the absence of its stars, their sparkle obscured by the clouds bullying their way into the space left by the sun’s retreat. The moon grows larger and brighter as the Earth turns, spinning  night’s beacon of  light into a brilliant white.

New Orleans becomes a completely different city at night. The scent of magnolia blossoms travels on every breeze. The sweet gum and oak trees appear taller and seem to scratch the sky with their fingered branches. Sounds burst through the lazy silence, celebrating with notes of noise that fill the air with the music of darkness. I watch the light from street lamps dance on her brown skin, highlighting the minute, almost invisible hairs on her arms. Her hair smells of lavender and her skin is soft like the fur of a sable.

“Santi, would you like to spend the night with me? It’s Sunday tomorrow and I don’t have to work. Thought maybe we could go to Mandeville and visit my mother and sister. We could bring a king cake, drink some home-brewed moonshine and get silly. You remember my mom and ‘dem from the Christmas party at the bar a couple of years back. She took a shine to you, ya know.”

“Can I spend the night? Baby, there was a time when I wanted to spend my life with you.  You loved me but you just didn’t know it. Sounds like a perfectly pleasant day. Yeah baby, it’s a date.”

We reach her apartment, which is actually a house that has been split down the middle, making two shotgun homes. They’re refered to as shotgun houses because you can open the front and back doors,  stand on the porch with a shotgun then shoot straight through the house. The buckshot exits out the back door without hitting a single thing.

It’s a quaint and welcoming home with lace curtains, doilies on antique tables next to an oversized davenport, covered in a crushed velvet material.

“Come on sugar, let’s take a shower. It’s in the bathroom in my bedroom. The other is outta commission right now. Come on, get outta those whiskey-soaked clothes and let me give you a dirty shower…”

I’m not really all that soiled or soaked from the whiskey incident, but I’m certainly not going to object to a dirty shower. I’m naked in a matter of seconds, sitting on the bed as I watch her undress. She turns on the radio and dances, performing a strip tease for my pleasure.

“Mardi Gras mambo, Mardi Gras mambo down in New Orleans…”

I’m totally captivated by her body and the way she gives purpose to rhythm of the melody. She reaches into her dresser and pulls out a small bottle containing the acid. She floats over to me and places a tab on my tongue, which dissolves in my mouth. Pulling at my arm after consuming her own dose, she leads me into the shower. The water pulsates from one of those adjustible spray shower heads with a thousand different settings.

“I see you left the setting on masturbate. How can any man compete with an instrument  that possesses the ability to provide non-stop, pulsating pleasure?”

“Don’t embarrass me sugar. Yes I use the shower to pleasure myself from time to time, but it’s  a poor substitute for a man. There’s no intimacy, no loving touch, no body next to you, skin to skin. The excitement of his breath becoming more and more rapid, the sound of his heartbeat…”

While lathering up a bar of soap between her hands, she gets on her knees and takes my cock into her mouth, gliding back and forth in slow motion. After a few minutes, her hands begin to move smoothly in short strokes up and down the shaft.

I cum long and hard, groaning in pleasure, my legs weak and shaking as she stands, tenderly kissing my body all the way back up. Her lips are soft and velvety, her tongue moving slowly, passionately in my mouth.

She stops and whispers, “Did you enjoy your dirty shower sugar?”

I’m at a loss for words, literally unable to utter a syllable. Gitane start to laugh but I can’t find any humor in my dilemma. I am beginning to feel the LSD coming on. My mind is lucid and my body is experiencing rushes that originate from my head, trickling down to my lower extremities. I exit the shower and Gitane is lying naked on the bed waving a multicolored scarf above her head, totally mesmerized.

“Baby, are you getting off on the acid?” she asks.

“Yes, I’m fucking tripping heavy baby. Like someone climbing the stairs with their shoe laces tied together, this shit is awesome. Hey Majesty, I’m going to put on some music, open the bottle of absinthe and release the green fairy. Do you want a cocktail baby? Of course you do, what am I thinking? I’m going to “louche” the absinthe, do you have sugar cubes?”

Suddenly I realize that I am speaking out loud.  I’m curious why light bulbs are  shaped like they are and start thinking of how profound and crucial the question has become. I find a gap in the traffic of thought rushing through my mind, remembering that I was going to do something that required sugar cubes.

“Santi, do think that clouds are good things or a bad things? I mean they bring storms, rain, snow and they unleash violent tornados and hurricanes that destroy things, but they are so alluring and pretty… They look so puffy and soft, creating different pictures shaped like almost everything. They’re like art in the sky, they’re the angel’s Play Doh…”

I’d feel a bit silly and quite embarrassed if I were to bring up my light bulb epiphany just then. It seems so trite compared to Gitane’s deep observation.

“Gitane, that was beautiful and profound,” I tell her. “The manner in which you expressed your thought was classic Joyce Kilmer. She was the poet that wrote the poem about the beauty of a tree. The angel’s Play Doh! Classic, baby…”

I decide to put on her robe. It’s one of those satiny materials with a feathered boa attached to the neck line. I take a look at myself in her full-length mirror hanging on the closet door, and I’m surprised at how attractive I appear.

“Santi, are you a crossdresser?” she screams. “You like wearing women’s clothes! Let me dress you up, please, it will be so much fun! I think there’s film left in my camera.”

“I’ll indulge your obsession to dress me up, but no fucking pictures. I need to put on some music, then pour us some absinthe that I’m going to louche. Now, do you have any sugar cubes, for the second time?”

She awakes from her LSD trance and momentarily grasps a small portion of reality, just enough to answer my inquiry.

“If you louche, you’re gonna need sugar cubes, Santi. You’ll find them in the left upper cabinet by the sink, and the absinthe spoons are in the drawer under the same cabinet.”

If you’re not familiar with absinthe, a quick lesson: It’s a spirit that originated in Switzerland. The wormwood tree provides the major ingredient, producing cognitive brain functions leading to hallucinations when consumed in excess. It gained its popularity in France, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Many artists and writers such as Hemingway, Poe, Rimbaud, Lautrec, Picaso, and Van Gogh all chased the green fairy, believing it enhanced their creative abilities. I drink it because I become sexually aroused and it creates intimacy, much like ectasy or mescaline.

Gitane enters the kitchen as I’m pouring the absinthe over a sugar cube. It slowly drips into the glass from a spoon with holes acting as a sieve.

“Santi, I want an absinthe cocktail now…” she whines.

“Almost ready baby, damn you look incredible, absolutely gorgeous. You are a vision of lovliness.” My comment  was the gospel truth; she is more than I ever imagined, a classic work of art.

The absinthe was ready, and our glasses clink in a silent toast accompanied by her sensual smile.  Some  spills on her chest as she shoots the entire glass down. The drops  roll down her breasts from her chest to her stomach, tiny green tears of pleasure begging for my lips to sip the green droplets from her body. After licking the drizzled liquor from her breasts I drop to my knees and begin to suck it from her stomach. She pulls my head against her and I do not resist. Purposefully, she spills a bit more, giggling as the absinthe cascades down her body and into my eager mouth.

“Santi, I want sex but it’s different than what you may be use to…” she says.

Different than what I may be use to? I hardly think so! I’m no Don Juan or Cyrano, but I’ve been around the block a few times and have experienced some strange sexual practices.

“Sure baby, anything you want,” I  say, “just tell Santi.”

She walks to the refrigerator and retrieves a large bag of oranges. Alright, orange body shots, I  happily assume is our recreational sex game. She sets the bag of oranges on the table and walks back to the fridge, placing her back against it. She looks at me and smiles.

“Now Santi, throw an orange at me please…”

Without hesitation, I rip open the bag, grab an orange, and casually lob the fruit at Gitane. She makes no attempt to catch the orange, and it bounces off her left breast.

“Yes baby, but harder!” she instructs. “Throw it at me harder, I  want to cum…”

I grab another and throw it with more force. It makes its mark just above her pussy, leaving a large red spot no her groin.

She’s moaning like a cat in heat, screaming, “Yes baby, yes, harder, again harder!”

I grab another orange, wind up like a big league pitcher and let it go. The fruit strikes her belly and I  respond quickly with another then another. I continue with a barrage of oranges, hitting her tits and legs. She spreads her legs and with her fingers she opens her vagina.

“Here baby, here, come on Santi! I’m so close to cumming….”

I’ve tried to win those ridiculous stuffed animals at county fairs and carnivals, throwing balls at targets with no success. Now I needed to hone my skills and make an accurate throw.

I wind up and bingo, I hit the spot!

She writhes and moans in pleasure, fingers rapidly stroking her clitoris. I must admit, in all my years of sexual activity, I  have never encountered this type of sexual gratification before. I’m totally aroused and ready to respond in kind. I walk over to her, turn her around, and immediately enter her from behind.

She screams, “Harder Santi, harder!” I comply with her request and slam myself into her, finally cumming in triumph.

It is then hear something knocking, a loud pounding from what I  think is out back.

“What the hell is that noise? Do you hear that, Gitane?”

“It’s nothing,” she assures me, “just the wind blowing a tree against the house.”

Then, again, the sound like someone slapping the wall or the door.

“Let’s have another absinthe, Santi,” she suggests. “You can lick the juice off of my body…”

I whip up two more large portions of the green fairy, and we both down them with one gulp. Gitane hugs me tight, the sticky remnants of oranges sticking to our bodies.

“Is everything okay, Santi?” she asks. “You don’t think I’m strange for enjoying that type of sexual stimulus, do you?”

“Yes baby, I do find it strange and unusual,  but does it bother me or cause me to not want to participate? No. Did you think it would make me uncomfortable? I’m a pleaser angel, at times to a flawed degree. No, it doesn’t bother me, and I’m grateful you have such trust  to share your predilection with me. Although,” I think to add, “I  wouldn’t use apples or pears or anything harder than grapefruit.”

Truth is it didn’t disturb me at all. I found it strangely erotic and sexy.

By this point, the LSD has leveled off to a mellow high, and I fix us another round of cocktails. Gitane embraces me and places her head against my chest, rocking  side to side to the music playing in the other room. Again I  hear that fucking slammimg and slapping sound coming from somewhere on the other side of the wall.

“What the fuck is that noise?” I ask her again.

“It’s the wind, like I  said before. Just the wind!”

I look out the kitchen window and observe the stillness of the trees and other plants. There’s not the rustling of a single leaf.

She walks into her bedroom, signaling for me to follow.

“Come on sugar, take a shower with me. I’ll let you wash me any place you want, come on sugar…”

Just as I take a step in her direction, I hear the disturbance again. This time I’m determinded to investigate it. I turn and march toward the back door and the bathroom she said is out of order.

“Santi, no!” she screams. “Do not open that door!”

It’s too late, my hand has already turned the knob and I push the door open. I fumble for the light on the wall, flicking the switch as my ears begin to register a loud, throaty hissing. Suddenly a four-foot alligator comes lurching at me from the darkness. I nearly fall on my ass, screaming like a schoolgirl as I stumbled back out of the bathroom.

The gator lunges at me again with its mouth wide open, displaying enormous teeth lining its huge pink mouth. I figure that this is the end. I’m dinner for some fucking alligator. I accept my fate, but before I can become gator bait, I feel Gitane’s hands gripping my arms.  She tugs at my body, freeing me from the impending doom. The gator’s mouth snaps shut within inches of my leg. With Gitane’s assistance, I finally scramble to my feet and make a mad dash to the safety of the living room.

“Gitane, what the fuck are you doing with an alligator in your bathroom? That son of bitch nearly killed me!” I scream. “Are you missing some god damn brain cells? What the fuck are you thinking, you lunatic!”

She coaxes the monster back into the bathroom and shuts the door. She’s laughing hysterically, pointing at me now, trying to comment but she’s unable to speak through her laughter.

Finally, she’s out of breath, still reeling from the excitement.

“Oh Santi,” she says, “you should have seen yourself, you were so scared!”

“Scared, scared you say! I  was fucking terrified, totally panic strickened. You pulled me out just in time, and not a second too late. Seriously, why the hell do you have that monster son of a bitch living in your bathroom, tell me?”

“He was just a baby when I found him washed up on the street from the last hurricane. I felt badly for him, so i brought him home and put him in the bathtub and gave him a home.  He grew so quickly, I just kept him as company. His name is Gawain, after Sir….”

“Yeah,” I interrupt, “I know who the hell Gawain is!”

“It’s time for a drink!” she yells enthusiastically.

“Is that door secured, is it locked?” I ask. “I don’t want that bastard getting a second chance! You realize you can’t keep him, don’t you? Call the zoo or that alligator hunter guy on TV. He’s only gonna grow larger. He should be in the swamp, not your bathroom, baby.”

“I know that I can’t keep him… Will you help me find a home for him, Santi?”

“Gladly, it will be my pleasure.”

We partied into the wee hours of the morning, finishing off the bottle of absinthe and occasionally laughing at the alligator incident.

I wake up to discover I’m dressed in a plaid skirt, a crew-neck blouse, and fucking panty hose. I’m wearing one glittery sandle with my hair tied up on top. I make my way to the bathroom and my reflection scares the shit out of me. Unlike last night, the mirror hanging on the closet door betrays me this time. My lips are painted with a bright shade of shocking red lipstick, my eyes with blue eye shadow and mascara. More than anything else, I resemble an old, washed-up hooker. I’m wearing dangly silver earrings and a too-tight bra that is presently strangling my chest.

“Oh, Santiago,” I whisper to myself, “you incredibly submissive fool…”

Judson Michael Agla

Like a Chainsaw With Malice

What nerves you must have, absorbing paradise in your flip flops and that cheap Hawaiian shirt. Don’t you know what goes on behind these walls? The dogs are fighting for scraps and I’ve misplaced my bag of angry rats; things are only going to get weirder from here, I’ve been off my meds for days now and that’s a bad thing to happen under any circumstance.

The cantina was my future sanctuary and I desperately needed it, I was screaming at all the tourists and I slept in horse shit the night before, I would have looked like an abstract shell of a man, speaking in tongues, stinking up whole blocks on my way to the cantina.

After the long surreal struggle to “THE CORPSES CANTINA” where I was received as royalty, or at least the kind of royalty particular to the island. I arrived with the stench of hell, vomiting, screaming and really thirsty, fortunately this was a common occurrence so the staff new how to handle things, they even pinched in some of their tips to buy a defibrillator. I stopped screaming after about a half hour, two beers and two shots of rum.

Lately I’ve been misplacing my bag of angry rats; I use it for protection, I mean, who’s going to fuck with someone carrying a bag of angry rats. I treat them well, at the bungalow where I’m staying they get free reign, abstract thought was the only way to survive the island, turns out I left them at the cantina, that’s one thing they really don’t jive with.

As I continued to consume I tried putting the grueling remnants of the debaucherous night together, seemingly extracted from what was once my brain. I knew I stole a boat, that was a vivid recollection but I hadn’t a clue where it was nor who it belonged too. It wasn’t a big deal; people steal boats all the time on the island, there was no law or cops here, it was like a pirates paradise, but mostly inhabited by those who would prefer not to be found.

Anyway, as I stared down at my cheap Hawaiian shirt and warned out flip flops, some of the dizziness began to leave, I seemed to be feeling better, as the psychotropic cocktails kicked in.

John Robinson

Bikini Beach Bloodbath

Jack Ashley and Joe “Show No” Mersey were speeding down the coast in a black top down Jeep, three days into a two week lam from work and any shred of responsibility. They were best friends, approaching their mid-forties and clinging to what looks they still possessed.

Joe turned the radio up full volume and sang with the oldies station: “Motorin’/ What’s your price for flight?” They were celebrating his most recent divorce, his third. Jack only had one under his belt. Between them they had three kids to accompany the four ex-wives. This trip was to relive former glory, to briefly recapture a moment of their youth they missed. They planned to party like they did in their twenties, if age allowed it, following less traveled paths and touring whatever dive bar along the highway drew their interest.

The trip, so far, had found tequila shots and a topless billiards contest in a little town called Casla. Jack got a hangover, Joe got a t-shirt proclaiming him a FREELANCE GYNECOLOGIST. In San Guerre del Bendita they met a “biker chick” named Lola Monroe whose claim to fame was blowing JFK before he shipped out to WWII. Seeing Joe’s t-shirt, she hit him up for a pro bono exam. Bets were made whether he would or would not. Whiskey fortified him as Lola removed her dentures and led him to a back room with a drippy smile. Afterward, when questioned, Joe would only say, “I don’t want to talk about it,” as Jack counted his money.

By the fifth day, Jack and Joe arrived at their ultimate destination: Baniki Bay, a small beach town that learned early to get tourist dollars by advertising themselves as Bikini Beach.

Baniki thrived on out-of-towners and their expendable cash. It was brimming with mom-and-pop shops, restaurants and the odd chain business. There were boat and jet ski rentals for fun in the summer sun, deep sea fishing, and any number of artisans crowding the streets and beaches to sell their crafts. The laws were lax on Bikini Beach, clothing optional, if at all, with ragers and keggers going all night during the height of the tourist season. Local law enforcement didn’t have a drunk tank, they had the beach. Everything was good as long as nobody was severely injured.

The bendable laws are what brought Tri-State Chemical to Bikini Beach, or Baniki Island more accurately. The island sat just offshore, far enough away from prying eyes but close enough for an easy commute. Tri-State donated generously to the town, which got it through the off season, and town officials ignored improperly disposed industrial waste. Tri-State took residence of the island from Longview Prison for the Criminally Insane. Lethal treatments of questionable legality, and body dumping, closed Longview once federal and state authorities learned of its practices. But none of those things were listed in the Chamber of Commerce’s brochures and they were expunged Bikini Beach’s history.

***

When Jack and Joe made it to Bikini Beach, Baniki Island was a dot of silhouette on the horizon thanks to the setting sun. Music blared from various venues while a band was strumming at one end of the beach near the cliffs. People were dancing and jamming, raising drinks to the tunes.

Jack parked the Jeep in the lot of Bikini Motor Inn, which set right on the beach. “Doesn’t look like anything has changed,” he said. Cars inched along the boulevard, throngs of people going from one good time to another. There was laughter, chatter, and a pervasive vibe of happiness and freedom— a groovy kind of spirit.

Joe scanned up and down the lane. “I wonder if that tattoo place is still here?”

“I count four just looking,” Jack said.

“No, don’t you remember? Agony and Ecstasy Tattoo and Body Piercing.”

“Oh, yeah. You were too afraid to go inside.”

“So were you,” Joe said.

Jack grimaced. “I’m not big on the agony part.”

They checked in, they got their room keys, 9 and 10, adjoining. They unpacked and refreshed to discard road grime. For dinner they sought the Gator Tail Seafood Shack, a place they had enjoyed years prior. They were happy to see it still a staple of the local cuisine, and that the waitresses still wore short-shorts and cut-off t-shirts.

After a feast of gator tails and coconut shrimp, the guys hit up Skeeter’s Bar for a couple of Coronas and an unflattering turn on the dance floor for Joe. It was there they met Janet and Ronnie, cousins and divorcées fresh from their thirties, on their way back to Baja from a family funeral with a couple of days to kill.

“So what do you do?” Janet asked Jack.

“Does it really matter?”

“No,” she said. “We’re not using our real names,” which sent her and Ronnie into rolls of laughter.

Joe said, “I wish we’d thought of that.”

Most personal talk ended there for the foursome, other than Joe’s last IRS audit. They talked in generalities, adult topics that would bore the predominantly younger crowd: paying bills, fine wine, expensive meals, cell phone overage charges, great works of literature, guilty pleasure movies, dream vacations in exotic locales, Joe’s next IRS audit. They cracked wise about the “poor, dumb kids” and pointed out which ones would be burned by their vacation hook-ups.

Once a couple of rounds had come and gone, the newly formed group made their way to the gathering on the beach. The band was playing fifties and sixties pop songs and the accents of the waves yawning on shore added a dose of heart to the performance. Jack and Janet slow danced to a slithery instrumental of “Sleep Walk” while Joe and Ronnie were half buried in the sand in each other’s arms. That’s when the earthquake hit.

***

As far as earthquakes go, this one was a sneeze. It didn’t register on the locals’ Richter scale. Shelves rattled, pictures fell, some nerves frayed. People clung to each other as police, paramedics, and firefighters arrived. Aftershocks were nonexistent. No buildings crumbled and neither did the earth open wide to swallow the town. No one was seriously injured and mass hysteria was avoided. Not even the rocks of the cliffs were disturbed. Within an hour and a half it was business as usual.

Under the water it was different.

The mass graves of barrels that Tri-State Chemical had discreetly dropped under the placid waters of Bikini Beach were disturbed. A large number of those barrels were cheaply made and improperly, even incompetently, sealed. They shifted beneath the waves and foam. Caps popped, sides split. Chemicals leaked and mingled, and while a slick surfaced, some compounds settled on the seafloor where other things rested long buried.

Those things woke. Those things stretched limbs, flexed fingers and jaws.

Those things gave up their dark burial sites and inched their way through the water to the morning rays that were breaking over Bikini Beach.

***

Jack woke up and checked his phone. A little after eight, no messages, no calls, battery at half life. Janet was asleep beside him, her long brunette hair fanning over the white slip of the pillow. The sheet covered her naked body and he admired the roundness of her hips. Next door, he heard an irritated Ronnie cussing at Joe’s snoring.

He got up and slipped on his underwear to fetch a Pepsi from the mini fridge. He peeked out the curtain of the patio doors as he drank. People were already sunning on the beach and swimming. Gulls darted a cloudless sky as the sun was gearing up for a scorcher.

Janet woke. Sitting up to stretch, the sheet fell below the full volume of her breasts. Her large dark nipples were hard in the air conditioned coolness. Jack’s dick twitched in matted pubes at the sight of her.

“Please tell me you have coffee,” she said.

“No,” he said, adjusting his beginning stiffness. “Joe’s the coffee drinker.”

A loud snore like a landslide came from the closed adjoining door. It was followed by Ronnie, “For shit’s sake…”

“I’ll pass,” Janet said.

Jack put his drink on the nightstand. He laid beside her, on top of the covers. Hands behind his head, ankles crossed, the head of his cock poked through the fly of his tented boxers.

Janet snuggled partially atop him. Her breasts were cool when they touched him. She spread her leg over him, nudging her knee against his erection. She teased her nipple with a long pink fingernail. “I can pass on the coffee, for now,” she said, biting Jack’s nipple hard enough to make him wince.

He kissed her, feeling kind of silly for smiling so big. Janet threw her head back as Jack kissed her neck and traced his teeth down her throat. When she guided his hand between her legs, he found her fevered and wet. Before he could probe too deeply, she pulled his hand to her face and smeared his moist fingers across her mouth.

Jack crawled out of his shorts and forced her flat. He partedd her legs with his own. She gnawed at his chest as he traced his cock along the folds of her pussy. A small yelp escaped her lips when he slapped it against her clit.

Janet pulled his head down to hers. Her breath in his ear wrung his spine.

Her heat intensified as he patiently entered her inch by inch. The ache in his balls threatened to explode inside her as his thrusting became feral. Her nails raked his back as she tried to suppress her moans and screams. But she did scream as she clenched his pounding cock, her cries filling Jack’s ears and shaking his bones while her body trembled and shook beneath him.

Jack yelled as he came inside her with a stabbing fury. He kept going, slick and slippery between her legs, plunging as deep as he could, urged on by every tense twitch of Janet’s writhing body, by each moan and prayerful breath.

His hips slowed even though her body still gripped him tight. Utterly spent, he licked the sweat from between her breasts before rolling off her.

Janet dipped her fingers from where their juices mingled and closed her legs around her hand. “I’m throbbing…”

“I’m dying…” he replied.

She eyed his erection still at full salute. She grabbed it and yanked it like a gearshift, and he jerked from the sensitivity and laughed. She licked him from his asshole to the head of his dick. She rolled his balls in her mouth, lapping up anything that tasted like sweat and cum.

With a fistful of hair he guided her down his dick. Her throat was as scorching as her gash. The clouds of desire thinned in his head and he wondered how she could still be screaming and choking on him at the same time. He let go her hair and she came up for air, teary eyes and a big grin dangling a thick cord of spit.

“What’s wrong?” Janet asked, following him as he abruptly left the bed.

“You hear that?” he asked, pushing the curtains apart.

She did. Screams. Bloodcurdling screams. Pleas for help.

Jack stared out at the unfolding commotion on the beach.

“What in the actual fuck?”

***

When Roger Banks, the mayor of Baniki Bay, answered his cell phone, he listened intently to the harried explanation being blurted into his ear. His response was an irritated, “Not again…”

When Chief of Police Lacretia Sullivan received her reports from the beach, she simply asked, “How many this time?”

When Mayor Banks spoke with Chief Sullivan, she didn’t mince words.

“We’re fucked. I’m en route, but there’s no containing this one, Roger. We’re being butt fucked with a live chainsaw on this one. It’s all up in our asses. Pictures, videos. I’m sure this shit’s gonna be plastered on the web. Some little fuckhead is probably live streaming on some bullshit something right now.”

“Sweet Italian Jesus,” Banks said.

Sullivan disconnected the call. She never could stomach a grown man crying.

***

Jack pulled on his jeans and a pair of shoes. From a duffel bag in the closet, he removed the gun case in which rested his Glock 22.

“What is all this?” Janet asked, standing at the window naked and glistening.

Jack chambered a round and released the safety. “I don’t know.” He had an urge to kiss her neck, to bite her ass or smack it, but there’d be time for all that later. At least he hoped.

He pounded on the connecting door. “We got a situation,” he said through it.

“You got a fucking gun?” Janet asked.

“Cop.”

“You looked like one…”

The door opened. Ronnie was mostly dressed, but her hair was disheveled with bags under her eyes. Joe, in tighty-whities and a FREELANCE GYNECOLOGIST shirt, already had his Glock locked and loaded. “What’s up?” he said.

“Not sure,” Jack replied. “Lock the doors,” he told Janet and Ronnie, before charging outside.

***

Five things had crawled from the waters. The early beach-goers had assumed junk and seaweed had washed ashore. Then the things stood on two legs, like men, and walked, like drunks, toward the sun addicts. The things reached with arms. Grabbing a burly jock who wore a too form-fitting speedo, one of the things bit into his neck with a chomping mouth. The other four things lunged for stunned sunbathers, and those that couldn’t grab a meal dined with the creatures who were more successful.

When Jack and Joe came running onto the beach, the things had taken down three victims. Joe tried stopping a busty girl that was running by with a tit flopped out of her bikini. “What’s going on?” he asked her.

“Terrorists!” she shrieked, not tarrying as she ran straight by.

“Did you see that titty?” Joe asked Jack.

“Couldn’t miss it,” Jack replied, continuing toward the chaos.

Friends of the burly jock beat at the creature eating him. Another of the soggy monsters fell on them. They thought they had that thing beat down until it rose and plunged a hand through one of their tight, tanned stomachs.

Joe fired two rounds into a creature presently munching on a woman, face deep in her guts. The bullets hit the back of its head and it lay motionless, buried in a mound of intestines.

Jack aimed for the heads of the other two eating the jocks. One bullet hit a jock in the chest as he tried to dodge grabbing hands. He fell screaming, staring up at the rotted maw as it closed over his face. Jack’s next shots finished both the creature and the doomed jock.

“Fucking zombies…” Joe said, scratching his balls.

Jack swiveled his neck until it popped. Meanwhile, the water had spit two more creatures out onto the beach in search of a flesh buffet.

“Who’d have thought, after almost thirty years,” he said, “this shit would happen to us, here, again?”

“Wasn’t in my crystal ball,” Joe replied, raising his gun to pop the head of one the waterlogged bastards. “I ain’t giving this place a third chance though, that’s for sure!”

“To old times then,” Jack said with a smirk.

Guns raised in unison, together they closed in on their targets.

Adam Hazell

Superhero With a Bad Back

I take another hit because I can’t throw no more punches. I mean, I haven’t officially retired or anything, but I will never again be called back into action. Of this much I am certain.

Once a week, some ungrateful civic servant comes and checks on me. She asks some questions and ticks some boxes. When she leaves I pick off the gum she sticks under the coffee table, put it in a plastic baggie and place it in the fridge. I don’t know what I plan to do with the evidence, confront her maybe?

Someday…

Anyway, I can’t fly like I used to anymore, but sometimes hookers will sleep with me for free if I promise I will take them up for a cruise. I tell them to get on my back and then I jump off the bed, then we float about a foot or so off the floor. In all honesty, the jumping (and I guess the sex) has taken its toll on me.

When they discover that I am impotent all round, they leave all pissed off, unfulfilled by a man once again.

Most of the week is spent on the couch or in bed on some relaxants or, when I’m in the mood, some prescription weed. No one hassles me about it, enough of my neighbours are old enough to remember what I did for the city, but the kids are becoming a concern.

They’ll be starting to outnumber this generation soon.

Maybe I’ll get lucky and die (if I can) before I’m completely out of my stash.

I look out from my sixth floor window. Should I just go ahead and jump?

It seems I don’t have that much of a choice, as none of mankind’s weapons have ever worked against me. In the old days, falling would be nothing, but I’m old now, so who knows..?

I’m relaxed about it, y’know? I’ll let gravity do its thing and maybe we’ll meet in mutual agreement.

The window opens, I exit and hover.

A.S. Coomer

Scales & Fur

The window was cracked; spirals dancing like a spider’s web singing. That’s when I knew. I reached for the door, found it standing open a hair’s breadth. The darkness radiating from inside was heavy, hot, the rank breath from something waiting, something awful just biding its time.

With the toes of my scuffed boots I pushed the door in. It swung on creaking hinges and met something that impeded its progress about halfway open. I squinted into the darkness.

“Can’t see shit,” I said.

I swear I could almost feel the room breath, a sucking in of anticipation, an electricity bordering on painful.

I put one foot in front of the other with careful hesitancy but it still felt every bit the mistake it was.

“Hello,” I called.

I could hear the trembles in my voice and gritted my teeth.

“Anybody home?”

I knew there was but there was no answer.

Four steps inside the door, I stopped, held myself erect, muscles singing in rigidity, waiting for my eyes to adjust. A slithering gripped the room. I felt like the walls were twisting, gripping a little closer in the space around me.

I debated the merits of calling out that I wasn’t the police, that I was with the Homeless Youth Outreach Program but saw junkie teenage sneers and snickers and bit my tongue.

I could make out the dim shapes of things around me: a couch against the wall furthest away, a coffee table near it, a television sitting directly on the floor to my left. There was a gaping, rectangular hole to my right signifying a door to another room.

“Hey,” I called.

I made my voice as sharp and as cutting as I could, hoping to startle whoever (or whatever) into making a noise and revealing themselves.

Nothing.

I walked over to the couch and, with shaking hands and tingling fingers, reached down to pat the cushions to make sure nothing was lying in wait there.

God did I wish I had a flashlight or a cellphone or a lighter but the only flashlight I owned sat in the junk drawer of my little place in Ferndale, the city was too broke to supply cellphones and I quit smoking three years ago.

The cushions were stale, dusty coated and my fingers came away somewhat sticky but not in a wet way. I wiped them on my pants and made my way to the door, where a darker darkness yawned out.

That’s when I remembered the door. It hadn’t opened all the way.

Stupid. Stupid to forget something as glaringly obvious, right?

I spun on my heels and that’s when it happened. Happened as quick as they say it happens. Everything changed.

Blinding light, flashes and stars and noise, erupted from all around me. The room tightened its grip to a choking. I saw nothing save the light.

“Welcome,” it said.

I couldn’t breath. I couldn’t see. My ears felt plugged with barbed cotton. Panic sunk in like a searing knife.

I flung my arms wildly, connected with nothing, but kept swinging.

“Help,” I tried to scream. “God, help me.”

No sound escaped my lips.

My head began to spin and the light flickered like fading afternoon sunlight on rippling water.

I’m going to pass out, I realized.

I did but I caught a fleeting glance of the room before the lights went out. The walls were scaled, red and coiling. The floor was not carpeted. It was fur-covered. I saw it growing in lurid detail as I fell.

***

Time is a strange thing. It comes in leaps and bounds. It sticks with clumpy, sap-like tenacity, refusing to budge. It does what it does.

I don’t know how long I was out. When I woke the first thing I realized was that I couldn’t see. All was dark again. The next thing I realized was that I was bound, completely engulfed in fur. Little bristles of hair lined my body as snug as any coat I’d ever worn.

My breath was hot and close against my face bringing sweat to my pores and tears to my eyes. I could breath though.

“Wha–”

Motion enwrapped me. The fur moved all around me. I had to close my eyes as the hair poked and stabbed in its coiling. Whatever it was, it moved from right to left, slowly unfurling itself.

I kept my eyes shut. I didn’t want to see. My body shook and I couldn’t stop it.

Why? Why did I have to choose this house? Of all the abandoned, derelict houses on the block–shit, in Detroit, for that matter–I had to go and choosethisone.

I steeled myself as best I could and slapped my eyes open.

Darkness.

I blinked and blinked and blinked but everything remained dark. I kept my eyes open and waited.

Slowly, painfully slowly, time as globbed sap, my eyes adjusted and I saw that I was in the same room. I was on the floor. I could make out the couch against the wall, the coffee table near it and the television to my left.

Move, I told myself. Get up. Move.

I jerked my hands into fists, feeling the hairy carpet under my arms. I wiggled my toes inside my boots and found them working too. I sucked in my gut and threw myself forward, the first sit-up I’d done since elementary school.

“Ok,” I said, huffing for breath. “Ok.”

I looked around. The front door, the one I’d come in through, was nowhere to be seen.

Must be shut, I thought. Shit.

I looked for its outline behind me but could see nothing. I got to my feet, stopping with my hands on my knees as the room swayed with my light-headedness, then made my way to where the front door of the house should’ve been.

It wasn’t there.

Nothing but a wall. I ran my sweating hands along it, searching for doortrim, a knob, the eery pane of glass I saw from the outside, a crack, something. My hands found nothing. Just the smooth but somehow lumpy-in-exact-patterns wall.

Red scales flashed in my mind.

I jerked my hands away and nearly tripped over my feet stepping backwards.

Window. There must be a window. You can leave through a window.

I forced myself to step back to the wall and place my hands back on it. I traced the largest loops my arms would allow, praying with each inch that my fingers found glass. I didn’t care if I lost a hunk of my finger in the process. I just wanted out.

I followed the wall towards the corner, taking half-steps as my hands searched. I was nearly to the corner, which I could just make out in the murk, when a sharp bark of pain leapt up from my right shin. I stumbled over something and hit the ground, barely stopping my face from smashing into the weird, furry carpet with my right arm.

I kicked my feet wildly and they struck something. It felt insubstantial, flimsy even. I sat still, waiting for my chest to quit heaving and squinting into the darkness at whatever it was that I’d kicked.

The television.

I saw the outline of it finally and laughed a little. It was a nervous thing, that laughter. It wasn’t forced but I could hear the tremble in it and knew it wouldn’t take much more to push me over the breaking point.

“Just the television,” I said, pulling myself up to all-fours. I crawled over to the television and ran my fingers along the top. It was smooth and cold.

There must cable cords in the thing, I thought. If there’s no goddamn window in this fucked up house, I’ll just pull the damn wall out where the cable comes in.

I moved to the backside of the tv, still on my hands and knees, and started feeling up the wall. My hands found nothing but the oddly lumpy surface.

“The fuck?”

I turned back to the tv and moved my fumbling hands along the backside of it. It was completely smooth. Not a port or cord to be found.

Time, bounding back to motion, reared its head. The television flashed into life. Light flooded the room on the other side of the tv. The couch and coffee table blossomed into view. I saw the wall behind to, indeed, be red and lined with scales. The carpet was unlike any carpet I had ever seen in my life. It was a dingy, off-white fur that shimmered and bristled in places like a cat’s arching back.

I felt paralyzed. I was behind the tv. I felt no cord, not even a power cord, but the television was on and beaming. I forced myself to crawl around and see what it was showing.

The brightness was nearly too much. My eyes narrowed into slits and it took a few moments to adjust to the light.

“What the–”

The screen was a negative image of the house from the outside. The night sky was alive with a matte light and the house was lined in shadows and darkness. It looked ghostly, pale but shimmering.

My mouth hung open and I felt my breath quickening.

I watched as the shape of a portly man came into the lower left-hand side of the screen. He lifted one leg over the rickety fence, struggled for balance awkwardly, then swung the other leg up and over. The man readjusted his pants, picked a wedgie from his ass, then started up the overgrown yard towards the looming house.

“Oh god,” I whispered.

I watched the man pause before mounting the steps to the porch.

The television screen began a slow but steady zooming in at this point. The portly man looked around the porch, walked to both sides searching for a window but finding none, returned to the door and hesitated.

The screen was a closeup of the back of the man’s head now, standing at exactly the same level as the man.

“Oh jesus.”

The man reached for the knob but stopped short. His shoulders hunched and I watched as a shiver ran up the length of his spine. The man felt somebody behind him. The man swung around and I stared in open-mouthed horror at my own wide-eyed, sweating face in negative on the television screen.

I flung myself away from the television. I scrambled backwards and bashed against the coffee table.

“What?” I sputtered. “What is happening?”

I struggled against the coffee table but it backed against the couch and moved no further.

My eyes on the television screen scanned right and left but saw nothing. Did not see whatever it was that was filming me directly in front of me like the eyes of some invisible monster. I watched as I turned around and noticed the cracked window on the door. I watched as I noticed that the door was open. I watched as I opened the door with my foot.

Don’t go in, my mind screamed.

But I was already inside.

“What is happening?”

I felt the ground under me move. It jostled me, just a little at first, then with a power that cowered me. It lifted me up and sat me on the couch. I did not resist. I curled myself in closer, brought my knees to my chest.

The television was just light now. I was nowhere to be seen. The house wasn’t in view either. The screen vibrated with a light that danced like a candle in a gentle breeze.

It was captivating. I couldn’t look away even though it felt like the room was circling me, closing in.

I’m not sure when I noticed it, it must’ve been happening for a while, growing in intensity, slowly, until it was damn near deafening: a hissing, like a gigantic teakettle stuck at just the moment before it howls. A shaking like the kettle’s top bubbling on scalding water, everywhere and, for the moment, unseen.

It gave me the distraction to pull my eyes from the television set.

I sucked in breath and found no exclamation profound enough to utter. The room was teeming with movement. Hundreds, thousands probably, of strands of the wall, red and scaly, were slithering, coiling, just a few feet away. The room was wrapping itself around me with a strength of such finality there was nothing to do but let go.

***

I could’ve been anything. That’s what I like to believe. I say it, well I guess I don’t say anything anymore, I have no real voice, in disgust and regret. I could’ve been safe somewhere in an airconditioned, cubicled office, crunching numbers for a chain of dry cleaners. I could’ve been working the door at one of the scuzzy clubs in Greektown. Shit, I could’ve spent a lifetime passing out Gatorade to the Pistons.

But no, I had to be the do-gooder. I had to be the guy who thought he could make a difference. Shit. I like to think a lot about the Homeless Youth Outreach Program now. Was it even really a thing? When they came flyering up Wayne State, I thought they were about the greatest thing I could imagine. College educated helpers swooping down from their rising place in the social stratum to help the kids on the streets, the kids sleeping behind the tagged dumpsters downtown, the kids sleeping in the hundreds of empty shells of businesses and factories, the kids sleeping in the thousands of derelict, abandoned houses sprawled for miles and miles. I wonder how many houses sat silently laughing like this one, waiting, biding its time, hungry.

The turnover rate was astounding. They had to tell me. I took it with a grain of salt. I was young, eager, knew I wouldn’t burn out because I was going to make it happen. I was going to be a constant for these kids in a world of inconsistency.

Shit.

This house. That’s all there is now. Me, the coffee table, the couch, the fur, the walls and the television. Red scales and fur and light. There is no time, time in globs or time as a whip. I am the bug in amber. I am in a place, seconds like centuries with teeth, without end.

I thought there’d be heaven or, a remote possibility, hell but there’s nothing. I’m not sure if it’s the house, taking whatever essence, call it core or soul or being, and holding it over my head, trapping me here, or if there just isn’t anything else. My thoughts twist around these ideas like the “walls” of this place, shifting in a circle never ending, grinding to what seems like a stop only to shift, as if for comfort, then to pick up right where it left off. Round and round and round it goes.

It doesn’t speak to me. It doesn’t even really acknowledge that I’m here. It keeps me, forgotten, unattended, neglected, like a nest egg, some dragon’s fortune that it has no use for but won’t give up.

I know it’s terrible but I hope somebody from the Blight Commision makes their way here. I wonder if maybe, just maybe, it’ll trade me out for someone new, someone alive. There’s nobody else here but me so it’s not hoarding.

I just sit and watch the television hoping for flickers of life and a shot of somebody that isn’t me coming up the overgrown yard to the door with the spider-webbed window.