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First pages

1

He raped the chainsaw blade across the guy’s guts, which spilled out like sausage links all over his mother’s shag carpet. There was no getting those blood stains out now. The poor bastard just smiled up at the chainsaw. The designer drug had taken hold. La-la land here we come.

Charles continued reading toward the end. This novel was a page turner by god.

“Laredo strikes again,” he whispered with a little more than a hint of envy.

Earle Laredo was a prolific bastard. Churning out a new novel ever couple of months it seemed. The writer’s true identity remained a mystery though. The elusive Earle Laredo seemed to exist on paper only. The publishing house probably had ten ghostwriters all using the Laredo brand. His bestsellers lined the gore shelves of most mom and pop bookstores across the US of A. Many of the major book distributors like Borders, and Barnes & Nobles wouldn’t dirty their rich fingers with the likes of Laredo. He was a gutter writer. Clean out any fast food grease trap and you would find pages of Laredo’s novels. The fact that the big corporate book venders wouldn’t carry Laredo’s stuff didn’t matter in the age of Amazon.com. Charles got his fix instantly, or nearly instantly. He didn’t care for eBooks so much as the printed versions. Laredo’s entire library was open to him via the on-line mega store, Amazon. What he found outstanding too was that most of Laredo’s stuff had been published as original paperback editions that he could find for a penny a vendor. Sure, he paid three or four bucks for shipping, but normally Charles bought four or five Laredo novels at a pinch and they all shipped at a single cost. Couldn’t beat that.

Laredo’s stuff was quick, averaged two-hundred and fifty to three hundred pages per novel. No fluff here, just good old story through and through. One of Charles’s favorite quotes was from Elmore Leonard on the subject of keeping your work lean. When asked how he remained popular in the writing biz for so many years Leonard said, ‘I just left out the boring parts’. Heck yeah! Laredo was the same in that respect. On a good day Charles could finish a single book. The books were fucking addictive man. Chainsaw’s slicing and dicing flesh. Serpents stuck down poor victim’s throats. Drive-byes with a cannon. This writer had it all. The only problem was that he was a ghost. Word on-line was that he never traveled the Horror convention circuit like his horror brethren. Rarely gave interviews, and almost no one knew what he looked like. He was a regular Howard Hughes of the literary world, or maybe a better comparison was J.D. Salinger on acid. Laredo and another writer buddy, R. Daniels were known to collaborate on novels from time to time, but contacting Daniels was even harder than his partner. Laredo at least had an unmanned website that a guy known simply as Lou created and supposedly updated once or twice a year, but Charles hadn’t seen anything new on that site in almost three months. And Daniels, well Daniels was a complete ghost.

The bio in Laredo’s books said that he was born in East Texas, some little town named Skinner that no one’s ever heard of. In another bio it stated he was born and raised in Ghost Nebraska. There was no Ghost Nebraska on the map either. Dead ends all around. Laredo’s identity stunk of a pseudonym. Charles had been in the writing biz long enough himself to sniff out a pen name.

“Guy just licked the warm greasy substance off his fingers and…” Charles read but then stopped. “What the hell?” Someone had torn out the last few pages of the Laredo novel, Cattle Prod, that he was currently reading. “Fuck me.”

Charles stood up from his cramped leather chair and walked over to his bookshelf. He had books by all of the great Splatterpunk authors of the eighties and nineties, people like Jack Ketchum, John Skipp, Craig Specter, and the grandmaster Clive Barker, but for Charles he had a special shelf for his favorite of that motley crew, Earle - I’m a ghost - Laredo. The master’s books were eye level just like in those mom and pop bookstores that sold Laredo’s junk. He looked at the spine of the current novel he was holding, Cattle Prod, the book he just got jipped on, and scowled. The chainsaw on the spine was covered in blood. The publisher’s name, Bloody Mayhem Books. They did all of Laredo’s stuff. He flipped open the copyright page to check publishers address. Not there.

“Just my fucking luck.”

More ghosts. Charles turned away from the bookshelf and looked back at his typewriter on the desk. It was a portable Smith Corona. Black machine with silver tipped keys. Well oiled. The way he had been once upon a time. The laptop that he rarely used was still in its traveling bag by the front door. You couldn’t create poetry on a computer, had been Charles’s moto. Looking back on the bookshelf he saw five of his own novels, paperback originals same as Laredo’s. Kinship from the start. Charles’s books weren’t bestsellers though and after a two-year dry spell his publishing house, Grindhouse Press, had dropped him.

“Assholes,” he said thinking on the memories of dealing with those idiots.

Charles never liked that publisher anyway, a bunch of pseudo-frauds the whole lot of them. They published grotesque novels but walked around in airy offices with plants on their desks and AC shooting throughout the rooms. A shiny cappuccino machine perpetually pouring the expensive shit down the throats of loser editors who wouldn’t know the first thing about what it was like to sever a man’s head with a chainsaw. Grindhouse Press published those books but never bothered to experience the visceral trenches that writers travelled down to create such horrors. Now Bloody Mayhem Books, Laredo’s publisher, they had a reputation on-line as being just one step up from a vanity press. They were housed in a large steel warehouse, address unknown, but the black and white pictures they posted on their website made the place look like a god damned crime scene. Charles liked that. The crime scene shots looked authentic - blood and novel pages spread everywhere. He thought, in one of those creepy pictures, that he saw the shadow of a man standing inside one of the open door frames peering out at whomever took that shot, as if the photographer was an unwelcome intruder instead a PR guy. That idea of catching someone doing something nasty in private too was creepy as hell.

“Bloody Mayhem,” Charles whispered as he glanced at his own manuscripts on the desk next to the typewriter.

His unfinished sixth and seventh novels sat on the desk in a dusty pile. Coffee stains marked those unedited pages like love kisses from hell. Next to that desk was an over-flowing trash can of unusable work. On the kitchen table was a pile of unpaid bills. It was strange how shit like bills piled up without your knowing about them. Like ex-wives. Charles thought bitterly as he looked at his hole-in-the-wall motel room with the decade old water stains on the carpet and the grimy wallpaper. Charles’s shrink might have mentioned something about his surroundings being like an existential projection of his inner chaos. Fuck his shrink. He paid bottom basement prices for this one room shit-heap. It had power, an icebox, a shitter and cable T.V. for when he wanted to procrastinate on his writing, which was too often lately. That’s all he needed. The typewriter was his, given to him by his first wife as a going away present. Take it and scram, Lorraine told Charles as she booted him out of the house. The only benefit not making any cash with his books lately was that he didn’t have to pay any damned alimony to that bitch.

“Bitches all around,” he said.

The knock on the door broke Charles from his sulking mood, or kind of broke him. To be honest Charles spent ninety percent of his time inside his head, a place he liked to call shitsville. He had moments of revelations that lifted his mood from the muck, but those moments were tough ones to come by lately. His latest foul mood was a result of having to wait almost a two weeks for one of those Amazon vendor fuckers to send him out the next three paperback editions of Laredo’s novels: Knuckle Sandwich, Gear Grease, and Heavy Metal Maelstrom. Charles had read some great reviews about Gear Grease. Not so great reviews for the vender who sold them though. The guy had delayed a week longer than expected. Claimed FedEx fucked up the shipping.

More knocks. These knocks didn’t sound like the FedEx dude, or the UPS guy, or the postal asshole. That postal asshole stank of booze ever day when Charles would bump into him while he was picking up his morning paper. Another annoying knock broke Charles from his thoughts.

“Assholes all round,” he muttered to himself.

Charles removed his black framed hipster glasses and squinted through the peep-hole in the front of his motel room door. There were stains on that door and Charles took care to not place his face too close to the plasterboard. Eighty-five dollars a week and he hated it here. Glancing through the peep-hole he didn’t see anyone. Someone had to be there though, he heard the damned knock, but no one was visible. Charles glanced back through the peep-hole once more buttoning the Hawaiian shirt around his slim figure.

“Yeah who is it?”

“Delivery.”

A muffled voice called from the other side of the door. The other side of the door might as well have been on the other side of the moon when Charles was stuck in the terror of writer’s block, which had been every day for almost two weeks. Charles’s method of breaking writers block came with isolating himself from the world around him. Tuning into that endless ether of the creative mind. The Life of the Mind was where Charles found himself while writing his novels. Lately he had lost the road map back to the Mind. It was killing him. The block wasn’t bad for weekend writers who didn’t need to make cash from their written words. There were too many joe schmoozes out there who claimed to be writers but who worked the 9 to 5 gigs to ‘supplement their income.’ They weren’t professional writers. They were losers.

“Open up, delivery,” the voice said with a couple more knocks.

“Okay, okay.”

Charles undid the dead bolt but kept the chain on the front door.

“Delivery for a Charles Dalton?”

“Yeah that’s me…”

When the envelope stuck through the crack in the door Charles knew immediately by the bright blue envelope that it was a summons from one of his bitch whore wives looking for money. He slammed the door as hard as he could hearing a crunch. One second the room was quiet the next it exploded with screams of pain as the cheap plasterboard door snapped the delivery guy’s wrist in two. His hand dangled off the limp wrist like a queer diving off the Golden Gate Bridge.

“AH!”

The delivery dude was screaming and screaming.

Charles kept slamming the poor bastard’s wrist in the door frame to get him and his dirty rotten summons the hell out of the motel room as the guy screamed louder and louder. He didn’t want any damned summons delivered to him today – or ever.

“Out! Pig!”

Charles kicked the delivery guy in the balls and slammed the door, locking it with the dead bolt before he stared out the peep-hole again. He saw the delivery dude wander off woozy. The guy was going to pass out before he made it back to his piece of shit Cheviot.

“See, you be prepared and bad shit don’t happen to you,” Charles said proudly but as he was turning back toward his mute typewriter he noticed that the delivery dude had dropped the summons on the floor next to the inside of the door. “Shit!”

Successful delivery.

Walking back to the envelope he didn’t dare touch it. Touching it meant accepting the summons, or whatever the hell was inside that official blue envelope. Looking toward his small kitchen he sprinted to the cupboards. Dropping to his knees he found a small metal can of lighter fluid beneath the sink. Riffling through the cluttered cupboard he found a long stemmed lighter as well.

“This’ll do.”

Charles grinned looking back at the blue colored summons.

He popped off the lighter fluid cap and sprayed the fluid to access over the envelope - getting as much of the toxic fluid off the envelope, soaking the carpet, as on the blue envelope. Charles was about to strike the lighter when he thought better of it. For just a second he realized that he would need something to put out the fire once he lit the summons. He remembered the baking soda in the refrigerator. Charles walked back and grabbed the baking soda from the fridge. Dragging the ripped open box across the tiny kitchen, spilling ample amounts of the white powder on the grimy rolled up linoleum of the kitchen floor, to the front door Charles slid the box in the back pocket of his hole-ridden blue jeans and then lit the lighter fluid. The blue summons and most of the orange shag carpet went up in a flash.

“AH!”

Charles screamed kicking and blowing on the flames before he remembered that he had the box of baking soda in his back pocket.

“Die fire,” Charles screamed up-ending the baking soda, or what was left of it onto the flames.

The white powder did very little to stop the spread of the flames that was eating away at the lighter fluid soaked carpet. Looking around frantically Charles ran to the bathroom sink where he had a spool of one-hundred-foot garden hose. Don’t ask why Charles had a one hundred foot hose, or where that hose came from. Charles screwed the hose to the tub sink and then raced back down the hallway from the bathroom to the burning front door. Lifting the hose to extinguish the flames Charles was surprised that nothing was coming out.

“Turn on the faucet asshole.”

Charles screamed at himself and then ran back to the bathroom. Seconds later water was drippling out of the end of the hose until he found the coil knotted in the hose and unwound it. By then the fire was almost out of control. Burning up his living room. Then the water finally shot forth in a massive stream, like a giant’s ejaculation. A few minutes later covered in sweat and soot the flames were finally out. And Charles’s pathetic heart was beating like mad in his measly chest. He glanced up at the smoke detector and cursed. No fucking good.

“Holy shit. Bitches,” Charles said thinking that it was his ex-wives that caused this mess.

Looking around him he saw charcoaled rug and scorched door. The embers that were once a summons lay almost completely unburned among the mess. Just a corner of the envelope had any black on it at all. The rest of the area around it was scorched black. Karma man, fucking karma.

“Fuck you karma.”

Charles just dropped the hose allowing the water to coat the whole living room floor. He didn’t give a fuck anymore. He snatched up the laptop in its travelling bag unused and walked into the bedroom slamming the door behind him.

2

Inside the confines of his bedroom, another pit that always made Charles feel a bit like a refugee floating on the open ocean of crap, he could smelled the stink of the burned carpet and whatever fungi lurked beneath that three decade old shag fabric. He jumped to his bed avoiding the scraps of paper and junk on the stained carpet. As he slid on his headphones plugging them into the jack of the laptop he accessed his iTunes account and hit play on a band named Less Than Hate. The heavy metal maelstrom exploded into his ears shrouding out the continuing screams of the summons deliveryman who still howling from pain somewhere down the block. The guys wrist must have been broken. Charles felt a nasty streak of pride.

“Serves you right fucker. Doing the Devil’s work,” Charles said as he logged into his Google account and accessed his Gmail.

His mind was spinning now. Charles wasn’t sure if it was the toxic fumes from the fire in the living room, or if it was the fact that he was striking a wall with his crummy life, but he wasn’t able to focus on the new manuscript, Fan Favorite, that he had started a month ago. What came next? Charles saw only spots in his vision. Laredo. Laredo. Laredo. The words pulsed in his mind like a mantra. Over and over again. Nonstop. Laredo didn’t have writer’s block. With two dozen or more novels in print the guy was a machine. Charles needed help in breaking this fucking writer’s block that plagued him. Who better to help him than, “Laredo!”

Once his Gmail appeared Charles licked his lips praying to hear back from his agent, a publisher, an editor, anyone. Jesus, anyone. He felt like he was in a god damned vacuum. No S.O.S. had been answered.

“Hello! Is there anyone out there?”

Charles began to shake and beat his head with frustration. Sweat and soot coated his lined skin from the charred summons as he ran his fingers through his hair and adjusted his glasses. The band, Less Than Hate, was screaming something about Insanity and Charles knew that zip code. He removed his hipster frames wiped them on the tails of his t-shirt and then replaced them on his sweaty nose before positioning himself in front of the laptop.

“Okay god, give me something,” he whispered.

Opening his eyes he saw nothing inside of his in box. Not one god damned email. No junk mail. No agent’s rejects. No editors telling him to give it up. Nothing! Absolutely fucking nothing.

“Shit,” Charles moaned feeling the desperate tears of isolation burn his bloodshot eyes. Insanity for sure, he thought hopelessly.

Setting the laptop aside on the rumpled bed sheets Charles stood up dropping his headphones to the crumpled blankets pulling it out of the headphone plug from the laptop jack and walked silently to the dresser. Less Than Hate were finishing up their huge crescendo. He saw the jack rabbit bumper sticker stuck to the side of the red dresser. It was a bumper sticker that his ex-wife, the last ex-wife bought when they were on the road trying to find Earle Laredo, the first time around. Back in the day that bitch meant the world to Charles. That twisted jack rabbit sticker was a joke between them. This ex, Beverly, told him that he fucked like a jack rabbit. When they stopped at a shitty little burger joint on Route 66 she bought the sticker for him. One night when they were banging each other, a night when he still had a writing career and an regular erection, Beverly removed the jack rabbit bumper sticker from a pile of clothes and slapped it on their red dresser. When she left him he kept the dresser. Looking at that sticker now Charles kicked the side of the wood, caving in the red material. That twisted ugly face of the jack rabbit looked even uglier with its face caved in. Charles smiled opening the top drawer. After a second or two he found the .38 snug nosed revolver buried under a pile of women’s underwear. This was a gun he bought after he got his latest rejection from a long term publisher that accepted his work unconditionally for years. The publishing tap was dried out now, but the .38’s six cylinders were full of led.

Looking around his shitty little world he felt as if he was floating on a sea of manure. Human manure in the guise of book critics and readers, or lack of them. His nasty state of affairs were such because those fuckers wouldn’t know great writing if it crawled up their asses and shit on their faces. Charles chuckled at that image. The revolver would end all that for him though. Could end it anyway if he was brave enough to pull the trigger.

Charles smiled through his depressed tears. His life didn’t exactly flash through his mind, but his wife Beverly’s face did.

“Sorry Bev. I really did love you once.”

Thumbing back the revolver’s hammer Charles found that perfect spot, the G-Spot, by his left temple. He had done his research on-line. Suicide was hip. A slug buried into a temple often worked to unplug the life lights. Like unplugging the sparkling Christmas lights. Once brilliance shined over him and then, nothing. Charles looked left at where the brains and blood would splatter once he pulled the trigger. It was Beverly’s side of the bed. He might even hit the fucking jack rabbit sticker.

“Serve the bitch right,” Charles ground his yellow teeth. “Leaving me.”

He felt the steel barrel grind into the flesh of his temple as his finger caressed the .38’s trigger.

“Goodbye you shitty world. This is Charles Walton Dalton signing off,” he said closing his eyes.

The presser was on the trigger now. Another point of presser would send that slug into his brain pan. The action would be like lifting an eternal anchor from this shitty world. Clamping eyes tight he pressed the trigger and Charles heard a BEEP! A second later he pissed himself but he was still alive. He was still alive. Opening his eye’s, he realized that the hammer had positioned itself to the half cock mode securing it from a full discharge. He couldn’t even kill himself properly. What a fuck up he was. SHIT! Was it Charles’s ignorance, or divine intervention that saved his life? Then he remembered the beeping sound.

“Beep?”

Charles questioned the sound.

BEEP. That sound again.

“What the fuck?”

Charles lowered the .38 and looked over at the laptop. The headphones had pulled free from their jack. The volume was still cranked up, just the way Charles liked it when he was listening to one of his heavy metal iTunes playlists. Less Than Hate had ended and the room was silent now. His Gmail was still up. Someone was emailing him.

“Emails?”

Charles put the revolver down on his bed and picked up the laptop. Three new emails. He slid his glasses back on and looked at the address that the emails originated from. E.Laredo42@gmail.com.

“E.Laredo? What the fuck?”

Charles hesitated for a second looking at the computer screen. He remembered contacting Laredo’s website some time back, emailed the webmaster several times. The guy emailed back asking if Charles was sure that he wanted to contact Laredo. The question had surprised Charles but he had responded in the affirmative. Contacting Laredo was like one of those cosmic moments. Once you opened Pandora’s Box it could never be closed again. The webmaster, a guy named Lou, said that he would forward Charles’s emails to Laredo, but Charles hadn’t heard anything for so long that he had forgotten about the contact. Now pulsating in his inbox were emails from the great Earle Laredo himself.

“Holy shit.”

Was it possible that the god-writer of those pulp horror pages that he had been reading so obsessively – pages that had made him cringe while under the blankets of his safe secure bed, was actually emailing him back? Staring into the abyss. Now it was staring back. Was this for real?

“Holy shit!”

Charles clicked on the email.

“Oh come all yee faithful. Laredo calls to his followers. Come to me…” Charles read. Scanning the email not caring about the fine print. He wanted an address. “Okay, so where the fuck do you want me to go?”

He noticed the second email. The first email seemed to be a welcome to my CULT email. How gracious. The second email must have the address. Clicking on that email Charles read.

“220 Hex Road Albuquerque New Mexico. See you soon,” Charles read.

There was a bloody smiling emoji face with x’d out eyes and a dangerously dangling tongue. Brain matter was splayed across the back of the email as if someone had fired two slugs into the smiling face’s ugly mug. Charles grinned and snatched up his own .38.

“See ya soon,” he whispered.

3

Charles was nearly broke as fuck so he had no illusion that he could buy a plane or bus ticket to Albuquerque to meet up with Laredo. Instead he had a decent automobile, one he scored from a writer pal who died from a suicide bullet to the head a few months before. That fella, guy named Landon Fletcher, had put Charles in the mind to finish himself off in a similar fashion – bullet to the brain-pan. Fletcher had lived in San Francisco and was gay as a jay bird. He was so openly homo that he would find death threats tacked to the front door of his estate almost every day. Fletch always said it was the straight social workers who hated him so much. Like they didn’t have anything better to do than tack obscene notes on the homo’s front door. Charles had read one of Fletch’s literary novels, it was good, the writing was excellent in fact, but Charles couldn’t stomach all that high life shit. Rich fags and rich dykes trying to seem so straight. It was exhausting. Fletch had fired a .38 slug into his brain-pan after one of his friends was beaten to death by one of those straight homophobic assholes. That slug ended old Landon Fletcher real good, or so Charles heard. Now, Charles was never positive about this, but he was pretty sure that old Fletch was living it up in the high life in the sky giving his dead friends pearl necklaces somewhere beyond God’s pearly gates.

The car Fletch left him was a 2012 Chevy Cavalier sedan. As gray and boring a color as you can get, which is why Charles liked it. The Chevy had a great engine and the body was rust free. Don’t get him started on the body. Holy fuck. Living in upstate New York taught Charles one thing about cars and that was you bought a Chevy because if you bought a Ford, in a few years you’d be Found On Road Dead. Ha! Ha! Charles wasn’t the most optimistic guy in the world but he did see signs. Old Fletch blowing his brains out and leaving Charles that 2012 Chevy Cavalier was a huge sign. It said get the fuck out of Dodge and see life, see Earle Laredo, before you end up another suicide statistic. His bitch-ass ex’s couldn’t take this blessed Chevy from him. Charles made sure that he kept this inheritance off the books.

That morning after he took a piss and ran his armpits with the sink water Charles zipped up his jeans threw on a semi fresh Hawaiian shirt over the black t-shirt that he had slept in. With keys in hand he exited the crummy water and fire stained motel room where he had been living since Lorraine kicked him out. The carpet squashed under the heel of his sneakers. The loaded .38 revolver was in his waistband, the laptop and a small bag of clothes with his two unfinished novels inside was slung over his shoulder. Looking back he figured fuck it, if he never saw this rat trap again he’d be a happy camper. The only thing he really felt bad about was leaving his shelve of Laredo novels behind. Charles had packed a dozen of his favorite Laredo titles. He just didn’t have the space for the rest of them on the road. Besides he’d see that guy soon enough, and why not leave a few of Laredo’s novels for the next poor schumck who found himself locked in this motel prison to read? It might just change the guys life.

“Hey Chuck,” he heard the voice from behind him as he locked the motel room’s front door.

It was ass-head Lawrence from two doors down. The guy was piece of used jet trash that beat his old lady on a daily basis. Now, Charles didn’t have anything against a man slapping his old bitch around on occasion, god knows he had wanted to slap the shit out of his ex’s pretty often, but when someone called him Chuck, well that just pissed him off.

“Hey Larry how’s tricks?”

“She bloody and bruised,” Lawrence snickered referring to his wife Trixie.

“No I meant, never mind.”

“Where ya headed?”

“Nowhere really,” Charles said just wavering on the heels of his Chuck Taylors.

Lawrence was a big mother, a big mother that drank all day, claimed that he couldn’t find a gig because the nigger president hated white people and Lawrence had a million reasons why his wife was always in stitches. The big bastard claimed disability too. Typical American white trash, Charles thought grinning at the big dude.

“Really? ‘Cuse it seems to me that you’re going out of town. Bedroll and all.”

Lawrence pointed to the bag slung over Charles’s shoulder. Charles looked at the bag and then the laptop. Shit. When the hell did he grab his laptop? Fucking losing time again.

“What’s it to you?” Charles said wincing into the bright sunlight of the back court where his Cavalier was parked.

Lawrence looked like a fucking grizzly bear without his shirt. The thick slabs of muscle covered by a thicker slab of fat, covered by an even thicker coating of brown and grey hair. The hair was so thick it resembled a fur carpet. Charles wanted to throw in a smart remark about Grizzly Adams but he was afraid he might get a slap from that remark.

Charles must have lost a little time while he compared Lawrence-asshead to Grizzly Adams, because he felt the steel palm of the neighbor’s hand slam him upside the head. The slap jolted Charles from his thoughts. He tasted blood on his gums. He hadn’t tasted fresh blood like that in years. The taste was arousing in a strange demented way. If he had any balls Charles’s hand would have gone to the .38 in his waistband. Like some anti-hero in the pages of his want-to-be Earle Laredo novels. Not one of Charles’s novels ever measured up to Laredo’s gruesomeness though. He just didn’t have the creative chops to come up with those of the other writers tricks. Laredo wrote such chilling scenes, like the kid and his little sister. What that boy did to little Jolie was absolutely horrible. That kind of brutal writing was way beyond him. It was why Charles was so obsessed with Laredo. That dude knew how to execute assholes like Lawrence.

Looking up at that mean scarlet skinned redneck who lived two doors down Charles wished he was Earle Laredo right then. He would plug the fucker with his .38. Bury his fat ass somewhere out in nowheresville. Laredo would have sliced this guy’s balls off and fed them to the sleaze bag. Charles, on the other hand, just stood there on his lawn tasting his own blood on quickly swelling lips and bit back any wise crack remarks. What a turd he was.

“Ya got some more smart remarks writer boy? Gonna ask about my wife again? Been writing shit about her? Maybe fantasy shit? Ha!?”

Lawrence was in Charles’s face now. He tasted the neighbors spit. His hand was on the ivory handle of the revolver in his waistband now. When did that happen? Did he have the balls to pull the weapon? Charles wanted to kill this asshole but he didn’t have the balls. There was still that light of sanity left inside him. Instead of speaking to Lawrence he about faced and walked to the Chevy trying to unlock it with the key but activated the alarm instead. He heard Lawrence’s barking laughter behind him like some devil dog. Removing his hand from the .38 he fumbled with the key fob. The fob hit the ground and he snagged it pressing the keys at random, finally finding the alarm button. The blaring alarm switched off an for just a second Charles heard blessed silence.

“Loser,” the redneck shouted.

Maybe it was the disruption of that blessed silence but Lawrence was at the door of his motel room when Charles finally pulled the pistol. When the door slammed closed Charles jumped and nearly dropped the gun. He glanced around frantic that someone might have seen him with the .38. No witnesses. The backlot was deserted, just him, Charles the loser Dalton.

“Shit,” Charles said wiping a hot bitter tear from his bloodshot eyes.

Maybe this trip to New Mexico was a mistake. If he saw Earle Laredo in this pussy state, the writer would probably spit in his eye, or worse kill him. Tasting blood now as he opened the driver side door Charles wondered if death wouldn’t be a whole lot easier than dealing with an asshole neighbor like Grizzly Adams. He heard screams from inside Lawrence’s motel room. His wife Trixie was getting hers. Lawrence was primed now. He had slapped Charles bloody and now he was planning to work over his old lady.

Charles slid into the front of the Chevy Cavalier slamming the door behind him. Fuck Lawrence and his stupid bitch wife. Any woman dumb enough to wind up with an asshole like Lawrence Grizzly Adams deserved what she got. What Charles noticed as he backed out of his slot in the motel parking lot was the neighbors suped up pickup truck. Grinning Charles rolled down the window of the Chevy and pointed the muzzle of the .38 through it.

“Fuck you dickweed!”

Charles fired off three rounds. The first one shattered the windshield. The second one buried itself in the front grill and the third blew out the front tire making the truck slump like an old drunk off a bar stool. Laughing like a maniac Charles sped off down the street.

“Laredo here I come!”

4

“Okay, testing, testing,” Charles said speaking into his old handheld tape recorder. Yes it was an old tape recorder with an actual cassette tape inside it. He believed in analogue. It wasn’t that Charles couldn’t have afforded one of those fucking hi-tech digital devices but fuck them. Those corporate hacks always trying to sell the new generation a new generation of some stupid new tech that would be outdated a year later anyway. Ones and zeroes were bullshit to the umpteenth degree. The corporations were trying to eliminate the real world with their one’s and zero’s. Charles wasn’t having that bullshit.

Looking through the bug stained windshield Charles grinned at his individuality. They broke the mold with his ugly ass.

“Yeah, fuck the digital realm. I live in the physical world. That’s the problem with most people today. They live in a fake world of ones and zeroes. There are no roots in the digital world. That’s why marriage is an old concept. People get divorced more than they get married now days. Millennials? Fuck those hosiers. That reminds me of the one about the chicken and the egg. How could a fucking chicken be there without being laid and vice versa? How could we have a higher divorce rate than marriage? Maybe we should all live in Utah and join a commune with six wives who service us night after night. A new mouth or pussy around your cock ever night of the week.”


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

Bryan Higby is the writer that Amazon bestselling author Joe Konrath said: "Bryan is easily one of the most prolific and enthusiastic authors I've ever run into. He writes with unabashed exuberance. If you missed the link above, I encourage you to check out some of his stuff here. https://www.amazon.com/Bryan-Higby/e/B00CWEFNVS

Q. What is the inspiration for the story?
A.
I'm a fan of many novelists, but especially one specific writer. I sent an email to this writers website once and the guy who ran the website, guy named Lou, asked if I actually wanted him to forward the email to the writer in question. This sounded ominous, but I said yes. This was one of the insp
Q. Where can readers find out more about you?
A.
You can visit my author site here: https://www.amazon.com/Bryan-Higby/e/B00CWEFNVS I also do a podcast: http://thelatlateshow.com/
Q. Which writers inspire you?
A.
Joe Lansdale, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Jack Ketchum, William Burroughs, Samuel Beckett, Charles Bukowski

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