Yellow Mama Archives

Keith Rawson
Home
Abbott, Patricia
Aclin, Ken
Adhikari, Sudeep
Ahern, Edward
Alan, Jeff
Aldrich, Janet M.
Allen, M. G.
Allen, Nick
Allison, Shane
Ammonds, Phillip J.
Anderson, Peter
Andreopoulos, Elliott
Anick, Ronald
Anonymous 9
Arab, Bint
Arkell, Steven
Ashley, Jonathan
Aymar, E. A.
Ayris, Ian
Babbs, James
Baber, Bill
Bagwell, Dennis
Baird, Meg
Bakala, Brendan
Baker, Bobby Steve
Baker, Nathan
Balaz, Joe
Baltensperger, Peter
BAM
Barber, Shannon
Barnett, Brian
Bates, Jack
Baugh, Darlene
Baumgartner, Jessica Marie
Beale, Jonathan
Beck, George
Beckman, Paul
Beloin, Phil
Benet, Esme
Bennett, Brett
Bennett, Charlie
Bennett, Eric
Berg, Carly
Bergland, Grant
Berman, Daniel
Berriozabal, Luis
Beveridge, Robert
Bickerstaff, Russ
Bigney, Tyler
Blair, Travis
Blake, Steven
Bohem, Charlie Keys and Les
Bolt, Andy
Bonehill, L. R.
Booth, Brenton
Boran, P. Keith
Bosworth, Mel
Bowen, Sean C.
Boyd, A. V.
Boyd, Morgan
Bracey, DG
Bradford, Ryan
Bradshaw, Bob
Brady, Dave
Brannigan, Tory
Brawn, Jason D.
Brewka-Clark, Nancy
Britt, Alan
Brock, Brandon K.
brook, j.
Brown, Melanie
Brown, R. Thomas
Brown, Sam
Bull, Warren
Burton, Michael
Bushtalov, Denis
Butler, Janet
Butler, Simon Hardy
Butler, Terence
Cameron, W. B.
Campbell, J. J.
Campbell, Jack Jr.
Cano, Valentina
Carlton, Bob
Cartwright, Steve
Carver, Marc
Castle, Chris
Catlin, Alan
Chen, Colleen
Chesler, Adam
Christensen, Jan
Christopher, J. B.
Clausen, Daniel
Clevenger, Victor
Clifton, Gary
Coffey, James
Colasuonno, Alfonso
Compton, Sheldon Lee
Conley, Jen
Conley, Stephen
Connor, Tod
Cooper, Malcolm Graham
Coral, Jay
Corman-Roberts, Paul
Cosby, S. A.
Crandall, Rob
Criscuolo, Carla
Crisman, Robert
Crist, Kenneth
Crouch & Woods
Crumpton, J. C.
Cunningham, Stephen
Curry, A. R.
D., Jack
Dabbe, Lyla K.
Dallett, Cassandra
Damian, Josephine
Danoski, Joseph V.
Daly, Jim
Dalzell, Randy
Davis, Christopher
Day, Holly
Deal, Chris
de Bruler, Connor
De France, Steve
De La Garza, Lela Marie
de Marco, Guy Anthony
Deming, Ruth Z.
DeVeau, Spencer
Dexter, Matthew
Di Chellis, Peter
Dick, Earl
Dick, Paul "Deadeye"
DiLorenzo, Ciro
Dionne, Ron
Domenichini, John
Doran, Phil
Doreski, William
Dorman, Roy
Dosser, Jeff
Draime, Doug
Drake, Lena Judith
Dromey, John H.
Duke, Jason
Duncan, Gary
Dunham, T. Fox
Dunn, Robin Wyatt
Dunwoody, David
Duxbury, Karen
Duy, Michelle
Elias, Ramsey Mark
Elliott, Beverlyn L.
Elliott, Garnett
Ellis, Asher
Ellman, Neil
England, Kellie R.
England, Kristina
Erianne, John
Erlewine, David
Esterholm, Jeff
Fallow, Jeff
Falo, William
Fedigan, William J.
Fenster, Timothy
Ferraro, Diana
Filas, Cameron
Flanagan, Daniel N.
Flanagan, Ryan Quinn
Folz, Crystal
Franceschina, Susan
Funk, Matthew C.
Gallik, Daniel
Gann, Alan
Gardner, Cheryl Ann
Genz, Brian
Gilbert, Colin
Gladeview, Lawrence
Glass, Donald
Goddard, L. B.
Godwin, Richard
Goff, Christopher
Goodman, Tina
Goss, Christopher
Gradowski, Janel
Grant, Christopher
Grant, Stewart
Greenberg, Paul
Grey, John
Grover, Michael
Gunn, Johnny
Gurney, Kenneth P.
Haglund, Tobias
Hamlin, Mason
Hanna, J. T.
Hansen, Melissa
Hanson, Christopher Kenneth
Hanson, Kip
Hardin, J. Scott
Harrington, Jim
Harris, Bruce
Hart, GJ
Hartman, Michelle
Haskins, Chad
Hatzialexandrou, Anjelica
Hawley, Doug
Haycock, Brian
Hayes, A. J.
Hayes, John
Hayes, Peter W. J.
Heatley, Paul
Heifetz, Justin
Heimler, Heidi
Heitz, Russ
Helmsley, Fiona
Hendry, Mark
Henry, Robert Louis
Heslop, Karen
Heyns, Heather
Hilary, Sarah
Hill, Richard
Hilson, J. Robert
Hivner, Christopher
Hobbs, R. J.
Hockey, Matthew J.
Hodges, Oliver
Hodgkinson, Marie
Holderfield, Culley
Holton, Dave
Hor, Emme
Houston, Jennifer
Howard, Peter
Howells, Ann
Huchu, Tendai
Hudson, Rick
Huffman, A. J.
Huguenin, Timothy G.
Hunt, Jason
Huskey, Jason L.
Irwin, Daniel
Jacobson, E. J.
Jaggers, J. David
James, Christopher
James, Colin
Jensen, Steve
Johanson, Jacob
Johnson, Beau
Johnson, Moctezuma
Johnson, Zakariah
Jones, D. S.
Jones, Erin J.
Jones, Mark
Kabel, Dana
Kaplan, Barry Jay
Kay, S.
Keaton, David James
Keith, Michael C.
Kempka, Hal
Kerins, Mike
Kerry, Vic
Keshigian, Michael
Kimball R. D.
King, Michelle Ann
Kirk, D.
Klim, Christopher
Knapp, Kristen Lee
Koenig, Michael
Korpon, Nik
Kovacs, Sandor
Kowalcyzk, Alec
Krafft, E. K.
Lacks, Lee Todd
Lang, Preston
La Rosa, F. Michael
Larkham, Jack
Leasure, Colt
Leatherwood, Roger
Lee, M.A.B.
Lees, Arlette
Lees, Lonni
Leins, Tom
LeJay, Brian K. Jr.
Lemming, Jennifer
Lerner, Steven M
Lewis, Cynthia Ruth
Lifshin, Lyn
Lin, Jamie
Lodge, Oliver
Lopez, Aurelio Rico III
Lorca, Aurelia
Lo Rocco, Brian
Loucks, Lindsey
Lovisi, Gary
Lucas, Gregory E.
Lukas, Anthony
Lynch, Nulty
Lyons, Matthew
Mac, David
MacArthur, Jodi
Macor, Iris
Madeleine, Julia
Malone, Joe
Manteufel, M. B.
Manzolillo, Nicholas
Marcius, Cal
Marlin, Brick
Marlowe, Jack T.
Martyn, Clive
Mason, Wayne
Massengill, David
Mattila, Matt
McAdams, Liz
McBride, Matthew
McCabe, Sinead
McCartney, Chris
McDaris, Catfish
McFarlane, Adam Beau
McGinley, Jerry
McElhiney, Sean
McLean, David
McMannus, Jack
McQuiston, Rick
Mellon, Mark
Memblatt, Bruce
Memi, Samantha
Merrigan, Court
Miles, Marietta
Miller, Laurita
Miller, Max
Mintz, Gwendolyn
Monaghan, Timothy P.
Monteferrante, Luigi
Monson, Mike
Mooney, Christopher P.
Moore, Katie
Morgan, Bill W.
Morgan, Stephen
Moss, David Harry
Mullins, Ian
Mulvihill, Michael
Murdock, Franklin
Muslim, Kristine Ong
Nardolilli, Ben
Nazar, Rebecca
Nell, Dani
Nelson, Trevor
Nessly, Ray
Nester, Steven
Neuda, M. C.
Newell, Ben
Newman, Paul
Nielsen, Ayaz
Nienaber, T. M.
Ogurek, Douglas J.
Ortiz, Sergio
Pagel, Briane
Parr, Rodger
Parrish, Rhonda
Partin-Nielsen, Judith
Penton, Jonathan
Perez, Juan M.
Perl, Puma
Perri, Gavin
Peterson, Rob
Peterson, Ross
Petroziello, Brian
Pettie, Jack
Petyo, Robert
Picher, Gabrielle
Piech, JC
Pierce, Rob
Pietrzykowski, Marc
Plath, Rob
Pletzers, Lee
Pluck, Thomas
Pohl, Stephen
Pointer, David
Polson, Aaron
Power, Jed
Powers, M. P.
Price, David
Priest, Ryan
Prusky, Steve
Pruitt, Eryk
Purfield, M. E.
Purkis, Gordon
Quinlan, Joseph R.
Ram, Sri
Ramos, Emma
Rapth, Sam
Ravindra, Rudy
Rawson, Keith
Ray, Paula
Reale, Michelle
reutter, g emil
Rhatigan, Chris
Ribas, Tom
Richardson, Travis
Richey, John Lunar
Ridgeway, Kevin
Ritchie, Bob
Ritchie, Salvadore
Roberts, Paul C.
Robertson, Lee
Robinson, John D.
Robinson, Kent
Rodgers, K. M.
Roger, Frank
Rogers, Stephen D.
Rohrbacher, Chad
Rosa, Basil
Rose, Mandi
Rosenberger, Brian
Rosenblum, Mark
Rosmus, Cindy
Rowe, Brian
Rowley, Aaron
Ruhlman, Walter
Rutherford, Scotch
Saus, Steven M.
Savage, Jack
Sawyer, Mark
Sayles, Ryan
Schneeweiss, Jonathan
Schraeder, E. F.
Schumejda, Rebecca
Scott, Craig
Scott, Jess C.
Scribner, Joshua
See, Tom
Seen, Calvin
Servis, Steven P.
Sexton, Rex
Seymour, J. E.
Sfarnas, John
Shafee, Fariel
Shaikh, Aftab Yusuf
Shea, Kieran
Shepherd, Robert
Sim, Anton
Simmler, T. Maxim
Sin, Natalie L.
Sinisi, J. J.
Sixsmith, JD
Slagle, Cutter
Slaviero, Susan
Sloan, Frank
Smith, Adam Francis
Smith, Ben
Smith, C.R.J.
Smith, Copper
Smith, Daniel C.
Smith, Paul
Smith, Stephanie
Smith, Willie
Smuts, Carolyn
Snoody, Elmore
So, Gerald
Sojka, Carol
Solender, Michael J.
Sortwell, Pete
Sosnoski, Karen
Sparling, George
Speed, Allen
Spicer, David
Spires, Will
Spitzer, Mark
Spuler, Rick
Squirrell, William
Stephens, Ransom
Stewart, Michael S.
Stickel, Anne
Stolec, Trina
Straus, Todd
Stryker, Joseph H.
Stucchio, Chris
Stuckey, Cinnamon
Succre, Ray
Sullivan, Thomas
Swanson, Peter
Swartz, Justin A.
Sweet, John
Tarbard, Grant
Taylor, J. M.
Thoburn, Leland
Thomas, C. T.
Thompson, John L.
Thompson, Phillip
Titus, Lori
Tivey, Lauren
Tobin, Tim
Todd, Jeffrey
Tolland, Timothry
Tomlinson, Brenton
Tomolillo, Bob
Tu, Andy
Ullerich, Eric
Valent, Raymond A.
Valvis, James
Vilhotti, Jerry
Waldman, Dr. Mel
Walsh, Patricia
Ward, Emma
Ward, Jared
Waters, Andrew
Weber, R.O.
Weil, Lester L.
Weir, G. Kenneth
White, J.
White, Judy Friedman
White, Robb
White, Terry
Williams, Alun
Willoughby, Megan
Wilsky, Jim
Wilson, Robley
Wilson, Scott
Wilson, Tabitha
Wright, David
Young, Scot
Yuan, Changming
Zafiro, Frank
Zapata, Angel
Zickgraf, Catherine
Zimmerman, Thomas
Znaidi, Ali

statueofliberty.jpg
Art by Steve Cartwright

Burning Down the Statue of  Liberty

 

                                             

Keith Rawson

 

 

          “Tofer fiteen! Tofer fiteen!”

Susan’s tuition was the money pit that pissed Gene off the most; $12,000 a semester, not counting room and board, which was required by the school even though Susan lived at home. How in the world did a high school justify charging twelve grand a semester? Yeah, it was a great school; they’d produced a President, (Not that great of one in Gene’s opinion, but still a President) a couple of Senators, a handful of congressmen, (Congress people, Susan kept reminding him; the word Congressman was sexist. Like he needed a 14-year-old to tell him how to talk?)

And, most importantly, Susan’s little school produced dozens of entertainment executives, which at this point in Susan’s very young life, was what his baby girl wanted more than anything. She wanted real power, and in America, Hollywood and the entertainment industry was the true seat of it. Jesus, he remembered back when he was 14 all he wanted was to be sixteen so he could finally drive legally.

          “The latest Hollywood blockbusters just tofer fiteen!”

His hypochondriac of a wife was the next in line on the money train. Marta, his lovely Sicilian bride; Gene remembered the first time he laid eyes on her; jet black hair flowing thick and gleaming down to the middle of her back; red and purple plaid shorts so short and so tight they were riding up the crack of her ass. And what an ass! What a body! The first time they met, Gene couldn’t help but whistle at that hourglass with a wiggle. The only problem was that he was walking five or six feet behind her, and she came tearing at him like a feral cat; red nails gouging, scratching his face to shit. If he remembered right, he took 9 or 10 stitches from those nails. But even as the doc was taking the needle and cat gut to his face he couldn’t stop thinking about those crazy big black eyes of hers.

          Gene was pretty sure the fat bitch was clocking 350 lbs these days.

After twenty years of marriage, the beautiful young woman he once would’ve killed for with a single word was now completely gone. What was left was a TV- watching, Burger King-loving, pill-popping, booze-swilling tub of lard that he hadn’t spoken to for 3 years. The bitch was always sick; in and out of the doctor’s office four days a week with some new ailment or other, and all the doctors did was stuff her full of new pills. If he had insurance for the fat bitch, he wouldn’t mind all the trips to the doc. A fifteen-dollar co-pay he could afford. But since he didn’t, her bills racked up close to $3000 a month. . . .

          “Thas right! Jes’ tofer fiteen dollars!”

And last but far from least, was Lisa; Lisa, his mock blonde-haired, blue-eyed California girl. “Mock” being the key word here; Lisa was as far from Californian as you could get. The little whore was like every Russian bitch he’d ever known; her tan was from a bed, her hair from a bottle, eyes from contact lenses. And double Ds from a surgeon’s knife. But her greed was pure Russian peasant girl. She could fuck, though; the only problem with screwing her was that it cost, it cost huge. Monthly rent on a flop, weekly shopping sprees, weekly trips to the salon, dinners out to restaurants that cost a hundred bucks just to step through the door. Maintaining Lisa topped out at $5000 a month. Five grand and Gene was pretty sure she was stepping out on him despite all the luxuries he provided her.

          “Thas right! Two Hollywood blockbusters jes’ tofer fiteen dollars!”

          So here Gene was, thirteen years a made man; running a seven-man crew with tens of thousands of dollars on the street, and yet he could barely make his mortgage or car payments. So in order to make ends meet, here he was moonlighting for the mulignan, the blacks. What made it all the more painful was that he was working muscle for the mulignan. He hadn’t worked muscle since his 20s, his early 20s, back in the day when he was trying to make his bones. And the final humiliation to it all, the mulignan were a bunch of cheap, lowlife bastards.

Their organization wasn’t the most profitable on the street. Yeah, it ran the gambit of vice: Gambling, prostitution, drugs, protection, et cetera, but it was all so small-scale. Instead of controlling an entire neighborhood or borough, these assholes controlled city blocks, and the blocks switched from hand-to-hand in the blink of an eye. The gambling they controlled was penny-ante back alley craps games; the drugs, recycled Russian coke that they cut, cooked up, and sold as ten dollar vials of crack. The mulignans bought the coke from the Russians because of the overall quality, but used so much of it that there was nearly zero profit.

And their protection rackets, that was the real joke.

          The mulignans didn’t hardnose legitimate business. Most business owners in the city had conditioned themselves to pick up the phone and dial 911 as soon as they spotted a group of black guys from a block away who even remotely looked like they were coming to start some shit. So what the blacks did was strong-arm guys who even the police harassed and had no protection no matter who they called: the street hustler.           You’ve seen these guys, setting up shop on picnic blankets or milk crates or cheap foldout card tables on the sidewalk, hocking shitty copies of bootlegged movies; coverless paperbacks; knockoff designer leather purses and perfume; Chinese Rolexes and cubic zirconium engagement rings. These guys on the street were as much of an attraction in the city as the monuments and museums. The yokels out from Iowa or Tennessee or whatever bum fuck state they come from, along with the cheesy snapshots, the crackers wanted to take stories of the big bad evil city back to the trailer parks and suburbs and these guys on the street provided that service.

          Most of the street trade complied and paid out their protection fees. These guys needed to make a living just like everyone else and the last thing they needed was a car load of crazy motherfuckers  taking them out as they’re packing up for the day all because they don’t want to kick in a hundred bucks a week. But like every protection racket, big or small, there’s always that one guy who has to hold out. Some guy who is either too stupid or too crazy to pony up; the old man was on the crazy end of the spectrum.

 The old man is one of the last of his breed, a true dinosaur; an old school bootlegger who still sneaked into the theater with a camcorder tucked under his winter coat; setting himself up 3rd row center, camera held chest level, one eye on the picture, the other scanning the entrance for possible interruption by a too brave of an usher. Like the high school kids who do the usher job gave a shit. They weren’t paid enough to deal with some shifty ninety-year-old black guy with a camera. Besides, he gave up his twenty bucks, and as long as he wasn’t trying to rape or kill anybody, who gave a fuck, right? Plus the old man was truly small potatoes; he didn’t even transfer his bootlegs over to DVD and was still using VHS tapes. Who the hell still uses a VCR? The old guy was probably lucky to clear a hundred bucks a week, and here these clowns were trying to juice him.

 

          The first time Gene approached the old man about the shakedown, the crazy bastard laughed in his face, proceeded to mumble/scream more than a few choice curses and then lobbed a brownish wad of mucus from his toothless black hole of a mouth at Gene’s shoes.

          When Gene told Deck, the Cappo of the pathetic little crew, some twenty-year-old piece of shit in an oversized NY Jets jersey, the kid chuckled.

          “Well, it looks like you’re gonna have to go back there and light that motherfucker up.”

          “You want me to go back and kill the guy over a hundred bucks? You ain’t paying me enough to do capital time, kid.”

          “Don’t call me kid, greaseball. And I didn’t say kill ‘em, I said light him up. Go back there and set his old ass on fire.”

          “What?”

          “Yeah, it’ll teach all those guys not to hold out on us if we make an example of one of ‘em. You get one bad apple it’s gonna start spoiling the whole batch, know what I’m saying?”

          The cheap fucker didn’t even bother offer to buy the gas; it was going to have to come out of Gene’s grand.

          “Tofer fiteen! Jes’ tofer fiteen dollars!”

          Gene had been listening to the old man’s pitch for the past twenty minutes, screwing up the courage to approach him, and pretending to browse the other tables of crap.

          The old guy was attracting a crowd, nobody buying, but there was a gaggle of Japanese tourists huddled close to him snapping pics with their digital cameras. Gene couldn’t believe what he was about to do; he was going to burn down the fucking Statue of Liberty.

          The Japs scuttled along and Gene finally made his move.

          “Hey!”

          “Yes, sir.” The old man’s eyes were blank; he didn’t recognize Gene from the other day. ”See something you like?”

          “Yeah, but two for fifteen, that’s steep.”

          “Shit, ya’ll pay twice that goin’ to the movies. Instead wit’ my tapes you can stay home for half the price.”

          “Yeah, but they’re for a VCR. I don’t got a VCR, you ever hear of DVD?” Gene palmed the bottle of Dawn Liquid detergent he’d filled with gas in his left hand coat pocket and the Zippo in his right. He was sweating buckets and he kept thinking he’d fumble both items when it was showtime. He tightened his grip.

          “Yes, sir, I’ve heard of DVD, but the film quality ain’t the same—”

          Gene’s hands came out gunfighter smooth and he doused the old man’s face a couple of seconds before striking the Zippo and spraying a stream of fire at his head.

          The old man didn’t make a sound; he just tried beating the flames out with his boney hands, both of which quickly caught fire.

          Gene took a couple of extra seconds to empty the bottle of gas and the old man was either trying to pull a stop, drop, and roll or had collapsed from pain or a heart attack.           Gene turned and walked away, cool and casual, as the other vendors rushed to the old man with blankets and cups of water; nobody tried stopping him.

          Jesus, he felt like an animal. There had to be a better way. There had to be some way to cut expenses without doing this kind of shit.

          Hell, maybe he’d take the grand the mulignan paid him and give it back to Deck and his crew and see if they’d take care of Marta for him instead.

          Goddamn, he liked the sound of that already! That would put some serious cash back in his pocket! He just had to make sure Susie wasn’t at the house when it happened…

 

 Keith Rawson lives in the Phoenix, AZ suburb of Gilbert with his wife and 2-year-old daughter. He has spent the past fifteen years writing crime and horror fiction, but has just recently started sending out his fiction.

 

He has had stories published by DZ Allen's Muzzle flash fiction, Powder Burn Flash, Flashshots, and by the time this is published, Thuglit.

In Association with Fossil Publications