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Gary Clifton
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A Scrawny Little Cat

 

by Gary Clifton

 

 

          The marked squad took a full ten minutes to roll up. "Po-leece version of snail mail." Harper rolled cigar stub across his mouth. Even unlit, it stunk like zebra shit.

 

          The officer was young, male, with soft blue eyes. "Kid," I said, "this dealer is a piss-ass loser who needs killin'. He sees a uniform, he can't cap one of our asses and say he didn't know we were cops. There's no back door, so when we go in, just stand in the front doorway." The kid nodded.

 

          As we approached the door, the rhythmic male grunts and corresponding high-pitched shrieks hinted old Johnnie was getting some.

 

Harper kicked and the whole doorframe went down, crashing behind Johnnie who was anally sodomizing a little boy bent over a sofa. Harper, always big and tough, backhanded the fat, nasty old man into a corner. A gut-kick and the fight was settled.

 

          The kid, blond and slight, feces and blood trailing down his inner thighs, ran screaming into a small kitchen. I followed as the kid clawed at an overhead cabinet. Surely this little peckerwood wasn't going to shoot me? I edged back and put a hand on the magnum.

 

           He pulled out a scrawny little white kitten, clutched it to his chest and in a voice not possible to describe in words, said: "You motherfuckers shoot grandpa and I won't be able to keep my kitty." The last syllable of kitty trailed off like the scream of a dying pig.

 

          I stepped back into the other room and Harper kicked the old man again. The young cop vomited in the doorway.

 

We planted grandpa Johnnie in the Sterrett Center and hauled the kid to Juvenile on Harry Hines. He sat, holding the cat stoically, face frozen in hate.

 

I took the damned cat home that night and listened to it yowl in the garage all night.

 

          Next morning, I went by Juvenile first off. The kid had gone over the concertina wire during the night and I never saw him again. "He give you that shit about losing his cat, did he?" The juvenile supervisor smirked.  "This ain't that kid's first parade, McCoy. He's gone over the fence twice before."

 

          That damned little scrawny cat was my kids' pet for years. 

         

 

regards.jpg
Art by Steve Cartwright

Regards

 

by Gary Clifton

 

 

          Willy was in the back, chopping onion, when the strangers walked in.  In shiny pants and tight muscle-shirts, Willy could tell through the open door they were trouble and not from those parts. "Sandra be right wit' 'chall," Willy called out.

 

          Sandra walked from the minnow-barrel to the grocery counter. She was plain, going to pudgy, in mid-thirties with the bloom of life skidding prematurely past. "Hep y'all?" She stood in front of the counter.

 

          "Couple steaks, rare, no onions," the bigger one said, eyeing her chest.  His hair bleached brilliant yellow, he looked like a bloated canary. A fanny pack bulged on his right hip.

 

          "We don't got no steaks," she said.

 

          "What kinda joint you got here?" the other guy said. His hair was permed into a Brillo pad concoction.

 

          "We ain't really a restaurant," Willy said, stepping from the back. "I can make eggs and bacon . . . or sandwiches."

 

          Willy's was back off Highway 253, forty miles north of Beaumont, shotgun distance from Louisiana, mostly hidden by piney woods and hills.  The Willy's Texaco sign out front promised food, groceries, carry-out beer, fishing supplies, camping gear, and haircuts.

 

          Canary Head slowly drew an automatic pistol from his fanny pack, macho style, and ordered Willy to room-center. Brillo pulled a revolver from his boot and waved it around. His eyes showed stoned, drunk, and crazy.

 

          "Money's in the register there." Willy wiped his hands on a greasy apron. "Maybe a hundred. Take it and don't break the register or hurt nobody . . . please."

 

          "You plenty scared, dumbass?" Brillo waved the pistol.

 

          "Yes, sir." Willy was jowly, fifty, with more tattoos than teeth. "No call to shoot or nothin'."

 

          "This ho' your ol' lady?" Canary gestured at Sandra, squeezed back against the counter, eyes fixed in terror.

 

          "No, sir, she's no kin. Here two weeks. She . . . she gots problems.  Jes' outta the state nervous hospital up at Terrell. Please, leave her be."

 

          "Well, Sandra," Canary puffed himself up. "You're gonna suck my dick. Get over here, bitch." 

 

He waved her across the room with the automatic, which she followed like she was on a leash. Canary hugged her with his pistol hand, helping himself to a handful of breasts with the other.

 

          "Mister . . . please." Willy's voice quivered. Brillo shoved Willy.  Bags of chips scattered as he went down.

 

          Sandra, in Canary's grasp, whispered upward. "God, mister, this makes my pussy wet. Take me out back and you can do whatever you want."   Her breath came in short, agitated gasps. She slid a hand across his crotch.

 

          "You ho's all alike." He pushed her away. 

 

          Willy slowly, cautiously, got back on his feet. "Genius . . ." Canary pointed the automatic. "You know Charlie Joe Beasley?"

 

          "Ain't sure," Willy said carefully. "He the dude runs the sawmill and lives up in that big house on Lake Sundown?"

 

          "That's him.  He come in here ever damn day for coffee and a Baby Ruth around noon," Canary snarled. "We here to kill his fuckin' ass."

 

          "Whud he do to you?" Sandra asked, still breathing heavily, eyes animated.

 

          "Mufucker stiffed us on a deal. We gonna kill him. We know he been comin' in here noon ever day . . . maybe to get some o' you, baby."

 

          "God," Sandra said huskily. "You're so hot. Gonna kill a dude for no call."

 

          "We got call all right, bitch. He jes' fucked over the wrong people.  You still gonna get some 'a my dick here in a bit."

 

          "He likely be comin' in here in ten minutes," Brillo spoke up. The wall clock read 11:50.

 

          Two men in construction garb approached the door. "Tell 'um the electricity off." Canary raised his automatic. 

 

Willy stopped the men at the door, spoke briefly, and they walked back to their pickup. A log truck stopped and Willy turned the man away.

 

          They waited until the clock read 12:25. "I ain't thinkin' he come ever day." Willy slumped on a stool.

 

          "He be here . . . we gonna wait," Brillo swaggered.

 

          "Sandra, get over here on your knees." Canary leaned against the counter. "You get seconds, partner," he said, grinning at Brillo. He unzipped his silk pants and flashed a partial erection.

 

          Sandra moved closer. "Take off them clothes, you trashy bitch," Brillo directed. "Get nekked."

 

          Breathing again harder, Sandra hiked up the hem of her print dress.  Canary laid the automatic on the counter. "Do it, baby." He watched in slack-jawed anticipation. 

 

          She stepped to mid-room and did a twirl, then reached under the dress toward her underwear.  Canary stepped closer. Brillo lowered the revolver.  "Damn baby, whut was you in the nervous hospital for?"

 

          "Murder." She smiled. From under the dress, Sandra came out with a snub-nosed .38 and shot Brillo almost squarely between eyes, blowing the back of his head all over the floor. 

 

Canary grabbed at the automatic, but Sandra’s movement had drawn him out of reach. She had a second to aim the .38. "You two jackoffs shoulda done a better job of hiding up there on Saw Mill Road,” she said.  “Thought you'd never grow the balls to make a move."

 

          Canary threw up his hands in surrender. Sandra's first round blew off his still exposed penis. He went to the floor, thrashing in agony.

 

          Willy fell to his knees, a puddle of urine forming. "My God, Sandra, don't kill me."

 

          "Kill you?" She reached behind the counter and grabbed a backpack.  "Christ, Willy, sorry about the mess." She held the .38 at her side and moved toward the doorway, then turned back. "Willy, when the cops get here, I was 19, black hair . . . skinny, understand?"

 

          "Yes ma'am . . . and your name was Sally. Please don't shoot me," he repeated, still on his knees.

 

          Sandra glanced at the carnage on the floor. She stepped over to Canary, writhing on the linoleum in a widening pool of crimson, clutching his crotch. "How's that pecker doin', mankiller?" She shot Canary between his pleading, ferret eyes. "Charlie Joe Beasley sends his regards, motherfuckers." 

 

She walked out.

 

 


butchersdozen.jpg

A BUTCHER'S DOZEN


By Gary Clifton

 

 

Mama was a whore. It was all her damned fault. She had no idea who Bobby's daddy was; probably didn't know. She was always shameless about plying her trade with him around. The whole deal, Mama entertaining a trick with the bedroom door open, never having a damned dime, growing up small and ugly as a busted ass, morphed Bobby into one screwed-up dude.

Fixation with bizarre sex was the result. Early on it had been animal cruelty —hanging or burning stray animals, but always with a hard-on. Then came window peeping. He'd gotten busted a couple times for watching women through a crack, but a kid sneaking a peek slipped through the strainer. Nobody recognized the twisted freak society was constructing.

He lusted after women despite universal rejection and ridicule. Bobby couldn't help being fat, and short, with more moles than teeth. It wasn't his fault when he stood around the bus station and stared at the bitches so long that they called the cops.

Then he found porn. First a "dirty" movie house, then mama came up with a computer and the stuff was right there for the taking. Finally he connected with women of the street. With whores, he was the master. Blissful domination was his.

Bobby never worked. Labor was for fools. Mama got food stamps and he could lift enough store stuff to save his welfare checks for whores. He managed enough for a new score every month.

He'd pull the pistol—only rubber—but the dumb clucks wilted like old lettuce. He'd slip on the cuffs and entertain himself as payback for scorning him—show those uppity chicks who was the real man. Duct taping those sordid mouths, burning their soiled, naked bodies with cigarettes, making them beg through the tape for more pain until they fainted. God, the thought flooded him with a rush that nearly caused involuntary orgasm. But he'd save and savor that for his next conquest. And his welfare check had arrived that morning.

Bobby could only sort of read. But he could understand the gist of the gory headlines in the worn newspaper. "Twelfth Victim Found Bound, Butchered in Motel Room - Police Stymied. Bobby read and reread the headline. The tension, the anticipation, was almost unbearable. He had to score this very night. He had to. He'd worked nearly every neighborhood in the city. Tonight he'd visit low-rent bars on the far south side—rednecks—the very worst of arrogant female riff-raff.

Tall, long blonde hair, chesty, striking, she sat alone at the bar. Waving his flash roll, a few twenties rubber-banded around a wad of one-dollar bills, he slid onto the stool next to her. "Buy you a drink, baby?" He could smell her perfume even in the smoky room. His animal passion sky-rocketed. Small talk was difficult for Bobbie, but soon he'd find plenty of voice, like before.

"Sure." Her sultry, husky voice resonated in his brain with electric ecstasy. A whore for sure, she'd soon be his handcuffed prisoner. His pleasure would peak when he paid her back for the look of disgust she shot him. He wouldn't be so ugly when he started in with the cigarettes. He'd make this one tell him how handsome he was before he finished.

"How much, baby?"

"A hundred. Half up front." He'd wipe that leer off her face. He struggled to hide his excitement, the raw evil. "The motel across the street, baby," she continued. She ran a hand inside his inner thigh.

"My blue pickup will be parked in front of the room." He eased off the stool.

The greasy motel clerk took his hard-earned cash. Yeah, damn right welfare is hard work, hanging around answering all those stupid, abusive questions. On the edge of the bed, naked, his breath came in short, excited gasps. He'd hid the tape, the handcuffs under a pillow. The gun was beneath one of his skinny legs.

She rapped softly, then swayed in. She entered behind the fragrance of sweet roses, exuding sexuality. "Hey baby," she greeted. With a slinky, sexual grace she approached, tossing her shoulder bag on the bed. "I'm all yours."

You bet she was. "Strip, bitch," he whipped out the rubber pistol and motioned. He'd soon have this arrogant wretch begging through her taped mouth. The fantasy of butchered victims, the newspaper headlines, lit cigarettes on naked flash, enveloped him.

She smiled in the dim light and dropped the silky dress to the floor. Her bright red leotard barely visible in the dim light as she stepped up to him—a lamb to the slaughter. Her nearness caused Bobby another blood respiratory burst. He trembled as he showed her the handcuffs. "For you, bitch," he sneered. Bobby was in command now.

"For me...oh my," she whispered, moving closer

He never saw the razor that severed his left carotid artery.

"Surprise, motherfucker!" she hissed.

Bobby collapsed backward on the floor. "My God"' he gurgled his last. "You're the Night Butcher..."

"Yes, baby," she replied in a male, baritone. "And you slimy little pig, my name is Ralph." Ralph slipped out of the red leotard, the better to avoid bloodstains, his manhood now obvious between his legs. Effortlessly, he picked up Bobby's small, still twitching body and tossed it on the bed. He pulled a long knife from the shoulder bag on the bed and bent over the mattress.

***

The homicide detective leaned over the carnage on the bed. "Jesus, partner," he said. "It's her again. First kill in this neighborhood. Head posed on a nightstand, genitals chewed partially off, tongue gone...I guess eaten or kept as a souvenir. This has to be a damned strong woman. To cut up a body into this many pieces took hours. How many men has she slaughtered? Twelve?"

"No...uh, thirteen." His partner flipped open his notebook. Goddam...thirteen. Them Johns never friggin' learn."

 

 


lovekisses.jpeg
Art by Stephen Cooney 2014

Love and Kisses

 

by Gary Clifton

 

          Lieutenant Luther Bledsoe was one mean sonofabitch—quick to kick somebody's ass—or worse.  Chief of Detectives for the suburban Dallas Hollandia Police Department, he was famous for spouting little gems like "never killed a sumbitch I didn't have to."  Luther had a few enemies. By and large, however, they kept their asses and comments some distance outta his radar range.

 

          Tell ya' up front, Luther had busted my ass a couple times early on - whorin' ain't no guaranteed entitlement deal. I'd offered a head job, money, and what the hell. Luther slapped me on my ass when I offered the sex thing, narrow-minded bastard. Then, by God, we came to a mutual agreement.  Information was the currency of cop-speak. I upped enough loose street talk to clear a murder and two armed robberies, and me and ol' Luther were good as hitched. I snitched. He busted asses. Gimme a form of "get outta jail free" pass.

 

          On a sweltering August morning, like a thousand times before, Luther parked his city-owned car in the lot behind the Hollandia cop-house and started the fifty feet to the back door. Them so-called experts doubted he heard any of the four rapid-fire shots from the passenger side of an old clunker thirty feet away. The first splattered Luther's head like a busted tomato. The three following were also fatal—all cranked off by somebody handy at killing. Like you gotta figure, Luther had enemies.

 

          Then came balls to the wall multi-agency police task force—more goat fuck than organized effort.  The list of suspects—thugs just outta the joint, defense lawyers, jilted broads—stretched 'round the corner. The lead footed clucks were gonna catch a killer—so they thought.

 

          The goons rounded up all the fuckups in town or anywhere close. By dark that evening I was stuffed in a holdover with a gaggle of the most God awful stinkin’ bitches you ever smelled. Two cops yanked me out and sweated me—you know, the usual crap about how I needed a friend or how they'd help my ass next time I got busted. Claptrap I’d heard plenty of times before.

 

          I asked the fat one, named Callahan, if this chickenshit collar was included in the “next time” deal. He slapped me across the back of the head.  I hoped he busted a finger. Then the skinny one, who name was as Polish as an eye chart, asked if Luther was gay. I asked him if he was just jealous 'cuz Luther got all the tail while this dude was married to his jerk off hand. Two more across the back of my skull.

 

          "Hey, bitch," Callahan finally woke up. "You’re that whore who snitches...or usta snitch to Bledsoe before he bought it. He hosin' you, too?"  The sneer wasn't quite right and I shoulda snapped on it.

 

          "Eat shit and die," I recommended. 

 

          Then the skinny Pollack stepped out to piss.

 

          "You got some tits on you, baby," Callahan smirked. "I gotta plan."  He slid a cold, slimy hand inside my shirt.

 

          So Callahan cuffed me behind and marched me right out the damned back door and into the back seat of a beat up old Dodge. We were in the sticks anyway and he didn't have far to go to pull the junker into some weeds. He climbed into the back seat, un-cuffed me, stuck a Glock in my face. "Strip bitch," he ordered and what the hell, I did what I did best— dropped my duds. He laid the pistol on the seat beside him.

 

          I was straddle him in the back seat, giving him a two hundred buck ride free—sorry thieving bastard. "Damn, baby, you some kinda good stuff," he panted. "Cain't tell me ol' Bledsoe wasn't gettin' some o' this."

 

          When I hadda contort sideways to reach the .38 in my shoulder bag on the floor, that mope thought the move was part of the procedure. I held the pistol close and he didn't see it in the dark. He didn’t hear the hammer click back. Two big mistakes for such a hot shot.

 

          Then in the heat of lust, the asswipe dropped a line he shoulda swallowed. "When I finish with you, baby, you gonna get the same he got.  One or two in your pretty little head. Man, the rush makes me wanna get my nuts."

 

          "You murdered Luther?" I was sitting in a very precarious situation— literally. "What the fuck for?"

 

          "Sorry sumbitch stole my lady."

 

          "Lady...?" I slowly slid the .38 up. "You talkin' bout that ugly skank works on the lobby desk? The one Luther called Petunia Pig? He told me you was hosin’ that ragged out bitch. Word is she gives blowjobs to the winos under the Zangs Bridge three nights a week. Bitch is lyin’ to you, jackass. Luther wouldn'ta touched her with your dick."

 

          He grasped at my throat. "Gonna enjoy finishing your ass jes' like I did that loser. An’ I know you was fuckin’ him."

 

          "Bledsoe wouldn't gimme any, asswipe." I gasped for breath. “Wasn’t because I didn’t offer.”

 

          "Bledsoe skipped free whore pussy...with these tits?” He smirked.  “Why?"

 

          "Cuz' mu'fucker...we had a special relationship. Different fathers but the same mother. Lester Bledsoe was my brother, dipshit."

 

          Ain't sure, but I think he gasped at that revelation jes' as I squeezed off a round up his nose. An' jes' like Luther, I doubt Callahan heard it either. 

 

I dressed beside the car. Grabbed my shoulder bag and walked away.  Callahan's brains were splattered against the rear window—couldn't have been many of them. Now they could have a really big task force. 

 

Gunshot inside a closed car—my ears squealed for a goddamned month but Callahan was still one dead sumbitch.







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THE LAST DUKE OF WEST ROSA ROSA

Gary Clifton

“Oh, god, baby, don’t stop. I’m gonna explode…gonna pump that little mouth fulla more ‘n you can swallow…” Maggie Mae Mopless, called by other dancers “3M” was giving…or had been giving Thomas Anthony Izzetti called “Tommy Ice” on the street…a world class head job in the back seat of his Lexus on the far corner of the parking lot of The Purple Turtle Topless Club. 

But Ice didn’t get to explode because at the critical instant, a massive explosion of a different type blew the Purple Turtle all over the neighborhood, leaving Ice lucky 3M didn’t perform involuntary pecker amputation.

Tommy Ice had drifted down from Cleveland fifteen years earlier, quickly becoming big noise in the city’s mob world. Owner of The Purple Turtle and a rich man from pimping the toked out, screwed up fringe of society called strippers, plus selling more dope than a glue factory, Ice was also one mean son of a bitch.

Getting a blow job at 1:34 A.M. in the Lexus was because the A/C inside The Turtle went deader than good manners an hour before closing time. The only cooled oral sex seat left was the Lexus and Ice just had to have his knob polished. Aside from Tommy Ice’s dogrobber/arm breaker, Bruno Milano Rosetti, called “Bruno Breaker” who was faithfully standing guard, Ice and 3M were alone on the parking lot. That was good, because they both bailed out of the Lexus and spent enough time running bare assed naked around the parking lot like chickens in stunned shock, to gather a middle-of-the-night crowd of dumfounded spectators.

Even though nobody was reported dead, Homicide sent out Red Harper and Davis McCoy, hard-assed old timers, both acquainted with Ice from a dozen murders either in the club, or for which Ice was suspected, or from general knowledge that nobody with a lick of sense would put a bomb in Tommy Ice’s joint.

“McCoy, some mu’fucker is a dead bastard,” Ice said ominously as the two cops joined the glut of firefighters and uniforms on the lot. “Gonna have the sumbitch’s nad’s in my pocket and his eyeballs in a whisky glass.”

Ice had found his trousers and no shirt or shoes and 3M was dressed only in his whity-tighties, her 44D’s open to the hot night air and drawing the attention of half the cops in town, twenty or so firefighters, and about a hundred passersby who had heard the blast and gathered to gawk.

“What were you doin’, Ice?” Harper asked kicking his way through debris, “…When the shit hit the windmill?”

“Discussing business matters with Ms. Mopless here.”

“Wasn’t no sex, Harper,” said 3M, whose brain matter had been absorbed for tits. “I was only giving oral sex and I heard the President, his fuckin’ self, say a simple blow job ain’t goddamned sex. She’d had a boob job which gave her enough tits to cause back failure and then had “hot” and “cold” tattooed on each side. McCoy wondered if she could read well enough to know the difference.

McCoy asked, “Ice, badass like you is supposed to be too damned mean to get bombed. Any suspects?”

“Fuckin’ A. Ol’ 3M here has attracted a goofy mope who struts around telling people he’s the deposed last goddamned duke of some goddamned place. Whut the name? He turned to 3M.

“Uh... Western Rosa Rosa, boss. I think that’s in Africa. Said he was one of them political referees. I ain’t did shit to egg the dipshit on. He just likes my tits.” She hefted one with each hand for emphasis.

”Political refugees,” McCoy corrected.

Harper and McCoy dug Ice’s shoes out of the back floorboard of the Lexus and pointed him toward inspecting what was left of The Purple Turtle. They interviewed 3M in the back seat of a squad car.

“Y’all want I should give ya a quick blow…?

McCoy interrupted, “Mon now, kid. You want a shirt or something?”

“Dude, I paid three large for these tits and I want as many hard dicks lookin’ at ‘um as by-god possible.”

Harper said, “It’s very important you help us find this duke of dipshit guy before Ice. We’ll just shoot the bastard. Ice catches him, it ain’t gonna be that easy. He been sleepin’ with you?”

“Well, Mr. Harper, I give him a little headjob…just that one time. Never any sex.”

“When?” McCoy asked.

“Three…maybe four days ago.”

“He got your telephone number?” McCoy asked.

“Just my cell. Tol’ him the next time I suck his little dick, it’s gonna cost four hundred. He ain’t got no four hundred, so he ain’t gonna call. ”

“How come he’d blow up the Turtle?” McCoy ask.

“Cuz, by God, I tol’ the little fuck about the four hundred and he went apeshit. He thinks he owns these babies,” she thrust out her chest again.

“He give Ice and Bruno some shit inside about midnight a while ago and they tossed his ass out. He said he was gonna get even. Fucker come back and dropped the A-tomic bomb on us.”

McCoy said, “We figure you took him to your place to service him. He know where you live?”

“Well, yeah. Didn’t wanta get busted giving a blow job behind the dumpster.”

Harper said, “He’s got your cellular number and knows where you live. You know damned well he is not some deposed duke. He is one goofy fuck, and he’s gonna call you either to try to get his pencil dick back in your mouth or to brag he blew down the Turtle.”

McCoy handed her a card. “Call me the second you hear from this mope…and do not call Ice or Bruno first, understand?”

“Okay, dude, chill.”

She strutted across the parking lot, boobs out, drawing applause from a hundred guys standing around, Harper and McCoy went home and back to bed.

At 5:17 A.M, McCoy had just dozed when cellular hell dropped in.

“McCoy, it’s 3M,” she whispered.

“He call you?”

“No, he’s here in my bed, and like you tol’ me, I ain’t called Ice or Bruno.”

“I told you dammit…”

“Little dork was there when I come in a minute ago. He’s deader than shit, dude. Gotta iron pipe up his ass.” Her voice was barely audible. “And that little pencil dick…I think is in his mouth.”

McCoy whose give-a shit-factor was only above ground level because below grade was impossible asked, “If he’s fucking dead, why are you whispering?”

“My mama always taught me to give them dead folks some reverends.”

McCoy jotted down her address, called Harper and did his best to repeat the conversation with 3M. “We did our damnedest to save his useless ass. Hard to outflank Tommy Ice and company. ”

“Well, partner,” Harper drawled sleepily. “Stupid fuck shoulda picked somebody else’s joint to blow up.

“This way saves a lotta time.”

“Christ, McCoy, you suppose when Ice and Bruno were hammering that pipe up this Duke guy’s ass, he claimed diplomatic immunity?” 



cletus.jpg
Art by Steve Cartwright 2016

CLETUS ORLANDO LEBLANC III

 

Gary Clifton

 

 

“Colbockski, we gotta new agent just outta the academy and you’re his training officer.” My idiot group supervisor, Numbnuts Ivan, introduced me to my new idiot partner. Somehow, the sound of Christmas Carols drifting in from Commerce Street out front, soured several octaves.

A pair of outlaw biker gangs were smack damned in the middle of WWIII and naturally D.E.A. had a dog in the hunt. Bikers were murdering each other in lots of five. They’d assigned me to “monitor” the action, which I took to mean pass out more ammo and help count bodies.

The Snakes had shot Dirt Dog, my snitch and a member of the Lizards, 47 timesmore holes than grandma’s pincushion—deader than my sex life.

My third wife, Horrible Hilda, had just left me, my left knee throbbed night and day from three years trying to play high school football, I'd been assigned a brand new rookie partner who looked incapable of using toilet paper and it was three weeks before Christmas, the happiest day of the year – not.

There, in lard ass splendor, stood Cletus Orlando LaBlanc III waving a law degree from someplace like Mail Order U. Double holy hell!

Anyone with enough sense to pour piss outta their shoe would take one look at the guy and say, "If this oily fuckup isn't a vampire undertaker, he's gotta be a lawyer."

The son of an attorney doing ten to fifteen in Leavenworth for racketeering…so Cletus said…he was incapable of uttering a sound which wasn't a whine. Prematurely thinning, wispy, reddish hair was already nine inches above his eyebrows and amply lawyer-disheveled at the neck.

Cletus’s wide ass wouldn't fit a standard arm-chair. When he struggled to his feet, his backside, wedged in vacuum-packed mode, lifted the chair a foot or so before crashing back to the floor. On the third such occasion, the spinning chair knocked over the office yuletide tree. Jingle Balls smashed into tiny pieces.

Another snitch, C.V. Clark, called me.

 

"Colbockski, you still messin’ with them bikers?”

“Yup.”

Biker in here jes' now. Wantin' to trade a machinegun for some crank. Tol' him I didn't do no dope. He left in a pickup...got the tag number."

I spooned my new liability into an old Dodge and proceeded to Second Avenue.

"Good grief," Cletus surveyed the neighborhood. "We're not really going in one of these awful places?"

"If they rush you in here, Cletus," I John-Wayned. "Just start shooting."

"Can't...forgot my pistol."

"It's just as well. You'd only have half the weapons of every dude in this place."

"Oh my."

Old C.V. handed over the license number. Didn’t sell dope? C.V. would have sold his sorry old mother if she wasn’t doing time in the joint for shooting a pimp she’d tried to rob on Oakland Avenue. C.V. was just banking an attaboy for next time he got busted.

 

He’d operated the Diablo Topless Club on Second Avenue for 18 years and had shot and killed nine unruly customers or would-be robbers in the interim.

C.V. gave Cletus an up and down. “New partner, Colbockski?”

“Naw, hell no, he’s my brother-in-law from Fresno.”

Cletus declared, “I hafta urinate”.

C.V. replied, “Commode got shot all to hell last night. Jes’ step out that back door there and piss in the alley.”

Cletus, eyes wide as silver dollars, stepped, like a man mounting the gallows, out the back door into the dark alley. In thirty seconds he was back, eyes wide as silver dollars.

“Kobock, when I tried to urinate, a very tall lady in yellow shorts appeared out of the dark and tried to seize my member.”

“Seize? Member…your Johnson?”

 

“Yes.”

“Yellow shorts? That’s just Henrietta, wantin’ to sell you a blow job, except she’s a he…name o’ Ralph Rizolli. Lives up on Gaston. He needs money for Christmas gifts for his four kids.”

“Oh, my God.”

“Just a dude trying’ to make a livin’. Keeps him off welfare. It’s the American way. He actually touch you?”

“Yes.”

“Well, you’ll know in about a week whether it turns into Hong Kong Dong.” His expression was as if Henrietta had him in a step-over-his-pecker wrestling death-hold.

From the truck license, I had the driver's ID in minutes via cellular:  Lester Wagers Dwight, called "Crowbar", member in good standing of the Snakes. I drove to the Snakes’ house on Elam Road.

 

Guys like Crowbar can smell cops and their intentions a mile away. He crashed out the front door and ran like Blue Billy Hell. But, Crowbar wasn’t much good at any form of running, except his mouth. I pulled beside him and said politely, “Keep going asswipe, and I’m gonna swerve onto that sidewalk and run your ass over.”

As the report would sort of read, “He did and I did.” The Dodge bumper tossed Crowbar twenty-two feet.

 Knocked goofier than he’d already been, he gasped the always reliable standard, “Ain’t did shit”, a line learned early on in fuck-up school.

I parked the right front tire on his foot until he signed a consent to search his F150. We found two dime bags, an old MI Carbine which had been altered to fire fully automatic, and 846 stolen Christmas cards. I arrested him and en route to jail, Crowbar squawked like Captain Ahab’s parrot.  Cletus was oddly mute.

“Police brutality,” Crowbar tried to tell everyone working in book-in, like anybody gave a damn. “He run over my foot, with a damned old Dodge,” also failed. We left Crowbar in a cage.

The next morning, while I punched computer keys to report the Crowbar affair – more or less, Cletus made the century's most colossal statement of understatement: "Colbockski, I'm not cut out for law enforcement."

The week before Christmas, he found a job with the Dallas Public Defender's Office.

On his last day, he'd absent mindedly squeezed his gigantic ass into an arm chair. As he rose to leave, surprise:  the chair stuck, clattered back to the floor, and Cletus waddled out the door. Up, up, and away, never to be seen again, I fervently hoped.

"Colbockski, what the hell you laughing at?" supervisor Numbnuts demanded.

"Just thinking, boss. Some poor sorry mope down at County, sittin' in a cell, suddenly figuring out Cletus is the last thing between him and forty years in the joint. Sorta brings a tear to the old eye, hey?"

 

From the rear of the squad room, someone wised assed, "Ho, ho, ho."


Gary Clifton, forty years a cop, has been shot at, shot, stabbed, lied to and about, sued, and often misunderstood. Currently, he's retired to a dusty north Texas ranch where he doesn't give a damn if school keeps or not. He has had short fiction pieces published in nearly two hundred venues, published a novel, Burn Sugan Burn, in national paperback and currently has a collection of short stories on Amazon.Com, titled The Biggest Balls in Sanderson County. He holds an M.S. in psychology from Abilene Christian University.

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