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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.

 

 


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.







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."



stabinthedark.jpg
Art by Steve Cartwright 2017

                                    A STAB IN THE DARK                            


Gary Clifton  


           Fat Freddy, a swindler who operated a half-assed numbers game on Main, recognizing the battered undercover Cutlass, waved the two vice cops down.   Detectives Harriet Washington and Sheenika LeBuff stepped out into the humid night air.


“Mu’fucker Blue out here a bit ago saying he gonna shoot the asses off bof’ of you nex’ time he see y’all.”


Chicago Blue was a pimp who’d never seen Chicago. The name came from a crooked card game he used to run over on 3rd, until Ol’ Big Peewee shot off his left nut with a .32 when he caught Blue marking aces.


          Washington had grown up in a housing project, the daughter of a prostitute. Her hatred of pimps was intense. A low rent pimp threatening her life was one hell of a mistake.


          In the cop world, general threats in the blind are as common as free donuts.  But a specific threat against a cop by name is an “oh shit”.  Street rules dictated Washington and LeBuff find Blue and pull off a body part or two.


          The sun was a faded memory to the west, but the hundred plus heat had remained.  LeBuff swung the Cutlass into a defunct service station, the usual gathering spot for about a dozen ladies of the night. Blue would show soon enough. Washington sat on the taxi fender, smoking a filter tip through a long cigarette holder.


          A pimp called “Trike” whizzed up in a black Lexus. Tall, with a single gold tooth, he complained, “Godammit. Y’all interfering with free enterprise.”


          Washington gave him a casual up and down. “Eat shit and die, loser.”


          From the darkness, a hooker called Flower appeared and talked up Trike briefly. Flower was one of Chicago Blue’s girls. Whoredom had no provision for free agency. Blue had been the only suspect in the murder of two of his girls in the past years—one whipped to death with a coat-hanger, the other tied with an electrical cord and burned alive.


          Blue roared up in his light blue Cadillac pimp-mobile. Not having the good sense to see in the semi-dark ten feet away, the two very same cops he’d threatened to kill, he lost his shit and slapped Flower across the mouth for talking to Trike. A hit of coke will give damned fools the courage to do damned foolish things. A hundred pounds overweight in his purple silk shirt and way past too stupid to stir coffee, he mumbled something about “cash” he took another swing—only Flower ducked. Trike retreated to his Lexus and split.


          Flower, her skirt so short it needed no hiking to allow her to run like hell, kicked off her spikes and hooked ‘um. She ducked around the darkened corner of the old service station, Blue waddling behind her.


          In seconds, Blue stumbled back into view, holding his lower stomach together under the silk, blood gushing down like a busted water hydrant. She’d stuck him good. He staggered east on Grand, his eyes silver dollars of wide-eyed terror. Flower, waving a red-handled switchblade, was a few steps behind, her eyes narrow slits of deadly determination. They disappeared into the darkness only to reappear beneath the next streetlight a block down.


LeBuff said, “Harriet, we may not have to kick this guy’s ass, after all.”


          “Think she’ll catch him?” Washington exhaled toxic poison.


          “She don’t kill him, I’m gonna,” LeBuff peered into the darkness.


          As Blue led the chase beneath the next streetlight, Washington remarked, “I believe he’s gaining.”


Ten minutes passed. Blue reappeared from the haze, still making running motions, but at a ghostlike walk. The exertion of running exposed an intestine or two dangling through the purple shirt. Flower, now forty feet behind, had lost ground, but plunged on with dogged persistence. Blue fumbled in his pocket, jangled keys, popped the trunk with the remote, jumped in, and pulled the lid closed.


          Flower, eyes glazed in anger and exhaustion, staggered up, bloody knife in hand and stabbed the Cadillac trunk at least twenty times. She switched to stabbing tires until all four were flat as modern music, then tossed a brick through the front windshield. Only then did she notice Washington and LeBuff watching.


Flower, knowing both cops very well, said, “Ain’t did shit, Ms. Harriet.” Shoeless from the chase, she fled into the darkness, knife still in hand without saying another word.


         


Washington stared after her. “Hell, Sheenika, we can’t pursue that suspect. We gotta citizen trapped in a car trunk.”


          LeBuff called for backup and responding units peeled the fat pimp from the Caddie trunk. Brodsky’s report would read: “Unidentified suspect eluded capture.”


          John Henry Davis—that’s what the obituary column called Blue when he died of gangrene four days later—lay unclaimed in the morgue for three weeks before he was dumped into a formaldehyde tank in the medical school next door to be carved up in anatomy class. Blue had finally made an honest contribution to society. And Sheenika and Harriet had not laid a glove on him.




ANGEL

Gary Clifton

 

 

“You dumb little bitch,” He spat in a hoarse whisper. “You ‘post to be earnin’ cash, not runnin’ the fuckin’ dog pound. Mr. Wilson, one of my best customers, is back in the bedroom waitin’. He’d got his dick in one hand and a hunnert bucks in the other. And turn off that damned Christmas music.”

Sherry turned away as he clicked the radio off, shielding the half-starved, little black mongrel. “Please don’t hit me again, Buck. He was under the back stoop, wet and hungry. I’ll just feed him scraps when I fix your supper.”

Buck, already drunk and stoned, slurred through his scraggly beard, “Bitch, you ain’t earned a dime today. Now lose the damned pooch and them clothes and get your ass back there. Earn me a couple more quarts of tequila at least for Christ’s sake.”

“My god, Duke, tomorrow’s Christmas Eve. Most of them men that come around are home with their families. We ain’t gonna have many visitors.”

“Strip, bitch.” Buck stepped partly down the hall and raised his voice.  “Gotta a sweetheart comin’ up Mr. Wilson. She gives great head.”

“Buck, please, let me have a condom. Wilson is a smelly old man. I still got them marks on my back where he whipped me with his belt last time.” Sherry brushed passed him, nude. He hadn’t seen her hide the dog in the trash accumulated beneath a fold out dining table in the filthy trailer. She’d tossed her clothes atop him next to the door. Shivering and grateful for dry warmth, he huddled, nearly invisible.

“Get your ass in there, dumbass. Before he changes his mind. And get the hunnert ‘fore he puts up his hard-on and his cash.” His drunken laugh was like tearing metal.

Sherry had met Buck on the bus down from Lubbock. Race car driver, he’d said, coming to Dallas to sign a contract with a major sponsor. The only race he’d had was running from the cops. He’d moved her into a sleazy trailer court and made her sell herself to any john who showed up. She’d run away from home in Lubbock. While her mom worked evenings at the truck stop, her stepdad Wilber, a bigger shit than Duke, couldn’t keep his hands off her. When he raped her again on her seventeenth birthday, she’d fled in desperation. 

Duke, honey-talking on the bus, had seemed to be a new beginning. It was, all right, except he was a brutal, low-rate pimp. She’d called her mom collect and learned Wilbur had been shot and killed in a Lubbock barroom brawl. If she could get the sixty-one-dollar bus fare, she’d run. But she’d tried to run a week earlier with no money. Duke had caught her at the bus station and beat the shit out of her. Now, in despair, she endured Ol’ smelly Wilson’s crude sexual abuse, feeling painfully alone and helpless. 

Wilson swaggered down the hallway tugging at his fly. He handed Duke the hundred dollars. “Fine little piece of ass, Duke. Nice tits. Loves pain. I got her broke in for whoever’s next.” As the door slammed behind him, Duke called out, “Sherry, get your ecked ass in here.” He tossed the five twenty-dollar bills on a coffee table.

In pain from the treatment she’d just received from Wilson, she stumbled down the hall. “My turn, baby.” Duke threw her to the floor, took a long pull on his tequila bottle, dropped his greasy jeans, and threw himself on her. The soft growl of the forlorn little dog went unnoticed.

***

“Damn, sarge,” young officer Jackson said. “You missed that little honey runnin’ round buck nekked tryin’ to pull on duds and hold her dog at the same time.”

The sergeant studied the burned hulk. “Man, that’s a hell of a fire. One of them damned cheap little trailers get started, they’re a roman candle. Looks like the mope tried to crawl out the door. He’s mostly burned from the waist down. Whud the medical examiner say?”

“Uh, burns and blood loss. Sherry, the little cutie there says the pimp, Duke what’s his name was slammin’ tequila and smoking a joint when she dozed on the sofa. Looks like the dumb bastard passed out and set hisself afire. That tequila ain’t gasoline, but it will burn. He’s sure as hell no loss.”  

“You said, burns plus blood loss…?

“Sarge, as the dirtbag tried to crawl out the door, see his jeans come partly off… managed to catch his package on the metal door sill.  He mighta made it…tore his balls clean off, then he couldn’t get clear. Burned right there in the door.”

“The chick his ol’ lady?”

“Naw, she said she was jes’ crashin’ for the night. Lucky ol’ Duke killed his damn fool self. He’d a turned her out sure as hell if she stayed. She’s only been in Dallas three weeks. Says she needs to get home to mama in Lubbock. She’s got a hundred bucks to buy a ticket and a cage for her mutt if I give her a lift to the bus station. Think that would be okay, sarge?”

“Yeah, just don’t get caught havin’ a quickie on the way.”

The young officer motioned Sherry over. “I got the okay to take you to the station. We can stop at the pet shop and get a carrier for your dog. Whut’s the little runt’s name, honey…and does he bite?” He scratched the little dog’s ears.

“Angel. He’s my Christmas Guardian angel. And he’d never bite anybody.”

The sergeant grinned. “He don’t look so ferocious to me. Jackson, get started for the bus terminal. Sherry can be home for Christmas Eve if you hurry the hell up.” Angel burrowed his head into Sherry’s hoodie. There was no way the cops could see the blood on his muzzle.

“Merry Christmas, Sherry,” the Sarge called out as they walked away.




THE DECLINE OF THE MIDNIGHT SADIST


Gary Clifton

 

“Pauli, you shoulda heard the bitch scream and plead and shit. Man, I got another bitch lined up. Come on along with me tonight and enjoy the fun.” Pauli’s skinny little body and shoulder length dirty hair gave him the appearance of a wet rat.

“Goddammit, Wilbur, you gotta stop that shit. I saw it on the news a while ago. They’re callin’ you the “Midnight Sadist”. They claim you already did six. Cops are gonna be out in force tryin’ to catch your ass.” Wilbur, his shaved head glistening with nervous sweat, tamped out his joint in a tabletop ashtray.

“You think them dumb cops got enough sense to bring me down? Bullshit, man.”

“Please, Wilbur…”

“Hey, this bitch I’m gonna do tonight lives alone, vacant lot behind her house, damned careless about strutting around inside buck nekked. She wants me to fuck her up, see.” Wilbur scribbled down the address on a scrap of paper and tossed it on the kitchen counter. “You get a boner, man, jes’ drop by about midnight.”

X

Wilbur had stooped in weeds behind the house for nearly an hour. The brunette chick had moved about the house, shades up, first in a robe, then nude. “Look at them tits,” he mumbled to himself. Then he saw her sitting at a kitchen bar, sipping a drink. She’d put the robe back on, but she was still beautiful.

Wilbur crept to the back door, cautiously trying the knob. Incredibly, it was unlocked. He stepped quietly into the kitchen. The victim’s back was toward him.

“Ready to meet the Midnight Sadist, bitch,” he said, trying to growl like the animal he was.

She turned. He was startled to see she was even more attractive up close. “Well, hello, baby,” she smiled. “You don’t have to be concerned. I like it rough. My friends call me outright kinky.” She slid off her stool, allowing the robe to open brazenly. “Would you like a drink before we have a good time? I think you’re gonna be able to satisfy me just fine.”

Wilbur stood, mouth agape as she stepped to the fridge, came away with a bottle of red wine, and filled a glass on the bar. He reached out and fondled her, then took a bar seat and drank his wine. He realized he had become very excited. He first felt lightheaded, then dizzy…very dizzy.

X

As Wilbur slowly regained his senses, he realized he was spread-eagled on a metal table, his hands and feet attached with electrical wire which cut into his flesh.  He was naked, a gag stuffed in his mouth in what appeared to be a basement.

The brunette, now nude, was holding an extension cord, plugged in overhead. Then he saw the business end was only bare wires. She touched the wires to his crotch. Beneath the gag, he tried to scream.

“Wakey, wakey, Wilbur, honey. You need to be wide awake.” She gave him another two seconds of the wires. “I know your name cuz’ you dumb bastard, you were carrying a wallet. Bet that’s you mama’s place, just a few blocks away?”

Wilbur shook his head frantically. She touched the wires to his armpit. “Not nice to lie, you little prick. When I’m done with you two, I’ll visit mama and give whoever is in her house some of this.” She dug the electricity into his navel.

Wilbur twisted in spasms of agony. “My God, had she said two?”

Then he heard groans. As he twisted his head sideways, he gasped in horror. His brother, Pauli, was spread, feet and hands bound to the corners of a table next to his. She suddenly yanked the gag from Wilbur’s mouth. “Yes, Wilbur, your loving brother showed up as I was getting you fixed up on my table. Said he was concerned for you. He should be, Wilbur. I gave him a little wine, and now he’s all ready for a little fun, too” She stepped around to the next table and gave Pauli two hits with the bare wires. Pauli’s muffled scream couldn’t escape his gag.

Wilbur sobbed. “Please, miss, I really ain’t that midnight sadist guy, honest. I was jes sayin’ that shit.  Please, lemme go.” He urinated on the table.

She jabbed him in the crotch with the extension cord again. “Remember, baby, not nice to lie…or pee on my table.”

He shrieked again, then sobbed, “Oh my god.”

“Wilbur, the young lady the Midnight Jack Off butchered night before last was my little sister. She must have suffered. I’m sure you enjoyed the shit outta that. Now it’s time to pay for your entertainment.”

Frantically, Wilbur blurted, “Awright, awright, Godammit, I’m the Midnight Sadist, but I ain’t did that one, honest. Lemme go now dammit! Please lemme go!”

“Let your ass go, you little fuck? How ‘bout little brother Pauli here?” She gestured to the next table.

“Fuck Pauli. Jes’ let me go. You can fuck him up all you want.”

She waved a kitchen knife. “Shame on you, Wilbur. I told you I like it rough…except that I’m a pitcher, not a catcher. I originally planned to carve on you two a couple of hours or so. But I just visited my dentist who said my teeth were very good. I’ll just use those pearly fuckin’ whites until I lose my taste for the pair of you, if you follow my drift.”

She turned back to Pauli, leaned down and bit off part of his left ear. Pauli stained to scream through his gag. She spat the ear in Pauli’s face and turned back to Wilbur. As she leaned down to his crotch, he screamed in anticipation. “Wilbur, darling, I’m glad I had this basement soundproofed.” She stuffed the gag back in his mouth.  

“And Wilbur, I want you to feel the same gratitude as I do toward the nervous hospital for letting me out early. They were so nice to tell me I was cured. Guess they fucked up a tiny bit?  Stupid shrink suggested I was some kinda damned vampire. What did he know? I just like my meat rare. One thing I learned from another inmate was to always do this buck assed nekked. Keeps your clothes clean.”

 Leaning close to Wilbur’s crotch, she smiled sideways at his terrified eyes. “Wilbur, please remind me before I finish here to make sure your little mama back at her little house is gonna get the same as you.” She bent back down. “Except she has no little pecker to chew off.” She smiled and showed bared, long white teeth.




Gary Clifton, forty years a cop, has been shot at, shot, stabbed, lied to and about, and often misunderstood. He currently lives on a dusty north Texas ranch, where he doesn’t give a damn if school keeps, or not. Clifton has published approximately 120 short fiction pieces, including upwards of fifty in Bewildering Stories Mag. He currently has three novels available through Amazon and other outlets: Nights on Fire, Murdering Homer, and Dragon Marks Eight. He blogs at bareknucklethoughts.org.



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