26 May 2020

Rat Face, Part 7

Rat Face, Part 7:

Rat Face dreamed of tall pine trees and a stiff  breeze.  Raw gasoline. Black smoke. He was running through palmetto. He ran and they followed. Brownshirts--four of them. They screeched through their mouthplates. He could not turn. If he did they would catch him, turn him into meat. They would feast on his red strands and pale skin and toss his offal to the pigs.  Grunts and screams followed him down a slope and into a clearing. From the clearing he could see the Gulf. Oh god the beautiful Gulf. If he could make it to the Gulf . . .

"Time to wake up."

Rat Face woke to blinding white light. Grit teeth.

"He's up," someone said.

Rat Face tried to rise, but found himself strapped in. "I can't see," Rat Face said. "What's going on?"

"Turn it off," someone said.

A metallic click. The light was gone, leaving blinked afterprints, red-yellow circles seared into his mind. He tried to break the straps but strong arms held him down.

"Relax," someone said.

Rat Face opened his eyes. He was in a small dark room lying on some kind of table. Before him stood two tall black-haired, black-eyed women in gray canvas jump suits. The right one had a face like a porcelain doll. She eyed Rat Face with a curiousness reserved for small ugly children.

"I need to go," Rat Face said.

"No you don't," said the woman on the right.

"But I'm Rat Face," he mumbled. "Rat Face don't quit."

"Oh, we know all about you, Rat Face."

"Who knows about me?" Rat Face said.

At this moment a dark door opened and two figures emerged. They joined the gray-clad women at the table. These two wore horse masks. 

"You're from Aesop's," Rat Face said.

"Yes, the horse masks," said the woman on the left. "So little you know. Perhaps we'll tell you more?"

"I like learning," Rat Face said.

"We'll tell you a story. But you have to behave. Is that something you can do--behave?"

Rat Face smirked. "What choice do I have?"

"Not much of one, I'm afraid," said the woman on the left.

"Well, lickity-shit," Rat Face said. "Beer me a story."

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Rat Face, Part 6

Rat Face, Part 6:

This was no good, Rat Face thought. The man was going to gather his friends. In Trash-Town no one had friends, but men would gather in solidarity if they felt slighted. And men were always feeling slighted. Usually they deserved it. Rat Face knew this. He had once been one of these men.

"What'd you hear about Lex?" he said to Emmie.

"I heard he was on the outs, and that someone was going to help along the inevitable. Naturally I thought of you."

"It's tough beans," he said. He took a sip of his milk. It felt different in his mouth--extra frothy, maybe.

"Tough for you, maybe. Nothing that hasn't come before. Porks, Lex--all these good for nothings. Lex was no star, not in my sky."

"He took care of me."

"I know. You've told me a dozen times."

"I have?"

"You get drunk and won't shut up. Kinda like you're doing now."

"I've only had one drink. . ." Rat Face started to say, but trailed off. He felt dizzy, slippery, like his head had gone to jelly. Afraid he might drop his glass, he went to set it on the counter and found that he had already dropped it on the floor. Glass shards and splintered ice.

"What?" he tried to say, but his mouth was stuck at "Wuh--"

And as he slipped off the bar stool he found himself lifted and carried by four horses. The four horses of the apocalypse, he thought, just before everything went black.

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Rat Face, Part 5

Rat Face, Part 5:

The Restless Goat was a shit hole, but Rat Face was used to shit holes, and felt at home there. At least the men in the brown coats wouldn't find him. They had no love for this part of town.

Emmie was speaking to two strange looking women when Rat Face stepped up to the bar. Emmie was the stingiest, cruelest bartender in West City.

She made eye contact with Rat Face and frowned.

"I thought I said to stay out," she said as Rat Face found a stool at the bar.

"You said to go die," he said. "I tried and failed."

"You fail at everything," she said without a hint of smile.

Rat Face nodded, looked briefly at his hands.  That one stung a bit.

"What are you having?"

Rat Face ordered a Green Milk. "You see Porks in here recent?"

Emmie grunted. "Porks? Porks is dead."

"What do you mean dead?"

"Dead dead. Run over by a commuter train."

Rat Face shook his head in disbelief. Porks was the most tuned in man Rat Face knew. He'd  lived in Trash Town his whole life; he knew the ins and outs.

"What a bummer," Rat Face said. "He was a good guy. You never do know when your time's gonna come."

"Oh, Porks knew." Emmie said. "He was a suicide."

Rat Face didn't know what to say to this so he said nothing. Instead he eyed the two women across the bar. Two rubber horse masks lay clumped on the bartop next to a pack of smokes. When the woman looked at Rat Face he turned away. Emmie came back with his green milk. You're lucky, he said. "This is the last of the Creme de Menthe."

"What's with the horse masks?" he said.

Emmie looked at where was was nodding.

"They work at Aseop's."


"You know -- Aesop's Stables. The horse bar. It's the new big thing."

"If it's so big why haven't I heard of it?" Rat Face said.

"I guess you ain't big," Emmie said. "It's down on South Block Street. The ladies dress like horses and the men pay to ride them. Porks loved that place."

"Porks was a good man."

"Porks was an asshole," Emmie said.

Rat Face wasn't about to get kicked out again, so he shut up. He was hoping to ask Porks about Lex. They had been pals, those two, back in the day. Some said they were once lovers, but Rat Face couldn't believe that. Maybe Rat Face was a bit homophobic -- in fact, he probably was. He was a lot of things he shouldn't have been. He liked to think he was trying, but he probably wasn't. 

Emmie refilled the ladies' drinks, then came back. "You ain't very thirsty tonight," she said to Rat Face. He'd barely touched his drink. "I've got something on my mind."


"How'd you know?"

"I hear things."

At that moment, a drunken patron sidled up to the horse women and put his paws on one of them. Emmie stepped away to deal, but she needn't have worried. The women got off their stools and took the man to the ground. There was a scream, the snap of an arm bone. In moments the man had been dragged out the door and the women were back in their seats, enjoying their rum-sprites.

#newquarantineseries #quarantineprose #ratface #noir #crimefiction #dailywriting #300wordsperday

Rat Face, Part 4

Rat Face, Part 4:

Lex. No. This can't be happening, Rat Face thought. After all this time--Lex. The man who saved him from the Camps. The man who raised him.

"You look like you've seen a ghost," Wando said.

Rat Face held a hard stare. A stare that meant business. The stare that meant he was in control. But he was slipping, losing it. His face wanted to do things that it wasn't allowed do in front of Wando. He bit his cheek. Bit it hard. Drew blood.

"I ain't seen ghosts," he said. "And I can't kill Lex."

"He broke the rules."


"You know the rules, don't you?"


"Say it."

"I know the rules."

"Good. And I told you what needs to be done."

"What'd he do?"

"He betrayed the principles of the Organization."

"How long do I got?"

"24 hours."

"You gotta lead?"

"I figured you'd know where he is."

"I haven't seen 'em in months." Rat Face wasn't about to tell Wando about it--how Rat Face fucked up. How Rat Face always fucked up. No, as far as he was concerned, Wando was dead & buried. She was . . . how could she make him kill Lex?

Wando handed Rat Face a manila envelope. Rat Face opened it. "Trash Town?"

"Last we heard."

"Why Trash Town?" Rat Face said.

"It doesn't matter," Wando said. "By this time tomorrow he won't be anywhere."

On his way out the door, Wando called after him. "And Rat Face," she said. "Quit picking on little girls."

He nodded, smiled falsely, and went out the door.

Big Boy escorted him down the stairs to the exit. At the black door Big Boy said, "Don't be stupid, Rat Face."

"You either, Big Boy."

Big Boy grabbed Rat Face's shoulder. "I mean it," he said, dropping his already low voice. "I see your brain chirping."

Rat Face snorted. "It ain't chirping one cheep."

"Just be careful."

Rat nodded. Big Boy unlatched the door. The alley stink wafted in. Rat stepped out into the night.

As he came to the street, the neversleeping city howled in his ears. His head was spinning. He wasn't ready for this. He needed to clear his head. No, he needed to get drunk. Yeah, he needed to get really drunk. Lucklily he knew just the place.

#newquarantineseries #quarantineprose #ratface #noir #crimefiction #dailywriting #300wordsperday

Rat Face, Part 3

Rat Face, Part 3:

He had been told the door would be easy to find, but didn't see no door.

Rat Face walked cautiously down the alley. The mist was thick and reeked of raw diesel.

Past the wet-meat stink of piled trash, the street noise dampened. Water trickled down the brown brick walls. Tangles of moss clustered in the cracks. It reminded him of his early days in the slave camps of North Florida -- days he tried to forget. But how can you forget shit like that?

A dozen more steps. The mists lifted, and there it was  -- narrow, black, impenetrable.

He knocked. The steel was thick and his knuckles barely made a sound. He rapped until his knuckles bled. He was not going to make the mistakes he'd made in the past -- not today, not with Wando.

Finally a thick latch squealed, and the door opened. From it emerged a man the size of a Cadillac.

"You're late."

"No I ain't fucking late. Get your head on straight, Big Boy," Rat Face said.

The big man smiled. Gold teeth.

"Right this way . . . Rat Face."

Wando's office was bigger than Rat Face's dream apartment.

She stood at the window in the red neon glow of the street below. Black hair, white blouse, red slacks, bare feet. Rat Face didn't understand how she could have survived the Plague Years, let alone wield control of West City's Criminal Underworld. It was unbelievable. If he had to bet, he'd bet on her not existing at all. And yet here she was.

"Stealing hotdogs from children," she said, turning to face him. "Is that how you pass the time these days?"

Rat Face flinched. He didn't flinch for nobody, but he flinched.

"How'd you know about that?"

She ignored his question. "I need you to do something for me," she said.

"Do what?"

"I need to you kill Lex."

#newquarantineseries #quarantineprose #ratface #noir #crimefiction #dailywriting #300wordsperday

Rat Face, Part 2

Rat Face, Part 2:

But it never would stop, Rat Face thought. None of it. It was all so goddam rotten. He spat off the ledge and watched the glob smack the roof of a passing car.

Down on the street, Rat Face sauntered through the electric haze, shrill screams, and pounding bass.

"Hey Rat Face," someone yelled from across the busy street.

"Get fucked," he yelled back. He didn't take smack from anyone.

He darted into the alley past the boarded up Korean liquor store. As he turned to give the alley a good look, a blue-white flame erupted into his vision, blinding him.

"Cash now, dirt bag," a little voice said.

Rat Face's vision cleared and he saw a kid wielding a blow torch. The kid was twelve, thirteen at most, his face aglow in the neon lights of the liquor district.

"No can do, little man," Rat Face said.

The kid came at him.

A quick step-and-spin and Rat Face had swatted the torch out of the kid's hand.

"I'm ugly enough," Rat Face said.

"Ya owe me fifteen dollars," the kid said.

"I don't owe you shit. I'm Rat Face."

"Ya broke my torch."

"And I'll break your nose if you don't scram."

The kid tried to look mean, but he was all eyebrows & cheeks. "Ya owe me twenty."

Rat Face grabbed for him, but the kid ducked, rolled, and scampered down the street.

Not a problem, Rat Face thought. Chances were high the kid wouldn't last the season.

And anyway, Rat Face had someone to meet. And that someone wouldn't be too happy if he was late.

#newquarantineseries #quarantineprose #ratface #noir #crimefiction #dailywriting #300wordsperday

Rat Face, Part 1

Rat Face, Part 1:

Rat Face had one hell of a day, fucking around in the city park, swearing at pigeons, pissing in public. He stole a little girl's kite, broke it, then ate the girl's hotdog.

He hadn't eaten in a while--maybe Tuesday last. It didn't matter when.

After the hotdog he wasn't hungry anymore.

Now it was night fall and he sat on the brownstone roof with his legs dangling over the edge. The sky went like this: purple, pale blue, bright yellow, deep orange, cherry red. Some pink on the fluffy clouds. It was fucked up.

So many cars below--all those bully assholes going nowhere in a hurry. If only it all just. . . stopped.

#newquarantineseries #quarantineprose #ratface #noir #crimefiction #dailywriting #300wordsperday

17 May 2020



Shall I post novel excerpts here?


BLAST BEASTS live in the mountains and eat goats they steal from the US Air Force. BLAST BEASTS support the liberation of Palestine and the return of the Americas to its indigenous peoples.

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