Friday, March 15, 2013

Issue #48 -- March 2013

By Mike Monson

Sadie and Earle did not invite Victor Blank to their little get-together.

“Fucker once he gets drinking can’t keep his hands to himself,” Sadie said. She took a shot of Jaeger with her left hand and sucked hard at a joint from her right.

“Is that that dude that was all over my shit on the fourth?” Julie said.

“That’s the one,” Sadie said. She poured a shot for Julie and for Julie’s new husband, Tommy. She passed the joint to Earle.

“What an asshole,” Julie said, taking her shot in one loud gulp.

“Same one that keeps pounding the fuck out of Teresa,” Sadie said. “Bitch won’t leave him. ‘He makes me happy,’ she says. That’s fucked up. Plus I think the dude is going psycho from all the meth he’s been snorting.”

“Teresa will never learn,” Julie said. “Put her in a room full of great handsome guys and one dumbass, homely, wannabe wife beater and she’ll go off with the abuser – every time. I have no sympathy for her.”

“You’d have to admit that your own picker’s been off a time or two,” Sadie said. “I’ve got black eye pics in my iPhone to prove it.”

“That’s behind me now,” Julie said as she reached out and pulled Tommy’s face to hers for a long kiss.

Sadie watched. She sighed. “Uh huh ….” she said, shaking her head and looking hard at Tommy.

“How do you know Teresa won’t bring him?” Tommy said. He didn’t drink his shot, but took the joint from Earl and took a long hit. He passed the weed on to Julie. He was not going to get too drunk tonight. He’d have a little, sure. A couple of shots couldn’t hurt.

“She knows I think the sonofabitch is a rotten sonofabitch,” Sadie said. “I won’t have him here. You know he was actually in fucking prison for nearly beating his second wife to death. I just found that shit out.”

Sadie poured four more shots. Sadie, Earle, Julie and Tommy drank. The joint and the shots went around four more times. Tommy kept smoking but only took one shot.

Earle got up from their kitchen table. He pulled a tray of appetizers out of the oven: JalapeƱo poppers, Chung King pork eggrolls, Bagel Bites, chicken nuggets. Earle didn’t talk much. He did all of the shopping and the cooking and the cleaning. Sadie was the talker.

“Bring over a big plate of that shit, Earle,” Sadie said. “And bring another bottle of Jaeger while you are at it.”


Earle and Sadie and Julie all worked Gallo, as laborers in the bottling plant. They’d known each other for years, through the 22-year marriage of Earle and Sadie and through the so far two divorces and now third marriage of Julie.

Teresa was also an old friend from Gallo, though she’d been fired from the bottling plant several years before after getting caught in the parking lot giving a blow job to one of the security guards.

Tommy had moved to Modesto six months earlier. He was an engineer with the Modesto Irrigation District. He met Julie at the White Elephant Lounge his first week in town. She had wild curly blonde hair and a huge ass tucked into the tightest jeans he had ever seen. He couldn't resist. She moved in with him a week later and they got married in Vegas a month after that.

Tommy was trying to control his drinking. Before moving to Modesto, he’d had many nights of drinking tequila when he’d wake up with bloody, scarred knuckles and no idea how they got that way. Several times, the police had knocked down his door in the morning because a girlfriend or the previous night’s date had pressed charges for the beating he’d given her. Luckily, he’d eventually convinced each to let him off the hook, once having to take a beating from a girl’s father and two of her brothers before she agreed to drop the charges.

Julie didn’t know about those nights. Those were locked away in the past and he wanted to keep it that way. He figured if he kept mostly stoned and stayed away from tequila, he’d remain agreeable and nonviolent.


At ten o’clock, Teresa showed up holding aloft a huge bottle of Patron tequila.

“Shit, baby,” Sadie said. “Where the hell did you get that?”

“Stole it from Victor,” she said, “after I kicked his ass out.”

When Teresa talked, she covered her mouth with her hands to hide the missing teeth from Victor’s beatings.

“Woo hooo!” Sadie said. “Let’s drink to you fucking coming to your fucking senses. God damnit. And we’ll use the sonofabitch’s booze. Shots all around. ”

Teresa joined them at the table. She was wearing tight black leggings and a cut-up black Oakland Raiders t-shirt. In spite of her extreme thinness, lanky hair, and missing teeth, Tommy thought she was cute as hell. He got the feeling that she liked him a little too. He tried to be careful so that Julie didn’t see him staring or giving Teresa too much attention or she’d have his ass.

Tommy couldn’t resist taking a couple shots of the tequila. Patron? God, he loved that shit. But two shots turned to four and four to eight and by midnight Tommy – along with everyone else at the table – was totally wasted. Julie passed out, her head in Tommy’s lap.

At first no one even noticed that Victor Blank had joined them. He just appeared, standing at the head of the table, holding Sadie’s tiny Chihuahua, Corny. The dog whimpered and then barked, startling Sadie.

“What the fuck!” Sadie said, coming out of her reverie. “Put that dog down now and get the fuck out of here. God damn it.” 

Victor Blank didn't move. He smiled at Sadie and then at Teresa. He was wearing cut off shorts and nothing else. His sinewy muscles glistened with sweat off of his lean frame. He’d recently shaved his head and there were cuts and drips of blood all over his bare scalp.

“Nice little doggy,” Victor said. He twisted the dog’s neck, and then flung its body at Sadie, hitting her full in the face.

“My Corny!” Sadie screamed as she caught her dead pet after it had bounced off her nose.

Earle charged at Victor. Earle was a big guy, about six foot one and 240 pounds, but Victor pushed him aside like he was nothing. Victor took a pistol out from behind his back and fired it at the refrigerator. The bullet ricocheted off the steel door and hit the TV on the kitchen counter, shattering the screen.

“Don’t want no trouble,” Victor said. “Just came to pick up Teresa. It’s getting late and she has to work early in the morning. Poor thing needs her sleep, you know.”

“Victor,” Teresa said. “I tole you we’re through. Just go.”

“Teresa,” Victor said. “You know I love you dearly, and you know we belong together. Come along now.”

“Fuck you, you fucking asshole,” Sadie said. “I’m calling the cops.”

Sadie reached for her cell phone and Victor shot her in the ear. She screamed. Earle ran over to her and Victor shot him in the ass. Earle went down with a yelp.

“Okay then,” Victor said and reached out his right hand, palm up, fingers spread. “Teresa, are you ready darling?”

Julie woke up and raised her head from Tommy’s lap. She saw Victor and the bleeding, crying Sadie at the table and Earle on the floor. She saw the dead Corny in Sadie’s arms.

“Shit, Teresa,” Julie said. “You sure can pick em. Jesus.”

“Fuck you,” Teresa said. “You aren’t much better.”

Teresa looked at Tommy.

“Present company excepted, of course.”

“Fucking bitch,” Julie said. “Why don’t you go off with your psycho boyfriend before he kills us all?”

“She’s right, baby,” Victor said. “Come on, now, it’s time to go home.”

Victor leaned over Tommy and Julie and tried to grab Teresa by her neck. His hand holding the gun was right in Tommy’s face pointing up to the ceiling. Tommy grabbed Victor’s wrists with both hands and slammed the gun down to the table. Tommy elbowed Victor in the nose. There was a crack and blood spurted out Victor’s nostrils. He dropped the gun.

No one moved or spoke for a moment. There only sound was the dripping of Victor’s blood on the plate that had contained the now long-gone deep-fried treats.

Plop plop plop.

Sadie grabbed the gun. She put the end of the barrel right on the spot where she hoped Victor’s heart was. She shot, twice.

“That’s for killing my dog, asshole,” Sadie said.

Victor fell onto Teresa and Julie’s lap. Julie pushed him off and onto the top of the table.

Sadie got a washcloth and held it to her ear. Teresa helped Earle stand up and lean against the kitchen counter. They all watched as Victor bled from his chest and his nose.

Tommy picked up the Patron. He took a long, long drink straight from the bottle. He slammed the bottle down on the table, leaned his head way back until he was staring at the ceiling and then screamed – long and loud.

Julie put her hands out to Tommy and tried to pull him to her.

“Hey babe,” she said, “maybe you better take it easy.”

Tommy jerked his arms away from Julie and took another long pull from the Patron. He drank until it was empty and then threw the bottle against the wall.

“Tommy!” Julie said. “I told you to stop it now.”

“Fuck you, you dumb whore” Tommy said. He grabbed Julie by the back of her head with his left hand. He pulled back his right arm and made a fist.

“Don’t you dare, you sonofabitch,” Sadie said. She aimed the gun at Tommy.

Tommy looked at Sadie, grinned, and brought his fist down onto Julie’s face.

Mike Monson works as a paralegal in downtown San Francisco and lives in Modesto, CA. He's had stories accepted and/or published in Literary Orphans, Shotgun Honey, Flash Fiction Offensive as well as Yellow Mama. He also has stories included in upcoming anthologies from All Due Respect, Out of the Gutter, and Near to the Knuckle. Visit him at

Friday, March 1, 2013

Issue #47 -- March 2013

by Bruce Harris

The last time someone had me by the balls, he asked me to cough, wrote me a prescription and sent me a bill two weeks later. This time was different. This time was short hair hell.

I was in the locker room on the scarred wooden bench bent over tying my spit polished boots.

“We need to talk, Jack.”

“’bout what?”

My partner straddled the bench. “Look at me.”

“Jeez. This must be serious, Figgy. What?”

Officer Manny Figueroa rubbed his hands together. Sixteen years on the force. Four years away from a pension. “I saw what you did to that girl yesterday. Jesus Christ, Jack, you need serious help.”

“What?” I stared into Manny’s eyes. “What’s so bad? She was dead. Didn’t feel a thing. I guarantee it. Hell, did you see her body?”

Manny got up and slammed his meaty fist into my locker. A couple of the other cops looked up. Manny lowered his voice and got in my face. “It’s sick. You groped her. I fucking saw you. You wouldn’t stop. I’m telling you I fucking puked all last night just thinking about.”

“Forget it. What’s done is done. If it bothers you so damned much, request another partner. C’mon Manny, we’ve been together too long for something like this to come between us.”

“I can’t forget it. I’ve got a daughter about the same age. Jesus, you’re sick and you need help. You need to report what you did to the captain.”

“Are you shitting me? No way Jose, let’s just forget about it and move on. No harm. No foul.”

“No!” Manny was beginning to raise his voice again, caught himself and lowered it. “If you don’t go to him, I will. He’ll help you get help. You need it!”

I grabbed Manny by his blue t-shirt and brought him closer. “What are you, a fucking doctor? What’s this really about? All of a sudden I’m no good? What about the times you watched me take money from these scumbags. You never said a word about that!”

Manny ripped my hands away. “That’s different. This is different. Totally. That was dirty money. You touched a girl, Jack. A victim. An innocent child, it’s too fucking much. You’ve got until Saturday. I’m not going to look away on this one. It’s for your own good.” Manny stormed out of the locker room.

One of the other cops shouted, ”What the hell was that all about? Everything okay?” I went back to tying my boots. “Yup. Everything’s going to be fine.”

My nuts were in a vise, but Saturday was two days away—plenty of time to relieve the pressure. I had no trouble finding Needle Mark. His skinny ass was parked, as usual, in front of Al’s check cashing store. Mark sat there, begging for dollars from Al’s highbrow clientele, who for whatever reason, didn’t or couldn’t do business with banks. Mark figured when they left Al’s, they were flush and might be in the mood to part with some of their good fortune. Despite the heat, he wore a long-sleeve flannel shirt. He stood up when I approached.

“I didn’t do nuthin.”

“Relax, I didn’t say you did. I’ve got a proposition for you. Two grand if you do what I say.” I pulled two bricks of $100 dollar bills, still crisp, still wrapped, and shoved them under Mark’s nose. “Smell good? It’s yours just as long as you do as I tell you. Sound good?”

Needle Mark licked his lips and looked down at the grungy sidewalk. “Whadda I gotta do?”

“It’s easy. Tomorrow, be here at six a.m. sharp. Can you do that?” He nodded. “Good. When you see my squad car, flag me down. I’ll be with Manny. Got it so far?” He nodded again. “Good.  Start screaming or jumping or do whatever, and wave us out of the car. When Manny gets out, make a play for his gun. That’s it. Then, the money is yours.”

The crack head’s body stiffened. He didn’t say anything.

“Don’t worry about it. Just go for his weapon. There’ll be an accident, to Manny. Nothing will happen to you. Do as I say and you’ll get the two large ones tomorrow.”

Mark was stuttering. “I-I’m not so sure. I-I d-d-don-n’t mess with guns.”

I brought his stinking nose next to mine. “I’ll lock your ass up so fucking deep the fucking catfish won’t be
able to see you. You better do what I tell you. Now get lost. I’ll see you here tomorrow at six sharp. Don’t fuck this up.” I was a little worried about Needle Mark showing up in the morning, but the look in his dead eyes when he saw the money had me thinking he’d be able to keep it together long enough to keep our date and follow my instructions.


“Lovely neighborhood,” I said as we began our shift. Manny sat shotgun and stared straight ahead. We passed a number of tattoo parlors, three different bail bondsmen offices, and a few strip joints before I saw Needle Mark in front of Al’s, waving and screaming for us to stop. Manny and I jumped out of the car. As planned, The Needle went for Manny’s gun. I pulled mine, aimed and fired. Down went Manny in a heap. I fired again for good measure. No son-of-a-bitch gives me an ultimatum. My gun still smoking, I looked at Needle Mark. He was no dummy. He knew what was coming. “Oh, I forgot to tell you,” I said, “change of plan. Instead of the $2,000 I promised, I figured I’d pay you off in bullets.” I aimed at his chest and fired. He screeched like a little girl. I fired again. The druggie just stood there, with a dumb look on his face. I looked into the barrel of my gun.

Manny stood up. “I already told the captain about your problem, Jack. Two days ago. It was his idea to put blanks in your gun. And, I have his blessing, Jack. Sorry partner, the captain really would have found help for you. But, like you said, what’s done is done.”

He aimed low. I saw a bright orange-blue flash before crashing face first to the pavement. My balls were splashed all over the street. I never felt the second bullet, the one they removed after opening up my skull later that night.

Bruce Harris is the author of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson: ABout Type ( His fiction has appeared (or will appear) in A Twist of Noir, Flash Fiction Offensive, Yellow Mama, Shotgun Honey, Over my Dead Body! and Out of the Gutter.