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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

BLOOD: YouTube Review 'Reposessed' (1990) by Horrors of the Universe

The zany antics continue in this weeks with the boys and girls of Horrors of the Universe and their review of 'Repossessed'.

Check it out.







Enjoy

+++++++



The story of 'The Texas Assassins' is coming soon.  Join the Facebook page HERE for exclusive updates.

May 2016's ZBFbook.com of the month is 'Alamo Rising'.  It's the story of three amateur ghost hunters who discover a dark conspiracy to unleash a curse that threatens to destroy downtown San Antonio.  Check out the trailer below by clicking on the book cover, then click on the link HERE. to get it in paperback or Kindle.



BOWIE V. IBARRA is the author of the 'Down the Road' zombie horror series from Permuted Press.  He's earned a BFA in Acting and a MA in Theatre History from Texas State University.  Network with Bowie and check out his books at his official website,ZBFbooks.com.

Monday, May 9, 2016

BLOOD: YouTube Review "Student Bodies" (1981) Review by Horrors of the Universe

Here's the latest from Horrors of the Universe with special guest, Nick 'The Snob'.







The story of 'The Texas Assassins' is coming soon.  Join the Facebook page HERE for exclusive updates.

May 2016's ZBFbook.com of the month is 'Alamo Rising'.  It's the story of three amateur ghost hunters who discover a dark conspiracy to unleash a curse that threatens to destroy downtown San Antonio.  Check out the trailer below by clicking on the book cover, then click on the link HERE. to get it in paperback or Kindle.




BOWIE V. IBARRA is the author of the 'Down the Road' zombie horror series from Permuted Press.  He's earned a BFA in Acting and a MA in Theatre History from Texas State University.  Network with Bowie and check out his books at his official website,ZBFbooks.com.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

ZOMBIES: Exclusive First Look at "The Texas Assassins"

IT'S THE MOST GUT-WRENCHING AND VIOLENT STORY TO COME OUT OF ZBFBOOKS.COM
by
Bowie V. Ibarra

It's the darkest story to come from the ZBFbooks.com library, and it's almost here.

THE TEXAS ASSASSIN follows the unfortunate story of Armando, a deputy with the Texas Department of Public Safety, who found himself at the wrong place at the wrong time and was Shanghai'd into serving as a 'sicario' for a brutal Mexican cartel.

Below are the first three chapters of the story of terror and true human atrocities.  More news to come as the release date draws near.

Join the ZBFBooks.com Facebook group HERE to keep up with all the happenings.

And now, the first three chapters of THE TEXAS ASSASSINS.

THE TEXAS ASSASSINS
BY
BOWIE V. IBARRA

COPYRIGHT 2014 BOWIE V. IBARRA/ZBFBOOKS

For Thunder Hyde and Jennifer
For Jack Babalon
For Tio Nio
For Joy Killar

And for the legacy of Dr. Mireles.  You are one of the bravest men the world will ever know.



THE TEXAS ASSASSINS

A ZombieBloodFights.com book
Published by arrangement with the author

ISBN-13: 978-1517485870
ISBN-10: 1517485878

This book is a work of fiction.  People, places, events, and situations are the product of the author’s imagination.  Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or historical events, is purely coincidental.

Copyright 2014, 2015, 2016 Bowie V. Ibarra and ZombieBloodFights.com.  All Rights Reserved.

Formatted by Lyle Perez
Cover Photography by Sandra Dahdah
Cover Format by Dan Galli
No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author and publisher.


            Snapping necks and cashing checks.
            Yeah, that’s what this guy I knew, his name was Sean, that’s what he used to say.  Sean was a car salesman in San Antonio.  Tall kid.  Slender.  Wasn’t Texan, though.  He was from Alabama.  Good lookin’ kid.  A little cocky, but he had charm. 
            Anyway, so when I’d ask him how his day was, he would say, ‘Snapping necks and cashing checks.’
            That’s the car business for you.  He was good at it, too.  Made lots of money there.  I imagine he’s still there.
            But my reply to him, when he’d ask me, ‘How ‘bout you?’ with that goofy, lopsided grin and that hairdo that reminded me of Morrisey from the ‘Everyday is Sunday’ album, or song, or whatever the hell, or however the hell that song goes.  He was always, like, ‘Living the dream, my man.  Living the dream.’
            Okay, so working for the Texas Department of Public Safety might not be every man’s dream.  It wasn’t mine, necessarily.  But you take what you can get, you know?  All I know is I sure as shit wish I was still there.
            See, today my answer might be closer to Sean’s reply, except without the metaphor.  Today, I’m cutting off heads and getting paid.
            That’s not a metaphor.  That’s real.  That’s what I’m about to do today if this little tactical plan with my team works out the way it should.  I’m about to cut off the head of one of my boss’ rivals once we catch their little convoy here in the next few minutes.  It’s not the first time. It won’t be the last.
            Cutting off heads and getting paid.
            That’s what I do now, among other things.  Don’t judge me.  This lifestyle, this profession is nothing new.  Cut-throats have been around for centuries.  As long as you got some asshole who’s ready to pay someone desperate enough, capable enough, to kill other assholes, their associates, friends, and take their shit, people like me have been around.  People like me and these two other fuckers with me, Buddy and Joyce.  We’re humans.  C’mon, now.  Deadliest creatures on the planet.  Always have been, always will be.  They’re always, well, we humans, we’re always ready to survive, do what we need to survive.  Make money.  In this world, it’s important to make money.  For humans, at least.  When you’re down and out like I was, when backs are against the wall, you do what you need to do to survive.
            Our target, in this three-car convoy just ahead of us, knows that.  The dude, the target, is just as big an asshole as my boss.  He has no problem having others like me and my team here do the same shit we do.
            We’re just better at it than they are.
           



1.     WORK
            “They’re accelerating away from us, Armando,” Joyce said, cool and composed, maneuvering her custom Chrysler 300 with the skill of a NASCAR driver.
            “Game on, Joyce,” Armando replied.  “It’s playtime, Buddy.”
            “I love playtime,” Buddy replied, pulling out a grenade launcher.  “Time to start this little fiesta, bitches!” he shouted from the back seat, standing up through the open sunroof and taking aim at the back of a black Tahoe, one of three travelling in front of them.
            Before the rival security team could respond, Buddy blasted the back tires off of the Tahoe, sending it fishtailing on the dusty asphalt before tumbling into the ditch by the side of the road.  The Tahoe crushed green cacti and brush before crashing into a Mesquite tree and coming to an abrupt stop.  A cloud of dust drifted across the vehicle, enveloping it in a thin veneer of dirt.
            “That’s one,” whispered Armando.  He was wanting to reach for his decanter filled with L’Amour Whiskey, but knew there’d be plenty of time to drink when the job was done.  He was still buzzing anyway from starting his morning with a breakfast libation.
            Buddy reloaded his grenade launcher as the small security team returned fire from a second Tahoe.  Bullets bounced off the bulletproof glass and armor of the Chrysler 300 like pebbles.  Buddy sat in the back, laughing as the bullets bounced off the car just above his head.   But the gunfire provided a tactical opportunity to their target.
            “The second Tahoe’s slowing down,” said Armando, quarterbacking the offensive.  “They’re trading positions with the third one.”
            “I see it,” Joyce replied.  As the target Tahoe accelerated, Joyce forced its hand by clipping the back and sending it off the road before the first Tahoe could adjust its defense.
            “That’s you, Buddy,” said Armando.  Buddy chuckled, standing up through the sunroof, firing on the now-scrambling main target.  The projectile hit, blasting and immobilizing the vehicle.
            The Tahoe in the front screeched to a halt just up the road before turning around to stop Armando’s team.  But his team was already advancing on the second car.  Joyce hit the brakes and the team exited their vehicle.  Everything was moving along as planned.
            With the precision of the experienced hit team they were, they took their positions.  Buddy strode into the highway, reloading his grenade launcher to take out the now-advancing final Tahoe with the security team.
            Armando advanced on the wrecked target vehicle, training his AR-15 on the totaled Tahoe.
            Joyce stood near her Chrysler 300, shotgun ready, playing backup.
            Buddy aimed at the approaching Tahoe.  A security team member had appeared from the sunroof, firing on Buddy, who chuckled as the bullets danced on the pavement around him.  One bullet even struck his flack jacket as he fired on the vehicle, blasting its front end.  The enemy fire was halted as the security team member fell back into the Tahoe as Buddy fired again.  This time, the explosive shell hit the front windshield, blasting the glass and shredding the interior along with the driver.  The Tahoe swerved and spun into the ditch on the side of the road.  A chaparral dashed into the road, startled by the wreck, and ran across the street.
              Chuckling with a big, toothy smile, Buddy slung his grenade launcher to his shoulder and pulled out two pistols.  His blonde hair waved in the wind as he advanced on the wreck, salivating as he searched for survivors.
            Slowly approaching the target Tahoe, it did not surprise Armando when the security team made a move, jumping out of the vehicle to fire on him.  With the patience of an old soldier, Armando paused, sending three shots toward the first target with precision.  As the second adversary rose to fire on Armando, Joyce popped the defender in the leg with slugs from her shotgun.  Armando finished the job, putting three shots into the target.
            A third security team member jumped from the vehicle, only to be put down by Joyce.
            Armando paused, waiting on any other movement.  He looked back at Joyce.  He tipped his straw hat to her as a car pulled up on the road.  Joyce trained her shotgun on it.
            Civilians.
            She waved them on with the shotgun and they gladly drove off.  That’s when she heard laughter.
            Turning to Buddy’s objective, she saw him pulling bodies out of the Tahoe as the civilians drove up to his triumph.  Buddy heaved one of the bodies up into the air and threw it at the oncoming car.  It smacked against the windshield as the little car accelerated and drove off.  The body tumbled off the hood and under the car as it sped off.  The passengers bounced in the interior as the car crushed the body and ground it into the pavement.  Buddy cackled and shouted, “Yes!”, throwing his hands into the air in triumph, running after the car like a soccer player who had just scored a goal.
            Joyce shook her head and turned back to Armando.
            With his AR-15 trained on one of the doors of the Tahoe, Armando threw open the door.
            “Please,” said a voice in Spanish.  “Don’t shoot.”
            Armando put his sights on the man who spoke, his target.
            “Pilar Montenegro?”
            “Sí,” said the man, positioned in front of a beautiful weeping woman who was embracing two young boys.  Her sons.  Armando did not know the family was going to be with his target.  This was going to be a really bad day for Pilar.
            There was a moment (always this moment) when the targets looked at Armando’s face.  They cringed, then gulped, seeing his face for themselves.  His visage, forever scarred by fire.  His tweaked left eye on the side of the burn.  The stories, the legends, were revealed as true in their eyes, right down to the Texas DPS uniform he still wore.
            “Today is a very bad day for you and your family,” Armando replied in Spanish.
            “Please don’t hurt my family,” pleaded Pilar.
            “I’m the wrong person to beg for that,” said Armando, pulling them out of the vehicle and signaling them to move to Joyce’s 300.  Joyce was waiting on them with zip ties.
            Buddy ran to the group.
            “Hey, Pilar,” he shouted.  “Catch!”
            The head of one of his security team members bounced off of Pilar’s chest before falling to the ground.
            Buddy thought that was the funniest thing he’d seen all day.
= = = =
            Beggars can’t be choosers.
            See, no one wakes up one morning and decides they want to work for the Aguilar Cartel.  If you think for a minute I’d rather be doing this shit, working for these dirtbags than chasing tail lights on Highway 90 outside of San Antonio or down 35 in Austin, Texas, you’d be out of your goddamned mind.  That was my old life.  I can’t go back there anymore.
            No.  This is my life right now.  Yes, this is my life right now.  Doing the dirty work for one of northern Mexico’s cruelest cartel bosses.  This is the last place I’d ever think I’d be:  Working with a batshit crazy sociopath and a pretty looney bitch who’s a helluva driver, delivering my bosses rival cartel to him so we can cut their heads off in front of their families.  No.  This is the last thing I wanted to be doing.  It’s the last place I wanted to be.
            But when you’re good at something, why would you want to do anything else?  Had my world not fallen apart back in Texas, I might not have ever discovered how good I was at killing people.
            Don’t judge me.  Don’t hate.  I’m good at it, real good at it.  And it has nothing to do with all the whiskey I drink.  Sure, a lot of it I owe to my time in the service; to the good ol’ US of A.  But mostly to the fact that my skills are just that much better than these cartel fucks my boss needs me to fight.  I’m not even some kind of special forces dude.  I’m just a guy that paid attention in four years of service.
            It’s like the old adage about fighting goes: A good little guy with great skill will beat a good big guy with no skill.  Always.  I’ve seen it happen on multiple occasions.  Shit, it just happened now.  Three folks just trashed this fuckwad Pilar’s security team.  That was about ten, what, twelve dudes?  Some showed training.  But not as good as mine.  Or Joyce’s.  Or Buddy, even.  That fuck had training before he went Section 8 and still held on to what he learned.
            Now that psycho, Buddy, that crazy bastard signed up for the mother fucking show.  Mostly because he’s nuttier than squirrel turds.  But not me.  He’s good at killing.  But he’s still not better than me.  That’s a fact.
            Look, I’m not proud of that, okay?  It’s a human behavior.  I wouldn’t call it a natural human function or anything like that.  But survival is.  And that’s all I’m doing, really, when you think about it.  I’m just surviving.
Surviving.  Survival.
See, when the shit hit the fan back in Texas there was nothing for me but a judge and a jail cell in county for the bullshit that went down.  My opportunity dried up forever and this fucking dirtbag Xavier Aguilar lent a hand.  Kind of.
            My tío Nio used to tell me, ‘When someone offers you money, you take it.’  That lil’ pearl of wisdom served me well in life.  Long story short, Xavier Aguilar offered me money in my time of deep need.  I took it.  End of story.
            And here I am, about to murder at least one person here, because I’ve come to terms with being better than these fucks at it.  Do I like my job?  No.  C’mon, who really likes their job?  No one.  It’s just a necessary evil needed for money.  This work pays the bills.  The money’s right.  And I will get paid.  I do my job right, Xavier pays.  He’s never stiffed me because I do good work.
            Remember that.  I do my job.  I get paid.  Life’s that simple.
            If my tio Franciso could see me now, he’d be proud of me.
            I honest to God wish I could see him again.



2.     MESS
            Joyce pulled up to the stables.  A large cloud of dust from the drive up the worn and rugged road floated over the car like a ghost.  Buddy was the first to jump out of the car, laughing.  He yanked Pilar’s wife out of the back seat by her hair.  With her hands bound behind her back and unable to move her legs, she fell face first on the dusty road.  Her exposed breasts smacked against a cactus on the ground.  Her youngest son was still bound in the back seat, tears burned down his cheeks, and he had held back from crying for the entire trip.  He only whimpered and looked out the window as Buddy fondled and sexually assaulted his mother.
            Joyce and Armando stepped out of the vehicle and moved to the trunk where Pilar and his oldest son were housed as Buddy dragged Pilar’s wife to the hood of the car.  She was crying out in anguish.  Buddy shouted and mocked her as her misery rose in intensity.  Buddy grabbed her by the back of her head and slammed it against the hood.  A single tear fell down her young son’s cheek as he looked away.
            Buddy continued to taunt the young boy’s mother, leaning over her and mock-crying in her face.  “Oh, no.  You’re so sad,” he moaned, pulling down his pants.  “Don’t be sad, lady,” he whined, removing her pants and forcing himself into her.  “Don’t be sad.”
            “Pilar!” she shouted as Armando opened the trunk.

            “Julia!” he shouted back.
            Armando smacked him in the mouth.  “You shut the fuck up!” shouted Armando.
            “Pilar!” she shouted again, weeping, groaning, gritting her teeth.  Her head was pressed against the hood of the car by Buddy as he pounded away on her with a non-traditional penetration.  Tears dripped on the warm hood of Joyce’s car.
            “Julia!” Pilar shouted again, only to be clocked five times on the nose and mouth by Armando’s fist.  The third caused Pilar to black out momentarily.  Armando let him fall to the ground..
            “Papa,” cried the older son, only to be struck in the back of the head.  The young man fell on top of his father as Armando moved to the stable door.
            Joyce turned and glared at Buddy.  Buddy caught her angry gaze and smiled.  “You want some of this, too, bitch?  I got plenty for ya’.”
            “Fuck you, Buddy,” she growled back, throwing the finger.
            “No problem.  You like to watch.  That’s cool.”
            “Eat shit, asshole!” she shouted again, moving a step towards him.
            “Fuck you, you dumb bitch!” he yelled back, throwing two middle fingers back at her.  With his grip on Julia released, she raised her head up, only to be punched in the back of her head with a closed fist.
            “Donkey punch,” he said, laughing and getting back into a rhythm.  “I haven’t done that in days!”
            Joyce was about to move to Buddy when a hand grabbed her by the elbow.  “Get your head straight, Joyce.”  The whiskey breath burned in her nose. 
She turned, glaring at Armando.  “Rape was not part of this deal, ‘mando.”
“Neither was the family,” he replied.  “But as long as he doesn’t kill her, we’ll get our money.  And bonus money for the family.”
Joyce glared at Armando.  Sonovabitch.
“We gave up our chance to be good people when we signed up with Aguilar,” he growled, pulling her to him.  She gulped.  Seeing his face close up always gave her chills.  “Now get your head back in the game and help me get these two inside.”
“Pilar!” Julia cried out again as Armando and Joyce dragged Pilar and his oldest son into the stable.  In the car, the young son held his eyes closed.  Tears lined his face.  He was paralyzed, like in a bad dream.  The hard part for him was that he knew it wasn’t.
Armando and Joyce moved Pilar and his older son to a stall at the center of the stable.  The pungent odor of horseshit wafted to their noses.  After moving a horse out of the stable, Armando and Joyce tossed their captives against the brick wall.  At first glance, the stall looked like any other grimy horse stable.  But as Pilar and his son regained consciousness, they could see the difference in the compartment.  The splashes of blood on the brick wall signaled to them what the space was used for.
“I’ll get the gear,” said Joyce, walking back to the car.  Moving in to the stable was Buddy with the still-weeping Julia.
“Hey, Joyce.  Ready for your turn?” he said.
Joyce reared back and clocked him in the face, knocking him through a stall gate.  Julia tumbled out of his grasp and onto the muck of the stable floor.
Buddy laughed.  Blood seeped out of a cut on his lip.  “You hit like a girl,” he said as Joyce pounced.
“Stop it!” shouted Armando, picking Julia up and tossing her in the stall with her family before jumping in to separate his two friends.
“Ooooh, that feels so good,” shouted Buddy, slapping back at Joyce.  “Harder, bitch, harder.”
“Fuck you!” she shouted before Armando grabbed her by the back of her vest and tossed her off Buddy, who cackled like a maniac.
“Cut your shit, you fucks!” yelled Armando, pulling both of his pistols on his teammates.  “If you fuck up this simple job by being dumbasses, and I don’t get paid, I swear to Christ almighty I’ll kill you both.”
Joyce caught her breath, nodding.
Buddy got down on his knees, holding his hands together as if he were praying.  He pouted, shuffling on his knees to Armando.
“Please don’t kill me, ‘mando,” he said, putting his head on the barrel of the pistol.  “Please?” he said again, moving his mouth to the barrel of the pistol, licking it.
Armando kicked Buddy to the floor.  “Asshole,” he grumbled, holstering his pistols and moving back to the family.  “Get the shit,” he barked at Joyce.  She picked herself up off the floor and moved to the car outside.
“Please,” said Pilar in Spanish.  “Kill me.  Just me.  Spare my family.  They’ve done nothing to your boss.”
“You’re talking to the wrong man, Pilar,” said Armando in Spanish.  “I don’t make the deals.”
“Please,” begged Pilar.
“You’re out of luck, shitbag,” said Armando as Buddy walked up to him.
“Damn right he’s out of luck,” said Buddy.  “When we’re done killing you, I’m going to fuck your dead mouth.”
Pilar just sighed as Buddy laughed.  Armando wanted to slug him, but refrained.  He needed the money.
Everyone heard a vehicle pull up to the stable just outside as Joyce returned with a chainsaw, a video camera, a plastic poncho, and the little boy.  The boy ran to his mother.  Bound, he snuggled up to her body as best he could.  The fact that the little boy had an opportunity to run while they were all in the stable and still didn’t was not lost on Joyce.  She found him weeping in the car, scared, waiting on whatever the adults had in mind for him.  Joyce recalled that sense of powerlessness in her youth.  The adults always had complete control.

What a bunch of shitty adults, she thought to herself.
Armando holstered his pistols and took the chainsaw from Joyce as she prepped the camera, saying, “Xavier’s here.”  He took the poncho from Joyce and slipped it on.
As they prepared for the execution, the first two ski-masked members of Xavier’s security team entered.  They checked every corner of the stable for several moments before giving their boss the go-ahead on their CBs to come in.
Before long, Xavier Aguilar walked into the stable.  He was flanked by two more ski-masked security dudes.
“Are we ready?” he asked in Spanish.
,” said Armando, taking a position by Pilar.  Buddy put on a bandana around his mouth.  He took a position by the older son.  The teen just sat, glaring at the floor, resigned to his fate.
“Please,” said Pilar.
“Papa,” whispered his son.  Pilar turned to him and looked in his son’s eyes.  “Tranquilo,” said his son.  “Tranquilo.”
“Your son has more courage than you, Pilar,” said Xavier in Spanish.  “He would have made a great legacy.  It’s a shame.”
Pilar took a deep breath, trying not to weep.  That was not the case for his wife and young child.
“Take them outside,” said Xavier to a member of the security team.
“I love you, Pilar,” shouted his wife as she was led away with her young son.
Joyce held the video camera at ready, gulping.  This was never any fun, at least not for her.
Xavier nodded toward Joyce.  Joyce pressed play and pointed at Xavier.  Pilar and his son were in frame.  The formalities of the cartel execution began.
“What are your names?” asked Xavier.
“Pilar Montenegro and my son, Pedro Montenegro.”
“Repeat it.”
“Pilar Montenegro and my son, Pedro Montenegro.”
“And who are you?”
“We are the leaders of El Lobo Cartel.”
“What was the goal of El Lobo?”
“To eliminate the Aguilar Cartel.”
“Who are your allies?”
“Carlos Moreno and Guillermo Moreno, his brother.”
“Where are these people located?”
“They operate out of Guillermo’s beer distribution center in Monterrey.”
“Why did you let yourselves be captured?  Why did you not fight?”
“We hoped you would spare the lives of our family.  Of my wife and young son.”
“You’re an idiot and a coward.  Three of my guards beat your team.”
“You have El Sicario de Tejas.”
“You’re scared of him?”
“Yes.”
“You’re an idiot and a coward,” Xavier repeated.  Armando remained standing, stoic.  “You still die, your son will watch you die, and I’m selling your wife and son.  How many of my allies’ families have you both directed to kill?”
“Many of them.”
“You burn them. Why do you burn them?”
The courage Pilar was lacking was manifesting as a bitter anger now.  “Because we hate your cartel and I enjoy knowing your allies are burned after we kill them with sledge hammers.”
“You killed my allies’ families with what?”
“Sledge hammers.”
“Bravo,” whispered Buddy.  The seeds of envy planted themselves in his cruel heart.
“Yes,” Pilar said.
“Your guys kill women like this, too?”
“Yes.  And I tell them to rape them.  But not before they are paid by me.”
“Your men rape the women?”
“Yes.”
Armando noticed Buddy adjusting his pants.
“Well, all your work is over now.  To Carolos Moreno, you listen to me, dog.  This is what is going to happen to you and all of your allies.  ¡Arriba El Cártel de Aguilar!”
Xavier pointed to Armando, who fired up the chainsaw.  Pilar glared at Xavier, tensing his neck as Armando brought the chainsaw to bear.  Gritting his teeth, Pilar submitted.  His son was right.  He would not cower.  The confession served as a kind of purification, a cleansing.  He washed his hands of his cruel reign, and he accepted his punishment.
Armando shoved the edge of the growling chainsaw into Pilar’s neck, ripping flesh away from Pilar’s body.  A wave of blood spilled from Pilar’s neck, washing over his chest and onto his khaki shirt.  Blood and flesh splashed everywhere as Pilar’s neck went limp.  Armando’s chainsaw cut through the bone of his spine, and Pilar’s head tumbled off.  His body fell limp against his son, who had faced away from the whole ordeal.  Blood poured from his father’s neck onto his shoulder as Armando turned off the saw.
That’s when Buddy went to work on Pilar’s older son.  He pulled out a sharp knife and grabbed the boy by his hair, exposing his neck.  He began to slice into Pedro’s neck from left to right as the boy gritted his teeth, refusing to show fear.  Blood poured from the cruel gash as Buddy cut deeper and deeper through the neck and around the spine like a carver at an American Thanksgiving meal.  Blood bubbled around the wound.  The boy’s chest heaved, breathing.  The body was trying to figure out what to do, sans head.  Every breath made the boy’s neck emit a gurgle.  Blood bubbled from the final, wheezing breath of a body losing life as Buddy twisted the head, exposing the spine.  He skillfully looked for space between the vertebrae, and when he found it, the boy’s bound arms twitched.  As Buddy sliced away, smiling, Pilar’s son’s arms trembled as his assailant cut through his spine.  With ease, Buddy tore the boy’s head away.  He held it up for the camera.  The boy’s eyes moved slowly, taking in its last moments of life.  Armando placed the head next to that of Pilar, whose eyes were open, but still.
Joyce got a tight shot on the heads.
“This is what’s going to happen to anyone who opposes the Aguilar Cartel.”
Buddy and Armando placed the heads by the bodies and walked away.  The bodies of the executed continued to spill blood onto the dirt floor.  Xavier nodded to Joyce, who then turned off the camera.
“What do you think that was?” asked Buddy.  “Twenty-five?  Thirty seconds?”
Armando didn’t have time to play with the psychopath.  So he just said, “Yeah, around that time.”
The two exited the stable and moved to a water faucet.  Armando turned on the faucet and washed his hands. 
Nearby,  Julia was held at bay at gunpoint by Aguilar’s guards.
“I’d say twenty-seven,” said Buddy.  “That’s pretty fast for a decapitation.  Am I right?  Guys?  Am I right?”
Xavier walked out and met his security team holding the wife and child at gunpoint.  Joyce walked to Armando.  She did not speak a word.
But Pilar’s wife did.
“Devil!” she shouted, spitting in Xavier’s face.
Armando, Joyce, and Buddy turned to watch.
Xavier stopped in his tracks.  He slowly wiped the spit from his face.  It felt thick on his fingers.  The woman had dug deep for that one.  Wiping the mess on the sleeve of one of his men, he then pulled a pistol from under his blazer.
“You’re about to understand how stupid you are,” he said, aiming at her young son and pulling the trigger.  The bullet punched a hole in the young boy’s head, spitting blood and brain out of the back of his head as the child crumpled to the ground like a can being crushed under foot.
“No!” she shouted, falling to her knees by her child, crying.  With her arms still bound behind her back, all she could do was weep by the corpse her murdered son.
“One day, you dog, this will happen to you and your family!”
Without hesitation, Xavier pointed the pistol at the kneeling woman and put a bullet in her head.  She fell right beside her son.  Blood poured from her head, melding with the blood that had puddled up from her son’s mortal wound.  Her eyes remained focused on her dead son as her life faded away.
“No curses,” whispered Xavier.  “No curses.”
Buddy ran to the scene to view the carnage, smiling.  Armando scoffed, returning to wash his hands.  “That was stupid,” he muttered.
Joyce turned to him.  “What do you mean by that?”
Armando let the cold water wash away the blood on his hands.  “He was set to make some good money selling them both off.”

=  =  =  =  =
Life is better when you don’t give a shit about people.
It’s true.  But you already know that.
You do.  Don’t pretend that you don’t.  Because you already know them.  You work for them.  They’re the bosses, the leaders.  They’re their own little Xavier Aguilar, a little Caesar of their places and times.  They’re the bosses that don’t give a shit if you’re sick, or your child is receiving an award at their school. They expect results, they demand your loyalty.  And you already know there’s nothing you can do about it.  It’s a shit job, with a shitty boss, with shittier pay.  And it’s all you got.  At least right now.
Your boss is a dick because that’s what it takes in this world to get ahead.  He can worry about manners when he works his way up the ranks, with the elite.  When he’s kissing their asses.  But now, with the pawns, he doesn’t give a shit about those people.  Everyone needs work, a job, if they want some kind of living, a comfortable living.  And if you want to walk away from it for some greener pastures, go for it.  He’s got thirteen other applications with saps ready to fill your spot when you bounce.
He doesn’t give a shit about you.  He doesn’t give a shit about people.  Unless there’s some kind of dollar sign associated with you, then he couldn’t give two shits about you.
That’s another reason why I’m good at this job.  That’s why headless shithead back at the stables knew who I was.  That’s why all of Xavier’s rivals know who I am.  I’ve developed a fine reputation over these last five years.  I don’t give a shit about people.  And they remember that.  People talk.  People know.  Because I’m only interested in relationships that put money in my pocket.  If you think I hang with Xavier Aguilar because I like him, you’re out of your goddamned mind.  He’s a son of a bitch, a ruthless shitbag that got ahead by not giving a shit about people.  Money.  Like me, money is his first and only love.  And he’ll do anything to get it.  It’s power.  It’s influence.  It’s control.
It’s cliché, I know it.  But clichés exist for a reason.  Because they’re fucking true.



3.  THE WAITING GAME
I’ve never thought banging out two young Mexican hookers would be boring.  But here I am.
Xavier’s always sending these whores to me to keep me occupied between calls.  I don’t think I’ve met one of these sweet little pieces of ass yet who enjoyed what they’re doing.  Were they good at it?  Oh, yeah.  Oh, fuck yeah.  But did it ever cross my mind that they were enjoying it or having a good time?  No.  Not one yet.  I wish he’d send more whiskey instead of whores.  Hell, I’m almost done with this bottle already and I just got it.
But these whores, you can’t blame them, really. If they’re on Xavier’s payroll, who knows how many dudes have plowed through them?  It’s the only chance they got, I guess, if they want to live.  At least they’re good at it.  And at least I got a shitload of rubbers.
It’s kind of funny when I think about it, you know?  These whores selling (shit, killing) little pieces of their souls (what’s left of their souls) for a big payday.  For paper.  They’re a lot like me, you know?  I’m good at killing.  They’re good at fucking.  I don’t want to be here.  By the looks on their faces as they share my cock, looking up at me as I give more affection to this bottle of whiskey than them, it’s abundantly clear they don’t want to be here.  I was put in a bad situation in my life, which brought me here.  I would bet my pay for my next three jobs that these two sweet little sluts were put in some bad life situation that deemed sucking and fucking my cock made some kind of sense to them.
None of us wants to be here, when you think about it.  But this is where destiny has brought us.  One mounting me and riding me reverse so she doesn’t have to look at my face.  A position she probably would have done anyway had I not had a fucked up face.  The other groping and sucking on her friend’s tits so she doesn’t have to look at me.  Both good at what they do.  All of us killing a little more of our souls with each passing second.
Thank God for this whiskey

=  =  =  =  =
The first reports of the deaths…
Armando flipped the channel on the remote, moving to a lucha libre show.  He had cashed out on the hookers, who were in the bathroom freshening up.  He took another long swig of whiskey as the hookers came back in the room.  They both crawled up either side of Armando, snuggling with him.  It was not reciprocated.
“You’re so good,” said one of them in Spanish.
“Whatever,” Armando groaned in English, changing the channel.
“You’re cock felt so good,” purred the other in Spanish.
“Knock it off,” muttered Armando in English.  Why they insisted on trying to be nice was beyond him.
“What happened to your face?” asked the first hooker.
Armando clicked off the TV, bathing the room in an awkward silence.  Armando slowly turned and glared at the woman.
“Bad life choice,” he growled at her.  She slowly moved away from him, drifting to a nearby couch.
He turned to the other.  “Any questions?” he asked in Spanish.
The hooker just slowly shook her head and snuggled tighter to him, nuzzling her face in his chest.
That’s when someone knocked on the hotel room door.  Armando turned to the hooker on the couch and waved her to answer it.  He put his other hand on the piece sitting on the nearby nightstand.  A cold comfort.
The hooker opened the door.
“Oh. Uh.  Armando?” said the guest.
Armando immediately recognized the voice.
“Joyce,” he whispered.  “Let her in,” he said.  And though the hooker didn’t understand what he said, she understood his body language.  Joyce walked in, a little embarrassed at the situation.
“I can come back later,” she said.
But Armando eyed what she was carrying and replied, “No, no.  Please come in.”
The hooker closed the door and sneered at Joyce as she walked back to the couch.  “I will kill that slut bitch if she looks at me like that again,” said Joyce.
“You’d probably be doing her a favor,” said Armando, signaling Joyce to bring the two bottles of whiskey she had in her hands to him.  As he took them, he said, “Just put the water by the bed.”
Joyce put it down, saying, “You really should drink some water first.  Or get something to eat.”
“Okay, mom,” he replied, spinning off the cap of the L’Amour Whiskey bottle and taking a long chug.
“‘A man drinks like that and don’t eat.  He’s going to die.’”
“When?” Armando replied.
Joyce chuckled.  “So, you’ve seen ‘Blazing Saddles’, too, huh?” she said, commenting on the dialogue reference and sitting on the edge of the bed.
“No,” he replied.
The hooker nuzzled in Armando’s chest reached over to Joyce and began to stroke her leg.  Armando turned the TV back on and flipped through the channels as Joyce looked at the hand.  Joyce shook her head slowly, scowling at the harlot.  The hooker playfully smiled back, nodding.
“Can you tell this little dropout to stop touching me?”
“Just let her,” groaned Armando.
“Well, could you at least tell her if she’s going to touch me to rub my shoulders?”
Armando turned to the hooker and said, “Massage,” indicating Joyce.
,” said the hooker, moving behind Joyce.  Her hands were strong.
“Okay, that’s better,” said Joyce, appreciating the rub.  “She’s done this a few times, hasn’t she?”
Armando was not paying attention.
“So,” said Joyce.  “How long do you think it will be ‘til Xavier calls us out again?”
“Who cares?” Armando replied, taking another swig from the whiskey bottle.  Joyce couldn’t help but notice a third of the bottle had already been imbibed.
Joyce reached for a water bottle, hoping it would encourage Armando to grab one.  As Joyce took a swig, she couldn’t help but notice how skilled the hooker’s hands truly were.
“This is pretty relaxing,” she said, feeling tension wash away.
“I’ll tell her to give you a happy ending,” said Armando, offering a drink from his bottle.
Joyce waved it off.  “No, thanks.  I’m driving.”
Armando shrugged, taking a swig.
That’s when knocks and shouts were heard behind the front door.  “Hey, Armando.  It’s Buddy.  Open up.”
Joyce sighed.  “I gotta be going.”
“Alright,” said Armando casually as Joyce rose to the door.
“Let me know if you need anything,” she said.  The hooker on the couch scoffed as Joyce answered the door.  “Oh.  Hi.”
“Hey, Joyce,” said Buddy.  “You got any blow?”
Joyce stepped back, surprised.  It wasn’t the request for blow that rattled her.  It was his bloody face and hands.
“No,” said Joyce, turning to Armando, who was wiping his mouth from another swig of whiskey when he saw his teammate.  Armando’s tranquil state turned to anger.
“Buddy, what the fuck?” shouted Armando in surprise, rising from the bed.  Bare-chested with just his DPS pants on, he pointed menacingly at Buddy.  “What did you do that you’re getting blood all over my fucking door?”
“I had a little accident with the hooker.”
“Again?” shouted Armando in disbelief.
“I’m going back to my room,” muttered Joyce, leaving the conflict to sort itself out.
“She was a bitch, and had crabs, too,” said Buddy.
“Go wash your hands in the bathroom, then wipe my door of your fucking blood, and…”
“Hey, slow down.  Whoa, whoa, whoa,” said Buddy, holding up his hands and waving them.  “You don’t tell me what to fucking do, ‘mando.  I don’t give a fuck who you think you are.”
“You’re in my room, asshole,” growled Armando, invading Buddy’s space.  “You do as I tell you.”
Buddy shoved Armando.  His bloody hands smacked against Armando’s chest, leaving bloody hand prints.  “I’m not doing shit until I get some snow.  I know one of these bitches has some.”
Armando hissed, “The blow is going to be useless to you with a broken nose.”  Then, he followed immediately with a right cross that missed Buddy’s nose, but caught his cheek.  Buddy came back with a strike of his own, hitting Armando in the cheek.  Punches were thrown as the two tussled, tumbling over the bed and onto the floor.
Armando laid in a few more punches when Buddy poked Armando’s eyes, giving him the advantage.  And he took full advantage, popping Armando in the face with punches.
As Armando tried to break free, an unlikely voice came to the rescue.
“Just take it,” shouted the hooker on the couch.  She extended a small bag of cocaine to the brute, making him stop.  It gave Armando a chance to wiggle free as Buddy got to his feet.  He moved to the couch, rubbing his eyes.
Buddy snatched the bag from the girl’s hand.  “Do you have more?” he demanded in Spanish.
“No.”
Buddy slapped her across her cheek, pointing a finger at her face, yelling, “Don’t lie to me.”
“I don’t,” she shouted back.  Her steely glare held Buddy at bay as she wiped the blood from Buddy’s hand from her face.  “Pinche puto.”
“Get the fuck out of here,” said Armando, still trying to see.
“You shut the fuck up,” Buddy responded, turning to the other hooker.  “And you?  What do you got?” he asked in Spanish, gesturing with his hand for her to pass any to him.
She reached into her purse, pulled out a small plastic bag filled with cocaine, and threw it at him.  He caught it before it hit him in the face.  He scowled at her, and for a moment, she thought he was going to attack her.  Instead, he stood up and walked toward the door.
Before he stepped out, he turned to Armando, who was finally getting some vision back.  “Clean your own fucking door,” he said, walking out and slamming the door behind him.
“Asshole,” Armando grumbled, taking a deep breath.  He let the anger go for the moment.  He’d get him back.  He wiped the blood away from his nose and reached for his whiskey bottle.
You’re always there for me, he thought to himself, looking at his reflection in the bottle.  Whiskey sloshed behind the glass, as if washing over his face, the room.  He took a great big swig.
As his vision cleared, he could see the hookers staring at him, scared, yet servile.
“Get those shot glasses, ladies,” said Armando in Spanish, gesturing toward the tiny vessels near the mini bar.  “We’ve got some drinking to do.”
= = = = =

            No man likes to back down.  None.  It’s a pride thing, something deep down you feel the first time you bite off more than you can chew.
            I remember the first time I felt that way.  It was back in middle school.  Sixth grade back in my hometown of San Uvalde.  Eric, this big flunkie, pushed my buddy Sam in the hallway.  This guy, Eric, big douche.  He used to jump new kids in the bathroom and give them ‘swirlies’ after the kid had just taken a piss.  He was bigger than any of the other kids.  Just a big dope.  Buck teeth.  Cockeyed.  Hand-me-downs.  Just an angry kid.  His uncle probably fucked him in the ass.  You know what I’m talking about?
            Anyway, Eric rolls up on my buddy Sam and just shoves him into a locker and laughs.  Sam’s dazed and a pussy.  He’s not going to retaliate because he’s always been scared of Eric.  Shit, I was scared of Eric.  It was just a bad day for him to do that in front of me because I immediately threw a sloppy roundhouse at his mouth.  Caught him, too.  I remember how my fist sounded against his dumb mouth.  Smack!
            So, he totally didn’t expect that move and I swung at him again and caught him in the nose.  Just on a roll, right.  Element of surprise and shit.
            I’m a whirlwind now and swing again, but miss.  And I pay for it.  He pops me good with his big fist, sending me to the floor.  He punches me again before the fight gets broken up.  Thank God because the guy was going to maul me.
            He jumped me later that year and I paid for it.  But fuck it, I had stood up for a friend.  I got a few shots off before he beat me down, though.  I’m good with that.  Got a piece of that dumb piece of shit.  And he was a dumb piece of shit.
            That’s where I was going with this.  You want to fight back.  But you don’t.  You’re beat.  It stabs your heart.  It rips your stomach.  It’s defeat.  Bitter, man.  Bitter.
            But here’s the thing:  You don’t have to win all the fights you get into.  Just the ones that count.  The fight for my buddy, Sam, was worth losing, worth fighting.
            Think about it.  How many confrontations could you get into a day?  Lots, right?  But you don’t fight.  Sometimes, you’re tired.  Sometimes you know you’ll lose.  Sometimes there’s some other bullshit excuse.
            But then there’s the reasons to fight:  Family, money, friends, self-defense.  You know, good reasons.
            Did Buddy punk me out in my own room, my own space?  Sure, you could say that.  Did I want to beat his ass?  Fuck yeah, I did.  Shit, I still do.
            Here’s the thing, though.  Even though Buddy is a psychotic piece of shit, and he knows it, I still need him.  I can probably do these cartel jobs by myself.  But I don’t want to.  Many hands make light work.  And the more people on my side helping me and taking gunfire instead of me works perfectly well for me.
            Don’t get me wrong.  Asshole’s going to get his receipt sometime.  But not now.  I’m fucking drunk.  I’m fucking tired.  And I just want to drink more whiskey and watch TV until my next job.  That could come in a few minutes, a few days, weeks, whatever.
            So until then, I’m going to continue to indulge myself, doing my best in the good fight against dry rot and rust.

            And considering these fucking amateur hour fucking hookers have already passed out and we’re only six shots in, I’ve got a lot of drinking to do tonight to carry the load for these two fucking no-drinking twats.

======================

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BOWIE V. IBARRA is the author of the 'Down the Road' zombie horror series from Permuted Press.  He's earned a BFA in Acting and a MA in Theatre History from Texas State University.  Network with Bowie and check out his books at his official website,ZBFbooks.com.