NEW TITLE BRINGS NOTED ADVENTURE AUTHOR LIFE ON THE PRINTED PAGE
Bowie V. Ibarra
The Fight Card brand continues to bring the best pulp-style fight adventures fueled by adrenaline and testosterone. The latest title is no exception. Check out the synopsis below and read a passage from the title before picking up a copy for yourself today.
FIGHT CARD: BAREKNUCKLE BARBARIAN
Can a poor Texan pulp writer survive the bare knuckle brutality of New York? Robert E. ‘Bob’ Howard is forced to find out when he stumbles upon an impromptu match in an alley on his first day in the Big Apple. From there, it is a trip to the circus and a confrontation with a gambling overlord climaxing in a bloody fight to the finish in a squared circle of death…all before landing on the shores of old Ireland, where he will face a strange and ancient danger in a very different circle of bare knuckle justice.
Two fisted tales straight from the days of the pulp excitement, served with a side order of ‘what might have been’ fantasy, as Robert E. Howard – the writer who gave us Conan and Solomon Kane – lives his adventures himself.
Pulp Award winning author Teel James Glenn writing as Jack Tunney takes the readers back to a time that never was for adventures that should have been!
Amazon Link: http://tinyurl.com/ofahgnh
READ AN EXCERPT HERE!
FIST OF THE FAE
FIGHT CARD: BAREKNUCKLE BARBARIAN
FIST OF THE FAE Copyright © 2014 Teel James Glenn
e-Book Edition – First Published October 2014
Cover © 2014 Carl Yonder
This is a work of fiction. Characters, corporations, institutions and organizations mentioned in this novel are either the product of the author's imagination or, if real, used fictitiously without any intent to describe actual conduct.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission from the publisher.
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AN IMPORTANT WORD ABOUT R.E.H. BEFORE WE START
A two-fisted Bob Howard tale
FIST OF THE FEY
Another two-fisted Bob Howard Tale
THE DAY THE WORLD CHANGED
AN IMPORTANT WORD
BEFORE WE START
I have used the historical figure of Robert E. Howard in this novel in a purely fictional, dramatic, and somewhat whimsical fashion. No approval, disrespect or disparagement of this individual – though I very much admire R.E.H. – is meant or implied. The facts of R.E.H.’s life as it tragically ended in this world, and the point where it enters the world of this fictional book should be clear to all.
Robert Irvin Howard (January 22, 1906 – June 11, 1936) was the consummate pulp author who wrote in a diverse range of genres. He is best known for his character Conan the Barbarian and is regarded as the father of the sword and sorcery subgenre but he wrote western, historical crusader, and horror fiction with equal aplomb.
Howard was born and raised in the state of Texas. He spent most of his life in the town of Cross Plains. He taught himself to box and sword fight and often engaged in ‘ice house’ fights – bareknuckle competitions with the rough necks in his area.
From the age of nine, he dreamed of becoming a writer of adventure fiction. However, he did not have real success until he was twenty-three. He was published in a wide selection of magazines, journals and newspapers, but his main outlet was the pulp magazine, Weird Tales.
He was introduced (via correspondence) to H.P. Lovecraft by an editor at Weird Tales, and the two veteran writers were soon engaged in a vigorous correspondence, which would last for the rest of Howard's life.
Howard was successful in several genres and was on the verge of publishing his first novel when he committed suicide at the age of thirty. His mother was terminally ill with tuberculosis before she had even met his father, and so was slowly dying throughout Howard's entire life.
A theme is most of his writings was the atavist in us all, the barbarian, would always triumph over civilization. If he could see today’s reality television, he might find himself proven right.
His divergence from our reality is the moment, seated in his car on a Texas road, that he does not shoot himself in grief, but returns to the hospital to have his last moments with his dying mother.
Teel James Glenn
(Writing as Jack Tunney)
Union City, NJ, 2014
"Civilized men are more
savages because they know
they can be impolite
their skulls split,
as a general thing."
~Robert Ervin Howard~
ON THE PAVEMENT
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK, 1936
Bob Howard walked down Canal Street on the lower east side of Manhattan on a cold, December day with no particular place to go. He was only in New York a few hours and already astounded by the sheer excess of it all.
Howard was from a small town in Texas and had come east to make his fortune and see the world. Exactly how he was going to do it – beyond the fact he had booked passage on a ship sailing for England in January – he had no idea. He had no immediate plans except to look up some publishers in New York before embarking, and hopefully getting some new writing assignments.
Howard was a writer. It was in his blood, his bones, his heart. He had been raised on tales of his family’s past and had been making a scant living as a wordsmith for a decade. He’d successfully sold his tales to such magazines as Weird Tales, Magic Carpet, Argosy and Top Notch, but it was always a scramble to make ends meet.
His mother was six months dead. All of her affairs were finally settled, and it was her bequest financing his bid to see the world.
In her last hours, the thought of losing the only one who understood his love of stories had driven Howard to desperation. He had contemplated taking his own life in despair. No one in the dusty, boomtown understood Howard’s need to write – to look to horizons distant and past – but she had.
He remembered how she had smiled when he told her of his latest story, or of the next one he planned to write, and he made a promise to himself and to her spirit that he would live life to the fullest.
To that end, he had taken the small inheritance she had secretly hidden away for him and bought a train ticket for New York.
Robert Ervin – Bob – Howard was a burly man just over six feet tall with wide shoulders, a friendly open face, and clear blue eyes, which some might call poet’s eyes.
Those eyes were wide and startled and his smile almost constant as he walked most of Manhattan from the rail yards to the Empire State Building then down Fifth Avenue, to spend part of his day in Washington Square Park and Greenwich Village. It was all so amazing to the stranger from the plains of Texas that he was constantly exclaiming, “I’ll be darned!” with each new marvel he beheld.
In actuality, he was as much a subject of awe in his way as the buildings around him. He wore worn blue jeans, a dress shirt and tie, old cowboy boots, a tweed suit jacket and had a battered cowboy hat jammed on his head against the gust of winter wind.
If that had not been enough to establish him as a visitor to the city, he also carried a suitcase in one hand and a battered typewriter case in the other – surely badges of the tourist.
Now, the Texan wandered down Canal Street in search of a low rent hotel he had read about in a magazine. He hoped he could get a room for the month he planned to ramble the Big Apple before the steamship he’d booked passage on would set sail for England.
As he walked along the street, marveling at the clothing shops and interesting curio stores he became aware of the sound of a raucous crowd around the corner of an alley that was even louder than the general hub-bub of the great city.
“Get him, Joey,” a voice called out above the din. “He ain’t got no defense.”
“He can’t take a punch,” another voice said shrilly, followed by a number of quick responses of, “He’s done alright so far!”
Howard rounded a corner to see an alley between two buildings jammed with bodies – all working class men, but of every stripe from those in business suits to those in worn work clothes.
From the way the men were focused inward to the center of the group and their yells, the Texan could make a shrewd guess as to what was holding their attention. He sidled up to one of the last of the crowd and asked simply to be sure.
“What’s going on, hombre?”
The man, an overweight fellow in ill-fitting work clothes, was sweating despite the cold. He barely glanced at Howard as he spoke. “Big Carney is takin’ on Joey O’Flynn! They been talkin’ about this fight since Joey and Carney fought to a draw last year.”
Howard could only push his way partially through the distracted crowd, but his height was sufficient to allow him to view the proceedings clearly. It was, as he had guessed, a bare knuckles boxing match between two gladiators
Two men at the center of the furor could not have been more different. One was a tall shaven headed Negro who was a muscular and lean. He had stripped to his narrow waist and showed a physique that might have been sculpted from ebony. His opponent was a few inches shorter, but with a build like a beer keg. He was a red haired fellow with almost no neck and fists that seemed outsized for his form. He wore a work shirt with the sleeves rolled up.
“Get em’, Joey,” called many in the crowd.
“Shut the loud mouth up, Big Carney,” many others called.
Howard noted the calls for and against each man were, in many cases, across the racial lines – something he would not have heard back in his Texas town.
The two gladiators were both powerful boxers. Big Carney had a good guard and moved cautiously. Joey relied on his massive forearms and shoulders to absorb punishment and had a more aggressive style. He advanced on the African with a steady, steamroller-like attack.
Big Carney used footwork to move backward, launching lightning swift strikes at Joey, rolling with any of the powerful but slower blows from the redhead.
Howard watched the action with personal interest, having participated in a number of bare-knuckle matches in his hometown icehouse on Friday nights. The Texan realized the redhead was fighting with anger in his movements while the black had a cooler, technical approach.
“Grudge match?” Howard inquired of one of the watchers.
“Joey took a lickin’ from Big Carney last year when the circus was in town,” a fellow in a green fedora pulled down almost to his ears said. “Been takin’ a ribbing about it since then.”
A grey suited slick approached holding two singles in his hand and, as Howard watched, handed them to Green Fedora who nodded then slipped the money in his pocket.
“On Big Carney?” Green fedora said. The grey suited gent nodded.
Now the Texan noticed other money was changing hands all around the circle of cheering men.
Across the crowd, he saw a thin fellow with a long nose, sharp features and narrow, dark eyes, giving him a vaguely rodent-like aspect, who was taking bets for members the crowd on that side of the pit.
Just like the icehouse fights back home, Howard thought. People really are alike all over.
The fight in the center of the maelstrom became more intense as the rage in the red-haired fighter grew. He pressed harder at the African, the sheer force of his aggression continuing to drive Big Carney around the circle.
The black man, however, was quick on his feet and able to avoid most of the force of the pile driver blows from the Irishman.
Howard could tell Big Carney was a boxer and Joey a fighter, but with enough brute force to cover the flaws in his technique. The true definition of slugger.
“Gonna put down a bet, buddy?” Green fedora asked the Texan.
“No thanks, hombre,” Howard said. “I don’t know enough about the whole situation to risk my little poke.”
The situation was becoming clearer by the moment as Joey pressed Big Carney a little too far. The African had waited for the Irishman to expend most of his power and now replied with a swift series of powerful jabs, stopping Joey’s advance and beginning to stagger him. It looked like the big black was going to win the match, his strategy of causing the redhead to expend his power having worked.
The redhead covered up and absorbed four strong shots. Howard watched him with intense concentration, seeing something that made him gasp. Suddenly, surprisingly, and with devastating effect, the redhead fired a fast combination of body blows that brought Big Carney to his knees.
The crowd went wild with screams before and against as the red-headed gladiator launched a steel hard right cross that sent the African to the ground.
The supporters of Joey quickly swarmed in around the victorious boxer and he accepted their praise with the humility of a presidential candidate that had been elected by a landslide.
Big Carney was all but unconscious on all fours. The crowd surging around him all but ignored the fallen fighter. The few who had lost money on his defeat cursed him as they moved past.
Bob Howard watched it all transpire and felt his blood boil. He walked to the reeling Carney’s side and knelt. “You alright, Hoss?”
The African looked up with slightly unfocused eyes, his lip bleeding and his cheek starting to swell. “I ain’t never felt no human person hit that hard,” he mumbled.
“I’m not surprised,” the Texan said with distaste in his voice. “You weren’t hit by no human…at least not by his lonesome.” He stood and in a loud voice aimed at the redhead and his supporters he said, “Joey done cheated y’all out of you honest bets sure as I’m standing here.”
OFF TO THE BIG TOP
The crowd in the alley froze in eerie silence and all eyes turned to glare at the Texan. The sudden silence allowed the sound of the busy metropolis to close in on the impromptu arena.
“What did you say?” Green Fedora asked.
“I said that varmint is a cheatin’ coward who would get himself shot if he tried that underhanded stunt back in Texas.”
Now the redhead had pushed free of his admirers and walked toward the Texan.
“Who the hell do you think you are?” The Irishman asked.
“I’m Bob Howard, mister, and I seen how you slipped a metal bar from your pocket then passed it to that slimy fella over there when the crowd moved in.” The Texan pointed at one of the redhead’s supporters, a skinny fellow with a pockmarked face. The man looked at his accuser and his narrow eyes widened. He appeared ready to run from the alley.
“You’re talking bushwa!” Joey snarled. “I don’t like no country hick callin’ me no cheat. I beat that shade fair and square. I’m the better man!”
Bob made a laughing sound and, faster than one would expect for man of his build, raced across the alley. The Texan grabbed the skinny man by the scruff of his neck before he could bolt.
“Hey, let me go!” the man yelled, but Howard took no notice. He thrust a hand into the man’s coat pocket and pulled a short steel bar the size of a penny roll from the man’s jacket and tossed it down at the redhead’s feet. It landed with a loud chunk sound.
Howard spoke to the crowd. “Joey slipped that from his own pocket when Big Carney was drivin’ him back, which is why he suddenly had iron in his fists. Then this here yahoo took it from him when the crowd rushed in.” He turned to direct his steely gaze directly at the Irish fighter. “You better not try that kind of thing at a card game where I come from, fella, lest you want to get shot.”
The spectator’s eyes now turned toward the Irish fighter whose pale skin flushed red with anger and embarrassment.
There was dead silence for a long moment followed by a cacophony of curses as the bettors turned to collect their money back.
Joey was forced to hide among his supporters and had to withdraw from the alley post haste as angry losers tried to recoup their losses.
Howard moved to Big Carney and helped the black man to his feet. There were welts showing on the African and his lip was badly split, but he was smiling. “You put up a good fight, Big Hoss,” the Texan said. “But that sidewinder was shootin’ from ambush.”
The big black, taller than the Texan by several inches, winced with the effort of his smile. “I’m glad you saw his switch, Boss. I was sure I was losin’ my edge.” The battered fighter showed no anger at his defeat, on the contrary, he seemed to be singularly happy.
“You may have made yourself an enemy with that Joey fella, Boss,” Big Carney said. “His memory is pretty long. He done waited a whole year to sneak his revenge on me for beatin’ him faire last time we played this town.”
“You ain’t gonna chase that polecat yourself?” Howard asked.
“No sir,” the black said. He gingerly donned a shirt and suit jacket and picked up a fedora to slip on his shaved head. “Ain’t no percentage in a Negro chasin’ no white fella, even in so open-minded a city as New York.”
Howard nodded. “Can’t say you’re wrong there about it being open minded, Big Hoss. Even though I’m fresh in town today, I could see it sure ain’t Texas.”
“You’re pretty open-minded yourself for a Texan, sir,” the African said. “No offense meant.”
“None taken,” Howard replied with an easy drawl. “It’s one of the reasons I left – to broaden and open my mind, if you will.”
“That why you come to New York?” The black asked. The two were walking from the alley now, up Canal Street and the Texan marveled at how such a pair attracted little or no notice here, but would have been a scandal back home.
“That and to make my fortune,” the Texan said. “And by fortune, I mean enough money to keep me fed. I pretty much only have enough for a week’s rent on a cheap room while I look for work. I’m planning to sail for Europe in January, but figured I could find some piecemeal somethin’ to keep me in victuals till then.”
The black smiled and winced again. “Well, Boss, I think you just found yourself a job. You ever been to a circus?”
“I appreciate you treating me to a meal, Big Hoss,” Howard said. “After paying for a room, I really won’t have not much left for victuals.”
The two men had walked to one of MacFadden’s Penny Restaurants on the way up town after Howard decided not to check his baggage into a ten dollar a week hotel. Big Carney said the job at the circus came with room-and-board, which was inducement enough for the Texan.
The restaurant was a godsend to the lower working classes, according to Big Carney. “I has eaten at these places all over the country, Boss Bob. It ain’t exactly food, but it can fill a man between real meals.”
Nine cents bought a hamburger made from what tasted like meat flavored sawdust (four cents), a good hard roll (one penny), a cup of coffee that owed more to chicory than anything else (two cents), and a desert piece of pie (two cents).
The unusual pair blended with the other down-and-out diners who all stood at high counters since there were no chairs – standing was apparently good for the digestion.
“So, what is your real name, or do you want I should just call you Big Carney?” Howard asked.
“My mama named me Biggles Charles Johnson,” the black said. “But you can imagine the ribbin’ I got as a tadpole, so I was Biggie from real young. Then when I joined up the circus I just sort of became Big Carney.”
“What made you join the circus?”
“Oh, I guess the chance to travel, Mister Howard.”
“Okay, Boss Bob,” the black man said with a smile, telling the Texan he was not prepared to take too much liberty yet. “Anyway, it was a way to see the country, go places a fella like me might not always be welcome, and still have a family of a sort around me.” Big Carney looked around at the others in the restaurant. “But I like New York. A man can just be here and not be judged. And you get to meet new and interesting people.”
“Well, a pleasure to know you.” Howard laughed. “And to be deemed interesting. Back home I was just odd. And I appreciate this fine feast you have laid before me.”
“We eat better at the circus,” Big Carney said. “But I was a bit puckish after my little dance with Joey. Mister Maxim – he’s the fella owns the circus – he sees we all put a good feed on. Says he can work us harder if we have full stomachs.” The black patted his flat stomach as if it were Buddha-like. “I agree.”
“So, what’s it like working there?”
The tall African shrugged. “It is a good job. A hard one, don’t get me wrong, but a good one. A man is taken for who he is there, and what he does. Not what some rube’s idea of how people should be treated cause of what they look like, you know?” A shadow seemed to pass across his battered features. “‘Cept, of course, like in any group there is some hold to certain views.”
“I’m hiring boss now for the roustabouts,” the African said. “But there’s a few folk what don’t think no colored should be in charge of nothin’.”
Howard nodded. “People are the same all over.”
“Yeah, so I’ve found,” Big Carney continued. “But there are just as many and more who don’t hold to those views. A husky fella like you will fit in just fine. Nobody will put up a fuss.”
“I don’t want to cause no trouble for you,” Howard objected. “I’m sure I can find me something to tide me over. I plan to hit some of the magazine publishers here in the city, try to get some assignments.”
“I’m the boss for hiring,” Big Carney insisted. “We always take on some locals when we open. Besides, I figure I owe you a few arguments since you saved both my reputation and my paycheck.”
“I done bet all I had on myself,” Big Carney said. “This here is a victory meal you helped pay for. Have another piece of pie!”
Read more today. Pick up your copy of Bareknuckle Barbarian HERE.
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BOWIE V. IBARRA is the author of the acclaimed 'Down the Road' zombie horror series from Permuted Press. He earned a BFA in Acting and a MA in Theatre History from Texas State University. His latest titles explore superhero themes, including 'Codename: La Lechusa', 'Room 26 and the Army of Xulhutdul', and 'Tejano Star and the Vengeance of Chaplain Skull'.
Network with Bowie at his official website, ZBFbooks.com, the leader in Tex-Mexploitation literature.