Wednesday, October 29, 2014

al will kill you

by chuck leary

illustrated by roy dismas

al let billy sleep on his couch, but billy was supposed to use the bathroom down the hall, not al’s private one.

one morning billy woke up.

he never slept good on the couch. he had bad dreams, but could never remember them.

al wasn’t in the apartment. he never told billy where he was going or how long he would be away, and billy never asked.

al was scary. billy had heard he was a soldier in iraq, or maybe in afghanistan, or that he was a bodyguard for a colombian or a mexican drug lord.

billy didn’t know or care if the stories were true, or if any stories about anything were true. he knew al was scary.

on this morning, billy’s brain was kind of fuzzy.

without thinking he went into al’s bathroom. he took a whiz and flushed the toilet. the toilet took forever to flush and was really loud.

then billy took al’s toothbrush - or a toothbrush that was sitting on the sink, he didn’t think of it as “al’s toothbrush” - and squeezed some toothpaste on it and started brushing his teeth.

while he was brushing his teeth he noticed a comb on the edge of the sink.

the comb had hairs in it.

al’s hair. (al didn’t have much hair, he was kind of bald.)


suddenly billy was completely awake, and the horror of his situation exploded into his brain.

al would kill him.

he had specifically told billy not to use his bathroom.

forget about using his actual toothbrush.

i’m in this deep, thought billy, and for one insane second he actually thought of using al’s comb.

he took a deep breath. maybe he could clean the toothbrush off, hope that al wouldn’t notice anything?

especially if al didn’t come back for a couple of days, and the toothbrush had plenty of time to dry off.

but he might be back in any minute, any second.

billy washed the toothbrush off as best he could with trembling hands and put it back on the sink.

was is it in the exact same spot? how could he tell?

billy ran.

he checked his pockets to make sure he had his wallet - his empty wallet .

he took the key to the apartment - the key al had trusted him with - he trusted me, thought billy, and this is how i repay him - i deserve to die - and put it on the table beside the couch al had let him sleep on.

billy ran down the stairs.

there was no sign of al in the street.

where could he go? anywhere he went al was sure to find him.

he had enough change to get to queens, to his grandmothers. he would beg, plead ,cry for enough money for a bus ticket.

he would murder her if he had to.

billy got his money, without actually having to murder his grandmother.

he got a bus to albany. in albany he panhandled enough for a bus to cleveland.

in cleveland he started hitchhiking. it wasn’t easy.

this was how he would live from now on - always on the run, always looking over his shoulder, never able to stay in one spot.

knowing al would hunt him down eventually.

from cleveland he got to chicago. in chicago he came up with enough for a motel room.

he slept for eighteen hours on the motel’s big bed.

when he woke up it was past time to start running again.

des moines, omaha, tulsa, amarillo, albuquerque, flagstaff arizona.

he decided to skip las vegas - al probably had friends there who would be on the lookout for him.

yuma arizona, death valley.

finally huntington beach - the end of the line.

he knew al would find him eventually.

billy thought of walking into a police station and confessing to any damn thing , just to get thrown in jail.

but al or his friends would find him there too.

at least al would probably kill him quick - not waste time on him. who knew what the friends would do?

with the sound of the surf outside his window, billy fell asleep.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Monday, March 10, 2014

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Friday, March 7, 2014

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

no rat

dark night of vengeance, part 1 : a man walked

by horace p aternwall

illustrated by roy dismas

part one of four

a man walked into a bar
smoking a big cigar
he had some pennies in a jar
and was not a movie star

the other patrons hardly reacted
by his presence they were not impacted
and turned away with nary a sigh
as to the bar he drew nigh

the man bellied up to the rail
his face was strangely pale
he continued puffing on his noxious weed
and had an altogether ghastly mien indeed

(this all happened in the distant past
when humans were not built to last
and practices decidedly unhealthy
were indulged by both the destitute and wealthy)

the bartender's name was mike
his fellow humans he did not much like
(the regular barman named mort
was a much more tolerant sort)

but mort was on vacation
perhaps at some exotic location
and mike's glowering visage
in the newcomer's gaze loomed large

mike announced without a trace of cheer
"we don't take pennies in here
or personal checks or credit cards"
his manner grew increasingly hard

oh no, the new chap laughed
as he began to unwind his scarf
(perhaps you have not yet been told
outside it was bitter cold)

these pennies are only my hobby
i work for a large manufacturers lobby
my name by the way is phil
and i bear no one any ill will

because, lordy, it's cold outside
and i have nothing to hide
i think a nice hot toddy
would bring much needed warmth to my ravaged body

the making of so complicated a drink
as a hot toddy made mike blink
but putting on his game face
he began making it with an ill grace

phil continued to puff on his stogie
like a most contented old fogy
but as mike was heating the ginger ale
suddenly phil turned very pale

because out of the corner of his eye
which he rarely used, as he was not one to be sly
he saw a figure which triggered his memory
and he thought, can it really be he?

for phil had not always been an old fud
once he had been a dashing young blood
with fire in his veins
and a body devoid of aches and pains

and had competed on a nightly basis
for the attention of feminine graces
with other young males of his breed
before he had gone to seed

he had rivals naturally enough
who tested his mettle and stuff
but it had all gone by so fast
and was lost in the dim past

could it really be bill smith
whom he had a desperate contest with
for the love of emily brown
the prettiest girl in town

at least that was how it seemed
before reality intervened -
as it was intervening now
beneath the bartender's menacing brow

which was turbid with tensile traction
as he repeated - "satisfaction -
does it meet with your approval
or do you demand its removal -? "

"oh no!" cried phil in haste
for he had no time to waste
for he wished to consume the beverage
and then with sudden leverage

to quit this fearsome place
where the now remembered face
had triggered waves of primal fear
which had slumbered many a lonesome year….

part 2