Blood Business: Excerpt

Blood Business, edited by Joshua Viola and Mario Acevedo, is an anthology of noir tales and crime stories from this world and beyond.

Two books, one anthology.

The grift. The scam. The double-cross. Blackmail and burglary; murder and larceny. Blood Business tracks the underbelly of human nature as it drags itself through the muck of our lesser angels in twenty-seven crime stories set in this world … and beyond.

Slug

by Paul Goat Allen

noun: a slow, lazy person; a sluggard.

The funk in the tiny, upstairs bedroom was overpowering; a stomach-churning mélange of body odor, stale cigarette smoke, Drakkar Noir, and cat piss. The yellowed mattress in the far corner was half-buried beneath piles of dirty clothes and miscellaneous garbage: grease-stained pizza boxes, empty beer bottles, crumpled packs of Marlboro. An expedition of ants explored the topography of a miniature mountain range of crumpled Burger King wrappers on the floor in front of a gray louvered closet door with broken slats. The walls were covered with centerfolds of scantily clad, surgically enhanced women and tattered posters of old ‘80s metal bands like Mötley Crüe and Slayer. Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” thumped from a dust-covered cassette player on an orange plastic milk crate in the corner, next to a rickety table supporting a murky fish tank filled with emerald green water that hadn’t been cleaned in years. There was an undeniable dankness to everything in the room; a sense of slow, inevitable deterioration.

Richard Roiche—known to his fellow perverts as Roach—sat in an old swivel office chair missing its wheels, his squat, 350-pound frame hunched over a child’s battered wooden desk. He diligently measured out an eighth of a gram of heroin on a set of chemistry scales. A sweat-stained 4XL Syracuse University Basketball t-shirt barely contained his corpulence and the chair groaned every time he shifted weight.

The teenage girl—Roach didn’t bother to remember her name—stood in the doorway of the bedroom with her arms crossed tightly in front of her. Although it was early August and hot as hell, she wore jeans and a long-sleeved sweatshirt. To cover up the minefield of track marks on her arms and legs, he guessed. She was obviously strung out; her hair was greasy and dark rings circled her sunken, glassine eyes. Skels were the lowest form of existence, Roach thought with revulsion as he watched her twitch uncontrollably. Junkies were human vermin and he had no guilt whatsoever about being the facilitator of their eventual deaths. If he was being honest with himself, he considered what he did commendable: doing society a favor by culling the herd of the broken and weak-minded, all while stuffing his pockets with thick rolls of cash.

As the skel stood there shaking, staring at him with despairing eyes, she reminded Roach of the half-starved alley cats he frequently saw wandering the neighborhood.

The doughy, mushroom gray skin around the corners of his mouth pinched as he smiled at her. He stroked his goatee and wondered how large her breasts were under the bulky sweatshirt.

“It’s simple, kitty. Since you don’t have enough cash for the H, I’ll put it on your tab. But only if you suck me off. You decide the deal isn’t for you, then hit the fucking bricks.”

There was no question in his mind about the outcome of this transaction. Eventually, her lips were going to be wrapped around his stubby member and she was going to be working him like her life depended on it. He rose from his chair, struggled to pull down his black Nike basketball shorts, and settled his bulk back down, making sure to angle himself so that his cellphone—duct taped strategically behind a hole in the closet door—would capture every glorious moment of her soul-crushing degradation.

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Copyright © 2017 Paul Goat Allen.

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