Whole Hog

He broke into the trailer after the fairgrounds closed. Watched the pig races earlier and something gripped him—told him to save those little fuckers. It was probably the seven beers and whiskey doing the driving, but he ignored those thoughts. He was the hero—liberator of the oppressed swine.

The trailer was wide—larger than the one he’d seen the carnies shuffle the pigs into. He was sure this was the one, though—had a picture of a smiling hog with speed lines poking out of its rear. The pigs were nowhere to be seen. Didn’t matter, they were probably further in the back.

He took another sip of rye—it stung and warmed his chest. The taste was so nice he took another pull. Before he knew it, the bottle was empty. A full fifth of whiskey sitting in his gut, spurring him on. It numbed him—taught him to be a hero between acidic burps.

He clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth. Called out, “Here piggy,” in a half slurred sing-song.

Something shuffled ahead of him in the darkness. The liquor wasn’t giving tips on steeling his spine anymore—no—now it painted his back a bold shade of yellow from neck to ass. He stopped moving. Tried to make out the shapes in the dark—the scrape on the floorboard, the huff of expelled air.

His eyes acclimated and he made out what was at the far end of the trailer. A large box; chicken wire mesh and old wood. Inside, an oblong mass on four legs—it breathed. He leaned in, squinted. Caught sight of the big sucker—was one of those pot-bellied pigs that closed out the races for laughs. It stunk to high hell and was much larger than any of the pigs he’d seen prior. He dug his fingers into his front shirt pocket and procured a Zippo—stoked a spark and the butane soaked wick provided low light. Ignored the pang he felt at forgetting he had the lighter at all.

The pig noticed—turned to him and gave a curt snort.

Above its cage was a banner—said “Happy Retirement – Herbie”.

Retirement for a race pig and it was still locked in a cage. This would be the pig’s lucky day. He unlatched the small door and let it swing open. “Come on. We’re getting outta here.” He felt excitement—new purpose.

The pig felt the opposite of this. It backed away. Found comfort in the shit-coated corner of its cage. Snorted its disagreement.

The complaint fell on deaf, drunk ears. “Don’t be scared, fella.” He crouched and stepped into the cage. Duck walked towards the pig. The cage wobbled—not as solidly built as it appeared. He reached a hand out and brushed its snout. “Don’t be…”

The pig’s teeth slid clean through his middle and index fingers. He jerked his hand back, unaware that he had been maimed. The liquor kept the pain at bay, but it still came. His eyes locked onto where he once had a five-fingered hand—now weeping red and showing bone. The pig charged forward, knocking him onto his back. It hovered over him—butt its head against flank. Satisfied that he was helpless, the pig bit at him again—this time, at his midsection. Now it was emboldened enough to nip elsewhere—the throat being a convenient place—that quieted the screaming.

***

The sheriff examined the body. Local drunk, midsection used as a trough by an old, fat pig. The pig’s body was found at the other end of the trailer. It died only hours after making a meal of the idiot.

He stood up and turned to his deputy. “What got the pig?” He looked over at the animal’s body—it’s eyes half-closed and rheumy. Its mouth was open, tongue lolling and blue. Horseflies thicker than his fingertips flew circled the hog.

The deputy chuckled. “You’d never guess.”

“That’s why I asked yah.”

The deputy shook his head. “Died of alcohol poisoning. Fella he ate had enough in him to kill both of ‘em twice over.”

The sheriff nodded. Held back laughter. “Can’t make this shit up.”


One Eye Press Adds More Singles

oepfaviconEarlier this fall we announced the acquisition of Tom Pitts’ novella, LIFE OF SERVICE, with a tentative release of March 2015. Pitts novella kicks off our second season of the Singles line, and while on schedule we have changed the title to KNUCKLEBALL and should have a cover reveal late January, early February.

Today we are happy to announce the three novellas following KNUCKLEBALL. Coming May 2015, One Eye Press returns to the western with a buddy shoot ’em up titled GUNMEN by Timothy Friend, followed by THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR by Angel Luis Colón in July, and  HURT HAWKS by Mike Miner in September.

About GUNMEN by Timothy Friend

Owen Ash and Charlie Brittle are the dead-broke owners of the least popular saloon in the desert town of Olvidados. So when a known bank robber with a bounty on his head is spotted in the vicinity, the pair see a way to quickly improve their fortunes. Capturing their man proves to be easy enough. But while attempting to collect the reward they find themselves at odds with the notorious Scault gang, a vicious outlaw family widely feared for their ruthlessness.

After a violent encounter leaves one of the family dead, the Scaults retaliate, leaving Owen and Charlie no choice but to track them to their lair in the heart of the desert. Each leg of the journey brings more brutality and death, and the reluctant bounty hunters are forced to embrace their own savage natures when they finally face the deadly Scaults in a showdown at the ends of the earth.

About Timothy Friend

Timothy Friend photoTimothy Friend is a writer and independent filmmaker whose fiction has been published in Crossed-Genres, Thuglit, and Needle: A Magazine of Noir. He is the writer and director of the feature film, “Bonnie and Clyde vs. Dracula,” distributed by Indican Pictures. He holds an MFA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. For more information, visit http://www.timothyfriend.net/

About THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR by Angel Luis Colón

Blacky Jaguar—ex-IRA hard man, devoted greaser, and overall hooligan—is furious. Someone’s made off with Polly—his 1959 Plymouth Fury—and there’s not much that can stop him from getting her back. It doesn’t take him to long to get a name, Osito—the Little Bear. This career bastard has Polly in his clutches, and Blacky doesn’t have long until she’s a memory.

The sudden burst of righteous violence gets the attention of Special Agent Linda Chen—FBI pariah and Blacky’s former flame. Linda’s out to get her man before he burns down half the Bronx and her superiors get the collar.

All roads will lead our heroes to an unassuming house in one of the worst parts of the South Bronx, where fists and bullets will surely fly, but maybe—just maybe—Blacky will find a better reason to fight than a car.

The Fury of Blacky Jaguar is the story of friends, enemies, and one sweet ass ride.

About Angel Luis Colón

angelcolonAngel Luis Colón‘s short fiction has appeared in All Due Respect, Out of The Gutter, Revolt Daily, Shotgun Honey, and Thuglit. He hails from The Bronx and works out of New York City, but has been exiled to live in the northern wastes of New Jersey with his family—thankfully; he has access to good beer and single malts. For more, visit angelluiscolon.com.

About HURT HAWKS by Mike Miner

Captain Patrick Donovan was once a real American hero. Used to run missions for special forces, for the CIA. Now he is a pirate, a mercenary making a handsome living in the Southwestern U.S. as a bag man for the cartels, a liaison between the suppliers and the buyers. He is haunted by the sins of his past, by a mission gone terribly wrong. He can’t stop thinking about the soldier who rescued him, Chris Rogers. The man who took a bullet in his spine to save Donovan and his men.

When Donovan learns that Chris was murdered by local thugs, guilt nags him. He and his men will tear Dorchester, Massachusetts apart to find the gangster responsible and avenge Chris’ death. But nothing in life is simple. When Chris’ young son takes matters into his own hands, the stakes are raised and Donovan faces a choice. Walk away or sacrifice himself for Chris’ wife and child.

Donovan is done with walking away.

About Mike Miner

miner b&wMike Miner lives and writes in Connecticut. He is the author of Prodigal Sons (All Due Respect Books), The Immortal Game (Gutter Books) and Everything She Knows (SolsticeLit Books). His stories can be found in the anthologies, Protectors: Stories to Benefit PROTECT and Pulp Ink 2 as well as in places like Thuglit, Beat To a Pulp, All Due Respect, Burnt Bridge, Narrative, PANK, The Flash Fiction Offensive, Shotgun Honey and others.

 

Join us in welcoming these new additions to the One Eye Press family. And for those who haven’t tried our books and collections, all One Eye Press Kindle editions are just 99¢ during the month of December. Happy Holidays.


All Hail the Queen

She climbed into the truck’s cab with a muffled sigh. The veiled mask over her head shifting to the right—it wasn’t a good fit.

“We all set?” Craig grinned ear to ear.

“In a sec.” She raised a gloved finger.

Craig drummed a beat on the steering wheel. “Telling yah, I already got three farmers lined up. They’ll pay through the teeth for this shit. With a hundred hives, we’ll be sitting pretty.”

She ignored him. Stared up at the full moon. Kept her right hand clenched. Felt like they were crawling all over her.

“You okay?”

“No.”

A knock on the back of the truck. Craig looked into the rearview and got a gloved thumbs up from Danny—the last minute helper she insisted upon. Danny turned and made his way back to his Chevy.

“You still mad at me?” Craig gave her shoulder a little pinch. “You’ll feel better once we get paid.” He leaned in. “Take off that stupid mask. You look like a fucking astronaut.”

“Not yet. The bees.” She forced the words out. Her leg bounced up and down.

“There ain’t any bees in here.”

“Yes there are.” She turned and opened her right hand. Pressed it palm side up against his face and released the handful of honeybees she smuggled into the cab. A small cloud of gossamer-winged fury spread to life over him. She knew the facts—memorized all the essentials. Her grip already had them aggressive, bouncing attack pheromones in their prison in the event there would be a chance to strike back. His initial yelp made them aware of his breath. Now he was a target.

Craig batted at the air. “Jesus Christ!” It made the cloud more aggressive. There were stingers left behind on his cheek and brow—even one on his lip. That would make things worse. Stingers pumped venom in and pumped pheromones out. Any bee still alive now had a singular purpose for the rest of their short, short lives: kill Craig Bailey.

He leaned over to the driver’s side door and pulled the latch. Spilled out to the ground in a thud, but couldn’t muster the strength to stand, so he rolled over.

She opened her door and climbed out. Walked around the front of the truck and found him where he landed. His breathing was ragged and shallow. His hands up in the air, fingers swollen and reaching for nothing. When she was next to him and the cloud was only a straggler force of less than ten, she removed her beekeeper’s veil and looked down on him. Craig’s head looked fit to pop. His eyes were swollen shut and his lips were in a permanent cartoon pucker. She noticed they got his one cauliflower ear—now the size of a tennis ball. A few bees crawled over their conquered territory. She thought she even saw one emerge from a nostril.

Craig wheezed. Grabbed at his neck.

She leaned down and frowned. “I ever tell you I was afraid of bees?”

“Epi…”

“This?” She slipped a glove off and dug into his jeans pocket. Took out his epi-pen.

He nodded.

The epi-pen was sent flying into the darkness. “Yeah, no. See, I needed my cash back, asshole. Agreed to this after all that big talk you had about ‘easy money’.” She kicked his left flank hard. He was too far gone to react. “Then you take me here? With fucking bees?” She mounted him and began to punch his fat, blue face. Took care to aim at the remaining bees with each hit. Stopped when she realized he wasn’t breathing anymore.

Danny brushed her shoulder from behind. “Regina, we gotta go.” He helped her up.

“Motherfucker.” She spit on Craig.

“I’ll drive the truck, you take the car.” Danny smoothed her hair. Kissed her lips.

“Okay.” Regina walked to the Chevy. Heard the roar of the truck’s engine coming to life. Stripped off the rest of the beekeeping gear and got into the car.

* * *

Three miles into the drive back from the apiary, she noticed a lone honeybee crawling on her forearm. Flicked it out the window without a care.


Getting the Word Back Out

“The money or your life,” he said. It was a foolproof sales pitch—especially with an M1911 in his hand.

The liquor store owner eyed the gun with the patience of a saint. There was a name tag on the collar of his navy cardigan—‘Frank’, it said. Frank raised his hands half-hearted and cocked his head to the side. “You got terrible timing,” he said.

“Shut up,” the robber said, “Empty the fucking register now.” He thrust the pistol forward. Frank didn’t flinch.

“Ain’t a dime in there,” Frank said, “My wife is out at the bank with all of it.”

The robber reached over the counter standing between Frank and his threats. He had a trouble aiming with one hand and slapping the buttons of the register blindly with the other, so Frank reached over to assist.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” he asked and backed away, steadying his aim.

“Showing you I ain’t a liar,” Frank said. The cash register let out a ‘ding’ and opened to reveal nothing.

The robber made a face like he was swallowing a softball. “Fine,” he said, “Then you take me to your old lady. We’ll catch her before the money’s deposited.”

“No need,” Frank said.

‘Why’s that?”

Frank pointed over the robber’s shoulder. “She’s already back,” he said.

“Bullshi…” Frank’s wife cut him off with the butt of a rifle to the back of his head—her way of saying ‘hello’.

 

#

 

It was hot—Africa hot—and the robber came to with what felt like knives in his head. The words he tried to say were muted by the gag in his mouth. He was seated, hunched over on a dirt floor with his hands bound behind him.

“Patrick J. Spillane,” Frank said, “Says on your license you live over by the train station. You keep company with all the junkies out there?”

Patrick couldn’t see the old man, but the old man’s wife was front and center. She was a stubby little troll with the kind of face that let you know Frank was in it for love. The name tag on her lapel said, ‘Jonnie’. Held in her hands and aimed right at his heart was an old army rifle with a rusted bayonet seated just beneath the gun barrel—begging to do its job.

Frank shuffled into view dragging a burlap sack behind him. Patrick knew there was someone in it before it even moved. “Would you believe this guy walked into my store not an hour before you and made the same demands of me?” he asked.

Jonnie muttered something that sounded English by way of Mars.

In Frank’s free hand was Patrick’s M1911. He jammed the business end of it against the bag as it began to thrash and let out a muffled string of gibberish. Frank pulled the trigger twice and the bag became dead weight.

Patrick felt his pulse quicken from gut to throat. He shook his head vigorously—a string of reasons to let him live only made his gag wet.

“Jonnie and I don’t appreciate trash like you,” Frank said, “There was a time people around town knew that.” He dragged the sack over to the edge of the room and lifted a leg towards a large, black door. It flung open and the source of the heat and the strange glow in the room was clear—this was a furnace. Frank flung the burlap sack corpse into the fire.

“We figure we get the word back out,” Frank said. He handed Jonnie the pistol, fished a pair of gloves from his back pocket, and picked up a metal poker leaned against the furnace. Frank slipped the business end of it in the furnace for a moment and pulled it out. “You let your junkie friends know,” he said, “Don’t fuck with the liquor store off Gleason and King Streets.”

Frank angled the poker towards Patrick’s right eye while holding his head still with surprising strength and slowly let that red edge sink into its target.

Patrick heard a hiss, saw white heat, and began to scream.

He got the message loud and clear.