A Story For Sunday: Chelsea Girls

A Story For Sunday, Close To the Bone, flash fiction, Pulp Metal Magazine, Short Story, Small Time Crimes

Chloe left the money and took the guns. She couldn’t carry everything and she knew that cash would be a hell of a lot easier to come by than a couple of AK47s that was for sure.

‘Fuck you very much,’ she said to Charlie Grimhaven’s unconscious form.

Grimhaven was naked, bloodied and handcuffed to a radiator. She’d forced him to take few sleeping tablets along with half a bottle of Mortlach, so he’d probably be out for the count for a few more hours.

She strapped a gun over each shoulder and paused to catch her breath. She was beginning to feel her turbulent, outlaw life catching up with her.

She closed her eyes and could hear the familiar thump of a Massive Attack song from the park opposite Grimhaven’s office block. She switched off the strip light, peeled back the blinds and looked out of the window. A constellation of streetlamps lined the deserted street below. She closed the blinds and eased the front door open. She peered into the darkened corridor to make sure there was no one around.

Chloe gave Grimhaven the finger and stepped out into the corridor.  She ignored the lift and took the stairs down to the underground car park. She kept in the shadows as she looked for her 2CV, banging a knee against a concrete pillar.

‘Oh, for shit …’

She limped over to her car, opened the car boot and put the guns in.

‘Shit,’ she said, feeling pain in her shoulders and knee.

Then she heard the footsteps.

High-heels clicked over concrete and stopped just behind her.

‘Is that you?’ said Adele.

Adele stood in the shadows. Apart from the footwear, she was dressed identically to her twin sister – black jeans and roll neck sweater. Chloe wore Dr Martin shoes. Adele’s hair was pulled back into a ponytail and Chloe’s was short cropped but both women wore black lipstick and nail varnish.

‘You know, the answer to that question is always going to be yes, no matter who I am?’ said Chloe. ‘You need to be more specific in your questioning technique. You’d never work in HR.’

‘Thank god for that. I’m filled with inertia as it is. Are we good to go?’ She tapped a foot impatiently and lit up an e-cigarette. Its tip glowed in the darkness.

‘Yep. Meet you at Bar Italia? I’ve had enough of Starfucks lately.’

‘No. I need something stronger. Vino vidi vici.’

‘The French House then?’

‘Oui! Oui!’

‘Yes, I need one of those too so let’s get moving.’

Chloe opened the door to the driver’s seat.

‘Are you going to drop off the machine guns first?’ said Adele.

‘They’re not machine guns, sweetie. They’re selective fire assault rifles,’ said Chloe.

She got into the car and started up the engine.

‘And yes, I will.  I’ll take the guns to Crispin first and then head back to Chelsea get changed. I’ll meet you at The French House in a couple of hours, OK?’

‘Oui! Oui!’ said Adele.

‘Stop bloody saying that! I’m bursting!’

Adele slammed the door, grinning.  She waved as her sister drove away and went into the building.

*

It was a stiflingly hot Friday evening and The French House was stuffed and stuffy.  Chloe and Adele were leaning against an open window drinking prosecco. They had exchanged their black clothing for identical white linen blouses and trousers, with matching accessories though the lipstick and nail varnish remained black.

‘The things that I like about the French House are,’ said Adele. She counted off on her long fingers. ‘The wine, the food, the location, the lack of music. Oh, and the fact that people can’t use mobile bloody phones. The things I don’t like are; it’s always full on a Friday night and full of media tossers at that.’

She took a swig of her drink.

‘But you still come here,’ said Chloe. ‘Week after, week, after week …’

‘Oh, I love it. You know that. It’s part of Soho history. Frances Bacon, Derek Raymond.  Real London. Well, the London we fled the sticks to escape to, anyway,’ said Adele.

She scraped away at her black nail varnish. It flaked off easily.

‘London’s changing, though,’ said Chloe. ‘Like everywhere else.’

‘And not for the better, I fear,’ said Adele.

She sighed.

‘Vive le difference!’ said Chloe.

‘Oui! Oui!’

‘Oh don’t start that again! I’ve just been for a slash and the queue for the toilets was bloody torture.’

‘Speaking of torture, how easy was it to persuade Grimhaven to turn grass?’

‘Not desperately difficult, to be honest. One snapped little finger and a razor blade under one of his thumbs was pretty much all it took. It’s a pity about leaving the money, though. Still, you can’t have everything. ’

‘How much dosh did you leave behind?’

‘In cash? Just over twenty grand!’

Adele took out an e-cigarette.

‘Well, if that’s how much  he had in his desk drawer, can you imagine how much he could have in the office safe?’ she said.

‘Well, I really didn’t have a chance to look. I was more interested in finding out who ripped us off and getting out without getting caught.’

‘You know, I knew it’d be Sammy Lee. I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him,’ said Chloe.

‘You wouldn’t be able to throw him that far or you might damage your nails. And, by the way, sweetie, that cheap nail polish you get from Poundland won’t be doing your nails any good, either.’

Adele looked at her watch.

‘You know, Grimhaven’s probably still there tied to that radiator. I bet no one has discovered him yet,’ she said. ‘His boys are all off on that booze cruise to Gdansk until Sunday night, you know? Why don’t we pop back there and get the money? You could have crack at his safe, too. ’

‘You mean, go back to the scene of the crime? You know what mum always said about that. Like going back to relight fireworks.’

‘Yeah, but she married dad three times, didn’t she? Anyway, if there’s enough money in the safe we could piss off for a bit until all this other shit has cooled down. Go somewhere more bohemian, like Barcelona or Prague. Even New York. You always wanted to go to CBGS.’

‘I very much doubt it’s still there. It’s probably a Starbucks now.’

‘You know what I mean!’

Chloe though for a moment, biting her bottom lip. She stared out of the window. A group of city boys staggered down Dean Street singing a Coldplay song.

‘Okay,’ she said. ‘Drink up. We’ve got to get back in black.’

*

‘Well, you were right. He’s still here. Well, his body is. His spirit has clearly departed this mortal coil,’ said Chloe.

Grimhaven’s office was exactly the same as it had been when Chloe had left it except for the fact that someone had cut Grimhaven’s throat and he was an even bloodier mess than he had been before.

Chloe closed the door behind her while Adele went over to the desk and checked out the cash.

‘It’s all still here,’ said Adele.

Chloe kneeled in front of the safe.

‘I wonder who killed him,’ she said.

‘Now, you’re not going to ask if he had any enemies are you?’ said Adele.

Chloe started twisting the dial on the front of the safe.

‘Yes, that would be too long a list, I expect.  And you’d be on there too since you’ve been married to him for the last ten years,’ she said.

‘An error of impetuous youth,’ said Adele.  ‘My own fault for mixing my drinks.’

She sat on the corner of the desk

‘Any ideas, though?’ said Chloe.

‘You know Charlie Grimhaven.  He was probably caught with his tail between someone else’s wife’s legs and was croaked by some disgruntled cuckold,’ said Adele.

‘Well, they’re very rarely gruntled, are they? Now praise silence, please,’ said Chloe.

With one twist she opened the safe door. She peered inside.

‘Oh bugger,’ said Chloe.

‘What’s he got in there?’ said Adele. ‘The crown jewels?’

‘Not far off, if it’s what I think it is,’ said Chloe.

She took a small wooden box from the safe and put it on the desk.

‘After you,’ she said.

Adele clicked the box open.

‘Oh bugger indeed,’ she said.

Chloe slipped the box in her pocket.

‘Let’s vamoose,’ she said. ‘As soon as we get in the car, phone Crispin and tell him what we’ve got. We want to offload this as quickly as we can and then …’

‘Leave the capital! Exit this Roman shell!’

‘Yes, something like that.’

*

Chloe slouched in the leather armchair. Checked her plane ticket and took a sip from her half-pint of London Pride.

Adele sat at in the chair opposite.  She put her coffee and Nick Hornby paperback on the table in front of her.

‘Start spreading the news,’ she sang.

Chloe smiled.

‘Here’s some news. So, you know, when I opened Grimhaven safe there was black nail varnish on it and on the white rug that was in front of it,’ she said.

‘That cheap stuff that flakes off so easily?’ said Adele.

‘Yes. The very same. It’s almost as if someone was trying to crack the safe earlier and their nail polish flaked off.’

‘That nail polish is very popular.’

‘More common than popular, I’d say,’ said Chloe.

She looked at the tickets and checked the time of their flight to New York again. She was always stressed before flying.

‘Any ideas as to how that happened?’ said Chloe.

Adele shrugged.

‘Well, maybe …’

Chloe leaned forward and looked Adele in the eye.

‘Continue,’ she said.

‘Well, it was cheaper and easier than a divorce,’ said Adele.

Chloe rubbed her eyes.

‘You know Grimhaven’s boys will come after us?

‘Of course. But wouldn’t they anyway? We weren’t exactly going to be on his Christmas card list once he regained consciousness. This is a clean break. Or cleaner.’

‘Have you got the new passports and ID?’

‘Of course.’

Chloe took a sip of beer.

‘Plus ça change,’ she said.

‘Oui! Oui! Oui!’ said Adele.

‘Yes, good idea,’ said Chloe. ‘I’ll go before we get on the plane. Better safe than sorry.’

CHELSEA GIRLS IS INCLUDED IN MY FLASH FICTION COLLECTION SMALL TIME CRIMES, WHICH YOU CAN PICK UP HERE, IF YOU FANCY.

A Story For Sunday: Silver Lady

A Story For Saturday, flash fiction, Music, Paul D Brazill, Pulp Metal Magazine, Seatown, Starsky & Hutch

There was a storm building inside Ray’s skull. Waiting to break. And it was all because Ray hadn’t seen her for over a week now. Twenty-seven days and seventeen hours, to be precise. And he was starting to wonder if he’d imagined her. Created some kind of wish fulfilment figure. His stomach cramped.

It wouldn’t have been the first time that his imagination had set him off on a wild goose chase, after all. Sent him racing and stumbling headfirst into a collision with cold, cruel reality. Made him look a fool.

But just after midnight, at the exact moment he turned on the car’s ignition, the night sky was gutted with crack of thunder, a flash of lighting and a cleansing rain.

He looked up and there she was. Shimmering in the silver glow of the street light that was in front of the sex shop on the corner of Langdon Street and Spender Grove.

And she was … resplendent. Yes. That was the word. That really was what she was.

As she had been the first time he’d gazed upon her.

*

It was late October when Ray had decided to stop going to his night class. It was the dark evenings that had put him off at first, there were too many animals crawling the streets at night these days. Filth everywhere.

Although he knew deep down that wasn’t the only reason he’d stopped attending the course. He hadn’t been making a great deal of progress – French never felt as natural to him as German or Latin -and he knew that he’d never actually go to France, anyway, so there was no real point continuing.

At the end of the month he’d called into the College of Further Education and paid for the rest of the course, it was the decent thing to do after all, and money wasn’t a problem for him. He shook hands with the tutor and headed off home, once again feeling that something was missing in his life.

The winter night bit like a beast as he headed off to the bus stop, avoiding the begging trick-or-treaters in their identical Halloween costumes. Ray loathed this time of year.

His doctor had once said that he suffered from SAD: Seasonal Adjustment Disorder and that he should go away to somewhere sunny, since he had lots of free time these days. But even the thought of travel was an abomination to Ray, who had only left Seatown once in all of his thirty- five years. That was a trip to London to visit St Paul’s Cathedral. And that was an unpleasant experience that he certainly didn’t want to repeat.

They say bad luck comes in threes and Ray certainly had his share that night, and he really couldn’t count how many things went wrong. The 94 bus at Warden Green left early and, despite racing after it, it didn’t stop. But it did splash through a puddle as it drove past him, soaking his brown corduroy trousers . And then it started to rain. Pour. He leaned against a kebab shop doorway catching his breath. His chest burning. The smell of sizzling animal flesh making him heave.

He decided to take a short cut through a nearby alleyway and was soaked through by the time he got to the end, which came out directly on Barclay Common. A couple of cars, their headlamps dipped, cruised past, the drivers examining the girls –and boys- that worked there. Ray kept his head down, ignoring their beckoning calls. Whenever he walked past the common it produced the usual cocktail of feelings -disgust, guilt, shame, embarrassment, resentment. And desire.

He gave a cursive glance at the prostitutes, seeing the usual shaking anorexics or overweight grannies. But then there was a sort of fizzing, popping sound, and a lamp post came to life. And there, underneath that flickering streetlamp was a vision.

Tall, blonde. Wearing a shining silver dress and boots. Looking completely alien to her grimy surroundings. More than human. An angel. And she smiled at him.

*

After that, his days, and nights were haunted by the Silver Lady. His dreams more so. And even during his waking hours, little pin pricks at the back of his mind made him turn sharply, expecting to see her.

At times he did see her, too. Just out of reach, At the edge of his vision. If he squinted, she was at the end of the street. Or a mannequin in a shop window. Sometimes, when he blinked, he saw her in the darkness.

Her voice, though he had never heard it, called to him. Sang along with the sound his alarm made as it dragged him by his greasy hair from his fitful sleep.

So, tonight he’d plucked up his courage and borrowed his Uncle Ricky’s car and headed off to cruise Barclay Common.

The night hadn’t started well. Uncle Ricky’s car had been specially adapted to suit his disabilities- Ray wasn’t completely sure what they were – and it was a pain to manoeuvre. And Ray wasn’t exactly the most experienced driver, although he’d passed his test some fifteen years before.

So, he’d stalled about a hundred times and panicked that he might be spotted in Barclay Common by someone he knew. He drove around until darkness fell.

And he waited. He waited all night, and, as he was about to head off home at last, she appeared. There she was. As clear as day. He squinted to see her more clearly. She was mouthing something. The red lips so clear against her alabaster skin. It was hard to work out exactly what she’d said at first but later he was he was sure it was: save me. Of course it was. And Ray knew he would.

*

That night he’d had the thickest, most vivid dream of all. She’d crept into his bed and she’d begged him to save her. To set her free. She’d called him My Ray Of Hope. My Ray Of Light.

And he had made love to her. But this time was nothing like that horrible night in London. This time had been something so special that he had awoken with tears. Tears of bliss.

He knew then that he was a caterpillar waiting for the right moment to transform into a butterfly for his Silver Lady.

*

And then she was gone again. As winter bled into spring. there was no sign of her. He drove to Barclay Common so many times that the prostitutes had started to recognise him. A couple of the pimps had even approached him one night, to say or do Lord knows what, but seeing his dog collar they had stepped back.

After that, some of them called out ‘Hello Preacher,’ when they saw him, though most of them ignored him. And he them. But there was still no sign of the Silver Lady. They had taken her. These animals. And he knew, as the storm clouds gathered, that he must take their lives in revenge.

*

The glow from the burning car was warm. Comforting. The screams of the burning prostitutes and pimps calming. The storm had broken. Was over. He felt sated, wet at his crotch.

Ray had filled the car with as much flammable material as possible and sent it into the pack of vermin that lined Barclay Common. He’d thrown a Molotov cocktail and the blast had ripped the sky open.

With an aching heart, he walked toward the streetlight where his Silver Lady had stood. As he got closer, he felt a stomach cramp as saw the sex shop’s demolished facade. He rushed forward and burnt his hands as he gripped the metal shutters that had been ripped open by the blast. He smashed at the glass that was already shattered to reveal the twisted, torn form of an alabaster mannequin, its silver mini skirt ripped to reveal her burning flesh. The blood red lips. The blank, dead eyes.

And Ray laughed. He laughed so much that it melded into the sound of the police cars and ambulances that drew close. And the storm that had returned.

Punk Noir Magazine

Paul D Brazill, Pulp Metal Magazine, Punk Noir Mgazine, Writing

 

Punk Noir Magazine – hovering in the shadows of the late lamented Pulp Metal Magazine – is a non-profit, non-paying, online arts and entrainment magazine that views the world at its most askew. We’ll be looking at films, music, television and more. There’ll be interviews, reviews, news, poetry, fiction, micro fiction, and flash fiction.  And some other stuff too, I’m sure. Submissions should open up at the end of 2018.

Because The Night is at Pulp Metal Magazine

flash fiction, Paul D Brazill, Pulp Metal Magazine, Punk, punk fiction, Short Story

PULPLOGO (1)Pulp Metal Magazine is shutting up shop, at least for the time being. And my contribution to its funeral is a little yarn called Because The Night.

Mark Finney’s footsteps echoed as he walked across the rusty, metal railway bridge. A steely fog was spreading itself across the town and he could no longer see the trains creeping slowly below him. He walked carefully down the steps and paused at the bottom. Smudges of streetlamps trailed off into the distance down Lothian Road. Finney headed off along the cobbled street, past the rows of partially demolished terraced houses that looked like broken teeth. ‘

Read the rest here.

Short, Sharp Interview: K A Laity

K A Laity, Near To The Knuckle, Paul D Brazill, Pulp Metal Magazine, short sharp interviews

PDB: What’s going on?

THE BLOOD RED EXPERIMENT! A new magazine that serialises neo-giallo novellas by me, Richard Godwin, Tom Leins, Kevin Berg, Mark Cooper, Jack Bates and James Shaffer, brought together by the combined efforts of Jason ‘Pulp Metal Magazine’ Michel and Craig ‘Near to the Knuckle’ Douglas. My novella is Madonna of the Wasps (swiped that title, of course from Mr Hitchcock) which features an ancient knife, weird rituals and some art students.

PDB: Do you listen to music when you work?

I used to always; I’ve been so manic lately, jumping from one project to another that I never seem to settle on anything unless it’s something in the background like BBC Radio 3. But I have some concentrated writing time coming up and the soundtrack will be very folk horror oriented.

PDB: What makes you laugh?

You do [laughs]. Also lots of things. Georgette Heyer, Peter Cook, Kathy Burke. I introduced a friend to the Four Yorkshiremen sketch the other day and she was delighted.

PDB: What’s the best cure for a hangover?

Cheap Mexican food [the kind you can only get in L.A.] and gallons of tea.

PDB: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Everywhere: I’d want a free pass to any hotel anywhere so I could mix it up and travel around and not have to ever clean or cook or do anything but idle and write.

PDB: Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?

Pfft. If I want to do something I make plans to do it. Life is short. Don’t assume there’ll be enough of it.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

Looks like The Tower. Better draw again… Actually I have an essay on grifters and Chaucer coming out in November. I am trying to draw together a collection of women’s travel writing which has had to be done in odd moments because for some reason I decided to do too much this semester despite promising myself I wouldn’t, so I’m an idiot.

PDB: Anything else?

Everybody should be reading RESPECTABLE HORROR in fact all Fox Spirit Books titles! I have a new fairy tale novel MANGLED coming out next year from them and I know that Mr Graham Wynd will have a novella + short stories called LOVE IS A GRIFT out sometime in 2018, too. Oh, and I don’t know when but at some point my comic novel HIRE IDIOTS. And probably other things that I’ve forgotten because I have a head like a sieve lately.

kalaityBio: KA. Laityis the award-winning author of How to Be Dull,White RabbitDream Book, A Cut-Throat BusinessLush Situation, Owl Stretching, Unquiet Dreams, Chastity Flameand Pelzmantel, as well as editor of Respectable Horror, Weird Noir, Noir Carnival and Drag Noir. She also writes historical fiction as Kit Marlowe and crime as Graham Wynd.

The Blood Red Experiment (Series Book 1)

Train In Vain at Pulp Metal Magazine

BRIT GRIT, Crime Fiction, flash fiction, Paul D Brazill, Pulp Metal Magazine, Short Story, The Clash

PULPLOGO (1)I have a new yarn up at Pulp Metal Magazine.

It’s called TRAIN IN VAIN:

Seatown train station was certainly a lot better looking than I remembered it but it still smelled of puke. And shit, And sweat. Well, it did now that Smiffy was there. He’d spruced himself up a bit, slicked back his hair, put on a double-breasted pinstripe suit. But his rancid stench still oozed out. I hadn’t really seemed to notice it when we were boozing together in The Cobble Bar but out here in the fresh air it seemed overpowering.

A small group of football fans, watched by an equal sized group of bored policemen, snaked out of the station, through the streets and toward the town centre. They were quieter than I expected but then I’d never been much of a football fan, even as a child. I assumed supporting a football team was something you just grew out of although a few of the fans looked as if they’d grown a bit too much. Especially around the stomach area.’

Check it out, if you fancy.

#FRIDAY FLASH: STOP ME IF YOU’VE HEARD THIS ONE

flash fiction, Paul D Brazill, Pulp Metal Magazine, Short Story

The Last Laugh paperbackGINGER RONNY HAD told Burkey about the murder towards the bitter end of one of their occasional raucous Tuesday night drinking sessions, as the dawn had desperately begun to grasp for life and Malcolm Duffy was grumpily getting ready to close up Le Duffy. But it wasn’t until the cusp of Wednesday evening—as Burkey struggled out of bed to start his night shift at the slaughterhouse—that the reality of the situation finally melted into his consciousness, like ice cubes in a glass of Jack Daniels.

‘Jude Walker,’ he groaned, as he sat on the stained and wobbly toilet. ‘Jude friggin’ Walker.’

He put his head in his hands as he pebble-dashed the inside of the toilet bowl with the residue of the previous night’s boozing session and tried to force a tear or two with the same passion that he’d shat. But he couldn’t. Despite all Jude had done for Burkey over the years, the man had been a nasty twat who’d had payback coming to him for donkeys.

Burkey showered, dressed and left his flat, a hovel that was above a closed down dirty book store and had been advertised as being a ‘loft-style apartment’. He started to have a nagging feeling tugging at him as he limped down the stairs, and it wasn’t just the need for a little eye opener before he started work.

As he shuffled into Le Duffy’s dimly lit bar, adjusting his eyes as he negotiated his way through the closely stacked tables, he realised what the problem was. Ronny had confided in him, Burkey. Or Gimpy, as Ginger Ronny usually called him. Of all of Ronny’s dodgy cronies and neo-incestuous family members he’d confessed a murder to Burkey.

Although they occasionally got drunk together, Ronny and Burkey had never been friends, as such. Even back in school he’d been worse than most of the other kids when it came to cruel jibes. Ronny had taken great pleasure in taking the piss out of Burkey’s limp. They were bound together by a love of the booze, though.

Malcolm served Burkey his usual pre-work shot of peppermint schnapps. He hated the taste but it didn’t smell of booze, they said. He sat at the bar, knocked it back and ordered another. This Ronny situation was a quandary and a conundrum, as his old granddad used to say. What the hell was Ronny up to?

He ordered another drink and tried to piece together what Ronny had actually told him about killing Jude.

It went like this: Ronny was in his Ford Granada in the car park outside The Bongo Club getting a blow job from Skinny Minnie, one of the club’s barmaids, who gave extras when it came close to her rent day. She was dressed as a schoolgirl since, although she was forty if she was a day, she had the skinny, petit body of an anorexic teen which boosted her earning capacity.

After she eventually swallowed his load, Ronny loosened his grip and allowed her to come up for air. He pulled a wad of notes from his Wranglers and peeled a few off. Most of the cash he used to pay her was counterfeit but there was so much of it in the town these days that it was becoming accepted currency.

He sat and smoked a joint while Minnie cleaned him up with baby wipes and there was a knock on the window. Well, more of a bang. Ronny wound down the window to see the massive form of Jude Walker shouting and screaming about something or other. Ronny had no idea what he was on about. Not that it mattered since Jude had a tendency to completely lose the plot over any old thing when he was snorting the crap coke produced by the same Russians that made the fake cash.

Ronny knew that there was nothing he could do to placate Jude and began to wind up the window when Jude stuffed a massive hand through the gap and grabbed Minnie by the throat. Well, Ronny, ever the gentleman, couldn’t allow that to happen so he pushed open the car door sending Jude sprawling backwards until he crashed his head against the breeze-block wall that everyone used to piss against when they went outside the club for a cigarette. Ronny walked over and saw that Jude was out for the count. And then, before he could do anything about it, Minnie turned up with a brick and proceeded to smash the shite out of the unconscious Jude’s big fat head.

Ronny apparently grabbed the brick from Minnie and slapped her till she calmed down. Then he started to hyperventilate. Jude Walker was an old school-friend, for sure, but he was also the off-white sheep in a very dark family. A very loyal family indeed.

Burkey looked up at the cracked triangular clock that hung behind the bar and realised that he was going to be late for work if he didn’t get a move on. Fuck it, he thought. This was serious stuff. He ordered another drink. A proper one this time. A double Jack D.

The bar had started to fill out without him realising it and he was in his pots, singing along to the Pina Colada song when someone tapped him on his shoulder. He could almost taste the sour breath.

‘Burkey, I need you,’ Ronny whispered in his ear. Burkey turned and saw Ginger Ronny, high as a kite, wearing a cagoule and covered in all sorts of mud and shit.

‘What do you…want?’ said Burkey.

‘I need you to help me bury him.’

***

‘Get a friggin’ move on Gimpy,’ said Ronny, as it started pissing down.

Ronny must have thought that using Burkey’s old school nickname would motivate him. Far from it. He was starting to realise that Ronnie was just manipulating him. Using him to do his dirty work.

Burkey forced a smile. He was getting soaked to the skin in a vandalised cemetery after spending the last half hour digging a grave, and Ronnie was going on and on at him like fingers down a blackboard.

Burkey stopped, the pain in his bad knee getting worse and worse in the cold and wet weather.

‘Give me a minute or two,’ he said.

‘Oh, for fuck’s sake, Gimpy, I friggin’ told you…’

Burkey swung the shovel without thinking about it and it smacked Ronnie square on in the head. Ronnie just stood there, an unlit cigarette in his hand. A blank expression on his face that reminded Burkey of a cartoon character.

So Burkey twatted him again and Ronny fell forward, joining him in the open grave. There was a flash of lightning, followed by a rumble of thunder as Burkey managed to drag himself out. He paused to catch his breath and got down to covering up the bodies with renewed enthusiasm, safe in the knowledge that he’d make it back to Le Duffy in time for last orders. But he’d keep himself to himself tonight, that was for sure.

(This yarn first appeared at PULP METAL MAGAZINE and is included in my collection THE LAST LAUGH)

Yesterday’s Wine at Pulp Metal Magazine

BRIT GRIT, Crime Fiction, flash fiction, Paul D Brazill, Pulp Metal Magazine, Short Story

PULPLOGO (1)I’m over at PULP METAL MAGAZINE with a little yarn called ‘Yesterday’s Wine.’

Pauline Williams really hadn’t wanted to talk to her brother. Not for a while, anyway. She’d been giving him the cold shoulder recently. She’d had more than enough of Billy’s shenanigans over the years, so she started to ignore his text messages and calls. She’d even unfriended him on Facebook. But when she found out he’d been in an accident, her resolve soon wilted. Family was family, after all.’

Check out the rest here.

I’m Flashing At Pulp Metal Magazine and Near To The Knuckle

flash fiction, Near To The Knuckle, Paul D Brazill, pulp, Pulp Metal Magazine, Short Story

CHELSEA GIRLS is at PULP METAL MAGAZINE

Chloe left the money and took the guns. She couldn’t carry everything and she knew that cash would be a hell of a lot easier to come by than a couple of AK47s that was for sure.

and

THE TALL MAN is at NEAR TO THE KNUCKLE

‘I sit on a bench in the darkened park and watch The Slug get out of his car. I am dressed head to foot in black and holding a black briefcase. The Slug walks up to an apartment block and opens the front door with a key. He doesn’t leave a real trail of slime behind him, of course, just a metaphorical one.’

CHECK EM OUT!

#FRIDAY FLASH: Seven Minutes To Midnight

BRIT GRIT, Crime Fiction, flash fiction, noir, Paul D Brazill, pulp, Pulp Metal Magazine, punk fiction

 

Hinkson’s tired, dog tired, but he can’t fall asleep. Can’t let himself drift off into the warm, comforting womb of his unconscious. It’s seven minutes to midnight and the brothers will be here at the witching hour, for sure. Same as last night and the previous night.

The motel room is dark except for the faint light from an old transistor radio that is tuned to a classical music station. Hinkson sits in an old rocking chair, eyes closed. A sawn-off shotgun across his lap. A half-empty bottle of whisky on the table beside him. He opens his eyes, leans over and unsteadily lifts the bottle to his lips. Takes a little sip. Closes his eyes again for a moment. Drifts away.

The slam of a car door drags him back to reality. He peels back the blinds. The motel’s neon sign flickers. Snow falls like confetti and the brothers stand in front of their battered BMW. They’re dressed in black, as always. Overcoats, flat caps. Black leather gloves. They are illuminated by a string of Christmas lights that encircle the car park. They take something out of the car boot, slam it shut then slowly trudge across the snow smothered car park, looking like shadows.  Larry leads the way. Lloyd and Lee either side of him, as usual.

Hinkson rummages in his jacket pocket and fishes out an amphetamine tablet. Pops it in his mouth and washes it down with the whisky.

A church bell chimes.

*

Lloyd span the BMW into the side street, narrowly missing an old woman with a tartan shopping trolley as she dragged herself across the street.

Lee, his massive frame jammed into the passenger seat, giggled.

‘For fuck’s sake, that was close. Nearly got ten points,’ he said.

‘Only five points for a coffin-dodger,’ said Lloyd.

Harsh winter sunlight was pouring through the shattered windscreen and he was sweating like a pig.

‘Focus, lads,’ croaked Larry. ‘Focus.’

He was slouched in the back seat, blood pouring from a shotgun wound in his stomach. Hinkson had covered the wound with a towel but it was already soaked red.

‘This’ll have to do for now,’ said Hinkson. ‘Fucks knows what I’m doing, though.’

‘Thought you were medically qualified,’ said Lee, his speed-freak eyes dancing a tarantella.

‘First Aid certificate from when I worked at the swimming baths,’ said Hinkson.

‘Beggars can’t be choosers,’ said Lee.

Sirens screamed in the distance as they pulled up in front of The Royal Oak. The pub was stained with graffiti, its windows boarded up. A rusty metal shutter was pulled down over the front door.

Lee rushed out of the car and pulled up the shutter while Lloyd dragged a black holdall out of the car boot. Hinkson eased the groaning Larry out of the car and into the darkened pub. Lloyd followed, struggling with the holdall.

‘I’ll hide the car round the back while you phone Doc Holloway, then,’ said Lee.

‘Most sensible thing you’ve said all day,’ said Lloyd.

Lee stopped as his hand gripped the car door handle. He glared at Lloyd.

‘Do not blame me for this, bro,’ he said. ‘Understand?’

‘Whatever,’ said Lloyd. ‘Just get a move on’

He pulled down the shutters with a bang.

*

The radio’s batteries are dying and the music and lights are fading. The brothers are outside the motel room’s door now. Hinkson can hear Lee trying to suppress his giggles. Larry is breathing heavily. Hinkson pats the holdall.

There is a knock at the door.

‘Three strikes and you’re out,’ rasps Larry. ‘I’m growing impatient. I’m not a well man.’

The radio dies and the room is completely dark, silent. Except for the sound of Hinkson’s heartbeat which seems loud enough to make his head explode.

*

The day had melted into night. Lee and Lloyd were crashed out on the sofa, bottles of vodka drained and littering the floor. Larry was knocked out by the morphine administered by Dr Holloway. A police siren dragged Hinkson from his slumber. Seemed to be getting nearer. Hinkson looked at the black holdall and did what he always knew he would  do. He picked it up and left.

*

The hammering on the door is getting louder. Hinkson opens the holdall. Pours the last of the whisky over its contents. Takes out a lighter and sets fire a toilet roll. Puts it in the bag and puts the bag in front of the door.

He stands and picks up the shotgun as the front door bursts open.

‘Bring it on,’ he says, as he presses the trigger.

(Seven Minutes To Midnight first appeared at Pulp Metal Magazine)

Nun With A Gun at Pulp Metal Magazine.

BRIT GRIT, flash fiction, London, Paul D Brazill, Pulp Metal Magazine

PULPLOGOI have a new yarn up at PULP METAL MAGAZINE.

It’s called NUN WITH A GUN– which, I realise, sounds like a Vic Reeves character.

Anyway, it starts off like this:

The light from the full moon guided her way as Sister Lara walked down Roseberry Hill using her father’s rifle as a walking stick. Lara’s Day-Glo Dr Martin boots gripped the slippery, muddy surface. Her nun’s habit flapped in the night wind like a bat’s wings.  

Halfway down, she stopped. She could see the occasional lights of the cars cutting along the road below. She waited until she saw the big truck’s headlights. When it got close enough, she said a prayer and fired three shots, hoping that she’d hit something in the dark. The screech of tires told her that she had.’

Read the rest here.

 

 

Short, Sharp Interview: Jason Michel

horror, Jason Michel, Paul D Brazill, Pulp Metal Fiction, Pulp Metal Magazine, short sharp interviews

the death of 3 coloursPDB: Can you pitch THE DEATH OF THREE COLOURS in 25 words or less?

A dark and surreal tale of organised crime, betrayal, the nature of evil and one man’s obsession with the Mexican folk saint, Santa Muerte.

PDB: Which music, books, films or television shows do you wish you had written?

Barry Adamson’s Moss Side Story, They Live!, and Twin Peaks.

PDB: Which books do you think would make great films or TV series?

Well, I am thinking of writing a screenplay for TDo3C, but I’d love to see a version of The Dice Man on the screen. Or The illuminatus Trilogy.

jason 2016.PDB: Who are the great Italian novelists?

Well, Umberto Eco’s the big one, of course. D’Annuzio is a controversial one, part of the Decadent movement and the works I have read show a mad artistic genius there. The kind that doesn’t seem to exist today. There’s also the current of “Giallo” literature, one I need to learn more about…

PDB: Is blogging killing journalism?

Maybe it should.

PDB: What’s on the cards?

Chaos and misfortune, knowing my luck.

Jason Michel is the dictator of PULP METAL MAGAZINE. He lives in Italy.

 

I’m Back at Pulp Metal Magazine

flash fiction, Paul D Brazill, Pulp Metal Magazine, The Fall

PULPLOGO (1)With a little yarn called Spectre vs Rector.

‘I’m just a walking cliché,’ growled Rector.

He sat at a table in a dark corner of The Essex Arms. His black clothes melded with the pub’s shadows. His bony hand reached out of the darkness and scratched his unshaven face.

He took a sip of whisky.’

Read the rest here.