(From the Pulp Crime stories)


Dirk grasped his right hand and slowly flexed it back to life. The pain
surged through each finger intensely, transforming each joint into a
fireball that throbbed with each movement. It hurt like a
son-of-a-bitch and Dirk wondered if he had finally broken the damn
thing. At least he was still standing, at least he had all his teeth
still in his head and at least he could still fucking walk.

The
sorry sack’s name was Mia. Like most of them, Mia owed the Boss Man
money. Lots of it. And, like most of them, she tried to skip town. Dirk
was watching her though, waiting until the bitch had a sense of
security, the sense that she could bail this godforsaken city without a
scratch.

 Dirk never liked dealing with women. Especially when
they were on the other end of his Beretta. He wasn’t happy with this
assignment, that was for damn sure. Killing a dame was something that
Dirk wouldn’t have done years ago, but now things were different. Now
he was a has-been, washed up, trying to get back into the game. That
meant whoring himself out, no matter how low the job.

In his
defense, Mia was more man than woman. She owned an Italian restaurant
that went by the name of Mamma Mia’s and Dirk had an inkling that the
corpulent broad was taking the work home with her. She had the body of
a sumo wrestler at the tail end of an all night eating binge.

Dirk caught up to her fine, knocking her upside her manatee-sized head
with the back end of his pistol. She put up quite a fight though,
crushing Dirk’s right hand with her meaty fist, then taking a bite out
of his palm as if it were a juicy rib-eye. She struggled some more,
pummeling Dirk’s face and kicking his legs out beneath him. For a woman
built like Mount Everest, Mia was sure goddamn agile. Eventually, Dirk
lost his patience and slung some lead straight into her fat encased
chest. Four shots later, the bitch was on the ground and Dirk, the poor
bastard that he was, had to lift her into the trunk of his Cadillac.
This went pretty smoothly, although the goddamn wheels nearly popped
off the car.

Now Dirk was resting, trying not to think of the
pain in his hand. He tossed the ass end of a cigarette in his mouth and
quickly lit it. Dirk inhaled a massive amount of smoke and held it deep
inside his lungs. He exhaled the contents into the crisp night air,
watching the smoke dissipate before his weary eyes. Only one more place
to go and this evening would finally die.

This town was a
shithole, full of ugly people doing ugly things. From the scarred,
sickly whores waddling along the sidewalks, to the toothless,
scaly-skinned druggies that shot up in the alleys. The streets stunk of
piss and vomit. The stench was all encompassing, attaching itself to
the denizens like a hungry parasite. Dirk always tried to wash it away,
but the smells clung to him, staining his clothes, seeping into his
hair, burying deep under his skin. He’d scrub until he was bleeding,
but the infernal odors never disappeared. This city wasn’t for
visitors; it was for people who were hiding from something.

 Sometimes
Dirk wished he had the balls to leave, but without enough dough, this
didn’t seem like an option. All his money was sunk into his ride.
Pristine, cherry red and big as fuck. He liked the trunk; you could
stuff a lot of garbage in there. Dirk lined it with plastic, you know,
for the messy jobs.

God, he was sick of this place.

Now he was driving past all the sleaze and grime, concentrating on the bridge.

The bridge.

It
was perfect. He used it every now and again to get rid of trash. Nobody
he dumped had ever floated up or washed ashore and, if someone did, the
roaming coyotes could be counted on to pick clean anything with meat on
it. Coyotes. They were Dirk’s friends.

The bridge.

Where
the river and woods converged. A place that was the only respite from
the filth. Nobody crossed the bridge. If you entered the city, you were
stuck there. If you were exiting, well, nobody was lucky enough to
leave. Dirk was gonna prove that theory wrong though, he was gonna be
outta this place real soon.

 Dirk pulled off to the side of the
bridge and waited in the darkness. This was it for him. He wanted to
cross that bridge, to get to the other side, to get away from all the
sickness. Fuck it. This job would be enough to get him by. He could
starve for awhile. Dirk sighed deeply and tried to summon as much
strength as he could. Surprisingly, he felt alive for once. A small
smile broke across his face. One more job. This was it. One more job.

He
opened the trunk, only to confront the ripe visage of Mia. Garlic
seeped out of every crater-sized pore from her stretched-thin skin.
Immediately, Dirk’s gag reflex sprung to life and he cupped his damaged
hand over his mouth, trying to contain the bile. Not wasting time, he
feverishly grabbed the first appendage he saw. Dirk yanked on Mia’s
beefy arm with all his might; her cold, bruised skin sinking under his
fingertips like pudding. Her body jerked forward slightly, her head
bashing the inside of the trunk’s hood. Dirk let go, wiping off the
sweat beads that started to gather around his upper lip and forehead.
He took in a deep breath and
attacked the body some more, giving the arm a powerful pull, only to see Mia’s body slide
backwards with a loud THUMP. Dirk realized that this was gonna be another crappy night.

He
carefully inched his way to side of the bridge and started to suck down
another cancer stick. What the hell was he gonna do? He could oil her.
Drive to a supermarket or something, get an industrial size bucket of
butter and lather the porcine bitch up. Nah, too much work. He was
gonna have to hang with it, put all he had into hoisting her out of the
damn trunk. Fuck it. If he got a hernia, he’d just have to deal with
it. He knew the more time he waited, the longer it would take. Dirk
flipped the dead cigarette over the bridge and watched it land on a
pile of rocks below. The river water swayed back and forth, slowly
rolling over the discarded cigarette and taking it back into its depths.

Dirk went back to work.

He
took hold of her thick leg, grasping it like a baseball bat. Dirk
leaned back, struggling with her clammy flesh. All the air was sucked
out of his gasping body as Mia’s corpse slowly inched its way from the
trunk. With Hercules-like strength, Dirk gave a final pull, extracting
Mia from the car as a tremendous POP signified her birth from the metal
coffin.

 She was on the ground; her full moon ass facing the
stars above. Dirk fell backwards, resting on the bridge railing, seeped
of energy. How the hell was he gonna get her over the side? Short
breaths started to bubble up from his chest and his head started to
swim dizzily. Dirk decided that, once he left this fucking place, he
was also gonna stop smoking. Yeah, really start life anew.

Suddenly, a low groan emerged from Mia’s body.

Dirk held his breath, trying to listen.

Gurgling
sounds started to emerge from the fathoms of Mia’s wide throat. Slowly,
her gelatinous frame began to prop itself up. Like lightning, her eyes
popped wide. Bloodshot and teary, they hazily focused on Dirk. Mia’s
mouth inched open, spewing forth inhuman, wet gargles.

The bitch wasn’t dead.

Dirk
clumsily reached for his gun as Mia hurled towards him. She was full of
bullet holes, caked-over with blood that had dried black, stinking like
a bloated corpse. Dirk regretted not taking a head shot, but Christ,
four bullets always worked before!

Mia smashed into Dirk’s body before he could aim. Then, everything went black.

Dirk
woke up, but he didn’t open his eyes. He just listened. Listened to the
river as it moved back and forth, listened to the birds chirping in the
trees, listened to the short, staccato breaths that barely sprung from
his lungs and listened to the guttural moans that lay above him. Dirk
reluctantly pried his eyes open.

Mia was on top of him. She
slipped in and out of consciousness, her head hovering over Dirk’s
face. Mia jostled awake every few seconds, groaning and moaning like an
injured cow, then fell back into her void. Puke particles and gobs of
spit trickled out of her gaping maw; slowly dripping into Dirk’s
panting mouth. The son-of-a-bitch couldn’t move. All he could do was
try to blow the offensive juices from his face.

Dirk tried to
lift his head, but it wasn’t working. He could feel a stickiness around
his neck, the bitter wind rubbing against it. He could see the sky, the
bridge above him. How far had they fallen? Dirk focused on his wounded
hand, but all the pain was gone. He mentally forced his legs to do
something. They didn’t listen to his thoughts. Nothing worked anymore.
He couldn’t even feel Mia’s body on top of his. Dirk licked his lips
and attempted to form words. Not enough air left. All he could do was
pant like a weary dog.

 The wind whistled and a sharp pain formed
around Dirk’s neck. Finally, he felt something. That’s when he spotted
one of his friends.

The coyote was across from him, its snout
sucking up all the blood and puke. Another groan, this one milder and
softer, came out of Mia. Dirk closed his eyes and listened in the
darkness. He listened to the river, to the birds and to the footsteps
of the coyote as it got closer.

THE END



Gabriel Garza is a recent grad from UC Santa Barbara where he studied film. He now lives and works in San Diego.




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