Monthly Archives: January 2016

#31ZombieAuthors – Day 23 Interview – Peter Cawdron – Outsmarting Zombies

G’day mates. BQB here with a reblog of an interview I had with Peter Cawdron, a zombie author from down under.

Peter talked about his favorite authors, his books, and convinced me to stop being so paranoid about Alien Jones.

Bookshelf Battle

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FIND THIS ZOMBIE AUTHOR ON:

Amazon        Website      Twitter

My guest today is Peter Cawdron, who comes from the land down under.  I don’t have to pay the Men At Work a royalty for saying that because Peter is an honest to God Australian zombie enthusiast.

Peter’s the author of the Z is for Zombie series of books which include What We Left Behind and All Our Tomorrows.  These books tell the story of teenager Hazel, who in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, searches for Steve, David, and Jane, the only people who ever understood her.

An avid fan of such classic science fiction writers as Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke and Michael Crichton, Peter is also a prolific science fiction author in his own right.

I wonder if there’s an extra charge to call Australia?  Aw screw it, the bill…

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Movie Review – Straight Outta Compton (2015)

You are about to witness the strength of SPOILER knowledge.

Straight outta East Randomtown, crazy blogger named BQB.

I write all the time but only 3.5 people ever read me.

BQB here with a review of the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton.

Oh, just an FYI – this trailer has butts in it.  In fact, this movie has a lot of butts in it because these guys partied hard.  So don’t watch the trailer or the movie it if you don’t like or are offended by butts.

Rap.  It’s been around since the 1970’s.  But there was a time when the most controversial lyrics came from the Sugar Hill Gang complaining about having to pretend the food at your friend’s house is good even though it makes you want to reach for a bottle of Kaopectate.

That all changed in the mid 1980s when a group of friends got together to form NWA.  If you’re not in the know, I’ll let you figure out what the N stands for on your own.

Our tale begins in 1986 with Dr. Dre getting lectured by his mother that he has to quit being a DJ and get a job to support his son.  Meanwhile, O’Shea Jackson aka Ice Cube scribbles lyrics in a notebook on the school bus.  Eric Wright aka Easy E starts out as a heavy duty gangster, participating in serious drug deals.

I’ll let you watch rather than spill the details, but long story short, these three (not to be rude but other than Dre, Easy E, Ice Cube and MC Ren I have a tendency to forget the names of the other NWA members) end up with some studio time.  They encourage Easy E, who has never rapped before, to give his rendition of Ice Cube’s Boyz In Da Hood and the rest is history.

But their road to stardom is rocky.  There’s the logistical problem.  They’re openly swearing and talking about sex, drugs, and violence and that wasn’t exactly a surefire way to get what every aspiring musician needs – radio airplay.

Then there’s the political problems.  They have a song called F$%k the Police which as you can imagine, doesn’t make the police very happy.  On top of that, people aren’t happy about the idea of young people listening to music about sex, drugs, violence etc.

But somehow against all the odds they hit the big time.  They find an unlikely ally in Jerry Heller, a music business manager who represented a lot of acts in the 1960s but didn’t inspire much confidence in the 1990s.  The boys call him Mr. Furley (the bumbling old landlord from Three’s Company).

I won’t give too much away but suffice to say, disputes over money break the buddies apart.  Dr. Dre and Ice Cube go out on their own.  Fighting ensues, sometimes hilariously in the form of “diss songs” filled with lyrics in which NWA and Ice Cube trash each other, at other times tragically as violence ensues.

One criticism levied at the film by movie reviewers has been that the film might paint NWA in too good a light, that maybe they left some disturbing things on the cutting room floor, Dr. Dre’s physical attack on a female reporter, for example.

Then again, the film is pretty open about a lot of negative things, some of the most memorable:

  •  Easy E is shown taking part in a drug deal turned violent.
  • Dr. Dre, who left NWA to work with Suge Knight, goes out on his own again when he witnesses Suge using an attack dog to scare a man into hiding under a table in his underwear.
  • Ice Cube takes a baseball bat to the office of a record executive who he feels has not given him his due.
  • A dude comes to the boys’ hotel room looking for trouble.  Easy E pulls a gun on him.  The gun is so elaborate with a scope and various attachments that it looks like it belongs on a battlefield instead of in the hands of a rapper.

Could troubling aspects of their past been left out?  Maybe, but perhaps that was only because they only had two hours to fit in all the disturbing stuff they did put in.

It’s well produced, acted, directed, a good story worth a rental.

Are they heroes who promoted free speech or outlaws who cashed in on dirty lyrics, opening up the floodgates for artists to focus less on the art and more on being controversial?

You be the judge.  I have mixed feelings.  I don’t really want to “F$%k the Police.”  But I also enjoy a good beat.

All I know is I’m getting old.  Doesn’t seem like it was long ago that these guys and their proteges were on the radio all the time.  Actors playing Snoop Dogg and Tupac stop by.

Millennials, you’ll know when you’re old when the Justin Bieber Story comes out.

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How the West Was ZOMBED – Chapter 10

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High atop the town’s rickety old water tower, a massive, hairy, hulking beast observed Slade as he dozed. Black fur, dagger-like claws, a snout full of razor sharp teeth. Even at rest, the eight-foot tall creature’s breath was hot, even steamy.

The legends are true. Werewolves have lived amongst humanity for ages, blending in as humans when they can, hiding in the shadows in their alternative form when they’re unable to keep their inner beast at bay.

This one seemed rather interested in the church, having surveyed the property for several minutes. A half mile away in the distance, he saw a pair of red eyes similar to his own emerge above the courthouse. The being they were attached to drew closer, leaping from rooftop to rooftop until it too found a spot on the water tower to lay low.

What is the deadliest power a werewolf has in its personal arsenal? Its unmatched strength? Explosive temper? Incomprehensible speed?

All of these factors are palpable but many would argue that telepathic communication is what makes werewolves truly terrifying. Known to hunt in packs, they can sneak up right behind their prey and openly discuss their plans of attack inside their minds without making a sound.

“Is this the place, Pa?” the newly arrived werewolf asked.

“Yes.”

“Doesn’t look like much.”

“A job’s a job, Miles.”

Miles wasn’t quite as large as his father, but he was still menacing and formidable. Gracefully, he and his father leaped from the tower and landed on their feet on the ground below. Almost in defiance of basic laws of physics, they barely made a sound.

“They’ll never accept us here,” Miles said.

“That’s up to you, son,” Pa replied. “Control the beast and maybe we can stop moving and settle down for a change.”

Pa carried a small pack on his back. He bit the shoulder strap with his teeth, werewolf hands being much too large to manipulate human objects. Opening his mouth allowed the pack to fall to the ground.

“That’s not what I meant,” Miles said.

Father and son morphed into human form. Pa was in his forties, strong and tall with a little bit of salt mixed into his peppery hair. Miles was fifteen. About six inches shy of six feet, he looked like he would have to get soaking wet to weight a hundred pounds. His ribs could have been played like a xylophone.

Underneath the water tower, the two very naked black men carried on their conversation. In human form, they weren’t able to communicate telepathically, so they used their mouths, as people have been known to do from time to time.

“I meant they’ll never be able to accept, ‘us.’”

To Miles, the older man was Pa. To the rest of the world, he was Joe. Joe Freeman. Joe rummaged through the pack, handed his son a pair of pants, then found his own and pulled them on.

“Well, that’s a bird of a very different feather, I reckon,” Joe said.

“Can’t we just live in the wild?” Miles asked.

“You can when you’re older if you want,” Joe replied. “Me, I’d rather have a bed to sleep on and a hot meal once in awhile.”

Miles buttoned up his shirt. “No one treats you like shit in the wild.”

Joe put his hat on. “I suppose not. But you know as bad as it is for black folk now, it’s a tiny bit better today than it was when I was your age.”

“So?” Miles asked.

Joe pulled on his boots. “So Lincoln made a law to set us free but there’s no law that can make people not treat us like shit,” Joe explained. “I was born a slave. You were born free. I doubt you or I will see it in our lifetimes but I like to think that one day someone in our line will become a successful, well-to-do man about town.”

“Yeah,” Miles said. “Keep dreaming.”

“Dreaming keeps me going,” Joe said. “It’ll take a long time. Maybe forever. But I hope if we keep going about our business and standing up for ourselves, one day folks won’t even care what skin color people are.”

Miles took a seat on the ground. He grabbed a stick and doodled pictures in the dirt.

“And fairies will sing, and unicorns will dance, and leprechauns will give us all pots of gold…”

“Oh Miles,” Joe said as he laid down on the ground. “You’re way too young to be this cynical. If you want to live on the range and chase rabbits like an animal when you’re grown I won’t stop you, but if you ask me, us removing ourselves from all the opportunities of the world is what the bad men of the world want us to do.”

Miles paused to admire a rudimentary castle he drew. “So what? We take the shit…”

With his eyes shut, Joe kept walking. “And your kid will take shit…and his kid will take shit…and all the kids going on down the line will take a lot of shit but…”

“What?” Miles asked.

“Someday a Freeman will do something big that will make all the shit worthwhile,” Joe said.

Miles traced the outline of a little knight just outside the castle wall. “And if that never happens?”

Joe became annoyed that his sleep was being disturbed. “I don’t know. Then we’re all shit out of luck. Go to sleep, will you?”

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#OscarsSoPretty – Snubbed Actor – Geoffrey Arend

Hey 3.5 readers.

Bookshelf Q. Battler here with continuing coverage of my one man campaign to get the Academy to welcome more ugly people into the fold.

I’ve been tweeting my support for various ugly actors who I feel have been passed over for Oscar consideration just because of their looks.  I’m not sure they appreciate it.  They probably think I’m calling them ugly like its a bad thing.  There’s nothing wrong with being ugly.  Embrace how God made you, I say.

Anyway, I had a brief Twitter conversation with Geoffrey Arend.

WHO?!

Yeah, when I started thinking of less than handsome thespians to tweet my support for, “That nerdy guy who is married to Christina Hendricks” came to mind but I couldn’t recall his name, even though he’s starred in a lot of stuff and you’d totally recognize him if you saw him.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not knocking the guy in any way whatsoever.  He’s been my hero forever on account of the fact that, let me repeat, a) even though he’s a nerd b) he married Christina Hendricks.

Christina Hendricks played super 1960’s hottie Joan on Mad Men for those readers who aren’t hip to the TV scene.

So, let me be clear, no one should take what Geoffrey says below as support for the #OscarsSoPretty movement, which to date, only really consists of me.  I don’t want to put words in the guy’s mouth or anything.

He’s a cool dude who was a good sport and traded funny, snarky comments with me.  Since this is a blog for nerds, I wanted to ask his advice on how nerds can romance and marry super hot chicks, but I figured that would probably be pressing my luck.

But all you lonely nerds out there, cheer up, for it is possible.  Just look to Geoffrey Arend for hope and inspiration.

Much appreciated, Mr. Arend.  Readers, you might remember this actor from Devil or Garden State. Currently, you can see him as Matt Mahoney on CBS’ Madam Secretary.

Personally, my favorite role of his was as that stoned kid who ate all the shrooms in Super Troopers.

 

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How the West Was ZOMBED – Chapter 9

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Highwater didn’t have much in the way of large public buildings, but the Reverend Cavanagh allowed his church to serve as a makeshift jailhouse whenever Slade and Gunther had too many yahoos in custody for the cage in the Marshal’s office to hold.

The Buchanan Boys were arranged six per pew, their legs clapped in irons, each man chained to the one next to him. It wasn’t exactly conducive to good shuteye.

“Now boys,” Gunther said. “Let’s go over the rules.”

Jefferson Knox was a good old boy Gunther knew from way back. A fellow veteran. He had a scar across his right cheek courtesy of a Confederate bayonet. Those were dark times indeed. The American Civil War led to an internal neighbor against neighbor struggle in Missouri. Some, like Gunther and Knox, chose the North. Others chose the South. Fifteen years had gone a long way to heal the statewide wounds, but they weren’t fully closed. Bad blood remained.  Hard feelings festered.  Animosity on a scale that grand  doesn’t go away overnight, let alone a decade or two.

Knox held a double barreled shotgun. He and his mop topped sons, a duo in their early twenties who thankfully got their looks from their mother, had been sworn in as special deputies. Cole was a bit taller and muscular. George was lanky, but it was nothing that a few push-ups couldn’t have fixed. They were each packing pistols, though they’d never used them on anything other than forest animals before.

Like everyone else in town, these three didn’t lift a finger to help Slade in his time of need, but Gunther figured it was better to hire them than Waldo, Townsend, and Blake. At least the Knox family was kind enough to keep their dissent to themselves.

“The first rule is we’re in charge and if you do somethin’ we don’t like, you’ll get shot,” Gunther said as he walked down the aisle, Winchester in hand. “Attemptin’ an escape? That’ll get you shot. Smugglin’ in contraband? That’ll get you shot.”

Gunther paused next to Smelly Jack, who felt a compelling need to ask, “What if I f$%k your mother?”

The deputy walked on, but not before introducing the butt of his rifle up against the side of Jack’s head. “Talkin’ out of turn? That’ll get you shot.”

The old timer joined the Knoxes at the front of the church, right next to the preacher’s pulpit.

“Boys,” Gunther said. “Really, when it comes right down to it, y’all should just assume that anything you might do or even think about doin’ will mostly likely get you shot. Any questions?”

Jeb Buchanan, Jack’s brother-cousin on his father’s side, raised his hand. “What if I…”

“It’ll get you shot,” Gunther said. No need to hear the question.

Unbeknownst to his underlings, Slade had returned from his appointment with Miss Bonnie and was watching through the front door. Convinced his men had the hoodlums under control, the Marshal took a seat in a rocking chair on the front porch. He shifted his hat over his eyes and settled down for the night.

A triumph over the Buchanan Boys. A rejection from Miss Bonnie. Though it’d been a long day, the rest he needed eluded him.

Something was off. He don’t know exactly what it was, but he just had a hunch. A fit of intuition. A feeling…like he was being watched.

“ARRR….ARRR….ARRRRRWHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!”

Slade jumped up and drew his weapon. He looked around. Nothing. He holstered his Colt and returned to his attempt at slumber.

“Damn coyotes,” he mumbled.

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#OscarsSoPretty – Snubbed Actor – John C. Reilly

John C. Reilly.  Damn, that guy looks like a caveman.  And do you know he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the 2003 Academy Awards?

“OH BQB THEN THERE IS NO ANTI-UGLY BIAS, A GUY THAT LOOKS LIKE A CAVEMAN GOT A NOMINATION!”

Sure, he got a nomination, but only because he pulled off the exceptional hat trick of starring in not one, not two, but three of the movies that were nominated for best picture that year – Chicago, Gangs of New York, and The Hours.

The Academy was probably all like, “Well we better nominate this caveman looking bastard or else our pro-attractive person bias will be exposed when people start asking why a guy who starred in three of the best pictures of the year didn’t get nominated.”

Naturally, he didn’t win.  Chris Cooper won for his role as John LaRoche in Adaptation. 

WELL THERE YOU GO, BQB.  CHRIS COOPER IS SO UGLY.

I saw Adaptation a long time ago. I remember it was very funny and witty but other than that I don’t remember much else. I don’t remember if LaRoche was good or bad or what he did in the movie.

BUT generally speaking, Chris Cooper built his career on playing bad guys and Hollywood is always happy to cast ugly people as villains, thus perpetuating the stereotype that all ugly people are secretly villains and everyone should run away screaming and flailing their arms wildly in the air whenever they see an ugly person.

What I’d really like to see is an ugly person nominated for playing a really nice person, like a beloved father or mother figure, or a respected leader or an astronaut or something.

Ugly kids really need to be made to believe that they have options in life and that their only career options are to become the sassy assistant to a romantic comedy style woman with romantic problems or….dun dun dun…a super villain.

John C. Reilly.  He’s played bad guys.  He’s played good guys.  He’s played dumb guys.  John C. Reilly needs to win an Oscar so that modern day cavemen and cavewomen have a role model they can look up to…from their caves.

 

 

 

 

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How the West Was ZOMBED – Chapter 8

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“EVERYBODY HATES ME!!!”

The rasp in his voice disappeared, the scowl lifted, his tongue was no longer tied and the words flowed out of Slade’s mouth like the choppy waters of a roaring river. As if that weren’t bad enough, the lawman’s face was covered with snot and tears.

“Shhh baby,” Miss Bonnie said softly as she stroked her fingers through Slade’s luscious brown hair. “I got you. Hush that fool talk now, no one hates you.”

Yup. Men have needs and sometimes one of them is the shoulder of a good woman to cry on, or in this case, an ample bosom to cry into. Why? What did you readers think Slade needed?

Perverts.

“YEPH DEY DOOTH!” Slade’s voice was muffled by Miss Bonnie’s copious assets. He turned his head to the side for purposes of pronunciation and better air inhalation.

“Who?” Miss Bonnie asked. “Who hates you?”

Somehow in a town filled with nosey gossips, Slade and Miss Bonnie had managed to keep their arrangement secret for six whole months. Once a week, Slade would head up to Miss Bonnie’s room, plunk down her full fee, and then unload all of his burdens.

They never did anything beyond that. Miss Bonnie wasn’t against the idea but Slade didn’t think it proper. So the pair would just lie in bed, Slade taking a break from his tough guy persona while Miss Bonnie played the role of a discount head shrinker.

“Gunther.”

“What?” Miss Bonnie asked. “He does not hate you!”

“He doesn’t believe in me I know that much.”

“And what makes you think that?” Miss Bonnie asked as she took Slade’s hand and interlocked her fingers between his.

Slade sniffed and blew his nose into a hanky. “He wanted to run. He didn’t think I could handle the Buchanan Boys on my own.”

“Well shit, Rain, there was thirty of them and only one of you!” Miss Bonnie said. “Maybe if you’d of told him your plan. Don’t you think you should share these kinds of things with your deputy?”

“He second guesses me on everything,” Slade said. “He always tries to talk me out of whatever I want to do. I’m the boss! He should just do what I say and like it!”

Miss Bonnie rested her cheek on top of Slade’s head. “Oh honey. Bosses and employees bicker all the time. That’s natural.”

Another sniff. “It is?”

“Sure. Whenever I tell Waldo to water down the drinks he always gets all high and mighty with his, ‘I can’t lower my integrity just so you can save a buck’ routine but I always ask him ‘Are you going to pay for the extra liquor then?’ and sure enough, he shuts his trap and waters the hooch down.”

“So what the hell does that mean?” Slade asked.

“It means that the boss/employee relationship is give and take. You want your employees to feel like they’re free to tell you when they think you’re wrong because sometimes you might be wrong. Like that time Eleanor told me the girls didn’t want to entertain the circus folk. She was right. All those freaks had gangrenous peckers and the little money I would have made off them would have paled in comparison to the money I’d of lost if all the girls got sick for weeks after.”

“This…this is getting off topic.”

Slade rolled over on his stomach and Miss Bonnie knew that was her cue to hop up on the Marshal’s back and give him a shoulder massage.

“Honey, if you think you’re right and you put your foot down, then a good employee will still back you up out of loyalty,” Miss Bonnie said. “Gunther stood up for you, didn’t he? You should have heard the way he was talking about you in here, like rainbows were popping out of your backside and all.”

“Really?” Slade asked.

“Really,” Miss Bonnie answered. “Holy…you’ve got a big knot here.”

The Marshall let out a sigh of relief as Miss Bonnie worked her magic.

“Standing Eagle definitely hates me,” Slade said. “No way around that.”

“That is a sad situation,” Miss Bonnie said. “But stop beating yourself up about it. Sure, maybe you could have explained yourself better but everyone makes mistakes.”

Miss Bonnie moved her hands lower and started working on the kinks in Slade’s back.

“Ohhh…yea,” Slade said. “Right there.”

“Here?” Miss Bonnie asked.

“Yessum.”

As far as Slade was concerned, kinky sex was all well and good when it came to relieving a man’s carnal desires, but when it came to his wounded soul, there was no better balm than a woman willing to rub a man’s back and listen to his litany of complaints without thinking less of him afterwards.

“I’ll tell you what,” Miss Bonnie said. “You give the Injuns a few days to cool off then after the judge gives his verdict, I’m going to make the biggest, yummiest cake ever and you’re going to ride on out to the Injun lands, give the cake to the Chief and invite the whole tribe to come watch those Buchanan Boys twist in the wind.”

Miss Bonnie stopped the rubdown when she heard a snicker.

“What?”

“You?” Slade asked. “Bake a cake?”

The madame slapped a light one upside the back of Slade’s head. “Shut your mouth! I can so bake!”

The massage ended and the unlikely couple spooned. Miss Bonnie was the little spoon, though on occasion Slade had been known to take that position. He would have surely committed hare kare had any of his numerous enemies ever found out.

“I can see it now,” Slade said. “The Chief takes one bite then pulls out his tomahawk and scalps me.”

“Rainer Slade! You take that back! I’ll have you know I’m very handy in the kitchen.”

“Uh huh,” Slade said.

“Fine,” Miss Bonnie said. “I’ll get one of the girls to make it. The point is just because people argue doesn’t mean they can’t make up. As soon as Smelly Jack’s six feet under Standing Eagle will talk to you again. You’ll see.”

“You know he said that if Jack doesn’t die I’ll wish I had died?”

“Well, that’s just plain rude,” Miss Bonnie said.

“And that the land will be useless for farming and everyones’ lives will be filled with torment and…oh! Get this…”

“What?” Miss Bonnie asked.

“He said that if Jack doesn’t die, then whenever anyone else dies they’ll…I forget how he put it…they’ll come back to life and start eating everyone for dinner or something.”

Miss Bonnie snuggled herself closer to Slade. “Injuns say the darnedest things.”

Briefly, as Slade nuzzled up to the all the red hair in front of his face, he allowed himself to be happy. But like most of the good times in his life, it was abruptly over.

WAM! A fist pounded on the door.

“Shit,” Miss Bonnie said. “Has it been an hour already?”

“Damn it,” Slade said.

More knocks, followed by the unceremonious voice of Roscoe Crandall, who returned for a second go-around.

“SLADE, YOU GONNA BE ALL NIGHT OR WHAT?!”

“Can we just tell him to get lost?” Slade asked. “I’ll pay for another hour.”

Miss Bonnie sat up. “No baby, that wouldn’t be fair.”

“COME ON, SLADE! OTHER PEOPLE ARE WAITIN’ FOR THE WHORE!”

Those words burned like acid in Slade’s ears. He put on his Stetson, then took his gun belt off the night stand, strapped it on, and pulled out his Colt.

“Stop it,” Miss Bonnie said.

“I ought to shoot him where he stands for calling you that,” Slade said.

Miss Bonnie took a seat at her vanity and primped herself in front of her mirror.

“It’s what I am,” she said. “People call you a Marshall because you get paid to catch crooks. People call me a whore because I let men have their way with me for money. There’s no shame in it except for what people attach to it. We all have to make a living somehow.”

Slade holstered his steel. Then, with his back to Miss Bonnie, he reached into his pocket and pulled out an old ring. It was a scratched and scuffed heirloom. Not much to look at. But it once belonged to his mother and he hoped it would do. He gulped, choking back the anxiety that rolled up his throat.

“Bonnie…”

Miss Bonnie was busy inserting a hair pin into her elaborate do when she stopped. The distinct lack of the word “Miss” stood out to her. She knew something was up.

“Yes?”

In his travels throughout the West, Slade had stared down the barrel of many a gun pointed his way and lived to tell the tale but somehow this endeavor proved more difficult than anything he’d ever done before.  For weeks, he practiced what was going to say but now that the moment arrived, it wasn’t any easier.

“What would you say if someone offered to take you away from all this?”

Miss Bonnie turned to her makeup, adding just a touch of rouge to her cheeks. She didn’t need much. They were naturally rosy.

“Away from what?” she asked.

“This place,” Slade said. “What you do. Who you do it with. All of it.”

Still facing the closed door, Slade heard Miss Bonnie scooch out of her chair, then felt her arm on his shoulder. Slade palmed the ring as his paid companion turned him around. She put one hand on each side of Slade’s face, pulled his head down, then kissed him on the lips.

Oh how Slade dreamed of that. He wanted it for so long but never tried for it on his own. Paying for company was ok in his book but paying for anything more intimate was out of the question for him.

“You are adorable,” Miss Bonnie said as she brushed her hand alongside Slade’s cheek. “But you ought to know better than to fall for a…”

“What?” Slade asked.

“WHORE???” Crandall shouted from outside. “WHAT KINDA PLACE YOU RUNNIN’ HERE MAKIN’ A MAN WAIT LIKE THIS?!”

Slade tightened his fist around the ring. The scowl returned. The vein in his forehead popped out again. He turned the knob with his left hand and opened the door to find Roscoe Crandall with his dopey toothless face and stringy hair.

“Finally!” Crandall said.

POW!

Like a cannon at the Battle of Gettysburg, Slade launched a clothesline punch that connected with Crandall’s jaw with a bone shattering crunch, knocking his lights out instantly and sending him down for the count.

The Marshall fished his cigar out of his pocket and returned it to its usual resting place in the right corner of his mouth. The rasp in his voice was back and he was Mr. Tough Guy once more.

He look over his shoulder to Miss Bonnie. “Do I owe you for his hour too?”

Inside Miss Bonnie’s heart brewed a perfect storm of emotion. A little bit of fear, mixed in with some joy, pride and…she thought maybe love? No, it was more than love.

It was butterflies.

Miss Bonnie’s face scrunched up. “No…I’ll just take it out of his pants later.”

Slade grunted his ascent, then tipped the brim of his hat at the lovely lady.

“Miss Bonnie.”

“Marshal.”

Miss Bonnie watched as Slade stepped over Crandall’s oily hide then made his way downstairs. She shut the door, locked it, then returned to her vanity. She couldn’t hold it back any longer. Her face unscrunched and a few tears started to roll.

Why would a madame, the owner of a brothel, sell her own body? That was a question that loomed large on the lips of Highwater’s gossipy gadflies. The general consensus was that Miss Bonnie did it because she was appallingly promiscuous, but then again, no one ever bothered to ask her why.

Had they done so, they would have learned that she was married once, to a man who presented himself as loving and kind only to eventually turn loathsome and cruel. One black eye too many convinced her to grab her husband’s revolver and respond to his challenge of, “You don’t got the guts” to empty every last round in his chest.

Seemed like a good idea in the heat of the moment but when her good sense returned, she snatched what little money her husband had stuffed under the mattress, fled Illinois for good, and earned her keep as a working girl until she managed to save enough to buy a place of her own.

As anyone who’s ever been down on their luck will attest, when good fortune returns, the mind doesn’t set itself at ease. Thoughts are never happy but rather, they become focused on how to never go back to the dark, dirt poor times of the past. She’d given up on men, forgotten all about love, and money was her only friend.

Money meant power. Money meant respect. Money meant never having to cow tow to another man ever again. As far as she was concerned, she was never able to get enough of it and while she was happy to take her cut from her girls’ earnings, she was even happier to take a full fee on her own.

Rainer Slade. No man had ever defended Miss Bonnie’s honor like that before. And while she was’t exactly a damsel in distress in search of a man’s protection, she did appreciate that someone cared enough to rearrange a scumbag’s face in her honor.

Poor Miss Bonnie. She sure had a lot to think about.

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How the West Was ZOMBED -Chapter 7

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Sundown was the busiest time to visit the Bonnie Lass. Men had needs and Miss Bonnie’s gals aimed to please. Like prize peacocks, they strutted their stuff around the saloon floor, adept in the art of separating lonely men from their money.

Most of those men were lonely for a reason. Ugly, mean, miserable, alcoholic slimeballs without a dime to their name and no accomplishments to speak of.

Of course, in any brothel, there’s the occasional man who isn’t so bad but just can’t get out of his own way when it comes to chatting up a member of the fairer sex.

Once in awhile, there’s even a man who, despite all the odds against him, charms the ladies into having a good time.

Doc was one of those men. A scotch in one hand and a cigar in the other, he sat in a comfy chair in a back corner. Martha and Annabelle sat in front of him, listening intently to every word Doc had to say. Jeanette, an import all the way from Paris, claimed Doc’s lap for herself.

“And so I said to the Queen, either you’re terribly ill, or you need to return these mangoes to your grocer immediately!!!”

The ladies lapped it up. “Oh Doctor,” Annabelle said. “You are too much!”

“What a life you’ve lived!” Martha added. “You really met Queen Victoria?”

“But of course, my dear, but of course!” Doc said, swirling his glass around. “A delightful woman I must say. She suffered from ghastly stomach cramps and not a single physician in London was able to properly diagnose her. Naturally, she sent for me, having heard of the yeoman’s work I did as personal physician to the Raj of India.”

Martha’s eyes lit up. “You’ve been to India? Get out!”

“I shall get it, madam!” Doc said. “The Raj.  What a fine fellow.  Oh, how I miss Calcutta.  The cuisine, the people, the festivities…oh! But I’ll tell you as wonderful as my time there was it pales in comparison to the wonders of the world I saw while I traveled throughout Africa with the Bushmen of the Kalahari.”

“My stars,” Annabelle said, clutching her hand over her heart. “What were they like?”

Doc puffed on his cigar. “Splendid gentlemen the lot of them. They had an aversion to trousers but in that heat, who can blame them really? Do you know that one day I spotted a hungry lion who was gazing upon one of the children as if he were a particularly tasty snack?”

“No!” Martha and Annabelle said together. Jeanette wasn’t much of a talker. She preferred to wiggle her hand between two open buttons in Doc’s shirt and play with the fast talker’s chest hair.

Doc closed his eyes. “Oh ladies, please, I’d rather not discuss it…”

“Please!” Martha begged.

“No, no, you’ll think me a blowhard when all I did was what any man in my position would have done.”

“Land sakes alive, Doc!” Annabelle said. “Now we gotta know!”

“Oh, if you insist!” Doc said. “I socked the unruly beast in the nose, strangled it to death with my bare hands and now its gruesome head adorns the wall of my family’s summer cottage in Nantucket. The tribe was so pleased that they made me an honorary Bushman of the Kalahari!”

“They did?” Annabelle asked.

“Indeed, and between you and I, my dear…”

Doc paused for a moment then leaned in to revel in the transfixed look on Annabelle’s eyes. “…I’m well versed in the ways of the bush.

Annabelle pondered that statement for a second, then covered her mouth and playfully slapped Doc’s arm. “You’re terrible!”

“I know my dear!” Doc said as he took a sip of scotch. “I’m so very, very wicked!!!”

More laughter. Meanwhile, the spirits of the three sad sacks at the bar weren’t as high as the good doctor’s.

“I will never trust a man that breaks bread with Injuns, no way, no how!” Blake said, nursing his beer.

“I don’t like it,” Burt said. “Something’s fishy about the whole thing.’

“Aww hell, we all look like cowards now,” Waldo said. “You know, I bet that’s why Slade recruited them Injuns to help him in the first place! Just to make us look bad.”

Miss Bonnie, all dolled up in red can can dress, bellied up to the bar.

“Jesus H. Christ, the three of you put together don’t have enough brain power to warm up a biscuit. The only reason why the Marshall reached out to those Injuns was because none of you would lift a finger to help him and don’t you forget it.”

Bottle crack. Chair smash. The first rigged card game related fight of the evening.

Ernie Gunderson swore he saw a spare King of Hearts drop out of Mitch O’Connell’s sleeve, but Mitch steadfastly maintained his innocence with an uppercut to Mitch’s jaw. Tim Shea, never one to miss out on a good fight, lifted his bottle high in the air and was about to bring it down on the first head he could find when a perfectly placed shot shattered it into pieces.

The chaos stopped and all eyes were on Miss Bonnie, who was now holding a smoking derringer. In her rebuke to the crowd, she started out slowly, then built her way up to an ear splitting crescendo.

“Do you think…that it would be too much to ask…that you…ASSHOLES…LEARN HOW TO PLAY WITH YOURSELVES…WITHOUT TEARING THE PLACE APART FOR ONE GODDAMN NIGHT?!”

Hats were off and heads hung low. The collective response? “Sorry Miss Bonnie.”

The proprietor tucked her piece back into her garter belt. The degenerates returned to normal, or, as normal as they got.

Doc, upon hearing the shot, had ducked for cover and sent Jeanette crashing to the floor in the process.  He stood up and dusted himself off.

“Pardon me, ladies,” he said. “Reflex action, you see from…from…”

The ladies waited for an answer.

“From my days in the service of President Lincoln! Yes, that was it exactly!”

“You?!” Martha asked. “Worked for Lincoln?”

Doc grabbed his forehead as if he was suffering from an traumatic mental burden.

“Oh, yes…yes, my dear I was the President’s Chief Medical Advisor but please don’t ask me to relive that tragic day. I swear I pummeled John Wilkes Booth within an inch of his life but his six henchmen overpowered me.  Oh, how I pray that one day I shall be able to forgive myself.”

“Booth had henchmen with him?” Annabelle asked. “I never knew that!”

“Oh my dear,” Doc said as he wrapped an arm around Annabelle. “There are so many things about this world that the powers that be keep from you that if I were to tell you half of them your faith in humanity would be shaken to its very core.”

“Gosh,” Annabelle said. Martha, not to be outdone, took Doc’s other arm.

Jeanette finally woke up. “Sacre bleu!”

“Ladies,” Doc said.  “I don’t mean to intrude, but have you ever been properly examined by a Harvard trained professional?”

“I can’t say that I have,” Martha said.

“Me neither,” Annabelle added.

“Come then,” Doc said as he led the trio upstairs. “Let us retire to more comfortable quarters for I’ll have you know I am a master of the gynecological arts and when it comes to your health and well being I will leave nothing to chance!”

“Oh my,” Martha said. “This sounds serious.”

“Medical matters are always serious,” Doc said. “But don’t worry, my dear, I’ll give the three of you a discount rate for my services.”

“That’s mighty generous of you doctor,” Annabelle said.

“I know,” Doc replied. “I truly am devoted to my patients.”

Martha pulled a roll of bills out of her brasserie and handed it over to the physician.

“Will this be enough?”

“Hmm,” Doc said. “It’s a good start and you have an honest face. I’ll just bill you for the rest my dear.”

“Oh thank goodness,” Martha said.

“Trou du cul,” Jeanette said, rubbing the sore spot on the back of her head from when Doc dropped her on the floor.

Back at the bar, Miss Bonnie was pouring over a wad of cash, counting up the evening’s haul. It was a good one, as per usual.

The double doors parted ways and in walked Slade.

Yup. The joint was filled with men with needs and even the fine, upstanding Marshall wasn’t any different. As our hero and Miss Bonnie traded glances, it became clear that one thing and one thing only was on the Marshall’s mind.

Miss Bonnie had something that Slade desperately needed and he wasn’t going to leave without it.

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How the West Was Zombed – Part 1 – The Showdown

Howdy 3.5 Cowpokes,

Here’s the first part. I reckon y’all might not have had a chance to sit a spell and give it a gander.

Please help me make this novel all it can be as the Mighty Potentate is breathin’ down my neck to get a book published somethin’ fierce.

– BQB

Bookshelf Battle

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U.S. Marshall Rainier Slade and his trusty deputy Gunther Beauregard are joined by traveling snake oil salesman Doctor Elias T. “Doc” Faraday in a stand against the nefarious Buchanan Boys.

Strap on your chaps and get ready to ride back to the Old West, 3.5 pardnahs.  This here’s the first part in an ongoing novel sure to appease the Mighty Potentate.

Chapter 1             Chapter 2         Chapter 3

Chapter 4            Chapter 5          Chapter 6

TRIVIA: By now, Old West movie buffs may have figured out which actor Slade is a parody of.  Feel free to share if you caught it.

Any idea who BQB had in mind when he created Gunther?  HINT: think TV instead of movies.

Oh, and if you’re one of them cowpokes who prefers a…

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Zombie Western – A Note

Hello 3.5 readers.

Please be advised that Highwater has been moved from Kansas to Missouri due to an anticipated scene that involves the Mississippi River.

By the way, did I mention that How the West Was ZOMBED is #352 in Wattpad Horror?

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If you’re a wattpadder, your comments and votes will help drive it up the charts, and any feedback or suggestions you may provide will help me improve this zombtastic experience.

Much obliged, 3.5 cowpokes.

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