Daily Archives: October 30, 2016

Remember the Zombamo – Chapter 7

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Rosanna sat on the hardwood floor, weeping and wailing as she snuggled with her babes. Three year old Charlie slept on the floor with his head resting on his mother’s lap. Susan, a tiny infant, was bundled up in her mothers arms. Both children slept soundly.

The door creaked as Travis entered the room. He sat on the floor opposite his wife. A flickering candle stuck in a holder sat on the floor between them.

Travis waited for the crying to subside.

“Father was right,” Rosanna said. “I’ve married a charlatan.”

“Darling, please,” Travis replied.

“A fraudulent reprobate,” Rosanna said.

“Rosanna…”

“A lowlife debtor!”

“Sweetheart, please,” Travis said. “As a well-read man I assure you that you mean none of these statements and they are just the product of your weak feminine mind.”

The tears stopped. Rosanna’s blue eyes lit up. “My weak feminine mind?”

“The female brain is not as advanced as the male brain, my dear,” Travis said. “All the scientific treatises I have read say so. You can’t argue with science.”

“So, what?” Rosanna said. “Our home isn’t getting foreclosed on? All these people who have been ransacking our house all day and buying everything we own…I just imagined all of this?”

“No,” Travis said. “But there’s no reason to be emotional.”

“Emotional?” Rosanna said. “We don’t have a pot to piss in!”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Travis said. “I’m sure they left us a pot to piss in.”

On cue, two voices traveled into the room from the other side of the house.

“Thanks for selling this pot to piss in, sheriff,” a random man said. “Sure can’t wait to piss in it.”

“No problem,” the sheriff replied. “Piss in that pot in good health.”

Rosanna shot her husband an angry look, as if to communicate, “See?”

“There will be other pots,” Travis said.

Rosanna frowned. “Now the children and I have to move back in with father. He despised you so vigorously.”

“I know,” Travis said. “I recall the toast he gave at our wedding in which he wished for my death. It was charming in an odd way.”

“Father will tell me that he told me so about you all day long,” Rosanna said. “He will be positively insufferable.”

Travis scooched closer to his wife and stroked his son’s hair.

“I still love you though, William,” Rosanna said. “I shall pray for you every day as you rot to death in debtor’s prison.”

“Darling,” Travis said. “That’s what I have come to talk to you about. You will not have to live with your terrible father forever…and I will not spend a day in prison.”

“I don’t like the sound of this,” Rosanna said. “Whenever you get one of your bright ideas it inevitably makes things worse.”

Travis wrapped his arm around his wife. “I haven’t much time so please listen. Now, I realized about a year ago that my financial woes would inevitably get the best of me.”

“Yet you continued to print your foolish paper,” Rosanna lamented. “Absolutely no one read it, you know.”

“So I’ve heard,” Travis said. “Moving on, a year ago I struck up a correspondence with Sam Houston.”

“The drunken adulterer?” Rosanna asked.

“What?” Travis asked. “No, the former governor of Tennessee and current General of the Texan Army.”

“I’ve heard he is a drunken adulterer,” Rosanna said.

“All politicians are drunken adulterers, darling,” Travis said. “Do try to keep up.”

“Sorry,” Rosanna said.

“General Houston has commissioned me as an officer in his Army,” Travis said.

Rosanna giggled. “You’ve never fought a day in your life. What are you, a corporal?”

“A colonel,” Travis said.

“Jesus H. Christ,” Rosanna said. “They must be really hard up.”

“Pardon?” Travis asked.

“That’s really nice,” Rosanna said. “Best of luck.”

“Thank you,” Travis said.

“When do we leave?” Rosanna asked.

Travis looked down at the floor.

“William?” Rosanna asked.

“Darling,” Travis said. “This is a very precarious situation. Tomorrow morning I’ll be considered a fugitive from justice in America. I’ll have to ride like the wind to keep the law from catching up with me. Plus, Texas is in a very precarious position right now. President Santa Anna has proven to be quite the dictator and there’s talk of rebellion. I can’t risk bringing you and the children with me now.”

Rosanna sighed. “Why couldn’t you have been a simple farmer?”

Travis returned his wife’s sigh with one of his own. “Because life is absurdly short, dearest. A man who does not spend every day striving for greatness has wasted his life.”

“The children and I are a waste?” Rosanna asked.

Travis squeezed his wife closer. “That’s your weak female mind talking again.”

Rosanna shook her head.

“Judge Harlow was harsh when he reprimanded me,” Travis said. “But I have realized he is right. I will never again take a short cut to greatness. I will earn it every step of the way as an Army man, through the sweat of my brow and the fruit of my labor and…”

“You’re going to die,” Rosanna said.

“Pardon?” Travis asked.

“You’re not cut out to be in any kind of army,” Rosanna said. “That life will kill you, one way or the other.”

Travis scoffed. “You fail to see what a great opportunity this is. How many people get the chance to take part in building a new country? Why, one day, years from now, you’ll…”

“…be looking down on your grave,” Rosanna said.

“I was going to say that you’ll be the wife of a great Texan statesman and you’ll look back on this time and laugh,” Travis said. “Why does no one believe in me?”

Rosanna kissed her husband on the lips. “Its not that we don’t believe in you. Its that you want too much and we don’t believe the world can provide it.”

Travis returned his wife’s kiss, then kissed his two sleeping children.

“This will all pass,” Travis said. “We will all be together again, but tonight I will take my leave. Rosanna, what I’m about to say is very important.”

Rosanna listened intently.

“When the sheriff comes looking for me tomorrow,” Travis said. “You must not let on that you know that I ran. All that you need tell him is that I was here when you went to sleep and when you woke up, I was gone. Understood?”

“Understood,” Rosanna said.

The door creaked as the sheriff stepped into the room. “Alright Travis, you deadbeat sack of shit, let’s go.”

“What?” Travis asked.

“I’ve sold all your shit and you’re still broke so it’s off to the hoosegow you go,” the sherrif said.

“Sir,” Travis replied. “Few are lucky enough to posses a legal mind as well versed as mine so I won’t think less of you for your ignorance, but you are incorrect. Judge Harlow said my time would not be up until tomorrow.”

“Its an hour till midnight,” the sheriff said. “Close enough. Move your ass.”

“Sir,” Travis said. “I will further point out that the judge said I will be arrested tomorrow when he has issued a warrant.”

“He will,” the sheriff said. “Don’t you worry about that.”

“Yes, but,” Travis said. “Until he actually issues the arrest warrant, I’m a free man.”

“Travis,” the sheriff said. “I am in no mood for your fancy mumbo jumbo.”

“And I’m in no mood to have my rights violated, sir,” Travis said. “Should you arrest me without a proper warrant then you will leave me with no choice but to file an extensive lawsuit demanding satisfaction from you in the form of financial payment.”

“Huh?” the sheriff said as he scratched his head.

“I’ll take all your money,” Travis said.

The sheriff rested his hand on the butt of the gun holstered on his hip, then grumbled.

“Fuck it,” the sheriff said as he took his hand off his gun. “Enjoy your last night as a free man, peckerwood. Hug your kids. Pork your woman. I’ll be back bright and early tomorrow morning with the judge’s warrant in hand.”

“I wouldn’t expect anything less,” Travis said.

The sheriff stepped out into the hallway, then poked his head back into the room one last time.

“And Travis?”

“Yes?”

“You make me chase you and you’re a dead man.”

Travis nodded. The chubby sherrif waddled out of the house and slammed the front door behind him.

“OK,” Rosanna said. “I’ll give it to you. That was impressive. You finally impressed me with your fancy book learning.”

Travis smiled. “Now imagine how many people I could impress if they’d just start believing in me for a change.”

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Remember the Zombamo – Chapter 6

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Three months passed and on the eve of Judge Harlow’s deadline, Travis found himself powerless to stop the rotund Sheriff Jethro Pickett from selling all his worldly possessions.

Strangers, townsfolk, and even Travis’ neighbors stood in line holding candle sticks, silverware, jewelry, and other assorted knick knacks and gee gaws. They all waited patiently as the sheriff accepted pennies on the dollar for every last bit of the young man’s life.

“I’ll give you a cool nickel for this picture frame, sheriff,” an old woman said.

“Wait,” Travis said. “Can I at least take the sketch of my dear Uncle Edward out of the frame, first?”

The sheriff looked to the old woman. She shook her head. “No deal.”

“No deal?” Travis asked.

“No deal,” the old gal repeated.

“You heard the lady, Travis,” the sheriff barked. “No deal.”

“But that’s my uncle,” Travis said. “What value could a sketch of someone not related to you have for you?”

The old lady shrugged her shoulders. “I get lonely. I’d like to pretend that he’s my uncle.”

Travis rolled his eyes.

“Stop interfering, deadbeat,” the sheriff said. “If its in this house then its for sale. That’s the law and there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.”

Travis raised his hand to get the sheriff’s attention. “But…”

“No buts!” the sheriff hollered.

Forlorn and defeated, Travis retreated to a corner of the room and watched his home get sold off piece by piece.

“Mister Travis, sir?”

The young man had become borderline catatonic, so depressed and unresponsive that he didn’t even notice his slave Moses was tapping him on the shoulder.

“Mister Travis, sir?”

“Hmm?” Travis replied. “Yes, what is it, man?”

“Miss Fiona has finished tidying up in the kitchen and Albert and I have moved all the furniture outside for the new owners to pick up,” Moses said.

“Very good then,” Travis said. “That will be all.”

Clearly, it wasn’t all, as Moses remained.

“Something else?” Travis asked.

“Mister Travis,” Moses said. “I suppose it isn’t my place to ask but Miss Fiona and Albert and I, we were wondering sir, what will happen to us?”

And with perfect timing, Kirk Andrews, a local farmer, asked the sheriff, “How much for them negroes?”

“They aren’t for sale,” Travis said.

“Damn you, Travis,” the sheriff said. “I’ve already told you everything in this house is for sale and I will not tell you again!”

“I transferred their titles to them two days ago,” Travis said. “Its already done.”

Moses’ eyes grew wide with surprise. If Travis had given him his papers, it was news to him.

The sheriff was irate. “You had no right to do that.”

“I did and its done,” Travis said. “What are you going to do, arrest me twice? My times up tomorrow morning as it is.”

“Your slaves are old and been bought and sold a bunch of times,” the sheriff said. “Still, they could have fetched at least twenty bucks a piece and wittled your debt down some you horse’s ass.”

“The bank will take possession of the home and property tomorrow,” Travis said. “You’ve sold every last item I own and haven’t even left me a chair to sit on and I’m still three hundred dollars short of what’s due. There’s no need to ruin the lives of my three dutiful slaves just because I ruined my life.”

The sheriff shook his head. “Aww, you and your bullshit, Travis.”

The young man stepped out to the front porch and motioned for Moses to join him. Outside, the evening air was cool and a much needed breeze blew.

Albert and Miss Fiona were talking to one another when Travis and Moses joined them.

The young man pulled out three pieces of worn parchment, bills of sale for three individual slaves. He produced a charcoal pencil and using the top of a barrel as a makeshift desk, he proceeded to sign his ownership away.

He handed Miss Fiona and Albert their papers. “This is your freedom,” Travis said. “Do not lose these documents as you’ll need to present them if you’re questioned. Note that I’ve taken the liberty of back dating the transfer so if anyone asks, I gave these papers to you on Wednesday and you were kind enough to stay on and help me for two days after that.”

“Thank you, sir,” Miss Fiona said.

“Yes,” Albert said. “Thank you, Mister Travis.”

Travis shook Moses’ hand and handed over his title. “You’re free people now, but I’d recommend making your way to a Northern state where slavery has been abolished just to be certain.”

“We’ll do just that,” Moses said.

“Well then,” Travis said as he turned away. “That will be all.”

Moses stopped the young man. “Umm…Mister Travis…”

“Yes?” Travis asked.

“Miss Fiona and Albert and I were talking earlier and…”

Travis waited patiently.

“We just wanted to let you know that out of all the filthy, miserable, violent ass gotta have their way or all hell breaks loose cracker ass sons of bitchs that we’ve had the misfortune of being sold to over the years, you were by far the most tolerable.”

Travis’ eyes welled up.

“It’s true,” Albert said.

“You never whupped us or anything,” Miss Fiona said.

“Oh you wonderful negroes,” Travis said as he burst into tears and hugged each of his former slaves individually. “That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. Thank you.”

“Alright then,” Moses said. “We best be moving on.”

Ignoring that statement completely, Travis put his hand on Moses’ shoulder. “Moses, I know what you and Albert and Miss Fiona are thinking.”

“You do?” Moses asked.

“Yes,” Travis replied. “The three of you love me so much and feel such loyalty and devotion toward me that you want to march right back in there and tell the sheriff to sell you all off so that my debt can become sixty dollars lighter but no! I will not have it.”

The three ex-slaves traded confused glances.

“We weren’t thinking that at all, Mister Travis,” Moses said. “You know sir, for what its worth, some of those white folks who are always telling you that you suffer from delusions of grandeur and that you have a higher opinion of yourself than you actually deserve aren’t wrong.”

Oblivious, Travis carried on. “I get it. I am a brilliant man. A genius, really. A scholar. A lawyer. A scribe. A man of not just inspiring words but also of bold action and naturally you want to assist me in any way that you can but you must know that I will not let you…”

Travis shut his trap just long enough to look around and realize he was alone. He squinted in time to see his three former slaves sprinting off into the night.

“Feets don’t fail me now!” Moses cried.

“Oh Travis,” the young man said, referring to himself in the third person. “You’ve inspired three more people to greatness with your wisdom.”

Travis stared at his soon to be ex-house only to frown upon seeing his wife Rosanna standing near a window and weeping.

“Now if I could only inspire Mrs. Travis.”

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Remember the Zombamo – Chapter 5

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1831 – Alabama

William Baret “Buck” Travis was a tall, skinny string bean of a man. By the age of twenty-two, he’d worked as a teacher, a lawyer, and a newspaperman. Although these were noble professions, the young man had accumulated so much debt in pursuing these trades that he had been called into court and forced to endure the disapproving glare of the Right Honorable Judge Eugene T. Harlow.

“Goddamn it boy,” the judge said from the bench as he looked down at Travis. “You are one special kind of fuck up.”

Travis’ hair was a long, shaggy mop. His suit was a hand me down from his father and was two sizes too large, so he practically swam in it as it hanged off him.

Harlow put on his spectacles and examined a pile of paperwork. “Rent for law office space in arrears. Rent for newspaper office space in arrears.”

The judge looked at Travis. “It never occurred to you that you could be a lawyer and a newsman in the same office?”

Travis cleared his throat. He trembled as he nervously replied, “I prefer to keep my business affairs separate.”

“You took out a line of credit to start your law office,” Harlow said as he reviewed a bill. “How many clients do you have presently?”

The young man cleared his throat again. “None, sir.”

“What?” the judge asked. “Did you say ‘none’ or ‘one?’”

“I had one client,” Travis said. “He left. Now I have no clients.”

“Do I dare even inquire?” the judge asked.

“There was a difference of opinion, sir,” Travis said.

“You fucked up your client’s affairs?” the judge asked.

“More or less,” Travis replied.

“Sounds like more,” the judge said as he picked up another bill. “You took out a second line of credit to start the Claremont Beacon. I see here bills for a printing press, ink barrels, and the services of a professional typesetter.”

“It was a worthwhile endeavor, your honor,” Travis said. “The public must be informed.”

“Boy,” the judge said. “I picked up a copy of your useless rag the other day. It was one page long and didn’t inform me of a Goddamn thing I didn’t already know. You lost a ridiculous sum at that enterprise.”

“They say you have to spend money to make money,” Travis said.

“Well shit,” the judge said. “Let me know if you ever make a dime and I’ll skip to my lou.”

The courtroom was filled with lawyers, citizens, and other onlookers. They all laughed at the judge’s remark.

“You purchased slaves?” the judge asked

“Yes,” Travis replied.

“Why in God’s name would you do that, jackass?”

“Why, sir?” Travis asked.

“Boy, did I stutter?” the Judge asked. “You got a law office and a newspaper office. You don’t got any bales of cotton to pick or beans to plant and the last time I checked there aren’t any niggers who got the brains necessary to write a writ of mandamus or to pen an eloquent editorial on the political issues of the day so why would you spend money to acquire, board, and feed three slaves?”

Travis cleared his throat yet again. “A man of my high social standing should own slaves. Its customary.”

The onlookers erupted in teary eyed laughter.

“Your…” The judge paused to reflect then started again. “Your high social standing? Son, you look like you barely have hair on your pecker.”

More laughter in the courtroom.

Judge Harlow shuffled the papers, then arranged them into a neat stack. “You have incurred an outrageous amount of debt, young man. A sum so astronomical I dread to even say it out loud.”

Travis gulped.

“Eight hundred…”

The onlookers gasped.

“…and thirty four dollars.”

The onlookers gasped louder. One of them feinted.

“In all my years on the bench I have never seen someone so young bury themselves under a mountain of bills so high,” the judge said. “What disturbs me the most is at no time did you exercise a modicum of common sense and take any kind of action to reduce your expenses. You just kept borrowing and borrowing.”

Travis stood there quietly, accepting the verbal abuse.

“What do you have to say for yourself, you ignoramus?” the judge asked.

“In my defense,” Travis said. “Does it say much for the character of men who would loan an alleged ignoramus so much money?”

Laughter. Even the judge was tickled.

“I suppose not,” the judge said with a grin. “But at the end of the day, you’re the one holding the bag, boy.”

Boy.” That word stuck in Travis’ mind. “Your honor.”

“Yes?”

“I move that all of this debt be set aside based upon an argument of infancy,” Travis said.

The judge’s face turned red. “You what?”

“Infancy, sir,” Travis said. “I was so young when I incurred all this debt that I had no idea what I was doing. I…I…”

Travis looked around the room. So many eyes were staring at him. “I make the utmost proofest of this infant!”

Judge Harlow stared at Travis with a stern gaze, then laughed. Once again, the rest of the court’s inhabitants joined in.

“Oh shit,” the Judge said. “Did you just say, ‘proofest’? That isn’t even a word.”

“It is!” Travis said.

“It is not,” the Judge said.

“It most certainly is,” Travis said. “There’s an entire chapter on ‘proofest’ or the art of exhibiting proof of a claim in the eighteenth volume of Lord Barnaby Fitzwater’s Treatise on the State of Colonial Law which, as we all know, fully applies to the common law of today and I can assure you that at the time when I entered into these contracts, I was much too young to understand the severity of the consequences I was agreeing to and therefore…”

Bang. Bang. Bang. The judge slammed his gavel down until Travis shut up.

“Let me stop you right there, son,” the judge said. “Look, I understand what you were up to. Hell, there’s even a part of me that even admires your spunk. You’re a social climber and you obviously want to live some kind of well-to-do, high falutin’ high society life. Only problem is, boy, that a life like that isn’t handed to you overnight. You got to work for it. Struggle for it. Take small steps every day that eventually get you up that hill.”

Travis hanged his head low.

“You thought that by borrowing a shit ton of cash up front you’d be able to buy the respect of a forty year old man who has toiled and suffered for years while you were still in your early twenties,” the judge said.

Travis remained silent.

“I sympathize, son,” the judge said. “I damn near reckon there isn’t a man in this courtroom who didn’t bite off more than he could chew when he was young. You just bit off more than most.”

Travis cleared his throat. “Your honor, if I could make one more argument…”

The judge banged his gavel. “You may not. And that’s your problem, Travis. You’ve spent so much time with your nose in a book, learning all kinds of fancy words and ideas that you never gained any kind of experience to back up your snooty disposition. In short, you’re all hat and no saddle.”

Laughter.

Travis adjusted his collar. “I throw myself at the mercy of the court.”

The judge nodded. “And the court does have mercy. I will give you three months to collaborate with your creditors. If, by then, you have not satisfied your debts, a warrant shall be issued for your arrest.”

All the hope emptied out of Travis’ eyes as the judge banged his gavel. “Court is adjourned.”

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Remember the Zombamo – Part 1 – Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna

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General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna charges into a battle against an army of marauding Spaniards hell bent on retaking Mexico for King Ferdinand.

A cannon blows off the general’s leg.  With death appearing to be a near certainty, the mysterious vampire Isadora makes her way to Santa Anna’s bedside and turns him into a vampire.

Quickly, we learn that Isadora represents, “The Legion,” an organization of vampires who have done the devil’s bidding for ages.

A bargain is struck.  Santa Anna may rule Mexico, but he must unleash Satan onto the world.

Under Isadora’s counsel, Santa Anna takes advantage of the chaos created by a coup to execute the president and vice-president to declare himself Mexico’s chief executive.

The loyal but chagrined Colonel Arroyo gets promoted to General, but is dismayed that the people go along with Santa Anna’s chicanery.

Also…werewolves.

Chapter 1          Chapter 2         Chapter 3         Chapter 4

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Remember the Zombamo – Chapter 4

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December 1829

The Palacio Nacional was an astounding piece of architecture. Though by the 1800s it featured balconies, columns, porticos and other European style features, there were parts of the structure that dated back to the Aztec King Montezuma II.

But at this particular moment of history, there was no time to appreciate a fine building. Rival factions had gathered outside and violence was underway.

“Guerrero is the rightful ruler of Mexico!” cried one of the president’s supporters. “Down with the traitors!”

“Fool!” shouted a supporter of the vice-president. “Bustamante will lead us into prosperity!”

Torches were brandished. Rocks and bricks were thrown. Heads were busted. Fists flew.

A shot was fired.

“Insolent rabble!” shouted Colonel Arroyo as he stepped down from his horse. “Cease this disruption of the peace and make way for the general so that he may sort out this matter at once!”

The opposing sides were ready to tear each others’ throats out over their disagreements, but they were united in their respect for Santa Anna. As the general marched up the steps in his dress uniform, the crowd gazed upon him in sheer reverence.

The general, the colonel, and Isadora entered the palace in lockstep with a dozen soldiers trailing behind them.

“General,” the Colonel said. “These past few months in your service have certainly been an adjustment. Your foray into the, well, for lack of a better word, ‘the occult,’ has certainly taught me many dark secrets about our world.”

“Your loyalty has always been your greatest virtue, Colonel,” Santa Anna replied.

“Yes,” the Colonel said. “And I must admit, it has taken me some time to get used to your new ‘advisor.’”

“Isadora’s advice has proven invaluable,” Santa Anna said.

“Right,” Colonel Urrea said. “But general, you are about to walk down a path from which you will never be able to come back from.”

The general placed his hand on a doorknob. “My dear friend, why would I ever want to come back from this?”

Santa Anna opened the door and entered the presidential library, a large room with walls lined with bookshelves that held ancient volumes and dusty old tomes.

On one side of an old oak conference table sat Vincente Guerrero, the tall, dark, brooding president. Two guards stood to his left. Two more stood to his right. All four men were loyal to the smug, smarmy looking vice-president Anastasio Bustamante, who was sitting across the table.

“You have signed your own death warrant, Bustamante,” Guerrero said. “I will enjoy seeing you swing from the end of a rope.”

“Oh come now, Vincente,” Bustamante said. “You’re in no position to make threats.”

Santa Anna’s troops spread out throughout the room.

“What is the meaning of this?” the general asked.

“Ahh,” Guerrero said with a grin. “Thank God! Santa Anna, this vile dog has dared to betray the will of the people.”

“Such drama,” Bustamante said.

“I won the election,” Guerrero said as he thumped his chest with his fist. “I chose you as Vice-President to make peace with your supporters and you reward me with a treacherous coup.”

“OK,” Bustamante said. “Yes, I’ll admit you make a good case that this isn’t very democratic but sometimes in a democracy the people must be prodded in the right direction and if they’re incapable of realizing that you’re little more than a common street charlatan…”

“Enough!” Santa Anna shouted.

The general looked to the guards. “You men. You are soldiers of the Mexican Army. I gave no order for an insurrection.”

The soldiers stayed quiet. Bustamante answered for them.

“Obviously I didn’t tell you that I was planning to overthrow this gorilla stuffed in a suit…

Upon hearing that remark, Guerrero attempted to stand up but was immediately shoved back down back by Bustamante’s guards.

“…because you might have warned him.  But now that the deed is done, Antonio, you’ll have to make a choice. Him or me.”

“Yes, mi amor,” Isadora said. “Who will it be?”

Santa Anna withdrew his pistol and aimed it at Guerrero. After a few seconds of hesitation, the general moved his weapon and pointed it at Bustamante.

“Oh, fuck it,” Santa Anna said as he held out his free hand. “Colonel, your sidearm.”

Arroyo was perplexed but good solider that he was, he followed orders and placed his pistol in the general’s hand.

“Stop toying with us!” Guerrero hollered.

“Yes,” Bustamante said as he pounded his fist on the table. “Who will you side with?”

Santa Anna pulled both triggers. Holes opened in the heads of both men. Their bodies slumped forward in spent heaps.

“Neither of you,” Santa Anna said as he handed the pistol he borrowed back to the colonel.

The guards who had been loyal to Bustamante drew their swords. Santa Anna looked to his troops.

“Dispatch them.”

To the great horror of Bustamante’s men, the twelve soldiers that Santa Anna had brought with him flexed their muscles and burst out of their clothing. Fur sprang out of their bodies as they grew to well over seven feet tall. Snouts, long, sharp teeth, black noses, jagged claws.

The vice-president’s men were instantly ripped to shreds. One of the werewolves looked to Santa Anna.

“Search the palace,” Santa Anna said. “Round up all who sided with the vice-president. Those unwilling to pledge their allegiance to me shall be executed.”

The werewolf nodded and he and his furry brethren were off.

“I must say, Isadora,” Santa Anna said. “Had your new lycan recruits been in my service years ago, so many battles could have been won handily low these many years.”

“Yes,” Isadora said. “But do not forget they are only as loyal as your pockets are deep so never neglect to pay them and you’ll find they’re worth their weight in gold.”

The she-vamp caressed the cheek of a very frightened looking Colonel Arroyo. “It’s the loyalty of this one that I worry about.”

“Is she right?” Santa Anna asked Arroyo.  “Does she have cause for concern?”

“No,” the Colonel said. “I serve Mexico and whoever happens to be in charge of it at the moment, in good times and in bad.”

Arroyo looked around the room and grimaced at the multitude of dead bodies. “I just wish there was more good.”

Santa Anna rested his hand on the Colonel’s shoulder. “That’s good enough for me, General.”

“I’ve been promoted?” Arroyo asked.

“We both have,” Santa Anna said.

The trio of Santa Anna, Isadora, and Arroyo left the library and exited the palace. Outside, the rabble was just as rambunctious as ever, but they quieted down for Santa Anna.

“Good people of Mexico,” Santa Anna said. “After a thorough investigation, I determined that the president and the vice-president were a duo of filthy corrupt criminals whose misdeeds are far too voluminous too mention at this time. Therefore, I was left with no choice but to pass summary judgement and execute them both on the spot so that they may never trespass against this great nation ever again.”

Hushed whispers could be heard throughout the crowd.

“As Mexico’s chief military officer, I must, though it brings me no joy and is a terrible burden upon me, assume the position of president,” Santa Anna said. “Further, in order to bring about order in the wake of this chaotic ordeal, I am left with no choice but to dissolve the Constitution of 1824 as well as all rights and privileges listed therein until such time as I determine that order has been restored.”

Arroyo leaned into Isadora’s ear and whispered. “They’ll never go for it.”

“Oh ye of little faith,” Isadora whispered back.

“I realize this will result in a great deal of power being concentrated into the hands of one man alone,” Santa Anna said. “But do not fear, my friends, for I have always served with honesty and dignity and will do so as your new president. From hereon, Santa Anna is Mexico and Mexico is Santa Anna!”

The rabble was silent and then…they cheered. Claps. Hoots. Hollers. Cheers. Chants of, “Santa Anna! Santa Anna! Santa Anna!”

“Dios mio,” Arroyo said.

“Tell a confused mass that you’ll solve all their problems and punish the idiots who caused them and they’ll applaud you all day,” Isadora replied.  “This is a truth I have observed for ages.”

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A Movie Observation – Older Men and Younger Women

Hey 3.5 readers.

I’ve seen three movies this week.

I know. I have no life.

But here’s what I noticed:

The Accountant – Ben Affleck and Anna Kendrick – not sure of the age difference, Anna is in her thirties and Ben’s in his forties so I’ll guess maybe ten years or so.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back – Cobie Smulders is in her thirties. Tom Cruise is in his fifties.

Inferno – Tom Cruise is sixty and Felicity Jones is in her early thirties.

Older men. Younger women.

I’ll say from the outset, in all three of these movies, the men and the women don’t boink.

Oh sorry. SPOILER ALERT- they don’t boink.  Sorry, I ruined it if you were hoping they’d boink.

There’s some minor flirting between Cobie and Tom, a suggestion maybe they’d hook up in a relationship if their lives weren’t so chaotic.

Ben’s character is autistic and troubled and probably wouldn’t know what to do with a woman though he finds some happiness just from talking to and opening up to Anna’s character.

Robert Langdon and Dr. Sienna Brooks have nothing more than a professional relationship. He’s a professor in trouble and she’s a doctor who decides to save him. There’s no love interest and SPOILER ALERT Langdon pines, in a first for Hollywood, for a woman his own age.

But its something I noticed just because it happened in three movies in a row.  Maybe its something. Maybe its nothing.

These movies probably aren’t even good subjects for the conversation since the men and the women only work together.

But it led me to a question – does art imitate life? Does life imitate art?

I’m speaking generally here but here’s my understanding of men and women:

  • Men seek pretty women because they make them feel important and powerful, life if they walk into a room with a hot babe on their arm them everyone must think that dude is awesome because he has snagged a hot babe.
  • Women aren’t slouches when it comes to wanting a hot dude but they also want a rich, successful dude.
  • Attractiveness is a young person’s game and success takes so much time that it is an old person’s game, ergo, you end up seeing a lot of older men with younger women on screen because Hollywood suits decide this is what people want. The older, successful men want that arm candy. The women want a man that doesn’t live with his mother and can pick up a check.

Am I right?  Am I wrong?

I don’t know.

I could be reading too much into it.

Much of it also involves the plot.

For example (just assume SPOILERS for all three movies and don’t read on if you don’t want them spoiled) in the Accountant, Anna plays a junior accountant who finds a discrepancy in the books that leads to a major conspiracy being uncovered.

So in that case, Ben as the more experienced accountant (and professional assassin in his spare time) has to help the younger accountant out of the jam she finds herself in.

OK.  It fits the plot.

And then in Jack Reacher you have a female Navy Major Turner who’s been through some shit and the ex-military policeman Jack who has been through some shit and if you don’t factor in their ages and consider that Tom is better preserved that most fifty year olds so perhaps he’s playing a younger character…yeah ok, the idea of those two ending up together isn’t that out of the ordinary.

And as previously mentioned, Langdon, like Hanks, is, well its rude to say old but older and Dr. Sienna is younger but the idea of a romance is never broached so I suppose if you start making rules then you could never have a movie where an older and a younger person team up against evil.

I have no idea where I’m going with this other than I wonder if I’m right or wrong – do women prefer old men who are successful and are willing to over look their saggy, wrinkly balls as long as they are loaded?

Do men prefer attractive women as long as they…nah I’m not going to finish that question we know the answer.

But I’d again reiterate I don’t think there’s a plethora of women out there who prefer ugly men and I should know because I am super ugly and I don’t think that I’d suddenly get a lot of babes if I were to become super rich and super successful because the women wouldn’t be able to get over my ugliness.

Oh and also Video Game Rack Fighter has sunk her hooks into me and she is a keeper as she ignores my ugliness and lack of success.

Discuss, 3.5 readers.

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Reblog: Top Ten Warning Signs Your Girlfriend Might Be a Zombie

In case you missed it, 3.5 readers, or in case you are worried that your girlfriend might be a zombie.

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Top Ten Warning Signs Your Girlfriend Might Be a Zombie

Oh, who am I kidding?

If you’re reading this blog you don’t have a girlfriend (Womp womp womp womp waaa).

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Remember the Zombamo – Chapter 3

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One month later, Santa Anna strolled with Isadora across his luxurious, sweeping hacienda in Veracruz.

Correction: Isadora strolled. Santa Anna clunked.

“Mierda,” the general said. “What good is eternal life without a leg?”

The lady vampire scoffed. “Off the top of my head, I can think of a thousand dead men who would gladly trade a leg to be in your position.”

Santa Anna hobbled his way to a flower garden, where he sat down on a bench and adjusted the straps on his wooden prosthetic leg.

“Crafted by imbeciles!” the general shouted.

Isadora found a spot on the bench and sat quietly as her protege raged.

“How many times have I saved this country from ruin?!” the general barked. “And all I ask for is a fake leg that fits me properly!”

Santa Anna looked out at the green field that sprawled ahead of him, stretching all the way to the horizon. Peasant workers in rags toiled away under the hot sun, picking ripe vegetables and placing them into burlap sacks.

The general pulled out his pistol, closed his left eye and took aim at a random worker who happened to be standing roughly eighty yards away. The trigger was pulled, the shot fired. The worker fell. His body disappeared into the greenery.

The remaining workers in the dead man’s vicinity stopped momentarily. They looked around and then upon realizing who had fired, went immediately back to work, praying that their brief pause had gone unnoticed.

“Why did I do that?” Santa Anna asked as he blew the smoke off the barrel of his gun.

“Because you wanted to,” Isadora replied.

“All my life, I have wanted to do many things,” Santa Anna said. “Terrible things.”

Isadora plucked a red rose from a nearby bush and admired it.

“Such as?”

“Take what I want,” Santa Anna said. “Torture whoever mocks me. Murder whoever stands in my way. Fuck…”

Santa Anna looked at his companion and calmed down as he realized she was hanging on his every word.

“You stopped at the best part,” Isadora said as she pulled a petal off the rose.

The general finished his sentence. “…whoever I want.”

“What has been holding you back?” Isadora asked.

“I don’t know,” Santa Anna said. “Morality. Decency. Religion. Right and wrong.”

“All good guesses,” Isadora said as she rubbed the petal between her thumb and forefinger. “But all wrong.”

“You look at me as a cat does a mouse, woman,” Santa Anna said. “Tell me already.”

“It was your soul,” Santa Anna said.

The general holstered his weapon then leaned back. He looked up at the sky and attempted to lose himself while staring at all the fluffy white clouds.

“The greatest drawback of life, mi amor, is a soul,” Isadora explained. “A priest will tell you that it is the very essence of your being but if we’re being honest, it is little more than a nagging pest, a pathetic little worm that holds you back…”

Isadora leaned in close and nibbled on Santa Anna’s earlobe. “…it whispers in your ear, ordering you to be good when you know deep down that being bad is much more fun.”

The lady flicked the petal into the air. It danced about in the wind for a moment before it fell to the ground.

“But now your soul is gone,” Isadora said. “You no longer have to worry about it standing between you and what you desire ever again, morality be damned.”

“I do not understand how I can still be here without my soul,” Santa Anna said.

“It may not seem like it but trust me,” Isadora said as she brushed her cold hand up against Santa Anna’s colder cheek. “You are most certainly dead and upon death, the soul and the body separate. Your soul travels to heaven or hell, depending on whether you were a good boy or a bad boy. Where do you think it went?”

“I’d rather not think about it,” Santa Anna replied.

Isadora laughed. “Perhaps that is best.”

“I’m dead,” Santa Anna said. “Yet here I am.”

“Your body carries on,” Isadora said. “Your mind continues to function. But when I drained you of blood, I killed you. When you fed on my blood, you were reanimated. A body drained off blood that is offered blood cannot resist and even death cannot prevent it from feeding.”

Santa Anna sat up and looked around the field.

“You will need to feed forever to remain as you are,” Isadora said.

“Speaking of,” Santa Anna said. “I’m feeling peckish.”

The general stood up and limped into the field. Isadora followed.

“Who will you choose?” the lady vampire asked.

The general stopped and stared at a gray haired old man who was digging in the earth with a shovel. “Too old.”

“Not necessarily a problem,” Isadora said as she followed her love. “Like wine, blood ages well.”

“Yes,” Santa Anna said. “But he’s lived about as much life as he can and wouldn’t fear death, would he?”

“You are a natural when it comes to being a vampire, novio,” Isadora said.

The general stopped in front of a hideous man with a hunchback and a goiter on his noise.

“Ugh,” Santa Anna said as he walked away. “Wretched.”

“The package doesn’t always match the taste,” Isadora said.

“Yes,” Santa Anna said. “But I’d have to look at him while I’m eating…hello.”

A buxom senorita took a break from picking corn to dab her sweaty brow with a handkerchief. Her hair was dark and pulled back from her face with a red ribbon.

The general’s fangs popped out.

“Practice what I showed you,” Isadora said.

“But it would be so much better if she screams,” Santa Anna replied.

“You must learn how to glamour,” Isadora said.

“Oh, alright,” Santa Anna said as he if were a naughty school boy caving in to his scolding mother’s command. “Senorita.”

“Si?” the señorita replied as she turned around. As soon as she noticed the general’s fangs she shrieked. “Un monstruo!”

“Shh,” Santa Anna said as his eyes turned red. “There is nothing to fear.”

“No hay nada que temer,” the señorita replied.

“You want to come to me,” Santa Anna said.

“Quiero ir a ustedes,” the senorita replied.

She did and as soon as she was close, Santa Anna dove his fangs into her neck and sucked. The señorita was quiet, peaceful. Her eyes closed and as she was drained she slowly, peacefully went to asleep until her body went limp in the general’s arms.

Santa Anna lifted his blood soaked mouth up from his meal and tossed the senorita’s carcass to the ground as if it were a pile of trash.

“I am invincible,” Santa Anna said.

“Close,” Isadora said. “But not quite. You’ll want to stay away from silver and guard your heart at all costs. A silver bullet or a wooden stake driven through your heart will be the end of you.”

The she-vamp reached her delicate fingers into Santa Anna’s shirt and pulled out a shiny golden medallion that was hanging from his neck by a chain.

“Above all else,” Isadora said. “Do not lose this and do not ever go outside in the daylight without this on.”

Santa Anna looked down at the golden circle. The design was simple, a mere pentagram. In the center, there was the face of a fearsome looking ram with long, pointy horns.

“A cheap bauble,” Santa Anna said.

Isadora slapped her man across the face, then pointed her finger at him. “You have no idea how difficult it was to talk father into giving this to you. Most vampires must slave away in his service for centuries before gaining his trust.”

Santa Anna reached out and ran his fingers over a similar medallion that hanged from Isadora’s neck.

“Would it be wrong to assume that this ‘father’ you speak of is actually the dev…”

Another slap. A finger pointed at Santa Anna’s face again.

“Do not ever use father’s real name,” Isadora said.

“Why?” Santa Anna asked.

“Because the greatest trick that father ever played is to convince mankind that he does not exist,” Isadora answered. “Throw his name around often enough and incompetent humans might start to wise up.”

“Incompetent?” Santa Anna asked.

“Humans are fools,” Isadora said. “They live short lives and barely have enough time to learn a thing. Alas, you haven’t lived long either mi amor but follow my counsel and you will rule Mexico.”

Isadora took Santa Anna’s arm and the vampires walked together toward an enormous, pristine white mansion.

“The people already call you the Napoleon of the West,” Isadora said.

“I’m not sure that is a compliment,” Santa Anna said.

“It is,” Isadora said. “He was a masterful warrior and between you and I…he was one of us.”

Santa Anna’s eyes widened. “But he had his waterloo.”

“Obey me and you never will,” Isadora said.

“There is a cost you’ve yet to mention, no doubt,” Santa Anna said.

“Of course,” Isadora said. “You’ll need to wake up father.”

“Wake him?” Santa Anna asked.

“Naturally,” Isadora said. “Mexico will be yours, Antonio, but the world will be father’s.”

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Movie Review – Inferno (2016)

Do I…do I even have a life anymore?

Three movie reviews in one week, BQB?

BQB, why are you talking about yourself in the third person?

I don’t know.

Art! Italy! Puzzles! Symbols! History!

I know. They don’t become more exciting when you add the question mark. Jeb! Bush taught us that.

BQB here with a review of the new thriller, Inferno.

America’s Dad Tom Hanks returns as noted symbologist/puzzle solver Professor Robert Langdon to round out the films based on Dan Brown’s Langdon books (The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, respectively).

In the prior two films, Langdon ends up running around Europe examining art and old relics in a race against time to stop some bad guy from doing some bad shit and he usually ends up with some hot chick running around with him.

Holy shit. I can do that. Why don’t I have as many as many readers as Dan Brown?

Honestly, 3.5 readers. You guys have to get off your asses and get me more readers. Try to be more like Dan Browns’ readers and become a ridiculously large amount of readers.

Getting back to the review, Langdon is once again running around Europe in the company of a hot chick. This time the chick is Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones, who between this film and the upcoming highly anticipated Star Wars: Rogue One in which she plays the lead character Jyn Erso, that squirrel toothed hottie is having herself one fantastic ass Fall).

You know 3.5, after seeing 2009’s Angels and Demons, I wondered if maybe Dan Brown’s books didn’t translate that well to film. I’d read A + D and found that Brown took a lot of time explaining the history and context between the artwork that Langdon was examining and it was almost like reading a professorial treatise with lots of action thrown in to keep me from snoring.

The films lose that aspect due to the fast pace nature of a riveting movie.  Still, I think Director Ron Howard aka Opie makes up for it because in this third installment, you jump right into the action immediately.

Robert Langdon wakes up in a hospital with a head wound and amnesia, no idea how he got there.

Dr. Brooks is his treating physician and takes it upon herself to save the wounded Langdon from incoming bad dudes.

From there, the game is on as somehow Langdon has the secret to stopping a mad man’s plan to release the Plague (yes, the damn Plague!) upon the world.  As you can guess from the film’s title, Langdon will have to use his professorial knowledge of Dante’s Inferno to solve this caper.

Ben Foster, who played a douche bank robber in this year’s Hell or Highwater continues to cement his status as douchey character actor by playing the douche who is convinced that the world’s population is growing at such an alarming rate that the only way to save the planet is to kill off a bunch of people with a medieval virus.

What a douche.

I don’t want to give away much more.  As in the other two films, I do walk away feeling like I received a history lesson that didn’t put me to sleep, though at times the plot was confusing.

Felicity, I’m sorry I said you have squirrel teeth. Your teeth are adorable. I’m glad your career is taking off and I look forward to seeing more of you and your teeth on the big screen in the future.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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#31ZombieAuthors Rewind – Day 30- J.M.Wilde – Australia Zombified

With Your Host: Schecky Blargfeld, Zombie Comedian

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“And now, the end is near, we’ve reached, the final curtain…”

I’m telling you, 3.5 readers, Frank Sinatra was awesome and he’s even a better singer as a zombie.  Took in his act at Zombie Vegas the other day.

But I digress. Yes, there is only one more day after today left in #31ZombieAuthors Rewind.

If there are any zombie authors out there that you’d love for BQB to interview at a future date, discuss them in the comments and perhaps our resident nerd will conduct a Q and A via Alien Jones’ space phone.

In the meantime, last year BQB had the distinct pleasure of interviewing one of Australia’s greatest nerds, zombie writer J.M. Wilde of the Eva series.

J.M. talked to BQB about zombies down under and how to develop your following on Wattpad as J.M. is indeed a Wattpad star.

Check out that interview here.

And don’t forget to check out the Eva series on Amazon.

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