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BQB Rants #1 – Reporters During Storms

I really hate the media.

Sure, you might say, “But BQB, hate is a strong word.”  To that, I’d say, “Yes, but I’m using the word ‘hate’ just as you might say, ‘I hate licorice flavored jelly beans.”  I mean, I hate licorice flavored jelly beans, but not so much that I’d want to purge all licorice flavored jelly beans from the face of the Earth.  I realize other people like licorice flavored jelly beans and the world doesn’t revolve around me.  Hell, once in a blue moon I might eat a licorice flavored jelly bean just to remind myself why I don’t like them.

Now that we’ve gotten that distinction out of the way, allow me to reiterate that I hate the media.  They’re smarmy.  Arrogant.  Self-absorbed.  We, the people, rely on them to report the news but the field of journalism has become so dominated by pompous, preening jackasses that they want to become the news rather than report it.

Never is this fact more on display than when there is a massive storm.  At the time of this writing, it is August 25, 2017 and Hurricane Harvey is about to make the Lone Star State its bitch, which is no easy feet, because even General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and an army filled with the most advanced, highly trained soldiers of the early 1800s wasn’t able to stop Texans from breaking off and forming their own republic.

Take this brief excerpt from the historical record:

SANTA ANNA:  Hey!  All you gringo dong sniffers in the Alamo!  Put your hands up!  There’s like a zillion of us and like a hundred something of you!

TEXANS:  East a dick!

Pretty sure it was Davy Crockett who told Santa Anna to eat a dick but as you can imagine, historical scholars have been known to disagree on the subject.

Where was I?  Oh right.  Reporters are terrible and are even worse during major storms.  As I write this, I’m flipping through the news channels and even though everyone watching at home is fully capable of imagining what a storm looks like, there’s still some damn doofus with a microphone on screen who was sent out in a rain coat being blown around by gale force winds as rain drops pelt him in the face.

I shouldn’t be sexist.  Sometimes they throw women out there in the middle of Mother Nature’s temper tantrums as well.

Case in point:

ANCHORMAN:  Holy shit, everyone!  There’s a big ass hurricane that’s about to butt rape Texas!  Our own intrepid report Joe Schmoe is on the scene.  Joe, how’s it going down there?

(Cue reporter using a death grip to hold onto a lamp post as the wind blows him to and fro and rain pelts him.)

JOE THE REPORTER:  It sucks really bad!  I think we all might be fucked!  And, oh shit, a tractor trailer just blew five feet over my head but that’s cool, it’s really important that all the dipshits at home see how bad things are here so I’ll keep risking my life!

ANCHORMAN: I’m awfully worried about you, Joe.  Please come inside.

JOE THE REPORTER: Yeah, yeah.  Keep saying that to make people at home think you care.  We all know I’ll get fired if I let go of this lamp post!  Whoa!  Look a bus full of nuns just fell out of the sky and crashed into an orphanage!  Back to you!

Yeah.  And that’s when the equipment is working.  Usually, the storm makes on location reporting difficult.  Consider:

ANCHORMAN:  A fat ass hurricane is about to destroy Texas.  Here to report is our own Sally Schmally.  Sally are you there?

SALLY THE REPORTER:  When am I going on?

ANCHORMAN:  You’re on Sally.

SALLY THE REPORTER:  Can we get out of here quick?  I want to get out of here before the looters come out during the eye of the hurricane and try to have their way with me.

ANCHORMAN:  Sally, is your earpiece working?

SALLY THE REPORTER:  I’m serious.  I’m strapped to the gills and I will pop a cap in all of those futhermuckers I don’t even care.

ANCHORMAN:  Sally, can you hear me?

SALLY THE REPORTER:  Jesus, I guess I have to wait all day getting rained on before they have me on.  Son of a bitch.

Oh well.  That’s my big complaint about reporters during storms.  It sucks they get put into danger.  Yet, somehow, whenever there’s a storm, I can’t look away.  I just pop a big bowl of popcorn and watch at all the reporters in raincoats holding onto lampposts for dear life as they get pelted with rain and whatever blunt objects the wind picked up and wonder how the world got this way.

What do you wonder about, noble reader?

 

 

 

 

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Remember the Zombamo – Chapter 10

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“What in the hell are you on about, Wright?”

Wright slid off a pair of black leather gloves as he stepped forward.

“It has been brought to my attention that you have disgraced yourself sir,” Wright said with an air of sophistication.

“Is that so?” Bowie asked.

“It is, sir,” Wright said as he pounded the floor with the end of his cane. “You have been spreading a most scandalous fabrication that has proven to be quite injurious to my character.”

“You’ll have to dumb it down for me, sheriff,” Bowie said. “I don’t speak fop.”

“Did you or did you not state a claim to a collaboration of ruffians that I stole the election?” Wright asked.

“I did,” Bowie replied.

Wright raised his cane in the air. “Aha! So you do not deny that you have slandered me, do you sir?”

“I do deny it,” Bowie said.

“Speak plainly, man,” Wright said. “How can you admit and deny the same offense?”

“I admit that I told a few of my drinking buddies that you stole the election,” Bowie said. “I deny that I slandered you because the truth is not slander.”

Wright gasped. “How dare you sir? You slander me again!”

“Well,” Bowie said. “If the shoe fits…”

The knifeman walked to the bar and ordered a whisky. Wright followed him.

“And now you turn your back on me!”

“What?” Bowie asked as he accepted a full shot glass from Brent. “I thought we were done.”

“Not by a long shot,” Wright said. “Until you publicly retract your villainous lie, this matter will not be put to rest.”

Bowie gulped his shot. “Wright, I personally witnessed those Blanchard boys you got in your back pocket stuffing those ballot boxes with more paper than Tavish’s sister shoves in her brassiere.”

Tavish shook his head up and down, then burped. “It’s true. Old Maude is flatter than a carving board.”

“Look, Wright,” Bowie said. “Everyone knows that the political game is like a hyena’s dick. They’re both crooked and they’re both ugly. I didn’t tell anyone anything they didn’t already know so untwist your knickers, quit your bellyaching, and get out of my face.”

Bowie turned his back on Wright once more, but Wright refused to be ignored. He tapped on Bowie’s shoulder.

The knifeman turned only to be slapped in the face by a pair of gloves.

“I challenge you to a duel, sir!”

Bowie was quiet. Everyone in the bar was quiet.

When Bowie laughed, everyone took it as a cue to join in.

“I never figured you for a comedian, Wright,” Bowie said as he pointed a finger at the sheriff. “That’s a good one.”

Wap! Wright slapped Bowie in the face with his gloves a second time and in so doing, knocked the smile right off of Bowie’s face.

“That’s a good way to get yourself gutted from stem to stern, Wright,” Bowie said.

“Satisfaction will be mine!” Wright shouted.

“You’d be so easy to kill it wouldn’t be a fair fight,” Bowie said.

“And you are making excuses for your cowardice, sir!”

Bowie’s nostrils flared. He took a deep breath, then turned his back on Wright again.

“Well then,” Wright said as he drew his pistol. “If you are not man enough to face me then you leave me no choice.”

Bang!

Wright was known throughout Rapides Parish for being a horrendous shot. The bullet grazed Bowie’s shoulder, cutting a slight rut through the skin of the knifeman’s arm before it landed dead center in Tavish’s chest.

The drunk shouted several choice obscene phrases before falling off his stool. On the floor, he convulsed, then died.

Bowie wasted no time. He grabbed Wright’s arm and shoved him up against a wall. Wright closed his eyes as he felt the cold edge of a knife being held up against his throat.

“You think that does a damn thing for your honor?” Bowie asked. “You try to shoot a man in the back only to murder a useless old lecher instead?”

“This is all your doing, Bowie!” Wright said. “You are the one who refused to face me. That man’s death is on your hands!”

“Shit,” Bowie said. “And I was just starting to like that old coot.”

Brent interrupted. “You just held a knife on him a moment ago.”

“He was starting to grow on me,” Bowie said.

Bang!

Bowie looked to his left. Brent had walked over from the bar and was holding a rifle.

“Jim,” Brent said. “I don’t mean to tell you how to do your business but one dead body in my bar is too many.”

Bowie and Wright stared into each others’ eyes. Wright saw Bowie’s rage. Bowie saw Wright’s fear.

“And I’m no lawyer but you slitting the throat of a lawman who just fired the only shot in his pistol seems like it will end with you swinging at the end of a noose if you ask me.”

“No one asked you, Brent.”

Bowie leered at his hostage a bit longer, then released him.

“Wright, I accept your challenge.”

Wright coughed and clutched at his throat just to make sure it was still there. He then straightened up, dusted himself off, gripped the lapels of his jacket and turned up his nose at the knifeman.

“Pistols at dawn, sir.” Wright said. “Acquire your second and we shall meet at the sandbar.”

“Yes we will,” Bowie said.

Wright stormed off for the door.

“And Wright?”

The sheriff stopped but didn’t turn around.

“Do not miss,” Bowie said. “Because if you do, I assure you, my knife will not.”

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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 1

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1829

Tampico, Mexico

The Spaniards had returned for what they deemed was rightfully theirs. An army of two-thousand-six-hundred men loyal to King Ferdinand approached with rifles at the ready.

Sitting atop his horse, the middle-aged Colonel Javier Arroyo peaked at the uninvited guests through a spy glass.

“Madness,” the Colonel said. “General, we have no choice but to…”

Before Arroyo could say “surrender,” his commander, the brash, young General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna was off, charging his steed towards the invaders with his saber drawn, a battle cry pouring out of his lungs, and hundreds of his own men in tow.

“Dios mio,” Colonel Arroyo said as he drew his saber and pointed it at the Spaniards. “Attack!”

The air grew thick with the scent of gunpowder as shots rang out from both sides. Swords clanged. Blood was spilled, staining the soil crimson.

Before long, the Colonel and the General found themselves fighting side by side.

“I find myself questioning your sanity, Antonio!” the Colonel cried as ran his sword through a Spaniard’s gut.

Santa Anna fired his pistol at one Spanish soldier, then, lacking sufficient time to reload, socked another square in the jaw with his bare fist.

“And I question your intestinal fortitude, Javier,” Santa Anna replied.

“My…”

The general’s sword clanged against a Spanish rapier. Parry…parry…thrust! Another Spaniard down.

“Your guts!” Santa Anna said.

“There are too many of them!” Arroyo shouted. “There’s cowardice and then there’s using the head that God gave you!”

Pow! A Spanish cannonball emerged from a cannon perched on a hilltop, tore through the air, and landed twenty feet away, causing a contingent of Mexican soldiers to erupt in an explosion of blood and viscera.

Santa Anna picked up a dead Spaniard’s rifle and fired a shot, opening up a giant hole in the middle of a Spanish officer’s head.

“Fighting to keep what is yours?” Santa Anna asked. “If you think that’s a bad idea, then you’re the one who has something wrong his head, amigo.”

Pow! A second cannonball landed. It was closer this time. Ten feet away. More blood. More guts.

Arroyo ducked just in time to avoid getting his faced smashed in with the butt of a rifle. He returned the favor by jamming his sword through his opponent’s stomach.

“I think its a good idea to live,” Arroyo said.

“And you will,” Santa Anna said. “Trust me, tonight we will celebrate by…”

Pow! A third cannonball landed three feet away. It exploded.

The general was on the ground. His ears were ringing. His sight was blurry.

“Antonio!” Arroyo shouted as he fought his way to his fallen leader’s side.

Santa Anna looked to his left. A bloody, shredded leg laid in the dirt. Even with all the pain and confusion, he could tell the limb looked all too familiar.

The general looked down. His right leg was still there. His left leg was not. Scraps of flesh and bone jutted out of the left side of his pelvis where his leg once was.

“Antonio?” the Colonel asked. “Antonio!”

Santa Anna’s eyes closed and he slipped into a deep, dark state of unconsciousness.

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 73

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Doc stared at the ropes binding him to a chair.

“Is this really necessary?” Doc asked.  “None of you are in any imminent peril from me I assure you.”

“That’s exactly what a zombie would want us to believe,” Miss Bonnie said as she looped another coil of rope around the doctor and tied it up tight.  “Lull us into thinking everything’s peachy keen then before we knew it he’s chomping on our brains before you can whistle dixie.”

“Why are you talking?” the Reverend asked.  “The other zombies didn’t talk.  They just grunted.

“Hmmm,” Slade said as he stepped over, Sarah still attached to his side.

“Like that,” the Reverend added.

“Those peepers of yours are sending a chill up my spine, Doc,” Gunther said.  “This is for your own good until we know what’s going on with you.”

“It’s either this or we put you down like a dog,” Miss Bonnie said.

Anabelle rubbed her hand across Doc’s cheek.  “How do you feel?”

“Never better, my dear,” Doc said.  “Like I’m a young buck again.  Even better.  Better than I’ve ever felt in my entire life.  I feel like I could run for miles and lift enormous weights over my head.  I dare say I even feel better than I do when I am under the effects of cocaine.”

Miles was a boy again and wearing his blanket like a cloak once more. 

“Can you make heads or tails of this, youngun?” Gunther asked.

“Nope,”  Miles said.  “He looks like a zombie.  But he talks so much…”

“Well shit,” Gunther said.  “He was like that before.  Why did all those varmints vamoose?”

Miles walked over to the doorless frame and stepped onto the porch.  Miss Bonnie and Gunther joined.  The trio watched as scores of zombies all lumbered toward the opposite side of town.

“Blythe’s calling them,” Miles said.  “And that’s not good.  If you think they were bad on their own, wait until he gets them organized.”

Gunther poked his head through the door frame and spied the bride.

“Miss Sarah.  Do you think I could borrow your beau?”

Sarah shook her head furiously.  “No.”

“You’ll be fine, Miss Sarah,” Gunther said.  “I guarantee it.  We’re all going to be right here…”

Gunther nodded at Miles.  “And we even got a dog monster on our side.”

“Werewolf,” Miles said.

“No,” Sarah said, clutching Slade even tighter, practically cutting off the circulation in his arm.

Anabelle grabbed one of Sarah’s arms and the Reverend grabbed the other.  Together, they gently pried her off of Slade.

“Miss Sarah,” the Reverend said.  “At times like these, do you know what I find most comforting?”

“The good book?” Sarah asked.

“Bourbon!” the Reverend said.  “Let’s go find my stash.”

“Rain!” Sarah shouted.  “Rain you’re not going away are you?”

“No,” Slade said.

“Promise me you won’t leave me.”

“I…I promise.”

The trio of Slade, Gunther and Miss Bonnie found a bit of privacy out on the front porch.

“Well, what’s the plan, marshall?”  Gunther asked.

“Marshall?” Slade asked.  “I turned in my star.”

“No one gives a shit about that star, Rain,” Gunther said.  “We’re the only law this town has and you’re still the marshal as far as I’m concerned.”

Miss Bonnie nodded.  “He’s right.  What’s our next move, marshall?”

Slade’s voice was raspy as ever as he looked at Gunther.  “You want to fight now?  You’re the one who always wants to run away from everything.”

The old man’s face turned bright red with rage.

“Damn it, boy,” Gunther said.  “I do not run away from everything.  I run away from some things.  There’s a big damn difference.”

“There is?” Slade asked, curious at this side of Gunther he’d never seen before.

“Yeah there is,” Gunther said.  “I wasn’t a shrinking violet by any stretch when it was my turn to do my part to keep the union together. And I did more than my fair share of fighting in Texas before you were even a twitch in your Daddy’s pecker.”

“Texas?”  Miss Bonnie asked.

“You’re darn tootin’,” Gunther said.

“Bullshit,” Slade said.

Gunther unsheathed his knife and handed it to Slade.  “Read that handle motherfucker.”

Slade squinted at the handle and looked shocked when he saw two engraved words. 

“James Bowie.”

“Colonel Jim Bowie of the Texas Volunteer Army,” Gunther said as he snatched the knife back.  “Trusted me with the very first sticker he ever invented.  Commanded me to get it the hell out of the Alamo before Santa Anna could get his grubby mitts on it.  He trusted me with it on account of how many Mexicans I killed, thank you very much.”

“You never said anything,” Slade said.

“I never needed to say anything,” Gunther said.  “I don’t need to sashay around with a sour puss on my face and a cigar in my yap the way you do just to prove to the world that I got a big swingin’ dick.  This knife and my memories are the only proof I need.”

“He’s got you there, Rain,” Miss Bonnie said.

“What?” Slade asked.

“You put on airs,”  the redhead said.

“I do not.”

“You do,” Miss Bonnie said.  “You got this tough guy act you put on around everyone but me.”

“But you?” Gunther asked Miss Bonnie.

“He’s a real sweet teddy bear,” Miss Bonnie said.  “Aint you?” she asked Slade.

Slade’s forehead vein was throbbing.  With full rasp he declared, “I am not a teddy bear.”

“Look,” Gunther said.  “I don’t run from every fight.  Just the fights that aren’t worth dying for.  Only a dumb ass would let himself get shot trying to save a town full of ungrateful yahoos from getting their shit stolen from a scumbag like Smelly Jack.”

The old man pulled bullet after bullet off of his belt and one by one, inserted them into the chamber of his pistol.

“But when I was just a bit older than Miles in there I saw a chance to make a life for myself in a free Texas so I took it,” Gunther said.  “It didn’t work out the way I’d hoped but at least I came back here knowing I’d earned a great man’s respect.  And years later when there was chance to keep the North and South from going their separate ways?  You better believe that was a cause worth fighting for.”

Slade chewed on the end of his cigar.  The old timer pointed at the zombies trudging away down the road.

“And even though the odds are a million to one against a victory here,” Gunther said. “If there’s even a slim chance that I can keep the United States of America from becoming stepped on by a bloodsucking son of a bitch’s boot heel, then you best believe I’m going to take it.”

Miss Bonnie cocked her shotgun.  “That was beautiful Gunther.  Rain, let him hear your real voice.”

Slade flashed Miss Bonnie a look of total betrayal.  “What?” he grunted.

“Go on,” Miss Bonnie said.  “Gunther shared.  Now you share.  This is how you make friends.”

“I don’t want to,”  Slade said, gruffly.

Miss Bonnie stomped her foot. “Rainier Slade, this man is the best friend you will ever have and you will let him hear your real voice right this instant!”

Slade rolled his eyes then cleared his throat.  He started talking normally, with his real voice, the one he only shared with Miss Bonnie.

It wasn’t womanly.  Or all that intolerable.  But as it turned out, Slade’s regular tone was just the slightest bit…nasal.

“This is how I talk.”

Gunther leaned back and looked Slade in the eye.  “Really?”

“Really.”

“Fuck,” Gunther said.

The old man slapped the marshal’s back.  “Like I said, boy.  As long as you’re convinced your dick swings, no one else’s opinion matters.”

Gunther moved near the door frame.  “If you want to fight, we’ll fight.  If you want to run, we’ll run.  No shame in it under the circumstances. It’s easy for me to say let’s fight because I’ve done all my living already but you two are just getting started.  Whatever you decide, I’m with you, marshall.”

Slade tipped the end of his Stetson.  “Thank you…deputy.”

The old man walked into the church but then poked his head back outside.

“But seriously, get that frog back in your throat.  You’re going to kill the morale in here.”

“Got it,” Slade said.

Slade and Miss Bonnie sat on the edge of the porch.

“I wish you hadn’t done that,” Slade said.

“Please,” Miss Bonnie said.  “I’ve known that old buzzard longer than you and I’ve never seen him go on about another man the way he does about you.  He doesn’t care what you sound like.”

“You don’t know what I’ve been through,” Slade said. 

“Are you ever going to tell me?” Miss Bonnie asked.

“Maybe,” Slade said.  “When you tell me why a cancan girl can drop a slew of zombies and offer to blow off Doc’s head without breaking a sweat.”

Miss Bonnie stood up.  “Touche,” she said as she walked into the church.  “I’ll let you think.”

All alone, Slade laid back and stared up at the stars.  “Yeah.  Let me think.”

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