This is the third chapter of my latest pulp project (Chapter One, with some background on the genesis of this concept, is posted here; Chapter Two here.) Naturally, as a work in progress, this is all subject to change prior to final print publication, but it will give you a good idea of where I'm going with this, even if I'm not totally sure myself. Christopher Sorrenti, who edited the book trailer for the Thrillville Pulp Fiction Collection, is working on the cover, which is very exciting. Once it's done, I'll share it on this blog and then create a Facebook Fan Page for this particular piece, which will include further updates and excerpts (if not complete chapters.) The Mantis Man is loosely based on a true life character who used to frequent the cafe in Berkeley's French Hotel, where I worked in the early '90s. Anyway, hope you dig it. Cheers.
FREAKS THAT CARRY YOUR LUGGAGE UP TO THE ROOM
A Novel by Will Viharo
A Novel by Will Viharo
The Mantis Man was alone in his room at L’Hotel du Frisson, dreaming of better days, which would be any day prior to whichever one he was currently living. His isolation and dementia were progressive, and linked, but he didn’t see it this way. He loved living at the hotel, even though it was somewhat expensive, despite the bargain rate deal he had worked out. The hotel only had a few indefinite residents. The Mantis Man had amassed considerable personal wealth before retiring from his career as a headhunter and moving to this town, and he lived fairly simply, rarely venturing outside the confines of the hotel and adjoining café. He had nowhere to go, and no one to love. He subsisted on a steady diet of denial. And burritos.
He was eating one now, brought up from the cafe, while he watched an old Mexican horror movie with the sound down low. The female star seemed vaguely familiar; he assumed because he’d seen her in another movie before, or maybe even this one. The Mantis Man was losing touch with reality. He didn't miss it much.
The phone rang, and, cursing, he put down his burrito, got up and answered it. It was Dick, up at the front desk.
"There's a phone call for you; shall I put it through?"
"Yes." The Mantis Man lit a cigarette and took a drag on it.
"Hey, it's Vic," said a voice on the phone. "I tried calling your cell, but there was no answer."
The Mantis Man took a puff and said, "Yes, the battery is low."
"I can relate," said Vic. "I"m tired so I'll make this quick. Your boy Danny Falco? The guys who want him are well connected, back in Jersey. I know people who know them. Not nice."
"I know all that," The Mantis Man said. "I'm familiar with their ilk. That's not what I wanted to know. What I want to know is - "
"Why they want him, I know," said Vic. "Gambling debts, and some other things."
"Like what? Details, details. That's why I hired you, Valentine. The rest of it I could guess, for Chrissake."
"Well, apparently, he fucked some wiseguy's fiancée," Vic said. "I know the type. I'd love to kill him myself. Maybe I should be a hit man for hire instead of a private dick?"
"I'll take care of it from here. Goodbye," The Mantis Man said, and abruptly hung up. "I should've just hired the ghost of Johnny fucking Staccato," he muttered to himself.
The Mantis Man then went to his closet and pulled out his customary trench coat and derby hat, relics from his youth, hanging just beside the row of shrunken heads he'd collected from his side gig as a voodoo priest. He knew how to raise the Dead. He learned a lot of tricks from his Haitian masters when he lived in New Orleans back in the 1950s. He just didn't see the point in prolonging anyone's agony. He wasn't quite that sadistic. He'd rather see everyone just die and leave him alone, anyway. It was raining heavily outside, but that was not an issue. He hardly ever went outside. There was nothing out there for him anymore. He often wore his coat and hat anyway. It made him feel like he had someplace to go, even if he didn't want to leave. Ever.
The Mantis Man reached down, picked up and opened a shoebox at the bottom of his closet and took out a little blonde male doll with overalls, that he called "Chumpy Walnut." It was his best and only friend. He removed it and set down the box.
"We're going to have a party for our friend Danny," The Mantis Man said to the doll.
He sat back down and finished watching the Mexican monster movie, completely unaware that the actress on the screen was now in the room right below him, a half century after the film had been made but just as youthful and beautiful, feasting on the life-giving fluid she sucked from Danny Falco's cock, biting his groin to add the crucial nutritional supplement of blood to her meal. Unfortunately, she could not live on sex alone - violence was also part of her diet. Blood and semen: the secret of Life, and the alchemy of the Damned.
The Mantis Man cackled to himself, holding the doll and repeating to himself as he watched the film, "We're having a party for you, Danny. Because you made a mistake. What kind of a mistake? A bad mistake. Now we have to resolve this mistake that you made." He despised Danny Falco for something Danny had unwittingly done to him, for breaking his heart, and he vowed to send the kid's soul straight to Hell, but Danny's soul had already been spoken for.
Copyright 2011 Will Viharo
All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved