Authors: Neal Barrett Jr.
Tags: #General Fiction
Neal Barrett Jr.
Digital Edition published by Crossroad Press
© 2012 / Neal Barrett Jr.
Cover Design By: David Dodd
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The Hereafter Gang
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f the Sopranos wore overalls and didn't care for shoes, they'd likely live in Mexican Wells, Texas. If Jack hadn't screwed up a no-brainer holdup in Amarillo, if he hadn't gotten high with a long-legged Oklahoma girl--hey, if he'd ever done anything right, he wouldn't have ended up in the Huntsville pen. He sure wouldn't be washing dishes in a dump like WAN'S.
The good news is, WAN'S is right next door to PIGG'S, where Jack's beloved, Gloria Mundi, takes it all off every night. The bad news is, redneck mobster Cecil R. Dupree runs PIGG'S, and wants Gloria for himself.
Still, all Jack needs is a couple of hundred grand, and he can take Gloria out of all this. One way to get it is to foul up Cecil's dope with the bad bunch from New Orleans, steal a fast car and get out of town.
What's wrong with a plan like that?
f you happened to grow up in Texas like I did, you've driven through more than one town like Mexican Wells. Maybe you had the good sense to ride on by or maybe not. There really are people like Cecil Dupree, Cat Eye the giant, and good old girls like Alabama Straight and Wilda Hare. There are even a couple of abandoned theme parks like THE BATTLE OF BITUN FAMILY FUN PARK, with rusty old relics lying around. In my story, Gloria lives in German bomber high up in tree. Okay, so I made that up. The rest of it's almost somewhat partially true.
I hope you enjoy the book, and the screenplay too. I gave them both the very same name: PIGGS. Even Jack would have thought of that.
NEAL BARRETT, JR.
hat we could do," the man said, "we've got stuff going through Bossier City up to Big D.
This is maybe week, week after next, we let you know when.
We offload a partial, you come and get it, we hold the rest."
"I don't want a partial," Cecil said. "I don't think I said partial anywhere."
"I don't think you did," the man said.
"The partial thing, that's temporary.
That's a one-time thing is what it is."
"Temporary till what?"
Cecil knew what, but he went ahead and asked.
You don't ask, the guy'd think you didn't know better, so Cecil had to ask.
One of the girls finished up.
The crowd began to hoot and yell.
The strobe lights exploded into purple, white and red.
"You know, we get paid, you get the partial," the man said.
"Everything goes down, you get the rest."
"I lay out, I'm paying for the whole thing, you gimme half.
This is how it looks to me."
The man leaned across the table.
of it, Mr. Dupree.
Two, three days outside.
We're not looking to inconvenience you.
This is just business, this is no big thing. You've been around so you ought to know that."
The guy, he'd stepped right in it, gone across the line.
Cecil didn't show it, but anyone who knew about Cecil could have told the guy that.
"I'm a bidnessman myself," Cecil said.
"We got a misunderstanding; I'd like to clear it up.
Ambrose and me, we go back to eighty six.
He had the club in Houston, I had a place next door.
We've done a lot of bidness; there's never been a problem with either him or me."
"Mr. Ambrose is retired.
You know him, you know he's not well, you know he's not active in the business anymore."
"I know he's not active.
I know he's got serious problems with his parts.
I know he's got a dick is going to maybe fall off onna floor, so what's that got to do with me?"
"It's a one-time thing, it's just temporary."
"I got that, I got it the first couple times it come around."
Cecil looked at Grape.
Grape was where he always was, at a table near the booth.
Grape looked asleep.
He looked like a tick dog, sleeping on a hot front porch.
"I'd like another bock," Cecil said.
"I'd like to get it cold this time.
Get our guest a refill, whatever he's having, get him some of that."
The man looked relieved.
He didn't like how things were going; he was ready for a break.
He said he'd like to go to the john if Grape would show him where.
"Show him," Cecil said, and Grape got up and led him off, through the tables past the bar.
nce he was out of sight of Cecil, Kenny let out a breath.
It was cold in the place, but he tended to sweat.
The motel was cheap and the water wasn't hot.
Kenny couldn't take a shower, he couldn't handle that.
He'd washed beneath his arms, put on a clean shirt, now the shirt was wringing wet.
Jesus, he thought, what am I doing here, what is Junior thinking about, dealing with a clown like this?
The guy is a nutcase, a geek, an absolute freak.
He knew it the minute he saw Dupree, the guy over fifty, maybe fifty-five.
Big country ears and bad teeth.
A tall and skinny guy, no fat at all.
And wearing–get this–no shirt and fucking overalls.
Kenny wasn't fooled a minute.
Okay, a minute and a half.
The farmer suit and the goofball smile couldn't hide the eyes.
Couldn't hide the mean in those awful septic eyes.
He'd seen a couple dudes like Cecil down in Baton Rouge.
Guys in Boston, that didn't look like him at all.
It was something you could smell, something you knew if you'd been around a while.
You could hide maybe anything, but you couldn't hide the eyes.
And this guy, holy shit.
On top of the cornball act, you can't help looking at the guy, the guy's got a problem, the guy's got a problem with his face.
You don't know where to look, so you start looking everywhere else.
You look back again, he sees you doing that.
Maybe, if they'd ever do the deal, he could start on back.
Get out of Hick City, drive for a while, find a real motel.
As long as he didn't have to see the fucking hayseed again, and he wouldn't mind telling Junior that.
at Eye stood where he always did, just to Cecil's right.
Cecil didn't have to look, Cecil knew the Cat was there.
It's morning, it's the middle of the night, the Cat's going to be there, this is what the Cat's for.
Out across the room, the crowd cheered again.
One of the girls was coming on, the short one from Waco that everybody liked, though Cecil couldn't see why.
You look at naked girls for a while, they tend to look alike.
Tits and legs and ass, you got a different shape, you got a different size.
You're looking all the time, they're looking all alike.
Unless, Cecil thought, you got something special, something doesn't even have a name, but you know that something's there.
Gloria had it, and Cecil knew it the minute she walked in the door.
He knew it, and the jerkoffs sitting in the dark, they knew it too.
She was headliner stuff.
She had that quality you couldn't define.
The closest Cecil came was the very first night she went on.
"Son of a bitch," Cecil said to Grape, "that kid has got it, that kid is nakeder than anybody else I ever seen..."
ecil watched the man go.
He was forty, maybe, stocky and under five-ten, a man who'd played ball some time, and now all the muscle was sliding into fat.
He was dressed for being anywhere else.
For sure not Mexican Wells, or anyplace else in Garner County, Texas, and for certain not in Piggs.
Nobody wore loafers in Piggs, for Christ's sake, loafers with a tassel on top.
Loafers and dress pants, a shirt and a tie.
The shirt was okay, a good shade of blue, but the collar was white.
Cecil liked shirts that were all one color.
You want a white shirt, go ahead and do it, do the whole thing white.
Cecil didn't like him, didn't like him from the start.
Didn't like his shirt, didn't like his attitude.
Down in New Orleans, he was just another heavy, but send him up here, he thought he was maybe something else.
Also, the guy had looked at Cecil's face.
Not right at him, but out of the corner of his eye, Cecil had caught him at it twice.