Originally published by F. Tennyson Neely in 1895.
Also published online by The Project Gutenberg
Title: The King in Yellow Author: Robert W. Chambers

Banner Artwork above by Shasta Lawton.
Illustration for THE PROPHET'S PARADISE by Eric York,
taken from the collection Carcosa Tenement Blues by Edward Morris

Saturday, October 10, 2009

armed to the teeth with LIPSTICK:10.

by Blag Dahlia


CHAPTER 10: EVERYONE'S A WINNER




The bright lights hit my eyes like a fist. I knew where I was, I guess I'd always known. There are no secret destinations, no cruel twists of fate. My ancestors were given to extra-terrestrial dalliance, which explained the dual citizenship of my respiratory system and my love of a good time. What it didn't explain was--what now?

The US of A in my mind's eye was a kaleidoscope of scratchy 45s and movie magazines, the realm of Li'l Orphan OJ and the Possee Comatosis. Nothing mama done told me between gulps of grain liquor could have prepared me for the decaying giant known as Times Square, or the senseless corruption that oozed from every pore of its volcanic multitude.

"Alright, step up, everyone's a winner, everybody wins and nobody loses."

It sounded like Pro Wrestling to me, but what the hell? I moved to a spot near the front where a little rat in designer sweats and a doo-rag was holding court. His pin prick eyes alighted on me.

"Sir, you seem like a smart man, a wise man, maybe even a family man..."

"Get to the point."

"I've got three cards in front of me, as you can see. Two are black and one is red. Pick the red one and you're a winner, do you have five dollars, sir? Remember, everyone's a winner."

I checked the pockets of my rumpled suit pants. Sure enough, they'd slipped me some loot before the blackout. It was easy come, easy action.

"I got five on it."

"Show me the five and you're a winner, sir. Which card is it?"

A crowd had formed around us and I smelled con as thick as the ozone. I'd seen some jokers guess the red, but they were obvious set-ups. Still, you can't win for losing. I pointed to a card.

"Sorry, sir, but that was close, look again because it happens very fast. Where's the red card now? Five dollars."

Mesmerized, I looked at his cold hands moving across the top of that orange crate. I thought about hands across the water. Then hands across the cosmos and then hands across this bastard's throat if I came up short again. I was sure I had hit it this time.

"Wrong again, sir, but put up ten and you get twenty back, no one leaves a loser. Sir, you strike me as an intelligent man."

Did I mention that I hate to lose?

"You also strike me as an honest man, sir."

"I just might strike you period, pal," I said, watching the black card come up yet again.

"Put up fifty, you're a guaranteed winner."

"Tell you what," I said, pulling out my Luger and pointing it straight at his heart, "I'll trade ya."

The dealer ran fast, leaving the cash and a stain where his stool used to be. I guess there's a sucker born every minute. I bought a bag of yellow powder off a dead end kid and pulled up a gutter seat. Now that amateur hour was over, I had to face the cold hard lavatory floor.

Somehow, find Suzy. Not for the EQ or the Korps, not even for her sake, but for mine. I figured my best bet would be to access New York's Finest for strategic advice, back up, and maybe a boysenberry danish. I also knew that stories of interstellar abduction might just win me a spot on the Bellvue Express, but I figured I could use the practice weaving baskets.

I snorted a big line of gak, cursing my weakness of spirit and the high cost of pleasure on planet Earth.



Click here for
CHAPTER 11: POWDER KEG HELL-HOLE

No comments:

Post a Comment

Archive of Stories
and Authors

Adam Bolivar's
SERVITORS OF THE
OUTER DARKNESS

Adam Bolivar's
WYRM'S BLOOD


Adam Bolivar's
THE DEVIL CAME
TO BOSTON



Adam Bolivar's
THE DREAM KEY


Adam Bolivar's
THE WHITE CUP


Adam Bolivar's
THE FOX AND THE THORN


Adam Bolivar's
THE TIME-EATER


Adam Bolivar is an expatriate Bostonian
who has lived in New Orleans and Berkeley,
and currently resides in Portland, Oregon
with his beloved wife and fluffy gray cat
Dahlia. Adam wears round, antique glasses
and has a fondness for hats. His greatest
inspirations include H.P. Lovecraft,
Jack tales and coffee.


Keith Graham's
MIZUKI


Keith Graham's
EVERYTHING BUT
THE OINK



Keith Graham's
FAREWELL TOUR


Keith Graham is a computer programmer,
blues harp player, fellow beekeeper, and
speculative fiction writer. He currently
maintains 45 active websites. He has
published more than 50 stories over
the last six years in venues such as
others. Underground rock music
played an integral part in the early
days of cyberpunk, and The Freezine
of Fantasy and Science Fiction is
excited to have Keith onboard, and
grateful to showcase the premiere
of his passionate story of rock'n'roll
redemption.


John Claude Smith's
BLOOD ECHO SYMPHONIES


John Claude Smith's
NOT BREATHING



John Claude Smith writes weird fiction,
something between Horror and Magic
Realism, most of it psychologically driven.
He's had over 40 tales and over 1100 music
reviews, interviews, and profiles published.
He is currently shopping two novels and
a collection to agents and publishers, all
while starting the third novel. Gotta keep
on keepin' on! Looking forward to Rome
in the not too distant future, but for now,
just looking for the next short story to
be written.


David Agranoff's
A PLANET OF YOUR OWN


David Agranoff's
THE FALLEN GUARDIAN'S MANDATE


David Agranoff is the author of the
short story collection Screams From
A Dying World, just published by
Afterbirth Books. David is a hardcore
vegan and tireless environmentalist.
His contributions to the punk horror
scene and the planet in general have
already established him as a bright
new writer and activist to watch out
for. The Freezine of Fantasy and
Science Fiction welcomes him and
his defiant vision open-heartedly.

David is a busy man, usually at work
on several different novels or projects
at once. He is sure to leave his mark on
a world teetering over the edge of
ecological imbalance. David's latest
books include the Wuxia -Pan
(martial arts fantasy) horror
novel called Hunting The Moon Tribe,
already out from Afterbirth Books.;
The Vegan Revolution...with Zombies,
[Deadite Press, 2010]; and
[Deadite Press, 2014]

Daniel José Older's
GRAVEYARD WALTZ


Daniel José Older's
THE COLLECTOR


Daniel José Older's spiritually driven,
urban storytelling takes root at the
crossroads of myth and history.
With sardonic, uplifting and often
hilarious prose, Older draws from
his work as an overnight 911 paramedic,
a teaching artist & an antiracist/antisexist
organizer to weave fast-moving, emotionally
engaging plots that speak whispers and
shouts about power and privilege in
modern day New York City. His work
has appeared in the Freezine of Fantasy
and Science Fiction, The ShadowCast
the collection Sunshine/Noir, and is
featured in Sheree Renee Thomas'
Black Pot Mojo Reading Series in Harlem.

When he's not writing, teaching or
riding around in an ambulance,
Daniel can be found performing with
his Brooklyn-based soul quartet
Ghost Star. His blog about the
ridiculous and disturbing world
of EMS can be found HERE.