New Pulp Press

"Bullets, Booze and Bastards"

Sample story from Kali On A Rampage



10:30 Saturday evening. Life is difficult when you are age 22 and you have the facial complexion of the late Yasser Arafat and the cauliflower ears of a grappler. Life is even harder when you also have florid schizophrenia. The illness is rearing its ugly head in the mind of Warren Ritchie. He is home again, standing in the downstairs bathroom of his parent’s raised-ranch. Some of the original pale-pink tub tiles are missing. Staphylococcus laden black-brown crud is growing in patches on the tropical fish shower curtain. Ancient specks of dried Colgate-spit and little hairs encrust the sink. The grime is exposed in the glare of the overhead light bulb.

What are they doing to me? What could it be? What do they want? Should I just man-up, be stone-cold, grow a bigger set of testicles, forget the cups, and slice off both ears now?

The beads of Super Glue are now tacky around the rims of the two orange Dixie cups. Warren is staring at his reflection. The toilet water is yellow with pee. There is no thought to flush after being engrossed in examining his body in the bathroom mirror for the last two hours. He had removed all his clothes except for his underwear. Belly flab hangs over the frayed band of his XXL tighty-whities that are not so white but rather blotched with coffee-stain colors. Reaching 6’1 and being wide with big doughy thighs, he has been growing fatter and fatter. Some of his pills caused a relentless craving for sugar. He drank cherry flavored root beer by the gallons.

What are they turning me into?

He palms one of his man-boobs. His chest is almost a B in bra size. Tweaking one maroon hairy nipple, a droplet appears. It is watery and milky. A rare side effect of certain anti-psychotic medications is for male patients to lactate. Warren had been taking his pills in a haphazard manner. Most days he skipped; other days he swallowed handfuls. He mixed the old discontinued prescriptions along with the new ones. Little, amber pill bottles with labels like Risperdal, Zyprexa, and Seroquel are lined up on the edge of the sink next to the Dixie cups, the tube of Super-Glue, and the retractable carpet knife.

Oh no! They are trying to turn me into a woman!
He squeezes more fluid out of the other nipple.
Out in the living room, Warren’s father lets out a loud popping fart. The sound startles Warren for a moment and he brakes his gaze from the mirror. Mr. Ritchie Senior is in a giant, green vinyl recliner, trance-like in front of the television. He is anemic and small but with a large blockish head and a graying crew cut. The nerd glasses magnify his unblinking, blue eyes to the point of appearing disproportionate and freakish. A Bic ballpoint pen is forever being grinded in his mouth. The news is on. It is always on. There was a detonation in a Hindu temple in New Delhi by al Qaeda. 18 dead. The terrorist used a nail-bomb suicide vest. Video footage of grieving and angry faces flicker on the TV screen and on the lenses of Mr. Ritchie’s glasses.

Upstairs, mother is sedated to the world like all the other evenings. She is obese, weighing in at almost 300. She is a mound under the blankets and the musky comforter. Mother had long stopped cooking, dusting, and mopping. Bottles of OxyContin are on the nightstand. She often weeps and says she needs the pills for her bulging discs, bad knees and nerves. “I have to rest, I’m in pain” is her mantra. Mother has not been coming downstairs much anymore.

Warren returns back to his reflection in the mirror. The reason that his ears are gnarled with scar tissue is from his frequent twisting and scratching in a futile attempt to stop the voices. Many times he picked and dug at his ears causing them to bleed and get infected.
If this doesn’t stop them from broadcasting into my brain, I swear I’ll do the bi-lateral Van Gough!

He picks up one of the Dixie cups and presses it to the side of his head, covering his right ear. Then he does the other side. The Super Glue binds to his skin. Warren looks oddly primitive-extraterrestrial with the two new protrusions added to his features.

This will block the signals for now! But I have to stop them altering my body any further! No way in hell will I let them do this to me! I am not some big fat girl with titties! I’m a big boy! A big dude! A macho-man! A heavyweight contender! Spartacus! Yes, a big-big-big alpha stag that can take a lot of ----------------pain!!!!

With a trembling hand, he fumbles with the slide button on the carpet knife. A thin triangular razorblade is released. It is ultra-sharp and pointy! With a mixture of fear and rage, Warren quickly takes his right thumb and index finger and pinches and stretches out his left nipple like he is trying to remove a piece of old chewing gum from under a desktop. And he . . .

Swipes with the carpet knife.
The dirty sink turns red. Bright crimson blood pours down Warren’s chest and over his big fishy-white belly. He faints and begins to drop, the slippery severed nipple falling from his fingers. The carpet knife is still in his right grasp. A muffled but resounding thud is heard throughout the house. Mr. Ritchie Senior turns his head while still sitting in the recliner and stares at the bathroom door. On TV, a Hindu mob is chanting “Kali! Kali!” evoking the wrathful goddess of revenge and death. Mr. Ritchie slowly turns his gaze back to the television screen. He bites down harder on the plastic Bic pen and it splinters in his mouth.