Friday, July 06, 2018

Blood and Gasoline

My latest short story appears in the soon-to-be released anthology from Hex Publishers entitled Blood and Gasoline.  You can probably figure out the theme of the collection from the title, but, just in case, here's what the publisher says about the book (edited by our pal Mario Acevedo):

Seventeen stories screaming past the red line, tires tearing across the highway, guns stained with smoke and gore.

Seventeen stories of heroes and anti-heroes on desperate journeys, white knuckles on steering wheels, hearts pounding to the staccato beat of magnum hollow points slamming against flesh and steel.

Seventeen stories of hard-bitten souls hurtling over asphalt, the desert, the sea, and even through space itself in adventures fueled by vengeance, betrayal, madness, and murder.

Seventeen stories of tough justice, redemption, and salvation.

Hang on.

And if that's not enough to stir the blood, so-to-speak, Kirkus chimed in that the book is  "exhilarating, hard-nosed short fiction with a driven cast."

Or, how about "Mad Max meets Sons of Anarchy" from the Foreword by John Hartness.

My contribution to this sweaty, blood-drenched salute to all things on wheels is a heist-gone-bad tale I call Sitting Ducks.  Take a gang that couldn't shoot straight, add a healthy dose of paranoia, stir in double-cross fever, and you've got my recipe for a story that races through downtown Denver and west to the mountains,  where justice (or just plain revenge?) awaits the "ducks."

The launch for Blood and Gasoline is July 10 at 7:00 p.m. at the Tattered Cover (Colfax).  Several writers will be on hand, and a few will read from their stories.   It'll be fun.  Wild, chaotic maybe, but fun.  I promise you will laugh and probably cringe.  Why miss that?

To help set the mood, here's a short excerpt from Sitting Ducks.

Sitting Ducks, copyright Manuel Ramos, all rights reserved.

We ate canned beans and bacon fried on a small hot plate. We talked about the busted job, worthless Frankie, and what we would do next. We agreed to follow the original plan – divide the take, meager as it was, drive west until we thought the car was too hot, maybe in Utah, then split up and go our separate ways. Each one of us was ready to leave Colorado, now more than ever.

The day had been a bust but I didn’t spend any time worrying about what had happened or what we should have done differently. I had no regrets. Eddie got himself killed. Only way to look at it. I didn’t blame anyone – not Eddie, not Frankie – for where I found myself that night. No one put a gun to my head and forced me to walk into that bank wearing a mask and threatening strangers with an automatic. That was all me.

Truth be told, I needed the rush. There’d be another bank down the road. I’d pull together another crew and somewhere in the near future I’d find myself in this same spot – on the run, under an adrenaline high, hoping I didn’t have to use my gun but confident I would if it came down to that. With a little bit of luck I might make money from the next job.

“We gonna have a lookout?” Yvonne asked.

“What for?” I responded. “Any cop comes tonight, we’re easy targets. Might as well get some sleep.”

“Sí,” Jimmy added. “There’s only so much we can do.”

“You’re right,” Yvonne agreed.

I slept in one of the sleeping bags Jimmy had unloaded. I woke up when I heard Yvonne and Jimmy talking about the different routes we could take. We crawled out of our bags about five when the sun streamed through the window.

We ate more beans and bacon. Then Yvonne said she’d be right back. She grabbed the roll of toilet paper and walked out the back door. She stuck her.45 in the waistband of her pants. Jimmy and I drank instant coffee and checked our guns. We stayed busy getting ready to haul ass from the cabin. It promised to be a sweet drive in the Lexus.

I looked at a map to figure out how long it would take to drive to the Utah border. Jimmy rolled up the bags and packed the remaining food, water bottles and our few pieces of equipment.

Yvonne opened the door and immediately I saw that something was wrong. Before I could react, Yvonne was pushed through the door by Frankie, who held a gigantic revolver to her neck.

“Don’t make me shoot you!” he shouted. “I only want the money.”


Manuel Ramos has three noir short stories in the literary pipeline: Night in Tunisia (Blood Business, Mario Acevedo and Joshua Viola, eds., Hex Publishing, 2017), Snake Farm (Culprits: The Heist Was Only the Beginning, Richard Brewer and Gary Phillips, eds., Polis Books, 2018), and Sitting Ducks (Blood and Gasoline, Mario Acevedo, ed., Hex Publishing, 2018). His next novel is scheduled for publication in September, 2018 

No comments: