A bottle of bourbon (Old Crow Reserve) sat on the nightstand, and a dead body was on the bed.
An icepick in its neck.
The hair was still long and blonde, though helped with a bottle. The face was beautiful and seemed smooth, if you didn’t look too closely and the lights were dim as they were in the dives where she lurked.
She didn’t know why she had brought him to this hotel, this latest horndog doofus. Perhaps it was a slayer’s nostalgia. She had not been here or even in Dark City in 13 years, but here she was, and it was nearly midnight.
His wallet held $156 in cash and 12 credit cards. She smiled.
But the years had turned her reckless.
She doffed her clothes and lay atop yellowing sheets on the second bed, the one with no corpse. She offed the light and stared at the ceiling that was faintly illuminated by neon outside that flickered The Marbol Hotel.
Yes, she had turned reckless.
Standing on the sidewalk was the wetback cop, Mark Montoya, and 35 buds in the law-enforcement biz. And that did not count the demolition crew.
A crazy sequence of circumstances had led to this moment. Montoya had tracked Kristanabel down, and she had entered the Marbol, a decrepit hotel that was scheduled for demolition the following week.
City planners had contracted a 20-story condo, part of an ongoing downtown restoration that would attract young, wine-sipping professionals. The Marbol sat on primo real estate these days, prime dirt.
Kristanabel knew none of this. She also did not know that when she closed her eyes she would never open them again. She did not know the demolition had been rescheduled to kill two birds with one stone, as they say.
Or three if you include the already dead corpse.
By 6 a.m., the charges had been set, and the hotel had been quietly evacuated, every room save one, the one where an aging but still lovely blonde slept on one bed and a man with an icepick in his neck slept on another.
As sunlight shone on concrete, Montoya told the crew chief: Let ‘er rip!
And he did.
The blast went viral on YouTube, and Kristanabel soon had her own Wikipedia page with links to Ma Barker, Bonnie Parker and Lizzie Borden.
* * * *
Montoya retired, changed his name back to Manny and built a big home on a mountaintop in Mexico. It was made of adobe and red clay.
He adopted a street mutt and named him José.
He found a girl of 17 named Lupe. She had smoky skin, shining eyes, straight white teeth, a protruding butt, a chest like two mangoes, and he lived happily ever after, eating blue-corn tortillas and pinto beans that Lupe’s mama made.
* * * *
It began innocently enough with a bus ride.
Included were incredible characters like Billy Lancing, a redheaded negro; and desk clerk Lenny Slick, a dimwitted bachelor. And who could forget Maxence the Bellman, a former Foreign Legionnaire?
There was Bo the Bartender, born Beauregard Lee Johnston who, after having a homosexual relationship with a black boy, was banished from his family’s plantation and found himself on a Trailways bus pointed north.
There was Maurice the Hall Prowler and Maria the Maid from Guanajuato and pedophile Myron Blade, Kristabel’s first victim. There was bloody roast beef and Black Sheep Ale. Oh, so many memories.
The series of 22 can be found here. It reads from bottom to top.