Fiction Inferno: The literary magazine that burns you up


(and the Fall of the Aztec Empire)

Max E. Keele


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unk Jesus, he ain't no goddamned Aztec, man. He real, he with it. He stare down with somebody else's eyes. Aztec eyes.

Punk Jesus don't get down, he hung, baby. He stuck to the wall, nailed up with corkscrews. Steel worms. He got no hair only barb-wire head band.

Punk Jesus ain't no fucking hippie, amigo. He got no beard, just pins and nails and fishhooks stabbing in his cheeks. He got tattoo spiders crawling around the holes in his plaster chest, where his tits used to be.

Cortez, he dig P.Jesus. He get up at night, he never sleep. When a sun come up, he slow-bleed rats to show P.Jesus he got faith. Man, that Cortez, he one holy Aztec. Night, he go to work, he push a old broom around. Broom hair go swick-swick-swick, dirt & shit go down the hall in a big old sun-temple pile. He spit on a wall when nobody looking. One day, he cut a holy picture in a door with that big old razor.

Cortez, he hang Punk Jesus up one day. He beat in the corkscrews with his own hand, blood drops go splatter on the wall. He dig pain, cold fire. He ugly, amigo, he ugly. He beat up some lady downtown, she a whore, he beat on her with scabby hands.

[Baby, that lady, she alright. She live witht he Indian in a big old feather palace. Her picture make every calendar. She show her snatch for five bucks, but Cortez, he got no eyes.]

Cortez, he squeeze some poor rat's daddy so blood come out that poor old nose. One drop, next, next, go splat-splat-splat on the floor under P.Jesus's busted feet. He thinking, man. He thinking of that lady, he tear her shirt off, he punch her guts, he kick her face. Her tits just bounce like bags full of blood. He spit, and big old snot stringer go hang off one old scab-red nipple. She hate that Cortez, amigo. He go home to Jesus, she go back to work. Fat old Aztecs pay extra to screw that whore with busted tits.

Cortez, he just squeeze rats.

Cortez, he used to be a big old deal, king Aztec. He drink that nasty mescal, he eat that old worm. He own a beat old Cadillac. He take that old feather palace, burn all them calendars, cut that Indian's throat. He keep six beat old whore, who give him all they money, who give him they soul. Then, man, that Cortez get old. He got to shove that broom, he got to squeeze that rat. Ain't got no more Caddy, ain't got no more whore. Only got Punk Jesus, and a handful of Aztec scars.

Punk Jesus ain't no shitty church-man, he life, and he ugly, and he mad like a foamy dog. He stare down there at old Aztec Cortez, Cortez squeezing rats with one scabby hand. Stare down with Cortez's own eyes. Cortez, man, amigo, compadre--P.Jesus gonna tell you future

Cortez, you dick gonna fall off, like a old black worm.

Cortez, you gonna get spiders crawling around them holes where you tits used to be.

Cortez, big old rat daddy gonna squeeze every drop of blood out you nose, splat-splat-splat.

Cortez, some old whore gonna beat you dead with that five dollar snatch.

Punk Jesus gonna give you back you eyes, Aztec, and you never gonna push no broom no more. You cutting skin from the very end, man: time's up. Baby, you hung.




© Max E. Keele. All Rights Reserved.

Originally published in Fiction International, 1988.

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