Roadrunner v. Coyotes He parted the blinds. It was still a desert out there. The sign he’d put up, INTERCOURSE WITH A STRANGER- FREE COFFEE…had gone unanswered. The room he had was the best in the house as it was located kitty-corner from the motel office which was connected to the gas station which in itself contained a fair amount of food, plenty gas (obviously) and was pretty well stocked with what he would need for years, especially if he had another one of those episodes again. However, living among this bounty of microwavable cheeseburgers along with gallons of subpar coffee and a wide variety of cigarettes to accelerate his way towards death, he would starkly wonder how long had this kingdom been abandoned? The only times he encountered other humans was when he patrolled the border. No vehicles had ever stopped by in all his months of living here. He smashed all the mirrors in the rooms, one day when the violent heat of the moment unleashed something stomach churning yet thunderous from his mortal belly. After what he did even though it was with good cause, he could no longer face himself in a reflective surface, incapable of fully accepting the beast who masqueraded as the man…the man on the road. Those were the times he was happiest. Out on the blacktop into the desert where the real road was. Along with the coyotes hunted. Tricksters running the numbers game. A nonzero logic resulting in exploitation and death with minimal profit afforded to these animals scratching out a meager existence. A fury of dust in the distance caught his attention. It would be instant coffee today and a few hits of peanut butter off the knife to start the day in higher gear than usual. He looked at the hammer stuck in the wall, now well over a week. He pulled it effortlessly from the cheap drywall and flung it on the floor, seeing that bits of bone, hair and meat were still the residents of the spattered collective. He lit a cigarette as he drank his instant coffee nude. Nothing better than a smoke and naked coffee drinking, even if it tasted like boiled chalk. He felt that in a former life, some woman or even non-binary companion would compliment how the orange plastic mug accentuated his olive tone getting darker for desert days. He never used to kill coyotes. Nor had he taken any joy from it. Until the hammer incident. It already had been an upsetting scorcher of a day, but he could never fully justify the use of the hammer nor the shrill howling that ensued from the beast’s mouth akin to maniacal laughter. The coyote’s particular name had been King Cock. Cock or rooster was a common name among coyotes. This one had slain the rest of the “roosters” for the most part in a display of unnatural dominance in which the only beak and set talons ravaging the henhouse would King Cock’s fangs and claws. “Beep, beep!” Were the words, he seemingly heard as he delivered the deathblow to the coyote which caused him to question reality, pondering how much of this was actually real and imagining a time he used to pray and what it meant and how, even if he truly believed in anything none of it would have made a difference. Coyotes like King Cock would still exist. Men left abandoned and dying of thirst would still be cooking from the inside, making love to cacti as their lovers and daughters would be ravaged and dismembered before reaching the promised land. Bodies left headless and nude. Limp. Like many a hen. KING COCK “You know, Roadrunner…this reminds me of a joke. Roadrunner had raised the hammer over the bound figure up against the office wall. KING COCK “Actually, everything has been reminding me of a joke…children with cancer, decapitated teenage hotties, poor chumps boiling inside from the sun on the hot sand-“ THWACK! King Cock, undeterred. Spat blood. Grinned. KING COCK “So what did the hooker say when her head got-“ THWACK! Eye socket cracked. A few loose teeth. Manic gaze. Unhindered. KING COCK “…blown off?” THWACK! THWACK! THWACK! Until there was just a jaw and shoulders were dislocated. Roadrunner sat in silence. Covered in blood, guts and skeleton fragments. He wondered what color his hair color used to be, and would it still look the same once the gore and excess grime had been shampooed from it. He sat like that until sundown. Sunrise and sundown again. So what did the hooker say after she got her head blown off? The world was falling. People still crossed the border from some kind of hell in the stillborn belief that angels protected America. He vowed never to take dreams away from the people living nightmares. Any dream worth dreaming was a dream worth fighting for. Did he say that? Was it his grandfather or something from a movie? The 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner drove like flowing water, the 940-horsepower engine sounded like hell breathing fire. A sun faded black with speckles of exposed primer much like the bird’s feathers it was named after. Oversized tires with lethal rims for flattening tires or people along with a protruding battering ram in place of a bumper akin to a warlike beak improving speed through aerodynamics. He was called Roadrunner, but this was the real Roadrunner. The driver’s side was insulated from the rest of the car, in a queer booth that was once referred to as being “death proof” as long as you were driving…the passengers or anyone else in the trunk…not so good. DRIVER “We are on the road Roadrunner! We’re running!” ROADRUNNER “No need to shout Billy-Jack, I am everywhere.” The hastily constructed mock AI replied to the driver who had an affinity for the lost years of television and cinema. Billy-Jack/Roadrunner, he never thought of himself as either of those. Just a man in a leather jacket and jeans with a simple sawed-off shotgun and chainsaw. Today it was sans jacket and a woven poncho instead like an oil burning Sergio Leone anti-hero. He drove toward the glint he saw moments ago to find nothing but desolation until something or rather plural something rose from the sand…humanoid shapes tied together in masks, hands behind their backs with heads down. He slammed the brakes. Too late. The car hit someone. Meat cracked, organs crushed, and wet snapping noises invades his ears before the explosions occurred. The car flew in the air and landed on the passenger’s side. Luckily for him, the “death proof” booth was actually death proof. There would be bruises. He surveyed what he could. The hit were already dead. Corpses as landmines. Entrapment. More things less than noble and more wicked headed his way. Head to toe denim, gasmasks and welding masks, brandishing cutting torches, tire-irons, some sort of industrial saw and small power generator held by two others. One crazy figure stood over him, a rotting hallowed out pig head as a mask, clad in denim longhair with bullets tied in them. He pumped his gun. Ears ringing. Sparks flying. The coyotes would have vengeance. Pulled out, he tried to remain limp. A barrel shoved against his rectum proved he wasn’t unconscious. Something, with pointed ears and a snout was placed in front of him or rather it rode in front of him. Flanked by more masked individuals in fire-retardant suits holding transparent shields around it. A corpulent figure in a motorized wheelchair, army fatigues and an oversized paper mâché Coyote head. They called him KING COYOTE. There were a lot of kings in this land of insane kings. A mad king was something to be afraid of but a mad king with a vendetta with command over the nomadic criminals with a sinister sense of order was like hell erupting through the earth and not stopping. It wasn’t just about halting human trafficking, the king who had put in his motorized throne by the Roadrunner which had decimated his original throne months ago. KING COYOTE “Roadrunner, it is now time to die, yes?” He gestured to the men holding the generator who grabbed Billy-Jack and held him with his arms outstretched like a martyr. Pig-head placed the barrel of his weapon underneath his victim’s chin, while a welder who used the torch to help open the driver’s side door placed in the white-hot flame near his sternum. KING COYOTE “A hero’s death intrigues. A hero’s death offers us power. Head or heart? What shall we reap of first, hero?” He wasn’t hero. He didn’t know what he was only that he was going to die, and no one would remember him and then the Earth began to shake… The ground gave way as if hallow. The Roadrunner, both man and car were swallowed into darkness along with those on the opposite side of the shields. There was screaming and tearing sounds. Gunshots. Teeth sinking into something and someone speaking in tongues and hissing. He couldn’t move, too broken and disoriented but he had landed on something soft. A sensual naked thigh from under a green dress glided over his chest. He looked up at the loveliest yellow eyes he had ever seen, and raven hair on the copper skinned woman who flicked out a serpentine tongue. “Coyote Trickers pay homage to the reptiles of the desert. I am the Venom-Queen, you are my consort. My prize. My property.” Being dead would wait another day.