j. l. navarro

Baby Hulk

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Illustration by Bradford JC Frederick

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Baby Hulk was cruising down Los Angeles Street ready to stomp the shit out of anyone who fucked with him.  He had just dropped a drunken Apache woman at a hick bar on Main Street and almost had to fight her boy friend to pay the fare.  Some tall, lanky Oklahoman wearing cowboy boots, a western hat, and a belt buckle as big as a bull's tongue with the name "Slim" on it.  He had a ruddy complexion that said he was drunk most of his waking hours.  He stood wavering ever so slightly back and forth. 


"And what if I don't wanna pay ya, toad?"


Baby Hulk had been called many things in his twenty-two years, but never a toad.  He didn't like the sound of it.


"See this knife," Hulk said, patting the sheath at his side.  "If you don't cough up the five dollars and twenty cents I'm going to put a zipper on your face."


The Apache woman, fat and befuddled and every bit as drunk as her friend, said, "Pay him, Slim.  We don't want no trouble.  Pay him."


"You goin' ta have ta work yo' tail off twice as hard tonight," Slim drawled.  "I wanna git myself a fifth of Jack Daniels."


"We'll get the money.  Now pay the man."


The cowboy reluctantly bought out some crumpled bills from his pocket and counted out five singles as if he were giving away pieces of his soul.





This story is included in The Blood Cake Vendor and Other Stories.