My latest short story ‘Chickens Never Learn’ – a bona fide adventure story – appears in Crime Factory #17. I’m getting to be a regular contributor – this makes three issues in a row.
The story begins:
It started in Cervecería Pepe at Calle 60 x 67 in that devilish Yucatán city of Mérida. I was drinking alone in the green gloom of the bar on a hot and dead afternoon. I didn’t have the centavos for the beer but I knew Pepe would give me a little credit.
There’d been a lot of afternoons like this.
I was stuck in Mexico.
I was broke.
I was desperate to raise a stake to cross the Guatemalan border to find the Cotzumalhuapa Mask. In those days I was obsessed with jade antiquities. I make no apologies.
Every surface in Pepe’s dive was coated in sticky dust. There were two tiny windows throwing a little light onto the olive green walls, but not enough to let you see many details. I once tried to play the piano but it was missing its strings – I guess it supplied the town’s garrotters. A few winos were snoring under the tables in back. Sitting at the other end of the bar was an English tourist in a Panama. He was browsing a Spanish phrase book. He’d been hanging around. Pepe stood behind the bar polishing shot glasses with a dirty cloth.
An American kid came in. He was maybe twenty-five years old and five feet tall. He smelled like he’d been cohabitating with a sow for a week. He poked my arm and said:
“Will you stick a fellow American for a drink?”
Pepe started to laugh from way down in his gut. He knew me well. And he liked to laugh.
The yank repeated his question.
“Do I look like I’m handing out pesos?” I said. “Anyway, I’m not a bloody yank. I’m Australian.”
You can buy the handsome print edition of Crime Factory HERE and get the Kindle version as a free extra. Or go to Crime Factory for the PDF and Kindle editions. The Kindle version is also for sale at Amazon.com.