This story appears in the short story collection Devils, Death & Dark Wonders by Randy Chandler


Cozy up and I’ll tell you what you don’t know.

Guy told me this story. Swore on his dead mama’s soul it was true. Said he knew a guy who knew the dumbshit it happened to.

You heard a lot of bullshit tales back in Your Dick Cranked, aka, YDC (Youth Detention Center). But this one had that clapper-clanger ring of truth. I liked it so much I killed the bastard the night he told it to me. Smothered him in his bunk with his own pillow. He was too ugly to live anyway. Had a face looked like it had been branded with a hot waffle iron. Probably his mama did it.

That was back when I was knee-high to a wharf rat and had to look up to see a good set of tits. Guess I was pretty wild back then. Poor Impulse Control, the shrinks called it.

Anyway, the story. Told to me by a thirteen-year-old gang-banger, spawn of slaves and as fine a specimen of a Ubangee-American as you’d ever want to meet and kill. Called himself Tee Bo. I called him Sambo because his waffle face reminded me of that Little Black Sambo story where the tigers run around in a circle and turn to butter little Sambo uses on his pancakes. Whenever I see a tiger I get hungry for a stack of buttered pancakes—or waffles, which I like better cause of the way those little squares hold the syrup and butter. Could’ve licked syrup off Tee Bo’s face if I’d had any.

You think I’m a racist, right? Well, I’m here to tell you I’m not. I don’t discriminate on the basis of skin color. White meat, dark meat—it’s all the same to me. Everybody’s Crow meat, heh heh.

Okay, okay, the story. Keep your fucking pants on. And your dick in your pants.

There was this black dude worked on a hog farm in North Carolina. It was his job to herd the hogs into the slaughterhouse where this fat guy with a stun gun would pop those hogs in the head and send them to Hog Heaven. They called it a Penetrating Bolt Stunner. A gun with an exploding cartridge that would drive a penetrating rod through the skull and into the brain. The hogs never knew what hit ’em. Stunned those porky fuckers to death.

So the farmhand—call him Isaiah—did something to piss off the Stun Gun Man. Maybe ole Isaiah didn’t show proper respect to the tub of white fat. Maybe he didn’t bow and scrape low enough to suit the dyed-in-the-wool Klan man. Whatever it was, the Stun Gun Man casually raised his Penetrating Bolt Stunner, jammed it against the darkie’s noggin and fired the hog-bloodied bolt right into Isaiah’s brain. Ole Isaiah dropped like a hundred-pound bag of fertilizer and was dead before his face hit the shit-splattered floor. When the sheriff came, Stun Gun Man told him it was an accident, and the sheriff—also a Klan member—said it was a damn shame to lose a good nigger thataway, but what the hell, shit happens.

Soon as I heard that story I made up my mind to get one of those hog stunners and try it out for myself. On a hog of the human persuasion. Did too. Few months after I busted out of Your Dick Cranked. Hired on at a hog farm in Georgia, worked a couple of days slopping porkers, then caged myself a genuine Penetrating Bolt Stunner. It was a beaut. A fine piece of American craftsmanship. Good solid feel in my hand. I was hot to try out my new toy.

I lit out of there in the middle of the night, hitchhiked south, aiming to get to Florida in time for Spring Break in Panama City. The thought of all those college babes bare-assed in string bikinis and crack-kissing thongs got my blood up and the good old kill juice flowing.

Got a ride with a farmer in a straw hat and an old pickup just outside of Valdosta. He didn’t talk much, which was good, but he smoked these stinking stogies looked like something you’d see floating in a toilet, too ornery to be flushed. I couldn’t very well ask him not to smoke, since it was his truck and all, so I decided to use the stunner on him, then drive myself all the way to Panama City.

I reached into my gym bag and pulled out the gun.

“Whatcha got there, son?” he asked, glancing over at it.

“You ever seen the like?” I good-ole-boyed him.

“Well, it looks like one of them thangs they use in a slaughterhouse. That what it is?”

“Yes sir,” I said, flashing him a countrified grin. “You’re exactly right. Ever see somebody use one?”

“Naw. Don’t reckon I ever did.”

“It’s a sight, I tell ya. I watched ’em zap them old hogs just the other day. Put it up to their heads and fired the sonofabitch and boom! them hogs go down all at once like a ton o’ bricks. Made my dick get hard just to see it.”

The farmer gave me a worried look. I knew what was going through the cow fucker’s mind.

“Ort not to talk thataway, son.”

“Don’t worry, old dude. I ain’t a faggot or nothing like that,” I reassured him. “I just like to see things die hard. That’s why I stole this beauty.”

“They Lord . . .”

I put the Penetrating Bolt Stunner right up against his temple, just under the band of his straw hat. “Pull over,” I told him.

“Wait now, son, you—”

“Pull over or I’ll do you right now. There. See that dirt road? Turn there.”

He wised up and did what I said. Pulled off the blacktop and onto the red clay road and followed it into the trees and out of sight of the blacktop, right where I wanted him. I told him to stop and he did. I pulled the gun away from his temple, took off his sad straw hat and ordered him to look at me. He turned his weathered whiskery face toward me.

I’ll be goddamn if he didn’t have pig eyes!

It was one of those times when everything seems to fall in place, like some divine hand had tossed the holyfucking dice and they came up PIG EYES. I saw the fucking light, brother. Praise God, it was right there in front of me. My true calling. My purpose in this suck-ass thing called life.

I smiled at the pig-eyed farmer.

I gently, tenderly, lovingly placed the stunner against his forehead.

And squeezed the trigger.

It made a sound I’ll never forget. Phzzzzzz-Thump! That pressure-driven bolt punching a hole in a ripe melon.

The force of the bolt firing through his skull and into his brain knocked him against the driver’s door and he slumped there, shrunken in his overalls like a puppet with its strings suddenly slashed. Blood jizzed from the neat hole above his pig eyes. Then it stopped, same as his heart.

And those eyes stayed wide open, wet but already drying out in the hot air. I shoved him out of the truck, then drove back onto the state road, heading for Florida.

At the age of seventeen, I knew who I was—what I was. I was Michael Wayne Crow, Hogbutcher to the world. Hunter and killer of the Hog People. They were out there waiting for me. I would know them by their close-set pig eyes or their heavy flanks and jowls. I would take them where I found them.

The Season of Slaughter was upon me. And the real butchery was just beginning.

I’ll spare you the grisly details. Most of them have already been cataloged in newspapers and tabloids. I will say this: I butchered my Hog People with utmost care and consideration. Not a one of them suffered undue pain. Nor did I in any way desecrate their bodies, as my skills with knives and cleaver are considerable. On that you have my solemn word.

My childhood? Well, I guess I’d have to say it was pretty fucking abnormal. I mean, how do you imagine you would’ve turned out if your old man was a mortician whose principle passion in life was fucking corpses? I wasn’t into it myself. Not that I never tried it. When I was sixteen and full of rising sap, I greased up my pole and battered the cold vulval gates of one Enorma Biddy, dead of a heart attack at twenty-nine. But the hot blood drained from my root and my erection was lost before I could slip it to her. My cock, much to my adolescent sorrow, had a mind of its own and it refused to fuck anything without a pulse. Apparently I had not inherited my father’s predilection for cold cunt.

I suppose the old man loved me in his own twisted way. He made me study hard and read all the literary classics—even poetry. Carl Sandberg’s my favorite. You can guess why. But whenever I strayed from the old man’s idea of the Straight and Narrow, he beat the living shit out of me. And I mean that literally, the “living shit” part. He beat me delirious this one time and after I shat myself I saw my lumpy feces come alive and come crawling up my body like it wanted to devour my ass. It was a Shit Monster—no shit. Anyhow, you get the sick picture. The Dad showed his love by whupping me senseless. By the time I was thirteen, I’d given up on winning his approval and invested my energies in avoiding his brutal beatings. In other words, I coasted along the prescribed path, doing my best to avoid his wrath. Sometimes it worked.

After a particularly nasty beating which left me with a broken nose, two busted ribs and a split lip, I nursed my wounds by fantasizing ten different ways I could kill the sadistic bastard. At the top of the list was cutting off the top of his head with a chain saw while he was bedded down for the night. Of course this was an implausible method of doing him in. The sound of the saw would wake him before it could take its first bite, and worse, it would wake my mother at his side and I would have to kill her too. I didn’t especially want to kill the old lady, and I wanted to spare her the trauma of witnessing the old man’s death. Maw had been traumatized enough already, not by spousal beatings but by the ravages of some unknown venereal disease the old man had passed to her as a result of his corpse-porking activities. She never knew the source of her strange ailment, nor did she suspect her hubby of necrophilia. Her doctor treated the “infection of unknown origin” with antibiotics, but the slow rot of her soft tissue was never completely conquered. I knew the origin of Maw’s flesh-eating bacteria, but I couldn’t reveal it without letting on that I had surreptitiously watched the old man fuck the dead—his “loved ones,” as he called them. That would’ve been the death of me, for sure. Anyway, how do you tell your mother that her husband is a carrier of Corpse Rot? The cheating bastard was free of symptoms himself, so she wouldn’t have believed me anyway.

My patricidal fantasies soon took on lives of their own, and I began to make concrete plans for his murder. But as it turned out, my father died of natural causes while engaging in unnatural acts with the unembalmed body of a sexy high school cheerleader. Sexy for a dead girl, I mean. His ticker wasn’t up to the excitement of plundering that freshly dead pussy. So he croaked, and I was cheated out of killing him. I even covered up for him. I found him dead atop the stiff chick, so I pulled him off her and put his pants back on him and deposited him on the floor so it would look like he just dropped dead where he stood. I did it to spare Maw the pain and humiliation of learning that her husband had been the worst kind of pervert. The Corpse Rot eventually found its way to her brain and her behavior took a hard turn into real madness. She developed a taste for raw meat. She started talking to dead folks and even gave them tea parties in her gloomy parlor. What they talked about remains a mystery to me. But I swear there were a few times when I could actually feel the chilling presence of her dead guests. Up until then I had never really believed in life after death.

Now I know better. Now I know the souls of the dead are all around us, all the time. And some of them are not exactly thrilled to be here. Those are the ones you want to avoid at all costs. They are not at all nice. They are damned. And they’re damned mean and nasty.

So you see, my early life was not exactly ripped from the pages of old Leave It To Beaver scripts. Even The Addams Family was normal compared to my family. I was screwed from the get-go, no doubt about it.

But I had a lot of heart. And it was my heart that led me into cannibalism.

Hah! Thought that would get your attention. Looked like you were dozing off there. Comfy now? Chains starting to chafe a little? You’ll get use to them. I told you this was going to be a long night, didn’t I? And then some.

So. Cannibalism. The ultimate taboo. Murder doesn’t faze us anymore, but the idea of one human eating the flesh of another—well, that’s the worst depravity of all, isn’t it? Never mind that Holy Communion is symbolic of eating the flesh of Jesus Christ and drinking his blood, for Christ’s sake. How could society go on if people were to run amok and start making Happy Meals out of their fellow citizens?

As butcher of the Hog People, I came to see that it wasn’t proper to kill just for the sake of the slaughter. I needed justification for the killing. So I began to eat my kills. And that made all the difference. I know now that to kill without devouring the flesh of the victim is like having sex without reaching orgasm. It’s unsatisfying. And mucho wasteful. When I partake of human flesh, I take a bit of the person’s spirit into me and allow them to live on, in a sense. And you know the best part? It tastes good! Properly prepared, human flesh is the sweetest meat you’ll ever put in your mouth. Granted, it’s not very good raw, but then what meat is? Of course, my mother had a different opinion—but she was crazy. Before she died, she nearly drove me nuts the way she badgered me about her raw steaks. “Mikey, this meat’s not bloody enough. I can’t eat this,” she would say. I think it had something to do with her Corpse Rot disease, like the bacteria that was slowly eating away her flesh had affected her own appetite. Almost like it had a mind of its own, you know? Intelligent bacteria! Hah!

What’s that smell?

Jesus, you pissed your pants. You didn’t—oh, I see. You’re scared. You think I’m going to butcher and eat you. I’m sorry. I should’ve made that clear at the start. I didn’t bring you here to my little mountain hideaway for that. If I had, you would already be in my belly by now.

No, I brought you here for an altogether different purpose. I’m going to honor you, and you in turn will do me a particular honor. That’s why I’m telling you all this. So you will understand what this is really all about. That’s what you do, isn’t it? As an investigative journalist, you dig for facts and seek out the meaning below the surface of things. You have a sharp mind. That’s why I chose you. I knew you would understand me and see that I’m much more than a cannibalistic serial killer. That “Butcher of Birmingham” business really rubs me the wrong way, you know? You’re going to tell the real story—if you choose to live. And I think you will.

Let me explain.

When I looked in the mirror a couple of days ago, I saw something that I never knew was there. But there it was, no mistake, staring back at me. How could I have been blind to it for so long? Some sort of tunnel vision thing, I suppose. Being human, we see only what we want to see all too often.

Take a good look at my face. Go ahead. I won’t bite.

You see?

Pig eyes! I’m one of them. One of the Hog People. Ripe for slaughter.

You realize what this means, don’t you? There’s really no other choice. I have to kill myself. A perfect ending to our story, don’t you think? And you, my friend, will have the scoop. You will witness my demise. I’m going to put that Penetrating Bolt Gun right to my own head and drop dead at your feet.

But there is a catch.

After my death, you will remain as you are now, chained to the floor. You have plenty of bottled water, but no food. And no one will be coming up here for six full weeks. So, if you are to live to tell the tale, you will have to partake of my flesh. You’ll have to eat me raw, of course. Sorry about that. There’s no way around it. That leather case there contains my knives and cleavers. The tools of my trade. They are yours now, to use as you see fit.

So there it is. My death will save your life—unless you choose starvation.

This way I’ll know that the person who tells my story will have first-hand knowledge of his subject.

Inside information, see?

A real bellyful.