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To read more of Robert White's stories, check out his novel HAFTMANN'S RULES

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A PACK OF LIES by Robert White

 

“If my sister says it’s Wednesday,” Charlie once said to me, “and even if you know it’s Wednesday, you still better check the calendar.  She’s—she’s a pack of lies.” 

The Brulet clan, everybody in town gave them a wide berth.  

I’m not one to talk about growing up in a dysfunctional family. I was an only child.  Charlie and I hooked up in Youngstown juvie hall when we were fourteen.  Back then I thought Martina and I might get together.  One summer evening, Charlie was passed out from huffing spray paint on his grandmother’s sofa in the double-wide she paid for with money from a lawsuit when her husband died of smoke inhalation from a faulty space heater.  Martina and I were sitting on the porch drinking beer and talking.  I was showing off my new tattoo.  It was late but the air was still muggy and rancid with the smells of frying foods and diesel fuel from the nearby railroad yards.  The trailer park was infested with feral cats whose fluorescent eyes blazed in the headlights of passing cars.

Martina was wearing cut-off Levi shorts and a sleeveless blouse.  I remember feeling aroused by the sweat beads forming on her upper lip.  When she raised her arms over her head to stretch, the porch light showed the razor stubble of her armpits.  It reminded me of the pale skin of a toad’s belly.  The next thing I knew, I had her in my arms and we were kissing.  She let my hands roam all over her small breasts and then my hand was working inside her panties.  I remember the electricity surging up my wrist as I felt the tight, kinky curls. She pulled my hand away and gave me a strange smile.  I tried to kiss her again, craving the sour beery warmth of her tongue, but she pushed me away with the palms of her hands on my shoulders.  

I never made a play for her again.  I was young and stupid in those days.  I thought women were perfect.

Charlie wrote me from Chillicothe two days before they stabbed him up in the showers.  He lasted three days but he had lost too much blood.  He had used certain words that would mean nothing to prison staff, but reading between the lines, I knew he was in big trouble.

I was having my own problems.  My three-year bid in Lake Erie Correctional, a medium-security facility, was a breeze until a month ago.  They cracked the cells on our tier and found a sharpened file inserted into the hollowed leg of the bunk.  My cellie was transferred to SHU.  Word was out I had snitched him off.  In the yard a guy said something to me that led to more words but only resulted in a little chest-bumping.  Still, it got me written up.  My parole hearing was as good as trashed, so instead of getting downgraded to a pod with a bunch of psalm-singers and check bouncers, I learned I would be transferred to the maximum-security penitentiary in Youngstown. 

I was worried about Martina.  If the Aryan Brotherhood suspected she had twenty-five kilos of Mexican brown tar secreted behind the ductwork in her crappy trailer, her life would be over.  The Brand has people on the outside that keep the leadership informed of every inmate’s potential as either a threat or a source of revenue.  Despite their shamrock tattoos and triple 6’s, they weren’t about purifying the white race; they’ll work with anybody who can make them money. 

The one good thing about my transfer twenty miles from home meant a visit wouldn’t arouse any suspicion. 

Martina became my only visitor, in fact.  She lied about all the men in her life and all the exotic places they took her.  She always had big plans.  Pack of lies, Charlie used to repeat with a shake of his head.

It was in December when she suddenly stopped her prattling and looked hard at me.

“You look like shit,” she said.

“This place is Shangri-la in reverse,” I said thinking of a line from a movie.

I never once called her out on her stories.  I even looked forward to her visits.  My life in the joint had taken a turn for the worse.  My neck looked like a zipper from nearly having my head peeled off by a guy the AB planted as my cellmate.  I was hit by a pipe on my way to chow and spent three weeks in a coma.  My face has a permanent dent on the left side from a caved-in Zygomatic arch and my vision is blurred as if I’m always looking through a sheet of water.  I’ve been jabbed, slashed, and stuck with every kind of object a con can get his hands on from a sharpened coil spring to that jailbird special, the toothbrush filed to a point.

As if she mirrored me, Martina looked older and harder with each visit.  She stopped dressing up and wearing make-up.  Her voice developed a husky growl.

“Lay off the smokes, Martina,” I said.

“I quit,” she said.

“Bullshit.”

Her eyes narrowed and her nostrils flared.  She reminded me of those trailer-park cats.

“Six months, three days, nine hours, and two minutes,” I said.  I always ended our visits by giving her the count of the time I had left.

Then she stopped visiting.    

The month before I was scheduled for release a man showed up behind the scarred pllexiglass. 

“Who--who the fuck are you?”

“Don’t you know me?”

“Je-sus Christ,” I whispered. 

“Not even close,” Martina said in a voice that was unmistakably hers and not hers.

“W-When?”  I spluttered.

“All my life, I suppose.  I’m Martin now.  Even got me a dick.”

I already knew the how part:  my dope money.  Sex-change operations must be expensive.

“How much is left?” I asked.

“Enough,” Martin said.  “Enough for one, that is.”

“Why did you come?”

“Why didn’t you die, fucker?  I spread a fortune around this shithole to have you done like Charlie, but you have more lives than a cat.”

Paying for my contract with my own fucking money

“I’ll be out in a month, bitch,” I said.

“Then I have a month,” Martin said.  “That’s a long time in a hellhole like this.” 

“Tell me about it,” I said.

“So long, you,” Martin said.  “Watch your back.”

“I’ll find you,” I said, but he didn’t hear me.  He was already walking away. 

I remember thinking:  That’s a pretty good imitation of a man’s walk.  There are people who feel a limb doesn’t belong with their bodies and so they’ll stick it in a bucket of dry ice until it turns black and then force a doctor to amputate.  They say they never miss their limbs.  That’s how I felt watching a trannie leave me behind, knowing that a faraway look can connect everything together finally—my groping hands on a summer night and a life that turned out the only way it could because of it. 

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News & Updates

5/24/17: Brothers in Blood is now out in ebook!

4/12/17: With A Face Of Golden Pleasure is now out in ebook and paperback!

11/27/16: San Diego Horror Professionals Vol 2: Holiday Special is now out in ebook and paperback!

11/27/16: A Life To Waste by Andrew Lennon is now out in ebook and paperback!

11/16/16: Dust of the Devil's Land by Bryan Killian is now out in ebook and paperback!

10/7/16: San Diego Horror Professionals, Vol 1 is now out in ebook and paperback!

9/2/16: The Worst Man On Mars by RMark Roman and Corben Duke is now out in ebook and paperback!

7/1/16: Scars of the Broken by Ryan C. Thomas is now out in ebook and paperback!

5/25/16: In Black by Robert Essig is now out in ebook and paperback!

12/19/15: Blood Silver by Ben Johnson is now out in ebook and paperback!

11/10/15: Waiting on a Bridge of Maggots by Robert White is now out in ebook and paperback!

06/01/15: Dead Wrangler by Justin Coke is now out in ebook and paperback!

05/29/15: Angel Steel by Randy Chandler is now out in audiobook format!

05/21/15:Barren Earth by Stephen A. North and Eric S. Brown is now out in ebook and paperback!

05/11/15:Invasion at Bald Eagle by Kris Ashton is now out in audiobook format!

11/17/14: We are pleased to announce we will be publishing Justin Coke's novel, DEAD WRANGLER.

10/27/14: New out today in paperback and ebook, ROTATE THE EARTH by Bryan Alaspa!

10/27/14: We are pleased to announce we will be publishing Kris Ashton's novel, INVASION AT BALD EAGLE.

10/20/14: Win a free paperback copy of Ben Johnson's urban fantasy novel A SHADOW CAST IN DUST on Goodreads.com. Contest ends Nov 7.

6/24/14:We are pleased to announce we will be publishing Bryan W. Alaspa's novel, tentatively titled ROTATE THE EARTH.

5/21/14: Ben Johnson will be signing copies of his new novel at Krakatoa Coffee Shop in San Diego on Sat, June 7 from 3-5.

5/21/14:Now out! A SHADOW CAST IN DUST by Ben Johnson! An epic urban fantasy!

3/20/14:Take advantage of our REVIEW REWARD MONTH, all March, for free ebooks!

1/20/14: DEAD THINGS is now out in audiobook format!

12/30/13: The Weaponer by Eric S. Brown is now up on kindle.

11/27/13: We're having a big 99 cent kindle sale starting on Black Friday!

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10/18/13: Angel Steel by Randy Chandler is free on kindle all weekend! Get it Here!

10/01/13: We will be doing giveaways on Goodreads.com this month. Stay tuned for details!

9/22/13: MALCONTENTS is now out in Audiobook format from Audible.com!

9/11/13: ANGEL STEEL by Randy Chandler is now out in paperback and ebook!

8/21/13: We will be having a 99 cent KINDLE SALE from Aug 30-Oct 1. Stay tuned!

7/14/13: THE PACK OF WOLVES LIMITED EDITION is now out in signed hardcover! Only 100 available. More info here!

7/10/13: THE FLESH OF FALLEN ANGELS is now out in Audibook!

7/1/13: SARABAND FOR A RUNAWAY by Robert White is officialy out in paperback and ebook formats!

3/14/13: MUTE by Jeffrey Hale is officialy out in paperback and ebook formats!

2/20/13: SORCERER by Geoffrey James is officialy out in paperback and ebook formats!

2/11/13: On Thursday February 14th, 2013 The Hermetic Hour with host Poke Runyon will interview the distinguished scholar and author Geoffrey James whose historical novel "The Sorcerer" on Elizabethan magus John Dee has just been released by us. It should be noted that Geoffrey James is also the author of "Enochian Evocation of Dr. John Dee," and "Angel Magic', both factual and practical works on the magical art. Geoffrey brings a unique combination of talents to his novel: he is an historian, a magician and a masterful story teller. Tune in here: The Hermetic Hour

1/14/13: We've got AUDIO BOOKS! A Pack of Wolves, Last Stand in a Dead Land, and Dead Dog, are currently available from Audible.com More audio books are on the way!

12/26/12: We are having a 99 cent Kindle sale for the next five days! Details HERE

12/25/12: Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.

12/01/12: We will be releasing ANGEL STEEL by Randy Chandler and THE DEAD BOY by Craig Saunders.

11/31/12: Through the In Between, Hell Awaits by Robert Essig is now out! If you like demons this book is for you.

10/31/12: MATT DARST, STEPHEN BRYANT and CLIFFORD ROYAL JOHNS will be sitting on panels at Windycon. Make sure you drop by and say hi to them. windycon.org/ Click here for more info: Schedule

10/31/12: Happy Halloween! Grab some of our spooky books to put you in the mood.

6/25/12: We will be publishing Robert Essig's novel Through the In Between, Hell Awaits

6/25/12: We will be releasing the horror novel MUTE from Jeffrey Hale. More info to come.

4/10/12: We've accepted a great sci fi/mystery novel from Cliff Johns. More info to come.

3/01/12: Check out this awesome trailer for A PACK OF WOLVES.

2/23/12: THE FLESH OF FALLEN ANGELS and DEAD THINGS should both be out in March.

1/03/12: Happy New Year! Look for Craig Saunder's hilarious novel, SPIGGOT, due out in a couple weeks!

12/05/11: Eric S. Brown's newest novella, A PACK OF WOLVES, now available!

12/01/11: Iain Robert Wright's ANIMAL KINGDOM now available on kinde. Paperback coming soon!

9/21/11: New novels on the way from Iain Robert Wright and Craig Saunders, two great authors from across the pond!

8/29/11: New books on the way from Eric S. Brown and Nick Cook.

5/9/11: The detective horror antho is out. We've also accepted books from Gregory L. Norris, Randy Chandler, and David T. Wilbanks. Our first Mystery Novel is on the horizon, written by Robb White.

4/23/11: The Detective Horror antho is now CLOSED to submissions. Thank you.

3/31/11: We are almost done filling the detective horror antho. Cover design should be up in a couple weeks. And we are still open for novel submissions.

12/15/10: The Detective Horror anthology has been reopened to submissions. If you submitted during the last period we will be contacting you very soon. We apologize for the delay.

12/08/10: WE ARE NOW OPEN FOR NOVEL SUBMISSIONS. See our submissions page for more info.

12/07/10: We are back to working on the Hard Boiled Anthology. We hope to have the TOC in a week or two. Thanks.

10/12/10: PLEASE NOTE: The Hard Boiled Horror anthology is backed up. We will get back to you as quickly as possible. The Alien Horror anthology table of contents should be released by next week. Thanks!

10/01/10: Submissions have closed. Thank you.

8/9/10: Grand Mal Press is now accepting submissions to our first TWO anthologies. Details on our submissions page.