Big Pulp - the magazine of fantasy | mystery | adventure | horror | science fiction | romance


Jason Ridler has published over 30 short stories in venues such as Brain Harvest, Not One of Us, Big Pulp, Crossed Genres, Chilling Tales, Tesseracts Thirteen, and more. His non-fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Dark Scribe, and the Internet Review of Science Fiction. A former punk rock musician and cemetery groundskeeper, Mr. Ridler is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop and holds a Ph.D. in War Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada. Visit him at his writing blog, Ridlerville, Facebook, and on Twitter.

E-books available from:

iPhone & iPad formats:
Available wholesale from:

Big Pulp can be purchased from local and independent retailers through IndieBound:

T-shirts, hats, mugs, boxers and other items available from :


Beauty and the Punchline

Inside the walls of the sweat and smoke stained Natural Sin Bijou, Harlot and Dusty, two third-string pretties, warmed up the crowd with a fuck fest on stage using a black mamba strap-on, freshly devenomed but with a mind of its own. The front row fresh faces were wowed as the beast buried itself in Dusty’s pussy while Harlot stroked until it flared like an iron bar. The back seat locals smoked under the dark red light of electric hula girl candles hanging from the ceiling, waiting for what everyone waited for: Aurora Blaze.

Dusty convulsed as the slick viper was yanked out and shoved in her ass. Everyone cheered and applauded.

Except Hank.

Leaning against the KISS pinball machine, Hank yawned. Pain stitched across the wounds beneath his mummy bandaged face. “Goddamnit.” He chewed a fistful of pain poppers until the fire that was his skin was nothing more than an Indian burn, then swigged a beer left behind by a loser with a weak bladder. As he swallowed his pasty mash, he smelled jasmine and heard the hiss of the acid that had ruined his bragging rights face. He’d find the fucker who maimed him, and he’d nail Aurora Blaze.

“Hey, boys, give it up for Harlot, Dusty, and our man the Mambo King Snake John Lee!” The speakers were screaming Gary’s voice as Hank looked around.

All his boys were gone. New thugs in Mexican Wrestling masks were bouncing the joint. Hank didn’t know what was worse: getting acid in the face or losing his job to a bunch of masked grapplers.

He finished his free beer as fans of the last natural beauty strip joint flooded in wearing costumes. Talent night. Fuck, Hank thought, I don’t miss this. The sad parade of losers and freak fuckers and wannabee performers roll in just like his last night. Three months ago. Ninety days he’d been dead to the world, his old army service paying to keep him alive. Waking up to find his million dollar smile and fuck-me good looks turned into shrivels of puss and scars. Acid in the face the night he was going to nail Aurora Blaze. Who the fuck throws acid in anyone’s face these days? Some jasmine smelling fucktard who couldn’t handle me man to man. He would find the wuss, and than fuck what was his.

A heavy hand slapped his jacket’s shoulder. “Hey, nice outfit, Mummy man.” Another stupid Mexican wrestling mask stared down at him, but the guy’s accent was pure Minnesota.

“Ditto, amigo.”

“Saw you popping. Think you better take your pill party and vamoose. We like our tits and buzzes natural here.”

Five bouncers stood to render aid to this masked yard ape. Hank could’ve dropped him, but five would be a riot. Time to stay free and frosty if he was to get near Aurora. “I’m here for the talent show.”

“Oh yeah? What’s your talent?”

“I’m a magician.”

“Really? Prove it.”

“I can produce assholes out of thin air.” He waved his hands in front of the luchador. “Ta-da!” The bouncer choked him by the tie. “Easy,” Hank coughed. “I’m a comedian. The…” He looked at the losers in the crowd. “…the Human Punch Line.”

The bouncer shoved Hank back. “Buy a drink or hit the bricks, fugly.”

Hank smiled with ruined lips.

The bouncers took their original positions. Hank ordered a rye and ginger from Debra, the cocktail lesbian whose pantyhose hid more tracks than a railroad yard, and she didn’t bat an eye. He chewed another pill. Whoever did this to me is going to be shitting his own teeth for a week, he thought. He sucked back the rye.

Gary, wearing goggles and a garbage man outfit, took the stage, mic in hand. “Welcome to talent night at the All Natural Sintastic Bijou! One lucky winner will get a year contract!”

Hank breathed deep. Smoke, loneliness, but no Jasmine, like the aroma on the stairs to Aurora’s door.

“And, that’s not all!” said Gary. “Our winner will also receive a hot date with our show stopper main event, Miss Aurora Blaze!”

The crowd howled.

“No fucking way,” Hank said. He went to the front desk. Whisper, the chubby moon-faced gasbag, sat covered in Dracula make up and spider web tattoos, reading goth books. “Hey gorgeous,” he said, trying to smile with no lips. “I need a number for the talent show.”

She gave him a glance. “Sorry, handsome, no more.”

Three months ago, she would have paid to eat the peanuts out of his ass crack. Is this how these ham and eggers feel every fucking day?

“Are you sure there isn’t anything I can do?”

She put in a book mark. “Depends. Stick out your tongue.”


“Bandages clogging your ears?”

He grimaced, then slowly let his long tongue through the bandages around his mouth. As it emerged, she grinned. “Oh, I might have one left. It’s in the alley. Be there in five. Hey, Santo, I’m taking a long break now!”

In the moonless dark of the wet alley, while rats ran and covered the world in shit, Hank stained the knees while eating the tangy fat pussy of Whisper.

“God, oh god, you’re a bad Mummy.” She gripped his bandages head, driving him forward. “Eat that shit until I drip.”

He shut his eyes and thought of Aurora’s flaming red hair and cinnamon skin, the way her candy lips seemed on the verge of sucking yours the closer you got.

“That’s it! That’s it! Now my ass!” She turned. He winced, hiked up her skirt, and plunged in with Aurora tattooed behind his lids. How she wouldn’t fuck anything but the best, and how Hank was going to conquer her like Everest, until she came like a volcano.

“Oh god, enough of this shit,” Whisper shoved his head away and his ass hit wet pavement. She turned, and hiked up hers skirt, and looked over her shoulder. “Fuck me.”

Hank stood, trying not to gag.

“Monster, fucking me.”

He unzipped his fly, bit what remained of his lip, and thought of Aurora through every gooey thrust.

Later, gasping against the wall, Whisper licked her wet lips. “If that’s your talent, we have a winner.”

Hank zipped himself up. “So I get my ticket?”

She reached in her purse and handed a Funville novelty ticket with the number 010. “Mummy, you’re the climax.” She laughed, then left him there.

His wavy reflection in the water at his feet was hideous, the bright security back light hanging above him like the moon’s kid brother. Three months ago, you couldn’t have paid him enough to kiss her cheek. Whoever did this to me, he thought, is going home in a pine box.

He chewed more Vicodin and walked back inside.

Hank surmised his competition: bad magic, shit jugglers, and a buck toothed contortionist that seemed to be the favourite. Hank couldn’t rely on his looks. He couldn’t rely on his fists. If he was going to win, he needed material.

“Boys, it’s intermission,” Gary said as the mop crew ran out to clean the stage. “Half price drinks at the bar, at the bar only. Then, Contestant number ten will take the stage.”

The frat boys, comb overs, trench coaters, and sad husbands club all migrated toward the bar. And there, with a mop and bucket, was Tony Mash. One of his old coolers. God, how the mighty had fallen. Hank cut through the crowd. “Pretty shitty job.”

Tony growled at him, then dunked his mop in the bucket.

“For a guy whose right cross won him fifty large in the back alley of this club not half a year ago.”

“You saw that fight, Bandage head?”

“I set it up.”

Tony stopped mopping. “Hank?”

He chewed another Vicodin. “Didn’t recognize me without my fucking face?”

They hightailed it to the woman’s bathroom, the one only Debra used. It was cleaner than a virgin’s twat and the white tiles were clean enough to be baby teeth. “Jesus, Hank. What the hell happened to you?”

“You tell me. What did they say when I didn’t show up to work?”

“Management said shit. Then they got this new guy. Velvet Puma. He took your job before I could.”

“Who the fuck is Velvet Puma.”

“Some gringo who thinks he’s a Mexican wrestler. His crew wears those stupid luchador masks. Ain’t one of them Mexican. Then they stick me on this shit job, because they know I ain’t got my green card yet. Same wage as bouncing, so I can’t say shit. It’s like a fucking insult, man.”

Hank chewed. “Yeah, life is rough all over.”

“What happened to you?”

He sucked back the crusty spit. “Had a date with Aurora.”

“No shit.”

“Positively constipated. It gets hazy when I think about it. Got to her apartment. Smelled…something sweet, like jasmine. Someone called my name and then.” He hissed. “Three months later I wake up, muscles weak but my dick still iron for Aurora.”

“So that’s why you’re back? Win this stupid ass talent show and slip it in?”

“That, and find out who did this to me. Only reason he’d get at me, on that night, was to stop me from banging Aurora. That means he’s probably one of these shitstain performers. Only way to find him is to win this thing and watch him come out of the darkness.”

“Well, if he does, I’ve got your back. My nose is pretty dead from all this cleaning, but I catch that scent, I’m over it.”

“Thanks, Tony. You’re an amigo.”

Tony opened the door. “But I swear, you should dash some cologne on what is left of your face. You reek like Whisper’s pussy.”

He laughed. “Everyone is a fucking comedian.”

(continued on page 2)



Beauty and the Punchline by Jason Ridler 1 2
and more great fiction and poetry available in
Big Pulp Winter 2011!

Big Pulp is available for the Kindle, Nook and other
e-reader platforms from Smashwords and in print from
, Barnes & Noble and many independent booksellers.

Available wholesale from Ingram Distribution.