The night was so hot that Radley could not think about pussy at all. That was a rarity for him—a short, greasy porn addict who thought that the sun rose at the vulva and ended at the anus. Radley thought about the female anatomy around the clock—he woke up thinking about it, and he went to bed at night thinking about it. But that night it was too hot to even consider the finer details of lovemaking. Radley chewed his nails and mumbled to himself. And he sweated. He sweated so much that little droplets of his perspiration splashed onto the forearm of Marty Silverman, the driver beside him.

“You are such a pig, man.” Marty rescued his arm from further showers. Radley fumbled an apology. Marty could not help but curl his lips in disgust.

As far as Marty Silverman was concerned, Radley was a glorified virgin. The man seated next to Radley in the hot car had always been suspicious of Radley’s claims of sexual conquest. Marty thought that Radley was too ugly to be anything other than a punching bag for feminine fists. He looked like a village idiot or the mad scientist’s helper in those old-fashioned monster movies.

Basically, Marty hated the way Radley looked.

He did however like the way the man handled business. Radley was a killer when it came to getting big scores and finding fast money quick. Marty, a hopeless junkie who salivated at the sound of pills rattling in a plastic bottle, felt like his pockets were made of lava. That’s why money always melted away. Marty never had enough of the green stuff, and he always needed more. That’s why he and Radley made a good team. One was the fixer and the other always needed a fix.

The third man was late that night. Radley kept checking his cellphone. He checked the clock and searched his text messages. The way he did it was so dramatic, with one huff in and one puff out, that it annoyed Marty. He kept his mouth shut, for he knew better than Radley that Greg, the third man, ran on his own time. He would show up when he was good and ready, and that usually meant way later than the agreed upon time. Rather than CPT, Greg ran on PJT, or pill junkie time. Marty often ran on PJT too.

Frankly, Marty had a small hope that the plan would fall through. He liked the girl after all, and he did not want to have a hand in duping her. Radley had really laid it on thick in order to convince Marty to go along with the plan. He spun tales of wealth and power, plus he earned brownie points by talking about how they would win favor with the big boss.

“She’s already working for Greg as it is. Really, if you look at it a certain way, then we’re just upgrading her to a better class and clientele. From silver to gold. Actually, from silver to platinum.”

“Ok, but does she know that we’re doing it? Has she agreed?” Marty asked. “I mean, it sounds to me like we’re engineering a kidnapping in order to make the big guy happy.”

“So, what if we are? He’s the only person we got to make happy anyway,” Radley replied. “Besides, put yourself in her shoes. Wouldn’t you want to make as much money as possible?”

“Of course. Money makes the world go ‘round.”

“There you go. Here’s another thought: Kyrgyzstan.”

“What?” Marty cocked an eyebrow at the man seated next to him.

“Kyrgyzstan,” Radley emphasized each syllable. It was by far and away the longest and most difficult word that Marty had ever heard Radley pronounce.

“What about it?”

“It’s a country in Central Asia. Used to be part of the Soviet Union. It’s full of Chinese-looking people who speak Russian and worship the Muslim version of God. Allah or Allen or whatever. It’s a wild place. They have this custom over there. When a man wants to marry a girl, he and his pals get together and kidnap her and force her to marry their friend. It sounds rough, but most of the time the chicks accept it. They dig being married and all, so who cares how it all came about? That’s the way to look at what we are about to do. It’s practically traditional.”

Remembering Radley’s words made Marty snicker to himself. Whose tradition? Definitely not the tradition of low-rent gangsters like Radley and himself.

A pair of headlights stopped Marty from thinking anymore. As the car got closer, he recognized it as Greg’s Chevy. Well, to be fair, it wasn’t really Greg’s Chevy. It was the Chevy that belonged to Greg’s grandfather, but Greg had forced him into a retirement home and had claimed not only the old man’s truck but also his home and Social Security payouts. Greg was a slick customer who earned respect just for being so unscrupulous.

Greg honked his horn twice as part of the pre-arranged signal. Radley and Marty both got out of the car and walked towards Greg’s truck. All Radley managed was a hello before a third car, an indistinct black sedan, slammed into the side of Greg’s truck. The lights were off, which meant that the men did not see the vehicle until it was practically embedded in the passenger-side of the Chevy. The impact was short and sharp. Broken gas accompanied by crunched metal. Greg could not even manage a single blast of the horn before the hit flipped his truck halfway over. Marty and Radley raced to find cover. The always unlucky Greg found himself trapped in the damaged vehicle. He began wailing in pain as the black sedan hit the reverse and prepared for another blow.

Marty and Radley heard the sharp crack and subsequent whizz of pistol bullets moving over their heads as they scrambled for their car. The rounds were not well-aimed, but nonetheless both men went prone and crawled to their car’s bumper. Since neither was armed, they stayed still and listened as the mysterious driver demanded that Greg’s passenger exit the truck. The voice was low and muffled. It could have been a man or a woman, but regardless it was a voice with a lot of authority and anger. Next, there was the sound of feet dragging on gravel. This was followed by the thud of a car door slamming shut. The last sound was the sound of the sedan driving off into the night.

Altogether, the attack and the theft took one minute flat.

Marty worked up enough courage to peek around the bumper. He told Radley that the car was gone.

“We got to go help Greg, man.”

Radley stayed still. Seeing Radley’s fat ass glued to the gravel angered Marty.

“C’mon. We have got to move. Greg might be dead.”

“Dude, we’re so dead. They’re going to kill us when they find out.”


Marty did not have to wait for an answer. He knew what Radley was saying. The big boss would not be happy that the girl he prized above all had just been stolen from under their noses.

“How the hell are we going to explain this one?” Marty asked in what he thought was a rhetorical manner. Radley, the idiot, answered.

“We say that we got ambushed. It’s not a lie,” Radley whimpered.

“And neither of us is bruised. We say that and we look like chumps.” Radley eyed Marty for a while until both men understood—they needed to look a little rough before informing the boss of the snatch.

“Ok,” Marty said. “I go first.” With that, Marty pulled back and punched Radley right in the face. Marty got several thick and meaty licks in, including one that brought Radley to his knees.

“Alright, alright. My turn.” None of Radley’s blows did much damage. Only one managed to break the skin. Marty called Radley a slew of dirty names and made hay about the fact that he still looked pretty. Radley flipped him off. The pair fell into bickering. They grew so engrossed in their insults that neither saw Greg, with his bruised arms clutching his heaving gut, exit the damaged truck and walk towards them.

“Hey.” Greg’s introduction was greeted by a pair of panicked fists crashing into his chest and temple. He had startled both Marty and Radley, who punched him out of fear.

“Dammit, you dummy.” Marty said to Radley. “Let’s get him in the car and get the hell out of here.” Radley placed the wounded Greg’s arm across his shoulders and helped him into the car. The threesome checked their wounds in the car’s interior mirrors. Only Radley made a face.

It was well after midnight when the car’s taillights moved off into the distance. They moved back home—towards Gainesville.


This is an excerpt from Arbogast’s new novella, Heartbreak and Lechery. You can purchase the book from Terror House Press here.