Tuesday, 7 February 2012

BATTLE FOR THE LAUGHING CITY by Richard Godwin

Richard returns with a remarkable revisit to the brilliantly bizarre... Laughing City...


Battle for the Laughing City


I fed them on heads and severed limbs. And I starved them of the meat they craved as the battle drew near. I had a supplier at the Ravaged Depot, a storehouse for the mutilated corpses of renegades. He’d hand me the meat, lumps of flesh on ice housed in plastic. I’d slice them open and the bags would hiss and I’d let my army work its fangs into it. I wanted them savage and ravenous when the time came. I catered to their primal desire for murder and knew by their eyes that these men were the most extreme band of killers anyone had gathered together in the name of a military unit. 


Ever since I blew his father’s brains out Simeon Baw had threatened revenge against me. He was a spoilt daddy’s boy and I took his rumblings as seriously as I did the threat of a broken nose from a pansy. He’d made a lot of money and ripped a lot of people off. Now he’d crawled out of the sewer smelling of shit and he’d set up his army with the intention of removing me. But I was ahead of him. I was going to take the Laughing City. First I was going to crush his army and hang every head of every man who served him from the ravaged poles that lined Tryton Avenue. 


It had been named after the new chemical weapon developed by Panacea Drugs. The renegades had got hold of it and been dropping it from the sky. It caused instant madness and genital mutations. As a result we had a new breed of mutant on our hands. The side effect of Tryton was it gave those who survived it extreme physical strength. Monsters with ambiguous genders strolled the streets looking for food. 


I saw one that morning as I met with my army. He ripped the head off a passing citizen, tearing it from the neck bone and crunching the skull in his mouth like a piece of chicken. The poles of Tryton Avenue were placed there as motifs of conquest. They resembled Roman spears and stood in the ground pointing towards the Laughing City.


I met my men in a charred field beyond the town and told them what to do.


‘We’re taking the Laughing City’, I said, ‘but first I have an old enemy who wants a fight.’


I looked at them.


They were as hungry as sharks for blood and as indifferent to who they fought.


‘Simeon Baw has an army and I want it destroyed’, I said.  ‘I’ve worked too many jobs for too many users and now I want my time, we’re taking over.’


Bertolino was my captain. He was a renegade mercenary who’d killed more men than you could count. He was adept with all weapons. He stood there as the distant sun caught the scars on his face and said, ‘Do you want us to capture him?’


‘No. Kill him, decimate his men, burn their bodies and we go to the Laughing City.’


We headed out to the quarters owned my Baw, passing the house he used to breed a race of warriors. They held prostitutes with the right DNA he’d investigated for his purposes and the women were routinely fucked by his breeders, mutants with oversized genitals breeding replicants for his army.  The surgery his women needed made any efforts by me to maim someone look lame. 


I could hear one of them screaming as we headed down the street in our weapons carrier.


Rape and imprisonment were justified methods to Baw.


We passed office after office bearing the Baw name. He had the money all right. I doubted his expertise when it came to organising soldiers.


We searched all afternoon for him and found out he’d gone. He’d taken his men up to the Laughing City before us. And so we headed after him.


The laughter was insane now. I could taste Baw’s blood in my mouth as we landed. There’d been a few changes since the last time. A supernova had imploded near the Laughing City and Crystallus Carvex, the android warrior who’d invaded many towns, had passed through the event horizon to another galaxy. It was rumoured there were now two of him and he was operating a stealth campaign from his new star, Duplex Android, and waging war in the parallel universe we inhabited. So as far as I was concerned he was parallel to me and if I saw him I’d burn his fucking body.


The Laughing City was full of fighting factions, most of them mercenaries from other planets who in passing through had got addicted to Drip 02. They’d fucked a few whores and started hallucinating. They hung on for the drug and the illusion they were taking over a planet, one of the side effects of addiction. In reality they were having fights in bars and lying in the shit stained streets while they dreamed of glories. Panacea Drugs had improved Drip 02. Now it not only gave you the most extreme hallucinations known to man or mutant it also left you with a ravenous hunger for raw meat. The addicts would routinely eat the tourists. I saw 
one attacked by a rabid band of them as they set their rotten fangs in their flesh and stripped them to the bone. Hence the shit stained streets.


And then there was the laughter. It was at maximum volume all the time and sounded like Bedlam. A cacophony of wails and shrieks, guffaws and chuckles broke across the frozen wind that hissed at you as you stepped out of your vehicle. It was impossible to shut out. Even if you plugged in your personal music console the laughter was programmed to override it. Within the chortling, snickering, giggling howls of merriment we passed into the Laughing City.


The Silver Crows and Lizard Dogs were out. I saw a Crow rip the head off a dog who wandered about showering the place with blood.


I had a building I owned which housed weapons. We headed there through the burning streets. Mercury rained from the sky and what little vegetation remained blazed in the smoke filled neon air. Mutant plants blazed like Roman Candles in the ravaged landscape, like some last hope of growth burning in a deranged world. The air was sulphurous, as light refused to yield to darkness and every shape and person had a spectral glow to them as if they were walking underwater in a floodlit swimming pool.


We got to my building and took what we needed. We armed ourselves to the teeth. I watched my men walk out with every conceivable method of killing at their disposal. They had rocket launchers, flame throwers and snibe shots. These were metallium guns that fired a small deadly hole in the target that released an acid that could burn through a man’s flesh in two seconds. They had multi shots, which fired so many rounds they could take out an army.  They had razor knives and the incendiary golf balls I’d designed. Throw one of them at someone after you pull the pin and they’ll lose their head, which is what I guess it takes to play golf in the first place.


We headed out into the carnival streets where the Silver Cows were chewing on the Lizard Dogs’ flesh as they scattered and came again at them, mouths open and fangs dripping. Fragments of fur and meat lay scattered everywhere.


And the laughter was obsessive, incessant, like the manic roar of a madman at your shoulder. It sounded like the pathological ecstasies of the deranged. 


Down at the River Ha Ha’s end, where the stewed foetuses floated and bobbed, Baw’s army was assembling to take over. We saw them walk towards the citadel which was ruined by the explosions that rocked the Laughing City. We passed along the edge of the water with the sight of the bloated heads lying on the black surface. And we followed them to the citadel.


The Mayor of the Laughing City, an obese pervert with two heads, was eating fruit from a fork held to his mouth by a mutant prostitute as she squirted milk from one of her tits into his other mouth as we entered the decaying building. Baw’s army got there before us and we heard the rapid gunfire as they opened up. 


By the time we got there the Mayor was splattered all over the ceiling and the whore’s tits had exploded. Nipples and skin lay embedded in the chandelier that swung above our heads dripping blood. The Laughing City’s slogan loomed over us in neon: ‘No breeding, just whores’. It was part of the promotion of the city as a hot spot for tourists.  They’d pass through, fuck the women and leave, taking new diseases with them.


Baw’s army saw us and opened fire. I launched several golf bombs in their direction.


Limbs and heads flew through the air. They moved in, throwing fire, and we retreated to the back of the citadel where the skins of rival politicians stretched across the walls like some tapestry of hate. Whores ran out of rooms clutching at their mutant bodies. The citadel had been turned into a brothel.


They came after us and I let rip with one of the bigger bombs. We sheltered against the fire as the blast halved his army. Then we fired round after round on them. I found Baw hiding in a room and I scalped him, running my knife around his head as he stared at me with dazed eyes. I blew his head off and stuck his scalp to the wall of skin.


I took my men to the nearest Fuck House and they ate and cavorted with the women.


As we sat there I received news that Crystallus Carvex had landed.


He wanted a war and I was ready for him. 




BIO:
Richard Godwin is the author of the critically acclaimed novel, Apostle Rising.
His renowned series of author interviews, 'Chin Wag at the Slaughterhouse', are on his blog here.

59 comments:

  1. If I ever get showered in Tryton 'n' become addicted to Drip 02, am heading straight over to the nearest Fuck House!

    Crazy brilliant, mate! :-)

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    1. Try their kebabs mate. Thanks Col, I appreciate it.

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  2. A wild, horrible place of nightmares and freakish designs. This was horror.

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    1. Carrie I know you know your horror. Thanks for the show.

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    1. Thanks Paul. You scared?

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  4. I can't make up my mind if this is an extreme acid trip or a new computer game for a PS3 (Perversion and Sex Mk3). Whatever else it is, it is a very clever piece of writing.
    Nice (nice???) work Richard.

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    1. Keith it is an extreme acid trip inside a computer game. I am glad you like it.

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  5. Fantastic piece of writing. Imaginative, visceral, terrifying, and beautiful. And I loved the little golf jibe.

    Another piece of brilliance from the pen of Richard Godwin.

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    1. Thank you so much Ian. Golf, not the beautiful game is it?

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  6. I was reminded of Pasolini's Salò reading this, only updated to a near future setting. The ubiquitous gnawing of madness was quite unnerving. If the drugs or disease didn't turn you crazy then the violence and anger certainly would.

    The cadence of phrases worked as a mesmeric device to lull you into this psychotic dream world. What a world! The kind of place you want to escape as soon as you being reading. But you're curiosity straps you in and pulls your fingers from your eyes until the end. Great stuff.

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    1. Anthony thank you for your comment. Comparison to Pasolini is humbling, and your perception of what the artist intended is insightful, I am glad it pulled you in.

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  7. So far off the wall it's crossed the room and found the opposite wall.

    Bloody, descriptive and utterly brilliant.

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    1. Thank you Graham, I am glad you enjoyed it. There are no walls in the Laughing City.

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  8. Superb stuff, absolutely loved that. So beautifully written. Very nice work!

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  9. Jools thank you for that. If you go to the Laughing City I can recommend a good restaurant.

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  10. My friend this one would send Aleister Crowley himself to ravening madness and set The Hellfire Club clawing the catacomb walls of their midnight meeting place until their fingertkips were ragged bloody stumps in their efforts to escape the words. As for the Satanic Poets"? They would simply piss themselves and run away. And that was just the prelude to the coming war. Can't wait, Richard. Bring it. Please.

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  11. Bill thank you for your comment, I like the imagery. Get ready for War some weird shit is about to go down.

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  12. I have to be honest, that was pure crap. Are you some kind of pervert? Try writing one story without talking about the sex you're not getting. Damn, that sucked, no imagery, was garbage.

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  13. Damien you certainly made me laugh, the idea that mutant prostitutes are desirable says a lot about your sexuality. Rumour has it even the whores in the fuck houses wouldn't touch you because of your hideous deformity, you need to read something you understand, not a dystopian story.

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  14. Damien,

    Award-winning review, that. I mean, damn. Roger Ebert and company should watch themselves. Soon you'll have their jobs. Were Pauline Kael alive today, she'd be so very proud of you.

    Or maybe, like you, I'm living in a fantasy land.

    Interesting that you got sex and perversion out of this story.

    Nipples and skin embedded in the chandelier. Oooo, that gets me hot.

    Stewed fetuses. Damn. I'm getting horny.

    Lactating mutant prostitutes. Oh. My. God.

    My god, indeed.

    Damien, you're so right about it being a sex-filled romp.

    Richard, you pervert.

    Or, like I said, perhaps Damien and I are both living in a fantasy land.

    Nah.

    Just you, Damien. Just you.

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    1. Christopher well said mate. Damien had a lobotomy didn't she poor dear. Illiteracy is in the ascendancy and has found a new definiton with this idiot. Oscar Wilde will be scared of such cutting wit, such repartee from someone who has never read more than the local graffiti while clutching the railings.

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  15. If you had the guts to pur your name on that review, I might have respected it as your opinion. But when I found your "page" and all it said was "not my real name" I knew I was dealing with a coward and dismissed what you said out of hand.

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  17. Bill exactly. These losers who have to invent names to hide behind while publicly displaying their congenital deficiencies should be pitied if they were worthy of it.

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  18. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  19. I just came across this site today, and boy, was I shocked at this crap story by Richard Godwin. I agree with Damien, this story shows a decline in morality and I can hardly call it entertainment. Maybe you ought to see a prostitute, Richard, get some crazy shit out of your system.

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  20. My name's Richard too, and I couldn't stand this story - it gives people with the same name a bad name. Now I know people will get all defensive and stuff because it's really just art, but honestly, give me a break! I agree with Damien, this garbage is just as bad as 'snuff movie' and 'annie's story'. This site... my god, what a hive of pervs.

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  21. This is beaut! Is that really Jerry Houser the actor who was in 'Scooby Doo Meets The Boo Brothers'? I do hope so.

    And I hope I can get an accolade for my depravity, I've put the work in, dog damn you!

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  22. Gee, more anonymous or is it the same "not my name?" Seems coincidental, no? Cowards all.
    It's real hard to push that anonymous button ain't it? But wait. No, it's not.
    Yeah that's a joke just like you are
    repeat coward.

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    1. oops, just in case, then anony post was and is for effect.
      AJ Hayes

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    2. We cross posted - bad timing on my part. You were clearly not an anonymous carping coward! :)

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  23. Okay, so Richard published this under his real name and - as far as I can see - those of us who appreciate his immense skill as a writer, the dark lyricism and stark poetry of his prose, have also revealed our true identities. But those who find it necessary not to criticise, but to express bigotry and ignorance, are hiding behind false identities?

    Under those circumstances, neither you nor your comments have any credibility. And in any case, in my opinion, you are, quite simply, wrong.

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  24. Jerry learn how to spell. You're illiterate.

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  25. To all the anonymous mentally defective commentators, I am too bored with you all you are so inept, everything you accuse others wrongly of applies to yourselves, which is why you have to hide behind assumed names and throw the mud you cultivate with your sick litle habits. Frankly what you have come out with is laughable,and reveals who you are, you are the ones surfing a site you condemn.

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  26. AJ that is right. These are nothing but a bunch of cowards who have just written their or his autobiography, because we know from the ip address it is one person with no friends.

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  27. Thanks for your comment Julie. The internet is full of sick people who need psychiatry and we have an example of one right here, maybe this magazine rejected their last story, it seems likely from the information being gathered.

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  29. Paul Scooby Doo is right. They are a bunch of freaks aren't they, like a cartoon that you can't take seriously.

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  30. Anonymous (not the AJ Hayes version), you say that this story "shows a decline in morality".

    Define decline.

    I'm going to assume (and that's always a dangerous thing where fools like yourself are concerned) that, since you use the word morality, that you are a church-goer.

    Assuming that is true, have you ever read that morally-declined book known as The Bible?

    Rape of slaves, rape of women, murder, murder, murder, murder, murder, murder, murder, oh, and rape of slaves and women.

    And that's just the Old Testament.

    I also recall a comment that went something like, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Decline in morality?

    Define decline.

    Jerry, I've written some pretty depraved stuff here at TKNC but I've yet to receive my accolade. Is it possible that it got lost in the mail? Could you please resend it if this is so?

    And Richard (the clueless one, not the Godwin one), if everything that someone named Richard did bothered you, brother, you have a long fucking list before you ever get to Mr. Godwin. As for TKNC being "a hive of pervs", you're right. Would you come over here and touch it?

    Now, for the rest of you, the sane ones, can you imagine if these imbeciles actually were in charge of decided what was worthy of print and what was not?

    Goodbye Dante, goodbye Shakespeare, goodbye Anthony Burgess, goodbye Burroughs (Edgar Rice and William S.), goodbye Norman Spinrad, goodbye Ellroy, goodbye Philip K. Dick, goodbye Alan Moore, goodbye Bukowski, goodbye entire Bizarro fiction author list, goodbye Luke Rhinehart, goodbye Philip Jose Farmer, goodbye Harlan Ellison, goodbye (fill in your own blank) (although that could be a decline in morality; filling in your own blank).

    It's shits like these that would have you looking at an empty screen or something so vanilla that you'd want to open a vein (preferably theirs).

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  31. Damn, my comment got erased. I will try to reproduce it. Apologies if it shows up twice. It appears that some commenters take issue with the subject matter of this piece. That is something very different than denigrating the abilities of Godwin, a fine writer. The grotesque imagery was effective enough to offend your sensibilities...that alone should tell you something. What type of story would you expect to find here? You may not appreciate this type of story, but to defame the author and question his abilities...when it is the subject matter that is the issue...that seems a bit shortsighted. Godwin's ability to create aching tension, sharp imagery and subtle metaphor in such a short piece is impressive. And his abilities are not part and parcel with the subject matter. There are many well written books and stories that are horrific and gory. And I agree, the Bible springs to mind. Have you ever read it? Dark stuff.

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  32. First off, the Laughing City stories are some of your best, Richard, and I hope to see more of them. (Perhaps at All Due Respect?) They are truly disturbing -- you paint a vivid picture of a truly fucked up world.

    Second off, Goddamit Haters! You won the last round at TKnC when they removed a perfectly good story because some fucking idiot was offended by it -- but I'm glad to see this story is weathering the storm.

    The internet is a big place with lots and lots of fiction -- the vast majority of which is free. Why do you feel the need to seek out fiction you don't like? If you actually don't like it, there's a simple solution, don't read it!

    Which leads me to believe that you secretly like it but don't want to admit it because it offends your sensibilities.

    You can rot in hell you stuffy, boring assholes.

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  33. Well that was easy, another Baw decks the walls. I love your nameless narrator, Mr. G. He’s the consummate Super-Assassin, Mr. Matter-of-fact, just another crazy day in a Laughing City tale. I have to think the android Carvex and his parallel other are going to require some supra-subatomic tactics that could bust loose a bead of sweat on his forehead. Eh, probably not, but you know I’ll risk the sideshow fray here just to see it go down. I’m thinking this place could use bigger bouncers and better drinks and snacks.

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  34. What is this? Has this place turned into Mayberry Lounge suddenly? This was a great story, Richard Godwin is an amazing writer and I'm looking forward to read more of his stories. If you don't like it, I'm sure there are web site that accomodate your sensibilities.

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  35. EDITORIAL NOTICE:

    Richard's story is a work of fiction - and an excellent one at that – which falls within the acceptable boundaries for this site, under the specified guidelines. The story clearly contains scenes of an adult nature, hence our warning option on entry to the site. We sincerely thank all the genuine readers and writers who spoke out in support of this talented author.

    The troll, along with his damning comments, has been reported to the appropriate authorities, so no comments will be deleted at this stage in order that evidence is preserved. Despite the quite pathetic attempts of Troll to cover his tracks, we are reliably informed they already know that this is the work of one 'man' - and we use the latter term loosely. Since this 'clever man' has already left enough tell-tale footprints during his visits, we also know his location. So he obviously ain't as smart as he thinks. We hope he may learn from this and that the authorities give him the benefit of the doubt.

    However, unfortunately for Troll, as his insults were directed in a public domain specifically to the author, the authorities inform us that they are looking into the probability that a criminal offence has taken place. If the author wishes to pursue the matter, further steps will be taken regarding potential prosecution.

    For now 'anonymous' comments are banned.

    The Editors.

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    1. It seems the cowardly nonentity has a record of various forms of abuse. I am leaving it in the hands of the authorities. I have been given the individual's name by the police and considered publishing it here. However this is a site with strict moral boundaries and I consider mentioning the individual's name too obscene an act and do not want to offend educated readers' tastes. I refuse to be drawn into such degradation by a low life's oral diarrhoea. I think the worst punishment for this sad nonentity is simply being themselves, or not, since they do not have an acknowledged name and therefore exist morally below ordure, like a shadow throwing filth.

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  36. It's kinda too bad, really, that the troll was just a troll. I'd like to think that stories satill had the power to move people to moral outrage and all. Oh well.

    Good story, Richard. Twisted and original.

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  37. I'd like to thank you guys (Lilly -- definitly NOT a guy -- Col and Matt for the calm, quick actions and statement you made concerning this whole matter. Handled like the pros you all are. Again, thanks.

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  38. This was surreal & trippy. I kept of thinking of Vlad the impaler with a nazi army in "the laughing city". Your imagination is without bounds, Richard.

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  39. Good story, thank you. Don't let the 'anons' get you down.

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  40. To all the educated readers of this morally irreproachable magazine I say, Christopher your comment is most astute and the references you cite exemplify that we safely rest our case against the Nazis who would ban books, Dan thank you for your kind words and support, Chris I am glad you enjoy the Laughing City stories, there are many more to come and I agree with your encouragement for people with brains to embrace the variety of fiction on the net, MissA it's always good to see you, your support means a lot and yes, there are more tactics on the way, Ben thank you for your support and comment, maybe we should just set the dog on them, editors thank you for your comment, this is a magazine that needs to be supported in a free thinking world, Court, thank you for your comment, literature should outrage and shock, it stops complacency and vacuous self-righteousness of the kind we have seen here, Bill, you are a supporter of so much on the net, a real appreciator of so many forms of literature, Jodi, it’s good to see you here, thank you for your kind words, and James thank you, I won’t, you can’t take someone who has no argument seriously. Literature was never meant to appeal to everyone, if you don’t like it don’t read it.

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  41. I'm sorry I missed this one when it first got posted. A great thing about this story is how it suggests such a greater world beyond the confines of the tale. Beautifully written, as always. I'm kinda hoping to visit Laughing city in a dream one of these nights.

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    1. Charles thank you there is more to come. There is definitely more to come where there are no walls.

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  42. Vivid. Terribly clumsy prose, but maybe that's deliberate. Guess it'll help if I can read the previous Laughing City story. In any case, a unique, nightmarish setting.

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    1. Manuel I wanted to put a wall between the reader and the prose for the precise reasons that have been exemplified here by those with the missing link in Darwin's evolutionary chain. You only wake from your dream when it turns into a nightmare.

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  43. And now I'm determined to get a story in TKC. I'll be so disappointed if Damien doesn't hate it.

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    1. Interesting motive. I think the anonymity has shown where to push his buttons.

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  44. I was away when the merde hit the fan (or rather, the non-fan) with barely an internet connection in sniffing distance, however I was able to liaise with Matt and Col.

    Now I'm back I just want to add my personal view of Battle for the Laughing City. I love to hate this incredible world created by such a talented writer. The first time I read it I felt as though I'd landed in a living video game. The energy is dynamic - the story rages along with incredible pace. Richard's descriptions never fail to impress and he has brought the extraordinarily bizarre Laughing City to life with extreme characters and terrifying scenarios. This is a skilful write indeed.

    Oh, and I'd like to add Palahniuk to Christopher Grant's list of inspirational authors.

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  45. Thanks Lily. Glad you enjoyed it I know you at least are a woman of taste.

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