Wednesday 2 March 2011


If you are easily offended, then please don't read on... but if you like madness and dark humour, please do!

Return to the Laughing City

I was trying on one of the newest suits.

I strapped it on like armour, standard mechanized metals mined from the Azure Fields.

It felt like an Iron Maiden without the spikes.

I never needed that kind of protection, a kill’s a kill, wearing that shit was like fucking with a condom, playing the piano with gloves on.

I took it off and handed it back to the bounty salesman. They were amassing weapons for the new breed of assassins. I thought they were a bunch of pussies.

If you don’t like blood don’t take the job.

I needed to feel every vibration, every fluctuation in the kill, like the tremors in a lover’s body and soul.

I went outside and stared at the Azure Fields.

A pale blue ghost in some hallucination.

They blew in the wind that kicked up from nuclear fall out when the punctured sun bled.

It had a certain poetry, a half orange dripping red from a broken skyline. Beyond it you could see the event horizon of an imploding supernova.

Nothing was real in this desert of scars and broken humanity.

I looked out at the wounded horizon, it felt like witnessing a rape behind reinforced glass.

You want to punch your way through it but your knuckles are bleeding.

This place will strip the flesh from you and chisel your bones.

I thought about the assignment.

Baw had been long forgotten when I took the job.

I’d been smoking a few renegades out and handing them in to local government bureaus where they just shuffled papers and threw them back in the water with a few more scars than they already had.

I’d got my own army by now and these men were hungry for killing.

I’d kept them since I assassinated Artemus Lime.

When I put the suit on I didn’t expect to be going back to the Laughing City.

But then I knew not to expect a fucking thing from the cold comfort farm of my life.

If I was going back I was going naked.

I wanted to move with the air on my skin.

Jarves Long was a fat cat businessman.

He was part tetronium, the new metal that guys were smoking because it gave them erections that lasted for a year.

Painful flaming unrelieved hard-ons they could only alleviate by mass fucking.

Panacea drugs was behind it and once again hadn’t banked on its side effects.

What the fuck did they care?

The hookers were happy, wives less so, I’d made a load of money buying shares in KY jelly.

It was such sweet pleasure to see their value rocket while men with obscene bulges ran amok in the streets.

The air was full of the acrid smell of spent semen for weeks on end.

Long spent little time with me in his air conditioned office.

He looked like a fat walrus. There was something wrong with his face.

‘I want you to remove this man’, he said, sliding a photograph across the table at me.

I knew who he was.

‘You serious?’

‘Do I look like I’m joking?’, he said, scratching his prick.

‘You want me to kill Manuel Blaize?’

He met my comment with a blank stare.

I looked at his face and realised what was missing. He had no eyelashes.

‘Why do you want him dead?’, I said.

‘Let’s say he has reneged on a deal and is a threat.’

Outside in the lift on the way down I thought it through.

Manuel Blaize was the nastiest killer you’ll ever meet.

Face covered in scars, Mexican, army trained, half android, liked eating the brains of his victims and good with a knife.

I headed up to the Laughing City.

I had my flame gun with me and my usual array of weapons, hardcore killing machines that can do the job just right depending on the situation and the man.

Always read your man, that’s the way you get to clean up in this business.

If you get him wrong, you’re wasting your time.

I like shootings best, a quick shot, spurt of blood and home.

Home is where the empty metal surfaces are, the lack of human life, an assassin’s pad.

Like a hotel room built for fast exits and entrances.

I live in a theatre of the macabre, and I count the bodies.

I wanted to scalp Blaize.

He’d killed so many men I knew.

I also promised a friend a little something from the Laughing City.

Lynn Queen was after some Crow and I knew just how to hand it to her.

She’d been brave enough to expose the lies of the system down below and I wanted to give her something back, even if she was a Royalist.

I arrived in the City as mercury rained from the sky.

It was crazier than the last time.

The light flickered orange and red like a deranged traffic light and the Lizard Dogs and Silver Crows were out.

I watched one fly off with the mangled remnants of a dog’s penis in its mouth, sit on a burned out car and tear it piecemeal with its claws.

I headed to the hotel where I began my search.

I found two locations for Blaize, one where he met his recruits, young Mexican militaries who would kill anyone for the right money, the other a whorehouse he used.

My hacking showed me he also liked Drip02, the new hallucinogenic drug, a million times more powerful than LSD.

He’d shoved some up a whore’s cunt and performed a little operation with his knives.

As I was about to leave Long messaged me.

‘Dispose of the body’, was all he said.

I passed by the River HaHa, filled with aborted foetuses. These were the mutated terminations of hookers’ encounters with some of the more extreme customers of the City.

From time to time one of them would float to the surface with a distended hand or an eye ball the size of a blood orange popping out of a collapsed head.

I got a shuttle and headed to Blaize’s headquarters.

It was black there, no light and I figured I’d go in.

Nothing except empty space the size of a hanger.

Blaize never left any trace, he killed with precision.

I left.

As I made my way back I bent to check the time and felt something hiss by my ear.

I ducked and saw one of his knives land in the side of a Lizard Dog.

It ripped right through it spilling a mile of coiled and swirling guts on the menses strewn pavement.

I turned and saw Blaize’s scarred face vanish.

I made my way back as the laughter started that night.

It was worse than the last time.

It was as if an audience were screaming insanely at a joke.

A high pitched whine of a cacophony of deranged hilarity took over the air waves until I made my hotel room and closed the door.

I was going to kill him tonight.

I got my flare gun and my A1 which can shoot through reinforced steel.

I ate some powdered heart and made my way to the blood bath.

The Tripped Out Fuck House lay at the edge of the City.

It was the last stop beyond the Whore’s Hole.

The driver wouldn’t take me there and I had to walk.

Some mutant hookers were strutting past some garbage that spilled onto the broken road.

I could make out the tip of the desert beyond the City, the place where no one goes.

‘Fuck me any way you want’, one of them said.

She wore neon boots and a skirt the size of a rag and put her hand inside herself as
she licked her face with her ten inch tongue.

‘It’s OK I’ve eaten’, I said.

The other one approached me, swaying with what I assumed was intended to be an erotic gesture, although she looked like she desperately needed to pee.

Her eyes were made with beaded jewels and she pulled out an obscenely large breast.

‘I can clean the floor with my clit while hanging from the ceiling’, she said.

‘I have a cleaner thank you.’

They squealed with obscenities as I passed them.

The Tripped Out Fuck House was busy.

I don’t know what was worse, the fact that they used lights that turned everything yellow or that they were playing Black Lace.

Even in a good mood Agadoo made me want to kill.

Its popularity in the Laughing City stemmed from the fact that it encouraged tourists to dance obscenely and make merry, like some grotesque backdrop to the endless tapes of the chuckles and guffaws.

A couple of whores laid their sweating hands on me.

‘You want some wet snatch?’, one of them said.

‘No, I’m just here to push pineapple, shake the tree.’

‘Don’t you like us?’, the other one said.

‘I met a hula mistress somewhere in Waikiki.’

I edged past the whores and disappeared up the back staircase.

I’d checked out the layout and it was simple.

The fuck rooms were upstairs.

I’d timed it right, Blaize had gone in earlier and downed a huge dose of Drip02.

I disturbed a few fucks and found him in a room with a glitter ball hanging from the ceiling.

He was fucking a whore up the ass while another one sprayed him with come.

They saw me, he saw a series of mutant animals and began throwing knives, and as the whores ran out I incinerated him. I fried him to a crisp.

Then I shot him for good measure.

I held my gun against his ravaged face, pushed deep into a cicatrix the shape of a swollen gash and blew his head apart.

I looked around the room.

Shards of obscenities lay among the waste and used condoms, dildoes of all shapes and specifications adorned the fuck room.

Blaize’s jaw bone hung dripping from the glitter ball like a detumescent penis.

And I dragged his smoking body down the back stairs and into the street.

His skin looked like it was covered in burnt potato chips and syphilitic scabs.

Outside mercury rained from the sky and bombed and ricocheted like malign stars falling from a hole in time.

The whores were gone, the Dogs and Crows were out and they were not in a good mood.

I watched a Crow peck a Dog’s eyeball from his head. He squawked in wild delirium.

I walked to the edge of the River Haha dragging Blaze’s body on the ruined ground.

His skin was falling from his bones and lay lodged with chunks of flesh that were skewered on the sharp stones.

The sound was deafening now, the laughter had been turned up full volume.

I leaned down and scalped Blaize, running my razor sharp knife in a perfect circle round his skull and peeling it away like a label.

‘Well, looks like you lost this one’, I said.

The old assassin’s methods are the best.

I took one last look at his bleeding head, and using the knife he had tucked in his pocket, cut his stomach open, releasing all the gases. Then I tied some rocks and waste metal to him.

‘Can’t have you floating’, I said.

I threw him in the red and foaming water and watched him sink below the decayed foetuses that hovered like deformed nightmares on the black current.

Then I returned to my hotel where I packed.

I wrote ‘invoice’ on Blaize’s scalp with a marker pen.

As I made my way to the space port I stopped in the street and took a shot of a Silver Crow.

Back home I went to get my money from Long.

‘Good job’, he said, sliding the cash across his desk.

‘A little present for you’, I said.

I’ll never forget his face when I laid Blaize’s scalp on his desk.

He had the outraged shock of a meat eater who has never seen an animal slaughtered.

His lashless eyeballs stared into space.

I paid a visit to Lynn and gave her the shot.

She looked down at it and seemed unable to remove her gaze from it.

‘You’re not avoiding eye contact are you?’, I said.

I could see she was delighted.

Her efficiency never failed to amaze me.

She put it on the cover of her magazine the next day.

I invested my money in some new weapons.

I began training my army for what I had in mind.

Richard Godwin's novel 'Apostle Rising' is being published March 10th 2011 and he is widely published in magazines such as A Twist Of Noir and Pulp Metal Magazine and anthologies, as well as being a produced playwright. His story 'Pike N Flytrap' is in the latest issue of Needle Magazine and his story 'Face Off' is in Issue #5 of Crime Factory.You can check out his writing credentials here and listen to his recent interview on The Authors Show can pre-order a copy of 'Apostle Rising' here.


  1. Richard,

    Where the fuck did you take me then, you crazy man?

    I've not pissed my sides so much at a story in my life!

    Outstanding work... and left open for another acid trip...

    Nuff said.


  2. Richard. Beautifully grotesque and sick as hell, dear.
    I love it.

  3. Crazy side-trip. I need a drink. Wow.

  4. WTF. That was totally insane, in best twisted kindo of way. Goning to have to read it again!

  5. Opened up the Laughing City a bit more for us did you, Richard? Let us see a bit more of the never ending amusement park? Something kept slapping me on the back of the head. Then I got it; you're showing us the Glitter City with a bit more Ellroy twist. (A'La his LA: City Of Demons tv gig.) Letting a few warts mar it's pristine surface. Whispering: "all is not well in the Disney World Of Depravity." Murmuring: There's something more coming. Something dreadful. One can only hope and make sacrifices and dripping burnt offerings to the dark gods that our hero goes back and back and back again and again and again until the red dripping maw of the laughter swallows us whole. Thanks for the tour, my friend. As Big Bill Broonzey used to say of Jack Daniels Black Label: Man don't like that stuff just gotta be crazy.

  6. Just as good as the last time I visited!. This is one of my.fav shorts It's like looking into the future where everyone's tripping on acid. Aliens? Nope.just.mutant scum! Fantastic again!

  7. You are too good, my friend! Nothing to laugh about here, though, in the Laughing City...


  8. I feel like I can't breathe. If the Laughing City is a vision of a post-apocalyptic world, I can only pray it will not be that of planet Earth. Vile and disgusting inhabitants, crude and savage behavior, murder and mutilation acceptable past-times, yet we read on and on and yearn for more. Just one small favor, Richard. NEVER share your inspiration for the creation of this living nightmare! A brilliant piece.

  9. This a a powerful and strange new world and I can see that it's going to run and run. Top.

  10. Can't wait to find out what his army is training for! A bizarre, grotesque, and depraved ride through the dark carnival of the Laughing City. You've created a brilliant and evocative world.

  11. A clear view of what is not.....
    A vivid, twisted pleasure

  12. I'm freaked out by how you've turned the grotesque to the erotic and vice-versa.

    The pacing of this is relentless, and the characters are the literary equivalent of poisoned razor blades.

    Excellent story, and one that deserves a revisit.

  13. After I read ‘Liars Of The Laughing City’ I put it down as one of my all-time Godwin favorites. The bizarreness of it! I most loved the concept of the city employing a laugh track to cover the noise of the screaming, choking mutants, the tribes. And you perpetuate it delightfully in this sequel with mutant fetuses floating on the HaHa, tetronium erections, mercury rain, Drip02, the illustrious Manuel Blaize reduced to burnt potato chips and syphilitic scabs… And I wonder if Baw’s army, previously disbanded, might have anything to do with our unnamed narrator’s army… Well, in Godwin we trust. I can wait : )

  14. Col mate thanks a lot. I knew you'd like it there's more coming.

  15. Lynn I thought you would like the spoons. You always see the spoons.

  16. Carrie maybe a glass of Maynard. That will wet your whistle.

  17. Sean thank you insane is good. Take the trip again.

  18. Bill as always your comments are so amazingly supportive and spot on in your referencing and insights. As Tom Waits said I don't have a drink problem except when I don't have a drink.

  19. Nic if this is one of your favs I'll give you more. Thank you my friend.

  20. Sal thank you for all your support. You are a great friend.

  21. Joyce I am glad you caught the ambivalence of it all. Like watching gladiators maybe, and you always pick up the nuance.

  22. Paul thank you it is a dark world. I appreciate all your support.

  23. Chris thank you for your comment my friend. You will see what happens next.

  24. Callan you know the surreal. Thank you.

  25. Chris thank you that is a great comment. You have picked up the mood of the story acutely.

  26. Miss Alister well observed as always, I'm glad you enjoyed it, thank you for your comment, you recall the events of the first story and you may be right. You will see I will dangle some meat before you all and say there is a lot more to come.