BLOOD AND TACOS
By Brace Godfrey
(discovered by Johnny Shaw)
This is the story that started it all. JOHNNY SHAW found this 1979 exemplar while cleaning a recently deceased uncle’s attic. Amid a shocking amount of strangely specific pornography was a box of Brace Godfrey books. Godfrey, known as “The King of the Three Shots,” wrote over 200 novels and penned numerous series, but none of them ever got past the third book. Some of his best remembered series include Codename: Black Belt, The Expunger, W.E.R.E.W.O.L.F. Squadron, and of course, Chingón.
Chingón stood in the shadeless, dusty road in front of Mesa Verde’s only cantina. He squinted up at the blazing sun without blinking, practically daring the fiery orb to blind him. Chingón had lived in the heat of the Mexican desert all his life. If it thought it could best Chingón, it had another think coming. The sun had done its damnedest in its effort to burn him, but only managed to tan his skin to the texture of fine Corinthian leather.
Looking back toward the eight motorcycles parked in front of the cantina, Chingón thought back to his meeting with La Boca and the rest of the Brown Panthers. Their reputation was solid and word was that nothing got past their network of gardeners, Mexican restaurant mariachi musicians, and border informants.
According to La Boca, The Red Devils were heavy into the white slavery market, usually transporting and selling unlucky Mexican and South American chicas to sweatshops and underground sado-brothels. But according to the vid de uva, at that moment, they were holding a white girl. One that wasn’t for sale.
The information that La Boca had given him better be righteous. The last thing Chingón needed was to charge into the building and fail at getting the girl back. There was no reward money for a dead U.S. Senator’s daughter and he was running out of time.
If Chingón failed his mission, Senator Gray, one of the staunchest anti-crime lawmakers around, was going to make a statement announcing that he was dropping out of the Presidential race. The man didn’t want to—he was the frontrunner—but that was the kidnap demand. Drop out of the race or your daughter dies.
Chingón and Senator Gray agreed that the most likely person behind this dirty trick was his opponent, the lily-livered, anti-gun Governor Deutsch. But there was no way to prove it. And Senator Gray wasn’t willing to risk his daughter’s life over his political career.
Senator Gray couldn’t go to the authorities. He couldn’t go to the Secret Service. He couldn’t go through regular channels. So he had found Chingón.
The man was scheduled to give his abdication speech on Wednesday at noon. It was Tuesday and Chingón needed to get lucky.
He lit the stub of a cigar and walked toward the cantina. One minute of thinking was too much for a man like Chingón. He was a man of action. A man of violence. A man.
Chingón kicked open the saloon doors, splintering wood and shattering the door from its hinges. Sneaking in back doors was for weak men and Canadians.
The eight drunk and leather-clad men squinted as they lazily turned. A motley band of bearded and leathered pendejos, thought Chingón. No sense of style. No hygiene. No knowledge of mustache wax. No class.
“You must be the one they call Chingón,” Branigan, the leader of the Red Devils, said. He was the biggest of the bunch with a face that sported a cobweb of scars and arms blue with tattoos. “They say you’re the World’s Deadliest Mexican. Is that true?”
They knew he was coming. That was not good.
“Many have been curious about Chingón’s deadliness, gringo,” Chingón said, “Most of them are muerto. Dead and buried. Because I killed them. Killed them until they were dead. Dead and buried.”
“If you want a drink, I can’t help you. This bar has gotten some standards. It’s become civilized. It no longer serves mud people, particularly Mexican’ts.” Branigan said, scratching the Swastika tattooed on his neck.
“Chingón just wants the white girl. She’s here. Do not try to bullshit Chingón,” Chingón said.
“What is it with you Mexicans and blondes? Can’t you stick to your own kind?” Branigan laughed.
“Chingón did not say that she was blonde,” Chingón countered.
“Either way. There ain’t no white girl here.” Branigan glanced at a side door for just a moment, but it was enough for Chingón. He knew where she was.
“She is here. And she better be unhurt and unraped,” said Chingón.
“She’s unhurt, but I can’t make any promises on the other. My men have been known to have their fun,” Branigan said, his smile revealing half a mouthful of black teeth.
“Chingón will settle for alive. From the photos I know that chica is un tamale caliente. Some temptations are difficult to resist.” Chingón smiled.
“The girl is not for sale. Not until tomorrow. However, we have a limited selection of darker meat.” Branigan’s voice started to show some irritation.
“Let’s not continue this game. You know who she is and why Chingón is here,” Chingón mirrored the biker’s irritation.
“Maybe.” Branigan glanced around the room at his men.
“Her family hired Chingón to get her back. And once Chingón has been paid, Chingón never backs down. Chingón never surrenders. And Chingón never compromises,” Chingón said about Chingón.
“Twenty thousand dollars. Double what we were paid. That’s what it will cost. Pay the money and you can walk out of here with her,” Branigan said.
“Why should Chingón pay one centavo, when you are going to release her for nothing?” Chingón confidently stated.
A voice from the back of the cantina cut the silence. “Let’s throw the beaner out already. That is, unless he would like to clean our toilets before he goes. I know how much Mexs like to get on their knees and scrub white men’s shit.”
The voice came from the shadows beyond the pool table. Chingón recognized the camouflage-clad man that walked out of those shadows as Walker. Unlike the others, he was not a biker, nor a member of the Red Devils motorcycle gang. Walker was a mercenary, a gun-for-hire, and the second-best knife fighter in the world.
This wasn’t Chingón and Walker’s first encounter. They went way back. (Editor’s Note: You can read about their epic knife fight in Highline Publication’s earlier Chingón: The World’s Deadliest Mexican adventure: OAXACALYPSE.
“The only toilet in here that needs cleaning is your mouth, Walker,” Chingón said, “And Chingón would clean that for free, pendejo. With his fists.”
“I’ll get the plunger,” Walker hissed, whipping a butterfly knife from his sleeve and putting on a show of steel and speed. He made the deadly blade dance in the space just in front of his body. The sound of the metal slicing the air cut the silence of the still bar.
After the show was over, Chingón slowly clapped his callused hands. “Impressive. But does it cut as well as it dances?”
“It’s about time you and I answered that question, once and for all.” Walker took two steps forward, blade at the ready.
“That’s enough,” Branigan barked. “You sound like women. I’ll make it easy for everyone. We’ll all kill the Mex bastard. Lazarus! Wolfe! Red Devils!”
Branigan swept his eyes around the bar. As he made eye contact with each man, they stood and turned to Chingón revealing weapons that ranged from heavy chains and pipes to very powerful firearms. One of them had a trident.
Chingón smiled through gritted teeth. “Be careful, Branigan. There are only eight of you. You’re outnumbered, cabron,” Chingón said. He threw his poncho over his shoulder, revealing his infamous bullwhip on one hip and a bandolier of grenades across his chest.
Chingón was known by many names: The Matador of Mayhem. The Caballero of Catastrophe. The Hermano of Hurt. The Patrón of Pain. And the admittedly less-inspired, Jefe of Internal Injuries.
There was no doubt that he truly was The World’s Deadliest Mexican.
Feared for his prowess with his bullwhip Marta and his deadly accuracy with grenades, like a snake charmer or a lion tamer, Chingón had learned to tame man’s most dangerous weapon into something he could massage and control. His reputation was spread by the few that had seen him in action. Very few. Most of the others had exploded. And the explosions had killed them.
Branigan reached for the pistol in his waistband, but Chingón beat him to the draw, throwing a grenade in the big biker’s lap. With his knowledge of angles and precise placement, he was able to focus the blast. Branigan exploded in a burst of blood and gore, staining the ceiling and the mirror behind the bar. Only his blood-filled boots remained.
Without hesitation, Chingón had Marta out and cracked the whip loudly, pulling the trident from the hands of an advancing biker. He grabbed the biker by his vest and dropped the bearded man with one well-placed haymaker to the temple.
The large biker crashed to the ground with a loud crash.
“Now it’s a fiesta!” Chingón screamed like a madman.
The six remaining men opened fire, the shots just missing Chingón as he dove over the top of the bar. Ricocheting bullets pinged from wall to wall, creating a violent orchestra of death, a symphony played in lead major.
“Caramba,” Chingón said to himself, plucking two fresh grenades from the bandolier. He waited for a lull in the maelstrom, and then lobbed the two grenades in the direction of the charging men. He grabbed a bottle of tequila as he ducked back behind the bar.
The explosions shook the cantina. Chingón almost spilled his tequila. He looked up at the bar for a lime, but found none. He would have to settle for the Mexican firewater neat. And as uncivilized as it felt, the burn of the alcohol steeled him for the second half of the battle.
By his count, there would only be three men left alive, but one of those men was Walker, the only real threat to Chingón.
The silence that followed the explosions was deceptive. They were waiting for Chingón. He knew there was more fight to come. It was quiet. Too quiet. He waited as patiently as one can.
But Chingón wasn’t the kind of man that was going to wait all day. Two minutes was long enough. It was time to act. Mexican standoffs were for a different breed of Mexican.
Chingón stood up from the bar, grenade and whip at the ready. The roar of a machinegun belched fire and lead. Blood erupted from Chingón’s shoulder, knocking him down.
“Aaaaaaahhh!” Chingón screamed, holding the wound and falling back behind the bar.
It hurt, but Chingón had lost count of the number of times that he’d been shot. The bullet hadn’t hit anything vital—most likely ricocheting off another bullet still lodged in his body—but there was a lot of blood.
His heart said attack, but the smart thing to do was retreat. Chingón hadn’t survived a thousand battles by being stupid. He had survived them by exploding people.
He remembered the door that Branigan had glanced at. The one where the girls were stowed.
If he could get to it, he could wrap his wound and return to the melee. He made a run for the door, pulling its latch as bullets dimpled the plaster near his head. He tossed a grenade at the gunfire without his usual deadly accuracy and dove into the room, closing the door quickly behind him. The explosion shook the door, but held.
When he turned, he was in a dimly lit room with no furnishings or windows. On the floor in front of him were four naked women with their arms and legs bound. Three of the women were Mexican nationals and the other was Amanda Gray, the youngest daughter of Presidential candidate, Senator James Gray.
Looking up with her soft doe eyes and a surprising strong voice, Amanda Gray said, “Who are you?”
“I am Chingón. Your father sent me,” Chingón said, already cutting through the ropes that bound the women.
Chingón draped his poncho over Amanda Gray’s nude body, admiring her alabaster skin. “Do not worry. It’s not the first time four nude women have needed Chingón, mamacita. Although the circumstances the last time were quite different. Do you know how to use a gun?”
“I was the captain of the Carrie Chapman Catt Academy for Girls’ skeet and target shooting team,” Amanda Gray said proudly.
Chingón tossed Amanda Gray an automatic pistol and handed the three Mexican women the throwing knives that he kept in his boot. They appeared to be comfortable with their nudity. And the throwing knives. Chingón liked that.
“Shooting men is a lot different than clay pigeons or paper targets, chica.” Chingón said.
“They are not men. They are animals,” Amanda Gray said, “And it’s animal season.”
Amanda Gray loudly racked a bullet into the chamber. The last time Chingón had seen a woman with that look in her eye, he had almost lost a testicle to the business end of a pitchfork. This girl was fight-ready and blood-lusty.
“Now you sound like Chingón,” Chingón said, sounding even more like Chingón than Amanda Gray did.
“What’s the plan?” Amanda Gray asked.
You don’t need a plan when you have angry Mexican women on your side.
The two remaining bikers didn’t stand a chance against the naked fury of the naked furies. Nobody stabs quite like an angry senorita. Let alone three of them. Chingón and Amanda Gray were relegated to the sidelines while the three women went carniceria on their former captors.
Chingón’s only disappointment was that Walker had already split. Running away with his tail between his legs to report back to his master like the dog that he was.
No matter to Chingón. He had the girl and now it was just a matter of returning to Los Angeles to deliver her. And receive his money.
When the carnage ceased, the Mexican women—now wearing the leathers of the dead bikers—offered their bodies to Chingón. As tempted as he was, Chingón was on a schedule. And when he was with three ladies, he preferred to take his time.
Chingón and Amanda Gray walked across the road to Chingón’s lavender 1964 Chevy Impala. Riding Astro Supremes with 5.20 whitewalls, Chingón’s ride was barrio beautiful. The crown jewel being an airbrushed image on the hood of a topless woman wearing a sombrero, riding a comet, and pulling the pin out of a grenade with her teeth.
“That was anticlimactic,” Amanda Gray said, “I didn’t even get to shoot anyone.”
“Be careful of what you wish for, mamacita,” Chingón said, “This day isn’t over.”
While Chingón preferred to drive the Impala low and slow, now was not the time for cruising. Grabbing the scorpion-in-polyester-resin knob of the shifter, he slammed the Impala into gear. They hit the highway in a cloud of dust and gravel spray.
“I never thanked you for saving me back there,” Amanda Gray said, watching the desert blur past her. “Thank you.”
Chingón grunted his response. He glanced at the girl. Maybe sixteen. Old enough. He liked the way the tattered leather vest she had found looked against her pale skin. And the way she was sitting, he could see one of her perky breasts underneath. Chingón liked that, too.
Seeing that young flesh brought his thoughts back to his own youth and his life before he became the World’s Deadliest Mexican.
It seemed so long ago that his wife Juanita was murdered by those drug-runners. How he had gotten his revenge. Bathed in blood and mad from grief. How he had found each link in the chain until he destroyed all the men responsible. No matter that they were villains or vaqueros, politicians or policemen, they had scheduled their execution when they had killed the only person that Chingón had ever loved. And would ever love. It was impossible for Chingón to remember the humble campesino (farmer) that he once was.
The shattering of the back window jolted Chingón from his memories.
“Coño!” Chingón shouted, “My Chevy.”
Looking in the rearview mirror, he eyed the two Jeeps on his tail. One driver and one shotgunner in each vehicle. The smoke from one of the shotguns still exiting its barrel. Walker sat in the backseat of one of the vehicles, picking his teeth with his knife and grinning like a bastard.
“Get down,” Chingón said, but Amanda Gray wasn’t going to miss her second chance for a scrap. She turned in her seat and aimed the pistol out the window, firing three quick rounds at the Jeeps.
Three holes in the Jeep’s windshield later and in the most undramatic of fashions it slowed to a stop with the horn blowing full volume and two dead men looking asleep, save for the holes in their foreheads.
The other Jeep kept on, gaining ground and returning fire. Chingón hit a switch on his dash, setting the hydraulics in motion. The back end of the Impala lifted, taking away the angle on the back window.
Chingón eyed the road ahead. And the curves into the mountains. This was going to get loco.
“Grab the wheel,” Chingón said.
Amanda Gray grabbed the small chain steering wheel, as Chingón pulled four grenades from his bandolier, two in each hand.
The gunman in the Jeep had swapped out his shotgun for some kind of machine gun. He opened fire, lacing a row of puckered holes in the side of the Impala.
“Pinche pendejos,” Chingón proclaimed. And like the image of his dead wife on the hood of his car, he put the pins of all four grenades in his mouth and pulled.
“Let’s dance, bitches,” Chingón laughed, as he dropped the grenades one by one out the window.
The Jeep darted out of the way of the first grenade, the explosion just missing. Weaving to miss the next grenade, it overcompensated and spun out. Ultimately, the error saved their lives as the other two grenades exploded in front of them.
While Chingón had meant to end the battle there and then, he would take the delay as a victory and put some distance between the Impala and the Jeep.
Taking back the wheel from Amanda Gray and driving like a madman through the windy mountain roads, he just missed a semi on a blind corner. The tiny wheels just held onto the tarmacadam.
“Do you see them?” Chingón said, eyes focused straight ahead.
“They’re about three turns back. What are we going to do?” Amanda Gray said.
“Chingón is tired of running,” Chingón said.
He slammed the brakes and expertly slid the car behind a gigantic boulder. He jumped out, pulling at two more grenades.
Standing just behind the boulder at the side of the road, he pulled the pins on the grenades, closed his eyes, and waited. He listened to birds’ wings miles away, the wind brushing the mesquite, and the approaching tires of the Jeep.
Chingón threw the two grenades in a high arc almost straight up in the air, and then walked into the middle of the road to face the oncoming Jeep. As it rounded the turn, the murder in Walker’s eyes was revealed for only a moment.
“Adios, cabrons,” Chingón said.
The arcing grenades made their descent and with perfect timing landed in Walker’s lap.
“Motherfu—” Walker said.
The Jeep exploded.
The burning metal carcass flew over Chingón’s head and off the steep cliff behind him. He lit his cigar on the burning hulk as it passed and walked back to his Impala.
Running his finger along the line of bullet holes in the side panel, Chingón said. “Puta madre, I wish I could kill them again.”
He got in the car and turned to Amanda Gray. Chingón said, “I think that’s enough adventure for one day. Let’s get you home.”
On seeing his daughter alive, Senator Gray was overjoyed. So much so that he paid Chingón double the asking price. That was on top of the bonus that Amanda Gray had given him on the ride back. Not money, but mouth sex.
Chingón shook the man’s hand and said, “And while I did this for the money, I also did this for what is right. No woman should be stolen by any man. Men cannot make their own rules. They must follow the rules made for them by other men. And as long as people do not abide by those rules, Chingón will be there to punish them with the lash of his whip and the explosion power of his grenades. Because there are no rules for Chingón. Chingón follows no man, but enforces their rules, for money. And men best follow those rules. Because they are the rules. And rules must be obeyed. Rules.”
“I agree,” Senator Gray said, “Now, I must go. I have an election to win.”
And with that, Chingón turned and walked to his Chevy Impala. He usually left politics for men with bowties in their dresser drawers, but he was going to make an exception for Governor Deutsch. He thought he’d pay him a visit and see where he stood on the death penalty.
Along with his role as editor of Blood & Tacos, Johnny Shaw is a screenwriter, playwright, and the author of the novel Dove Season: A Jimmy Veeder Fiasco. For the last dozen years, Johnny has taught writing, lecturing at both Santa Barbara City College and UC Santa Barbara.