This is the second Excerpt, I wrote this around twenty years ago. No publisher was interested then, but with ebooks everything has changed. This will form part of the fourth novel and I have written about a third of it. Things have changed in twenty years and I will revise it considerably. Having read this again after many years, edited a few bits, I still believe it is a powerful piece. I hope others find it so.


It was in the fall of 1996 and Gibson D’Angelo was very drunk. He sat in an exclusive bar with Gonzales, one of the senior partners, and several other associates from their office. Gibson was still under forty years old, a full partner and very wealthy. The white BMW V12 had been replaced by an S series Mercedes Benz. This one had been tuned and customised by Brabus in Germany.  The original V12 engine had been bored out to 7.3 litre. At present it was the fastest production car in the world, capable of over 200mph. The conversion was only about $65,000 more than the stock price and Gib thought it was worth every dime. He had ordered it after reading that the directors of Mercedes Benz drove them in preference to the stock models. It was jet black with cream leather upholstery. The sound system alone cost more than the old VW Rabbit, he had run a decade before. The car had been equipped with every extra in the catalogue. One of the associates in the office, Tony Rowstland, remarked that the thing probably had an ejector seat, or in Gib’s case, an erector seat.

The next case Gibson fought would make him a legend. It was going to be one of the biggest cases the State of Florida had ever seen. If he won, he would make more money than he could spend in a lifetime, the political doors could open, and he would have the money to finance a campaign. In his dreams he saw the White House. If he lost the case then he could witness his client electrocuted, and if that happened, his own life could easily be forfeit. If the client went to prison he could die, but.

But if he won, then his was the power and the glory. The case was the reason for the celebration. Gibson D’Angelo was going to defend Raphael Cortez-Garcia, who been charged with first degree murder, rape and enough other charges to be strapped into  “Old Sparky” or in the penitentiary for the next four hundred years. Cortez-Garcia had already paid a million dollars as a retainer. As he was a Colombian national, the judge refused to set bail. Any bail would have been met within the hour and Cortez-Garcia would have been out of the country within ninety minutes.

Rowstland ordered another round of drinks, and then reached for his attaché case. He produced a doll, which he held with his left hand clenched around its legs.

“What the hell have you got there Tony?” Gib asked, “When did you start playing with dolls?”

The others laughed and rounded on Tony in a frenzy of barbed comments.

“Since he punctured his inflatable woman”


“It was the only way he could get it to go down on him”

More laughter.

“I don’t know why your laughing, your wife has got more plastic in her tits than this has,” Tony replied.

“Tony’s wife prefers chocolate candy bars to him”

“I’d prefer candy bars to him”

“You still got that pick-up truck Tony? The one you use for huntin’ and fishin?”

“Yeah, why”

“Well you must be a red neck ‘cos your wife must weigh more than that damn truck”

“All that candy”

“Well at least it satisfies her when it’s soft”

“More than Tony can”

“And she doesn’t get hair in her mouth when she eats it”

“She doesn’t blow Tony, she just uses his dick as a toothpick”

“To get the candy out”

“She eats so much, Hershey’s deliver it wholesale”

“Thinks its better than sex ‘cos she can have as much as she wants and still walk in the morning”

“Well, waddle in her case”

“If she started jogging you could measure it on the Richter Scale”

“Imagine that in a lilac velour jogging suit wearing Nike “Earthmovers” on her feet”

“She’d be better off with CAT”


“No earthmovers”

“Does she make the earth move for you Tony?”

“Only when her fat ass falls out of bed”

“You roll her in flour to find the damp patch?”

“Prise her thighs with a carjack?”

“What’s the pleasure in fucking a fat woman?”

“Are they always grateful?”

“Well she is pretty, as fat ones go”

“So you don’t have to put a grocery sack over her head”

“No, but she puts one over his head”

The comments flew with timing that a stand up comedian could not have improved on.

It was a frequent occurrence at these gatherings to insult one or more of those present or their partners. Hoffenbecker was probably the one responsible for it. He would do it just to watch his victim rise to the bait, then strike with a stream of barbed invective that was cruel, cutting and relentless. He considered it practise for court. The others grew accustomed to it. They were relieved when they were the ones not on the receiving end. Occasionally someone would get angry or fight back, this just caused the others to go goad them further. It also explained why very few women worked for

Isaacstein, Gonzales and D’Angelo. Only one junior partner was female, the other had left after a similar evening the previous year when the group suggested she was a lesbian. The only evidence they had was that she had short hair and rode a mountain bike at weekends. But that was enough to make her the target for the evening. The following day Maryjo Copland handed in her resignation and went to live and work in Buffalo.

Tony sat through the attack, he did not respond. It was true his wife weighed 350 pounds, but Tony was screwing one of 3rd grade teachers from the school his kid went to. She was a redhead, slim, with small breasts and a narrow waist. Tony let them attack his wife, his sex life, whatever. He took a mouthful of beer and then a sip of bourbon and smiled. Maybe one day he would tell them about her, but not tonight. His mind drifted from the conversation as he thought about what he would do to her tonight. He could do what he liked, Donna was a submissive, she enjoyed pain and had introduced Tony to a new dimension in sex. Gibson interrupted his thoughts

“So, Tony what’s with the doll?”

Tony opened his fist to reveal that the right leg of the doll had been removed at the knee. He had torn it off with a pair of pincers leaving an edge of ragged pink plastic.

“Gentlemen, allow me to introduce “Landmine Honey” one of a new range of toys designed, by me, to take children from the make believe perfect world and show them the harsh realities of life”

“You sick son of a bitch” someone commented.

Tony continued “Imagine if you will ” his voice was soft and overflowing with false sincerity “That it is Christmas Day and all over America girls unwrap “Landmine Honey, the one legged wonder doll” and say “Gee Dad what happened to Honey? Can we exchange her at the Mall for the pretty one, the one  with both legs, and a dolphin and stuff,” but the fathers say “Darling, Christmas is a time of giving, and of remembering those who are less fortunate than ourselves. There are millions of landmines all over the world, many of them sold by our Government, or planted by our forces that kill and maim innocent men, women and children every day. Also for every one of these sold it means a dollar goes to help clear these terrible weapons….”

“You are full of shit,” Gibson was laughing fit to burst so were the others.

“There is a market for reality that lies there waiting to be exploited” Tony said

“You think people will buy this?”

“Why not, consider it educational. It brings home social issues using a device a child a familiar with, and without exposing them to the horrors shown on CNN.”

The group was now unsure of whether or not Tony was serious

“You mean the stories or the broadcasters?”

The laughter came back. Abraham Isaacstein staggered to his feet, “I gotta piss, order some more drinks, I want to hear the rest of this”

The waitress came over with another tray of drinks, as Isaacstein walked back to his seat, not looking where he was going, as he was trying close the last button on his fly, and walked into a pillar. Two of the junior partners helped him to his feet. He shrugged them off. “Has that pillar got a warning on it saying something to the effect of  “Do not walk into this whilst under the influence of alcohol”? If there isn’t such a sign, file a suit for damages. Three million should do it, if we can remember where we were”

The manager came over “Are you all right Sir? Should I dial an ambulance?” He knew his customers were all lawyers. He hoped they were joking, but he could never be sure with lawyers. Predatory bastards, just like sharks. “Send some complimentary champagne over” he told the waitress “The French stuff, not the Californian shit”

Abraham Isaacstein smiled at him and said “It’s okay, I won’t sue your sorry ass this time, but get a sign put on that pillar advising people it is dangerous to walk into it while fiddling with your dick” Then he burst out laughing and slapped the manager on the back. He then pointed to the waitress and said to the manager “She could fiddle with my dick any damn time she wanted,” He roared with laughter again walked back to the table and sat down and spoke “So Tony, tell us more about your doll”

“Well apart from “Landmine Honey” I’ve got this.” He reached into attaché case and produced a male action figure that he put in front of the others.

“If this is “Landmine” you forgot to take his leg off” said Gib.

“It’s not a landmine victim. This one is closer to home.” Tony took the shirt and pants off  to reveal brown marks that had been painted on the legs and torso. “This one is KS ” Tony said.

“KS?” asked one of the juniors

“Karpoofski’s Sarcoma is indicated by the brown markings. KS is an AIDS related condition that fags get before they die.” explained Tony.

“So how did he get AIDS when he’s supposed to be screwing Honey?” asked the same junior, whose name was Danny.

Tony chased more beer with more bourbon and answered “I thought everyone knew he was a faggot. He has been Honey’s boyfriend for over a decade, but never married her. When they introduced the company put out a camp version it completely sold out on the West Coast. All the Frisco fags bought it. Harder to get than a hamster in LA”

“What’s the connection?” asked Danny

“Are really that naive? Don’t you eve read the National Enquirer?. The faggots found it was fun to stick a hamster up their ass. Apparently they liked to feel it wriggle around. And more than one proctologist in a West Coast ER got his finger bitten.”

“Jesus, you’re kidding”

“No, Danny I am not kidding, it is rumoured that some of the famous got tailless rodents stuck up their tails and had to have them surgically removed”


“Client confidentiality” said Tony and burst out laughing. The others joined in.

“Tony, they could remould a really thin one and sell it as Anorexic Honey” said Gib.

Abraham Isaacstein took up the thread “And with every one you buy you get a CD of the Carpenters Greatest Hits”

The joke went over Danny’s head, but he decided to contribute “How about “Freebase Honey” limited edition with a squalid apartment, empty of everything a girl could sell for the next hit. Yours for $49.99”

“Or the Boyfriend pimp”

“Candyman the Pusher”

“Mainline Honey, with a withered arm, every collectors set has a needle and a spoon”

“OD Honey, doesn’t move and comes with a bottle of play puke for her to choke on”

“Appalachian Mountain Cousin, got no teeth, a flat head, and lots of cousins for you to collect”

“Trailer Trash Honey”

The group ordered more drinks, and having exhausted the possibilities of real life Honey reflecting the underbelly of America, looked for another target.

Tony spoke “Any one know how Maryjo Copland’s doing, I heard she got a practice upstate New York”

“Copland?” asked Gib

Isaacstein smiled “You remember Maryjo. The dyke, with the bike. She had more balls than Tony.”

“Was she a dyke?”

Gib answered, “You mean did she drink from a fur cup? Was she beaver chewing sister? Who knows? Who cares?,” He paused “ I think I remember her breath smelling of fish”

“That was the tuna salad.” interrupted Isaacstein.

“Do dykes eat tuna?” Tony was now giggling as he answered his own question “They eat tuna to disguise the smell of the pussy they’ve been eating.”

Isaacstein turned on Tony, a cruel grin spread across his lips. “Tony, does your old lady’s pussy smell of tuna?”

Tony was now so drunk that he did not understand the question. Gib slurred a response, “How would he know, he couldn’t get between those thighs without a diving mask and a snorkel. Man could get the bends coming up from her to fast”

“Tony only gets the bends in his dick”

Gib reached into his pocket and pulled out a cell, with controlled movement he the pressed the programmed button that rang home. Clem answered, she could tell that he was so drunk the smell of liquor almost came out of the phone. Gib took a deep breath and told her where he was.

“So get a cab.” came the reply

“You get a cab to bring you here then drive me home, I have no intention of leaving the car outside this place” He terminated the call and put the phone away.

Abraham Isaacstein signalled the waitress and ordered more drinks. “We”ll have one for the road,” He tipped her a fifty, and told her she could make a lot more if she wanted to party with him and the others.

The waitress was practised in dealing with drunken propositions. She leant forward, show he could get a good look at her cleavage. “I can see you like what you see, but have you ever heard of Lorraine Bobbitt? Any shit from you, and I’ll cut your dick off and put down the waste disposal. At your age you only use it for pissing, and I had a shower this morning.”

She smiled as she delivered the threat, and then she left to fetch the drinks. Isaacstein roared with laughter. Then he turned his attention to Gib.

Meanwhile Clementine checked that J. J. was asleep. She hated leaving him, especially just to fetch Gib, who had drunk himself into oblivion. She pulled on a pair of jeans, and a T-shirt, slipped her feet into moccasins, and dialled a cab. Ten minutes later the cab arrived and in another ten she was standing outside the bar. She could see the BMW parked in the lot.

The raucous laughter assaulted her ears as she entered the bar. She stood in the shadows and moved towards the table. Then she stopped, out of sight, and listened.

Isaacstein was talking “What’s it like to fuck an injun Gib? Does she holler and whoop when she comes, like she was attacking a wagon train? He put his hand repeatedly over his mouth and yelled like kids playing Cowboys and Indians. The few remaining customers in the bar looked over at him. They to failed to notice Clementine standing in the shadows, her long black hair falling down her back, a tear in her eye as she heard what was being said.

Isaactein continued, “Well at least you had the sense to marry a pretty squaw, not like Tony, you married Pocahontas”

Tony joined in, “Pocahontas didn’t have titties like Gib’s wife, should have called her Pocahooters”

Clementine crossed her arms over her breasts. She wanted to leave, she knew if she did there would be a major argument, so what, there would be a major argument anyhow.

“Gib, finish your drink then you can go home and poke Poke.”

Isaacstein and Tony laughed, Gib started to laugh and then he saw a movement just out of the corner of his eye. He stood up, and spoke very slowly, “Gentlemen my carriage awaits, I should like to take this opportunity to thank you for the pleasure of your company, and I look forward to seeing you again in the near future”

Isaacstein was still laughing as he saw Clementine step from the shadows, “Circle the wagons, watch your scalp Gib, if you need some help taming the squaw let me know”

Without speaking Gib handed her the keys, he walked over to the car and waited. She unlocked it by remote and he staggered into the passenger seat. The car started, and she pulled away. Clementine hated driving the BMW. It was far too powerful, it was worse when Gib was in it, criticising her driving.

As she pulled away from the lights the car lurched. “Where the fuck did learn to drive,” He asked.

“On the plains, scalping whitemen.” came the reply.

There was no conversation for the rest of the journey. She pulled the car onto the drive and walked into the house. Gib got out of the car. He walked around to the driver’s side and removed the keys that were hanging from the ignition. Then he locked the car and walked into the house.

Clementine was not going to be dragged into an argument, she wiped the tears from her eyes and was walking out of the kitchen when Gib grabbed her arm.

“Let go” she struggled, but the grip was tight, “Let go, that hurts”

His hand grabbed her breast and squeezed it. He felt the nipple harden against his palm. “Now I’m going to poke Poke”

He let go of her breast and tore her jeans open, she struggled, then she pushed the forefinger of her right hand into his left nostril. He was beginning to feel the hair on her mound, when the pain exploded in his nose. Gib put his hand to his nose and it came away bloody.

With one swift savage punch he hit her, just above the right eye, he was still gripping her left arm in his left hand. The second punch was a short upper cut to the abdomen.

Which left Clementine doubled over on her knees.

Her eye was beginning to swell, as she looked up, and his knee connected with her lip

splitting it against her teeth.

“You bitch, you fucking bitch, just you fucking wait,” his voice an angry growl.

He grabbed her hair and pulled her to her feet, she was still bent over, one arm holding her belly the other touching her lip.

He thrust his hand into the neck of her T-shirt and ripped it open. Then he grabbed her right nipple between his finger and thumb and pinched as hard as he could. Clementine could taste the salt of the blood in her mouth. She could feel the pain, but she would not cry out. Gib tugged at her jeans, but she spread her legs so she would not fall. His hand lashed across her cheek and she fell back, knocking over a Lalique glass table lamp. He knelt between her legs, and put the span of his hand across her throat.

The he unzipped his fly. He pulled out his flaccid dick.

“Eat it,” he hissed.

Clementine moved her head back and spat. A mixture of blood and spittle straight into

Gib’s face, “Fuck you”

“I intend to”

“With what?” She laughed at him.

Then the beating started, the first punch handed just below the left eye. Gib went into frenzy landing punch after punch on her ribs and breasts. He pounded her body his weight crashing in with each blow. She rolled over, and he hit her kidney. The pain caused her head to swim, and she passed into unconsciousness. The power had gone out of the punches. Gib pulled himself to his feet and reeled of into the bedroom. There was blood from his nose down his shirt, the knuckles of this right hand were bleeding.

He took off his clothes and collapsed on the bed.

Outside the bedroom Clementine lay on the floor, blood was seeping from her mouth and nose, her ribs were badly bruised two were fractured. The swelling above her right eye was changing colour. Her hair was now matted with blood.

In the darkness a small hand brushed the hair from her face. A towel, damp with cold water was pressed against her face. Her hand was being held. In the darkness a boy held his mother’s hand. He did not say a word. As he moved, the light just caught in the tears that ran down his cheek.



Official photograph was taken by Stuart Franklin, former President of Magnum Photos, and world renown for his photograph of the “Tank Man in Tianamen Square”, which has been listed in the top forty of the most powerful photographs ever taken. He is a friend and fellow Leonard Cohen fan. His work can be seen at www.stuartfranklin.com