Bill Bailey

Author, Actor



In this potent and compelling tale, sexual depravity, corruption and violence splatter the pages as people and ideas are irrevocably locked in a battle that may mean the life or death of the earth itself. The global power of transnational corporations  continues to grow as it spawns political and paramilitary heads to its gargantuan body.  Pockets of resistance form in Europe and America.  A small band in England are nearly overwhelmed as an ex-patriot American anchors the group which is led by a distinguished government permanent secretary of state.  Kidnappings, rescues and assassinations raise the stakes as a media tycoon finally meets his match in a dangerous struggle with a beautiful Texan blonde.



D O W N L O A D  T H I S  E X T R A C T


S P L I T    I N F I N I T I E S
B I L L   B A I L E Y

Chapter One

The sun hung low in the sky, drawing the mosquitoes from the stagnant pools in dense clouds. You could see them, airborne and floating, when you looked east just above the trees, against the dark blue sky. There must have been millions, like locusts in plague years. But these feathery insects came every evening, all searching for warm bodies and warm blood. They were big, too, but not big enough to feel before they bit you.

Etymologists are said to be able to trace the origins of language through the varieties of root words. Some languages are found to contain many basic references to water, and researchers suppose these languages must have developed near the sea or chains of lakes and rivers. In Panama there were at least sixteen different words for mosquito, if you included local slang. It was a low, swampy country, and when the United States dug the canal many died from Yellow Fever. Of course the United States did not actually dig the canal. They provided the management and machinery and finance to dig it. Any actual digging was done cheaply by local and imported Indian and black labour.

J C Ritter's ranch was not that near the Canal Zone. It was as prime a piece of land as you could find in Panama, just over 20,000 acres, most of it excellent pasture for grazing a fine herd. Ritter bought the ranch fifteen years ago for twenty five cents an acre. Plus $50,000 cash to the President of Panama, a Cadillac to a fat generalissimo, and two Buicks and a pickup truck to local chieftains. Ritter sold his Texas ranch for nine and a half million before the oil market crashed. His timing had been perfect, and his profit was phenomenal. Five million had been wisely and safely invested and the rest used as working capital for the Panama ranch, which he had sentimentally named The Rose of Texas. Perhaps it was the only rose growing in Panama. His herd was more a hobby than a money earner, and Ritter reckoned himself a scientific breeder. Basically they were Friesians crossbred with native Texan Longhorns, and they were now throwing true.

J C Ritter was tall and rangy and was nearly fifty-eight. He stood six feet three inches without his cowboy boots but had never acquired the overhanging gut so many lean men develop in middle age. And he was never a loud Texan. He was one of the quiet, dry ones. He had light blue eyes, a tanned and tough hide and black hair trimmed short. His Stetson was pulled down to his eyebrows and he was watching the pilot reading through the navigation instructions in the little flight office built on Ritter's private airport. It wasn't that big an airport, but the runway was long enough for his Lear Jet. And it was certainly long enough for the light plane this pilot was going to fly.

Ritter was sitting behind the old oak desk which had various names and oaths carved in several places. The pilot, Buck Colby, was sitting in a battered chrome tube armchair studying the papers. Another man had his back to them and stared out the window. This was Enrico Gomez, a man J C Ritter knew well and trusted.

Gomez was a small, tense man in his early forties. He, too, had short black hair, but it was thicker than Ritter's and had to be smacked down with pomade. He wore an open white shortsleeve shirt and carried a windbreaker under his arm. And from the back you could see he was wearing a shoulder holster harness. In fact Enrico Gomez was a killer, a very good one. Ritter kept him on retainer, then paid him good money for special jobs like this one. Gomez was going along on the flight to make sure the pilot behaved himself and to deal with any unexpected incidents. Gomez could do this. Gomez was a real professional and never, ever opened his mouth when he should keep it closed.

Buck Colby stretched back in the chair, thumbed up the bill of his dozer cap and wiped the sweat from his exposed forehead. The office was air conditioned, but it had only been turned on about forty minutes ago when they first entered. Colby was a little nervous, because he knew the cargo was drugs. Either cocaine or heroin or possibly both. This was the first time he had done anything this illegal, and he was well aware what would happen if he was caught. But it was damn good money, and he needed money. The man who recruited him in Houston, Sam Jasper, assured him it was a no-fail situation. The man he would be working for had high government contacts, and it was a special assignment. It sounded OK so far, but Colby knew he was low man on the totem pole here. He would only be told what he had to know, and the things he didn't know worried him.

Colby had been in Vietnam, arriving during the final two weeks to help pull out US personnel from the collapsing country. He told friends and relatives he saw fierce combat, but in fact his helicopter wasn't even fired upon. His story sounded much better the way he told it now to anyone who was interested enough to listen. Colby was, however, a good pilot. He had worked the oil rigs in the Gulf, done some crop dusting and was a regular employee for a while in a small Louisiana airline before it went bankrupt a year ago. But now times were hard for pilots, and there seemed to be six or seven for every job on offer. This little number might be just enough to set him up. If. If everything went smoothly. If there was no doublecross. If, if, if. He shifted again in the chair. The longer he was unemployed, the more he worried. The more he worried, the more he ate. And most of the extra weight settled around his hips and underneath his chin. Soon he was going to be too fat to pass the medical anymore.

Colby tidied the papers and stuck them back under the clip. He looked up at the Texan staring patiently at him and shrugged. "Seems easy enough, Mr Ritter. Fly it with my eyes closed."

"Keep your eyes open, son,"  Ritter said. "You drift outta that twenty mile corridor once you cross into US territory, you gonna find the boys in blue all over your ass. And I'm gonna lose a lot of money. And," he nodded toward Gomez, "my good friend Enrico is gonna be awful upset if that happens."

Buck Colby laughed nervously. "Ah, no chance of that, Mr Ritter. I know my job."

Ritter's eyes were cold. "Do you?"

"Well, you can ask old Sam Jasper. He knows what I can do. Got a good record. Never done anything like this, though."

"Yeah," Ritter said. "That's one of the thangs worryin' me. 'Pears to me you're kind of a weak man."

Colby laughed again without conviction. ", I mean, hell, I was in Vietnam, you know. Saw a lot of action. That doesn't worry me. It's know, the cargo. Hell, if they catch me doing something like that...god, it's not worth thinking about..."

"Then don't think about it."

"And the gentleman over at the window..."

"That's Enrico Gomez," Ritter drawled. "He ain't Messkin, incidentally. He's Cuban. One of the good Cubans who got the hell outta Castro's fuckhole."

"I mean, does he have to go along?  Why can't I just..."

"Aw, Enrico's only hitchin' a ride, boy. You gonna drop him off with the plane in Miami after you finish your business in Texas."

Enrico Gomez turned around, aware he was being talked about. He had a face like a rat, except for the eyes. His nose was large, and the chin was small. But his eyes were nearly black and had no expression at all. He never seemed to blink.

 He stared blankly at Buck Colby, who shifted nervously and crossed one leg over the other, lowering his gaze. "Yeah, I was wondering why the flight plan included Miami..."

Ritter leaned over the desk and stared from under the brim of his Stetson. "You don't have to do any wonderin' in this job, son. It's not a wonderin' job. Think of yourself as just a taxi driver goin' from one place to another. All you need to know is how to get there."

Colby laughed again, trying to relax. "Yeah, yeah, that's the safest, isn't it?  The safest way. For me. Yeah. You're right, Mr Ritter..."

Ritter nodded his head toward the papers in Colby's hand. "Now hand that clipboard to Enrico. He'll keep it from now on. The last thang I want is for that flight plan to work its way outta that plane and into somebody's pocket."

Colby leaned forward and handed the board to Gomez with a smile. Gomez took it but did not return the smile. He put it under his arm with the windbreaker.

"When you get to Miami," Ritter continued, "Enrico will show you where to park the plane and get your money for you. You go along to the bank with him, and he'll get a cashier's check for you. Now, I recommend you pay that check into an account right there, 'cause carryin' anythang of value on the streets of Miami is like dressin' up in feathers at a turkey shoot."

Colby stood up, hitching his belt over his bulging stomach. He looked at his watch. "Well, I better warm up the engine. It's already getting dark, and I've got to at least be able to see the tops of the trees for the takeoff."

Ritter wordlessly shoved a can of aerosol across the desk.

"What's that for?" asked Colby.

"Unless you spray some of that all over you, I estimate you would lose about a quart and a half of blood before you reached the cockpit."

"Blood?" Colby's expression changed from false bonhomie to concern.

Ritter leaned back in the swivel chair, and it squeaked. "We got bigger mosquitoes here than they got in East Texas, son, and the ones in East Texas are the size of buzzards."

Colby took the can and sprayed his hands, face and neck.

"Spray your clothes, too," said Ritter. "These are sabre-tooth mosquitoes. I've had 'em bite right through my boots."

When Buck Colby had finished with the aerosol, Gomez picked it up and sprayed directly into his own face, then soaked his clothes with it before putting on the windbreaker.

"Enrico's been here before," observed Ritter. "He went outside the screen door to throw a cigar out once, and five minutes after he got back in his face looked like a pineapple."

Colby held out his hand and Ritter grabbed it almost reluctantly. "Well, sir, I hope we can do business again soon."

Ritter held on to the pilot's hand. "You do this one without trippin' over your dick, and we'll see."  He turned away toward the water cooler as the two men left for the plane.

Once the plane was in the air Buck Colby felt a lot better. Gomez was sitting behind him with the clipboard, and Colby realised conversation was out of the question. But that was alright. He loved flying, and flying at night could be very peaceful despite the roar of the engine. The stars were bright, the air was fresh and the sense of freedom was invigorating. He had slept in a huge bedroom of the big ranch house until well after noon. A maid had served him breakfast in bed, more than half of which he left on the plate. It was a huge steak with a half dozen fried eggs on the top and what looked like a pound of prime bacon encircling it. There were two jugs, one of coffee and one of fresh orange juice, and he drank most of both. Because he had been hung over. He recalled drinking most of a bottle of Benchmark with a groan. It always seemed like a good idea at the time, and he felt more comfortable around strangers after a few drinks. He relaxed and wasn't so awkward anymore. Men seemed to take him more seriously, and women were more attracted. Thinking of women made him involuntarily suck in his gut. He had to do something about his weight soon.

The ranch house - what was the name? Rose of Texas, that was it - was a huge, sprawling structure. It was all built on one floor, but you could hardly call it a bungalow. It circled a courtyard where there was a gigantic swimming pool carved in the shape of the state of Texas. Ritter had a wife - or was it his woman? - a gorgeous dark haired girl of Spanish origin. She couldn't have been more than 25 and had breasts the size and colour of coconuts, but smooth and soft-looking. The girl lurked around the pool without her top on, wearing some kind of thong. It was the first thing he saw after he finished his breakfast and opened the French doors onto the courtyard, and he very nearly collapsed with a combination of embarrassment and desire. But she had ignored him and didn't seem to care whether he looked or not.

Ritter seemed to treat the girl only a little better than the servants, and there were plenty of those. Cooks, gardeners, maids and handymen. For Ritter it must be like living in paradise, he thought wistfully. Ritter sat back like a god and gave orders to be carried out by these or those people and fired anybody who gave him trouble, hiring another from the long queue the next day. He wondered if the girl was like that. If he fired her, would he hold auditions for the next household sexual ornament?

Colby looked up at the stars, so much brighter than they were on the ground, and shrugged. He was not much more than a servant, somebody with a skill to do dirty work for the boss who had the money. If he did it well, there would be another job. If not, there were plenty more where Colby came from. How he yearned to be like Skinner some day when he wouldn't have to worry about having to make impressions or charm people into liking him. Then you could say, fuck 'em, do what you want. Hire a piece of ass, and if she doesn't give what you want, fire her. Same thing with drivers, cooks, maids, fuckin' pilots...

He turned half around and asked Gomez about the next bearing quadrant.

* * *

Deputy Sheriff Bilge Butler was very pleased with himself as he drove his cruiser slowly down the dirt track to his favourite spot of all. At one time this had been a nice little ranch run by a local family out of Franklin, but that family had died out and the land had been bought by some big shot out of town who never used it. The brush had grown up, the fences hadn't been repaired and the two old hunting lodges were falling apart. It was a damn shame, thought Bilge Butler in a brief moment of civic concern. On the other hand, it provided one of the most private shagging grounds he had ever found in his life. He could cruise in, close the gate, drive way out of sight behind one of the rundown hunting lodges and have himself a fine time.

The Deputy could smell Ruby Faye Pyle's perfume, and it smelled real sweet. This was his goddamned lucky night. Now that was a fact. Ruby Faye had been a Franklin High School beauty queen about eight or nine years ago, and Butler very well remembered seeing her dressed in a white gown, sitting up on that float just like an angel with no wings. She had been Ruby Faye Shaw then. That was before she married Hoyt Pyle, the young lawyer out at the Harrington Ranch. Then about four years ago Ruby Faye had started going a bit wild, and rumour had it she was sleeping first with the football coach, then the Lucas boy who taught art at Franklin High and then Nicky Porter, who sold medical books out of Fort Worth. Hoyt Pyle either didn't know about all this or didn't care. He was probably too busy himself with the daughter out at the Ranch.

Bilge Butler had pulled her over about 2.30am on the old Paris road. She had been doing over 70 miles an hour in a 45 zone. When she blew in the breathalyser she damned near melted the thing. And on a hunch Butler had asked for her handbag. When he looked inside, sure enough, there was about half an ounce of marijuana rolled up alongside some of those fancy long cigarette papers. She had the top down on her new Mercedes convertible, and he leaned on the door and shook his head sadly. She was looking up at him with those big brown eyes of hers. She was wearing a light blue summer dress cut low enough to give a hint of her tits, but it was the creamy, wonderful looking skin he was gazing at as he shook his head.

"There's nothin' I can do, Ruby Faye. Now, you know I'd like to. I know your maw, knowed her for years."  In fact Bilge Butler had been two grades behind her mother. He was fifty three years old this year. He pushed his uniform hat up from his forehead. "But you got three thangs here. And all of 'em are bad. Nearly thirty miles over the speed limit. You're drunk. And, worst of all, you got a bunch of illegal drugs on you. Now one of those thangs, hell, since I know your maw and know you're a good girl gone a little off track, I might have been able to ignore."  He shook his head again. "But all three, I just cain't do it."

"Aw, come on, Bilge," she drawled, pouting her lips slightly. "I wasn't hurtin' nobody. Had a couple of drinks, drivin' a little too fast, OK..."

The Deputy held up the grass. "And what about this, young miss?"

She shook her head impatiently and used a finger to hitch her shoulder length hair over one ear. It was beautiful hair, he thought, coloured just like new straw.

"Oh, you know everybody smokes that stuff now. It's old hat in today's world. Judge Carmichael, he smokes it, you know that!"

Butler shook his head again. "No, I don't know that, Miss Ruby Faye. I've only heard tell. I've never seen him once. And in the book, you know it's a hard drug. You know what it leads to. And you know it's illegal. 'Gainst the law, just like drinkin' and drivin'. So...I'm afraid I'm gonna have to take you in now. I don't wanna do it, but I got a conscience, and I got my duty as a peace officer to look to. And I wanna warn you, Ruby Faye, that this is bound to cost you a little time in jail. I'm gonna do my best, but I just don't think Judge Carmichael is gonna like it one little bit."  He was being very fatherly, his voice full of kind concern.

Ruby Faye Pyle looked down and bit her lip. It had been a lousy night, a fuck-up right from the beginning. One way or the other she was not going to go back to that lousy jail and have to call Hoyt in Texarcana. He would start screaming about his career and how could she do such a thing to him. Then there was her mother. She could just hear that whining, sanctimonious woman now. No. It was going to just have to be the other way. She knew about Deputy Sheriff Bilge Butler, and she knew what he was really saying as he leaned his fat hands on her beautiful white car. It was going to cost her, but it was not going to cost her as much as the other way. True, she was a little drunk. That was because she had been sitting with Henrietta waiting for Nicky to turn up. They only had four Tequila Sunrises, her favourite cocktail. But Nicky didn't show, so she and Henrietta drank and talked in front of the television until two in the morning. Damn Nicky!  That was the last chance he was going to get. There were other flowers on the vine for a frisky young woman in Franklin, Texas.

Ruby Faye Pyle looked up at the Deputy, her big eyes wide. With two fingers of her right hand she lifted the hem of her blue dress just far enough so the cop could see the top of her stocking. She had even dressed in her fancy underwear, anticipating a steamy session in the back of Nicky's Lincoln.

"Do ya'll really have to go to all that trouble of arrestin' me, Bilge?"  Her voice was as sweet as honeysuckle dew.

Deputy Butler looked at the leg under the dress held by two fingers with bright pink polish on the nails for a full thirty seconds before pushing himself away from the Mercedes, taking off his regulation wide brim hat, pulling out a handkerchief and wiping his forehead with it. He was balding, but the hair on one side had been pulled over to cover some of the bare space. He cleared his throat. "Well, now, Ruby Faye..."

She was still smiling sweetly. "I've heard all about you, honey. Remember, us girls talk together real frank. I've seen you trailin' behind my car for near ten years now. And it looks like you finally hit the jackpot. Because I ain't goin' into that jail. But you better enjoy it, Bilge Butler, because tonight is the only time you're gettin' into this pussy."  She dropped the hem of her dress with a flourish.

Butler licked his lips. "Now, Ruby Faye, I just don't like a woman to use that kind of language."

She checked her make-up in the rear view mirror. "So. What's it gonna be?  Your car or mine?"

Deputy Sheriff Bilge Butler pulled in behind the old hunting lodge and killed the lights. His heart was beating like a washtub bass, and his hands felt sweaty. He turned to Ruby Faye, who was smoking a cigarette now and staring out the windshield. "I been wantin' to touch you ever since I saw you in the Homecomin' Parade, sittin' up on that float like a livin' doll."

She sighed heavily. "Come on, Bilge, let's get it over with so I can go on home, now. I'm tired."

The Deputy turned on the ignition angrily and snapped on the lights.

Ruby Faye looked around at him. "What in hell are you doin'?"

He tried to look stern and shook his finger at her. "Now, Ruby Faye, if you're gonna be like that, I'm gonna turn right around and take you into that jailhouse like I shoulda done in the first place."

She was puzzled. "Be like what?  I said I would do it!"

He leaned over toward her, still stern. "You're either gonna do it like you wanna do it, or it ain't gonna be no good, I might as well just turn around and take you on back and let my conscience be clear."

"Oh, for god's sake, Bilge Butler!"

"Like you really wanna do it!"  He was emphatic.

Ruby Faye Pyle laughed and swung her legs around toward the Deputy. She had on little silver sandals with low heels, and she placed one foot at the bottom of his seat and the other one on the top of the steering wheel column, knocking off a black plastic covered warrant book full of notes which fell on the floor. She pulled up her dress and gently covered her crotch with her hand. "For your information, Mr Deputy Sheriff, this is the finest pussy in East Texas, and what you are gonna get tonight is an experience you just gonna dream about for the rest of your fuckin' life and never, ever, have again!"

Butler's eyes must have been as big as duck eggs because he felt them bulge from their sockets. His chest was tight, too, and it was hard to breathe. "I don't like you talkin' like that, Miss Ruby Faye. It ain't nice."  His voice was strained, and it didn't sound right.

She licked her lips. "You don't like women talkin' dirty?  Then maybe you never had a real woman before, honey."  She was gently stroking herself through the material of her panties.

The Deputy gulped. It was dark inside the cruiser, and he couldn't see very well, but what he could see was driving him crazy. Her panties were light coloured and very high cut. Between the tops of her stockings and the underwear was the smoothest looking flesh he could ever remember seeing. He placed one tentative, trembling hand on the inner thigh above her knee and slowly moved it up. As it moved off the material of the stocking onto the flesh, he was surprised how warm it was to his touch. "Goddamn," he said. "Goddamn."

"Language, Deputy Sheriff. Language,"  she taunted. " gonna fuck me or just sit around like an ole dog with his tongue hangin' out?  Huh?"

He had touched the material on her crotch and began to rub it with the fingers of his hand. He was lurching with his body, trying to get a better angle. And he could feel an erection in his trousers, one that was harder than any he could remember having for years. His sight was blurring, and he felt feverish. No woman had ever been like this before.

Suddenly she swung her legs away from him and opened the car door. The engine was still running, and the lights were shining on the side of the old shack. Ruby Faye went around to the front of the car so she was standing in the light and lifted up her dress, pulling it over her head. She could just see the shadow of the Deputy gawping through the windshield. She threw the dress on the hood of the car and shook her hair like a mane, lowering her eyes as she leaned forward slightly to unhook her bra. When she stood up it was in profile, and she moved her shoulders rhythmically so her breasts trembled. They weren't huge, but she liked to think they were perfectly formed. The bra followed the dress onto the hood. Then, with both thumbs hooked into the tops of her panties, she lowered them to her ankles, stepped out with one foot and kicked them high in the air with the other foot. She turned full frontal to the cruiser, her feet apart, and pointed through the windshield. She curled her finger, once, twice, three times. It was quiet and cool, and she heard the car door open. She could then hear his rasping breath.

He came into the light a little like a zombie and reached for her, but Ruby Faye slipped to one side and grabbed the Deputy's tie, pulling down on it so his head lowered to her height. She put her face close to his, and he puckered up his lips, thinking she was going to kiss him.

"I want you to beg for it, Bilge. Like a dog. On your hands and knees. With your tongue hangin' out."

"Huh?" His eyes had glazed over, giving his face a look of comical bovine stupidity.

"You heard me, Mr Deputy Sheriff. I'm gonna show you just who's in charge here. Get your ass down on the ground. Hands and knees."  She jerked on the tie, and Butler went down clumsily. "Now pant like a houn' dog, and hang your tongue out, like I said."

The hair the Deputy combed over his bald pate fell forward making him look more pathetic. Ruby Faye had moved right in front of him, and he was staring at a dark brown triangle of hair, the tip of which disappeared between her legs. He hung his tongue out and panted.

She pushed the triangle into his face. "Now lick it and beg for it, you dirty old son of a bitch!

"I want it, I want it, please, please, Ruby Faye, please, please..."

She yanked on the tie and pushed him on his back. The Deputy was like a baby now, whimpering, and all she could hear was "please" being muttered endlessly. She stepped over him, standing with one foot each side of his head. He reached up with his hands to stroke her legs.

"Put your hands down, you ugly pile of dogshit, and tell me what you are!"

"Huh?" he muttered. His head was in darkness, and she stood above him bathed in light. His erection was driving him crazy, and he wanted that beautiful dark patch above him. It was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen in his life. "Huh?"

She leaned forward and shouted. "You're a dirty old son of a bitch!  Say it!"

He didn't know what he was doing any more, didn't care. The two beautiful legs, the swinging breasts, that wonderful triangle. "I'm a dirty old son of a bitch."


"I'm a dirty old son of a bitch!" he shouted, almost crying.

She squatted down and sat on his face. "Now give me some head, you old bastard."  She reached around and unbuckled his belt, zipped down his flies and pushed his underpants away from the mound of his stomach. His penis popped out like a lewd novelty in a joke shop. She ground her pelvis back and forth on the Deputy's face, not bothering to be gentle.

Suddenly she raised herself up onto her knees and moved her bottom back towards his penis which she grabbed hard in her right hand, digging her nails into the shaft. The head she used like a toy to lubricate herself before she sat on it brutally. The Deputy groaned and lurched from side to side.

She grabbed his tie again and pulled. "I'm doin' the ridin' this time, cowboy. You an' me are gonna remember this fuck, and ever time I look at you in the street, I'm just gonna smile so you know what I'm thinkin'. Me ridin' your fat ass in the headlights of your car and you beggin' me like a dog, pantin' and droolin'..."

She froze suddenly. It wasn't silent anymore. Someone was clapping. She looked around but couldn't see anything for the glare of the headlights.

"Wonderful show, little lady. Wonderful show," said a voice from the darkness. It came from the old shack.

The Deputy hadn't noticed or heard anything and continued to moan and thrust his hips. Ruby Faye slapped him on the stomach. "Bilge. Bilge. Somebody's out there."  She stood up, putting one arm across her breasts and a hand over her pubis. Slowly she backed toward the darkness.

"Stay right where you are, little lady. And get that fat Deputy off the ground. Slow."

Terrified, she moved over and gave Butler a kick. He rolled over and got to his hands and knees, staring around with a confused look on his face.

"OK, Big Dick," said the voice. "Take your gun out with two fingers, real slow, and throw it over here."

"Who the hell is that?" Bilge Butler asked.

There was a sharp thuk of a silenced pistol, and the earth in front of Butler exploded.

The Deputy grabbed his face. "I'm hit!  I'm hit!  Cain't see!"

"You're OK, fatso," the voice said. "Now the gun."

Butler reached slowly to his waist, then fumbled around until he found the holster. Unsnapping the strap, he pulled it out with two fingers and threw it toward the house.

The sound of an airplane was growing louder in the distance. A short heavy set man with a moustache stepped into the light. He held an automatic with a silencer. His eyebrows were bushy and his hair thick and black.

Ruby Faye gestured towards her clothes on the hood of the car. "Uh, can I...?"

The man stared at her. "I like you just like you are, sweetheart. Stay that way."

The Deputy was slowly getting to his feet, zipping up his trousers, and his eyes showed disoriented fright. The man reached over and grabbed the two pairs of handcuffs from his belt. With a deft movement he snapped one on the Deputy's wrist and pulled it behind his back. Butler understood and put his other hand behind, and the other cuff snapped in place. Without saying anything the man moved to the girl and made a motion with his gun. She held out one hand tentatively, biting her lip and looking toward the ground. He pulled it behind her, and when she didn't immediately comply like the Deputy, the man cracked her sharply on the head with the silencer. Ruby Faye screamed but put her other arm behind her.

The man walked back in front of the girl and tucked his pistol in his belt. With hardly any effort he lifted her up and sat her on the hood of the cruiser, stepped back and unzipped himself.

"Open up, baby," he said. "I'm going to give you something to scream about."

"We ain't got time for that, Zoot," said another voice from the darkness. "The plane's coming in."

The car door of the cruiser opened and someone got in. "I'll use the lights from this one," the voice said. You can bring the sex maniacs on down to the air strip, and we'll decide what to do with them then."

                                                     * * *

Buck Colby was upset and very nervous. Before he landed in Texas he was nervous, but now he was definitely upset as well. It was a great relief to have the drugs out of the plane, but now he had two extra passengers as well. A nude woman and a hick deputy sheriff. They had apparently been caught fucking near the landing strip by the two men who met them. The men had wanted to shoot the sheriff and keep the girl, but Gomez overruled them in his little high pitched voice. They couldn't waste time like that, he told them. They had to get on the move. The whole idea of the operation was speed, and it was going to take the men long enough to dump the sheriff's car and burn it somewhere off the little ranch. There was an argument, but the two strange men backed off from Gomez. Gomez was a frightening little man, Colby thought with an involuntary shiver. The eyes were big and black, but they were also cold and held no emotion.

The deputy was sitting on the bench seat at the rear, his hair dangling down on one side. There was a deep gash where Gomez had struck him with his pistol when he objected to getting into the plane. The blood was drying, making a mess of the hair. Since then the deputy had been silent, except for the occasional whimper.

The girl - a pretty, wholesome looking girl - sat beside Gomez and looked completely miserable. Buck Colby wished he could do something for her. But what?  He could see them both from the corner of his eye, and now they were aloft Gomez had turned his attention to her. He had grabbed one of her breasts and was rubbing it, and Colby could just hear snatches of conversation over the roar of the engine.

"You like this, sweetie?" asked Gomez.

"No, I don't," said Ruby Faye glumly.

"Sure you do. This is Gomez. He is a great lover. Nice tits, sweetie."

Ruby Faye Pyle was petrified. Since that strange man - Zoot? - walked into the lights back at the ranch she had been in a kind of hypnotic trance. She observed what was going on, but from a distance. Deep inside she was cowering behind the last ramparts of sanity. The awful man beside her had now put his arm around her neck and was kissing her. The other hand he forced between her legs before shoving a finger in her vagina.

"Hmmm," Gomez  murmured, his face inches from hers now. "I bet you like theese, huh?"  Then he opened his mouth and stuck his tongue out, waggling it. "In the mouth. In the cunt."  He waggled his tongue again. "I am a wonderful lover. Cubano. The best in the world."

"Hey, lay off her, will you?" said Colby uncertainly from the pilot's seat.

Gomez turned and looked at the back of the pilot's head as if searching for the best spot to shoot him. "One more word, amigo, and I cut off your ear. She is now going to give me a blow job. You watch. You learn. I have never had a blow job from a Texan."  He unzipped his pants and got out his manhood. He was very proud of it. Perhaps it was not so long, but it was very wide. "They say Texans have very big mouths. That is good."  He grabbed a handful of hair at the back of her head and pushed her face down on him.

Ruby Faye fell off the seat and onto her knees as she tried to pull back. The little man was wiry and strong. Inches away from the dark red penis she caught the smell. He was one of those men who didn't wash his genitals - if he washed at all - and she felt herself gagging. The stench was appalling. Desperately she tried to retreat further behind her barricade, but the smell was too real. Instinctively she clenched her teeth and refused him.

She heard a snick, then felt the point of a blade on her neck.

"Open and suck, Texan," said the Cuban. "And swallow," he added with a high pitched laugh.

Her mouth went over his organ, and only fear prevented her from throwing up as he rammed his penis in and out of her mouth. She closed her eyes and felt her guts churning as he came a few short strokes later. He pulled her head up and pushed her away, and Ruby Faye turned and spat on the floor of the plane.

"Hey, amigo," said Gomez to Colby as he zipped up his trousers. "Are we over the Gulf yet?"

"Been over it for an hour," the pilot answered sullenly.

"Good. Then slow down the plane a little bit. I want some fresh air."

"What?"  Colby half turned toward the little man.

"You heard what I said, amigo. Slow the plane down. I am going to open the door."

"Are you crazy?  What for?"

Gomez's right hand struck like a snake. The knife blade scored the flesh along the join between the pilot's head and ear. Beads of blood oozed from the wound.

"Hey, goddamn it, that hurt!" screamed Buck Colby, grabbing his wounded ear.

"Slow the plane down, amigo. Next time the ear goes off."

Colby brought down the airspeed low enough for the door to be pulled back. Somehow he knew what was going to happen, but he kept the deadly information trapped behind the sewer sluice of his mind, the place where he stored things he never wanted to know. The girl was screaming. He could hear her wail over the terrible rush of wind from the door.

Gomez dragged Ruby Faye across the seat. With her hands cuffed behind her she could only resist with her legs, and he easily kicked them away. The Cuban grabbed the top of the door and put his foot in the woman's chest. "Nice blow job, Texan. But I've had better."  He kicked.

Colby turned in time to see the absolute terror in her eyes before the slipstream sucked her out and backwards. It was a sight which would live with him for the rest of his life. The mouth stretched open in a scream, the eyes wide with panic and fear, her hair blowing wildly in the wind. Then she was gone. Colby stared out in front of him, not seeing the morning sky anymore. He heard Gomez dragging the whining body of the deputy toward the door. There was some more screaming before he felt the plane lighten. Then the door closed, and the wind noise abated. Colby's mind was frozen. He couldn't even identify one single thought. But he heard the Cuban slip back into his seat behind him and rummage in his flight bag. Colby stared straight ahead and realised his knuckles on the wheel were white. He felt a tap on his shoulder and slowly looked around. Gomez was holding a jar of some sort in his hand.

"Want a chili, amigo?  Very good. Mexican."  He put one of them into his mouth and bit down on it.

A single thought slowly and finally floated to the surface of Buck Colby's mind. He could just manage to visualise the words:

What the fuck have I got myself into?