SHOTS AT THE GLORYSLOTS
Excerpt from the novel ‘Shanti – The Sadist Heaven’ by Alessandro Manzetti
(Necro Publications, April 2019)
A fat citizen, his pants down, drags himself into the Desert Siren, gloryslots room.
Places like this are technically illegal in Shanti, of course. Periodically, they are shut down, but gloryslots are kind of an old, almost-tolerated tradition; and the whores in service at the Emptier, during their fifteen days in the holy city, can put together some extra credits with these little side jobs.
The man would like to enjoy the slits row on his left, which shows a dozen of holes, each encircled by a crown of red lighting stars, filled with whores’ mouths waiting for their food.
What a wonderful sucking machine! thinks the man who prefers to empty his balls in the old-fashioned way. You guys can keep your fucking nosey software to yourselves.
The other slits row, on the right side of the room, seems a hive of waving male and female butts, wagging, waiting for their unknown masters.
Maybe next time, the fat man says to himself, turning toward those voracious red, blue and black lips luring him with their swirling tongues.
He chooses the third hole, pulls down his underpants, his flabby cock flops out, and he shoves it inside.
Hmmm, baby, do your thing, he whispers, while a fleshy mouth starts working on his shiny glans. Whoa, you’re doing great, honey, now faster…even more!
Then, the whore hidden back there, a fifty-year-old skank with worn knees, screws up and bites by accident the fat man’s dick, right in the middle of the good parts.
God damn it! shouts the man, doing a back tuck off the hole.
He sees his cock bleed, limper than a slice of lox.
This is a scam! Where’s the boss? This is not over, there will be hell to pay!
He’s right: a display above the slits row, which looks like a departure & arrivals screen at a train station, claims that holes from number 1 to 3 are managed by old toothless sluts, who are required to get rid of their dentures before starting to work.
Shit. It burns!
The fat man is beside himself with rage, he bends over his trousers piled on the floor, and from a pocket he pulls out a Walther MicroQ gun, the size of a pinkie, emptying it against the thin partitions. Now there are many more holes there. The squawking voices of the whores’ platoon under attack are making a damned mess, some of them are trying to fix their huge breast implants by tucking their fingers into the bullet wounds, to prevent loss of silicone.
Alarm: security rushes in.
“Where’s the prick? Gil, you go right with your men, hurry!”
Cipriano, Security Chief of the Desert Siren, is dazed. In the holy city, all weapons are forbidden; how the fuck that bastard…
He has never had a situation like that to handle. The worst were insignificant brawls. Until a few years ago, he used to command a brigade of the Mexican Mar Rojo legion, the most dreaded mercenaries on the planet. Now, he has hanged up his combat boots and just enjoys the privileges.
Cipriano feels confused and rusted. Holy shit, his brain is not as quick as it used to be. I’m a wreck, he thinks.
And retirement is close, by now.
Shanti has always entrusted itself to technology: droids and integrated systems. Security forces—those in flesh and bones—are limited. They are scenography: camo suits, shiny weapons, big-ass tactical goggles. They enhance the safety perception in shaved-ass citizens and traditionalists. And they do a little off-the-books work in low-tier places like the Desert Siren, where you cannot rely on the official city droids.
“Gil! Gil! Do you hear me? Jesus, can’t hear shit with these things!”
The Desert Siren automatically enters lockdown mode.
The fat man in underwear keeps shooting, damaging the structure, squealing like a stuck pig: “I just wanted a pair of soft gums, not reach for the moon, for fuck’s sake.” The fat citizen is out of his mind, never mix Indian sparkling wine with Cloud 6, everyone knows.
“Get me a fucking octogenarian with orange lipstick. Now!”
The four security guards take position two-by-two on opposite sides of the room. They command the citizen to throw away the weapon and surrender.
Cipriano takes the situation in his hands; he wants to avoid further bloodshed. He knows what he is doing, he has experience and knows men. Someone on his way for a quick blowjob is not a terrorist.
And then, some riddled old slut is something you can live with. But a Shanti citizen torn apart—in an illegal place, on top of that—is not nice. Cipriano knows he risks losing his job, for a fuck-up like that.
Fuck no, I’m not going back out there, not yet.
“Sir! You hear me? You’re surrounded and outgunned…come out and let’s put an end to this!”
He orders not to open fire, to stay calm. They are four against one. Gil, on the other side of the room, relays the order to his men.
The man in underwear is out of sight, hiding somewhere behind the torn partitions Cipriano insists in his negotiation.
“Sir, we’re here to help you. If you don’t cooperate, they’ll put you on the King’s chair. You know that, right? Come out, so we can work this out. But you have to do that now…”
Finally, a voice answers, “The service here sucks, you know? Who are you to guarantee anything? I expect to be satisfied, so take your best old whore here. And don’t forget: I need gums, not fucking teeth!”
Cipriano thinks that the man is in his hands; he drops his pulse rifle and comes out in the open.
It is almost dinner time; the incident must be fixed right now.
Gil takes his face in his hands. Shit! That one has lost his marbles.
“Okay. Do you see me now? Cipriano Morales, Security Chief, I’m unarmed. Let’s end this, sir. You’ll have what you want. We’ll work it out, you’ll see.”
A dull shot. One only. Cipriano’s skull explodes. Fucking aim, not half bad.
The Security Chief of the Desert Siren stands for a few seconds more, without head. Old Cipriano still cannot believe he is going to skip dinner. And not only that.
His jaw dropping, Gil takes a breath and stops dillydallying, “Fire! I want that asshole’s balls on a tray, well cooked!”
The weapons roar full-force. The gloryslots partitions are hit and set on fire. The Desert Siren fills with smoke. The man in underwear is still nowhere to be seen in that mess.
A different alarm shrieks. Shanti red alert. Shots never go unnoticed: official forces are incoming. A PA message, gently perverse, warns about the imminent droid intervention:
HUMAN ACTION EXPIRED.
CITY SECURITY DROIDS ACTIVATED.
PLEASE LEAVE AREA.
“Let’s go, everybody out!” Gil manages to push his men away from the critical area. He well knows that Hell is about to break loose. This is going to be no joke.
Smoke, confusion, curses. Everybody squeezed against the emergency hatch. Exits locked.
The hiss of magnetic cushions, the moment has come. The iron army is out of the workshop. The ill-fated song of the IG-99 combat droids echoes.
Gallop of circuits, of multilayer perceptrons. Incandescent synapses.
Stuff which costs millions. Shanti stuff.
From its side turret, one of the two tank droids launches a minirocket, opening a breach directly into the room from outside. Red alert allows them to make a clean sweep. And do it quick.
A second launch, then another. Killer droids join the assault, guaranteeing better flexibility and attack dynamics. No-way-out sequences. Collateral damage unavoidable.
The Desert Siren flares up: crystal rain, metal shards in irregular orbits. The man in underwear, wherever he is, has no longer a single molecule whole. He is meat confetti.
Pieces of bodies scattered everywhere. The survivors slip on organic slush: blood, burnt muscle, mush of brain and liver sprayed on the ceiling.
Gil has hacked it, only a hand has gone melted. But one of his men did not make it.
The killer droids approach, frame the two surviving men in their sensors. They stink of death, too, but they are moving, they are almost whole. They are dangerous. The red alert is not stopping, the fire has blocked the security system.
It will restart in a couple minutes, too many. Altered configurations. The droids’ deterministic software condemns everybody.
Gil holds Eusebio, his brother. The younger man is not down with being executed: he opens fire against those metal bellies. Shitty energy-suckers! The droids advance in rank, and they finish the massacre with flamethrowers, like you do with bugs. Job terminated.
The city alarm turns off… With the fire out, aspirators and servo-drones begin cleaning up the place. Those citizens who are uncomfortable with the perversion-reading tech of the Emptier will have to wait for another gloryslots place to pop up somewhere in the holy city.
Many people have gathered outside the structure: voices, jokes, conjectures. From the ruined place, a long line of singed sluts come out, escorted to the whores’ clinics. A fatty is bleeding from her ass, she leaves a wide red stroke behind her. Laughter.
ONE PIECE AT A TIME
Excerpt from the novel ‘Shanti – The Sadist Heaven’ by Alessandro Manzetti
(Necro Publications, April 2019)
Malo and Brice face each other, a threadbare cube dividing them. Eyes in the eyes, teeth ready to grind. The challenge: five dishes in front of them, hidden by a dull thermolite lid.
The contents, the food, hardly visible. Ulysse, short legs, the referee of the Meat Roulette, is ready to start the game. Stubby fingers, the big ring on his middle finger supporting a threebreasted bust, languidly lying among his hairs. Five hundred credits for the winner: a long line for the competitor selection, many punch-ups outside the Cafe. Spits, broken bottles, stabs.
Brice is the champion. For Malo, this is the first time. He must win, unless he wants to keep eating green shit. Slowly getting ill, ending up among the waking junk. With the lighthouse of awareness lit and his body turned off. Feeling your legs sawed off, ending up on the menu of the creative restaurants of the apocalyptic district. Either becoming a second course to be nibbled at, or surviving a few months more, in your shoes.
Ulysse, with his odd hopping walk, approaches the cube and delivers the dice to the rivals.
A flock of black faces surrounds the scene. Buzzards, audience, raptors, wretches. Drool wetting those warped snouts. Green foam, like the green shit.
Malo must roll his die first. His hands tremble: Brice is undefeated after seventeen matches. A real master of the Meat Roulette. A sudden burst of blue rain disfigured him; with that half-melted face he looks even more terrible. A draft of fire splinters which drew arabesques on his cheeks. His right ear melted away, it no longer has a shape, looks like a big purple cyst. Protoskin suits are not for all budgets.
First cast: the die rolls, shows its face to the red perblix ceiling: four. Fuck, not bad! Malo resumes breathing, his chances are good.
“My turn, now… I hope you’re not too squeamish…” Brice laughs out loud. The buzzards behind his back join the chorus, showing their vacant gums. He rubs his die between his fingertips, blows on it his rat breath. That mouth, after many challenges at the Une piece a la fois, is sealed by thick, rotten membranes.
Throw: the die runs to the border of the cube. Shit, it’s a zero if it falls! But after a final, slow tilt, it sets on the edge, a few millimeters from the abyss. From Ulysse’s open palm. Letting the dice drop on the floor, during the Meat Roulette, is bad luck: everybody knows that.
A two: this time Brice twists his grin in a weird, unnatural way. He straightens his back and farts, he doesn’t seem to worry too much: “Don’t kid yourself, dickhead, it’s just the first round. And then, I don’t mind a bite, actually…let’s see: what do we have here?”
Ulysse, the short referee, slowly lifts the lid, revealing the contents of the first dish. It’s Brice’s turn to eat: he has lost the first roll.
The spectators groan, get their noses closer, stretch their senses. They ask themselves what the fuck is that shit. A small, dark-colored lump; round-shaped, more or less.
Someone tries to guess:
One of Ulysse’s nuts! That small, it can’t be anything else. Hey, midget! You put your own balls into play this time…not that you needed them anyway…
But don’t you see how dark it is? Rat shit, that’s what it is. Those green-eyed beasts splashing around in the Rouge Seine. I’ve seen them, those bastards…
What the fuck are you saying? I’m betting ten credits that’s a nice lung meatball! Some poor devil who made an ugly end. The midget is a motherfucker…he won’t play it that easy.
Brice pushes back the buzzards, looks Ulysse in the eye. The champion waits to learn the truth about his morsel, before swallowing it. Those are the rules. Whoever gives up, whoever does not enjoy the disgusting dishes of the Apocalypse Cook, is out of the game.
The midget spills the beans with his faggot voice: “Fried green shit kneaded with mutated sperm, Brice. Not easy to find in solid form. I flaked it from the curb, not far from here, after the last boiling rain. Assholes who kept screwing on the street when the display already showed the last orange warning. The dickhead must have come right during the mess… So, Brice, are you up to it? Shouldn’t be bad: nutritious, crunchy: caramelized sperm.”
Brice grabs his morsel, he does not waste time. He detaches half of it with the vise of his right molars, and swallows. His face is frozen, no expression.
A buzzard throws up on the midget’s shoes. What the fuck! Out of here!
Malo understands that beating Brice will be hard: that animal doesn’t fear anything. Sperm is a formidable death carrier.
“So, dickhead, can we go on?”
Brice doesn’t yield one centimeter; he has swallowed the rest and now he is gulping down a glass of tequila. Everything under control.
Second dice roll: this time Brice throws first. The die finishes a tight turn and shows a three.
Unlucky day for the champion. Malo takes courage, he awfully needs those five hundred credits. His son, Patrice: his legs are so thin he could plant him in the tarmac like a road sign.
The die in his hand feels heavier.
“Come on, what are you waiting for?” Brice doesn’t give him respite.
Malo watches the second dish; the outline of the next special morsel looks bigger, it will be hard to swallow that. Whatever it is. But the midget’s lids trick the eye. The Meat Roulette is a dangerous game, it can drive you crazy.
His hand shakes, the die does not come off his skin. And yet, Malo’s chances of rolling higher again are good, a three is not that high. But he cannot do it. That whitish shape in the dish, which seems to slide on the bottom with soft, primal paws, is too much for him. He thinks about Patrice, his crumbling bones. But it is really too much.
“I’m out, guys, I can’t go on.”
Ulysse lets a red handkerchief drop on Brice’s shoulder: the winner, once again. Then he approaches Malo, shoving his tongue into his ear. Malo knows the rules, he lowers his head: he must accept the consequences.
The buzzards move away, disappointed. The game has ended too soon, not even time enough for side bets to take flight.
Midget, what the fuck, choose your players better! There’s people waiting outside, ready to everything.
Malo follows Ulysse toward the backroom. He has to slow down his pace several times.
The hopping, slanting rhythm of the midget is too slow. Short legs.
The door shuts: a small room without windows. Choked oxygen. A long table, beside a PX carving machine. An old model. Obsolete technology, sharp steel. Blades and pivots. The snakes of extractor tubes. Cauterizer.
“What do you choose? Come on, I must get back there before those sons of bitches swipe everything.”
Ulysse’s faggot voice cuts deep like his shitty machine. It is not easy to choose a piece of your own body to be hacked off, to be used as a dish for the next Meat Roulette games.
Malo is shaking; he has gambled too much. In a corner of that room of madness, human pieces are heaped, packaged and sealed. Silver-colored bags of different size. Holographic tag. Meat ready for the midget’s arcane meatballs. Malo notices a hand in the pile. The lesser evil, at this point…
“My left hand…okay?”
Without answering, Ulysse turns on the carving device. The hand is good. Perfect to create several Roulette appetizers. Fried fingers, for example. Fantasy has no limits, at Une piece a la fois.
Ulysse stares at Malo’s wrist, on the tray of the machine. “We’re cutting here, okay?”
Malo throws up tears. Without a hand, finding a job in South Paris 5 will be even harder.
Patrice’s bones will fall to pieces, one by one. Son’s dust, this is what he’ll have left of him.
A few weeks, tops. Pulp to fill up a small blue box, twenty centimeters, but the child will keep screaming in his head forever.
“Stop…listen, I can scrape together some credits, I just need a couple days. I know they’re looking for…”
Malo’s words, thick with despair, are cut short by the midget. Index finger on his nose: silence, please. Ulysse locks the door, approaches and pulls down his pants. All clear: the faggot gladly exchanges one left hand for a screw.
Both of Malo’s wrists are bonded to the carving machine. He has to bend on his knees to find the right position. He arches his back, joint geometries. You cannot beat the thrill of buying a soul. Much stronger than cutting simple, mindless chunks of meat. With no longer memories to record.
Malo lowers his head, clenches his teeth. It hurts, like everything else has been for years.
“If, as Umberto Eco said, ‘Reading is immortality backward,’ then reading Alessandro Manzetti’s Shanti — The Sadist Heaven is seeing mortality into a future coming apart at seams and stitches as civilization metastasizes before your eyes. The hyperreality of Manzetti’s nitty-gritty prose gives a kaleidoscopic fly’s-eye view of the Hell that is South Paris 5 and his poetic metaphors burrow into your psyche to lay mind-blowing oospores. This is an epic of stunning imagination, a veritable pleasure palace of perversion where humanity and cancer are indistinguishable.” — RANDY CHANDLER, author of Bad Juju, HELLz BELLz, Duet for the Devil, and co-editor of Year’s Best Hardcore Horror
“Manzetti guides us through a depraved and soul-scouring journey into the brutal and apocalyptic world of South Paris 5, where human flesh is the entree du jour and body packaging services a thriving business. Here desperate degenerates play Meat Roulette, a hideous game of chance in which losers get to choose which body part will be hacked off, and teenaged girls are recruited to service the scum of an experimental detention program in the baking emptiness of the Sonoran Desert. A master of extreme horror, Manzetti describes a world steeped in cruelty and perversion with a lyricism that often verges on the sublime. For those undaunted by the subject matter, his work is an experience not to be missed! ” — Lucy Taylor, author of Dancing with Demons and Safety of Unknown Cities
About the Author
ALESSANDRO MANZETTI (Rome, Italy) is a Bram Stoker Award-winning (and 7-time nominee) author and editor of horror fiction and dark poetry.
English publications include his novel Naraka – The Ultimate Human Breeding, the collections The Garden of Delight, The Massacre of the Mermaids, The Monster, the Bad and the Ugly (with Paolo Di Orazio) and the poetry collections No Mercy, Eden Underground, War (with Marge Simon) Sacrificial Nights (with Bruce Boston) and Venus Intervention (with Corrine de Winter).
His story collection The Garden of Delight has been nominated for the Splatterpunk Awards 2018.
He edited the anthologies The Beauty of Death Vol 1, The Beauty of Death Vol. 2 – Death by Water (with Jodi Renee Lester) and the 2019 Splatterpunk Award Nominee anthology Monsters of Any Kind (with Daniele Bonfanti).
His stories and poems have appeared in many Italian, USA, UK magazines and anthologies, among them: Splatterpunk Forever, Best Hardcore Horror of the Year Vol. 2 and Vol. 4, Dark Moon Digest, Splatterpunk Zine, Disturbed Digest.
Forthcoming books in English: The Place of Broken Things (Poetry Collection, with Linda Addison, Crystal Lake Publishing, July 2019); The Radioactive Bride (Collection, Necro Publications, Q3 2019), New Sodom (Novel, Necro Publications, Q2 2020), The Keeper of Chernobyl (Novel, Omnium Gatherum, release date to be determined)