Joshua walked through the streets of Fontana, proudly displaying his tattoos from under the tight white t-shirt and suspenders. He didn’t bother to hide his bald scalp with a hat or bandana either, to do so would be to hide who and what he was, and he had no shame in either. He was proud to be a white man fighting for white families in the streets of America. Those streets were quiet at the moment, and until he was ready to make his move, Josh wanted them to stay that way. He didn’t hide or keep to the shadows, but he kept to back streets that he knew there wouldn’t be as many cops patrolling.
It wasn’t hard, to avoid the police, it was as if the pigs could smell what tax bracket a neighborhood was in. If they didn’t think their paycheck was coming from the people of Fontana, why bother showing up at all? The attitude suited Joshua just fine, after all, cops were traitors to America as far as he was concerned, they did little to nothing about the Crips, Bloods, and MS13 that flooded the streets of Los Angelas, but always seemed ready to slap a pair of cuffs on a Peckerwood.
It was a short walk to the bus stop, then a filth-encrusted bus ride several blocks to the bar that the Rats used as a makeshift base. The outside of The Eagle’s Roost was decked in flyers from live music and rally events. Everywhere you looked, eyes would fall on iron crosses, eagles, and other symbols of white nationalism and pride. Stapled to the corkboard right next to the door, an ad for Knuckle Graters playing on Friday featured a boot stomping a cartoon version of a black man. This place, as run down as it was, with the sawdust-sprinkled across the floor to soak up spilled beer, blood, and vomit, was more of a home than the trailer he shared with his family. The people inside were just as much his brothers as Aster was his sister, he knew that they had his back no matter what happened, through good, bad, blood and cash.
Joshua walked through the door, past the bouncers who in other places might check for an id, and moved straight to the back rooms. As he moved through the small crowd of regulars he watched for familiar faces in the sea of shaved heads and white skin. He didn’t know every one of them, but he was at least familiar with them all, how could he not, there was something so comforting and natural about being amongst your own kind, he didn’t understand how anyone could find it wrong. He never understood why the blacks or Mexicans would even want to intermingle. Pushing through to the back rooms, he was greeted by a grisly sight, a young Mexican boy, already covered in a sprawl of tattoos marking him as some gangbanger, tied to a chair and beaten to a near-unrecognizable pulp.
Joshua grinned at the sight of the boy’s swollen face, blood oozing from his lips and from various cuts and lacerations across his face. He had been wearing typical cholo garb when he was grabbed, the oversized clothes had been tossed to the side, though his gang’s bandana, once worn with pride was now acting as a tourniquet for where fingers had been removed with a knife. Fucking wetback trash, he thought, this was as good as he deserved. Inside he was nervous, Josh knew that this kid, probably about the same age as he was, would be his ticket to the upper ranks of the Rats. The yellow bandana, now caked in clotting vitae, marked him as a member of a newer gang in these parts, coming out of the desert like roaches fleeing a fire, they called themselves ‘Faceless’.
A young gang like the Faceless could be dealt with before they became a problem, they could be crushed before they gained momentum or had the protection of someone like MS13, they just had to be found, and killed before they had a chance.
“Josh, bout time you showed up, we were just getting ready to question our friend here.” The voice was a deep rumble and came from a tall figure in the corner of the room. Alexander Narlato claimed to be a direct descendant of Alexander the Great, and it was easy to believe he was descended from legends, incredibly tall, handsome and charismatic, Alexander was the spiritual if not the actual leader of the Desert Rats. “I thought you may like to do the honors.” It was acts like that, the thoughtfulness, giving kids exactly what they thought they wanted, and letting them bask in the violence, hate, and hedonism that would be as addicting as any drug, that allowed Alexander to recruit and grow the Peckerwood group so easily.
Josh was completely in Narlato’s thrall, he had been dreaming about this, graduating from drive by’s and the random violence that erupted outside of punk shows with idiots who thought they knew what was best for America. This was a new level, tonight he would torture information out of the enemy, and he would be on the frontlines of enacting a genocide on the Faceless.
Josh stepped up to the Faceless and looked over the tools that were arrayed before him, knives, hammers, dental tools, it was like a banquet of options. He had watched movies about torture as long as he could remember, and he knew that the first step was to put the fear of God into the boy. He knew how to get what he wanted, but hoped he wouldn’t get it too quickly. He lifted the serrated knife from the table.
“Ok listen Paco, I’m going to ask you a question, and then you,” he emphasized the word by pressing the tip of the knife into the boy’s shoulder. “are going to tell me the answer to that question, and anytime that I feel like you aren’t giving me the best answer you can, I’m going to do you a favor ok?” The boy looked up at Josh, confusion swimming in his eyes, too genetically stupid to understand what he was saying, Josh assumed. From somewhere behind him he heard Alexander lighting a cigarette. “I’m going to make your face match your little club’s name. I’m going to make you faceless.” Josh reached over to grab the blowtorch off the table as well. “But don’t worry, I won’t let you bleed out, I’ll make sure everything is nice and cauterized. So, let’s get started.”
Joshua enjoyed the high of methamphetamines as he worked, the bright red that splashed out on his hands and clothes was intoxicating in and of itself. Under the harsh yellow lightbulb hanging above them, he worked feverishly, sometimes forgetting to ask a question before slicing into the eyebrow or ear. The boy was missing most his teeth, his lips and nose at this point. It was art to Joshua, he was deconstructing this boy and remaking him in a more pleasing image, in his own mind, undoing God’s mistake. He shook the sweat out of his eyes and smiled, not much left to do on this boy to keep his promise of making him faceless.
“Ok Paco, last question, see it’s almost over, last question yeah? Ok, think carefully, but don’t take too long, who is leading the Faceless?” Josh brought the torch over, he was going to cook Paco, or Jose or whatever the fuck his name was alive, he wanted to watch as his brain steamed out of his ears.
“No name, he has no name, no name, no name, no name!” The boy kept chanting, lipless, beaten and abused, he still sounded jubilant, as though ‘no name’ were the most beautiful words. His panting cries of ‘no name’ rose and rose until he was screaming the words into Joshua’s face. Combined with the amped high and the noise from the club Joshua felt a wave of panic, and to silence the screaming man, shoved the lit blowtorch into the boy’s eye socket. The sound of sizzling brain tissue filled the room as other sounds faded away. The smell of burning meat slowly replaced the smell of blood in the room before Joshua looked up at the group who had been watching him, suddenly very aware of how young he must look, worried his fear and panic were showing.
“Well, we have what we need.” He croaked, trying to force steel into his voice. “Lets fucking go to war”