These two are coming back soon…



Rusk Gasparilla never understood what made Jovetta Robineux the “Tornado That Caused the Train-wreck”, but she was all of that and more. She was a force of nature that couldn’t be denied. Everyone that encountered her was affected by her, and those who tried to get close to her body or heart were sent into a tailspin and left in a heap. Except Rusk.

He had been by her side for four years, had never made a play for her bed and had no experience with affairs of the heart. He had never given or received love from anyone before meeting her in Storyville, but in short order he found himself shot while defending her in an alley against three armed men. One died of a broken neck, another from a collapsed skull, and the other ran off. Rusk had become her protector since recovering from the gunshot wound, rarely leaving her side. He had killed for her and would die for her.


You Ain’t From Here


By Eddy Cook



Chris and I made our way to the Kansas City Southern rail yard and caught a southbound. We were broke, hungry, and were in no mood for the derailment we got caught in later that day. I t was a super low-speed accident. Some tracks were out of alignment and caused the slow-moving train to derail right in the middle of a small town. A crew came out and used a hydraulic lift to raise the three derailed grain cars one at a time as they rebuilt the track beneath them. We laid low and smoked in the back corner of the open box, deep in the shadows so as not to draw attention.

It was some hours later when the train started moving south again. We rode into the night and decided to jump off at Garnet, Kansas, the first town that the train moved slowly enough through to leap off. We figured that maybe hitchhiking was a better option, in which case we would be able to talk our way into a little cash.

At first light we made our way out to the south- bound county road and stuck out our thumbs. Chris and I had hitched before – across the country from Minneapolis to Manhattan, but we had never done it this far south before. We could see right off that salt and pepper was too exotic for Garnett, Kansas. If looks could kill, Chris would have died four times an hour and me maybe just three.

Some local boys in an El Camino came from the North and swerved so close to us that we had to jump in the ditch, and then fantailed dirt on us from the shoulder of the road while the driver tried to keep it on the pavement. They weaved up the road and took a right onto a dirt road. We figured they’d be back, so Chris found a baseball sized rock and I got hold of a stump that I could swing like a mace into their windshield. We put our weapons in the grass nearby and tried again to catch a ride. Traffic was sparse and not having us. Then the El Camino came squealing and spitting back towards us again from the North.

They weren’t playing with us this time – the boy in the passenger seat struggled his way out the open window to get a shot off at us from a sawed-off and Chris and I took three steps and a dive into a heavy bramble of bushes, heavy thorns ripping at our flesh and clothing. They fired but they must have shot high, we didn’t catch any of the scatter shot, and then they were laughing and yelling

 “Nigger Lover!” As they blew by and out of distance.

We discovered that tracks ran parallel to the south bound road right behind the bush line that we jumped into, so we stayed on them and headed back North until we got near and intersection were a train would have to slow down on it’s way through town.

Chris’s eyebrow was gouged and an earlobe was streaming blood. Thorns had driven through the webbing of two of my fingers. We were a sight when the local law rolled up and crooked a finger at us when we neared the crossing.

“Passing through?”

I nodded,

“We’re trying. Figured we’d get off the road and try the train.”

“I’ll bet. Heard about that. I could round up those yahoos if you like.”

“No, but we sure would appreciate it if you would come by and check on us now and then while we try to catch out.”

“Will do. Stay off the road.”

“Will do.”


                We built a small fire near the tracks, between a crossing and a short bridge that crossed a river, and turned our backs toward the couple houses in sight, just to set them at ease. We were trying to stay off everyone’s radar. Broke, hungry and nearly out of Bugler tobacco.

                A train went by soon after we made camp, but it was going about five miles an hour too fast to catch while we were running with gear. After dark, another Kansas City Southern blew through and we realized that they were all too fast. We got off in this town, but it didn’t look we would be able to catch out.

                The slowest mover came at around 2 a.m. and we were ready. I would catch one and then roll by Chris, reach out to him, and help him on. I let half the train go by before I decided that there wasn’t going to be an open box and I was going to have to catch a ladder and get in the end compartment of a grain car.

                I ran to keep pace with the iron horse, timing my grab on the ladder. My pack was heavy but I was going to make it. Then the ground dipped about a foot deeper just as I leapt for the ladder and I was stuck holding the bottom rung.

                The train spun me and dragged me, snapping one of my backpack straps – the pack banging off the side of the car as I came into Chris’s view. He yelled and then covered his face. My shoes ripped off my feet, my heels were shredding on the coarse railroad rock and the shining screaming steel wheels were less than a foot away from my head. I remembered the bridge when I saw Chris cover his face, and I turned to see that it was about 30 yards off and coming at me fast. I had one shot, so I bunched up muscles and sprung as hard as I could away from the grinding wheels. The back pack, one strap still on my shoulder, softened my roll a little and I landed about 5 feet away from the bridge abutment.

 I was fucked up. I laid in the rocks doing a slow damage assessment. No breaks. My heels were in agony and I caught gravel and road rash on both cheeks and my chin. I hurt everywhere and just laid there. Cussing. Moaning.

Chris had been looking for me along the tracks and tripped over one of my feet.

“You dead, Soldier?”

“Negative. Got a smoke rolled?”



Chris helped me up and half-carried me back to where we had been camped, found my shoes along the way, and started a fire. He left with a plastic jug that we used for water, filled it at the restroom in the Sonic down the road, and brought it to me to bathe and doctor my feet. He’d also bought two cigarettes for a quarter from a teenager, and the teenager got a “I sold two cigarettes to a black guy” story. We had a good long smoke and cooked the last of some coffee we carried. I bathed my feet, pulled the rocks out, and then ripped a t-shirt in half and wrapped each foot. I could put them in shoes if I didn’t tie them. We slept hard and hungry that night.

The next day Chris and I spent staying off the street and waiting patiently by the tracks for a slower train. But we were hungry, out of smokes and feeling mean. If something didn’t change soon, we were going outlaw. We needed wheels.

At about five in the evening, we heard the screen door on the back porch of the nearest house slam shut. We watched as a father, a little boy and a little girl each with a container of food, started a slow march through a little field toward us. Dad carried a crock pot, the little boy was in charge of a big salad, and the little girl hustled toward us with a pan of corn bread.

Dad was explaining to us about how his wife couldn’t watch two transients go hungry while they ate so well, but both Chris and I were openly bawling and hardly heard him as each kid left food in front of us and said,

“God bless you, Hobos!” and Dad said to put everything over by a tree when we were done. We spoke of God and so did he, and they went back to their house.

We ate pot roast with potatoes and carrots, and corn bread, and salad, and we wept thankfully and bitterly. We didn’t go outlaw in that town. A train stopped there in Garnet, Kansas that night and we went on to New Orleans both feeling closer to human.

Noir at the Bar Denver on Video


I’ll be there with bells on. Nothing else.

Gristle and Broken Teeth.

Further is the sequel to Spanish Moss. Vin, Esteen, Sophie and Chris are all back for this tale. It’s been six years since Calvin crashed through the guardrail and became Vin Robineux. He’s a little older now, and jaded.

This is a story of predators, survivors, warriors, gristle and broken teeth. Coming soon..


A minister and mentor of mine once told me I had the Spirit of Insanity on me.

Yeah? Watch this…


I was six years old when we gathered in the living room to watch  Neil Armstrong walk on the moon on our black and white Zenith in 1969. It was just four years after the Watts riots, a year after the murder of Martin Luther King Jr., Vietnam was happening, and Woodstock, and a little later in the early seventies was Helter Skelter, the fall of Saigon, Watergate and Wounded Knee in ’73 and every man that I grew up around were MEN.

My Father’s generation-men who fought in the Korean War, sat at home waiting for their sons to return from Vietnam, and the young men of that war set the standard for my generation as far as what a man is. But the ones who took over after we stepped back dropped the ball.

The door was wide open for books, movies and music to step up, and they did. Hard boiled movies like Death Wish, Dirty Mary and Crazy Larry, Vanishing Point and Walking Tall and Dirty Harry, Foxy Brown, Mr. Majestyk, Billy Jack, Shaft and Jeremiah Johnson, Hang ’em High, The Sting, Serpico-  all had what the public was hungry for, and then there were the fiction writers like Mario Puzo, Leon Uris, Kurt Vonnegut, and  Norman Mailer. Bold essayists were on the scene like Gloria Steinem, Maya Angelo, Charles Bukowski, and Susan Sontag and they were breaking all the rules.

Men handled their disputes with other men toe to toe and women handled their business face to face. We were strong, a spiritual movement was emerging in Christianity, Buddism, Hindu, Tao, Wicca and we were waking up as a nation again.

Since then, it is my contention, there has been a drought on every level. Somewhere along the way women got therapists, and spent time getting in touch with their inner child and wrote about it, while the men were shaving their chests and doing their hair while they developed politically correct scripts and novels, being careful not to offend. Anyone. Until now.

Women are making movies, fighting in wars, pastoring churches and running multi-million dollar companies. Men are becoming men again, but now it’s okay to be a whole, well rounded and intelligent badass.

There is a resurgence of historical fiction in film and books and it’s a violent history portrayed in every film and series that appeals to both men and women, and I believe we want back what we’ve lost in the last couple decades.

To be politically correct is a process that requires you to lie so as not to offend or rile-up the other. There is no truth on pages or in conversations if the words don’t evoke passion. I see us evoking passion again. I am encouraged.

E.A. Cook







A swear to God disclaimer- This is a completely true story.



I parted the brush into the Hobo Jungle looking for a tramp to tell me which track would take me north from Oroville to K Falls. No one was there, but the clearing was better than most camps. There was a well-made fire pit, the ashes cold to the touch, and on a nearby tree hung a piece of mirror-wedged between two limbs. At about five feet it was at a just right shaving height. There were two cans of Vienna sausages left on a felled tree that served as a bench near the fire and there was fairly clean cardboard laid out on the edge of camp that a tramp could roll a bedroll out on.

I started a fire and filled my beat-up tin coffee pot with my water jug. From the side pocket of the Korean War era rucksack that I carried, I pulled out a pouch full of coffee. The pouch was half a clean tube sock stuffed with coffee and tied at the top. I got the water to boil and dropped the pouch in the water, put a lid on it and set it away from the direct flame to simmer slow.

“You’ve been taught well.”

I looked up when I heard the voice and saw a very old man not twenty feet away from me. It rocked me back on my heels because I hadn’t heard him or seen him walk up. I definitely should have – he had one eye, one hand, and one leg on opposing sides of his body. He was leaning on a crutch, and alongside him was a small three legged dog with no tail. May God strike me dead if I’m lyin’.

He asked if he could join me and I nodded. His stride, with one leg and a crutch, was synchronized so smoothly that it looked like no effort at all. He dropped his duffel near the fire and sat on it across from me. I offered coffee, and he produced a battered tin cup.

The tripod dog layed next to my foot, apparently diggin’ the idea of hanging with new company. The old man didn’t seem to mind. I watched as he layed out a paper on his knee, added tobacco, and massaged the paper into a good looking smoke, as quickly as would have with two hands.

“How old are you, boy?”


He chuckled then and said that the dog was nineteen. She’d had a much rougher road than me, by the looks of her.

He knew which track to watch, he was going to K Falls too, so we waited for a train to be built there, in the meantime we smoked and drank coffee while he told me stories and gave me tips about riding the rails. While telling his tales, he said that he had lost his leg under a train. There was a knife scar above and below his milky eye, so I guessed what happened there. He never mentioned what happened to his hand and I never asked.

“The dog just found me in another jungle when she was a pup. I don’t know what hell she went through.”

A part of the train being built rolled up about one in the afternoon. The old man made his way to the door of an open box that had doors open on both sides, threw his duffel in and grabbed the big iron door handle and vaulted himself in with just the upper body strength of one side of his body and a great leap with his one leg.

“What about the dog?”

“She’ll jump up here when it starts moving.”

It was about a three-foot grade to the box car, and another four feet to the floor of the car. I couldn’t imagine her making it.

A while later, after being banged around back and forth as the train was built, we heard the air being forced in to the brakes in a chain reaction all the way down the track. There were four iron horses at the front blowing diesel smoke, the engine in front revved hard and the train started moving.

The little dog got up from the shade of a big rock and took-off after us. Her two back and one front leg busted ass up the tracks. When she caught up, she hunched her back legs on the fly and leapt the seven feet and landed on the metal floor three legs down, the momentum caused her to slide across and almost out the other door, but the old man stopped her with his crutch across her chest.

“She does that all the time.”

We got drunk on Night Train and smoked and told lies while we steadily climbed into the Klamath Mountains. The railroad tunnels were bored into mountain sides, the diesel smoke from the engines filled the tight space and we choked through handkerchiefs in pitch black darkness until we saw daylight. The more we climbed, the worse the tracks got and it got so that a constant swaying and jerking was just going to be the way of it. The old man said we would get there about 1 a.m., so we drank ’till we passed out. It was the only way to survive the ride.

When I woke-up it was daylight, the train wasn’t moving, and there was a mad racket outside. It was supposed to be one in the morning. I was hung-over, still drunk, dehydrated and I had to piss, so the mystery of the unidentified loud noise that I was hearing, and the sun glaring into the box-car would have to wait until I could whip it out and get my relief.

I stumbled toward the door, leaned on the wall and let fly out the door into…nothing. Wide open sky with no land in sight. A bout of vertigo caused me to let go of myself and grab the door frame with both hands. Just then, the old man and the dog came up along-side me and we all stared for a moment.

“Damn chopper woke me up. Were the hell is it?”

All three of us stepped a little closer to the edge and looked down. We were looking almost straight down the side of a mountain. About one thousand feet down lay freight cars crashed through the tops of ponderosa pines and boulders. Our train. The one we were on.

I looked down the side of the car and saw two cars behind us and the Caboose. In front of us were three cars and a curving quarter mile of destroyed twisted tendrils of track and dislodged railroad ties leading into a tunnel. The train had derailed. The rest of it was down the mountain. There was a helicopter up-righting some of the cars with a big claw, and loading them onto flat-bed trucks. About a dozen hard-hats were milling around the wreckage and one of them looked a thousand feet up the slope at a young tramp with his dick hanging out, an old hobo with missing pieces, and a three legged dog. An image, I’m sure, that would stay with him forever.

The hard hat yelled something to us and started trekking up the slope, waving his hands. Eventually he quit waving, the ground had become so steep and treacherous that he need both hands for the climb.

The old man handed me a bottle, I took a long pull, zipped up my pants, and we both sat in the doorway and rolled cigarettes and smoked while the upset hard hat bitched and cursed his way toward us. The dog laid her head down on her paw and went to sleep.

It took the guy about ten minutes to get up the slope and when he got up to the train he put his hands on his knees and gasped out words to us,

“What the hell… are you men alright? How..shit, I can’t breathe, did you get here?”

I handed him the bottle,

“We got on in Oroville.”

“Well, you can’t be here.”

“But we are.” I handed him the end of my cigarette and he declined.

“Nobody got hurt?”

“We were drunk,” the old man and I said in unison.


He got on the radio then, explained us to his boss, re-explained using different words, and then repeated it one more time. There was radio silence for about ten long seconds and then the boss came back with,

“Another train coming in twenty on track two, put them on it, in the back engine and tell them not to touch a damn thing.”

Hard hat jumped up in the car with us and sat next to the dog. She didn’t budge. Just slept.

Another Burlington Northern iron horse roared through the open mountain tunnel and slowed around the bend towards us. As it pulled up we could see the engineer with his mouth agape as he looked at the wrecked track next to him and the cars down below.

Hard hat talked to the engineer for a while, then came back and showed us which engine to load up on.

“There’s cold water bottles in coolers in there, and a toilet under the front end. Don’t touch anything. Don’t drink, don’t smoke and if the dog messes, clean it up.”

We threw our bedrolls on the floor and kept our heads down as the big diesels roared to life and the air was put to the brakes. When we got to the yard at Klamath Falls it was night, and we didn’t want to meet the local law that we figured must be waiting, so we used the darkness to slip off the train while it was still moving about five miles per hour. The old man stepped down the stairs and leaned into a slow shoulder roll down a grassy slope. He rolled once and was on his knees when I stepped off with all my gear and stayed on my feet at a trot. The little dog jumped and I lost sight of her in the thick dark bushes.

We woke up at the local Rescue Mission the next day. I was feeling like a new man after a night on a real bed. After a breakfast of donated day-old Quarter Pounders and day-old donuts I was ready for whatever was next…after I rolled another smoke.

E.A. Cook

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: