Today we get to meet Wally Runnels, the author of border pulp, with such exciting titles as Heavenly Pain, In-Ko-Pah Spirit, and introduces us to Rocky in Tupho's Pink de Ville, Death Karma, Mother's Nature, and Twisted Love which comes out in May.
Wally was born in San Diego and grew up on the border. He pulls a lot of his story ideas from that unique world view (Hence, border pulp!). Today, he is introducing us to his character Rocky! Take it away Wally!
Rocky is a character in a repertory series of stories. He and Hector Rosales are friends who work around each other covering the other’s back. Rocky is a professional killer, but he’s vulnerable and understands the price he may have to pay. Rocky is dark and Hector lightens his friend’s point of view.
Let me introduce you to Rocky.
Rocky is a loner. He lives in the small village of dilapidated cabins called Bankhead Springs, named for Tallulah’s dad who used to stay in the old nearby hotel for his springtime visits. Except for his pet packrat and Hector Rosales, who is an enterprising cartel member and brothel owner in Mexicali, he has no close association with anyone. He carries a brass Buddha in his jacket pocket that helps maintain his serenity.
Only the doctors at the Navy Hospital in San Diego know his last name. To everyone else he’s just Rocky. A disabled Marine, he lost his left arm in Macao while working with the CIA.
His lover Bo Kwan was killed in the blast. “A waiter took their order and then walked a few steps only to disappear in a white searing flash. Knocked to the floor by the explosion, Rocky lay on the ground surrounded by blood. Bo Kwan lay next to him, her eyes open but not seeing. His left arm numb, Rocky dipped the fingers of his right hand into Bo’s red essence. He inserted his coated fingers into his own mouth and savored her flavor, warm and rich. He rolled over and saw someone’s arm on the floor. He realized it was his and passed out.”*
When he worked for the government he knew his work was morally sanctioned by a patriotic duty, for the good of the country. When working for the Mexican cartels he no longer had the sanctioned umbrella, for God and Country. He had no shield that protected him from moral retribution. The people who hire him are violent. Rocky meets his client, Roberto Cruz in a bar. Cruz has just killed a man, who he thought had taken his personal table.
“Hector whistled. From nowhere, people appeared and removed the body. A sweeper broomed fragments into a dustpan; another mopped the floor with the same insouciant style he would have given a beer spill.
Rocky felt like he’d rubbed the face off his Buddha.
For a moment Cruz appeared euphoric. As if through death he had experienced a high. Life. Death. It was the yin and yang of everything about the man. In the spirit of that moment, Rocky knew Cruz had earned a violent death.”**
Meditation helps him through levels of anger and guilt created by his profession. He’s a professional hitter. Loyal to Hector and fellow servicemen, he will go out on a limb to help them. Rocky will put his life on the line for his friends.
Hector wants Rocky to find his Aunt Moya; she’s a curandera, a shaman healer. “Just check her out, Rockito. Ya know, see if she’s okay.”
“She won’t know who I am.”
“She’ll know,” Hector tapped his head in a knowing way. “She’s a curandera, a powerful one.”
“You afraid to go yourself?”
“She’s harmless,” said Hector.
Rocky knew he was acting innocent.
“Then why not you?” asked Rocky.
“C’mon Rock, got a business to run in Mexicali.”
Rocky knew the Tuna Club took all of Hectors time. Being the owner of a bar and brothel and operations manager of the Mexicali Cartel was time consuming. But Hector was his best friend, so why not help him out?
“Okay. Okay. She spooks me out,” said Hector, shaking his head and looking at Rocky.
“What I Thought,” Rocky grinned. “Sounds like she can take care of herself.”
“She’s tough.” Hector gave Rocky a funny look. “But Rocky, one thing I gotta warn you about.”***
The sinister factor is usually high in a Rocky story. Mexico and the desert are filled with weird. The Sandman, an ape like creature that walks the desert wastes, ghostly mirages, the rattle of ghost stage coaches, spirits thumbing rides that always end in tragedy, ancients that willingly lead one to Church treasure, who suddenly vanish. Spirits of nature that offer the unwary deadly advice, and Rocky, like a twig in a dangerous stream maneuvers to avoid the lure of these dangers.
Rocky quietly creates a deadly scenario and remains in the background. He goes about his work like a shadow, rarely seen and never found. But he has a moral door that he opens at will.
“If people wouldn’t pay me, I wouldn’t do it.”
Wow, what a character, and such an exciting back drop! I know I am adding these thrilling tales to my TBR! How about you?
Thank you so much for sharing Rocky with us today Wally. I look forward to seeing Twisted Love when it comes out in May! Want to keep up with Wally? Follow him on his Blog
Until next time,
*Excerpt from Twisted Love, to be released in May
** Excerpt from Twisted Love, to be released in May
*** Excerpt from Mother’s Nature, in Amazon Kindle