Editor's Note: When we were getting PWG rolling along, this Subarton guy sent us "Nil Desperandom". Weird fucking title. But upon reading this thing, I knew we'd found exactly the sort of writer we'd set out to find with the magazine. He was writing amazingly brutal stuff. This story is pretty nasty, and people in it do terrible things to each other, and yet it still somehow manages to come around to a devestating last line that has your shaking your head in wonder.

Yes, Darren Subarton was THE SHIT. And he went on to publish quite a few more stories all over the place, including in Hardboiled magazine, Blue Murder, Thrilling Detective, and an issue of Mississippi Review Web I guest-edited. But I always considered PWG his home turf, where we ended up running several of Darren's pieces. I hope he did, too.

One day, we just stopped hearing from Darren as much. No more submissions. I'd always wondered what happened, because he was a talented beast who deserved a big audience. I knew he had joined the army, but that was about it. Tried to contact him about the PWG anthology, which I would've loved to have had him be a part of. But he'd disappeared, as far as I knew.

Until years later, having kickstarted PWG 2.0, and I happened to find his Facebook page, which told me he'd come home from the War in Iraq (with some bumps and bruises which caused him some problems), gotten married and had a son. And then his MySpace page had some new writing on it, just as strong as ever--poems and even a nonfiction piece about being in the army. So I sent him a note, hoping to harass him into writing for us again.

Turns out his wife had left his page up just in case any old friends wrote, like me, so she could let us know that Darren passed away this past December. It was a shock, I tell you. He's left a strong legacy with his family, his friends, and his words. I wanted to pay tribute to Darren's memory by re-publishing that first story--"Nil Desperandom"--so you could all see the moment when the PWG flame went from pretty hot to blazing.


I’ve had my eye on the hooker across the street now for a couple of days. Before, she was just another waste of flesh breathing my air, spreading pestilence, making suburban housewives itch and burn. But now, now I understand that she’s got a purpose. She’s a long-term money-maker, and if she’s not going to be making me money, then I’m going to have to kill her. I like to call it necessary population control—it makes the air sweeter to breathe, and gives the hookers a chance for their souls to make atonement.

Her and all of the other filthy whores that walk my street block traffic with their flesh-for-rent on display. My block is littered from the empty wallets of their johns; they can suck cock and pick-pocket…That’s their resume, their credentials to be abused and defiled. There are homeboys hanging out on the stoops, listening to radios and looking for a free show, starting fights and rolling johns coming through with Jersey plates. The cops come around for a shakedown but always settle for cash and some free head; the pigs’re doing their job—I’ve got a bullet for all of them too.

Tonight she is wearing a tiger-stripped pair of shorts with a pink nylon shirt, her hair is frizzed out, and the usual set of fuck-me-boots on her sexy legs. I wonder how many men were inside of her tonight, how many sweaty balls were bouncing off of her thighs this evening. After a good run, the whores reek of body odor and shit smears; there’s no place to wash up in the backseat of somebody’s car. They just have to carry their Vaseline smears on their asses, already lubed up for the next sucker to pump them full of comet.

That little lucky number’s had a good run this evening. She’s been in and out of backseats all night. I know she’s got a wad of flakes on her. I’m still trying to decide if I should just stick her up or murder her; I guess that’ll depend on how offensive she smells. Either way, I’m going to nail her in the ass real good. The way my brother explained it, is that if you are going to murder somebody then you might as well nail them too. Going to death-row just for murdering some bitch you didn’t nail is like leaving car fare in the register for the clerk after you stick the joint up.

"Hey, Julio," I said to my partner in the other room. "Let’s go get the car and make some cabbage."

"Hold up, money, Midnight Madness goes off in five minutes."

"No, we gotta do this now. You know that hooker I’ve been wanting to clock?"


"She’s got crazy money on her and her pimp’s gonna be coming around anytime now to collect. If we don’t move now, we’re gonna blow the score."

"Alright, money, I’ll get the keys," Julio said, reaching for the slim-jim and flat head screwdriver next to lamp on the table, as he got off the couch. "What kind’a ride we gonna boost tonight?"

"Whatever’s clever. Hey—did you feed Lady Charming yet today?"

"No, but there’s more hamburger meat in the ‘fridge. Can you do it, I gotta take a wizz?"

"No problem, but no fucking around…we gotta break soon."

"Chill, I’m just gonna take a piss," Julio said.

I walked over to the refrigerator and pulled out what was left of the raw hamburger meat. Walking into the spare bedroom, I turned the light on outside of the door. We’ve had this broad chained up in here for the past four weeks. We lined the floor, walls, ceiling and door with mattresses so that the room would be soundproof. I think her real name is Jennifer, but who cares…nobody’s gonna see her pretty little face after we’re done with her. We turned her into our sex slave—and other things—Picked her up one night out at Hunts Point in the Bronx.

I opened the door and she spit at me.

"You fucking animals! Let me go, you no-good motherfuckers! I’ll fuckin’ kill you if I get loose!" she yelled at me.

She looked like she was ready for a bath; she needed to wash the dried-up blood off of her bruised-up, bloody body. We had her chained up to the wall, nude. I sort of felt sorry for her, she was Julio’s idea.

"Here you go, babydoll—How does some more raw bloody meat sound for dinner?" I said smiling.

"Fuck you, you animal…I hope you die!"

"EAT IT!" I said, throwing the hamburger meat at her. Like a ravaged wild dog, she attacked the raw meat with her hands, stuffing it into her mouth, cursing me and still spitting at me. I walked into the kitchen and filled up a bucket with tepid water, then walked back to her room and opened the door.

"Here you go, good-looking—Better wash that hole up good ‘cause we’re gonna have a little party when we get back."

I placed the bucket down and closed the door, turning off the lights as she screamed more obscenities at me. I really did feel sorry for her because now she was broken, almost unmarketable on the slave-trade circuit. But that’s the rules of the street…You’ve gotta stay on your toes— somebody’s always looking to devour you if you’re a hooker or a runaway. You’re just a throwaway person. The streets eventually always swallow you up one way or another.

Julio came walking over to the back room and opened the door, flashing the overhead light off and on like a thunderstorm: "Hollywood…You’ve got the makings of a Hollywood," he sang while laughing, as the thrall spit and yelled at him. It was pretty funny actually.

"You ready, Rocco?" he said as he closed the door and shut of the light.

"Lets get this party started," I answered, walking towards the front door. He was following close behind.

Outside on the avenue, Julio selected a green 1963 Chevrolet four-door to hot-wire. The good thing about Chevies that were made before ’64 is that when the owner takes the keys out of the ignition, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the ignition is locked. The engine might be closed, but you can start the car up just by turning the key receptacle and stepping down on the gas. I could tell that this was some old-fart’s car. Not only was there no car alarm, there was a box of tissues sitting on the front seat and a picture of the Virgin Mary from some novena at a neighborhood church. The ignition was off but not locked, and the doors were wide open. Nobody’s that stupid in this neighborhood, except for some dumb old man who deserves to get ganked anyway.

We pulled out of the spot nice and slowly, as not to attract any attention to ourselves. I passed Julio a cold beer then popped the tab on my own: "Okay, make a left turn up here…She should be right in front of the bodega."

"Rocco, I know exactly where she’s at, we only fuckin’ live right around the corner. She is a fine piece’a ass, man, but this shit’s a little too close to the crib. Are we gonna wax her if it doesn’t go down smoothly?"

"I don’t know yet, first lets see how the whole thing goes down. I wish this bitch was workin’ another block because she’s boom-bangin’—you’ve seen with your eyes—I wouldn’t mind tappin’ that ass a couple’a times, you know what I’m sayin’?"

"I know exactly what you’re sayin’."

She was standing in front of the bodega as we pulled over slowly. She came walking over to the door and stuck her head inside the window, totally unaware of what she was going to get tonight.

"Hey, fellas, are you guys looking for a date?" she said smiling, looking inside the car for any signs of threat.

"Yeah, baby, you wanna party with me and my boy for a bit? You can handle both of us, right?"

"What do you have in mind? I don’t do no rough stuff," she said, quickly running her eyes around the street to see if the boys in blue were around.

"No problem…Get in," I said, flashing her a roll of cash, opening the door for her to get in between us. As selfish as a whore’s swallow of come, she got a glisten in her eyes and took the bait. This was too easy, like snapping a sleeping chicken’s neck.

As we pulled away from the curb, she asked: "So what did you guys have in mind—some head? You wanna fuck me? Eat my pussy…What? For two hundred a piece, you can do whatever you guys want for the next hour."

"You can handle two dicks in you at the same time?" I asked.

"Oh, baby—you and the conquistador can do whatever you want. Just no hitting or weird shit…got it," she said, placing the four hundred dollars in her right fuck-me-boot.

"Don’t even worry about it. We’ll take good care of you…even buy you some dinner. Here, put this perfume on," I said, reaching into my pocket for my pistol. Before she could say anything thing else, I had the pistol in her face and started yelling: "You move or signal to anybody, and I’m going to blow your fucking head off! Do you understand! DO YOU FUCKING UNDERSTAND ME, BITCH!!"

"Hey…What the fuck are you doing? I said no weird shit!"

Julio chuckled.

I put the pistol barrel up to her face, impelling it into her cheek: "You are going to fucking die, whore, do you understand me! Now shut the fuck up and jump into the backseat! NOW!"

She knew I was serious and did it with haste. Her poor little eyes registered fear but the hooker inside was driving auto-pilot, making her refuse to submit to fear; instead she gave off a little lip and chanced the slaps with the breaks.

Still with the gun pointed on her, I reached into my pocket and took out a pair of handcuffs, throwing them at her: "Shut your fucking mouth and put those on!"

"I’m not putting that shit on, do you think I’m crazy? If I put those cuffs on then I know you’re gonna kill me," she said in that taunting-to-get-slapped fashion. I cocked the pistol.

"If I have to say it one more time, I promise you, you won’t hear it." She knew I meant business and put them on. Julio started laughing out loud, turning the dial on the radio for some mood music.

"I like this bitch," he said smiling, nodding his head. "If she’s a good knob-gobbler, maybe we’ll cut her loose."

"Lets see how good the action is first…You got the cattle prod on you?" I said, extending my free hand for him to pass it to me.

When she saw the prod, she asked with abash yet holding eyes: "Hey, what the fuck is that thing? You a freak or something?"

I jumped into the backseat with her. "Bitch, I can make seconds feel like hours—Drop your drawers, the party’s gonna start now!" I reached over and ripped her pink shirt open, exposing her breasts. I noticed she had stretch marks.

Julio howled, then said: "Man, look at those titties," then howled again

She sat up from pulling her tiger-stripped shorts off, laid back on the seat, spreading her legs: "Do you wanna eat my pussy, you big fucking stud?" Hookers always try to stay in control.

I put the cattle prod on her right nipple, giving her a jolt.

"Ouch, you fucking jerk, that hurt!" she said, wincing from the electric volt.

"You’ll talk when I tell you to, you understand?" I said, giving her a shock on the other nipple. This time holding it there a little longer for effect.

She understood this time and nodded her head quickly, releasing a little shake. Whores are pretty tough. Most of them can take more abuse than the common masochist. That only comes with the time on the streets, flat-footing it. Callgirls are no fun, they’re too soft; a couple of good slaps and they head downstairs to their parked limo. I really liked this broad, she was a trooper—I still wasn’t sure if we should kill her or not.

I undid my pants to my ankles and slid it into her; she was still greased up from the last customer. Women get stimulated a certain way when you rape them. They get warm with fear. As I was inside for a bit, I asked: "What’s your name, bitch?"

"Cillena," she answered, looking up-front into the rearview mirror.

"You have any kids?"

"Why? You wanna be their daddy?" she snapped.

I jabbed her with the cattle-prod, giving her one hell of a shock on her cheek: "Wrong answer, Suckena!" I liked her spirit…she had the integrity of a punk being taken for the first time in a lock-up shower room.

Julio turned his head around, smiling: "Yo, money, don’t use her all up—I still wanna have some fun before she croaks on us."

"There’s plenty of chicken to go around…Plenty."

I noticed we were driving on the BQE, heading towards Queens. After I flipped her over and took her from behind, Julio pulled over and I took the wheel. I was looking for the exit to College Point. College Point is a nice desolate area of Queens, where at this hour of the night, there definitely wouldn’t be a soul on the streets. Hell, they hardly even have buses out there, and the ones that do run aren't working at this hour. We were on the other side of the world from Hell’s Kitchen.

Julio isn’t exactly what you would call a sensitive man. I couldn’t help but watch in the rearview mirror as he performed some, shall we say, brutarian tactics. I heard nothing but her screams, his laughter, and the zapping noise coming from that cattle-prod. Julio is a seriously vacant individual—I’m glad he’s on my side.

"Who’s the best?" he yelled. Before she could even answer he gave her another shock. "Who’s the fucking king, baby!" and again, before she could answer him, he would shock her. This kept going on and on, the whole time doing this he was nailing her in the ass. Like I said, Julio was no Tom Jones.

"Shit, man," he said as the screaming stopped from the backseat.

I turned around to look: "What’d you do, kill her?"

"No, the stupid bitch just passed out, that’s all," he said, giving her one last, long jolt with the cattle-prod to see if she was trying to deceive us. "She’s not fakin’ jacks, she’s really out cold. How much cabbage did she have on her anyway?"

"That little fire-mouthed strumpet had sixteen-seventy-five, not including the four bills I slid her before. She was humping her little sweet-ass hard and long tonight, baby. I don’t know…Cut her loose or cut her up? It doesn’t make that much of a difference to me, except she was a pretty good trooper. I bet you if we toss her free, we can come back and strong-arm her again. I wouldn’t even mind taking her back to the crib and chaining her up for a while—Miss America’s still in the holding pen, and she could use some company."

Julio looked forward in thought momentarily, then said: "You know we have to get rid of her soon, that bitch is going crazy in that room and besides…O’Shea or Chang aren’t gonna want to buy her…she’s too fucked up. We should take her out for a ride and put a bullet in her head."

"Yeah, but O’Shea would want to buy this one—sure she’s got some mileage on her, but she’s one hell of a hole, nigga. I think he’d probably give us a cool two G’s for her, without a doubt."

"No. We’re not ready for her to be taken in yet, we still have to get rid of the other one first."

"Damn, I liked this broad Cillena, man. Fuck it then, lets just cut her loose. I don’t think she’ll turn cheese-eater on us, but damn, I’d hate to be in her shoes right now. How in the hell’s she gonna explain to her pimp how she lost all’a his money and got dropped off way out in bum-fuck Queens? You know he’s gonna put his foot in her ass good for this one. I say we just dump her along side of the road up here. Leave her naked. Fuck it, she’s got her life, right?"

"That’s the breaks, money. Give me the keys for the cuffs."

I tossed Julio the keys, wiped down the steering wheel and radio knob, then got out of the car.

Julio pulled up his pants then stepped out of the car, walking around to the side I was on. I had the backdoor open, and dragged the whore out of the car onto the sidewalk. While I was doing that, he drove the car up the block a little bit and parked it under an overshadowing Oak tree. It was across the street from a Con-Ed warehouse.

I crossed the street, going over towards where Julio had the slim-jim going into a brand new 1998 Range Rover. I threw her clothes over the high steel fence. He was in and shut off the car alarm in under nine seconds. Goddamn is he good. He unlocked my door and went to work on the ignition.

"Shit, man, I left the rest of the brew in the other car," I said.

"That’s the breaks, money, we’ll just have to hit a deli."

"Fuck it then," and with that, he peeled out and made a right turn up at the corner. You could hardly see the shape of the naked hooker sprawled out on the sidewalk. We were going back to Manhattan via a deli and the BQE. Life ain’t nothing but bitches and money. Fuck what’ch you heard, I haven’t had a real job since they cut me loose from the pen and I never will again. The cool evening air felt refreshing blowing in from the window. We had some money and a new car. It feels good to be free.



The passing of Darren Subarton left his wife, Tammy, and son Sam, with some big decisions to make. After a blissful time in Brooklyn it was time to pick up and head to Pennsylvania to be closer to the folks. Tammy now spends her time playing guitar for Sam, making clay monsters, putting on puppet shows, making chocolate cakes and hosting dinner parties and, well, trying to laugh at all of life's ridiculous possiblities.