Published by arrangement with the Olympia Press.
Author: Marshall Macao (pseud.)
About: How Many More Must Die?
Harlem, the early sixties, the summer gets hotter every second as
K'ing fights desperately to unsnarl a blood-soaked reign of terror. The
scheming Kak, in a depraved attempt to gain the inner favor of
underworld demon Zedak, is seduced into a series of cult murders by his
mysterious Amazonian sorceress, Queshaka. Ghetto gangsters fall into the
web of violence, which K'ing must unravel, putting mind and
martial arts against the Red Circle's most hideous caper yet!
Kak was torn between making Queshaka stop and trying to ride the
animals himself and getting to where they were going. In the end he let
Queshaka drive all the way to Garden City, Long Island, and park the
car four blocks from the white-columned mansion of Angelo Martenello.
There was plenty of darkness left. Kak Nan Tang, already excited
beyond measure by the splendid spectacle of New York City, was now
overwhelmed in a different way with the quiet affluence of one of
America's richest and most exclusive communities. “So this is where
they come when they have fought their way to stagnation,” he thought to
himself. “They build these walls of stone and brick around their huge
houses with the gables and the arches and the columns and the porticos,
and they plant hedges and shrubs and flowers and trees, and they put
statues of little black boys holding lanterns out in front. They hide
inside and drink their liquor and play cards with their friends and
decide they no longer have to watch the time pass because their bellies
are full and their heads are numb and they do not have to kill to live.
At least they do not have to kill with their bare hands. They tell
themselves they are more than cavemen because their caves are big and
warm in the winter and cool in the summer and lighted by electricity
and heated by oil and they use gas for their cooking that is brought to
them through pipes instead of wood brought to them by slaves. They tell
themselves that if they are not good men, they are not bad either. And
this is what they want, for if they were good they would have to fight
the bad, and if they were bad they would have to fight the good. And as
it is they simply go to sleep.”
Now Kak could see why Martenello had turned on him. It wasn't because
of the money. It wasn't because of the other mafiosi. It was because
Martenello had grown fat and lazy. He had never wanted more than to
fight his way to equality with the richest men he knew. He had never
had any pure desire to shed blood, to fight for the sake of fighting.
He had wanted only this—to go to sleep. Now he would get what he
But as Kak and Queshaka approached Martenello's twenty-five room
Ionic-columned mansion with its fruit trees in the side yard and its
rose garden in the front and its backyard that had once been a polo
field, all surrounded by a twelve-foot stone fence topped with three
feet of barbed wire, the most powerful Mafia capo in America was awake.
It had been forty-five minutes since one of his bodyguards had pounded
on his bedroom door, drawing him from between pale yellow silk sheets
to tell him that six of his best hit men had been butchered in the
Trans World Airlines terminal at Idlewild Airport and another four had
been blown to pieces in the driveway and Kak Nan Tang had vanished.
To his bodyguard, whom he ordered to station himself on the second
story landing, he seemed as cool and self-possessed as ever. To his
wife Lucille, once a trim, vivacious showgirl whose bleached blonde
hair had fooled him for the first three years of their marriage, he
seemed perhaps a little more nervous than usual. To himself, Martenello
was strange. He was scared. In his time he had killed between
twenty-five and thirty people. He'd taken slugs in the arms and legs
and one in the back of the neck that had missed his spine by a few
hundredths of an inch. He thought of himself as a fighter. But— ten
hit men gone just like that? And it had been made to look as though
they had been after each other.
Martenello began to wonder who was crazy. That night he had decided
that Leone was certainly crazy. And this Kak Nan Tang? He had to be
crazy too, going up against ten hit men like that. Maybe it would work
once for him. Maybe he was smart. Maybe even a genius. But even a
genius couldn't press luck like that forever. And that's what it had to
be. Luck. Martenello kept telling himself that he wasn't crazy for
having defied the Red Circle, and as far as he knew he believed it.
That is, until Kak Nan Tang kicked down his door.
Martenello was bent over the desk in front of his window when he
heard the crash behind him. From his bed Lucille screamed and pulled
the sheets up over her slightly sagging but still silicone-plump
Martenello whirled and jammed his hand up under his armpit to grab at
his .45. His back braced against the desk top and his right foot kicked
out to shove Kak back so he could get a slug into him. But the gun
hadn't cleared the holster before Kak's Lightning Kick slammed a
steeltipped toe up under his elbow and cracked it back into his face,
tearing the limb out of joint and mashing his nose to a flat, oozing
pulp of cartilage and ripped skin. Martenello lashed out blindly with
his other hand but his sledgehammer fist caught thin air and Kak
brought an Elephant Kick up into his groin. When he doubled over Kak's
Iron Hand slashed down like an executioner's axe across his neck. The
cracking of the bone was like a rifle shot but only Lucille Martenello,
who clawed wildly at the sheets and tried to flee as her husband's body
thudded to the deep pile carpet, was alive to be horrified by it.
Lucille was soft and pasty and panicked. Queshaka, right on Kak's
heels, swerved to pounce on her as she fought to free herself of the
bedcovers. The sorceress smashed a fist between Lucille's wildly
flopping breasts and knocked her back down flat gasping and choking.