Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Last Call, Last Stand - Part 17

Chapter 7 - Save the Princess, Fuck the World

Of all the fundamental lies we are infected with growing up weird the worst is from TV. At the flickering altar that we offer our placid tapioca brains to, we are told that the hero can accomplish the impossible and (more importantly) that he always gets a girl along the way, usually in about 110 minutes just before the closing credits roll. Since, fundamentally, we are all the main characters in our little stories, with everyone else being sidekicks at best, but more likely just spear carriers, it naturally translates that we can do anything with wit and gumption and a good haircut, and that no matter what we do it always comes with an impossibly hot girl as an accessory.

In the light of reason it is easy to see. But then, with a nice dramatic thunderstorm boiling above our heads and the hazy sun having just vanished below Naptown's ragged skyline, the movie paradigm made sense to me, especially having just come down off the coke high and the more potent high of somehow getting Phebe to follow me here.

Cesare had come too, the stupid fuck. Not that I wanted him there, really-I knew he would be a drag and despite the two addies and the vicadin I had fronted him he had complained the whole way there. But I didn't trust him alone in my apartment. Getting him to tag along had been easy-I told him he wasn't getting a single pill unless he came to back me up. His reaction was the predictable entitlement whining, but there was no way I was going to leave him there where he could get at my stash. It was all I had in the world, the work of decades really, and represented at least 75 percent of my net worth, and I knew that fat bastard would steal it in the heartbeat despite his various pledges of undying friendship over the years. Junkies are like that; my gramma once told me "Jon, love conquers all, except drugs." Old bitch was right, and she would know; she died of lung cancer in 2004. Cesare had left his kids and his wife (who wasn't speaking to him and was possibly the reason he had a black eye) back at my place watching one of the pirated disney dvds I watched when I did acid. I hoped they didn't pick Alice in Wonderland; I had dubbed Cannibal Corpse over part of the soundtrack. They were all apparently deeply in shock; maybe they wouldn't notice. No one mentioned what had happened to the missing kid.

Phebe, on the other hand, took almost no convincing. After I had hooked Cesare up I found her putting together the scary looking black rifle that one of the looters had dropped in her place. "It's a 10/22" she said absently as I walked up to her-as if that meant anything to me. "I was thinking of giving it to your friend if he's coming with us."

I looked over at Cesare, who had just emerged from the bathroom with that flushed "Aaaah" face that can mean either the end of a painful withrdawl sequence or a really massive dump. Possibly both. "I wouldn't," I said.

Her tone lowered, and her gaze sharpened as she looked over my shoulder at him. "You don't trust him?"

"That isn't it." Well, not exactly anyway but I still found myself afraid to give her the full story. "He's not a bad guy, just a fucking idiot. Leave it here with his wife, they might need to protect themselves anyway." I had stuffed the pistol in the pocket of my fresh cargo pants. It wasn't very convenient but it was more secure. And Cristobol's sawn off was resting comfortably in my hands, with a pocketfull of shells in my hoodie. It wasn't much, but it made me feel better. The knife was in it's accustomed place in my belt and was the only part of my equipment that felt organic; I was comfortable with it there.

I had also gathered a larger than usual supply of drugs from my stash; a q of smoke, eight or ten grams of yayo, a few dozen hits of cid, vicadins, addies of course, a little E, and some valiums blues almost against my will. I had no concrete reason for taking it, except as a carrot to lure Cesare along behind me, and a nebulous idea of negotiating my way into the strip club with it. It was secure with my spare magazines and some food and clean water in my shoulder bag.

We were watching people shoot at the locked doors on the tv at the time while that foaming mouthed bible thumper continued ranting about vengeance and damnation and nipple tassels. Foolishness of course. You didn't have to wear nipple tassel's at moxie's; they used nail polish.

I had taken a couple of hard bumps off the web of my hand on the way and popped a discrete adderol. I had expected a short trip-it was only a twenty minute drive if you were smart enough to avoid the outer loop. But walking translates poorly and it was nearly nightfall before we arrived at the strip club. And the damn adderol, plus Phebe's wet tank top, was giving me a vicious hardon that made walking uncomfortable and difficult. They never fucking tell you THAT in the movies. I spent probably the whole transit time hunched over halfway trying to figure out my feelings for her while they were already painfully obvious in my boxers.

It never ceases to amaze me the way men think. There were maybe a hundred men in that mob outside the strip club, and they had been there in the cold and rain for hours at that point, and yet they were still trying to dig there way into the strip club. They couldn't be bothered to find shelter or feed themselves, but they would move heaven and earth to loot some booze and pussy, the only things of value within. A few were backing a truck up to the door and attaching a chain to the frame while the rest shuffled around the parking lot like zombies with their breath fogging and their balls blue, eager to be the first in line. Fuck my gender.

"All right," I said, as the three of us hunkered down behind an overflowing dumpster-trash pickup wasn't exactly on schedule either-listening to the truck's engine splutter and roar. "This is how we're going to do this..."

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