Flashback: “Randy Returns”

Sometimes I wonder: “as a writer, have I lost a step?” Then I read my old stuff and conclude it’s an unambiguous “yes”.

When I started this blog, I initially posted random thoughts and stories about my literary alter ego “James”. Before I abandoned that project, this was how that story ended (without resolution, I might add).

Now the story you’re about to read may be a little confusing, so let me provide some clarity. “Dick” was my Scottish roommate who was also a private detective. Nicky Wallz was my “father”. Dale was a coworker and reoccurring character. And Randy was my comical arch nemesis (later revealed to be my real father).

I dunno, I thought it was pretty funny.

****

RANDY RETURNS

I was hopping up and down to the sounds of 80s pop phenom Human League when there was a pound on the door.

“Open up! It’s LAPD!”

It was Randy. I wasn’t fooled.

“What can I do for you Randy?” I asked.

“Can you believe they let me out on bail?! I mean, seven vehicular manslaughter charges!! That’s crazy!” Randy said.

He was flanked by his two female henchmen, Anthrax and Honda. As Randy hoot and hollered, the ladies just stood there, arms crossed.

“So Jimmy, wanna do some drugs? I gotta speedball here,” he asked.

“Gee, I don’t know Randy. Isn’t that dangerous?”

“Not at all! Everyone’s doing it.”

He didn’t have to tell me twice. 

Eventually I found myself in a daze sitting in the backseat of Randy’s Pontiac between Anthrax and Honda. Randy was driving like a maniac down the streets of West Hollywood when he looked to the backseat. “You see! I told you everything will be alright!” he said.

I didn’t think anything was suspicious.

Finally Anthrax and Honda carried me out of the car and into the back of an abandoned warehouse. I recognized the place. I survived a stabbing there a month earlier. They laid me down in a tub of ice and an overweight German doctor wearing a lab coat and nipple piercings tried to load me up with barbiturates.

However the joke was on them. I was always loaded up on barbiturates. 

But then it occurred to me. 

“Fuck, they’re gonna harvest my organs.” I thought.

Now, like most people, I’ve had to talk my way out of an organ harvesting attempt before. But this one was different. 

It was going to take some skill.

“You know, there’s other ways of making a quick buck,” I said to Anthrax. “You can humiliate yourself in front of complete strangers on the internet like I do.”

But she stood there motionless. So I tried a different tactic: the art of seduction.

“It’s a shame I’m about to die. I wish we’ve gotten to know one another more. But, I guess I should count myself lucky. At least the last thing I’ll ever see is your beautiful face,” I said.

Finally Anthrax uncrossed her arms and adjusted her posture. Clearly she was responding to what I was saying.

“I have a confession to make. That time when you and Randy cornered me behind Dick’s Sporting Goods, pulled down my pants and shoved golf balls up my ass, I thought: ‘I could spend the rest of my life with this woman.’ Well it appears I’ll get that chance,” I told her.

Finally she removed her black Gargoyle sunglasses so I could see her eyes.

“I believe it’s customary to grant a dying man his last request,” I said.

“What’s that?” Anthrax replied. “A kiss? How lame.”

“No. I just want to cop a feel.”

She stood there and thought for a second. Finally she moved in closer, removed the handcuffs from my left wrist and placed my hand down her low cut tank. I then grasped as hard as I could on to her tit.

“Ow my titty!” Anthrax screamed.

I then leapt out of the bathtub and kicked Honda in the coot as she moved in closer. I grabbed her nickel plated .45 and pistol whipped Anthrax unconscious. With both henchwomen neutralized, I moved over to the doctor.

“Nein nein nein!” the man screamed. “Ich spreche kein Englisch. Ich weiß nicht wo ich bin!”

“I don’t want to hear that shit!” I yelled while he stared down my .45. “Where’s Randy?!”

I took the doctor by gunpoint into Randy’s lair. There were computer monitors everywhere with live feeds from CCTV cameras all over the world. Mostly in women’s bathrooms. 

There were also scientists everywhere and a shit ton of beakers.

“Well well well,” Randy said menacingly. “It appears that you foiled my plan.”

“This ends now, Randy.”

“No, you can’t stop me. The LAPD can’t stop me. INTERPOL can’t stop me. Not even unadulterated black tar heroin can stop me! You will never catch me Jimmy, so help me GOD!”

At that moment, men in black shirts began pouring out of every dark corner, firing their AK-47s indiscriminately at me. I used the doctor as a shield while I fired back. 

In the mayhem, Randy disappeared while a timer began a countdown to 0 before 200 tons of dynamite exploded. As the clock ticked down, I jumped through the glass window, falling 14 stories into a dumpster while the warehouse exploded into a magnificent fireball, lighting up the Los Angeles skyline.

When the police and fire department arrived, I chastised the New York police officer with the LAPD for releasing Randy on bail. 

“We didn’t let Randy out on bail. Dat man is dangerous! He escaped weeks ago!” the officer said while shoveling a hot dog into his mouth.

Then a junior officer came running out of the wreckage, claiming they didn’t find the bodies of Randy or anyone else.

“Say, are you sure that you were kidnapped and held against your will and did not just blow up 16 square blocks of West Hollywood because you were high on methamphetamine?” the New York officer asked.

I knew it.

Randy escaped.

We faced off once. But I knew that he’d come back for vengeance.

***

Dick was a Hall of Fame stalker.

Or “private eye”, as he called himself.

I shot up on some ‘roids to help with my low T when I got pissed off.

“That mother fucker,” I though. “He borrowed $15 from me ten years ago and never paid me back.”

I was of course thinking of Nicky Wallz, a bouncer at a strip club I once frequented. I lost touch with him after the joint got shot up in a disastrous FBI raid. 

“I’m gonna beat his ass,” I thought. But I didn’t know where to find him.

Dick was sitting there, cutting away a slice of deer meat with his sawtooth Bowie, when I asked him: “I need you to find me a Nicky Wallz.”

“Aye mate,” he replied. “The price es steep though lad. Ya donnae have a penny to yur name. I just a might be callin n a favour from ya.”

“Just find him.”

Weeks went by. In my restlessness, I began bulking and sculpting. I fought every shit heel in the bar that wanted some, smashing glass and busting heads…all in preparation for my showdown with Nicky Wallz. But Dick was dragging his ass.

“Hey Dick!” I yelled. “What’s the word on Nicky? I told you to find him seven weeks ago. You better not be cruising the the rest stops again.”

“Oy mate, I see ya lookin’ fit lad. But donnae talk to me like tha again. Or else I’ll stab ya in the scrote,” he replied.

“Oh you want some of this?”

“Aye I do.”

We both removed our shirts, displaying our perfectly sculpted abs and chest. Before we fought, we rubbed each other in oil…down our arms, down our legs…before removing our underwear, where I used the oil to rub his magnificent c—…..

Anyways, after venting my frustrations, Dick asked me, “Aye mate, why you bein such a snoot lately? What is it with this Nicky fella?”

I didn’t know how to answer.

“Perhaps I just haven’t noticed how the time has passed,” I said. “I’m getting older. I’m losing friends, acquaintances. Maybe they’ve moved on and I haven’t. I just feel like I’ve learned nothing. Nothing of importance. Nothing about myself.”

We sat in silence for a few moments.

Dick spoke up. “Well lad, I found him weeks ago but didnae wanna tell ya. Maybe let sleepin’ dogs lie yeah?”

Maybe he was right. Nevertheless…

“Where is he?” I asked.

Dick and I went down to the Los Angeles County Hospital, Psych Ward B. The doctor warned us to handle Nicky with utmost care. The nurses were handing out meals to the patients when I walked up to Nicky and slapped the trey out of his hands.

“Recognize me asshole!” I said. 

Amazed, Nicky said, “James, you’re alive old friend?”

“Still?! Old friend?!” I said. “Where’s my $15 you piece of shit?”

“Is that what this is about? Money? Nothing else?” he replied.

“What do you mean?”

“James, when I was 15, I was homeless and sleeping under a car. An older woman found me and took me in. She fed me. Clothed me. And gave me an education. We were close. Too close. We began a forbidden love affair. It was wrong, we both knew that. We tried to hide it, but the authorities found out. They took her away but not before we sired a child. That woman was Jenny, your mother.”

“Horseshit,” I said.

“Not horseshit. My only regret is never having the heart to tell you. After that strip club got shot up to absolute shreds, I never recovered. That’s why I’m here, because I just can’t bear the guilt of knowing who I am.”

Dick and me left the hospital in quiet contemplation. Could it be true? How could my mother have hid this from me?

We wandered back to the car then I pulled out a cigarette. I said to Dick:

“Damn, I should have asked for more than $15.”

***

I’m gonna slap those chilli fries right out your mouth,” Jenny, my mother, said.

“Jenny, I’m just asking you if Nicky Wallz is my father,” I replied. 

“I don’t know who da fuck dis Nicky is, but he can suck my lef nut,” she said. My mother never explained how she got a Brooklyn accent.

“Ma, did you ever take in a homeless kid 30 some years ago?”

“It was da 80s, everybody was doin wacky shit then,” Jenny replied as she took a drag off her cigarette through her stoma.

I couldn’t stand to be around her when she was like this. I started to walk away.

“Where are you goin?” she asked.

“I gotta take a shit Ma!”

Later I was browsing the porno mags in Safeway when a strange woman bumped her cart into me.

“Watch it lady!” I yelled.

It was Anthrax. I haven’t seen her since I escaped from that exploding warehouse.

“Hello James,” she said.

“Anthrax”

“I just thought I should tell you that I am three months sober. I am attending AA and I am currently seeking to make amends to those I have harmed. Therefore, I apologize for drugging and kidnapping you, and putting objects up your rectum.”

I was shocked.

“Well, you are forgiven. And I am sorry for squeezing your tit and pistol whipping you unconscious,” I replied.

“I forgive you as well,” she said.

We both stood there in awkward silence. Finally I spoke up.

“Say, can I get you a cup of coffee?”

“Yes. I would like that,” Anthrax replied stoically.

We didn’t have much to say at the coffee shop. I was still hyped up on the MDMA I took earlier, so I just drank water.

“So what happened to Honda after that deadly explosion that nearly destroyed West Hollywood? Is she okay?” I asked.

“Her face was ripped off and her arms and legs were mangled beyond repair. She survived though, whisked off by the black shirt men to an undisclosed location,” Anthrax replied.

“Well that sucks. Weren’t you two close?”

“Yes. We were sisters in the crime syndicate known as TOILET: Terrorism Or the International League that Engages in Terrorism. Honda rescued me as a small child off the streets of Stockholm and trained me in the ways thievery, extortion, and deception. I owe her my life. I would do anything to find her.”

“But how did you survive that explosion?” I asked.

“I have my ways”

Anthrax continued to sip on her coffee. I took one last gulp of my water.

“Welp, care to have sex?” I asked.

“Yes. I’d like that.”

***

“Dick, you’re gonna have to hide your Ruger collection until dad’s suicidal tendencies go away,” I told my roommate.

Nicky Wallz was recently released from the psych ward. To help get him back on his feet, I agreed to let him stay with Dick and me.

“Aye lad are you sure Nicky’s yer da and wasn’t just trying to get out of paying you $15?” Dick asked.

“I’ve never known Nicky to lie.”

There was a knock on the door. Nicky waddled in completely disheveled and reeking of skid row.

“It’s swell of you guys to take me in. I sure do appreciate it. I’ll try not to be a burden,” Nicky said.

“You just let us know if you need anything.”

Dick called for me into the kitchen. “Aye mate, how long is he gonna be stayin’ with us? The man’s still walkin aroond in his shittee underwear,” he said.

I turned around and Nicky was pissing into an air vent.

“No no dad, the bathroom’s over here.”

Dick was right. I had to find another option.

So I went back to work at the toilet factory and in walked Dale, fresh out of the hospital after taking a sniper round to the leg during a hostage situation weeks earlier.

“Dale how’ve you been you lunatic bastard! Long time, no see,” I tell him.

He was all smiles.

“Boy I tell ya,” Dale said. “This new medication is working out great! I have absolutely no urge to walk in here with my Mossberg 12 Gauge and shoot the place up. Life’s been great!”

“I’m happy for you Dale. But how are you doing living out in the woods all by yourself?Without your family? Without friends?Completely ostracized from society? Not permitted to be within 500 yards of any school or church due to your shameful, shameful deeds?”

“Come to think of it, it is quite lonely out there,” Dale said.

“Well shit Dale, why didn’t you say something?! My father is looking for a place to stay. You two would get along great!”

I’m always happy to play matchmaker. 

So I had that problem solved. Now I just had to take my dad out to Riverside County

***

I haven’t been to Norco since I was mugged behind that high school in 95. 

But I was taking Nicky, my dad, to Dale’s house in my mom’s Saturn Ion. It was a pleasant drive down I-10.

“You know,” Nicky said. “I haven’t been to Norco since I mugged a guy behind that high school in 95.”

“Well hopefully this will be your first steps towards a new beginning,” I said. “Say, when was the last time you’ve seen Jenny?”

“Not since you were born. I’m sure your mother is as beautiful as the day I met her.”

I didn’t reply.

Nicky looked out the window, taking all the sights that Riverside County had to offer. After several minutes of silence, Nicky said:

“You know, I’ve fucked everything up. I’m just a total disaster, a loser, a piece of shit, totally worthless, absolute garbage, just trash, deserve to be castrated, impaled, burned alive, and dumped into the sea. But if I’ve done one thing right in this life, it’s having a son like you. It’s made it all worthwhile.”

We continued to enjoy our drive as father and son.

We arrived at Dale’s cabin outside of town. Dale was outside, firing his rifle aimlessly into the air.

“Now Dale,” I said. “Dad gets depressed and suicidal frequently. So you might have to give him some of your unused medications from time to time.”

Dad went inside to take a nap while I went to the car to get his bags. Something glistened across the horizon out of the corner of my eye. I looked again at the eerie apparition.

“Fuckin Norco,” I thought.

Then the howling of hell echoed across the valley. A legion of bikers, renegades, outcasts, mohawks, and cenobites filled the prairie, ripping up the fields with their choppers, dirt bikes, and jacked up Dodges. Their storm cloud of dirt and smoke moved ever closer.

“Could it be?” I thought.

Dale stood in awe of the ungodly sight, paralyzed by fear. 

“Dale,” I said. “Grab your G36.”

But it was too late. The ragtag army had us surrounded. The leather cladded gang bound both Dale and me and took us to an undisclosed desert location.

We were forced to our knees and the shrouds were lifted from our faces. A hooded figure, decked in black robes appeared before us. The figure slowly began to remove their coverings, revealing a face that neither resembled man nor earthly creature.

I instantly recognized this devilish being.

“Honda,” I gasped. Her face was no longer human. She was more machine than man. 

She walked up to Dale and looked him up and down. “You. I don’t know you,” she said.

“But you, I never forget a face. James.”

“Honda,” I said. “What’s the meaning of this attack? If it’s money you want, then I’ve got some bad news for you.”

“SILENCE!” she yelled. She moved closer to us. “You know how I got this face. You know that you kicked my uterus into sterility. You’ve cursed me to wonder this earth as a nomad, as a castoff. Unwanted by the syndicate. Unwanted by society. This crew you see, we seek not money, or acts of deception, or extortion. We have one aim that unites us all: Revenge.”

“Okay, I’m sorry for kicking your poonan beyond repair,” I said. “But it wasn’t me that detonated all that dynamite. Randy did that. He was trying to cover his tracks. He never cared about you and Anthrax. You were both cannon fodder to whatever his deranged plan was. Come on, Honda! You know that’s true! It’s Randy you want, not me!”

Honda turned around in contemplation. After a long pause, she slammed her hands into the table in front of her, smashing it to bits. After standing over the wreckage, she directed her attention towards me.

“Perhaps you’re right,” she said. “But you and I have some unfinished business.”

Honda then slowly lifted me off the ground, gazing into my eyes, and kneed me square in the dong.

***

“Your dick don’t work,” the doctor said.

“Thank you doctor,” I replied.

Dale and I were found outside of Palm Springs buck naked. We were bound together and gagged. It took awhile for the police to realize we were victims and not nudists.

We were taken to the hospital where I was treated for massive scrotal damage. Dale was alright.

“Aye, don’t worry lad. We’ll get your wee workin again. You watch,” Dick (my Scottish roommate) said.

“Never mind that. I need you to find Honda. It isn’t over between us,” I instructed Dick. 

“Aye”

Dick quickly left the hospital room to begin work. Dale spoke up.

“I’m just glad that we all made it out alive,” he said.

“No one asked you anything,” I said.

Anthrax also came to visit. After Dale and Dick exited, she came to my bedside.

“I need you to tell me everything you know about Honda,” she inquired.

“She seems to possess extraordinary strength. I don’t think she’s human anymore, Anthrax. I think she’s a cyborg. Who the fuck would do that to her? Randy’s a dumbass, there’s no way he could’ve done something like that,” I told her.

“I think I know who.”

“Who? That stupid ass crime syndicate? Honda said that they didn’t want her anymore. That’s why she’s riding around with those dorks like she’s Peter fuckin Fonda,” I replied.

“It’s not Randy. It’s not the syndicate,” Anthrax said.

“Alright. This is getting too complicated and contrived. But if you or Dick find Honda, tell her I’m coming after her,” I said.

“I’ll find her. But please, before you do anything, I need to know if there’s at least an ounce of humanity in her. If there is, I know that I can save her. Please James.”

I agreed. 

As Anthrax began to leave, I grabbed her by the hand.

“I learned from a James Bond movie that before one seeks vengeance, they must first dig two graves,” I said.

“But I’m not seeking vengeance,” Anthrax replied.

“Oh yeah, I am. I mean….please be careful.” 

Anthrax gave a faint smile then departed. I laid in the hospital bed bored and feeling awkward for not feeling like I have to compulsively masturbate. 

“Your mother is on the phone,” a nurse told me.

I reluctantly took the call.

“Ohh my poor Tony,” mom said. “I heard that you were in the hospital!”

“This is James, ma. Who the hell is Tony?”

“What do you mean? I don’t have dementia,” she said. “How’s my sweetheart doing?”

“I’m alright. Is something wrong? I’ve been to the hospital hundreds of times and you’ve never called.”

“I’m just checking up on my favorite son. What are you, a moron?” 

“I’m your only son Ma,” I said. “Anyway, are you sure Nicky is not my father?”

“Did you not read your birth certificate?”

“You put down Lou Diamond Phillips. Is there anything you can tell me about my father?”

“He was a tall glass of water. He could send shivers up and down my body with one touch. He was smooth, suave, with a voice of gold like Sinatra in a younger day. You don’t remind me of him at all,” Ma replied.

That definitely didn’t sound like Nicky.

***

You know, I lost a testicle too in a savage kidnapping plot,” Dale said to me while we were setting up C-4 explosives.

“Did you get it back?” I asked.

Dale and I were putting up booby traps around his cabin outside of Norco. We knew Honda was going to strike again so we wanted to establish home field advantage.

Nicky (my alleged father) was sitting around the campfire staring down the barrel of his .44.

“No no dad,” I said as I took the gun out of his hands.

All three of us sat around the campfire under the Norco moonlight. The air reeked of cow shit.

“What a god forsaken place,” I said.

Dale took in a deep breath of shit stained air.

“I was born here. I grew up here. I lost my virginity here. I got married here. I got divorced here. Got married again. Got divorced again. Lost everything I had. And never gained it back. I’ll probably die here,” Dale said.

“Probably so,” I replied.

Nicky spoke up. “You know, I’m just glad that you boys are out here to protect me. When the FBI shot up that strip joint, I remember that I completely blew out my pants. Shit got everywhere. When they arrested me, they made me sit in my shitty underwear. Then I cried.”

“Don’t worry about it dad,” I said. “Dale and I have faced Honda before. We know what to expect.”

“By the way,” Dale chimed in. “Who the fuck is Honda and why are we in this mess?”

We all looked at each other and shrugged.

“It’s important to not think too much on this,” I said. “The important thing is that we are family, except for Dale, and that we are all going to help each other out this train wreck we find ourselves in.”

We nodded and started to enjoy the campfire.

Finally I asked Nicky, “So what do you remember about mom?”

He smiled and said, “what a lovely woman. Legs, ass, tits. The whole package. Eyes as blue as the sky. But a warm heart. She knew how to brighten up my day.”

I looked back at the fire and thought that doesn’t describe mom at all.

Finally Dick called.

“Aye lad, I’ve been tailin’ Anthrax all dee. I’m watching her outside a trap hoose n Pasadena,” Dick said. “I donnae think you’ll like who she’s with mate.”

“Randy,” I said.

“Aye”

That bitch, I thought. I knew she was going to double cross me and I fell into her trap. Instead of a battle, we were now facing a war on two fronts.

“Then you might get your M2s, M4s, AKs, AR-15s, 44s, 94, and 22s,” I told Dick. “We’re headed for a Mexican standoff.”

***

While sitting around the fire, Dale was free style rapping like a shitty 90s PSA.

Then the first explosions went off. A booby trap was tripped. Dale and I threw on our bandoliers, our machetes, and our AKs.

I tossed an AR-15 over to Nicky. “When in doubt, just spray bullets indiscriminately across that tree line,” I told him. “If they catch you, go ahead and use the weapon on yourself.”

Both Dale and I penetrated deep into the woods, deep into the cold of night. Another explosive went off. Someone, somewhere was close.

“Drop your weapons,” we heard. 

We dropped them.

We obviously made shitty commandos.

Dale and I were surrounded by men in black uniforms and state of the art technology. They patted us down and escorted us through the dense woods to a large, portable, tank-like structure that resembled something out of Avatar.

How this structure moved undetected through Southern California is a mystery.

We were brought up to the bridge of this mega tank, and just like when Dale and I faced Honda, we were placed on our knees and presented with a series of theatrics that culminated in a villain presenting himself.

“Cut the bullshit, Randy,” I said. “We know it’s you.”

“Damn,” he replied. “But this tank is pretty cool, huh?”

“What are you and the dumb syndicate up to now?” I asked. “Poison the world’s food supply? Creating a race of super humans for world domination?”

“How did you know?” Randy replied.

“Just leave me out of it,” I said.

Then the black shirts brought in Nicky and placed him in front of Randy.

“We found this asshole with a rifle in his mouth. He didn’t even put up a fight,” one of the soldiers said.

“Damn it dad!” I said. “You were supposed to at least get off ONE shot before you offed yourself!”

“Sorry son,” Nicky replied. “I’m just not very good in firefights.”

Randy spoke up.

“Son? Dad? What’s this about?” he asked.

“Nicky’s my dad,” I replied. “I may die today, but at least I’ll die knowing who my family is.”

“Nicky’s not your dad,” Randy said. “I am your dad.”

“Bullshit,” I replied. 

“It’s true! I thought I told you. Guess I forgot . Anyhow, your mom and me were partners in another syndicate before we joined TOILET (Terrorism Or the International League that Engages in Terrorism). Unfortunately it was the 80s, so we were coked up and fucked, then you were born. So she left the syndicate. 

Years later, the syndicate wanted to cover up its tracks, so I deployed my other son, Nicky, to kill you and your mother. But then the FBI shot the fuck out that strip club and Nicky got amnesia. After realizing that you were just some loser, the syndicate decided it wasn’t worth spending resources to kill you. 

So Nicky, I’m also your father.”

I felt the world disappear beneath my feet. My heart sunk. I knew it was true.

“So what do we do now?” I asked. “I know the truth.”

“Excellent question,” Randy said.

Out of the shadows appeared Anthrax in full battle rattle. “I say we finish the job,” she said.

“Great idea!” Randy said.

“Traitor,” I said to Anthrax.

The soldiers grabbed Dale and placed him up against the wall. Randy took out his flame thrower and began taunting us.

“This has been quite a reunion,” Randy said. “You thought that Anthrax was your friend. You thought that you could stop me. But your plans just went up in flames.” 

Randy then unleashed the full wrath of hell onto Dale. There were no screams. Dale just danced around as a gigantic flame before falling to the ground. What was once a man was now just charred, smoldering, remains. 

“Was that supposed to scare me? Because I just shit my pants,” I said. 

Just then the structure began to violently shake. Then there was a massive explosion and soldiers began to man their stations.

Honda launched her attack.

TO BE CONTINUED

Jack Hardcock: The Legend Continues (Part XII)

“Care for a Fruit Roll-up?” I asked Layla. I was riding in the passenger seat while she was driving down I-10. We we’re leaving California for good.

“No,” she simply replied.

“More for me then.”

We didn’t say much. Before we left, I loaded Donovan’s dead body into the trunk. The two of us were still covered in his blood.

“I’ve been wondering, Layla,” I said, “have you gave any thought to what I told you back there at the strip club?”

“The fuck are you talking about now?”

“You know…about me being madly in love with you, God sending you to me, and all that jazz…”

Layla then swerved off to the shoulder and slammed on the brakes. The sudden stoppage made me spit out my Fruit Rollup.

“Get out,” she demanded.

“But why?”

“I’ve known you for maybe four hours and you’re already the craziest son of a bitch I’ve met.”

“Layla, I’m just asking you a question. I have feelings, ya know? And you’re not being very receptive to them!”

“I’ve got my boyfriend’s dead body in the trunk, and you want to talk about FEELINGS? Who do you think I am? Your mother? Your therapist? Fuck you AND your feelings!”

“But…but…I know that God…”

“You think that God is on your side?” Layla interrupted. “Then good for you buddy! Maybe he’ll give you a ride cuz I certainly won’t! Now get out of MY car!”

I stepped out of the vehicle stunned. But before I shut the door, I leaned forward to say one more thing. “Layla, I just want to say that I will always love…,” but she squealed the tires, with the sudden force shutting the door closed, then off she went…going 9-0, eastbound down I-10.

Other than the blood soaked clothes on my back, I had nothing. The sun was just dawning over the desert horizon.

About five miles down the road was a lone gas station. I walked inside, grabbed a biscuit, and tossed it into the microwave. Then I walked up to the station attendant.

“Gotta take a shit,” I said.

“Bathroom’s down the hall.”

While glancing through a porno mag while sitting on the toilet (I must’ve been in Nevada), I heard a commotion outside. I quickly wiped my ass and stepped out of the bathroom. The attendant was being held at gunpoint by a couple of bikers. One of them was holding a .38 special.

Before they noticed me, I grabbed my biscuit from the microwave. “You guys should really try the food here,” I said as I chewed on the bread.

The biker with the .38 turned his weapon on me. “Give us your money too, pal!” he ordered.

So I took out my wallet and pulled out a $5 bill. “I’ll tell you what,” I said, “I’ll make you a deal: you give me that .38 and I’ll give you this $5 bill.”

“Or else what?” the biker chuckled.

I took another bite of the biscuit. “Welp,” I wondered aloud, “then I hope you’ve accepted Jesus into your life. Cuz you’re about to meet him.”

The two bikers nervously cackled while sweat poured down their faces. I stared them down while continuing to eat the biscuit. Finally one of them looked over to the other. “Can you believe this jackass?” he asked.

Then I threw the rock hard biscuit into his face, wrestled the .38 out of his hands, and shot dead the other biker. With the last thief on the ground and my knee to his throat, I pointed the .38 between his eyes. “I’ve already sent two people to hell today: Donovan McNabb and your friend here. Shall I make it a third?” I asked him.

The biker cried as he shook his head ‘no’.

“Then accept Jesus in your life,” I said.

“I accept! I ACCEPT!” he yelled.

“Then I’ll see you in heaven,” I replied. I pulled the trigger then bits of skull and brain matter went all over the floor.

I stood up straight and secured the .38 in the front of my pants. Then I looked over to the attendant. “Sorry for messing up your floor,” I said, “and for clogging your toilet.”

THE END.

JACK HARDCOCK WILL RETURN

Jack Hardcock: The Legend Continues (Part IX)

“So you’re telling me that you spent three hours in a strip club and Layla Huffington wasn’t there?” Peter Tucker asked me while we were staying at the Red Roof Inn off 91. “Meanwhile, I had to smell Donovan McNabb’s farts while sitting in a van under the blazing sun?” he continued.

“That’s correct,” I replied.

“Why are you lying?”

“Why is it so hard for you to believe that I’d spend three hours in a strip club?”

“You’re a Christian man for fuck’s sake!”

“I was doing my job!”

“Goddamnit Jack! You’re hiding something!”

“No!” I screamed, “NOOOOOOOOOO!” I threw my .38 into the mirror, shattering it into a million pieces. The gun itself, my most prized possession, was destroyed. “Pete, you don’t know the burdens I carry,” I said, “men have families, people they love. I have no one. Men have friends, people that understand them. I have no one. I have been, and I fear always will be, an instrument of God’s wrath. Only Jesus can understand the weight I carry on these shoulders!”

I stood silently by the window while Peter picked up the crippled .38. “You broke your little gun,” he said.

I said nothing.

“Sally Wally was right about you back in Cleveland,” Peter continued, “you are a menace. I know you know where Layla Huffington is. So get her and take her back to the pit of hell where you come from. But know this: today won’t be the last time you’ll see me. I will find you. You are getting what’s coming to you.”

Peter grabbed his coat and slammed the hotel door. I poured a shot of bourbon and joined Donovan on the patio where he was smoking a joint.

“What was all that commotion about?” he asked.

“It was nothing.”

Donovan took another hit off his joint and began to stammer. “You know Jack,” he finally uttered, “I’ll never forget what you did for me back in El Segundo.”

“What do you mean?”

“Shooting that knife-wielding porno guy in the face like that. That really meant something.”

“It was all instinctual. I would have done it for anybody.”

“Yeah but…it’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me. I’m really thankful that you mysteriously appeared to me on the streets of Oakland. After Layla left me, I thought everything was over. But I didn’t realize that this was only the beginning of my journey. While I still want to face her, I feel like I’m becoming whole again. And for that, I feel like I owe you one.”

I took a swig from my bourbon and looked out to the Riverside cityscape below. “I’m gonna cash in on that favor immediately,” I said to Donovan. “I’m going back to the Glory Hole again tonight and I don’t want you there. But I’m gonna need a SHIT TON of quarters.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

Meet William Shitz (part xii)- conclusion

After I shot Archibald for his supposed “dereliction of duty”, he managed to survive.

“Maybe we’ll just call it even,” the old butler said as he held his hand over the gushing shotgun wound. He placed his arm around my shoulder and I carried him back to the estate.

Darla regained consciousness after being choked out by her dying, naked father. “Is he finally dead?” she asked.

I nodded.

“About fucking time,” she replied, “let’s leave that crazy old bastard’s body out in the woods.”

Everyone agreed.

We all returned to the estate and shared a bottle of brandy. Archibald was looking a little pale due to the massive blood loss. Darla was happy to be home. “What the fuck was up with that arctic fox?” she asked.

I swirled around my glass while I pondered. “I guess it symbolized Mr. Shitz’s soul,” I said. “At his moment of death, the fox took up his spirit. Now Mr. Shitz is truly free; free from man-made constraints, free to live the life he always wanted. And more importantly, he took up my spiritual burdens by becoming the Angel of Death, and bestowing up me full humanity; the greatest gift he ever gave anyone. Or some shit like that. I dunno.”

“Okay good. Glad I wasn’t the only one that saw it,” Darla replied. “Because I was REALLY tripping balls out there.”

We all had a good laugh, including Archibald who continued bleeding all over the couch. Then it occurred to me:

“Did we get Allen Funt out of that hole?”

THE END

*****

Like what your read?

No?

Well the other day, while I was harassing strangers at the airport, I saw a gentleman carrying around these books:

After pestering him for a few minutes, he asked me “are you some kind of fucking moron?” Then he told me where I can find them: Dead Star Press. Moreover, to get me to leave him alone, he said I can use the promo code ‘BM5’ to get 5% off when I checkout at the website. (Then the police escorted me out of the terminal)

And after reading Joseph D Newcomer’s ‘Darkest Day’ and the Press Anthology, it occurred to me: “I’m terrible at this writing business.” So now I leave all that nonsense to Newcomer and his stable of talented writers at Dead Star Press and I will never write another sentence again.

Plus they make really dope shirts:

So stop writing. And stop reading other writers for fuck’s sake! It’s over. And Dead Star Press won. So use the code ‘BM5’ to get 5% off your next purchase!

meet william shitz (part I)

Alright, here’s the beginning of September’s story. Hopefully it will be tragic, heartwarming, thought-provoking, sappy, lovey-dovey, etc etc. Just like you’d find in any shitty Hallmark movie or 90’s Oscar-bait picture.

Don’t hold your breath though. I am pulling this story right out my ass. Maybe it’ll good though. I have a good feeling about this one.

William Shitz woke up the same time every morning: 4:30AM.

He’d look in the mirror, trim his mustache, and evacuate his bowels. He’d always use two squares of toilet paper. No more, no less.

His bowel movement was a little more painful than usual this particular morning. But he thought nothing of it. After wiping his ass, William departed to his study to read the morning newspaper.

“Can you believe this Archibald?” William asked the butler in his thick transatlantic accent.

“Belief what sir?” asked Archibald.

“The Dow 500 crashed 8 million points yesterday. We must be in a recession!”

“Nonsense, sir,” Archibald said, “you’re a billionaire. None of that will affect you.”

“Mmm, right you are,” William said as he sipped his Earl Grey. “Do tell me, have I missed any phone calls this morning?”

“It’s 5am, sir. It won’t be start of business for another couple of hours.”

“Right. Well I better get moving then, I don’t want to fall behind on the day’s schedule.”

William Shitz removed his smoking jacket, put on his business attire and ascot then climbed into the back of his Rolls-Royce Phantom III. As Archibald was driving the vehicle, he handed the gold-plated phone back to William. “Your daughter is on the line, sir,” he said.

“Darla Shitz,” William said into the phone, “how have you been my dear?”

“Dad, I’m ready to come home,” Darla replied.

“Now now, Darla, you know I wish to be called ‘father’.”

“Father, I’ve been in France for six years! I know that it was rough on you when mother passed, but I want to be back with my family!”

“Now’s not a good time, darling. I must be going, I have a busy day ahead of me. Goodbye.” William abruptly hung up the phone and handed it back to Archibald.

“How is Darla doing, Mr. Shitz?” Archibald asked. “I would love to see her again.”

“Oh fine, fine,” William replied, “but I’m afraid she wishes to stay in France a little longer.”

The Rolls pulled up to Shitz Factory, a large DoD contractor that develops and manufactures weapons used to drop on villages in the Middle East. It was personally owned by Mr. William Shitz himself.

“I haven’t had a day off in two years,” said Allan Funt, Vice-President of operations and William’s right-hand man. “I’m overworked, I’ve developed a drinking problem, and my wife is fucking the mailman. All I’m asking is a couple of days off.”

“I’m sorry Allen,” Mr. Shitz replied, “but I expect all of my employees to give the same dedication that I gave into building this company for a laughable fraction of what I make. That goes for you as well.”

Allan began to tear up. For a fleeting moment, William felt a degree of sympathy for him. “Now now, Allen,” William said, “you’re my most valuable employee. Keep up the good work and maybe I’ll give you a day off next year.”

Allan nodded, wiped away a tear, and diligently went back to work. As William was returning to his office, he felt a sharp pain in his stomach.

“Are you alright, sir?” Archibald asked.

“I don’t understand, Archibald,” William said, “I already had a bowel movement this morning.”

His stomach continued to cramp. He rushed into his private office and on into the bathroom then dropped his pants. He noticed that he already soiled his silk underwear.

William continued to spray shit out of his rectum and into his diamond-made toilet. After a violent two minutes, he grabbed his usual two squares of toilet paper and wiped his crack. When he looked back at the paper, he was appalled.

It was covered in blood.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Jack hardcock: Christian detective (part xi)

“Shit!” I yelled. “After killing those bald eagles, I’m all outta bullets!”

“Jack,” Pete replied, “if you can get us out of this, you might make me a believer after all.”

That was all the motivation I needed. So I said a prayer: “Lord, everything that’s happened so far has led me to this point. Give me the strength to kill Sally and lead Peter Tucker to Salvation in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Right then, as the Goodyear Blimp hovered above, Sally, who was piloting the aircraft, released dozens of live hand grenades down onto Progressive Field. Pete and I weaved and bobbed our way through one explosion after the next but when the last grenade landed, it didn’t explode.

That’s when the Lord gave me a sign.

I saw Deshaun Watson, who was supposed to the throw the first pitch in the celebrity baseball game, cowering in the corner and pissing himself in the dugout. “Deshaun!” I yelled, “we need your arm strength! If you pick up this live hand grenade and hurl it back at the blimp before it detonates, you might be redeemed in the eyes of the public for all those disgusting sexual acts you did to those masseuses. Maybe not though. But what other choice you got?! Hurry before it explodes!”

Watson gathered up the courage, climbed out of the dugout, picked up the grenade, and with all of his strength he launched it towards the blimp.

He was right on the money. The grenade exploded, and the blimp came tumbling down onto the field.

Sally was in a daze when she climbed out of the wreckage. “Holt!” Pete ordered as he lifted his 9mm towards her. But Sally was too quick. She drew her weapon and shot Pete in the abdomen.

Then she turned her gun towards me and laughed maniacally. “I finally have you where I want you, Jack Hardcock!” Sally said, “Prepare to meet your maker, Cleveland scum!”

Sally then ripped an entire clip into my direction, but to her surprise, every bullet missed. I dodged my way over to Pete’s position. With one hand over the bullet wound, he tossed me his 9mm with the other. “Pete,” I said, “without my .38, I’m useless!”

“I believe in you, Jack,” he replied, “have faith!”

I lifted the 9mm and emptied five bullets into Sally. As she dropped to her knees, I walked towards her, still aiming the weapon. “But why, Jack?” she asked, “I was only trying to clean up the streets. Wouldn’t your God approve?”

“No Sally,” I said, “Vengeance is the Lord’s. And I am His instrument.”

I fired one more round into Sally’s skull and her body fell to the ground.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Jack hardcock: Christian detective (part ix)

“What are you gonna do Jack?” Peter Tucker asked me at the FBI flophouse. I was washing local Cleveland gangster Gregg Poppovich’s blood off my hands.

“I’m gonna do what the Lord should have done a long time ago,” I said, “I’m gonna send her back to hell. Right where she belongs.”

“Say it ain’t so, Jack,” Pete replied, “are you actually losing your faith?”

I grabbed a cheap towel and began drying my hands. “I never question the ways of God,” I said, “but I sometimes wonder if He really has forsaken us. He’s certainly done so to Cleveland.”

Pete poured two glasses of whiskey and handed one to me. “We’ve always hated each other, Jack,” he said, “in fact I despise the ground you walk on. Someday I hope you die a slow agonizing death, preferably by fire or some means of disembowelment. You’re a piece of shit and I would love to grab this bottle of whiskey, shove it up your ass, and throw you out the window. However, unlike you, I have restraint. But goddamnit Jack, I’ve always respected your faith. And I’ll drink to that.”

“Thanks Pete,” I replied, “I needed that pep talk. It’s tough out here on the streets. It’s tough to make friends when they always end up dead. At least the Chief and Gregg found Salvation before their deaths. I do find consolation in that. I hope that someday you’ll find Peace through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

“Fuck that shit,” Pete said, “a lot of good that did to your friends. They found a guarantee into Heaven and next thing you know, they’re dead. That’s not for me Jack. I need the constant threat of Hell to keep me alive. That’s how you survive these streets.”

I shook my head. “You’re too short sided Pete.”

“No, dipshit. I just ain’t stupid.”

“Well, whatever,” I said as I downed the whiskey, “we’ve got a demon on the loose. And if there’s one thing that I’ve learned about the Lord is that He always vanquishes His enemies. Specifically through MY .38.”

“What a pussy ass weapon,” Pete replied.

As he raised the whiskey glass to his mouth, I fired a round right through the glass. Shards and liquid went everywhere.

“Alright, now I see what you mean,” Pete said as he wiped away whiskey that splashed on his face. “So what’s the plan? How are you gonna get to Sally?”

“Thankfully we cleaned up the blood and brains from that guy I shot at Progressive Field,” I replied. “Yeah, I probably shouldn’t have killed him, but what’s done is done. Hopefully she won’t notice he’s missing and she’ll move forward with her plan.”

“And then?”

“And then?” I thought, “God will provide a way.”

“That sounds like a stupid plan.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

paris tx

There are few scenes in the history of film that hit me harder than the Super 8 sequence in Paris, Texas.

Rarely do films like this get made. Especially now. Not without a dose of heavy handed social commentary and violence.

That’s not the case with Paris, Texas. It’s subject is simple: one man’s inability to face his problems. All of this juxtaposed against the vast American landscape that’s both empty and crowded…dead and alive. Wim Wenders’ vision of America is embodied by the character Travis, played by the enigmatic Harry Dean Stanton.

The first time I watched this, it was almost like a religious experience. I was 10 or 11 years old and stayed up late while watching cable to see some tities. Fortunately, nothing was on Cinemax so I switched over to HBO. Paris, Texas was playing.

I don’t know why I kept watching it (probably because you see some Aurore Clement side boob), but next thing I know, I was fully engrossed in the story. It was the first movie where, when it ended, I didn’t know what hit me.

It was probably at that moment when it occurred to me: THIS is why people love movies.

Some people hate Paris, Texas. Some say it’s too slow. Some don’t like Travis because he abandoned his family.

I personally like movies that take their time. And if you don’t like Travis’ decisions, it’s not like the movie presents him as mensch.

In fact, Travis…along with his wife Jane…are presented as two VERY troubled people. From the perspective of Travis, he had to leave at the end because he was utterly broken. I would go as far as to say that Travis’ entire existence consists of (unintentionally) ruining people’s lives.

This film is not only about Travis trying to reunite his wife and child (Hunter), but it’s also about ruining the lives of his brother Walt and his wife Anne who took custody of Hunter during his disappearance.

Another heartbreaking scene is when Anne fails to convince Travis and Hunter to return home, and she goes to lie down in Hunter’s bed. Even though Hunter wasn’t her actual son, she was still attached to him. And that’s the last scene Anne is in, never to be mentioned again.

But Wenders’ direction mixes realism with a childlike perspective (which resembles Travis’ emotional state) quite well. So, I think, that permits me to have a pessimistic interpretation of the ending: there was no way that Jane would maintain custody of Hunter, and Hunter would return to Walt and Anne with a better sense of his “real” family, which would likely cause further damage to everyone involved. Meanwhile, Travis, once again, ran away from it all.

Is my interpretation correct? I dunno. But that’s how art works.

So do yourself a favor: stay up late one night and watch Paris, Texas.

according to simon (part I)

Time to shit or get off the pot.

I’ve had this story in my head for awhile and just now acted on it.

I originally wrote an introduction but then said fuck it. All you need to know is that this is historical fiction, perhaps my least favorite genre, but this blog is all about challenging myself as a writer. So I’m giving this a go.

Just imagine if you were some nobody that got caught up in an incident that you believed had little significance, but it was actually the most important event in all of Western Civilization. I want to explore how reality turns to myth. I guess that’s the impetus behind this story.

I dunno, we’ll see how this goes…

Ain’t promising nothing.

***

Jerusalem, Circa 30 CE

Roman Judea is under the governorship of Pontius Pilate. Yeshua from Galilee has amassed a small yet devoted number of followers as messianic fervor sweeps the region. After causing a ruckus at the Jerusalem Temple during Passover, Yeshua is tried and sentenced to death by crucifixion.

With their leader dead, the followers of Yeshua await their fates…

…one such follower, and childhood friend of Yeshua, is Simon, the fisherman of Bethesda…

Joseph (of Arimathea) knocked me on my ass. He continued to berate me as I laid out on the ground.

“Do you know how hard it was for me to not turn you over to the Romans?!” he screamed. “All of these young ones,” Joseph then pointed to Thomas, John, Andrew, Levi, Jacob, and Mary, “…you and that idiot friend of yours could have gotten them KILLED!”

I leaned up and wiped the blood from my lip. I couldn’t feel a thing. I was too drunk. “Don’t worry Joseph,” I said, “you’ll never see my face again.”

“You’re damn right I’ll never see your face again! You have until sun up to get out of Jerusalem. If you’re not gone by then, so help me God YOU’LL be crucified next!”

Jude spoke up. “What about Yeshua’s body? Surely you didn’t leave him at Golgotha. It’s the Passover.”

“Do you know what I had to do Jude?” Joseph asked. “I had to talk to Pilate. Yeah! Face to fucking face! Luckily for all of you, he barely remembered this morning’s fiasco so I was permitted to take him off the cross. As for the Sanhedrin…they’re PISSED and will probably be looking for you guys. Which is why you better get the fuck outta here!”

“Just tell me where he’s buried,” Jude replied.

“I’m not telling you!” Joseph said.

Levi spoke up. “Just tell him father.”

Joseph took a deep breath to cool himself. “Because my idiot son here was an admirer of Yeshua,” he said, “his body has been placed in my family tomb TEMPORARILY, at least until all of this shit blows over. Then I will remove his remains. Now: please leave the city.”

Joseph departed the tavern and took Levi with him. The rest of the group stood around aimlessly. Jacob helped me off the ground. “Do we go back to Galilee?” he asked.

“I sure as hell am!” I replied.

“But…what about…”

“What about what?!”

“The Kingdom of God?”

“The Kingdom of God? Jacob, your brother is DEAD! He’s not coming back! If you know what’s good for you, you will return to Galilee and kiss your mother and tell her how sorry you are for your older brother’s death.”

Jacob began to weep and I instantly regretted my words.

He was only a kid.

“I’m sorry,” I said, “this was all my fault. I shouldn’t have agreed to come to Jerusalem. All of this could have been avoided.”

“I can’t go back,” Jacob said. “I can’t face her.”

He told me that he was staying in Jerusalem. I didn’t know what else to say to him. So I patted him on the back and he departed the Cyrean’s tavern. I thought I’d ever see him again.

“I’m going to Damascus,” Jude said, “I’ve got some connections there. Maybe now just wasn’t the time. I….”

“Let it go Jude,” I interrupted.

“But Simon, maybe this was just the beginning of something big…perhaps the end for the Romans.”

I laughed. “Are we experiencing the same reality? We just got our asses handed to us. Do you really think we can bring down the Romans?”

“Why are you here?! Did you not see all of those followers in Capernaum? In Cana? In Caesarea?!”

“I was his friend, Jude. I knew all of this was getting to his head, but I said nothing. I let the rest of you talk him into coming to Jerusalem. I said nothing. I let him go to the temple. I knew what he was going to do. But I said nothing. Well now I’m telling YOU something: go back to Damascus or wherever you’re from, and forget all of this happened. And I will go back to Bethesda where I will regret for the rest of my life that I was never able to bring Yeshua’s body to his mother.”

“And what of the Romans? What will you do if they ever find out what you did here?”

I laughed again as I drank another cup of wine. “They don’t care enough about me,” I said, “but if they did ever find me, I will tell them to send me to Rome so that I can tell the Caesar to kiss my ass.”

Jude shook his head. “Goodbye Simon.”

“So long Jude!”

As I was filling the wine skins, Thomas approached me. “Should I go to Egypt?” he asked.

“The world is your oyster, Thomas,” I said, “I’m going home.”

The two of us embraced for the last time. I thanked the Cyrean for sheltering us then my brother Andrew and I left the tavern. Maybe it was the wine, but as we were leaving Jerusalem, I was seeing Yeshua’s face everywhere. The guilt was unbearable.

Andrew wasn’t at all affected by the day’s events. As we traveled the road back to Galilee under the cover of night, he was cackling. “Boy, Joseph licked you good,” he said.

Andrew was a simple man.

“That’s because he’s a member of the Sanhedrin,” I replied, “if they ever found out he provided aid and cover to us, they’ll stone him for sure.”

As we stopped along a creek bank for the night, I laid out my bed. As I walking away towards the tree line, Andrew asked where I was going.

“Gotta take a shit,” I said.

As I got out of earshot of him, I kneeled down behind a tree and vomited. I closed my eyes for a few moments. All I could envision was Yeshua’s smiling face. Then I wept uncontrollably.

Finally I stood up and walked back to the camp where I found Andrew picking his nose. “Boy I can’t wait get back to fishin,” he said.

I laid down on my bed, looking up to the sky. “We’re not going back to Bethesda,” I said. “We’re going back to Jerusalem.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

2051: a space monstrosity (part vii)

“It is the King’s wish that your three female crew members join his harem. In exchange, we will grant you land rights on Ishnar, allowing you to remain here permanently,” Hazov declared to me in front of the Royal Council.

“What if they deny the King’s wish?” I retorted.

“Then you and your crew will be asked to leave.”

“Hazov, I can’t make them do anything. Those three crew members are distinguished women in their own right. I do not own them.”

“Those are the conditions on which you may stay on Ishnar.”

“Unacceptable,” I said, “I am responsible for the safety and well-being of my crew. Under no conditions would they submit to this demand.”

Hazov then whispered to one of the advisers. They convened privately for a few moments. “Alright,” Hazov finally spoke up, “then the King will accept one of your female officers for his harem: Commander Mwangi.”

I tried to hide the anger boiling beneath. “Under Space Fleet guidelines,” I responded, “we are ordered to respect the customs of extraterrestrial cultures. But I cannot submit my crew these demands, not without discussing it with them first. Please allow me to return to the Sagan where I will meet with my crew.”

“Of course, Captain.”

I was bluffing. I knew the crew wouldn’t agree to these terms but I needed time to find other options.

When I returned to the Sagan, Dr. Jackass pulled me aside. “Valdez is indeed pregnant,” he said, “we ran a DNA test and the father is Smashhouse. Yah was correct.”

“Fuck me running!” I replied.

***

I went underground to meet with Yah again. The guards refused to let me through. “Look,” I told one of them, “Hazov has granted me unrestricted access to Yah.”

“We need an explanation for your visit,” the guard said.

“I just need to go over with Yah the court proceedings on Earth should he stand trial,” I replied. “That’s all.”

“I need to confirm this with Hazov.”

“Don’t waste your time, Hazov’s time, and my time. You’re being ridiculous.”

We had a stare down for a few moments before he let me through. Another guard escorted me to Yah’s chamber.

“Can we have some privacy please?” I asked the guard. When he was out of earshot, Yah spoke up.

“I knew you’d be back,” he said.

“Of course you did.”

“We got off on the wrong foot Captain. But I can help you with your problem.”

“What is my problem?”

“Your ship doesn’t work and you can’t stay on Ishnar.”

“So? Maybe I can find another corner of this planet for my crew to live on.”

“The King of Ishnar rules this entire planet. If he ever found you and your crew, he would kill all of you. Face it: the customs of Ishnar is incompatible with Earth’s. You know this to be true.”

“How can you help me then? Can you fix thrusters, hydrogen drives, and hibernation chambers?”

“Through me, all things are possible.”

“Do you agree to do this?”

“You have my word, Captain.”

“What about Earth? It’s gone. Can you help us rebuild the planet?”

“I’ve only ever wanted what’s best for humanity.”

“Okay then. If you go back on your word, I will not hesitate to eject you into outer space where you’ll spend eternity in your chamber.”

“My powers are limited in this chamber. The only way I can repair your ship is if you release me from it.”

Son of a bitch, he was right. I knew he was right. And he knew that I knew he was right. We were playing each other. I had to make a choice.

I called the guard over. “Bring Yah’s chamber to the surface,” I ordered. “We’re bringing him back to Earth.”

TO BE CONTINUED…