|The Story||The Authors|
|Hickey was pissed. Jeremy Crink Had been a boil on his ass long enough. He had a good mind to suspect that Crink was involved in the Brinkley case. Hickey was put off by the way Crink would toggle back and forth between surfer dude lingo, and trite well articulated formalities. Perhaps there were other kinks in the Crink as well. "Is 'at right there Crink? Since when 'you become such a stickler for paperwork boy?"|
|"Ooooh, that! It ain't me, it's the ol' man. The ol' Mortster. He's fuckin' anal about the paperwork, cha! I swear, sometimes I think I should go back to my old job drivin' a UPS truck. But this job is way cooler, dontcha think, Hickey-boy?" said Crink flashing the 'hang loose' hand sign.|
Officer Hickey was by that point literally speechless.
"Listen, there, prettyboy," continued Crink, "We'll have your Mommmmy lookin' like a goddamn prom-queen when I'm through with her. Ol' 'Magic Fingers' Crink'll rouge that blue out of her face... A high-collared dress, of course... You'll never be able to tell she hung herself... Course, I imagine the whole town already knows, what with that loud-mouthed Chief of yours holding forth over pie and coffee down the diner, prob'ly even as we speak... Tut, tut, tut..."
Officer Hickey sucked tears back into his tear-glands. If there was one person in this world he was not going to let see him cry, it was Jeremy Crink...
And Crink, with the naturally plastic empahty of a born mortician, saw this, and seemed to delight in egging it further on. "There, there," he crooned. "Oh you poor big man. It's okay. Jeremy's here. It's okay. You let loose all you want..."
With which pronouncement Officer Hickey could not contain himself. Floodgates opened. Boo-hoo-hoo echoed clarion through the night. Jeremy, comforting Officer Hickey as one would a baby, looked over the blubbering policeman's shoulder and grinned malevolently into the dark woods on either side of the highway.
"Dude! Hey, you wouldn't mind if I..." Jeremy's gaze moved from the dark
distant woods to Officer Hickey's puffy tear-streaked face. "Nah, nevermind."
"What?" said Hickey, wiping his nose on his shirt sleeve.
"Well, I was wondering..." Jeremy's gaze moved back towards the woods. "If I - that is my friends and I - could... That is if you didn't mind, if we could..." he looked back at Hickey's piteous visage. "Nah, you wouldn't go for it."
"For God's sake, man! Spit it out!" Officer Hickey was not known to be a patient man.
"Well, could we eat your mother?"
Officer Hickey pulled away from Jeremy Crink in horror. "What!?!"
"Can we, you know, eat 'er?"
"What kind of a ghoulish freak are you?"
"Now don't be that way, dude. Look, she's already dead, it's not like we'll have to kill her and she's not going to know the difference. Think of the money you'll save on funeral costs." Jeremy said cheerily. Officer Hickey was stunned.
Then the floodgates opened once again. Tears, dreadful tears streamed hotly
down his cheeks. As if it weren't bad enough that Mother had killed herself,
now this macabre fiend wanted to knacker her corpse up and eat her with an
apple in her mouth. Every emotion he had ever felt for his mother welled up in
the battered moth eaten organ that was Officer Matthew J Hickey's heart. He
doubled over in a panting sob. Gasping for breath as his soul wrestled with
itself to resolve the endless torture of his love/hate realtionship with his
newly departed mother.
Crink putting on his best mortician's face bent to comfort him. As soon as he felt the reassuring pat and "there there, my man, Cool out a bit. We got time." Hickey snapped. He roared and screamed and came up with fists flying. Crink was caught off guard by the first punch and fell to the muddy shoulder. "Whoa dude! I was only jok.." he began, but Hickey never let him finish. Thirty five years of pent up anger and frustration and humiliation spewed out of him like water from a hydrant. He pummeled Crink mercilessly. It all came out.
And so he beat the living shit and bejeesus out of Crink.
He did not imagine it would be a pretty sight when he was finished... Officer Matthew Hickey stepped back from the ruin he'd pounded Crink into, only to find — when the scales of rage had fallen from his eyes — that the bloody figure he held now by the labels was not Crink but the corpse of his own mother! He screamed and dropped her, leapt back and stood shaking, silently gibbering to himself like the dribbling, moon-maddened narrator at the end of some lesser H.P. Lovecraft. Crink stood ten feet away, leaning contentedly against a tree and chuckling to himself. "Well, Officer, I guess me and the boys won't have to work her over with the meat tenderizing hammers — why, you done pounded the rigor mortis outta her. Christ, boy, you fixin' to make meatloaf out of your Mama or something?"
"You fiend! You horrible, ghoulish fiend!" shouted Officer Hickey between
"Mother," he blubbered, cradling her lifeless, ragdoll-like body. "I'm sorry mother. I'm so sorry." he buried his face in the crook of her cold twisted neck and sobbed.
"Look if it will make you feel better we could kill you and eat you along with your mother." smiled Jeremy.
|Why did Jeremy shiver? Jeremy shivered because he experienced, just then and there, an exquisite gustatory deja vu of the first time he tasted human flesh. His entire being squirmed with the pleasure of it, and his salivary glands brimmeth'd biblically o'er. June, 1973...|
Jeremy was working alone at the mortuary that languid, early-summer afternoon.
The first cicadas of the year tuned their instruments against one another ("I
said C, you idiot! That's a motherfucking E-flat!") and the Canadian
rock trio Rush's "Fly By Night" was making the AOR airwaves even more
unbearable than usual when he heard the screech of brakes outside the
loading-dock. Another stiff. They had brought in — one of those roving
mercenary ambulances — a young girl who had died en route to the hospital. Her
heart had stopped — and the two inexperienced EMTs (who were in fact none other
than Goofus and Gallant, now grown to manhood) had tried to restart her
heartbeat by electrical means, had tried and failed four or five times, but had
left her budding young breasts with severe burns — in short, her breasts were —
that's right — cooked. Slightly underdone, as he would later discover,
but the aroma was... indescribable. Stars had danced before his eyes, pixiedust
had sparkled and fizzed across his taste-buds, his nostrils had quivered
He signed for the body and shooed the EMTs away, and before he knew consciously what he was doing he had locked the door's three locks, raced to the body on the table, pulled back the bloodsoaked sheet, sliced one of her breasts off with a deft stroke of his trusty scalpel and raced to thye kitchen, where he sliced it in thin strips and sauteed it in garlic-infused extra virgin (heh, heh) olive oil with dashes of salt, pepper, parsley, white wine, bell pepper, summer squash, and fresh rosemary. And nothing he had ever eaten had tasted half as good. He was hooked.
|He'd played this familiar scenario over and over in his head a thousand times. We're all guilty of such fiendish visions, thoughts, wishes, desires, as Kafka himself would attest. We seldom share our abominations with each other, but Jeremy Crink had a number of kinks. He had, in fact, never tasted human flesh but indeed he wanted to. The problem was one of wimpiness, sheer cowardice. He didn't have the guts to taste the guts of his own kind. His fascination with the unconventional flesh had actually started about the same time his interest in medicine had started. It was with the animals on his Daddies farm.|
|The idea of being a doctor (or EMT, which to him was almost the same thing) came to him one day while his dad was slaughtering chickens. Chop! Off went the chicken's head, and off went the chicken, runing around for seconds at a time, as if trying to find it. At least those were the assertive ones. Most of them just sort of twitched and kicked briefly before relinquishing themselves to the permanent inactivity of death.|
|Then, he realized that instead of wanting to chop heads off, he was entranced at the idea of sewing them back on....|
|Jeremy had the idea of trying to put their heads back on to see if he could prolong the amount of time they appeared to be alive. Of couse he couldn't do it in the presence of his father. Occasionally his father would send him out alone to slaughter the chickens. That was Jermey's time experiment. At first he tried simply placing the heads back on and holding them with his hands. But that turned out to be terribly messy, and the chicken having a substrate to kick against while it was dying usually scrathed him up. In addition he found it hard to measure the time interval to death since he was so preoccupied with holding the chicken's head on. He began to try all the obvious things. Clothes pins - not strong enough. When the chickens fell over, the wooden clips would come off, and their heads would fall off. Small binder clips - pretty good, but hard to make an even seal. The period to inactivity appeared to increase, almost doubling in some cases. Duct Tape. Duct tape for chickens? Be serious. Yes Duct Tape. It actually worked pretty well but it was hard to get the tape around the feathers and make a good seal. However he found that if he shaved the chicken's neck, and then prewrapped the neck with duct tape prior to decapitation to provide a smooth binding surface for head replacement and subsequent sealing with more duct tape, he had a good, neat, quick system for studying the latency period for death's onset. In the end it wasn't any better than plain old binder clips.|
...back on the night-lit highway, Officer Hickey stood aghast, his dead mother at his feet, while Crink rattled on and on about these things, telling 36 versions of the same story until finally the whole thing broke down into a mad litany of "I did it, I did not do it, I did it, I did not do it, I did it, I did not do it,I did it, I did not do it..." as Jeremy whipped his head back and forth and a thin tendril of frothy drool began to run down his face...
|Officer Hickey's thoughts and shock began to clear, and he tried to make sense of the torrent of words which had come from Crink. Hickey, however, had inherited neither his mother's nor his father's brains... if truth be told, he was a little dim, and the subtleties of Jeremy confessions were all but lost on him. Chickens? Paper clips? Heads? Cannibalism? Was this perhaps the guy the State police were looking for, the one who'd hacked up all those kids at the camp over on Lake Eenameenamina over in Kendricksburg, the one who'd raped and buthcered cub scout troop 19 in the basement of Grace Congregationalist Church, the one who drained the blood out of a whole herd of Ichabod Grisham's prize Guernseys? He took a closer look at Crink.|
Crink's breath stunk. He was unshaven. A thin line of spittle was slowly
extending itself down from Crink's chin like some round and glassy spider. It
seemed pretty obvious that Crink hadn't slept in a few days. ("Don't need it"
Crink would always say, "I take naps in the ambulance in between highway
fatalities")Hickey glanced at his fingernails. Dirty and crusted with what
could appear to be dried blood.
"In the sun dappled apple orchard in back of the farm I'd make the chickens dance. It was like a dance marathon with Death. The heads taped on and I'd...."
Jeremy Crink prattered on.
He certainly looked nuts to Hickey. Talked crazy. Drooling. Spasmodic jerks and facial tics. He might be dangerous. A Killer even. This goofy guy that he'd known and disliked his entire life a bonafide multiple murderer. Hickey had to laugh a bit to himself.
"...and the I'd pull off the severed heads and pour the blood all over my..."
Weeell, thought Officer Matthew J Hickey to himself. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...
|"Ducks, no way dude those things were long dead by the time they were shot out of the sky and Homer brought 'em back to us. I kinda wondered why he never went off and ate 'em by himself. I mean he ate my aunt's pet duck once while she went shopping at the mall. If we were like out hunting or something he'd just bring 'em right back after we felled 'em, when he coulda just run off in the bushes and had himself a meal. Ducks, chickens, cows, sheep, goats, pigs they ain't no big deal. Dogs, cats, and those little birds that people in France eat, you know the ones that they cook whole like, and the people cover their heads with a napkin to keep the insides from spraying out, or to cover themselves in the face of god because it's considered an abomination to eat such little creatures...what the hell is the name of those things. I forget."|
|Hickey's attention percked up. What is this guy....a fricking mind reader? Hickey fixed his gaze directly at Crink. His patience had reached a quantum uncertainty. Slowly he fingered for his trusty oak billy club, the phalic baton of submission, deftly removing it from the loop on his belt. Every cop has one, and fortunately they're all the same size. What a relief that was for Hickey. Imagine the hierarchies if the size of one's billy club were proportional to, well, you know, his body weight, or the length of his fingers, or some other baton like feature of the male anatomy. What if it were a really cold day when he was getting his physical exam and he ended up with a really short club? He imagined all the cops walking their beats with their anatomically proportioned billy clubs. He knew it wasn't the size of the club that mattered.......but that didn't help with the distant giggles he heard as he walked his downtown beat following the morning shift of Big Tommy "the Gun" La Sworda. Maybe that's why Luby was always smily and giggly when she saw him. His little reverie ended with a swell of anger, and he put it to good use. "....I always heard some of those asian cultures eat dogs like it's nothing and" Thwack! Jeremy Crink was silenced by Hinkey's dinky billy club and fell swiftly to the ground.|
"Matthew!" chided a horrified, feminine, and very familiar voice. "And here I
thought I'd raised a decent, god-fearing man, a Christian gentleman! But you! A
thug, a brute, a, a, a — a Tartar!"
"Mother?" gasped Officer Hickey.
For the voice was issueing from his dead mother's crumpled form on the pavement.
"Mother I didn't mean it Mother I'm sorry he just got me so riled up and he always teased me at school and he wanted me to let him cook you mother and —"
"'To Protect and Serve." Is that what you were doing, Matthew? Protecting whom? Serving whom? You blue serge barbarian!"
"But mother I told you he wanted to serve you! To his friends! He's a murderer! And a cannibal! And he does terrible things to ducks!"
"Now they'll be two of us to haunt you, Matthew. You killed us both."
"Mother? I? Killed you?"
"You killed me Matthew. Your actions, your coldness, you greed, and all the little things you neglected. You killed me, just as you killed Jeremy, and now you will have not one but two revenants on your trail, stalking you until you die so that when your time comes we can escort you to Hell!"
"Mother?" Officer Hickey fell to his knees, overcome once again with terrible sobbing. "I'm s-s-s-sorry... I never thought... But it was all my fault, all of it, all of it... I didn't mean to, I —"
"APRIL FOOLS!" said Jeremy. "Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha" he cackled hysterically. "Seeya at the mortuary! Last one there's a rotten egg sucker!" Jeremy leapt into his hearse and sped away at at least twice the speed limit.