|The Story||The Authors|
|Matt's sobs soon dissipated into shakey gasps, and he began to get curious about the book that lay on the scarred coffee table. He raised his head and rubbed his bleary eyes to clear them. His gaze lit on the open page and he involuntarily shuddered at the inhumane figure standing proudly in the center, pround of what? Matthew thought. Quickly he turned it. There were no more grotesque pictures, instead there were just numerous chants and write ups on religions and cults. A certain chant caught his eye and he began to mumble it slowly, enjoying the way it sounded as it rolled off his tongue.|
|An instant after the last syllable that he uttered, he began to feel a presence all around him. The room began to shake.|
"Another earthquake!" thought Matthew in a panic just briefly before once again
being aroused from slumber by Jeremy Crink's prodding forefinger.
"Oh Matthew, Matthew If you're done with the book I gotta get it back to the Library." And Hickey relinquished it to Jeremy now a little damper for his having napped face down and slobbering into it...
"Shit Shit Shit Shit Shit Shit...." swore Officer Matthew J. Hickey as he bounced and jostled around the inside of his now rather battered cruiser. The crushing of the steering wheel over his belly about the only thing keeping him from whacking his head on the roof. About a mile ahead of him he could see the swirling dust trail left in the wake of Crink in the fleeing ambulance. The chase had now led them onto a little used dirt road heading deep into the mountains. Inwardly Hickey cursed himself for not having gotten those shocks replaced at the beginning of the fiscal year like he'd planned. (His bulk tended to be rather hard on the suspension) And all these potholes weren't exactly helping his kidneys. He really needed to take a leak too. But he'd be damned if he was going to let Crink get away with this one. His fuckin' mother's corpse was in the back of that ambulance. "GOD HELP YOU CRINK WHEN I GET A HOLD OF YOU THIS TIME he bellowed over the siren at the dust cloud ahead. Yeah, this time. This time. And on and up into the mountains he followed.
|Even though his thoughts kept veering off on wild tangents, Officer Hickey was determined to catch that rascal Jeremy at any cost. Crink's ambulence sped dangerously up the mountain road, screeching around the hairpin turns. Hickey tried to keep up - "Crazy motherfucker's gonna get us both killed!" - but his old squad car wouldn't let him and the distance between the two vehicles expanded. Jeremy Crink laughed maniacally as Hickey's car vanished from his rear-view mirror. Jeremy might have actually gotten away that day but he hadn't counted on there being traffic on that particular road that particular day. Coming around a hairpin turn, he swerved to avoid a lumbering oncoming recreation vehicle. The top heavy ambulience tipped over and rolled off the road and down the side of the mountain.|
|Jeremy's car smashed right into the trunk of a large oak tree. Shaken, but unhurt, he extracted himself from the remains of his vehicle. He knew in a minute or two Hickey would be coming around that curve and he had to get outta there fast. He was just about to high-tail it into the woods, when he heard a woman's voice calling for help. Damn! He'd almost forgotten about the ambulance in his still dazed state. But this could be a break for him! Surely Hickey, when he appeared, would go and try to help whoever it was! This would give Jeremy more time to make good his escape!|
Had Jeremy desired to escape. Jeremy Crink had other plans.
He'd rehearsed this scenerio in his mind for nearly a year now. Spent months planning and doing the dry runs. He'd walked every inch of this little swirl of mountain road to find exactly the right spot. The right tree. Just off the road in plain sight, and far enough away from the mountain's edge to be safely wrecked without fear of falling off the precipice. Hickey couldn't miss it.
Crink was glad that he'd managed to get a good lead on the portly policeman. He hadn't quite realized how disoriented he'd be after flipping the ambulance. but then, he hadn't planned on the damn thing flipping on him. A nice quick crash was all he'd intended. A few skidmarks. A little steam from a broken radiator. some broken brush. Just enough to really get Hickey's full attention. He'd seen him at enough accident scenes to know how this stuff shook him up. A phobia it was. Otherwise callous to the violence on his watch; the bloody bar fights, domestic violence or the occasional hunting accident that were the bread and butter of his peacekeeping duties, Officer Matthew J. Hickey had an almost morbid fear of the auto accident. The merest fenderbender quailed his heart. The sight of twisted metal churned his entrails. The meaty pulp that the Bihari brothers Joe and Billy had turned each other into with a box knife and a broken Pepsi bottle that night five years ago (It took 79 stitches to put Joe's face back together. His cheeks were hanging off in strips. And then Billy had to get that glass eye) he'd shrugged that off in a most cavalier "boys will be boys" manner and went laughing to Luby's for another slice of cherry pie. But let some teenage girl get a bloody nose after being rear ended at a stop sign and Hickey turned to jelly. Jeremy had always found it kind of funny.
So here he was now. Figuring that with the twisting mountain road he'd have a full two minutes of Hickey's cautious driving he gave himself a couple of quick slaps to bring himself to alertness. He'd need it. He had to catch Matthew off guard and keep him that way until the moment came to introduce him to all that Crink had been preparing for him. It was time for Matthew J. Hickey to meet his destiny.
Jeremy turned back to the overturned ambulance and grabbed his walkie-talkie
from his jacket. "This is JC to Compound, JC to Compound. BigPig One is
almost on the spit. Get ready with the Welcome Wagon"
"Roger that, JC" came the crackling reply as Hickey's pursuing siren wailed closer to the curve. With giggle and click of his heels Jeremy Crink splayed himself in the overturned cab. A quick slice of a stolen plasma pouch and he was in business.
Officer Matthew J. Hickey speeding as fast he dared made a wide lane crossing swath around the curve silently praying that the siren would warn somebody coming the other way. He should've known Crink would take him this way. He should've just known it. The veins in the side of Hickey's neck bulged and pulsed. His knuckles numb and bloodless on the wheel. Bring him up here and lets his own shitty driving and reflexes finish him off. So that was his plan, eh? Let Hickey wreck himself and dance around his corpse. He'd show that fuckin' Crink a thing. He'd take his scrawny pill popping neck and.....
Matthew's thoughts trailed into nothingness. There was the ambulance. He didn't so much stop the cruiser, as it just seemed to peter out of steam on its own. He sat looking out the grime-covered window at his own worst nightmare. The ambulance was upside down. Spilled oil and water leaking out like bodily fluids from its crumpled front end and there in a spreading pool of his own blood lay Jeremy Crink. Hickey was stunned. He felt weak. Waves of fear and nausea churned his stomach into boil. This was how it ended. He would rather have been slowly flayed alive with a rusty knife than have to see this. It was everything he'd ever feared most in one bloody heap. But duty and nature called. He got out of his cruiser.
His feet seemed distant miles from the rest of his body as he began to shamble over to the wreck. He couldn't do it. Black spots began to waver in front of his eyes. He hurriedly groped his way back behind the squad car to collect himself. "Breathe deep, breathe deep" he told himself until he saw clearly again. Then almost without warning two of Luby's hamburgers and a slice of cherry pie reappeared from deep within his innards and splashed their masticated remains onto the dusty road's shoulder. Hickey wiped his mouth off with a dirty sleeve. He felt oddly better. And steeling himself turned once more to the wrecked ambulance. He took two steps. He thought better of it and paused to add a few cups of Luby's coffee to the mess he'd already made. With a grim resolve he zipped his fly and turned before he could chicken out. Staring straight ahead and with jelly like determination he strode purposefully to where Jeremy Crink's body lay. He was still a policeman after all. He reassured himself. Trained in these things. There were procedures. Procedures. He had to make sure if Crink was dead or not.
Hickey took a gulp of air, and with ashen face he stood at the outer most edge of the thick pool of blood that oozed out from under Jeremy's skull. He looked for a sign of life. All was still. Behind him a bird trilled almost mournfully.
Then suddenly Crink tore a ragged breath. Matthew leapt back as if a snake had bitten him. "Oh shit, HE'S STILL ALIVE" Hickey panicked. "Gotta do something. Gotta Do something" Years of EMT training flew from his brain like the last wisps of a dandelion. He whimpered piteously. Another agonized breath rippled through Crink with a wet gurgle. "He's choking! He's choking now! Mouth to Mouth. Mouth to mouth. Gotta give him mouth to mouth....." Hickey's mind reeled in five separate directions trying to remember the proper steps. "Clear airway. Pinch nose. count one two three one two three.." Cautiously he crept forward to Crink. He touched his face. Matthew gingerly grasped Crink's nose...
And like some maniacal Jack-in-the-box Jeremy Crink burst into life and planted a big wet one on stunned Officer Hickey's lips before leaping to his feet and into the underbrush with a whoop.
After a brief and respectable pause of disbelief Matthew let out a bellow of
rage that would have rattled a hippopotamus's teeth. Heaving himself to his
feet he wheeled as quickly as his winded bulk would allow and crashed into the
bushes after the fleeing Jeremy, the echoing canyon bringing Crink's maniacal
laughing back to taunt him twice.
Down the steep slope he half ran and half slid, trying simultaneously to keep his balance and follow the bouncing top of Jeremy's head. A flickering thought of pulling his gun and shooting occurred to him. The distance sucked. And the target was moving, but he'd at least feel better...He never finished the thought. A loose clump of dirt under his feet gave way and he was down. And rolling. Tumbling willy-nilly head over ass, he began picking up speed and swearing a blue streak. His ears and nose filled with topsoil. Stray bits of vegetation tore at his uniform. He lost a shoe. Hickey whipped his arms around wildly in a desperate attempt to find something to grab and came up with two fistfuls of grass. Thump Thump Thumpthump Thump Thud He came down, and stopped. A roughly cut path hewed into the side of the mountain stopped him.
Hickey rolled over with a groan. His nose was bleeding and his left knee was beginning to send out the first awarenesses of a painful throbbing. A slight breeze fluttered across the skin of his chest where the shirt was torn. The bloody scratch oozing its first blood. He lay there a moment blinking and dazed and staring the last fiery rays of day turned the clouds the color of his welts. "That one looks like a puppy" he thought to himself, "a pretty red puppy" His view of the puppy cloud was suddenly obstructed by the grinning face of Jeremy Crink.
"Looks like Matthew fall down, go Boom! Well, don't you fret there Hickey boy, Ole Crink'll get you up and running right fast. Trust me I'm an EMT."
Matthew growled and using every ounce of strength he could muster reached his right hand for Crink's throat. But he couldn't seem to close his fist. Two broken fingers. He gave up and sank back to the earth.
There was a long silence as both men sat panting. "OK, enough with the dilly-dally, Officer Matthew J., we gotta get you fixed up and cleaned up for your big night. Tonight's the night and you're the guest of honor." Meekly Matthew allowed himself to be lifted and with a supporting arm crushing Jeremy's neck together they hobbled the stricken policeman down the path.
|"Hi! How are ya?" a chipper voice cried from behind them. The two men turned to see a man in a furry cat costume drop down out of a tree. "Hi! How are you?" he said again. "My God," Hickey said into Crink's ear. "Is that Timmy Sanderson?" Timmy Sanderson had lived down the street from Officer Hickey when they were kids. When Timmy was five, a high fever damaged his brain. Mentally, he would never mature beyond five years old. As a concesion to his mother, the schools allowed Timmy to attend classes with his friends, as long as he didn't disrupt them. He liked being with his friends and thought school was lots of fun. He was too innocent to realize that his 'friends' were laughing at him rather than with him. After highschool when all his friends had gone on to college, Timmy occupied himself by standing on the street corner in front of the local Piggly Wiggly and waving to traffic and passing pedestrians. He became a sort of landmark. You could always count on Timmy being out on the corner waving and shouting "Hi! How are you?" with that goofy smile on his face. Then one day he wasn't there. He had said something to his mother about going into the forest. He left the house and never returned. Though they searched for him for weeks, they couldn't not find a trace of him. His mother kept praying that he would come back to her someday. And now here he was standing before them, a potbellied, balding man-child dressed like in a cat costume, the fur of which was matted and entangled with weeds and spurs. "Whatcha doin'?" asked the man-child. "Timmy? Is that you?" asked officer Hickey. "Yeah," Timmy answered. "Whatcha doin'?" "I'm hurt, Timmy, I have to go to the hospital." Hickey explained. "I have a dog." said Timmy. "His name is Cheetoh. You want to see?" before Hickey or Crink could decline the offer, Timmy unzipped the front of his costume and pulled out a very stiff dead squirrel. "This is my pet, Cheetoh." he said. "I named him Cheetoh 'cuz he's got a curly tail. See? Want to pet him?"|
"You don't gotta worry or nothin'. He ain't 'gressive like that no more. He
been spayed jus' like me!" Timmy let the dead squirrel drop onto the path and
hurriedly fumbled with the zipper on his suit to show them.
Crink gave the horrified Hickey a wide wide grin. "That's alright there, Timmykitty, we don't have time for that. We believe you. Surely and sorely we do, but right about now, Ole Officer Matt and I gotta be moseying. You be good now keep outta trouble or no Lime Jell-o for you!"
"Yes sir, Jermy, I'm all out of trouble today." and scooping up the squirrel Timmy traipsed back into the bushes.
Hooking a strong supportive arm around Hickey's battered chest Crink hustled Matthew away. "OK, Crink, what's going on? Just what the fuck are you do..."
"Tut Tut Tut, Matty Boy, time enough for that later. Let me just put it to you now, nice and easy like, that you, it seems, you've struck a certain Millennial nerve. Yessiree Bobby Kennedy! Hit the motherlode of Zeitgeist!"
"But But what are you...."
"Chrissakes, Hickey, you really should check your email once in blue moon!"
"Email? I don't even have a compu..."
"Tut Tut Tut, Later. We must tend your seeping sacred wounds."
Matthew gave up and let himself be led in silence.
The path slowly became more defined, leveling out until it reached a junction with a larger road rutted with fresh tire tracks. Big tracks. A stray Star Wars commemorative Coke can lay crushed on one deep groove. Jeremy grabbed with an exasperated Tut, and kept them going. They continued down the wider road as the sun began passed over the top of the mountain behind them. The last great brown moths of the season fluttered haphazardly through the fauna on either side of them. The stolid trudging of weary footfalls and their own breath the only human sounds. Everything took on a gray pallid look in the fading twilight. Even the drying blood on Jeremy's coat was fading to a sickly black. They reached a gate.
A sort of a gate, anyway. In reality it was more or less a movable white picket limply thrust across the dirt road. Jeremy flipped it up and pushed Hickey through. Just before it came down again behind him Matthew made out some writing on it in gold paint. Ultimateabstinence.com
There were lights ahead. A smallish compound of four or five rough-hewn buildings arranged centrally around a small square. Glorified sheds really, but lit with electricity. A couple of spotlights lit the space in the center. To one side a spigot and trough of recent vintage, fresh dirt piled around where the pipes had recently been buried. Closer to the center a circle of logs and the remains of a campfire and next to that an elaborately carved and gilded stump. A casual fat fly gently preened itself on the stump as it licked the fresh juicy blood that coated the stump from the ends of its legs.
"Welcome Home, Matthew! You have finally ARRIVED!"
" i've been waiting so longs as so i can finally have the pleasure of fucking
you on the new vibrating water bed that i have purchased just for this
|as long as your aids hasn,t come back.|
|are you a virgin again|
|At this provocative suggestion, Matthew's bloodshot eyes lit up briefly, savoring the possibility of a reborn virginity, rising like some masculine phoenix from the ashes of his misadventures -- his face then suddenly falling as he was made to understand, yet again, that if his condition could hypothetically beconsidered some sort of 'virginity,' there existed, unlike the other sorts of virginity, no cure for it. He was a hopeless case. Tears welled in the corners of his eyes and a great gob of snot ran from his left nostril and coagulated upon his bearded upper lip.|
"Mother!" he sobbed piteously. He buried his pinched face in his meaty hands
and his whole body shook as he bawled like a baby.
"Yes, that's right, Officer Hickey," Crink snarled. "It's time for you to pay for the crime of murdering your dear old mother!"
|but I didn't do it, I swear|
on my mother's grave. A look of apprehension filled her eyes.
"But your mother isn't dead," she whispered
"Although," She added " we could use another cadaver"
Suddenly, a voice was heard coming from the shadows of yesterday's parakeet,
saying "Tis true, the patient has faltered, let us now take out daily intake of Bohemian Rhapsody and worship the scorpion that never sweats, for truly all is
for the best, dear sheep, though your LSD levels do state the contrary."
|Let us lift up this warthog and embrace all that is never near the quite where I last left my eggroll. But not really crazy just too great a thing to mess with mother nature on the Sabbath but is open late.|
|But how can this be? Oh poor Mr. Hickey. Ever since he laid eyes on Barker's Beauties, he was never quite the same. He just needed time to think and to roll a big fatty, listen to Jimmy Cliff and watch the sun go down, mon. But he just wouldn't let himself go, because after all, beer was all he had, and reggae sucks unless you're baked.|
he took his zoot and drew in a breath of the creamy white smoke, lettin it role down his trote. He exhaled slowly the smoke tumbled out of his mouth like a cascading waterfall. He lay back and thought of those titties and smiled as they danced slowly in front in front of his face, mon.
|He started to do the five knuckle shuffle.|
He then whispered
'Email me at email@example.com'
Even he didn't knowwhy he said it but he did.
All of a sudden, the Suttle Tyderium crashed into him.
His body was picked up and thrown into a bloody pulp against the wall.
All this seemed strange to him, because he was not sure where he was.
So said the voices that came at him from the darkness surrounding the little
communal square. Gibberish. Semi-mystic bullshit. Crink merely giggled and
grasping him heavily by the shoulders began to spin him round and round. The
lights, the voices, Crink's laughter, the disorientation, the dizziness, his
bruised and scraped body, and the lights spinning and flashing in his eyes. It
all blended together like some half assed 60's art film by Kenneth Anger. If he
hadn't already blown his lunch by the wrecked ambulance he'd have lost it all
again. His stomach was beginning the first nauseous rumbles. His mouth went
suddenly dry. Hickey was almost grateful when the blindfold was slipped over
his spinning eyes. Crink's voice, "No peeking now, Matt"
Crink's strong hands still gripped him. hickey could hear the approach of a group of people. Quite a few it seemed. He was surrounded with whispering. He strained his ears to catch a word. Something to grasp and make sense with. Nothing distinct. Then very close to his ear Jeremy whispered close. "Be ready, Hickey boy, You're almost on. Lord knows this whole thing has been a big pain in the ass, but you gots to keep a bit of showmanship to keep folks happy. Be cool, I got the angles covered. You keep the noise to a minimum for now, and I'll fill the gaps in for you first thing later on. Be smart. Be safe. Be quiet.I'll handle the dramatic flourishes."
Crink then addressed the crowd. "Eumans, he is arrived after an arduous journey to be with you here at last. Our spiritual guide to a purer existence and eternal plain. Eumans prepare to show your worthiness before Him!" There was a general rustling of soft fabrics around him on all sides. Then silence. Crink's whisper came to him again. "Ready or not, here we go. Keep cool and don't blow it." And Jeremy whisked the blindfold from his eyes.
They were around him on all sides. Maybe forty or fifty people. All naked. all barefoot. Human at least, that much he could be sure of. But only that much. It was hard to tell them apart really. All their heads were shaved. All their eyes betrayed a certain focused blankess. They blinked at him expectantly. Matthew looked rapidly from one bared soul to the next. He couldn't differntiate men from women. All outside primary sexual characteristics had been carefully erased from each and every one. Small puckered scars occupied the space where once nipples and breasts had been. Light triangular whisps of pubic hair covered trace remains of genitalia. As one, they stared blankly at Matthew. Blankly Matthew stared back. He turned to Crink, mouth agape. Jeremy just beamed back at him that beatific Crink grin.
"Matthew, it's time for you at last to meet your assembled disciples."
Matthew was confused. Desciples? These people want to follow me? The naked
throng began to chant. Hickey could feel their adoring eyes upon him. From
some where above a warm glow illuminated the clearing. "My desciples." he
said aloud and removed his clothing. The chanting voices intensified.
"Matthew J. Hickey, the Messiah!" cried Jeremy Crink. Hickey raised his arms
to the crowd and beckoned them to him. They rushed to him, dozens of hands
trying to touch Hickey's dimpled flesh. The light obove them changed from a
warm glow to a bright focused beam. Matthew gazed into the light and could
feel himself becoming light. He reached towards the source of the beam and it
drew him up into it. His followers raised the arms were taken up into the
light, one by one until they had all vanished. The light faded, leaving only
Jeremy Crink, grinning like a cheshire cat in the clearing. He stuffed his
hands in his pockets and slunk away. He hadn't noticed the two figures just on
the outskirts of the clearing who had been watching the event unfold. One
figure was large and the other diminutive, both were dressed as cats.
Could this be the end?
Yes, dear reader it very well, just might, almost certainly could be, the
finish. The camera pulls back into a long crane shot emcompassing Matthew and
Crink and their amassed followers. The adoring throng reaching lovingly into
the light while Jeremy stands slightly off to the side gently palming the
hydraulic mechanism involved in the illusion. He smiles beatifically to himself
again. With Matthew's image he now had a devoted group of sexless workers with
which to build His empire, Matthew's empire. A group unfettered by reproductive
urges and all possibility of disruptive interoffice romance with nothing better
to do with their lives but work at building it. This would be their child. (And
once they got the in vitro lab up and running and started harvesting
genetic material before the Eumanization process, seemingly self
perpetuating.)Work will set you free. How true, how true....
Panning left the camera dips to follow the two catsuited figures as the wander off down through the mountain twilight.
"You know, Timmy."
"We sure trained Jeremy right."
"Yep, Daddy we sure did, too"
"Yes, yes, yes"
Then as the end theme music begins to inexorably swell on another happy ending and a job well done the camera swoops from our furry duo and points to the sky. But not before even the most jaded of viewers can fail to glimpse the sprightly twitch of whiskers on the diminutive figure's tabby snout. glowing with mute satisfaction Mr. Tickles smiled.