Wednesday, March 7, 2012

“A Town Called Disdain”, Episode 118: bonding


Our author the legendary Larry Winchester now turns away from the plight of Captain Pym (see our previous chapter
) to that of the sculptress/café owner Enid and Big Jake’s daughter Hope, sitting in Enid’s disabled truck with the unconscious motorcycle gang leader Moloch, in the desert outside a town called Disdain on a fateful night in September, 1969...


Enid threw her cigarette over Moloch’s lolling head and out the window. The Motorpsychos were all taking turns shooting into the sink hole -- at what she couldn’t see.

She suddenly remembered that she had taken peyote and that she was still very high.

The whole plot of this story was getting so out of control.

“What are they shooting at, Enid?”

“Damn if I know, Hope.”

“What are we going to do?”

Enid took a deep breath, looking from the Motorpsychos out to the surrounding vast dark desert.

“We’re getting out of here, sister.”

“Cool,” said Hope. “Should we shoot him first?”

“Uh, no, Hope. Those guys might hear the gunshot.”

Hope drew Moloch’s commando knife from her belt with her left hand.

“I should cut his throat.”

“Um, no, Hope.”

“Why not?”

“It would -- be bad karma?”

“Fuck karma.”

“You can’t fuck karma. That’s the whole point. Fucking karma is -- bad karma."

Enid realized she was talking rubbish.

“But he’s evil,” said Hope. “He killed Whisper. He killed my pony.”

“I know, sweety. But you -- you don’t want that on your conscience.”

“It wouldn’t be on my conscience.”

“Well. But -- you might get in trouble, Hope, with the law.”

“My dad will fix it. Let me kill him. I want to see his blood squirt the way Whisper’s did.”

Hope started to raise the knife.

Enid put her hand on Hope’s wrist. This wrist was childishly thin, but it felt to Enid as if she needed all her own strength to hold it back and the small fist with the big knife in it.

“No, Hope. Let’s just split, okay? Besides, you’d get his blood all over my upholstery.”

“Well -- okay.”

Enid let go of her wrist, and Hope leaned back in her seat.

The palm of Enid’s hand and the underside of her fingers were hot and sweaty.

“Enid?”

“Yeah, Hope.”

“I love you.”

Oh, great, thought Enid, but she said, “I love you, too, Hope.”


****


Big Jake and the Doc were now about half a mile from the truck.

“They all shootin’ at somethin’, t’other side of the truck. What the fuck they shootin’ at, Doc?”

“Beats me, Jake.”

“Drive slower, Doc. They might hear us comin'.”

“Over all that shooting?”

“Well, they might.”

“What the hell’s that,” said the Doc.

Jake holstered his gun and lifted up the binoculars.

“Well,” he said. “Hot dog.”

“What.”

“It’s Hope. And Enid. They’re runnin’ away from the truck. Comin’ in our direction. Stop the car, Doc.”

“Stop it?”

“Yeah. Don’t wanta take no, um, unnecessary risks --”

“You fucking coward.”

“Look, no need to call names, Doc --”

“That’s your goddam daughter out there.”

“I know that, Doc. I know that, it’s just, it’s just -- look, whyn’tcha just slow down a mite --”

“Christ.”

“But, Doc, it’ll blow the whole deal, them Motorpsychos hear or see us. Just slow down a little bit and let them gals come to us --”

“Fuck --”

The Doc slowed down a little bit. Maybe Jake had a point, even if he was a fucking coward.

Then --

“Shit, now what?” said the Doc.

Off to the right a big old station wagon had suddenly appeared out of nowhere, its headlights blazing across the desert, and it was roaring at about seventy miles per hour in the general direction of where Enid and Hope were running.


(Continued here. Third-place prize-winner of the Shell Oil Award for Sprawling Epic.)

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