Thursday, March 22, 2012

“A Town Called Disdain”, Episode 120: shitless


Our author Larry Winchester* now cuts to the bold sculptress/café owner Enid and the ethereal rancher’s daughter Hope, running across the desert on this fateful night in September of 1969, somewhere near a dodgy little town called Disdain...


(Go here to read our our previous thrilling episode; curious newcomers may click here to return to the first chapter of this third-place prize-winner of the 20 Mule Team Borax Award for Sprawling American Epic.)

*”The Sergei Eisenstein of prose.” -- Harold Bloom


As they ran Enid saw the station wagon heading towards them fast at an angle from the left. She grabbed Hope’s arm and they both stopped, sweating and panting. (They both smoked entirely too much.) They stood there and watched as the car approached. Enid saw with some alarm that Derek was driving. Then Paco brandished a rifle from the passenger window, leaned his head out, and let loose with a mediocre war cry which abruptly collapsed into a coughing fit.

Enid suddenly realized that the shooting behind them had stopped. She looked back and saw that the Motorpsychos had now remounted their bikes and were wheeling out noisily.

She heard a horrible screeching and turned to see the station wagon veering off to her left as Derek apparently floored the brake. The car skidded and swerved, then turned left full circle and headed once again full speed straight at her and Hope. She didn’t know which way to duck. Then about six feet from the women the car U-turned brutally to the left again, rising up on two wheels and blowing exhaust and dust in a great cloud, then it turned on its side and skidded for about twenty yards with a sound like an enormous jagged chalk scraping across an enormous blackboard; and then it lay there, its tires spinning and its motor groaning like a dying elephant.

Enid and Hope looked at the wreck and beyond and through its cloud of dust they saw the Motorpsychos roaring and surging towards them across the desert.

Derek was such an ass.


****


“Oh, shit, Doc,” said Jake. He stroked the barrel of his Colt. Despite that good dose of the Doc's laudanum he was scared shitless again now. “Shit, fuck and double-damn, I can’t do this!”

They were about five hundred yards from the overturned station wagon and Hope and Enid. And maybe half a mile farther beyond came the roaring swarm of Motorpsychos.

The Doc lit up a cigarette with the dashboard lighter.

“They gonna kill us, Doc!”

The Doc shoved the lighter back into the dashboard and floored the accelerator.

“Don’t worry about it, Jake.”

They could see Enid and Hope pulling someone out of the upturned passenger side of the station wagon.

“Awww, shit!” whined Big Jake, putting one hand on top of his cowboy hat.

“Just think, Jake, Hope will think you’re a hero.”

Enid and Hope had gotten the guy out and he was sitting next to the station wagon holding his head.

“For maybe two seconds she’ll think I’m a hero, ‘fore them Motorpsychos kill us all!”

“Two seconds of glory, Jake.”

Enid and Hope were now apparently trying to get someone else out of the car.

“Don’t want two glorious seconds! Want a billion glorious seconds! Wanta live!”

“We all gotta go sometime, Jake.”

“I know that! But I don’t wanta go now! Wanta go later! Lots later!”

The Doc pulled the Caddy up to the side of the station wagon.

The guy on the ground was Paco, the Indian. He had his hand on his head and blood was pouring down his face. Enid and Hope were trying to pull that English rock star kid out of the car and he was shouting and cursing. He also had blood all over his face. The station wagon’s uppermost headlight was still lit and it laid an ever-widening silvery carpet across the desert for the Mortorpsychos roaring closer and closer at top speed.

“Bloody fuckin’ Jesus fuckin’ bloody fuckin’ Jesus fuckin’ fuckin’ Christ!” yelled Derek.

“Shut the fuck up, Derek, we’re trying to get you out,” growled Enid.

“Hi, Daddy,” said Hope, over her shoulder. She was hoisting Enid on her narrow shoulders as Enid struggled with Derek.

“Get in this goddam car, girl!”

“In a minute, Daddy.”

The Doc had put his cigarette in his mouth and grabbed his black bag off the floor, and now he got out of the car, leaving the ignition on and the door open.

“Now where the fuck you goin’, Doc!”

The Doc walked around the front of the Cadillac and over to the wreck.

Jake lurched his big ass over to the driver’s seat.

“Hope Johnstone, you get in this auto-mo-bile this instant!”

“Fuck you, Daddy, you’re a coward.”

She and Enid had finally gotten the groaning Derek out of the station wagon and they were lowering him to the ground.

“Don’t you call me a coward you little wetback!”

“Fuck off.”

Jake slammed the driver’s door shut.

“All right, then,” he said. “Fuck all y’all!”

The Doc turned around and flicked away his cigarette.

“Calm the fuck down, Jake. You’re not gonna outrun those guys anyway.”

But Big Jake was thinking if he took off now maybe the Motorpsychos would concentrate on doing whatever they were going to do to Hope and Enid and the Doc and the Indian and the Limey, and while they were picking them over he would be zooming away across the flats at the highest speed this old high-powered hunk of Detroit steel could muster, yessiree Bob, and maybe he could live, live God damn it, live, and he jolted the car in gear and turned it around one-eighty, and that’s when he saw it swooping down out of the night sky, first as tiny as a little green star and then getting bigger and bigger till it was just this big fucking green glowing saucer that looked like it was going to slam right into them all and paste them right over the desert floor.

And Jake had never been much of a praying man but in that moment he addressed the Lord:

“Lord -- if You’re up there Big Buddy and I ain’t sayin’ You are and I ain’t sayin’ You ain’t but right now I sure hope to hell You are -- Lord, if You see fit in Your almighty wisdom and mercy to get me out of this here scrape with this wretched old heart of mine still tickin’, why Lord old buddy You are gonna see one brand new changed Big Jake Johnstone and that’s for sure, an’ not the mean vile selfish nasty and concupiscent asshole I been for more’n these past past fifty years but a good man, someone folks’d see drivin’ his Cadillac down the road an’ say that man there, that man is not an asshole! No sir! No sirree Bob, sir!

But saying this heartfelt prayer as he was driving at top speed abandoning his only daughter and them other ones to their fates as that old fuckin’ flying saucer just kept on coming straight at him with that rabid pack of bloodthirsty motorcycle bandits roaring up to the back of him, Big Jake just couldn’t help but adding:

“But shit damn, good Lord, I ain’t a one to criticize your works and ways, but God damn it if this precious gift of life you have given us don’t eat shit sometimes!”


(Continued here, and on until the bitter end.)

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