Thursday, April 12, 2012

“A Town Called Disdain”, Episode 123: “Into the jaws of Death, 
Into the mouth of Hell rode the six hundred..."


Our quite legendary author Larry Winchester, delver into worlds that normal writers would run like cowardly dogs from, dives once again into the foul mind of Moloch, leader of the loutish Motorpsycho outlaw biker gang, out here in the desert beyond a town called Disdain, on a fateful night in September, 1969...


(Midterms are approaching. Go here to review our previous episode, or click here to go to the beginning of this sprawling but “oddly untedious epic".* )

*Harold Bloom, on The Joey Bishop Show.


First came that idiotic swine Johnstone in his Cadillac, brutally cleaving into their ranks and shouting like a maniac. Glancing back over his shoulder Moloch saw a couple of the men and their bikes flying like toys in the air in the Cadillac’s wake as it wheeled viciously off to the left.

Then came the saucer.

Moloch had indeed seen the glowing green fucking thing descending from the sky, swooping down and then swerving madly all about, but he had kept his bike heading straight on anyway. He could be a very single-minded fellow at times. The others had kept on also, not so much out of courage, Moloch knew, but out of stupidity, and blind obedience, and fear of the contempt of their fellows, and of the wrath of Moloch. Like the bloody fucking Light Brigade they were. And now they would meet the same fucking fate as the Light Brigade as well.

Moloch was about twenty yards to the front of the pack and as the saucer came at him he leaned radically to his right and felt the hot whoosh of the thing passing over his head and then he skidded and his bike flew out from under him and his body hit the dirt hard, he rolled over three times, struggled up to one knee and turned and saw the thing smashing down into his screaming men, squashing them all like so many bugs.

Well, they were like bugs, really.

And then Moloch was lifted up from the earth by a warm thick wind that smelled like burning vacuum cleaners, and he was sucked along head over heels in the dusty tail of the skidding and bouncing saucer, which, come to think of it, was making a sound like a gargantuan vacuum cleaner with something living trapped in its snout.

****


“In a way I’d like to be able to say we ran down those motorcycle guys on purpose, but, to tell the truth, at that juncture all of us -- including Brad, who was supposed to be piloting -- we were all bouncing around that cabin, like, um, like --”

“Mexican jumping beans.”

“Exactly. I mean, no one had their seatbelts on. So when the thing finally did lurch to a halt, we were pretty well banged up. The TV screens had all gone blank so we didn’t really know where we were, but I’ll tell you one thing, we were ready to get the hell out of there.”

“Papa woke up.”

“Right, Old Mac sits up and says, ‘What the fuck is going on here?’”

“And darling Buddy is sitting up now too, and he goes, ‘Well, I think we’ve landed, Major.’”

“Then this awful green smoke started pouring out from somewhere.”

“And this time it wasn’t because I’d peed in the works.”

“So, Mac takes charge, says follow him, and we all go.”

“Don’t forget the briefcase.”

“Oh, right, how could I? First Mac grabs this old leather briefcase that’s on the floor there, and then he says to follow him --”

“Right.”

“Which of course we do, through these corridors back to --”

“Labyrinthine.”

“Through these labyrinthine corridors back to where we’d first come in. He presses a button and the door slides into the bulkhead, and, God, fresh air never smelled so good.”

“Relatively fresh.”

“Right. It was a little stinky out there but it was still better than being in that saucer.”

“I’ll say. I don’t care if I never go into outer space again. But anyway, I’m first in line to get out of course, and I look out and, oh, no, you’ll never believe it, but we were sort of teetering over that atomic sink hole that that horrible primeval family had perished in. We weren’t quite in it, but the saucer, which was giving off this weird green Technicolor glow, was extended over the edge of the depression and its bottom was only about a foot or so off the surface of the quicksand. Am I getting this more or less right, Dick?”

“Oh, absolutely.”

“Then -- I look down -- and -- there’s this head in the sand!”

“Pym.”

“Some old navy buddy of Dick’s”

“Well, I wouldn’t exactly call Al Pym my buddy. Al -- Al didn’t really have buddies.”

“Well, buddy or not, Dick decides to rescue him.”

“We couldn’t just leave him there. I mean, you know, there he was, just his head sticking out of the sand, looking up at us with this resigned expression. He was -- well, never mind. So I reached down out of this opening while Harvey and the other guys held onto my belt, and I told him to reach his hand up, and after a while he manages to pull one arm up out of the sand and reach it up, and I grab hold of his hand, and pull, and the other guys are pulling me, and we’re actually making some headway, he’s coming up, first his shoulders, and then he’s out up to his chest, when --”

“Uh-oh!”

“Yeah.”

“The saucer starts sliding into this pit.”

“Yeah, sadly for Pym. Just went right over him. I tried to pull him up, but --”

“You did your damned best. He almost dragged you under.”

“Yeah, he did almost, actually.”

“And he said the queerest thing. I mean literally.”

“Well, we don’t have to repeat that.”

“As he was going under he said, ‘Dick I love you!’”

Mr. Ridpath shrugged.

(To be continued for just a little while longer, honest. Soon to be serialized on Westinghouse Studio One, starring Richard Burton as Moloch, and John Forsythe and Shirley MacLaine as Dick and Daphne.)


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