... Brent was too late
to catch Dumble at the Aces and Eights. The place looked like it belonged
in some broken-down, shot-up shithole country hed seen on TV. Bosnia
or Liberia or some place far away and beneath the concern of such a baaaad
motherfucker. He felt a pang of regret at the loss of the joint. Hed
once placed first there in a particularly competitive BJ competitionreceiving,
not giving, of courseafter holding out for four hours, thirty-two
minutes and six seconds. An impressive feat made all the more so by the
fact that the mouth wrapped around his member belonged to Japanese suck-fuck
porn queen Sugoi Manko, brought in on the sly by the Dens to ruin his
form and lower his odds.
... He fired up his 67 Camaro, a gift
from La Gorda after his successful Mexico mission fifteen years earlier,
and rolled on down Skidmark Row. His jaw rested on the floormat at the
things he saw.
... Mannys Mongoloid Stud Farm: razed
to the ground. Naked, well-hung, special-ed dudes, free at last, whooping
at the destruction, running in circles and high-fiving. One even took
a mighty piss on Mannys mashed-up corpse.
... Tommy OFishfrys Cook-Your-Own-Crack
Mansion: clearly Molotov cocktailed. Kitsch Narco-Deco ornaments ablaze.
Bits of burnt body twitching on the front lawn. Flames lapping up so high,
Brent figured they were singeing the stars.
... Brent drove on. Skidmark Row had gone
all disaster movie. Dead folk abounded. Those that werent dead or
shot were huddled by the side of the road, weeping. Brent felt pretty
dumb. Hed known there was something about the old man in the hearse,
his sexy bit of jailbait trim beside him. He looked so...beat, though,
and she so fine, Brent never gave Dumble a second thought.
... He patted his dick jar, buckled into
the passenger seat beside him, and forced himself calm with images of
... He said aloud, My dick-cutting
knife is freshly stropped. My mind is empty save for thoughts of an old
preachers death and the protection of my adopted mama and the taking
of that blonde bit of nasty. He placed two fingers to his mouth,
kissed them, and patted the jar again. Lets do this shit.
... He took a glance at the ruined Battle
Midget Bar as he drove slowly past. Little folk with hands taped up for
a fight lay scattered outside like toppled over tough-guy garden gnomes.
He caught a ghostly after-image of ferocious violence, like deaths
slipstream. He saw Dumble swinging the butt of an old sawed-off, a horde
of midgets rabidly pawing at him like he was a chocolate-covered Salma
Hayek. It was brutal.
... He suddenly needed to take a dump.
... The showdown, when
it came forty-five minutes later, took place at Jerry Mallmans place.
Jerry, a rabid necrophiliac, specialized in the fine arts of grave-robbing
and lived in a small, ruined gothic church bordering on a small cemetery,
which had known neither God nor gospel since 1899.
... Brent arrived in time to see Mallman
come crashing through a stained glass window, his head twisted backwards.
Brent saw Lily giggle and clap. He saw Dumble, stony-faced, but battered
and surely spent. Brent had his moment and should have taken his shot,
but the carnage littering Skidmark Row had unnerved him. He was a man
who killed at the instruction of his adopted mother. He had butchered
bodies, taken grisly trophies, mown down women and children. But what
Dumble had done...the old man was a maestro of mayhem, a Van Gogh of violence.
Brent was simply awed.
... Framed by shards of shattered multi-colored
glass, Dumble looked up and met the eyes of the man who had ruined him
a decade and a half earlier. His own resolve buckled, his faith slipped.
But he managed to grab Lily and duck out of the way of Brents first
shot, which was about as tentative as a hurtling chunk of lead gets.
... Brent yelled, Fuck! and peppered
off shots wildly.
... Inside, Dumble and Lily huddled together
on the floor as bullets picked off the incongruous Polynesian furnishings
of Mallmans abode. Dumble squeezed his eyes shut. Lily punched him
in the shoulder.
... Thats the cocksucker from
earlier, huh? That preppie-lookin douchebag who turned you into
a gutless pussy with just a glance from his shit-brown peepers.
... Dumble rocked silently. Lily fumed like
Mt. Estrus about to blow.
... Hes fuckin shootin
at us, man!
... She reached into Dumbles waistband
and pulled a gleaming .38 from down near the crack of the old mans
ass. Fuck it. Like my mama said, behind every good man, theres
a crackshot stripper on the rag.
... Lily came up shooting. Dumble opened
his eyes to see the Light screaming and transmogrified into full-blown
... He sat up and saw the thing that haunted
him for all this time scrambling for cover with his long, pitch-fork tail
between his legs.
... Behind a nearby tombstone,
grave dirt pretty freshly disturbed, Brent blinked blood from his eyes,
trickling down from his bullet-grazed forehead. He carefully set down
his trophy jar and took stock of just how mighty a fuck-up hed made.
... He had his shot and didnt take
it. Hed been sucked into Dumbles myth, his aura, when in reality,
the man was just ancient and chickenshit. Brent saw Dumbles eyes
open wide with fear as they met his own, just as they had in the Aces
and Eights parking lot. Meanwhile, the chick-stick was the heart and the
moxie of the team, coming at him like a Fury riding the cotton pony.
... Brent closed his eyes and wiped at the
blood pouring down his head. When he opened them, looming over him he
saw a beat-up, silver-haired man unclipping his Charlton Heston Moses
cufflinks and rolling up his sleeves.
... Dumble said, Boy, this has been
a long time coming.
... A pep-talk was what
had been required, and Lily delivered it with evangelistic gusto and dock-worker
... I dont know whats between
you and that fuckin split-ended nut pube, but he looked just like
a man to me, and not much of one at that. You done killed far worse than
him tonight. You littered Skidmark Row with the corpses of the wicked
and the blood of the damned. So get your fucking God-fearin ass
up and you go out back, circle round to where he is and make him a fuckin
... Lily glowed so bright and hot at this
moment that she induced in Dumble a flashback like a strobe-seizure. In
pulsing image-bursts, he glimpsed a gap-toothed grin, a clammy sheen like
frog skin, that fucking U.S. Drinking Team iron-on. Dumble
had himself a revelation: there was no demonic aura around Brent Weinbach;
he was like Jason Priestly gone to seed. He was nothing but a mean little
orphan with a furiously itchy trigger-finger running lawless and godless
upon this post-apocalyptic land.
... Another epiphany: it was more than just
revenge unclaimed for the slaying of his kin.
... Brent Weinbach was the Anti-Dumble.
... And this could not stand.