Authors: Erik Williams
205 NE BRYANT
PORTLAND, OR 97211
AN ERASERHEAD PRESS COMPANY
Copyright © 20123 by Erik Williams
Cover art copyright © 2013 Hauke Vagt
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written consent of the publisher, except where permitted by law.
Printed in the USA.
Special thanks to Kim Despins, Kurt Dinan, and the entire Snutch Labs crew; Shane McKenzie; Edward Lee; Thunderstorm Books; and John Skipp.
Super special thanks to the team at Deadite Press for making this writer guy feel welcome and putting out one bad ass book with one bad ass cover.
Finally, super super special thanks to Sam W. Anderson for being my Pinko Commie and Norman Partridge for saving my career.
Thanks for introducing me to the wonders of B-movies.
Not sure if that was a good thing in the long run,
but thanks all the same!
“Holy shit, it fucking killed Jimmy!”
“I know it killed Jimmy! Now help me get these chains back on!”
“It just pushed him down and stomped on his head. Fucking stomped his head into mush man!”
Waylon reared back and slung his arm and slapped Stan as hard as he could. Sounded like lightning splitting a hundred-year-old oak. Stan’s face snapped to the right and his long hair whipped all the way back around his head. His glasses flew off.
There was silence for a moment. Then from inside the cabin the TV’s audio destroyed the peace, blaring a commercial for a show called
“I said I know. Now help me get these fucking chains back on!”
Stan blinked and crawled and felt around in the dirt and gravel for his glasses. Waylon turned to Bud and Cam. They stood several feet away, empty Tupperware bowls in their hands. Shaking. In the cabin, the intro for
Bud blinked and dropped the bowl and hurried forward. Cam just stood there.
Waylon grabbed the first set of heavy chains and pulled them together and snapped the lock in place. Bud handed him the next. The narrator of
spoke low enough that Waylon could actually hear something other than the program. Below the door—below him—he could hear it snorting. Snorting. Snorting. Panicked. Like it couldn’t get enough. Like if it couldn’t get one more nostrilful it was going to die.
He snapped the next lock closed. Then the third and the fourth in rapid succession. Once the fifth was in place, he backed away with Bud until they were next to Cam. Stan found his glasses and jumped to his feet and sprinted over to them.
“It’s snoring, man,” Stan said. “I heard it snoring. I think we’re okay.”
“For now.” Waylon half expected the cellar door to explode into a million splinters and the chains to snap one link after the next.
“How could you hear it snoring over the TV?” Bud said.
“I swear I did.”
“This isn’t fun anymore,” Cam said, bowl still shaking in his hand.
“What happened down there?” Bud said. “We gave it our dose no problem. Seemed satisfied.”
“Guess Jimmy’s wasn’t enough.”
“That hasn’t been a problem so far.”
“Well it is now, ain’t it?” Waylon rubbed his eyes. “We were late on the feeding and its tolerance is growing. It needs more.”
“Christ we already give it three bowls of crank a day.”
“Then we give it four. Spread it throughout the day instead of all at once.”
“That’s a lot of product we’re wasting and we have a deadline to meet.”
“You don’t think I fucking know that?”
Bud held up his hands for calm. “I’m just saying we’ve got the Cacheros expecting their load in two days and we’re only three-quarters of the way to filling it. We start diverting more to that fucking thing and we’re going to be lucky to meet our quota. And you know what the Cacheros will do to us. Jimmy will be the lucky one.”
“What do you suggest?”
Waylon chewed his bottom lip. “How?”
“Shoot it. Next dose, we hand it over and when it leans in we pop cap in its fucking head.”
“I’m not going anywhere close to that thing,” Cam said. “I say we leave it down there and burn the place down around it.”
“We have to finish the load,” Waylon said. “We can’t pack shop and leave until then.”
“Then we shoot it,” Bud said.
“I’m not going anywhere close—”
“I heard you the fucking first time!”
“You’re both right,” Waylon said.
“What?” Bud and Cam said simultaneously.
“I don’t want to risk opening that door again. We might be able to feed it but it also might snap on us as soon as we open it. The thing’s gone full fiend. Plus we can’t risk it escaping and going bugfuck nuts on any locals. We need to handle it but we need to get the load done first. How long before we finish if we don’t divert anymore to it, Stan?”
“Got to feed the need,” Stan said.
Waylon snapped his fingers. “Hey how long?”
Stan blinked and shifted from the cellar door. “Twelve hours with what we’ve got cooking right now. Should have enough to feed it one more bowl if necessary.”
“Okay.” Waylon rubbed the back of his neck. “We grind until we’re done. Let the fucker starve down there. As soon as we have the load finished we pack-up the Jeep and light the fucking cabin on fire and head for the meet.”
“What about the equipment?” Bud said.
“It’s old junk we swiped anyway. With this deal we’ll make enough to buy good equipment.”
“And the lab?”
“Need to move anyway. Mickey Dolan’s sniffing around. Won’t be long until he makes a move against us. So we zig before he can zag.”
Bud nodded. Cam merely shrugged. Stan stared at the cellar door.
“All right, let’s grind,” Waylon said. “Stan, go ahead and start prepping another bowl just in case we need it. Cam, the TV needs to be louder.”
“It’s as loud as it’ll go.”
“Fine. But put it on something other than
. I’m sick of fucking
.” Waylon motioned at the cabin. “If you got to take a piss or something do it now. Everyone in the lab in five minutes.”
“Are you ready to fucking do this?”
Russell cracked a knuckle and shook his head. “I don’t know, man.”
“What the fuck you mean you don’t know?”
Russell rubbed his mouth and turned to Mickey, staring at him in the darkness of the Ford F-150’s cab, the whites visible in the moonlight. His sunken eyes didn’t blink. They burrowed into Russell’s and when he couldn’t meet them any longer he looked at the dashboard instead.
“You’re sure this has to happen this way?”
Mickey pointed through the windshield with his chin at the log cabin at the top of the long driveway, his boney hands squeezing the peeling leather of the steering wheel tight. “They cooking glass in there, Russell. We got to send a message to these motherfuckers this is our turf. We don’t, we gonna have skinheads and beaners and fucking god knows what up here in our neck of the woods cooking. And then we get squeezed out.”
“We’re small time, Mickey. There’s enough turf to go around.”
“Yeah, we small time. And unless we take control of this situation, we gonna be no time. Feel me?”
“I don’t know man.”
“You need to change that attitude right quick. I’m going up there. If you ain’t with me, then you against me. And if you against me...” Mickey lifted his .45 from the seat and brushed a stray hair from his forehead with the barrel. “This relationship is gonna change. And not for the better. At least not for you.”
“Fuck, man, you don’t have to threaten me.” Russell swallowed a mouthful of spit. “I’m with you, Mickey, so chill.”
“I’m chill. You ain’t gotta worry about that.”
“I’m just wondering how you know there’s people in there cooking.”
“You questioning my intel?”
“No. But I want to be sure. You know, keep the heat off us as much as possible. We kill cookers, nobody’s going to care much. We kill some family or some San Fran faggots on vacation, the heat is going to be hot and fierce.”
Mickey laughed. “Check out Russell being all logical and shit.”
“It ain’t funny.”
“No, it ain’t. And neither are you.”
“You’re a terrible liar. Always have been. That shit ain’t funny.”
Russell rubbed his stomach. “Hell what do you expect? You drag me up here and tell me we got to kill a bunch of people. Then you say if I don’t I can pretty much kiss my ass goodbye. So yeah, I’m trying to figure a way out of this shit without anyone dying.”
Mickey put a Marlboro in the right corner of his mouth and lit it with the flame from his Zippo. “That’s real good, Russell.”
“Your honesty. Normally I’d hear your bullshit for about an hour before getting the truth. This is progress.”
“Shit.” Russell looked out the window. “Doesn’t matter much either way, does it?”
Mickey exhaled, filling the cab with smoke. “No.”