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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:36 pm 
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Great story BTT!

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:00 am 
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Chapter 10 - Last Stand

So here we are, the year 2009, blind and stumbling and jacked out of our minds on coke and every motherfucker in the circle city is in it for himself, including Jon Mackey but damnit, he's going to get a bunch of diarrhea stricken strippers out alive, including his apparently pregnant ex girlfriend and the girl of his dreams and one bearded mexican junkie with bitch tits.

Well it sounds fucking ludicrous when you say it like that.

Our steady pace was putting the blocks behind us, but it was nerve wracking, crossing that frozen waste. Snow was falling now; Christ knows the rain wasn't bad enough. There were two more slip and fall injuries on the way down the hill off the tracks, north towards Mercy or maybe St Francis south, I had no idea, I had lost a lot of blood by then and wasn't keeping very detailed notes. The most upsetting thing was that I was no longer even kind of feeling the coke anymore and I couldn't have a cigarette.

Actually, I lie; the most upsetting thing was still that I was going to be a father.

You never picture yourself as father material when you engage in the fuckery that I do. I mean, what am I supposed to do? Haggle over vicadins while I rock a crib with my left foot and warm a bottle with my right hand? Cut coke with arm n' hammer on the changing table? Wait around after soccer practice to sell a dime bag to some other stressed out parents? That's why you never picture it; it looks ludicrous although I've known plenty of people who do it. Hell,for all his failings, even my dad managed to keep me alive long enough to get a GED. Alive until now, anyway, and the responsiblity was no longer his, but mine. I learned early on that Mackeys don't take well to responsiblity, but sometimes you just can't avoid it. Apparently we don't take well to bullets either.

Rachel, on my left, was flagging way faster than Phebe, on my right. Neither one was drinking enough water; we had run out of clean water some time ago and the strippers needed it worse than us. We hadn't considered the need for extra water; I mean, with water everywhere being half the problem, who worries about it?

"You know," I said, in a voice that sounded oddly distant from myself, "that fucking hospital is going to be a war zone."

"What makes you say that?" said Phebe. Her glock dug into my side, sandwiched between us as an island of cold in all that warmth.

"If the mobs have gotten ballsy enough to try to plunder a strip club, they'll want some pills too," I replied grimly. "Pill zombies are bad enough before the fuckin' apocalypse; this won't be pretty."

"I've got one magazine left," she announced grimly. "Fourteen rounds."

"I've got two, also fourteen rounds. What kinda gun did you say that was?" I shook my head, dismissed the thought. "Nevermind. I've also got some shotgun shells left. But we aren't going to be able to fight through them."

"What do you suggest?" she said, and I heard Rachel snort. She was on the ragged edge of exhaustion but clung to me through equal parts malice and speed jitters.

"Are we going to St Francis or Mercy?" I asked.

"Mercy. Closer." And right through the ghetto, but I didn't bring that up.

"Mercy is going to be a war zone. If it hasn't been burned down, I bet it is flooded with cops. But, well, I know a guy who...well, technically I mean he isn't a doctor, but..."

"He works for guys who don't want gunshot wounds reported, Jon. You don't have to tiptoe around it; we're running out of time." I turned my head in time to catch Phebe's smile, and the hole in my chest sighed whistfully for me, the corner of the bandage fluttering with my breath.

"Yeah. And I mean I only know him by reputation-I'm not that kind of pill guy. But I know where his place is and we might be able to get lucky."

Rachel snorted again, rudely. "Yeah, I'm sure the good 'doctor' will be able to help us. Jon, we aren't thinking of the same guy, are we?"

"Um, Dr Mauskovich?" I said tenatively.

"The pedo? Really Jon? We're going to the child molester for help? I thought it was bad enough that you were helping us."

"The charges were dropped! He just got an AMA censure-or at least that's what I heard...and speak the fuck up if you have a better plan," I snapped back defensively, my tone dripping with acid. For a minute I could feel a phantom sting in my hand like the one follows a good hard bitch slap and I craved the sensation like I was craving a cigarette. It was one of those hard ugly sensations that you push out of your head afterwards. I guess the old Jon Mackey hadn't gone too far. He was laughing with my dad's laugh in the back of my head somewhere.

Phebe put a hand on my arm. "Easy Jon. Let's stop to rest for a minute." Ahead of us, two of the girls were leaning on Cesare to puke and he gave me a thumbs up over their shoulders. The streets were quiet and cold, but I could occasionally hear gunshots in the distance. She fingered her glock and sat down hard on the curb, flinching as she felt the layer of dirty ice covering the pavement. Shivering in front of us was Rachel, who lit a cigarette and glared out at the morose skyline.

"I was almost free of you, Mackey," she said bitterly. As if the whole damn apocalypse was a conspiracy for me to get back at her.

"What happened to the Princess guy?" I said before I could stop myself. Phebe gave me a hard look and I flinched from it instinctively; in that moment, it hurt worse than the gunshot wound or Mackey Sr's ball peen hammer. "Look...look. Rachel I fucked up your shit and I know it and I'm doing my best to make it right, but can we not talk about it right now?"

She looked between me and Phebe for a moment and said, simply and astutely "She doesn't know, does she? I bet she doesn't know." And what was left of my guts did a flip flop that would have done an acrobat proud.

Still, the clock was ticking-and the accounting had to come someday.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:11 pm 
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moar moar moar moar moar moar moar moar moar moar moar moar moar moar moar moar moar moar moar moar moar moar moar moar moar please


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:27 am 
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Sorry folks, with the tornadoes in the state both my work and personal\prep life have been busy!

Hopefully there will be a new update tonight.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:03 am 
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Awesome story, can't wait for the last chapter!

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:22 pm 
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Um... MOAR?

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 4:59 am 
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For a few long, ugly moments, Phebe and Rachel just looked at each other. Our feet crunched in the hardening ice as the gelid grey twilight blossomed into full day, something was rattling in my lungs while I breathed, and one of the girls was sobbing just ahead of us. And they just looked at each other, sharing that ghostly female telepathy while my taut stretched nerves twanged with every plodding step.

Phebe spoke up first. "Jon...what is she talking about?"

I sighed, and it rattled painfully. Another helicopter droned low and loud somewhere nearby, granting me a moment to think that I didn't really use. We ground to a halt at a dilapidated playground, skulking towards a park bench where all three of us sat down hard, breathing raggedly.

"Look, Phebe," I said, smothered a cough with an exquisite squishy thrum of deep and shuddering agony, and went on with a voice like Mickey Rourke. "I...I'm not the best guy in the world Apparently I fucked up a lot. And part of what I'm...what I'm doing here is trying to make things right."

Beside me, Rachel sneered. I could practically hear her lip curling.

Phebe was quiet for a moment, her eyes growing bluer as the light improved. Good christ, did I want a valium and another kiss before I died. "Jon...whatever you are trying to pussyfoot around, get to it, we don't have time." Her statement was punctuated by a distant shot that made us all startle in place like rabbits.

I started to speak again after the silence, but Rachel got to it first. She affected a low, almost grotesquely sacchrine tone. "So you didn't mention all the times you smacked the shit out of me? About those times you fucked my girlfriends?" The affectation was sliding like cheeze wiz off a cracker; her voice was rising and becoming simple hysteria instead. "Or talked ME into fucking my girlfriends? Or got me hooked on speed? Or talked down to me like I was a fucking stupid kid!?!?" Here she erupted in a shattering sob and I felt Phebe flinch.

I was shushing her frantically at this point, though I couldn't say whether it was because I was afraid Phebe or the local predators would here. But she plowed right through me; bitch had a head of steam on her like a fuckin' locomotive and I was tied to the tracks like a silent film damsel.

"You think because you use big words and read a lot of books you get to be the good guy, Jon," sobbed Rachel, still against all reason clinging to my injured side. "You think it makes you better than your old man, but it doesn't. You still fuck people, Jon, you just make it sound smarter." She sobbed and ruined the picturesque hysteria by snot rocketing all over my jeans. I didn't complain. "And worst of all I'm stuck with you forever BECAUSE YOU FUCKING KNOCKED ME UP!!!"

Everyone was looking at us now, all the girls, Cesare, Phebe, probably all the gutter rats and thieves that plagued this neighborhood. For a minute the whole world revolved around three desperate motherfuckers on a playground bench. Our breath fogged in the air and Rachel's sobs all ran down like a kookoo clock, becoming soft choking hiccups instead.

After an indeterminate period of crippling agony, I said "Phebe..."

The look she gave me was wooden. "I...I think you need to talk to her, not me, Jon." She tried to turn away before I could see the tear sparkling in her eye. God, I still wanted her so much. With as much dignity as she could apparently muster, she stood up, leaving my uninjured side exposed to a frigid scrape of northerly wind that whipped her ponytail flippantly back at me. Without turning around, she said "We'll rest another fifteen minutes or so and get going again. We've probably been heard."

I swallowed hard, recognizing I had not even the slightest right to try to dissuade her. Spend your whole life getting away with it, gentle reader, but it never stops being wrong. I could persuade most anyone of anything-it was what Mackey Sr called 'the gift of gab.' I could have stopped her, reasoned with her, made it seem like good ol' Jon Mackey was just a decent guy with a rough background living by his keen wits in an unforgiving soft drug trade. Certainly I could have at least convinced myself. But it still wasn't right, and maybe it was a slug in my lungs that made me realize it. You can get away with it your whole life-Daddy did, and until now so had I. But I hadn't seen until now how we were exactly the same shitheel, with the only difference being my 12th grade reading level.

"Rachel," I said, forcing it to come. She shoved me hard in the chest and I coughed up a chunk of something that schplorked on the ground noisily. With a rattling sigh I tried again. "Rachel, look, I'm apologizing, OK?"

"Apologies don't cost shit to Mackeys, do they Jon?" she bit back in acid tones.

"And I'm going to make this right! Do I get any fucking credit for trying to save your stupid..." I felt that phantom sting in the back of my hand again and took a deep breath, regretted it immediately, and doubled over in pain. Tiny dark motes swarmed across my vision like rising campfire ashes.

I felt her hand warm and trembling on my back. "Jon, stop wasting your breath. I don't feel anything but surprise that you came back for me, but I don't want you dead." She pulled me tight against her once more, probably just to block the wind. She was crying still, but it was a low beaten thing now, the last raw couple of feet of a coke buzz tapering off into a few ragged strands of exhaustion and bitterness. We didn't say anything more. What more was there to say?

After awhile, it was time to move on.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 4:50 am 
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I must have been losing it, because I could hear church bells. Off in the distance somewhere, or maybe right next to me. My vision was dimming as we crossed 34th and I just kind of sagged against Cristal, who was dragging me along with more tenacity than I deserved. It could have been the wound, the lack of sleep, the benzos, the guilt trip or the frostbite, but I could hear those church bells clearly-ga-GONG, ga-GONG, ga-GONG GONG GONG. For a moment I was under the impression that I was dying.

Finally, I heard Jasmine say "Where the fuck are those bells coming from?" Though I was just a floating head miles above the pavement at this point, I was cogent enough to be relieved.

"34th street church," said Cesare. "Our Lady of Providence."

Crossing Trey-Four was an unpleasant situation even in normal times, but as I slowly swiveled my head to look over Cristal's shoulder I could see that it was largely empty. Even with the rain, there were three burned out shells on the street right now. God I wanted a cigarette. Phebe was talking somewhere in the distance.

"...get across the rail bridge. Jon, where did you say this guy lives?"

"40th and Atterbury," I rasped, and grinned at her with bloody teeth. I no longer felt the cold.

"And you're sure he can help us?" she said. Listening to her talk to me in those cold, clipped tones was wrenching a knife in my already shredded bowels, for all that I deserved it.

"I think I can bribe him to help." I paused, considered something unpleasant. "If I don't make it, take my bag. I brought about two grand, that should cover whatever the girls need."

I was gratified to see a spark return to Phebe's soul shattering blue eyes for a moment, a flicker that was gone almost before it appeared. "Don't talk like that, Jon. We'll get there. Only about four more blocks."

Rachel snorted and spat on the ground, where her saliva steamed against the ice. "You got that Knight in shining armor shit backwards, Mackey. Looks like I'm saving you today." God damnit.

The two girls shared another incomprehensible look as we trudged on. The ice was slippery and we had a couple more tumbling incidents before we crossed onto Atterbury circle. From there, it was a wide, straight shot to the Doc's little duplex, tucked away behind a six foot wrought iron fence. His car was still there-a Subaru WRX in cobalt blue, the tackiest little piece of plastic that ever rolled across these streets. No lights burned inside, but there were no lights anywhere. Other than that, the streets were clear, just a narrow double row of cookie cutter duplexes forming a corridor towards the dead end circle.

Our breath fogged while we rested in the alley between two duplexes. Cristal, her arms trembling, sat me down on the ice and sighed wearily. "I don't think I can do this much longer," she groaned, and wrapped her arms around herself.

"Then don't," I said. "I should be able to walk the rest of the way." I wasn't sure, but looking at her was giving me a spate of guilt flashes as well. Ah, the grisly menopause of Jon Mackey's life as a misogynist prick. At least given the rate at which I was growing numb to the cold, it wouldn't last long.

Shots were going off in the distance, and Phebe sidled up to me. She helped Cristal up first, then turned to me. The silence was unbelievably awkward, and I stood up faster than I should have, so she had to help me steady myself against the frigid siding of the duplex. "Phebe," I rasped, and I felt rather than saw her flinch.

"Look," I continued recklessly, "I don't want...to fuck this up for us. Not just this, but us. You know?" My lips were numb and I didn't know if I was making sense.

She looked to me, and looked to Rachel who was carefully smoking a cigarette and looking elsewhere. "Jon...don't make this weird."

I spread my hands to indicate our frozen city that had apparently gone shithouse rat crazy. "You think this doesn't qualify?" That didnt' get the laugh I wanted.

Instead, she looked to me and said simply "Is it true?"

I thought about hemming and hawing and justifying, but surprised myself by saying "Yeah...pretty much all of it."

"And you still want to...I mean, you are thinking about you and me, right?"

"Well...yeah. I mean if I haven't fucked it up...and I mean I understand if I have..."

Phebe sighed, and the sound was the slicing death knell to my nascent fairy tale dreams. "Look, Jon. It isn't that I'm not into you-in fact, I have been for some time." I hadn't known that; it was a surprising thought, that she had been aware of me before all this when I had been aware of so little. "...but...she is really pregnant isn't she?"

Of course there was no way to be sure, but what I said was "Yeah...yeah, I think she is."

"Then Jon...there's a kid involved in all of this. I think...I think the thing to do is man up and take responsibility. If you didn't...well, you'd never be the kind of man I need anyway. No real man at all, in fact." She sighed wistfully, and looked at Rachel. "And I think you owe it to this kid to make a go of it with this girl. You understand?"

Something deep inside me was howling though I would never have admitted it. Instead I swallowed, and forcefully before I could start with the weasel words I said "You're right." The howl rose to a furious crescendo in shuddering half-note tune with the wind around us. One of the girls-Victoria I think was her name-needed to be carried, and I was left on my own to stumble along without seeing or hearing anything. In single file like beads on a string, as thick wet snow begin to drift from the hopeless grey skies above us, we damned few made our way to our fate.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 4:06 pm 
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OK, I was more optimistic for Jon when he just got lung shot. Make the best of it with the old girlfriend for the sake of the kid that she might have that might be his? Fate worst than death!

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:50 am 
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I did the stupidest thing I could have done, with all my fight-or-flight systems overclocked to a high pitched psycho wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee that went on and on and on and on; I the present situation slip and indulged in memory. As they shuffled me across the last few blocks, of course that turned out to be exactly what I did. I mean, maybe I didn't have a choice-I had been without sleep for some time and everything had a lemon-yellow edge, especially the front sight of Cristal's rifle up ahead of me. I was no longer walking; there was a vague scraping noise that I recognized (from a great distance, like airplane height) as my shoes being dragged across the icy pavement.

Rachel never really had a career beyond stripping; she made the choice that a lot of hot girls have made when their boyfriend says get a job or get the fuck out. It wasn't the money-Jon Mackey seldom wanted for anything in those days-but I had to get the bitch out of the house a few nights a week or I might have murdered her. As the dragging of my own dead feet blended back into the scrabbling art house film reel flap, I could even see the fucking credits roll across Cesare's back, in a big V shaped patch of sweat.

LAST CALL, LAST STAND
STARRING SOME ASSHOLE NAMED JON MACKEY JR
CO STARRING EVERYONE JON MACKEY FUCKED OVER IN HIS MISERABLE SHITHEEL LIFE
SPECIAL GUEST STAR: JON MACKEY SR

AND BABY MAKES 3

<Jump cut to CIRCLE CITY DONUTS - DAY. JON & RACHEL are sitting in a battered geo storm that is filled with smoke. The remaining credits swirl away as the windows roll down. >

RACHEL: I'm so glad I met you, Jon. My fucking parents, they just don't...
JON: Sure baby, sure. Fate and stuff. They don't understand how hard it is to be you. Break us up another bowl, would you?

<Slow transition to MACKEY TRAILER>

<JON stands looking at a scarred and burnt stump in the front yard. He is 17 years old and smoking a Parliment Light. There is a discman propped behind his ears and he is nodding his head and humming when a police cruiser pulls up. Two OFFICER SHOGGOTHS, freakishly tall and with multijointed segmented carapaces like centipedes, slither over to him, their porcine mouths dripping with ichor. JON looks up in alarm and throws the cigarette away in a hurry>

OFFICER SHOGGOTH: Is this 666 Country Church Place?

JON: Got a warrant, Mikey? Or did they shove you back to Truant?

<One OFFICER SHOGGOTH visibly flinches, and narrows his eyes at JON. He draws back his lips into a snarl, revealling a vast, starry gulf>

OFFICER SHOGGOTH: We don't need to enter the premises, Jon. We just need to know.

JON: If you're looking for Gramma, she's...not receiving visitors.

OFFICER SHOGGOTH: It's about your old man. His trailer...

<Slow fade to MACKEY APARTMENT - NIGHT. RACHEL is dressed for work in an improbably slutty nurse costume. She is powdering her face to cover a bruise while JON plays a PS2 on a dingy couch. His hands are dripping in odd pinkish gore with the texture of coffee ground emisis. It leaves long, blackish tentacle streaks across the dingy yellow carpet>

RACHEL: I'm sorry, Jon. How many times do I have to say it?

<RACHEL is crying tiny blue moths. They flutter around JON hungrily, but he waves them away, shaking gore across the Heavy Metal poster behind him.>

JON: Look, just forget it and do another line with me, OK? And ask Karma if she wants to do a line with us later and...y'know....

<Jump cut to blackness. Sound of automatic weapons going off. It sounds strangely like a flapping film reel. A moment later, there is a single, almost stock footage female scream>

Wait, that was me screaming. A hand was covering my mouth and I struggled feebly. The air was no longer cold. "Shhhh, Jon, be quiet!" someone hissed. I could see a vaguely female outline somewhere very, very far above me. I was laying down somewhere and I could hear gunshots. Phebe leaned in closer above me, her valium blue eyes standing out like soothing stars, stark and crystal clear against a world of slushy grey. "They're burning out the neighborhood," she muttered, in low, controlled tones. "The girls are in the dumpster and I'm trying to get you in there." A brief pause. "This is going to hurt and you can't scream. Do you understand?"

I did. God help me, at last I was beginning to understand. And I did the only thing I could do to help at this stage; I bit my fucking lip and waited.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:36 am 
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thanks for the chapter


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Wow. Just started reading it. Love the voice of this character. Very unusual. I find myself morbidly curious.


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You're a very talented writer; your grittiness and the subject matter almost put me off but your vivid descriptions and imagery exceeds my own I think so I had to continue on :)

I wish you the best in your writing endeavors.. hey if you're on twitter shoot me a follow - I'm mmessina_author

Thanks!

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I didn't quite squeal like a pig when they flopped me into the dumpster on top of a passed out stripper I didn't recognize. Part of that was because it was getting harder and harder to draw a breath. The minute I whumped softly into the overflowing refuse, barely feeling the girl under me struggle, the top cover slammed shut over us and I heard more gunshots and screaming.

Something squirmed out from under me in the dark. I breathed in a ripe mouthful of the fetid air and tried to speak, feeling bubbles form around my mouth.

"Move over, Jon." Cristal's voice. She lit a cigarette in the darkness, heedless of the security risk, and I saw a nasty bruise on her face when the lighter flared up. The two of us struggled painfully into a side by side sitting position, me wanting a cigarette so bad I could taste it and her smoking. Thanks a lot, Director in the Sky. Watching the D list actress smoke a cigarette in a dumpster. Wasn't I supposed to be the star of this fuckin' picture?

"What happened?" I whispered with some effort.

"Some kind of large mob. Out early, too. The curfew just ended, they announced it over the chopper's speakers. And people just flooded into the streets throwing bricks and bottles at us."

"Where are we?"

"Just on the other side of 36th & Trolley." Inside I groaned. Of course they flooded out to throw shit at us. A bunch of white marks, obviously injured, walking down this neighborhood even pre riot was not exactly AAA safety rated. "The address you told us about is just up the street. Jon, are you sure this guy is going to help us?"

I winced, leaned back against a squishy pile of something I didn't want to recognize, and let my eyes flutter closed. "It doesn't matter now. The dice are already thrown. If he can't, I die." It was shocking how little I felt at that. My coke had come off a long time ago and I had to be out by now, but the benzos were still jackhammering away in my brain.

A round pinged off the outside of the dumpster with a sound oddly like church bells vibrating the two of us in place. That got us quiet again, and for a time we listened to the chopper buzzing overhead and the shrieks of defiance and the gunshots and the orders to disperse. An unfamiliar, biting acrid smell somehow made itself known over the reek of garbage. I sniffed once, looked questioningly at Cristal, and she shrugged back. I felt for my pistol but it was missing; one of our people out there probably needed it worse than I do.

After a time things quieted down and I felt confident enough to pop the lid a little bit. The side alley was completely empty now and there were casings from bullets fucking everywhere. It looked like a major war had been fought here. I also saw empty canisters from some type of grenade; from the smell, and the lack of craters, I figured they were tear gas grenades or some shit. Of the others there was no sign, but I got my first clue when the dumpster next to us farted.

Slowly, with the caution of a mouse trying to get laid in a nest of snakes with the biggest snake's wife (Did I mention the Benzos? Christ!) we crept out of our dumpsters, all dripping with trash. Rachel shot me a look that said "This is all your fucking fault, Mackey," clear as day, but everyone appeared unscathed. Cesare held out my pistol and shotgun, but I waved it away. I wasn't going to do any fighting anytime soon. We huddled together in the alley.

Phebe took charge, of course. God bless that girl. "Okay, you said he lives in an unnamed street off Atterbury, right?"

"1 Private drive or some shit like that," I grunted. "Brown stone house. Privacy hedges."

"Okay. We can get around this building to another alley; it was where we ran after the tear gas came down. We don't have to get into the open until we cross 40th, and then we have to run what, about four, five hundred yards down atterbury?" Her nipples were dark through that wet coat and her eyes blazed like a cold valium sun.

My brain was swimming and there were angry little pirhanas devouring my thoughts. "I...I can't remember. Shit. Left side of the street." I strained hard, forced synapses together like an inelegant electrician conducting an orchestra of spark plugs.

Hey, asshole, I'm dying, I'm allowed to mix my metaphors.

Finally i twigged it. "Empty gas station right across from it. Old, too-rusty red pumps, the manual kind. It's right across from the drive." I was proud of myself; I had only made the drive once, as a favor to a friend.

Everyone nodded. There was little need for discussion although Rachel shot me a look I couldn't interpret. There was a sort of low hum in the air, a sort of tangible tension that hit me in the face like seltzer. Suddenly I was totally straight again, walking on my own in a burst of shock, moving at the rear of the column with an eye to the mouth of the alley for trouble, a steely eyed superhero from a dime pulp novel and a hardon that had finally collapsed and apparently a fucking kid on the way. God I wanted a cigarette.

We moved slowly and carefully to the edge of 40th street. A pack of three urban youths wandered by. It was odd-it should have been menacing but it wasn't. They were just striding up a street in their neighborhood, talking about girls, not even looking down the alley for us. Their postures were relaxed, their body language somehow casual, and none appeared armed. It was a novel experience. How fucked up is that, that not being hunted was a novelty? Still, it was unsettling and we waited a good long while before Phebe ventured out onto the sidewalk.

"They're long gone," she said. "Single file, Jon at the rear. Get your shotgun. Everybody follow me. Walk until we have to run." She lifted her chin, rainwater beading on the slender swan curve of her neck, all noble purpose and dour stoicism, everything I should have been the whole goddamn time.

I bet you're waiting for the big climactic battle-there wasn't really one. Once the mob was dispersed in the area we just walked up the road. I barely remember most of it, just a few vague nightmares of gut churning tension whenever a window curtain moved. Once we came across a fresh corpse, a skinny guy halfway stuck out a fucking sewer grate, his shoes missing and several holes in his torso. Another time we came across a Teddy Bear with a leg torn off in a macabre field of damp stuffing, and somehow that was worse. Eventually we reached the gates of this guy's privacy hedges, and by that time I had lost my newfound adrenaline and was sagging against Cesare.

The security camera had been ripped out, but the intercom still worked. When Phebe pounded on the wooden gate with her glock, a harsh, discordant voice rippled like magic from the black box. "GO AWAY. I HAVE A SHOTGUN." It was a tired, rote voice, somehow familiar. Wait, was I the one that was supposed to know this guy?

I reached out and mashed the intercom button, co opting Phebe's place in front. "Dr. MAUSKOVICH! We have some injured and sick people out here!"

"FUCK OFF!" came the buzz predictably. "I'm not a Doctor anymore."

"Doc, I'm hurt real bad," I said, "and we got a couple of sick girls here and..."

"You and every other poor bastard out there." The intercom really fails to convey sarcasm. "Get the fuck out of here or I'm opening fire."

"I've got money, Doc..."

"Money!" The laughter was distant and tinny and somehow that made it more mocking. "You know what fucking money is worth these days, son?" It was snowing again. It made everything quieter, the sounds in the distance muffled by the blanket of white. Fucking snow in febuary-or was it march now? You know what they say about Indiana weather-if you don't like it, wait.

I racked my brain but couldn't remember his vice. I was leaning up against the gate now and just babbling into the intercom. I was just listing off the drugs I had in my bag, the whole Hunter S. Thompson list. Benzos and addies and xanies and lor tabs and acid (though thinking on it, why I had brought acid I would never know) ecstasy vicadin...it just went on and on, rather pathetic really. It seemed to go on a long time while snow rippled down the back of my neck and my breaths between words grew longer and longer. I croaked on. Weed, yellow jackets, rippers, cigarettes, crystal, china, zydrate, soma, happiness, force projection crystals. I was just making shit up now, throwing a cinder block sized blarney stone into the duck pond.

Hey, asshole, I'm dying, I can make no sense if I want to.

I'm not sure what happened next. I think the gate clicked on "Cigarettes." The others were hustling me through and I was still bartering. The hum of a generator swelled up around me as they took me into a little white room and I could hear someone going through my bag. The adventure ended for me at 9:22 that morning when the Doc put me under a hot light on his kitchen table. I was watching Phebe's eyes, letting them ground me all the way home.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:18 am 
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Excellent post!

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:26 pm 
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End Credits

Well, I mean, you know the rest, right? You have cable news I'm sure. Turns out it wasn't the end of the world after all, though you'd never have known it at street level. FEMA, DHS, the National Guard, army troops from Atterbury and Marines from Crane all came in like the cavalry and got control of the situation fast after the 108th hour of full blown rioting, at the cost of a lower-than-typical number of human rights abuses. So hey, net win for the good guys, or something.

I was laid up for a day or two but it wasn't as bad as it had seemed; apparently I took a .38 right in the lungs and the groove in my leg had gotten infected, so all Doc had to do was drain the fluid shit that had built up in my lungs and patch me up and advise me to take some antibiotics. It only blew through the front. I was on my feet again within about twelve hours and we hitched a ride on an army truck over to my side of town. Cesare was reunited with his family, Phebe was reunited with her bed, and I was reunited with Rachel. Gheesh.

We had a bang up row that night. I mean bang up, screaming, throwing shit, all of the old shit. I was on a lot of lor tabs at the time so I don't recall much besides that it was somehow catharitic and I made her give up hard shit for the duration of her pregnancy. At the end of the night we fucked, and both cried. The air wasn't clear; it wouldn't be for a long, long time...but I think she started to understand my awakening and perhaps experience one of her own.

The whole city was under martial law for a week. I didn't mind too much; once I was able to get around on my own (two or three days later) I sold a shitload of pills to soldiers and pretty much got to go where I wanted. At one point I met a hilarious young Naval intelligence officer who cut me a pass for some percocets.

Apparently the donut shop got burned down by the ATF. I don't know how that happened but everyone says a local gang had holed up in the place and refused to emerge. Then again, when exactly did BATFE need an excuse? Anyway, that was kind of vindicating-I'm glad I got Rachel out of there.

Power came back on the night we got back, and we celebrated by watching The Devil's Rejects on DVD and busting out my "formal occasion" bong.

I slipped criminal charges for the kid I stabbed in the head; it was all on videotape and the whole fucking thing went viral, although they (rightfully) revered Cristobol instead of me. For awhile I was seeing all these animated gifs of him banging the machete on the door frame and all those lawless assholes retreating all over the internet with the caption "BACK PUTAS" and it made me smile every time. The skinny kid's family tried to press charges but I was cleared based on my "previous relationship" with the gas station clerk. I lost the civil suit; they gutted my bank account and took my car, but most of my net worth is in my stash so really I didn't get hit too hard. Also I made a killing selling that beef jerky to Marines-they love that shit.

Of course, eventually, my son was born. Jon Mackey the 3rd, and who the fuck thought that would ever happen? I'm not exactly number one dad, but my kid doesn't go hungry and I'm learning a lot. Seeing him born, and everything that came after, was as fundamentally transformative as the whole zombie apocalypse thing, believe it or not. Every day I'm still overwhelmed, but I do have to say I will probably have the coolest kid ever, plus no one ever searches a diaper bag for drugs.

Oh, and eventually, with patient love and understanding plus a few hits of e, I did get Phebe and Rachel in the sack together. But that story is a whole 'nother genre.

Well, I'm off to write my letter to Penthouse. Cheers, motherfuckers.

Jon Mackey
2012

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Last edited by by-the-throat on Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:15 am 
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Jon Mackey - women want him, men want to be him! Cool story, thanks!

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:31 am 
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Whew, it feels good to be done.

I can actually post on prep related threads once in awhile now. I was starting to feel like a poseur!

Thanks for reading guys. Look forward to one more post on this subject entitled "Survival Lessons from Jon Mackey" and I'll also use this thread to promote\whore some of my other shit.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:53 am 
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Definitely looking forward to more of Jon's "wisdom". I appreciate the anti-hero angle.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:31 pm 
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Great job, it's nice that you wrapped this up, some people, I won't name names, start great stories then disappear before finishing.


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Thanks for taking the time to post it, very good story!

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MENU -> SETUP -> AUDIO TRACK -> ACTOR COMMENTARY...PLAY

Hi there, Folks. This is Edward Norton; you might remember me from such films as "Fight Club" "Death to Smoochy" and most recently the epic blockbuster "Last Call, Last Stand" where I played one Jon Mackey, America's favorite pill pusher cum hero.

Anyway, I thought I'd settle in and give you the rundown on some of the advantages Mackey has in a total shit storm type of situation. Though the scriptwriters, when we could get 'em to stop huffing whippets and popping quaaludes long enough to tell us anything, specifically designed Mackey as a shitheel, he is not without his good qualities and these are what will carry him through the...well, you're watching it.

So yeah. To an audience of dedicated Zombie Killers, it seems like Mackey is fucked from the get go. No food storage-no food in his fridge even. Insufficient personal weaponry. A number of crippling addictions. Self absorbed. Lazy. Ugly...hey, wait a minute, who the fuck is writing this? Anyway, part of that might be projection-nobody wants the wife beaters to survive the apocalypse, right?

But his advantages are notable too, and perhaps the first one you noticed is his stash. Mackey's stash, if you are paying attention, is a tribute to Hunter S. Thompson, a "multicolored galaxy of screamers, laughers, downers, uppers." Sure, sure, obviously illegal-but let's look at the advantages it gives him. Money first off-and if you think that doesn't matter in a riot you are sadly mistaken. With price inflation, plus good ol' fashioned Federal Reserve inflation, the pills were appreciating in value fast as shipping stopped. There is a reason the quarantine time got skipped over-to a man with plenty of pills, well, read your history, he moves pretty much unmolested even in occupied territory. Beyond the trade value, though, the pills also have an inherent value for pain control, energy, and all the other wonderful reasons we humans shoot, snort, smoke and pop these marvellous chemicals. I mean...I 'm not coming out to endorse drug use here...sorry Mamaw Norton...but surely you can see how this is an advantage with the grid down.

Building on that point, we also see that Mackey has what his daddy called "the gift of gab" and what the rest of the world calls "being a manipulative asshole." It is no coincidence that people follow Mackey's plans, even when they are, well, suicide. He also does a fair job of horse trading. The ability to negotiate and influence people will work as long as there are people, and if there are no people, well, you got no problems, do ya?

Building on that, let's talk about fighting. Mackey has no business getting in a gunfight, does he? A little bit of martial arts and a cheap 1911 does not a warrior make. What Mackey does have is a high regard for his own skin and a knowledge of the local geography. Not that the writing staff understood that..."Atterbury Street" indeed...but Mackey knows all the places to smoke and all the hidey holes to duck into and all the back routes into anything. It isn't much-but it can save you when nothing else will.

So yeah, there are lot of reasons to dismiss a guy like Jon, but keep in mind that some of his unconventional advantages can help you a lot too, on the day you make your own Last Stand.

This is Edward Norton, and I'm not getting paid for this, so fuck it, I'm out.

STOP -> EJECT

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by-the-throat wrote:
So yeah, there are lot of reasons to dismiss a guy like Jon, but keep in mind that some of his unconventional advantages can help you a lot too, on the day you make your own Last Stand.


Y'all listen to this man. He just brought up some things even I wouldn't have considered...and I'm a lot more like Jon Mackey than I'd care to admit. :?

by-the-throat wrote:
This is Edward Norton, and I'm not getting paid for this, so fuck it, I'm out.


Ed Norton is the last guy I would have thought of to play JM...and yet, I can think of no better choice. Good call. :mrgreen:

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All right, guys, today I bring you the gift of choice.

There is now a poll posted for which story item goes up on ZS next. I will post a brief preview of each here in this thread and you can pick what you want on the boards.

Keep in mind when voting that Codex Kalachnikova will eventually have preview chapters on the board anyway, as that is my commercial novel, the final form of which is about 50% complete. So voting for that option means you are just impatient :twisted: Also, I don't plan on ever posting it in full.

The first chapter of the other two options is complete in both cases so as soon as a decision is reached (I'm going to close the polls after a week or two depending on interest) I will post the first chapter in the fiction forum.

Now, on to the previews!

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