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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:24 am 
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At first I had trouble figuring out what was wrong with Phebe. When you don't sleep much, you sometimes don't recognise exhaustion in other people very easily. So when she ushered me through her door, I had the damndest time understanding her as she mumbled something and then shut the door behind me, fumbling to lock the deadbolt. Her eyes were half lidded; in some ways a blessing, as I didn't get distracted by them.

"Are you okay?" I said stupidly, just as I realized how long she had been awake.

She took a deep breath, rubbing at her eyes with her free hand while still fumbling with the lock. "Yeah, just tired. It has been a long...fucking...day." She sighed, and I moved around her and handled the lock myself. For a few seconds I just stood there awkwardly behind her, trying to figure out what to say. I already regretted not grabbing a couple more addies.

"They changed your locks too, huh?" I said, also stupidly. I was kicking myself; the white was making my mouth run about ten miles ahead of my fogged brain.

"Yeah, right after they did yours. They got the power back on too." It had never been out in my apartment, though I hadn't thought of it at the time. I reached over her to twist the deadbolt into place, and she pulled herself away from me conciously; my mind conjured an image of an Indian woman recoiling from a poisonous snake under a pile of firewood, an image that stuck in my brain from my Jim Morrison esque experience on an Indian reservation trying to score some peyote a few years back. The fundamental look of disgust and controlled fear was the same. The thought bummed me out a little.

"Sorry," she said, flashing me her teeth. "Just a little inside my boundaries right now."

"Yeah, yeah, sure," I replied, smiling as well, though I didn't feel it. I took a deliberate step back from her. "Sorry." The lemon-yellow foreshocks of my comedown were looming; I started to think that maybe coming over was a bad idea.

The lights were on, but not the tv. There were still boxes and shit everywhere; grey rubbermaid tubs stacked up, each with a sheet of paper taped to it neatly. It made me alarmingly conscious of my own nearly empty fridge and cupboard. With a jolt, I realized that if the stores stopped functioning, the possibility of starvation became shockingly real. Starvation. Here, in Midwest USA-not some third world hellhole, but in a place with toilet paper and pay per view porn. That thought in itself was it's own jolt, a frigid icepick of fear shanking me like a Mara Sulvachtra in prison. I might seriously starve to death.

The human mind builds bulwarks against the obvious, sort of like poles propping up the big patchwork circus tent of lies we use to shelter ourselves from unpleasant realities. I had spent most of the past day and a half wrapped up in my own weird personal drama. Up until that moment the little social problem problem-the disaster!-was a distant and occasionally interesting thing that was happening on TV. But the poles holding me away from the truth-a drug pole and a self absorbed prick pole primarily-just snapped at that moment, when I looked at her big tubs of food, and and I realized that I faced the real possibility of starving. My buzz was gone then, and my stomach was rumbling. I fumbled for a cigarette while my big tent started falling around me, just another stupid gawker looking for the emergency exit in the dark.

"...a little safer now," Phebe was saying, sunken deep into the overstuffed pillows of her loveseat. I chose the chair I had slept in previously, trying to pretend like I knew what the conversation was about.

"So, uh," I said-Jon Mackey stumbling over his words, a rarity in any season-"how long do you think this will last?"

She cocked her head quizzically to the side, ponytail swishing across the back of the couch. "Just for like 8 hours or so, maybe ten. I just need to get some sleep, but I don't want to sleep without someone keeping an eye out...I mean, its okay if you can't do it."

"Oh, no, babe," I said, perhaps too quickly as she widened her eyes in surprise. That threw me for a moment; goddamned if a valium didn't sound good about then, and not just because of her shocked stare. "I don't mind helping you out. I meant, this, this whole situation..." I just sort of waved my arms as if to indicate the broader disaster, though I didn't really know if she was grokking me or not.

She looked puzzled for a moment; it made her eyes shine like sapphires. Delicious 25mg sapphires, ground up neatly between two spoons. Fuck it was going to be a long night. "Oh," she said after a moment. "Sorry, I'm just...losing it, Jon; I'm so tired." She paused, gave my question some thought while I studied the carpet. "I really don't know; the forecast for this week is rain, and I guess that's why people are freaking out-the riots, y'know, food and stuff."

I puffed my cigarette for a moment on that one, biting my lower lip. "Fuck," I breathed softly. "So it could get worse."

She sighed, resolutely, and touched the glock still under her stained left armpit. "It always does. So is it cool if I go to bed? Do you need anything?"

I chewed my lower lip, weighed my options. "Let me go back to my place and get a few things," I replied, dragging myself to my feet. My cellphone went off again; fucking Cesare. Didn't he know there was a fucking apocalypse on? Then again, I realized with a start, I hadn't known until a few minutes ago.

"Sure, just hurry," Phebe said. Her voice was a rich contralto. I avoided looking at her, though I told her to chill when she got up to help me with the door. I adjusted my gun in the back of my pants while I was walking out; I wasn't sure if she knew that I had it or not.

The rain did me good; walking through it sharpened my senses a bit. It was then I could hear the sirens, close by and loud. Every smart professional criminal knows the difference between the local sirens, from fire to ambulance to city police cruiser to sheriff's deputy. These were city cops, the worst of a bad lot from a scumbag's perspective-numerous, well funded and not very corrupt. I slowed down my walk deliberately, a reflex habit-I took up my unconcerned stroll by rote, even putting my hands in my pocket while I moseyed down the sidewalk in the pouring rain. Thunder shook the firmament behind me, an unhappy Zeus with a raging hardon breathing down my fucking neck the whole way there. Between thunderbolts I also heard at least one gunshot. That made me pick up my feet again and hurry.

I had left the lights on in my apartment before; I turned them off now. I grabbed a couple of spare clips for my pistol as well, and dumped them in my pockets. Then I dug into my stash, in that small wooden hope chest in my closet-four or five addies to keep me sharp, a xanny and a joint or two for the crash, a couple grams of yay for quick energy. I may have had no food in my fridge, but my stash was ready for a long siege at least. Sometimes I think my priorities might be off.

Goodies aquired, I made my way back to Phebe's place. She was already asleep on the couch when I came in quietly, snoring softly. I looked at her for a long time like that, standing awkwardly in her doorway while the storm thundered hot on my heels, dripping water on her welcome mat. In my strange, tent collapsing haze, she looked like a weird alien being to me, contentedly sleeping with her mouth slightly open and a fat black glock under her arm, in a small circle of yellow lamplight. She was beautiful, and strange, and so utterly different from every other woman I had tasted that her whitebread wholesomeness had an almost erotic quality to it.

I shook off the rain and shut the door behind me, taking care to bolt it and set the chain as well. I took my seat by the window again, popping an addie into my mouth and dry swallowing it while I stared out into the storm. My reflection in the dark glass stared back at me in profile. Somewhere in the distance, past the thin ring of scrub elm trees that surrounded our apartment complex, were those cherries n' berries every lowlife dreads; police cruisers, and moving fast. I gulped, my throat suddenly bone dry, and put off my next cigarette while I got up and walked past her into her neatly organized kitchen to get some water.

Ice clinked in my glass as I walked by the loveseat again, listening to Phebe snore, deceptively peaceful. I debated moving her to her bedroom, but decided I had no idea how to really go about being chivalrous and elected to wait, flopping back into her chair and continuing to stare out towards the now actively menacing storm. The rain came down in great snarling gobbets while thunder mixed with more frequent gunshots in the distance. Fear rose up like the taste of sour vomit at the back of my neck while the throbbing body buzz from the adderol began to exorcise the exhaustion demons from my body. My hands were shaking while I lit my next cigarette.

There was a family across the street rapidly moving boxes of stuff into their cars, even at midnight in the pouring rain. The mom, a slender black girl, was moving two sleepy kids into their carseats while the dad, an overweight white guy with a thick brown beard, shoveled things in the trunk. From where I was, it looked like a random assortment of junk-blankets, boxes of pasta, grocery bags, what looked like a heavy dufflebag. After a few minutes they stopped to argue with each other, their voices appearing intermittently like ghosts in the storm. Then suddenly I noticed two other people coming out of the apartment next door, a young professional couple that bought a dime bag of herb off me on occasion, beginning to load up their car as well.

Not knowing was intolerable; I flicked on the tv after some fumbling and turned the volume all the way to zero. The news was worse; I watched two pants-suited pundits silently go back and forth deciding who to blame while they replayed the Broadripple street riot footage, while watching the ticker carefully. A curfew was in effect for the whole county. Apparently, looters would be shot on sight. With my newfound awareness of the shitstorm I had suddenly found myself in, I found the hot sour fear taste was growing worse, my stomach actually gurgling while I worshipped at the flickering altar of our dying culture.

I decided to watch Phebe instead; she may have been an alien to me, but at least she didn't make my bowels quiver. Heavily aware of the .45 in the back of my pants, I leaned back in the chair and smoked a joint, hoping to grind the edge off my unease. I spent about two hours in an uncomfortable reverie. I was almost out of cigarettes again.

A shot rang out in the parking lot, alarmingly close. "Fuck!" I snapped before realizing it. I turned around in the chair and poked my head up to the window again. The rain made it hard to see, but I could definitely make out car headlights, a veritable train of them, all jammed up at the single exit to our parking lot. There was suddenly a lot of honking, all of it frantic, and a car alarm started wailing as well. Another shot rang out; I saw the muzzle flash in the treeline. It was then I noticed the mob.

Later I would discover the mob was essentially a mixed race pack of yahoos, only twenty or so. But as more shots started up and the shouts got closer, I swear I could see a hundred of them, a thousand; they multiplied like rabbits in my drug addled brain, and in the rain and the lightning they were all bleached a pale grey. "Phebe," I said once, to no response. "Phebe!" I hissed, louder and more forcefully.

She came awake at once, quietly. "What is it?" she said, but then she heard-the honking, the car alarms the gunshots. "Oh, Jesus," she breathed softly, and took a place beside me at the window, leaning over to stare into the darkness. Even in the chaos, I was uncomfortably aware of her body heat radiating into me again, warm sunshine on the ragged edges of my bleak grey conciousness.

"Yeah," I said. "Now would be a great time for him to show up." My gun was in my hand; I don't remember pulling it out. Hers was out as well, though she handled it much more professionally than I did.

Outside I heard the first scream. They were dragging a man from his car while he kicked his chubby legs in terror. Even through all the other noise, the distinctive crunch of his skull when someone put a shotgun butt between his eyes rang in my ears. My stomach lurched again, and I felt like I had three months worth of diarrhea backed up in my colon. I tried to keep the quaver out of my voice when I spoke, "We should get away from the window."

Phebe swallowed hard, with an impressive poker face. "Watch the door. I'll call 911."

I was glad to oblige, though at this point I was clenching my guts so hard my knees shook. I shuffled over in front of the door and racked my gun, the loud snick-snack drawing her eyes for a moment while she fumbled with her cell phone. I could hear the busy signal from where I was standing. "Oh no, no damnit," she hissed, and dialed again.

My life took on a strange stacatto rythym as I stood there watching the door, stoned out of my gourd and waging a never ending skirmish with my suddenly watery bowels. The harmony was the never ending wail of the car alarm. The melody was Phebe dialing, getting a loud busy signal, and cursing. And the solo was the screaming, puncutated with more gunshots, as the mob filtered through the pile of deadlocked cars.

At 3:04 AM the first shot shattered the window, and both storms entered our fortress at the same time.

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Last Call, Last Stand - The Crystal Menage - SF in Babylon - REMC Guide


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:38 am 
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Just discovered this story today. Great stuff, keep it coming!

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:39 am 
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Thanks for the new installment by-the-throat! :D

Please, don´t let us wait like forever for MOAR! :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:02 pm 
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Worth the wait...this is kind of like a psychology lesson given by a poet with three days' growth of beard, blood on his shoes and a well-chewed cigar in his mouth. Cool as hell. :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:20 am 
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Yeah I guess you could call him "the unlikely survivor". Well, I guess the jury is still out on that one :) .

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 3:32 am 
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With my back pressed against the wall, I was cursing the stereotypes that I usually make fun of. In this case, the thought grinding like a cheese grater across my stoned brain was that for a professional criminal, I was dreadfully inexperienced in violence. I'd never fired a gun in anger, though once I had to cut someone a bit before they consented to pay for their xannies. He had gone for his knife, one of those uber slick tactical folders, and I had gone for mine, a nine inch bowie. It was a remarkably unfair fight, which to be honest, I kind of preferred. Once I'd drawn blood from cuts on the poor bastard's arms, hands and face, he was quick to give in and let me drive him to the hospital. I'd told him that next time, there would be no hospital, and he hadn't missed a payment until he ODed a couple of months later.

But for the most part, I wasn't directly familiar with violence-excluding veterans from those two dandy little wars, most of my generation is not. I'd taken a little martial arts in college-mostly Kali, as I had a crush on the instructor. I'd watched a shitload of violence on TV. But as for directly causing harm? Shit,, I remember feeling queasy while I drove that poor prick to the hospital, because I could smell the blood in the close environment of my car's cabin. It was a hot coppery smell, and cloying like incense or a clove cigarette-it blocked out all other smells. But other than that one, panicked night, I had never shed another person's blood-not even when smacking up the girlfriend.

As I heard feet pounding on the door I felt an absurd, alien surge of guilt over that. Deathbed remorse, my blitzed brain told me, and I couldn't really deny it-now that I was facing real violence, I could practically smell the brimstone being stoked for me in the afterlife. Metaphorically of course-in reality, all I could smell was rain, now soaking through Phebe's curtains. The deadbolt held, even when the strikes grew more frequent and more gunshots sounded outside, along with that unbelievable tempo of screams. I stood there, fumbling with the heavy brick of GI colored steel in my hand, my mouth suddenly dry, with nicotine shakes already spoiling my aim.

For what it's worth, wherever you are, you dumb, tempermental bitch, I'm sorry. This might be John Mackey's last transmission to the sky gods off in the ether, and I guess they need to hear this.

"Quiet!" hissed Phebe, before I even knew I had spoken aloud. She stood beside me, her hand on my arm. She had her glock out, held in both hands, muzzle down, while she stared at the door that was shuddering with each new impact. The chain rattled against the wall. She raised her voice, and startled me with her only-slightly-hysterical shout of "Get back, all of you!"

If anything that intensified the pounding, but the deadbolts seemed to hold. I wouldn't be living in this complex if the doors weren't top quality, as I kept a sizable amount of cash and drugs in my apartment. But it wasn't long before some enterprising prick had thrown a rock through the window, the musical tinkle of shattering glass completing it's destruction and sending the curtains whipping out madly like the lacy arms of a soggy poltergeist. Then there was someone scrambling through into the light, no, two someones...they were running across her living room floor while she screamed impotently at them. One of them tumbled into the pile of rubbermaid tubs, sending them and their contents spraying all over the floor, cans rolling in every direction while both of us raised our pistols and pointed it at the two sopping men in the living room. One was black, the other white; other than that, they were practically mirrored images of one another in my vision, as all I could see was a baseball bat in the white guy's hands and some sort of menacing rifle in the other guy's.

"DOWNONTHEGROUNDGETDOWNONTHEGROUNDCOCKSUCKER" Phebe was screaming; I wasn't too far gone not to notice the tearstreaks on her face, but she held her gun steadily and covered the one on the left. Much less steadily, I covered the one on the right, my forearm already straining from clutching the gun so hard. I didn't speak; my throat was a barren desert, and I felt like I was about to puke anyway.

Both of them turned towards us, their eyes wide and terrified. The one with the rifle moved first, starting to lift it towards us. We both fired; the gun bucked in my hand and I put two holes in the drywall to the side of him. The acrid smell of gunpowder flooded my nostrils and I flinched against the flash; by the time I opened my eyes again he was sagging to the ground clutching his throat. It looked like Phebe had plugged him solid-there was a bright flower of blood spreading on his wet t shirt and a veritable fountain of the shit gushing from his voicebox. She was openly sobbing now, but even with tears and snot on her face she covered the other one closely. I pointed my gun at him as well, for all the good it would do.

Slowly, very slowly, he looked down to his buddy on the ground, gasping for air atop a pile of ramen packages, and then backed away, hands up. Phebe didn't seem to be able to speak, so I said simply "Get out, cocksucker. Nice and slow." I was amazed at how clear my voice sounded, though the 'nice and slow' bit was kind of rushed so I could clamp down on my vomit again.

He complied with my request, gingerly stepping over his buddy's corpse and clambering around the glass to get out the window again. The lace whipped frantically around his face, and he dropped his bat to get through it.

I thought things were going to quiet down again, and turned to put a hand on Phebe's shoulder, when suddenly I heard a frantic scream from outside, one that signaled my doom as much as anything I'd heard on the news. "HEY," it came, "THEY HAVE FOOD IN THERE!"

The pounding at the door stopped for a moment, and I heard a collective murmur go up in the mob through the rain; a moment after that came more gunshots, these specifically directed at us. I could hear the rounds vrrrrp through the window, putting more holes in the drywall, and oddly a few pings that I found later were rounds going through the thin section of wall and hitting her pots where they hung over the sink in the kitchen. I crouched instinctively, behind the couch, and was rewarded for my alacrity by a bolt of burning agony as another shot blasted through it in a puff of upholstery and caught me in the right thigh. The pain was unbelievable, and I could feel warm blood starting to fill my shoes as I continued to huddle behind the furniture, while Phebe emptied her glock out the window. That slowed down the shooting a lot, but not entirely-occasional rounds still zipped overhead while I laid on the floor pressing both hands to my now slippery leg. Someone was screaming like a terrified child; later I would be told that it was me.

She was beside me in an instant. "Can you walk?" she hissed, jamming a fresh clip into the butt of the gun that snicked softly. I shook my head no, though I wasn't sure. She wiped her nose on the sleeve of her hoodie, took a deep breath, and then grabbed my collar. "Shoot anyone that comes through the door," she said, her voice distant and cold, her eyes shining at me. I really, really, really, REALLY wanted a valium now.

She dragged me across the floor (and across the spreading pool of blood from the dead looter) through the narrow hallway and back into her kitchen. I saw hands at the window again, and fired another shot, but my gun hand was slick with blood-my own blood-and I have no idea if I hit anyone. I left a crimson smear across the tile when she deposited me in front of a cabinet. "Let me look," she said, and quite easily pried my trembling hand off my bloody leg. Taking a kitchen knife from the block on the counter, she cut off my jeans just below my crotch, and took a good hard look at where I was bleeding.

I turned my head to the side and puked once, orange-grey vomit splattering onto her linoleum. God knows another bad smell is what we both needed; I turned to her, all dead sexy with vomit on my chin, and gulped "Sorry."

She had her tongue between her teeth while she focused; she took a look at the wound and pressed the square of my cut off jeans against it. "Should have gotten a fucking battle dressing," she said, not remarking on my puke. "Looks like it just missed the artery. Hold this here." She guided my hand; even in the bizarre sort of stoned delerium I was in, I was glad I wouldn't die without touching her. I pressed down hard over the pink furrow in my pale flesh, gulped down more vomit, and nodded.

"I'm going to get my first aid kit; it's upstairs." She stood up, shaking blood off her fingers. She grimaced. "Should have worn gloves. You don't have AIDS do you?" I shook my head; to the best of my knowledge, true. "Stay here and don't make a sound."

"Don't go out there," I blurted, and stopped to puke again, my ears ringing with the force of it. By the time I could lift my head again she was gone. I heard another gunshot, one that turned my stomach to ice. I waited, and there was only silence and pouring rain, even most of the gunfire having quieted down. She came back down quickly, a large shoulderbag in desert camo strapped across her shoulders. She had rubber gloves on and started applying a field dressing to my injury almost before I could wipe my face again.

"Thanks," I said, and stood up experimentally. It hurt, but I could do it-in truth I probably could have done it before, had I not been panicking so bad. I fumbled the clip out of my pistol and jacked another one in there, letting the clip lay where it fell in a pool of blood and vomit. "We...um, are we going back out there?"

"Unless you want us to starve in the next week," she said, not too far gone to smirk. I think I loved her in that moment; it wasn't even spoiled when she stumbled to the sink for her turn to vomit. She sobbed as well, a few times, before she straightened, wiped her mouth, and turned to me. "Come on."

We both stepped out into the hallway; there was only one person in the room, and he was handing one of her tubs out the window to some waiting hands outside. This time she didn't bother with the warning; she ventilated his dome in one shot, brains splattering across her sodden white curtains. He slumped against the outside wall, legs jerking as he hung halfway out the window.

I screamed "GET BACK, FUCKERS!" in near hysteria, and fired a few more rounds out the window. Rounds answered back in number, and I started to duck behind the couch again before Phebe grabbed my arm and pulled me behind the heavy oak coffee table. I helped her upend it and we both crouched there. Most of the rounds were going way over our heads, as we were below the level of the window. A shotgun barrel pried the curtains aside, and we both fired at it immediately and were gratified to see it fall to the floor just inside. I emptied one clip, then another and another, the gun growing hot in my hands. After a little while all the shooting stopped, though the shouts outside continued.

In all my life I had never been glad to see cherries and berries, but when I saw them this time I almost pissed myself in relief. I dared a peek outside through the window, saw the stream of looters scurrying across the lawn to the thin line of scrub trees where the cop cars couldn't go, and saw a Hendricks co sheriff's deputy dragging two women into the back of the cruiser. They didn't stick around; with the mob dispersed they were gone in a second.

Phebe had regained her composure, some, and stood there reloading rounds into her clips, big shiny brass rounds of .45 that she was pressing down with her gloved thumb. "Are the cops still there?" she said, her voice strangely numb.

"Um, no, they picked up two chicks and left," I said, and peeked outside again. There was no sign of the mob returning, and perhaps worst of all there was a body in the rosebushes outside her window, his jaw missing while he stared up to the stormy sky. I bit back more vomit and turned to her. "Hey, is that .45?"

"Yeah. You need some?" She jammed another fresh mag into her pistol and replaced it in her shoulder holster.

"Yeah, is it cool if I refill my clips?" I was already looking to the pile where I had left them, and I knelt down beside her to start doing so, though it was tough with my slippery hands.

"Let me," she said, and started doing so with impressive professionalism. "And it's magazines, by the way." She giggled. It was the first time I had heard her laugh. On anyone else it would have been a sort of undignified snort, but I found it endearing anyway. She pressed her thumb down over the slim cli...uh, magazine, of my .45 while she chattered nervously. "Christ, all that training my dad made me do, and yet I'm still not ready...I'm not ready. I should have had bars on the windows, and fuck the fucking lease..."

I chimed in, feeling useless as I sat there watching her handle my reloads. I said "I've got bars on mine."

"Really?" she said, and cocked her head to the side. She jammed the last round into my magazine and handed it to me.

"Yeah, I had 'em installed awhile ago. I, uh, am kind of home security minded." I didn't mention the drug stash. My stomach was churning, but between the addies and the adrenaline at least I was good and awake.

"Well...fuck, I hate to ask you this Jon, but...could we use your place instead? There's no way we can hold this place with this stupid fucking picture window." And then she did something which surprised me; she touched me, placing her rubber gloved hand on my shoulder. It was warm, and the touch grounded me, put a stopper in my brewing internal monologue.

"Sure," I said; I didn't even have to think about it. "Should we, uh, go now?"

"Yeah, let's take these tubs. I still have a few weeks worth of food left, though..." She looked at the bullet riddled tubs behind us, stacked nearly the ceiling, and sighed. "I don't know how much of it will be good. But let's go now. You cover me, I'll move the tubs."

"Um, you're a way better shot than me; why don't you cover me while I move the tubs?"

"You're wounded, Jon; I'll do the heavy lifting."

"Seriously, it's nothing-and it's all I'm good for."

Progress, besides that one brief argument that I won shortly, was quick. Neither of us wanted to take the bloody ramen, so we left that behind, but in the next half hour we quickly moved down three doors into my apartment and got everything set up there. She looked approvingly to the bars on my windows and said "Jon, I'm glad you broke your key off in my door."

I managed to grin at her, though I was still queasy and really wanted a smoke. "Me too."

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From The Codex Kalachnikova: "He who would have you surrender your arms does so because he wishes to do something you could prevent by their usage."
Last Call, Last Stand - The Crystal Menage - SF in Babylon - REMC Guide


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:04 am 
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Sweet! I noticed the clip thing and just figured since the narrator is the character and he's not a gun guy no big deal. Funny Phebe corrected him. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:39 am 
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:46 pm 
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Awesome!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:36 pm 
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You better be careful... you start updating that frequently and we are all going to get used to it.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:25 pm 
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Your story makes me feel dirty.............but I like it!! :lol:

Seriously, you are doing a good job. May the story flow forth in long and often posts!!

Ken

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:00 am 
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more please.

This story is quite good and helps relieve any withdrawal from other authors/stories

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Chapter 4 - 187 All Over Again

It is a strange sensation to be in shock over how in shock you are. Sitting in the flickering candlelight-Phebe had advised me to turn off all the lights to avoid attracting attention-and watching her sleep in my bed, the bed where earlier I had fucked Crystal senseless and even earlier had been enjoying savage break up sex with the ex, I almost had a panic attack at the weirdness of it all. To keep from chewing my hands off like a coyote in a trap, I smoked a joint and focused on listening to her breathe. Jon Mackey, consumate sexual predator, watching a woman sleep in his bed. My dad would probably roll his eyes and come up with about a dozen perjorative homosexual themed remarks here. It was a strange thing to worry about, but it help keep my mind off the real problem-the howling mobs that were, according to all reports, only growing larger as the food shortage got worse.

Nobody really thinks how much effort it takes to keep 784,117 stupid motherfuckers (and one Jon Mackey) fed in a large city. I had never thought about it, even while watching Chicago blaze merrily on cable news. But Phebe, who worked at the local Costco, had described the typical supermarket's "Just in time" delivery status, and as we added up the math by candlelight with our hands touching occasionally over her clipboard, I couldn't suppress a grinding, cold feeling in my adderol riled stomach. It takes a whole fleet of trucks 24/7 just to keep the Costo stocked with fresh goodies and sundry bullshit. Multiply that by the number of stores in the city, subtract the space taken up by eldritch video game peripherals, sickeningly cute kitten posters, and whiz-bang dildo organizers. Divide by total population times 3 meals a day. Carry the Oh Shit, and the solution comes out so deep in the red if you fart you part the devil's hair. And that was assuming trucks were coming in-according to all the news outlets, every interstate, every state highway, every bumblefuck county road and bridge for a hundred miles were shut down.

I read about some guy in college that said that any society is three meals away from anarchy. I had believed it, in the world weary cynic college sort of way. Now that I had lived it, I saw it for the divine truth it was. I was trapped in a city of 784,117 very hungery motherfuckers, sitting on top of a pile of food listening to a girl I barely knew snore with her tear streaked face in my ex's favorite pillow. Fuck.

The talking heads on TV were worse than worthless; at about 5 am I had abandoned even the pretense of watching it. One channel says there is a shelter on Beechwood avenue. Adjacent channel says no, that shelter has been overrun, the military is holding checkpoints for evacuation on the outer loop. Next channel up is claiming that the city is quarantined and all roads have been shut down. Earlier in the night, while we were shuffling supplies from her place to mine, we had seen a military helicopter flying overhead, but it was flying into the city, and it was armed. All in all I found it better to sit in the dark smoking a joint; I wasn't getting any useful information, and Phebe's breathing was better for my nerves.

Phebe...was going to be a trial, I could tell. Some new, weird part of my brain was constructing this whole thing as a romantic honeymoon punctuated with extreme violence, some white-hat-white-horse-white-knight bullshit. It has to be something about the male brain; I was conciously aware that it was she who saved my ass, not the other way around, but I still constructed myself as the Conan the Barbarian hero with a scantily clad, very sexy Red Sonja behind him clinging to his leg; somehow it just lingered, despite the nagging persistance of actual fact nibbling away at it. I couldn't reconcile this new, purist perspective with the savage, raging hard on I had while watching her stir dreamily in the dark with her ass in the air. It was like both sides of my nature, the clean cut hero and the bitch-smacking scum, were grappling in my roiling bowels. My bent brain provided the dialogue, and the drugs provided the energy. The latest self absorbed monologue had gone something like this.

Good Jon Mackey: This is the first time in your fucking worthless life you have a chance to help someone who deserves it. Don't fuck it up.
Evil Jon Mackey: Don't listen to that bitch ass Jonny-come-lately; it's just a momentary illusion. Your own dick is telling you what a bullshit lie he's peddling; you know that despite all that John Wayne bullshit that you have to devour her.
Good Jon Mackey: Your hardon is irrelevant; you owe this girl your life and its likely that you won't make it through without her.
Evil Jon Mackey: Whatever faggot.

Sometimes I am given real cause to worry about the state of my mind.

I puffed down my roach, set it aside in the ashtray. The stale smoke lingered heavy and thick in the dark room. I lit up a cigarette as well-my last, and believe me when I say that I was more concerned with that than the food by any man's reckoning. I smoked it down to the filter and still didn't feel any better. So I just sat there in the dark until dawn, with my cigarette butt and my gun and my hardon and my internal conflict, watching my only chance at salvation drool on my bedsheets.

I didn't mind-god knows what fluids were already on there anyway.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:45 am 
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must...resist...the...urge...to look...in...here...everytime...it´s updated :twisted:

it´s always a sad moment when i realise the chapters already over.... :( thx + keep it coming!


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 2:20 am 
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Woot!

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:49 pm 
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awesome!!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:26 am 
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great update, more please

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I eat hot food because I dig pain and it's far cheaper than paying a dominatrix to kick me in the balls repeatedly.


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Stories are like flavors.

Ad'lan's Fagin tastes like pie.

Kathy in FL's Mom's Journal of the Zombie Years tastes like cake.

This tastes like a fifth of Jack, a pack of Luckys, and smokey bar air. Yum!

So...Ahem... MOAR!!!!

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:36 am 
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*BUMP*
MoAr!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:55 am 
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I've found, in the Stygian social tomb that is the greater drug culture in good ol' Indiana, that only three kinds of people really smoke rollies-stoners, cheap bastards and old wannabe cowboys. Note that none of these categories is mutually exclusive. The stoner has papers, is comfortable rolling joints already, and has no problem with an unfiltered smoke. That distinctive zeppelin shape is their tell-even their cigarettes look kind of like joints, fat but even and twisted at the ends. Cheap bastards are another story-they want a real cigarette, but the prices are too high, so they roll their own. They usually use those rolling machines, even those insertable filters-a straight, neat smoke that almost looks like a real one. And the third category is easy to spot too-they are the only ones that make rolling a cigarette look like a hardass move, like rolling a quarter across your knuckles in a dime western. Their cigarettes usually have that pregnant bulge that comes when you roll one up on the fly while pretending not to be watching it-fat towards the front with a retard taper at the back.

You know how some chinese guys in old kung fu movies can tell your style and your master right away, by watching you throat-chop about a dozen of their henchmen? Jon Mackey is that guy but with cigarettes. Everything I needed to know about Cristobol, I knew by watching him break up tobacco from a pile of cigarette butts and stuff them down in a rolling machine with a scrounged filter. He was in the cheap bastard camp for sure.

Well, okay, not quite everything I needed to know. As I came up to the counter, rain dripping off my goatee, I noticed a notched machete and a sawed off double barrel sitting openly on the counter, right next to where his hands were. He was also smoking inside-a no no due to city ordnances, but something in me told me that the EXISE cops weren't going to be busting any balls today. And thank God for that.

"How much for a carton?" I said. There weren't many cartons left behind him. I wanted to think that there were boxes waiting to be unloaded in the back, but I doubted it. With my damp finger I pointed to a carton of Marlboro smooths up at the top, still unopened.

"Three hundred bucks," he said. He didn't sound happy about it either, but he was breaking up cigarette butts into a rolling machine; I couldn't find it in me to be mad at him. Still, I was given cause to ponder, at that strange moment while I rummaged through my pockets for an empty cigarette pack containing my cash, just how quickly the ol' free market catches up. It was a signifigant chunk of my not unlimited ready cash; I had about four grand in that ubitiquous petty dealer denomination-crumpled twenties. But I'll be damned if I would touch another of those god awful unfiltered rollies I'd been smoking while I watched Phebe sleep.

She had woken up less than an hour ago; I want to say the lack of filters on my cheap rollies was intolerable, but it was really that I couldn't take looking at her any longer. I had shaken her awake-this was just before 6 am and dawn was rising to stare coldly at us through my barred windows-and told her I was going out for cigarettes. I had strapped on a belt with my bowie knife in a sheath and tucked the pistol mexican style in my pants, but in truth nobody bothered me as I slogged three blocks through the rain to get more cigarettes. She hadn't commented, but I could see my own failure in her hurt gaze as I left her groggy and alone. God knows how tired she must have been-but her ass in the air in front of me was driving me just as batfuck crazy as that god awful brown rollie film that lingers on your lips after you smoke one.

"You didn't even flinch," Cristobol said with a grin. He took down the pack, counted my money, and tucked it into his pocket. All things considered, I don't regret not saying a thing when he bypassed the register entirely. "Been a hell of a night, mang." He lit up his own ersatz cigarette, a veritable melting pot of detrius wrapped in white paper and set aflame-much like our fair city. I lit one up as well, tearing into the pack like a virgin ass in prison.

"Supply and demand, man," I replied. Cristobol glanced towards the storefront windows approximately every seven seconds. Funny the things you notice when the adderol is still raking your brain hard with all 951 of it's alertness inducing claws. Taking a deep drag, I considered the machete. The notches were not ritual-they looked like hard use notches, and the black was worn off the blade in a few places. "Guess some people take that price bitching too far."

He sat back on a stool and ashed on the floor; again, I never thought less of him for it. Then again, when you've recently started repenting the lifetimes worth of abuse you have heaped on your fellow man (and woman) I find you aren't as likely to cast stones. That greenhouse glass shreds you to ribbons as its falling. Discretely I popped an atavin; I was going to be crashing out again really soon. Meanwhile, Cristobol leaned back, stretching his legs. "Not yet, but the TV says everybody is..." Here he looked up towards the TV, which was showing the emergency broadcast system. "Well, the tv don't say shit now. Off the air."

My own harsh laughter surprised me; guess the old Jon Mackey never wandered too far. "They got CBS, huh? I wonder how that fat fuck pundit did when theory became fact." Cristobol's return look was blank; I don't think he was following me and in truth I wasn't following myself that well-lack of sleep, stress and a delicate cocktail of uppers and downers was impairing my debonair wit. Then again, why would I waste my debonair wit on a dime store clerk?

He was looking at my pill bottle with some interest. "Gryffa?" he inquired, and I shook my head. I rattled the bottle to indicate it was pills. 'Gryffa' was a rare term for most mexicans I have found-'mota' is much more commonly used, but a lot of south americans use it. Just another little rumination on the sick culture I have immersed myself in-not mexicans, dopers.

"I have a little though-you want to make a trade?" He finished his cigarette at the same time as me; we both dropped the butts into an empty soda can with a hiss.

"Whatcha want?" He gestured to the store, but it was mostly empty.

"Mmmm. Another carton would do-you got more smooths?"

A pause as he turned and looked under the counter. "No-some black labels under here though. Salems."

"Ugh, that's a douche cigarette. What else?"

"Parliment lights? American Spirit Yellows?" Still listening, I groaned at those two choices, lit another of those fucking candy tasting smooths, and took a deep, dry drag. "Um, Kool milds?"

"That'll do," I said. "What do you want for a carton?"

He considered that one for a moment. I took the opportunity to study him. Big motherfucker, at least six feet, with some bad tattoos but not gang or prison tats. About 35, a veterano for sure. Some long pink scars that were a red flag-almost all on the hands and fingers. Getting a little soft around the middle, but Jon Mackey's number one rule when dealing with Mexicans is "Don't fuck with the ones who have machete scars." He was known to me, of course-I came to this bodega a lot; they never asked questions about rolled up bills. I decided I could trust him on his word.

"How 'bout a QP?" he said probingly. I laughed in his face; I could tell a bluff.

"Ain't no weed trucks comin' in either, ese," I said. The smooths were like a crisp mint encased in dry ashes as I sucked it down, so glad for a proper filter that I was setting a record for my own chain smoking.

He backed off that one immediately. "How 'bout an O?"

"An O is more reasonable, but still-even pre flood it would be worth what you're gouging for these motherfucking cartons." Looking around the store, my eye flickered to something in the back corner. "What about the carton, and that right there?" I pointed towards a rack of beef jerkey, still mostly there, all price marked up to forty bucks for a package.

It was Cristobol's turn to laugh at me. I didn't mind; I understood the game we were playing now. Jon Mackey on the field of glorious battle was a joke, but Jon Mackey in the smokey backroom negotiation was motherfucking weapon X. "Shit no, starving motherfuckers all over this city, holmes. Price'll only go up."

"Maybe, but you can't eat money, or smoke it either." I didn't really have an ounce on me-it is a fool that carries that kind of weight for no reason-but I made a production of zipping my shoulderbag up anyway. He had a pretty good poker face, but I could see his eyebrows twitch like he wanted to frown; he was considering it.

"Fuck it," he said finally. He started to hand me the carton, but I declined.

"Let me go get my shit," I said, elation riding like a herd of elephants across my brain. There were probably forty or fifty one pound packs of jerky on that rack; Phebe would be pleased at the addition to our food supply, and perhaps best of all, we could go a little longer without starving-maybe enough enough time for me to really get to know her. Weird, how important that sounded right now.

Cristobol looked over to the windowagain, eyes never still. It looked like he had had an interesting night, all right. As I got up to leave, he didn't offer to shake my hand, and I didn't offer to shake his-my daddy always used to say that between real men, a nod means as much as a handshake. I read once that a handshake started out as a way to make sure a guy didn't go for his gun when you greeted him. But we both had guns and there we were, agreeing on a deal anyway.

The rain dampened my cigarette as I stepped outside and started hoofing it immediately. It sounds lame, but I rehearsed how I was going to tell Phebe about securing the extra food-for one, she didn't know about the whole 'scumbag ho smackin' drug dealer' thing, and for two, I really really really needed to impress her after my, um, lackluster performance last night.

Man, I could practically hear my dad rolling in the aisles over that one.

So she kind of caught me off guard when I saw her outside, still trying to decide between "Hey" and "What's up?"

She was piling a ten gallon bucket on top of another ten gallon bucket, and sealing the middle with some inner tube. She didn't notice me in the driving rain, as I leaned against the rough damp bricks and watched her for a few moments. It was nice; the air was getting bitterly cold and steam was rising from her red face while she struggled to get the inner tube around the buckets.

"Whatcha doin?" I inquired politely, making her jump. One hand was on her glock in that shoulder holster. I noticed the shotgun we'd "salvaged" after our previous little adventure leaning up in the doorway as well.

She relaxed slowly-unsurprising, I'm sure her nerves were as ragged as mine. "Oh. Jon. I'm, uh, rigging up a water filter. Check it out." She tilted the two buckets over some and showed me; there was a small hole at the bottom of the top bucket, with something covering it at the bottom. Water was already gathering in there and trickling down into the bottom bucket. "I couldn't afford a good one, so I just bought some of those replacement filters and kept this around ready to rig up."

Smoke rolled around my face through the rain, though the cigarette was so wet that I really wasn't enjoying it anymore. "Why the inner tube?" I pointed to where the inner tube was rolled up and tightened around the area where the two buckets met.

"Keeps dirty water from getting in through the cracks," she replied, and shivered a bit. It was getting much colder. The reptile part of my brain was drawing my eyes to her hard nipples under that tank top.

"Good thinking I guess. Why now, though?" I was looking elsewhere by now, watching my cigarette butt float down the sidewalk, gently down the stream between my feet. When it was gone I focused on my soggy toes.

She grunted, rolled the four foot tall contraption upright, and turned to face me. "Brown water from the tap-and a sewage smell. They're on the radio advising people not to drink tap water since there are a bunch of busted sewer lines now. So did you get your cigarettes?"

My stomach queased a little at the idea of the mayhem that little development would probably cause, but really I was feeling good about my chances now that I had cigarettes. "Yeah, and I am about to go trade the guy for a few more-and a rack full of beef jerky." Briefly I explained about the inflated prices, Cristobol and the gas station. I left out that I was trading for mota, and she didn't ask-really she was too busy trying to get that monstrosity to stand up in the rain and high wind. As an afterthought, I grabbed a couple spare, um, magazines for my pistol on the way out.

It turned out to be a good idea.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:58 am 
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Excellent.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:03 am 
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thanks for the updates, more please!

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:31 am 
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Ah, another shot of bourbon. Thanks for the update.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:49 am 
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yippie! :o


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