The clerk was screaming. Blubbering and sputtering and choking and I
swung again and again and again. Blood spattered my eyes and powerful
hate surged out through the red veil. I drew my arm back, the pipe
gripped solidly in my fist. In my head blazed his smirk. "We're all out
of Butterfinger" I heard him say again. "Did you want an Oreo Cookie
one instead?" I felt the vein in my neck pulse. The world darkened,
Through the haze I saw the arm come down. Watched in horror as the
heavy piece of lead drove itself into skull, marveling at
the wet cry and spray of blood and bone as it glistened in the air. For an instant, each nodule of blood was fleck of cream. The
bone fragments reformed themselves into a buttery orange chocolate-covered garnish. I slid forward, mouth open, reveling
as the gooey pieces oozed into my mouth and down my throat. Time
snapped back. The boy was on the floor, a dark pool spreading steadily
"Oh my god," someone was saying, "Oh my god."
Eyes filled with blood, I slammed out the plateglass door
and hurtled senselessly down the street. I heaved the pipe hard into a
field and felt the rhythmic pounding of my feet grow faster. Thumping
out a rhythm I went into a sort of trance, feeling nothing at all.
Their wails wrenching me back into my body. I became aware: Hammering
heart, searing biceps, lungs aflame, bloody bruised knuckles, stinging
eyes, and the deep, painful gnawing in the pit of my st– Agck! Better
to stop now. Get some rest. But the sirens… the sirens carry with them
the soldiers. The soldiers with their brightly colored uniforms and
sinister burnished cycle helmets with smiling friendly faces splashed
across the visors. Why? Pleasant colors and pleasant faces, they say,
encourage compliance in most. Is this true? Perhaps.
In any case, they would be coming for me now. What had I done?
Bludgeoned a Dairy Queen clerk to death? And why? Can’t be sure,
can’t…remember? Flashes of raised voices. A shove. A raised arm and a
scream and then it all goes dark again. Dammit. I began to run again.
It couldn't have been the ice cream, could it? "No," I say aloud,
"Never," I run faster, trying to put it out of my mind. "Think happy
thoughts," I tell myself, "Think of your faithful dog Bobo." But it's
no use. Soon enough I feel my eyes rolling back...
The year is 1986.
A small, frail boy spends weekends at home with mother. He it skittish
and distrustful; his small eyes ringed from lack of sleep.
"It's time for our game" she whispers, leading him by the hand. They
are in the cellar. Showtunes crackle from the battered transistor
radio. Shafts of light filter in through the boarded-up window.
She slides open the cupboard, revealing row upon row of vicious
"Mommy please..." the boy squirms, his lower lip quivering as she
tightens the straps.
"Shh-shh-shh.." she soothes, holding a barbed dagger up to the light,
"Naughty, crying little boys stay home while mummy goes to get ice
He bites his lip, promising himself he will not scream.
Later, noticing the boy's limp, a clerk at the iced cream shoppe asks
"did you hurt your leg?"
"Mind your own goddamn business." barks his mother, jerking him towards
"But my Blizzard," the boy says softly, looking back, "I was a good
A jolt of pain on my side jerks me back to the real world. I slow to a
jog, and then stop completely, hanging my head and placing my hands on
my knees. I now know what I must do, and the thought of it send waves
of revulsion surging up from my chest. I vomit. The sound echoes off
the stone walls, reverberating out through the darkness like the sound
of a thousand lepers marching in time down a road paved with
childbones, the scrape of their crutches hammering at the base of my
skull like a cinderblock dropped from a gallows built by elderly women
I climbed unsteadily to my feet, wiping the bile from my lips, and
began stumbling towards interstate. My plan would work. It had to work.
But I would have to reach Montparte Stock Car Raceway before dawn to
have any hope of catching mother alone. And there was just one stop to
make along the way...