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, slowing.
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 around him.
"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 hooked blades.
"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 cream."
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 the car.
"But my Blizzard," the boy says softly, looking back, "I was a good boy..."
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 at gunpoint.
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...
"Hot eats... cool treats..."