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The Night I Died | part 3 | fiction | Lollipop
The Night I Died
by Everett Stillwell
Illustrations by Eric Johnson
BANG BANG BANG, chapter three
I spin the fast automatic.
I run into the Winchel's just as the helicopter gets its light down.
Yelling confusion chaos metallic smells too hot air, rush into the back.
Quickly and carefully slop some of the deep fat out of the fryolator. Burn the fuck out of my hand.
See the lighter next to the pack of Newports on the shelf.
Grab the lighter and, still moving at swan-like, lightning speed, flick sparks and shit at the corner of the pool of hot fat.
A cop dips his head through the doorway screaming something and double-dips back, starts shooting randomly.
And I'm by the back door. Kick it open and shoot blind into the night.
The whole kitchen's dense yellow flames and black smoke.
One more round, thank you God, thank you, Jack.
Jump backwards as I fire at the fryolator.
See the flames spray like a sprinkler in hell.
Hit the dirt on my back, grit cutting into my neck and shoulders.
See the copter's light start to snake toward me.
A guy – not a cop – takes aim at me from a...
Scramble back. Throw a forearm over my face.
Twist rollercoaster-fast behind a dumpster as the whole Winchel's explodes.
Boom boom boom baby. Shrieking and hot.
I hear screams or maybe it's just me laughing.
I hear alarms but maybe it's just my head.
There's a van. Right over yanking the door open and pulling the bewildered non-cop out. One of these demons that's been plaguing me. Use the shotgun like a club into his forehead. Grab the gun out of his hand.
The dumb fuck left the keys in the ignition.
Motor hard and fast around to the front into the cop car. Right into the cop car. Kachunk kachunk. Reverse, baby, grind it.
Jump out, shoot three shots.
Take off across the street.
Twist around and see bodies on fire and bodies running around and the copter in the sky pointing it's dumb light at what used to be the Winchel's.
Spin around and zip through an alley.
Suddenly everything's residential. People coming out of their little houses. All of them going toward the noise and the lights.
Me, Jack, going to a little Honda. Customized and low.
Me, hot-wiring the little baby.
Zoom at a normal speed down the street.
Take a right then a left then a right then a right then a left. Recognize the signs. Take another left and I'm headed for Van Nuys. I'm in Van Nuys.
Stop in front of a liquor store and stick my head out the window, looking at the wino who's sweeping shit up.
"Where's Avalon Studios, my man."
Old dude doesn't even look up. Just points West.
Little fucker's right-on, too. Takes me twenty minutes and I'm there. Jack, you gotta dig Van Nuys, you gotta dig it.
Above me, more mess in the sky. Like four or five copters and lights flashing around. And then, and then, all that flash replaced by different flash, I guess studio flash 'cause I'm at the studio. Those dumb lights that move and shake. These fancy cars and important people...
And this guy at the gate all fat on steroids and hair gel coming at me with this serious disinterest so I jump out of the fucking car and bash in his nose with my new gun and grab a chunk of his gooey hair and yank him close my face and scream, "Where's the top brass motherfucker? I want the short brown hair, Jack!"
He points to a door.
I grab his radio and hurry across the parking lot.
At the door's this big black guy with white hair and I nod at him and go, "What the fuck's going on, bro? Yo yo."
He nods to me 'cause I'm obviously slick. He says, "Just another boring fucking-ass night. You in an accident, fool?"
I nod and show him my gun and say, "Go home, blood. Go home and change your life. This is the time, my man. My time to shine and refine, Jack."
And he nods his head seriously and walks away.
I pull open the door.
And everything's all pink and fuzzy fake animal fur and hot lights and window cleaner and ozone smell and too much body heat and no air.
I go through another door and I'm in some control room. It's a party. There's all this glass and through that there's some serious gang bang going on. Looks like five-hundred million guys in line jerking off and two women on these cheap foam pads getting fucked fast and hard. Big lights and TV cameras and some kind of MC and these huge pictures of African woman with the largest, funkiest asses I've ever seen for real, Jack, don't even.
Next room there's like thirty people all doing coke and listening to Pet Shop Boys and being all social and groovy and not paying any attention to the gang bang.
I discretely push this one older guy into the corner and let him see my gun.
"What the fuck's going on here, my man? What's this all about, Jack?"
He sees the gun and immediately pukes all over his tan turtleneck. "I-I-I... this is the Avalon Big Ass Gang Bang Telethon for whores in Africa who've contracted elephantitis of the ass. It's being broadcast live on the Hustler channel."
"I'm looking for a woman with short brown hair. Her name's... I don't even know. Got these intense eyes. Like glaciers melting on you."
He nods toward another door.
I escort him over and through the little door which leads into a little room that's even more pink than the others.
Dolores stands in the corner cutting speed balls and pounding champagne while a fat guy with a beard who I recognize as Ed Powers plays with himself as he idly leafs through a back issue of Time magazine.
Both look up, neither looking very surprised.
"I bet this is the guy you're so worked up over," Ed says to my queen, my devil, as she snorts then has a gulp. "He don't look too money to me."
Which pisses me off, so I shoot the stooge I came in with in the back of the head and let him fall, then shoot Ed Powers who drops while making this fart-like sound with his mouth.
She does another speed ball.
"Why'd you leave?" I ask, making sure she gets the gun's now pointed at her.
"Shit was getting fucked-up, what the fuck do you fucking think? I knew you'd get out of it 'cause you always get out of it, just like I always get out of it, all the bad shit. How'd you find me?"
"You fucking told me where you worked, dumbass."
She nods. "So groovy, so fantastic, let's fuck. It's been too much of a night. Let's just fuck and be Gods, c'mon, man." She's coming at me, pulling up her skirt again.
I'm shaking my head, shit ratting about inside. "I can't fuck with all this shit in my head, Jack. Can't fuck not knowing who or what or whatever the fuck you are."
She gives an exasperated sigh. Peels all her clothes off. Her body like ivory marble. "I don't know what we are. Who I am is the bad triplet. Would I be here if I wasn't bad? Could I be doing this?" Has another speed ball, wiping the rest into her gums.
"I don't know, Jack, I don't know. Drugs, whatever... I think the jury's still out on that. Porn and gang bangs and shit I guess are bad, but it's for a good cause, so..."
"But it's not. This whole deal is a scam just so I can raise bank to keep paying people to try to find you. That's the whole deal with the porn, just raising bank. And here you come to me. If I was smart, I'd've just stayed in one place and waited with faith, you know what I'm saying? If I was smart, I'd've done that. Shit."
Sitting herself up on a table, she spreads her legs wide, making my brain pop and fizz.
But I'm still shaking my head.
"I'm getting so goddamn confused. It feels like it's too easy finding you, like maybe all this is a set-up. This fucking night, Jack... And Jack, Jack, baby, it still doesn't explain those men who've been trying to blow me away ever since I got outta Glendale..."
"Those are paid detectives and trackers and I don't know who the fuck they're working for. Not for me, baby. C'mon baby, I wanna fuck... I've been waiting so long."
I shoot her in her left eye and she smacks down hard, bouncing into a tray with lettuce and little crab cakes.
Stare a second at her dripping pussy.
Now why'd I do that?
I did it to simplify.
I did it to condense.
Jack, I still wanna get laid and whoosh whoosh whoosh whatever; and I like the idea of turning into a God, but goddamn if I'm gonna let these ladies, or this lady, fuck with me. Maybe they're working together. Maybe they've been switching places with each other all night. Oh Jack, oh why Jack? Maybe it's all bullshit and I'm being filmed for some new HBO series on serious motherfuckers and the amount of fucking they withstand and who the fuck knows.
If I just killed the wrong one... fuck it.
Back in the party room, I fire randomly because everyone looks too cool, which creates a circus, a fire drill, a scattering mess of polyester and lip gloss.
I shoot out the glass window which breaks up the gang bang, which, I guess, means the gang bang was good after all, since I'm supposedly bad, right Jack?
Into the parking lot with all the people rushing and screaming and running around me and I see one of them fucking bozos that's been after me all night, what feels like my whole fucking life.
Guy's not even hiding his shotgun. Searching eyes.
I aim at his kneecap and miss because I'm preoccupied, and he fires at me and some fragments pound into my left shoulder as I'm firing and now hitting that goddamned kneecap. He goes down hard, dropping the shotgun.
Over to him and kick him in the face.
"There, now that's bad, motherfucker. That's bad, isn't it, cocksucker? Listen to this goddamn bad language I'm using, Jack. Listen to the goddamn bad man. Who the fuck you working for, bro? Why the fuck you been trying to kill me? And for how long, motherfucker?" Kicking him in his wounded knee.
Guy's screaming and hollering and shit and so I kick him in the gut, which sort of balances it all out... Yeah.
"Been working for this dude for like three years," he gasps. "Followed you from Arkansas. Thought I'd lost you until tonight. Dude just left a number and combination for different safety deposit boxes, but I traced the fucker 'cause that's what I do, right? Fuckin' guy lives at eight-oh-eight Broad Street in fuckin' Pomona. Ow, my fucking knee. Ow ow..."
Now why didn't I ever do this before bag and question one of these assholes? Because, Jack, because I was scared and running and I didn't even think they were real, I didn't basically ever think...
"Give me your fucking keys, motherfucker."
He does with some difficulty, making little baby-wanna-puke faces. "It's the gray Ford van there, bro..."
And I guess I'm right pissed at this point 'cause I shoot him strategically three times in the gut, knowing he'll die for sure, but slow and painfully.
Into the van and I run over four people busting the fuck out there.
Busting the fuck out of Van Nuys and hopping onto the 101 just as the fucking cops are trying to get the roadblock set up. Hah hah. Fucking cops. Dumb fucking peckers.
Pissed pissed pissed.
Driving out to fucking Pomona and listening to Christian rock because it keeps me pissed and facilitates the pissedness and miss my fucking exit which means all the way back 'cause I'm not getting off on the wrong fucking exit cause I don't know Pomona and that's all I need, fucking driving down those dirty little streets.
Man, it's hot as a motherfucker out here. Fucking Inland fucking Empire. Got the windows rolled down and I'm still in a fucking oven.
Find goddamned Broad street and pull up half a block away from eight-oh-eight.
Check out the back of the van and it's fucking loaded for bear. Grab an Uzi and nearly blow my fucking motherfucking foot off checking to see if it's loaded.
Eight-oh-eight looks like every other little fucking ugly house around here, all plaster and fake Mexican.
Front door has a plastic screen door fucking thing and I take a second to look at myself: still barefoot, feet cut-up and bleeding and black; face blackened; some of my hair burned off; shoulder bleeding...
Kick open the door and zip through the living room so fast, so fast, and the only lights on are in the kitchen and into the kitchen I go and under the bald florescent in the ceiling I see two other versions of me, one in a fancy, motorized wheelchair. Both sweating like pigs, staring at the evening news on a little TV. Both now staring at me.
THE DREAM BODY, chapter three
He already had the tickets for the plane, which was supposed to leave in forty minutes.
As they boarded the plane, he touched her for the first time, grabbing her wrist. His hand was cold and dry and she liked the way he tugged her along, obviously not thinking about her comfort as he guided her to a seat.
First would be Denver, then Vegas.
There were ten other people on the plane, most of them very overweight, holding their heavy jackets or pushing their bags into the overhead compartments.
Rick leaned back in his seat and breathed loudly through his mouth. "You alright with the window? Normally I gotta have the aisle cuz my feet are, you know, these clodhopper things."
His feet looked to be about a size twelve to her size six.
Dolores shrugged, breathing in through her nose, catching the serious chemical smells that were so serious they didn't even smell like anything.
After the stewardess had pantomimed the safety guidelines and the plane was moving, Rick grunted and sighed again.
"So, not to be presumptuous or anything, but is this your first time to Vegas?"
"I was born in Vegas."
Which made him look really surprised, his eyes going animal-caught-flabbergasted. "You were born in Vegas? No shit. That's really cool... If you don't mind my saying, that is so cool."
"I was only there six days."
"My momma told me my daddy worked with the Wayne Newton show."
"Well, that guy sure has been around."
"Hey, I'm sorry, I got no manners... It's the air in L.A., totally kills your manners. Yeah, please continue. Please..."
Dolores had never talked about her father, not that there was anyone to talk to in Bear Springs. "Well, they were together, and my momma was working at this place called like Circus Circus..."
"And they were together and I've got an older brother, but the truth is..." This was something her mother had only told her once, when she was thirteen, just that once when they were having a terrible fight over shoes, or curfews, or something that she couldn't even remember now, her mother standing in the kitchen crying with her and she'd never repeated it until now.. "The truth, from what my mother told me, is that my daddy didn't want no more kids, and when my mother got pregnant, well, she's like fundamentalist Christian, and what she decided to do was to hide her pregnancy from him. And I guess since she's really fat, it wasn't all that hard. But then he found out and quit Wayne Newton and left 'cause he was so mad. So my mother had me and moved back here 'cause this is where she grew up."
They were in the air now. Her stomach and head felt light.
Rick offered her some Juicy Fruit gum. "It'll help with your ears." He stuffed two sticks into his mouth and began vigorously working at them.
The stewardess came by and asked if they'd like anything, and before Dolores could try her luck, Rick said, "You know, we got plenty watered before we came on board, thanks anyway, honey."
He then turned to her. "I don't think it's a good idea if we get all liquored up, you know what I'm saying? I mean, how could we enjoy the experience and everything, you know what I mean?" He patted her thigh and Dolores found herself wondering, if she dug her nails into his face as deep as she could get them, how much flesh she could rip off, and would the blood ooze or spray?
She dug a hand up her miniskirt and, hoisting herself against the seat belt, pulled off her wet panties, which she delicately stuffed into Rick's breast pocket.
Rick leaned closer to her and said in a hushed tone, "Hey..."
But she was already sticking her index finger into herself and twisting it around.
Rick watched for a second, then looked up and down the aisle. "Hey, I don't think this is an appropriate place to be doing that."
Dolores gave him a look.
"I'm the one, right? Isn't that what you said?"
The stewardess came by, and if she noticed, she pretended she didn't.
Rick said, "Hey, I know you're for real and everything. Believe me, I've interviewed no, that's a bad word I've hooked-up with enough women to know when they're money and when they're not, yeah?"
"You're a swinger?"
She noticed for the first time that his teeth were practically the same color as his skin.
"No, I'm not a swinger, I'm a producer..."
"Of, like, infomercials..."
"Right, exactly. And, this... I've been doing a lot of this on the side."
"And you've met a lot of girls, or women, or whatever."
He nodded. "A bunch. More than you'd wanna count." He leaned in closer, his tone getting more personal, not really looking at her wiggling hand. "And this is the God's honest truth... None of them have what you have. I'm not even kidding. Honey, you got it so real, the only real it. I could hear it in your voice over that bad connection, that's why I came out here."
Dolores thought about it. She tried to stick most of her hand into herself, which made her gasp involuntarily. "But, how did you know if I'm like the one who has it and everyone else didn't like how did you even know what it was? You're talking about sex, like, something with sex, right?"
Rick nodded. "Yes, I am. Check this out." He snaked a hand into his pocket and came out with something that was gray and sort of looked like a thick ruler. One end of it was covered with a dark wire mesh.
Is that a microphone? Dolores thought. It looked like a microphone or an alien dildo, but still different.
"It's not a microphone, or you know..." Rick said, turning his head to make sure no one was spying on them. "You know anything about pheromones?"
Dolores shook her head, suddenly wishing that he'd punch her hard, the thought making her breathe quicker. What a horrible thought... And it felt so good that she tried to fantasize about other horrible things, but none of them gave her the same rush.
Rick was giving her a funny look. "You catch anything I just said?"
Dolores shook her head.
"Alright, whatever... What I was saying was that your body produces these things called pheromones which are little smelly things, but they're also chemicals and they just shoot offa your skin and the point is for other people to smell them and have this chemical reaction, and that doesn't make much sense... Lemme simplify. When you're feeling sexy, you make a smell that other people can smell that lets them know you're feeling sexy and makes them feel sexy too, depending on how strong the smell you make is." He was giving her this look, so she nodded. "Okay, great, and you, honey, you make mega amounts of this goddamn chemical. It sends my machine here through the roof."
He pointed to this little gauge on the side of the machine, like a thermometer. The top had a little red light that was blinking fast.
Dolores looked down at herself and sniffed, only smelling the controlled airplane smell.
"Where'd you get that thing."
Rick chuckled and stuffed it back in his pocket. "Oh, you gotta know the right people if you want a sensor like that. See, that's why I had to talk to you in the restaurant. I couldn't really use it in the car and be discreet. I mean, I still didn't even know you and I didn't want to flip you out or anything."
Dolores nodded again, working her hand faster, noticing that a fat woman who'd gotten up to go to the bathroom had stopped and watched her for a couple of seconds. She licked her lips.
"So, if I've got this heavy sex smell," her voice going quiet and reverential when she said sex, "then why doesn't anyone back home notice?"
Rick thought about it. "Well, I guess... I mean, aren't they all like serious Christians and everything?"
"Well, there you go then."
Dolores wanted the awful sexy thoughts to return, and then thought of a way to maybe get that to happen. "What if I was lying about everything I said on the phone. What if I've got this sex smell stuff, but I'm actually a prude that ain't gonna put out, and I flip out and try to call the cops or the FBI or whatever."
Rick nodded seriously. "Well, you know, that could definitely happen, and I guess it would be your word against mine. But like I said, I've been doing this long enough that I'd be really surprised if you called the cops. I would..."
It didn't bring up anything sexier than her wanting to hit him again, this time in his gut. "I think one of the reasons you were so into me was because I was talking about being all young and experienced and everything, right?"
Rick was giving some vigorous nods, staring into the seat ahead.
"So then, what if I was lying about that. Like, what if I was a total slut and screwed everyone and even had some awful death-like disease and everything. What would you do?"
"I'd probably ditch you in Denver. But that's not the case either 'cause I know you're a virgin."
Which made Dolores jerk her head erect. "How do you know that?" she whispered.
"Because," Rick whispered back, "It's on my gauge. I can tell from the pheromones you put out. Little girls may lie, but their chemicals don't." He licked his lips and Dolores had a vision an honest-to-God vision like the Church always whined about about biting his lips off and spitting them back in his face. She tilted her collar bone shoved her hand deeper into herself, feeling an ache set into her shoulder.
to be continued...