Archive for category Gramps and Wexley
Wexley smiled tiredly.
“We’ve been expecting you for some time.” He said, gently, as Dean stirred. It took the large man’s eyes a few moments to focus as he sat up; the first thing he noticed was the distinct absence of dimension or form. Beneath him was a featureless, textureless white that extended as far as the eye could see in all directions. It gave Dean the uncomfortable sense that he was floating. “Where am I?” he asked, his eyes moving to Wexley.
Something familiar about him.
Wexley did not answer immediately; Dean examined the older man’s face, criss-crossed with deep wrinkles, his skin marked here and there with liver spots. A shock of thick, stiff white hair swept back from a receding hairline. The old man smiled again, a little warmth creeping in. “This is where we all end up,” he explained at length. “All around us, the dead sleep.” Dean moved his lips to point out the clear absence of any dead people, but suddenly, as though they had always been there, he saw endless miles of naked bodies, carefully laid several feet apart from each other. Dean started.
The presence spoke from all around, and whispered in their ears.
For you, I have designed a special purpose. It is almost time.
“What purpose? For who? Time for what?” Dean blurted, almost involuntarily. “What the fuck was that?” Wexley just smiled again, this time with a little sadness. “We have some distance to travel; we should depart soon.” He said, gently. Dean felt his body begin to rise, though he wasn’t entirely certain it was by his own will. For a few seconds, he tried to think of more questions, tried to pull together some memory of the past few days. Eventually he gave up. “But which way do we go? Everything looks the same.”
Wexley chuckled quietly, and lifted his palm towards a path through the bodies that Dean was sure had not been there before. “The way is clear to me.” That strange smile softened a little. Without another word, the old man rose from the invisible, intangible seat he had occupied, and began to walk slowly out of the clearing. Dean moved to catch up, walking wordlessly astride his new companion. After a few steps he glanced back, and found that the clearing and path had disappeared behind them. He stared for a moment, his eyes fixed on a body a few steps away, back the way they’d come. He opened his mouth and released a pathetic cry.
“I know this man,” he whispered, staring into Wexley’s dead eyes. He turned to face his companion, and came to a sudden realization. “It’s you.”
I am all of them.
Dean’s guide smiled again, as though he’d spoken the words himself. As the large man turned his gaze back to the field of corpses, he saw Wexleys at every age, in every conceivable state of mutilation; some were dismembered, some disfigured. A few were fairly pristine. Skeletons and bones littered the field amidst more intact bodies, some fresh and white, some fire-blackened, and others splintered, cracked and smashed. “What the fuck is this all about? Who are you people?”
“I was the first one, and now I am the last one. The others have been relieved; my service is coming to an end.” Wexley explained, unhelpfully. “We must collect another, and tend to my final duties.”
“What duties? To that crazy old man?” Wexley smirked and shook his head. “You will understand in time.”
“Did he kill all of these people?” Dean asked. “All of this… person?”
“Many of them,” Wexley replied thoughtfully. “Certainly thousands. Perhaps hundreds of thousands. I have not been here to observe him for many, many years.”
“How could a man possibly kill that many people in one lifetime?”
“He is not a man.” Replied Wexley, gravely.
“Then what is he?”
“He simply is. He has always been – or at least, he has always been here.” On hearing these words, Dean felt a chill run up his spine, and glanced behind him once more; the path continued to recede. He wasn’t entirely certain, but Dean thought that the bodies were becoming more consistently gruesome. He turned his gaze forward again, and noticed what appeared to be a vast expanse of light brown something in the distance. Enormous mounds of the same substance were piled high on the horizon, though Dean couldn’t guage just how high. The bodies were already beginning to thin out in front of them.
“What is that?” Dean asked. Wexley coughed and cleared his throat. “Ash.”
Some indeterminate time later, they trudged through that ankle-deep ash, a strange, warm wind blowing waves of brown from the tops of ash mountains. The air carried a slight metallic scent disturbingly similar to the smell of blood; it was far more pleasant than the pervasive and inescapable stench of burnt flesh. Dean covered his mouth, trying not to get a taste of the pungent grit. “How did these ones die?” He shouted, unneccesarily; the wind was silent. “In a variety of manners, I suspect.” Wexley replied, pensively. “The old man was briefly fascinated by nuclear technology. Perhaps we were part of some forgotten experiment.”
Dean glanced behind them once again, and remarked that the ash desert was now the only thing visible in every direction. As he turned back, he saw something new, far ahead: Huge, dark, inhuman figures lay motionless in the ash, resuming the path that Dean was certain they had lost some time ago. “What the hell are those?”
Wexley paused before answering, for the first time since Dean’s arrival. “I was the first, the original. When Gramps felt the need, I was frozen for preservation and used as a genetic template. I know that for some time he reproduced me for a variety of purposes, but I have not seen anything like this yet…”
Dean nearly interrupted with more questions, but bit his tongue. “Perhaps these are some of his later experiments.” Wexley shrugged as he finished his sentence, and continued walking towards the figures, now not quite as distant as they had seemed.
“This place is a real trip.” said Dean aloud.
That was the idea.
‘”How did his science fair thing go?” Dean asked, smiling tightly. The woman sitting across from him could have been a model; she drew air through an inelegant black tube, and, pursing her lips, exhaled a colourless, odourless blend of gases.
“Fine,” she said tersely. “He didn’t win or anything, but he made a cool little thing that makes some lightbulbs go on.” An awkward series of moments passed in silence; Dean absently tried to count them before obsessively second-guessing his estimate of the length of a moment. The woman puffed almost unconsciously on her tube. “So? Daycare money?” she huffed impatiently after a while. “I have shit to do.” Dean winced visibly; he glanced around, searching for familiar faces, sighed, and reached for his back pocket. He fumbled purposely with his wallet, stalling.
“Jessica’s getting more comfortable with that whole deal?” Dean asked, almost too quietly to be heard over the chatter of voices and fountains and grilltops in the food court; his voice flat and resigned, as though he didn’t really care to be heard. The woman made a distracted, vaguely affirmative sound as she twisted slightly to catch a glimpse of a trim man in Armani. Dean nearly said some very immature things, clenching his toes so hard that his feet cramped. He snapped a cheque out of his wallet – one he’d been fingering nearly a full forty seconds - and shoved it forward with a little less anger than he felt.
“Look, great having lunch with you, but I have shit to do. Tell the kids I love them.” He blurted abruptly as she snatched the slip of paper. “Tell them I’ll see them this weekend.” He stood, grabbing the small styrofoam box containing six grains of rice and a small, mangled flower of cheap wasabi. He punched it viciously into a nearby disposal bin, hurrying through the lane of mediocre ‘ethnic’ food. The stench of such delicacies, mingling with the aroma of a crude mockery of South American cuisine, nearly pushed him into a rage.
It reminds me of an easier time. The things we used to do. The way we didn’t really know anything about each other.
It reminds me that things used to be good.
It was all a waste. A complete waste. Six years. Six fucking years, and I even quit smoking and it’s never enough for her.
I never even wanted the fucking kids.
Suddenly, Dean felt calm, and a little ashamed. He slowed his pace, turned another featureless corner, and realized with mild shock that he was already back at the store. He pursed his lips as if to whistle, but failed and tried to pass it off as an unusual facial expression. Nobody else was watching; nobody else was present. Had this occurred to Dean, he might have felt that he wasn’t quite present either. He knocked on the door, a little aggressively, and a chubby girl with cat-eye glasses stopped reading and rose laboriously from an enormous cushion in the display case.
She ambled around to the door, slid away the flimsy metal security gate and unlocked six latches before returning quietly to her post as Dean turned the knob and shuffled inside. “How was that?” she asked, not sounding altogether interested.
“Fine. She’s a bitch.” he growled, stalking past her and towards the back door. “I’ll be in the back smoking.”
The girl smiled a little sadly and almost made a clever comment about the bottle of Ballantine’s she could hear cracking open in his hands as he kicked at the door’s security bar. As she heard the door slam closed, she immediately burst into tears and ran out of the shop.
Dean regained consciousness, and instantly remembered what had transpired since his last nap. He relived the first gunshot, and then the second, the third… he felt the warmth of the bullets as he frantically dug them out of the boy’s flesh. He stared at the circle of rope hanging in the middle of his bare cell, and suddenly the moment felt very real as the memories melted away. He walked towards the rope.
They’ve left me in a self-hanging cell. I’m never getting out. I won’t even get a lawyer. They set me up.
I can’t go back to the labour camp. I can’t… the kids.
I can’t see them this weekend. I fucked up. I really fucked up. It’s their fault. Fuck.
I can’t do this. I can’t handle this.
Gramps stalked into the room, and abruptly stopped. He lifted a hand to shield his eyes from the blinding white glare of sun on alabaster.
“Why the fuck is the roof shade open?” he inquired grumpily. Nobody replied. Gramps fumbled for the pulley that would shut the blinds, and heaved furiously until he heard something crunch overhead. He sighed deeply, and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Have to get that fixed again,” he muttered to a nonexistent maintenance staff.
At the center of the room was a sunken circle, about half the size of the chamber and waist deep. Eyes barely adjusted to the light, Gramps staggered towards the circle, tripped over the edge of a protruding console, and bit off the end of his tongue as his lower jaw met with a particularly uncomfortable-looking chair. The hunk of severed muscle landed on a rather colourful pile of iridescent hair roughly at the center of the room.
Gramps was preoccupied with a bout of cursing for several minutes before he decided it would be best to staunch the flow of blood from his mouth; it took a few minutes more for him to realize the room was entirely bare excepting the computers, his tongue, and a bunch of follicles. He began to panic slightly, raising his hands to his mouth to bite his grimy nails. He touched the false beard surrounding his mouth.
His panic slowly dissipated as he came slowly to a much graver realization.
“That isn’t my beard,” he intoned darkly, referring specifically to the one not resting on his face. He glanced towards the side of the room opposite from where he’d entered, the walls curving gently back outward and into a narrow hall, about half again the height of a man. The old man swallowed a mouthful of blood, and began tucking his beard into his mouth in a mockery of practical medical knowledge.
Piercing chirps echoed distantly from the hall, and Gramps staggered out of the recess, moving painfully towards the source. “As clichéd as this sounds, I’m getting too fucking old for this.” He mumbled angrily through a mouthful of hair.
The smooth, stone hallway was lit by a single, continuous tube mounted on the ceiling, which shone with an intensity that seemed relatively pleasing compared to the glare of the terminal room. As Gramps crossed the hall’s threshold, an inconsistent series of loud, petulant noises exploded from wherever the chirps had come from; the lights dimmed varyingly with each one. The old man thought about stopping, but decided there was little he could do in the way of investigating this strange occurrence without pressing forward.
“Tinnitus?” he called, spitting out his now-bloody goniochromic beard in the process. Nervousness leaked through in his tone, but there didn’t seem to be anyone else to hear it. His shuffling steps slowed; he lost one of his tattered slippers, but thought little of it. The chirps resumed, louder and closer than before, and Gramps noticed a low drone slowly rising in amplitude. For the first time in recent memory, he was genuinely a little worried.
Suddenly, a two-foot grey and black cube shot urgently out of a ventilation shaft above, the grating flying off at an odd angle as the object raced towards the floor, deflected, and finally came to rest roughly at eye level. “Where in the fuck have you been? There’s nobody manning the terminals!” Gramps shouted at the cube. It hovered obnoxiously for several moments, slowly rotating clockwise, before releasing a complex stream of incomprehensible noises.
“What do you mean I was just in Control? I’ve just arrived-” Gramps touched his beard again, and widened his eyes.
“Oh.” He said. “Shit. Fuck.”
The cube bleeped urgently. “Yeah, I know,” Gramps replied, “but the reactors have made that sound before. Engineering will take care of it.”
The cube made some very unhappy noises.
“Engineering is dead? What the fuck is going on here?” As an afterthought, he added, “And how long do we have before something terrible happens?” The cube chided him. “I don’t have a fucking clue how the reactors work! How the fuck would I know?”
Something hit the door at the end of the hall, and hard. This startled Gramps from his building frustration, and he put his confusion behind him as a more immediate curiosity presented itself. “Is that what I think it is?” He inquired gingerly. Gramps, not being particularly good at mathematics, spent a few moments deciphering the cube’s presentation of a dangerous-sounding percentage.
“Probably would have sufficed, Tin. Why isn’t he in Containment?” The cube regretfully informed him that Containment was also dead.
The lights flickered again. Gramps glanced around almost fearfully. “Can you get me to the conservatory before he gets through?” Tinnitus made a scraping noise that usually represented careful thought, and then replied with an affirmation followed immediately by a warning blip. The cube lowered itself, and a panel unfolded silently to form a seatback. Gramps sat obligingly, though quite stiffly.
Two more panels opened on the cube, small diagonal slits on either side of the makeshift chair. A row of thick metal cables sprung out, and tied themselves around the old man’s waist. Before Gramps could take a breath, his conveyance rocketed back down the hall the way he’d come.
He tried to take a deep breath, but the rush of air kept the old man from filling his lungs. The far-off squeal of twisting metal, followed by the dull thud of heavy footsteps, was not particularly helpful in calming the old man’s nerves. Suddenly, none of that mattered particularly as the duo smashed through the glass ceiling of the terminal room.
“I suppose it’s a good thing I didn’t close the blinds,” Gramps observed grudgingly.
His new companion did not validate this statement with a response.
Police tape stretched across the entrance of The Devil’s Tee-Shirt Emporium. A crowd of officers stood officiously in the vicinity, ensuring that the public were fully aware of their presence. A number of exceptionally stoned individuals spent the remainder of the day highly distraught as a result; the Emporium was the place to get drug paraphernalia. Detective McGowin picked his teeth with a plastic pick from a Swiss Army knife; he thought himself quite sophisticated, yet rugged and prepared. Most of his associates would associate none of these qualities with him. Douchebag was a common noun used in describing the investigator at the station.
He had the physique of a bag, and the intellect of a douche; it only seemed reasonable. Of course, McGowin was completely oblivious. He owned a Swiss Army knife. He was superior.
The body of an unidentified man, estimated age between twenty five and thirty, was just being extracted. Blood samples had been collected, and the tainted garments taken into police custody. The stains would be removed; a crafty few in the force would find themselves the proud new owners of mediocre cotton shirts.
“Whaddya reckon fer motive?” asked the detective abruptly. The officer beside him jumped, leaving a jagged line of graphite on his notepad. He suppressed an irritated groan. “I thought they’d sent you to figure that out.” He replied tersely. McGowin bobbed his head in quiet affirmation, apparently missing the derision of every person around him. He put on his pensive face.
“I reckon, kid figgered he’d take what he could from th’ reg’ster.” He said. The detective paused for many moments longer than he ought. “S’roll a quarters missin’. Only makes sense, yeah?” He looked to the anonymous officer for approval. None was forthcoming. The policeman scribbled something in his notes.
“Now I don’ reckon you’d be tryin’ to filch my ‘n’vestigative observations?” He inquired brashly. His breath was malt whiskey; his words were thoroughly ignored. Notes were taken.
It occurred to McGowin that, perhaps, notes were being taken about him rather than simply from him. Briefly, it also occurred to him that this may just be paranoia. Happens often when he drinks, he reckons.
He dismisses the idea. Irrelevant. Much more… important… things… to be contemplating?
He forgets, and surveys the scene again, observing nothing. He itches for the flask in his car’s glove compartment.
Assailant was heavily inebriated, the officer scribbled as a post-mortem blood test was returned. He thought a moment, and revised. Suspected assailant – investigation is ongoing. Purely out of courtesy to his superiors; only to assure them that their talents were necessary to decipher the meaning behind this atrocity.
Dean was cuffed outside the back door, his forehead mashed into the side of a police car. His anger bled out in salty water on his cheeks. He had tried to explain, but with the truth planted firmly in his mind, no lie could suffice. He could not be convincing when he himself did not believe in what he’d done.
“Just give me a drink,” he begged. The officers around him paid no heed.
“There’s a whole bottle of scotch – Ballantine’s – hidden under the seat in the second womens’ changeroom.” A female officer perks up; Dean is hopeful for an instant. She scribbles in her book. Dean’s heart sinks to his feet.
“We need t’get dis body ta the morgue,” exclaims the detective, suddenly bored with the proceedings. “When’s the meatwagon arrivin’?”
“I need rum.” The young man croaked.
Wexley stared vacantly at the back wall of the shop, where a series of colourful shirts were hung in rainbow order. Printed on the front of each were the words I Love Pussy. Gramps huffed and gave him an annoyed look. “You don’t even like rum.” He pointed out, helpfully. “Doesn’t matter,” replied Wexley, closing his eyes. “I need rum.”
Across the heavily scratched glass counter, a muscular man in a tight shirt had his arms crossed over his chest. He had not spoken since the pair had arrived, and presently he wore a look of extreme discontent.
“You guys told me I wouldn’t have to deal with this shit again.” He reminded them. “We travel outside of the space-time continuum,” explained Gramps. “The last time we saw you just happened to be the last time we needed to see you.”
Gramps was lying. The large man didn’t seem to care either way.
“What about now? Is this the second-to-last time? I’m getting really fucking tired of this.” He pursed his lips as though he was about to continue, but held off owing to a particularly dirty look from the old man. Wexley remained quite apathetic.
“Rum.” He reiterated.
“Dean, do you have any fucking rum?” Gramps sighed in exasperation. Dean glared at him in response, and the two held a stony silence between them for several minutes. “Hang on,” said Dean, finally. He marched stiffly to the change room, where Gramps and Wexley could hear him rifling through a box of discarded clothes. He returned a few minutes later, bearing a half-mickey of Ballantine’s.
“This is what I have.” He said matter-of-factly, extending the bottle to the now-trembling Wexley. “I reckon,” he replied, as he grabbed the container and took an unhealthy swallow.
It burned. He choked. Tears began to run down his face.
“What the fuck is wrong with you, Wex?” Gramps inquired, unsympathetically. Wex simply downed another mouthful. He gagged. “This is disgusting,” he remarked. Gramps ignored him, and sauntered casually behind the shop counter.
“What are you doing?” demanded Dean. “Need to get into your cash register,” Gramps replied, irritation creeping into his voice. Dean looked very unhappy at this prospect. “Don’t fucking take anything out of there; it’ll come out of my fucking pay!” Gramps just shot him a withering look, and gave him the finger. Dean glowered, and backed away. Gramps touched the register, and it sprang open; the large man gave him a puzzled look.
“How did you-” He began, stopping abruptly only because he didn’t feel the need to complete his sentence.
“None of your fucking business. Shut up for a minute, I need to concentrate.” Gramps cracked a roll of quarters, examined them, and squirreled them away in his ratty garments. “I need change for the arcade. There’s still an arcade in this mall, right? I’m itching for some fucking Pac-Man.” Dean did not respond, a permanent frown affixed to his face; Wexley was three more swigs into the bottle, now nearly empty. He migrated over to a clothes rack and slumped under the coats. He began to sob quietly.
Gramps pulled up the cash tray, and threw it on the floor. “Hey, fuck you! Pick that up!” Dean received a damning glance from Gramps, and immediately opted not to say anything more. The old man awkwardly reached his hand into the recess of the drawer, and clicked out a sequence on a hidden keypad.
“Now why didn’t I know about that?” asked Dean, puzzled. “You didn’t need to,” Gramps replied with uncharacteristic patience. “For what it’s worth, I don’t even know the combination I just used – I memorized the pattern instead of the numbers. Can’t risk having them torture it out of me. Nobody else can know about this.” He paused for effect. “Imagine the US government with a time machine.” Dean imagined this; he decided it was the most reasonable thing Gramps had ever said in their painfully long association, and instantly regretted this thought.
I’d have to be losing my shit, he thought, to believe anything about these two was reasonable.
“Wexley!” shouted Gramps. No response was forthcoming. “Fucking hell, Wex, get the fuck out of there – we have shit to do!”
“Fuck it,” said the old man. “He’s a fucking wreck anyway.” He pulled a gun out of his robes. Dean’s eyes betrayed his fear.
“Put that away, Gramps. What are you doing?” He tried to say it as though he would do something about it, but the old man would kill to get his way. Dean, at twenty six, wasn’t particularly keen on the concept of his own death.
“Take care of this for me, Dean. I don’t have time for pussies like Wex.” Gramps was trying to be especially harsh, still hoping his young companion would smarten up. Wexley had ceased his crying, and was presumably unconscious. The old man’s lack of empathy failed to impress anyone. He flipped off the safety, and threw the gun at the storekeep before striding towards the rear exit labelled ‘Employees Only’.
“What- what do you want me to do, Gramps? I’m not just gonna kill a guy! What the fuck is going on?” The old man did not respond to Dean’s inquisitiveness.
“Seriously!” Dean whined, grating dangerously on the old man’s nerves. Gramps pinched the bridge of his nose and lifted his hand from the door’s handle. “If you fucking speak to me again – and if you don’t shoot that useless piece of shit after I’m gone – everyone you’ve ever cared about will die.”
Gramps was lying again. For once, Dean was unsure. He stared at the gun.
“Get the fuck out of my store, you fucking prick.” Dean spat venomously. His expression betrayed the shame of a decision already made; he slowly shuffled his way around the counter. Wexley stirred, but fell back into his drunken slumber without incident.
Gramps was happy to comply with the clerk’s demand; he turned the lever and stepped outside.
The nude senior shuffled past, brushing several articles of clothing. Amanda wrinkled her nose in disgust and decided she wasn’t going to buy the orange shirt after all.
“Who was that gross old dude? Why isn’t anyone stopping him?” She complained to her friend Bea.
Bea put on her gossip face, and leaned in to whisper, “I heard he was the owner, and, like, sometimes, he just does that.” This was a fallacy, as Bea had heard no such thing. “Oh. Yeah.” replied Amanda, passively. She knew Bea was lying again, but said nothing.
They watched in silence, along with the enormously muscular man at the till, as the old man pushed open the back door and tripped over the threshold. He shouted something muffled. The enormously muscular man immediately loped over, nudged the man out of the way with his foot, and slammed the door. He walked back to the counter, to which the two girls had made their way.
“Like, what the hell was that all about?” Amanda asked the man, more to hit on him than to actually find anything out. He was totally built. He simply shrugged. “I’m, like, totally offended!” She pouted, trying to illicit sympathy.
“Yeah.” he replied as she dug through her purse for a credit card. He ran it through the machine.
“Like, you can’t just do that! He totally walked into the store naked. Like, did you see that?”
“Okay.” he said absently, roughly putting her purchases into a wrinkled Safeway bag. Amanda smiled falsely. “So, like, when are you off?” she asked innocently. “Goodbye.” he replied, before turning around and organizing products on the shelf behind him.
As they walked out of the store, Amanda remarked, “Did you see him? He was so buff.” Her friend gave her a strange look. “He was a total dick. And he gave you a grocery bag.” Amanda sighed. “Yeah, but he’s totally hot, and he sells great fucking weed.” Bea looked pensive for a moment. “Yeah, that’s true.”
“I’d fuck him,” Amanda announced to no one in particular.
“Spaghetti Moustachio,” the rugged cowboy stroked his iridescent beard. “I remember him from the war of 8322, the Year of Our Emperor – blessed be his eternal soul.” His eyes glazed over and he saluted something far too distant for his companions to see.
Wexley spat upwind and got it all over his boots. It didn’t seem to bother him very much. “Where did you say you picked this guy up again?” Gramps coughed, and gave him a disapproving look. “That’s Gozar. He does that sometimes.”
“I told you when we met that you were to call me Gozar the Effervescent!” protested Gozar, rather too loudly considering that he was a much-wanted man in the state of Carolina. Gramps’ face twisted into a vicious scowl. “Go back to the fucking car!” Gozar pouted, but he knew better than to get into another ‘argument’ about this. Having one of his kidneys removed had been quite enough.
“So what’s the scoop, Gramps?” Wexley asked, annoyingly. Gramps tried to look like he was thinking very hard, but did a poor job. “I reckon we should go to the mall,” he said, stroking his iridescent beard. He coughed to draw attention to the previous sentence.
“Patterson Village? But-” Gramps shot him a withering look. “Shut up! I know, and I don’t think they want to hear about it again either!” He glanced at an empty space about six feet up and to the left, and then took a deep breath and became resigned.
“Oh, Wexley.” he said, sadly. Then he slowly trudged over to the car, mumbling quietly as he went. Wexley remained glued in place for a moment, slightly confused, then ran awkwardly to catch up with Gramps.
Putting on his seatbelt, Gramps blew on his keys for good luck and then stuck them in the ignition. Nothing.
He said a nonsense word in a very cross sounding voice, and pouted. Wexley tapped on the passenger window. Gramps tapped back angrily with his fist. “It’s unlocked, you fucking idiot!”
Wexley made an ‘oh’ face and got in the car. “Blow on my keys,” said Gramps. “I don’t have enough luck in me today.” He gingerly handed the keys to the younger man, hands shaking. Wexley complied, and Gramps desperately snatched them back and rubbed them on his face for a moment before putting them in the ignition. He groaned as the engine wheezed to life, and in the throes of climax failed to realize his foot was on the gas pedal, and the car had been left in gear.
They slammed into the back of a silver Porsche, then abruptly reversed into a red Mercedes before driving onto the patio bordering the mall’s main entrance, forcing about a dozen people to scramble out of the way. “I feel like we forgot something,” said Wexley, pensively. “I feel like I’m gonna throw up.” replied Gramps, with little enthusiasm. He concentrated on sobering up.
“Fuck!” he said, slamming on the breaks hard enough for the tires to squeak. This startled a particularly sensitive dog in the vicinity, which instantly attacked the little girl next to it. “We forgot fucking Gozar! Fuck me in the ass!” He wailed on the steering wheel in a rage before abruptly calming down. He closed his eyes, took several deep breathes, and in the meantime absently lifted his foot from the brake pedal.
“Okay,” he said. Rubbing his eyes. “We have to go back. I’m just gonna reverse, he can jump in, then we’ll go.”
He opened his eyes and then said, “I need a breath m- fuck!” he hit the brakes again, and angrily wrenched the transmission into reverse. He slammed the gas, reversed about twenty feet, and smashed in the head of Gozar, who was bending over to examine some pocket change he had dropped. Gozar may have been identifiable by his dental records; this, however, was unlikely, owing to the fact that he had no real teeth and had never even heard of a dentist.
“Son of a bitch!” exclaimed Gramps, slurring quite heavily. “Throw that bottle of rum out the window, Wex, we gotta get the fuck out of here.” Wex, having remained almost completely expressionless this entire time, complied after pounding back the bottle’s contents. “I hate black rum.” he observed sagely. The bottle smashed beside them and the car pealed around three parked cars, nearly hitting a pregnant lesbian couple, and bounced dangerously back into the parking lot.
“Gramps, we were parked right in front of the mall. Where are we going?” Gramps thought that Wexley was becoming an exceptional pest. “Clothes department entrance. That’s closer to the Emporium.”
“The Emporium?” Wexley asked, not having paid attention to Gramps’ mumblings as they were walking back to the car. Gramps sighed and rolled his eyes and almost swore. “Yes, the Emporium. That’s where the spaceship is.”
“I didn’t know we had a spaceship.” Gramps scowled. “Just shut up, Wex.”
Suddenly, Gramps cranked the wheel to the right and executed an embarrassingly unsuccessful drift into a handicapped parking spot. Wexley pointed out the latter detail.
“Gozar is retarded, does that count?”
“Um, Gramps? Gozar is dead.”
Gramps tried very hard not to strangle Wexley, and bit his lip until it bled. He eventually calmed down. “Well I don’t give a fuck. We’re going inside. Fuck this car.” Wexley crawled out first, since the driver’s side door was crushed into the adjacent vehicle.
He frowned. “We could have just walked through the mall, Gramps. We had time on the meter and everything.” Gramps started hyperventilating instantly. “I didn’t want to fucking walk!” He shouted, startling a group of young boys who were smoking a cigarette by a planter. “Alright, Gramps, okay.”
It was too late. Gramps tackled Wexley to the ground and wrapped his hands around the boy’s throat. Wexley, too frail to push the old man off, only lasted a few minutes after Gramps’ inhumanly strong thumbs crushed his trachea. With the deed done, Gramps dusted off his hands, smiled, and began to walk towards the mall. The four smoking boys shook off the horror that had paralyzed them, and ran to confront him.
Gramps stumbled, surprised, and then got very angry. He rummaged through his baggy robes, pulled forth a pistol, and fired nine times. He walked up to the only boy still living and finished the job before stepping over the bodies and through the grimy glass doors. His destination was less than ten feet away: The Devil’s Tee-Shirt Emporium.
A gaudy purple and gold sign adorned the shop, the name surrounded by impressions of screaming faces that shifted slowly and eerily if one watched them for long enough. The gold occasionally shimmered unnaturally. The shop itself emitted a low, quiet groan which would go unnoticed to a casual passerby.
Gramps rubbed his hands together gleefully, and threw his gun down the hall. He stripped off his robes as he walked quickly towards the entrance, past several browsers, and, fully naked, through a fire escape labeled ‘Employees Only’. He fell flat into the parking lot and exclaimed, “Fuck! It was a time machine, not a spaceship!”