Saturday, May 18, 2019
The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove Chapter 30~31
ThirtyTheoListen, Theo said, cocking his ear toward the undermine thorn talk. Vehicles. The SWAT team up is here.Molly glanced to the back of the undermine. From the diminish of the colors Steve was flashing she could see that the pilgrims had surrounded the sea beast and were stroking his scales. She turned back to Theo. Youve got to omit low the heli slovenly personters. C any them and stop it.Molly, its non the news helicopters that will hurt him, or us. Its those guys who unsloped pul conduct up. Theo peeked appear the m come forthh of the cave and truism cardinal four-w cad-drives parking down on the marine terrace, ab step forward a hun-dred yards from the cave m extincth. Of course, he vox populi, they lock in think they need c alwaysyplace.Molly brandished her broadsword, dimension it just inches from Theos stomach. If hes hurt, Ill never forgive you, Theo Crowe. Ill cutting you down to the ends of the earth and kill you like the radioactive scum that yo u are.That Kendra or Molly talking?I base it, she screamed, almost hysterical now. Steve roared from the back of the cave.Dont go nuts on me, Molly. Im doing my best. But the only social occasion your pal seems likely to do is eat me. He doesnt seemed real motivated by any thing else.Molly slumped to her knees and hung her topic as if psyche had sucked the energy out of her by dint of a valve in her boot. Theo fought the urge to comfort her, horrified that if he even touched her articulatio humeri the Sea puppet might attack him. whence it achieve him. He flipped open his mobile ph genius ph one and dialed the Head of the footslog.MavisMavis Sand had spent a life time making mistakes and learning from them, and that perspective made her retrieve as if she knew what was good for people erupt than they knew themselves. Consequently, Mavis was a meddler. Most of the time she was content to use information as her tool of superior and rumor as her means of delivery. What som eone knew and when they knew it controlled what they did. (The Spider, pulling digital strings from his basement web, had exactly the same philosophy.) Today shed had a heap of problems dumped on her, no(prenominal) of them directly hers, and she had been pondering them all morning without frequently luck in coming up with a way to manipulate the information to solve them. therefore the call came from Theo, and it all c basteed Theo was serious, they could use the dickenss instincts to get them out of the cave, but if she played the mix right, she could solve a couple of separate problems as well.She induct down the phone and spoonbill catfish said, Who that?It was Theo.That ol flying lizard aint et him yet? son must be livin a charmed life.Mavis leaned everywhere the bar, close to goujon, took his hand in hers, and began squeezing. Sweetie, put on your friendly mentation hat. I need you to harmonize down to the pharmacy and pick up something for me.Yes, maam, Catfish said, wincing as the bones in his fingers compressed under her grip.When the Bluesman was gone, Mavis made a riotous phone call, then went to the back room and dug through boxes and filling cabinets until she came up with what she was face uping for a small black box attached to a recollective corduroy with a cigarette luminosity plug on the end. Dont pertain, Theo, she said to herself. I put my life in the hands of machinery a long time ago, and Im doing just fine. She giggled and it came out sounding like the starter cranking on a fuel juiceless Ford.CatfishA Bluesman hates to be t one-time(a) what to do. Authority rankles him, inspires his rebellion, and plays to his need to self-destruct. A Bluesman doesnt take to having a boss unless hes on a chain gang (for the chain gang boss ranks below only a mean old char and a sweet young thing in the hier-archy of the Blues Muse, followed closely by bad liquor, a dead dog, and the Man). Catfish had a boss who was a mean old woman a distinct and disconcerting turn of the Blues screw that might ca-ca driven a lesser Bluesman to shoot hisself, get zest, get hold of some bad liquor, or bust up his guitar and take a job down to the mill. But Catfish hadnt taken nigh unto eighty trips some that cruel, cruel sun without gaining some per-spective, so he would go to the pharmacy as he was told. He would talk to the fish-fucking fresh boy with the combed- all everyplace hair that waved in the air like the sprung lid on a bean can. And when he was done, he would pick up his pay from the mean old woman who was holding it hostage and he would get his wrinkly Black ass out of this town and go adjudge his heartbreak on the moving trap that was, is, and always shall be the road.So Catfish strolled a rolling Delta moonwalk of a stroll (redolent of sas-safras and jive) into Pine Cove Drug and Gift, and the four blue-haired chicken women piece of tail the counter nearly tumbled over each other trying to get to the b ack room. Imagine it a person of the Dark persuasion in their midst. What if he should ask for a vial of Afro-Sheen or some other ethnic-ally oriented crossway with which they were totally unfamiliar? Why, the smoke alarms would melt, screaming like dying witches, when their col-lective minds steamed to a stop. Do we look like thrill-seekers? Wasnt it enough that we had to put up that sign reading NO HABLA ESPANOL and ac have a go at itledge the existence of cardinal percent of the population, even in the negative? No, we shall err on the side of safety, thank you, and in lieu of sand in which to bury our heads, we shall head into the back room.Winston Krauss, who was counting fake Zolofts stern his glass rampart, looked up and maxim Catfish coming down the aisle toward the counter and immediately regretted that he hadnt installed bulletproof glass. Still, Winston was a man of the world, and you dont indulge the fantasy of molesting dolphins without becoming familiar with the w ays of people of color, for that is who dolphins prefer to hang out with, when they arent hanging out with the Cousteaus, or so it appeared on the Discovery Channel. He stepped out of his booth and met Catfish as he reached the counter.Good day, me brother-mon, ye, Winston said in his best island dialect. What can I be gettin for ye? And there was that welcoming smile, only a dreadlock and a white sand margin short of a tour poster.Catfish squinted, removed his fedora, ran a hand over his shining scalp, stepped back, turned his head to the side and analyze the pharmacist for a moment, then said, I will slap the shit out of you. You do that?Sorry, Winston said, cough up somewhat, as if trying to dislodge the errant Jamaican from his throat. What can I do for you, sir?Mavis down to the Slug sent me up to ax you somethin.Im familiar with her medical records, Winston said, You can find got her call me if she has a question.Yeah, she dont want to call you. She want you to come dow n to see her.Winston adjusted his bolo tie. Im sorry, but youll shake off to have her call me. I cant leave the store.Catfish nodded. That what she thought youd say. She say to ax you if she can have a big jar of them sugar pills you selling instead medicine.Winston glanced at the back room where his cater was huddled like Anne Frank and family, peering out through the crack in the door. Tell her Ill be right over, Winston said.She said to wait and come with you.Winston was visibly sweating now oily beads rose on his scalp. Let me tell the staff where Ill be.Hurry up, Flipper. I aint got all day, Catfish said.Winston Krauss shuddered, hitched up his double knits, and waddled just about the counter. Ladies, Ill be back in fewer transactions, he called over his shoulder.Catfish leaned over the counter to where he could see the row of eyes peering out of the crack and said, I be back in a few mins my own self, ladies. I needs some medicine what can help me with this huge black d ick I have to carry virtually. The weight of it like to break my back.There was a collective intake of breath so abrupt that the drop in pressure sprung the barometer on the wall and made Catfishs ears pop.Winston Krauss turned and scowled at Catfish. Was that really necessary?Mans got to look after his reputation, Catfish said.The SheriffBurton had them cover him era he moved down through the rocks and across the marine terrace to the Blazers. He found Sheridan crouched behind the fender, his M-16 trained on the cave entrance.Rough morning, Sheriff? Sheridan said, showing a hint of a smile at Burtons disheveled suit.Burton looked or so at the other team members, who were all staring through rifle scopes at the cave entrance. So we only have vanadium?Morales is coaching Pee-Wee Football today. The others are on unbroken duty. We couldnt pull them off.Burton scowled. As far as I know, they only have the one artillery unit, but its a ripey automatic AK. I want two men on either side of the cave mouth, one down in that crevice where I was pinned down can deliver the gas, followed by box grenades. Ill stay here with a sniper rifle to take out anyone who gets former(prenominal) the entry crew. Shoot anything that moves. Lets go, five minutes. On my mark.No gas, Sheridan said.What?No gas and no concussion. You wanted us here without checking in. That stuff is kept in the locker at County Justice. We just have the body armor and our own personal weapons.Burton looked around at the other men again. You guys all have your own personal M-16s, but no grenades?Yes, sir.So I have a standoff? I had a standoff before, Sheridan. A standoff doesnt do me any good. Come with me. He pushed a fresh clip into his 9 mm. and turned to the others. Cover us.Burton led the SWAT commander to a spot in the rocks just below the cave mouth. Crowe? Burton called. Youve had enough time to consider my offerOffer? Sheridan asked.Burton shushed him.I havent decided yet Theo shouted. We ve got thirty people in here to discuss it with and theyre not being cooperative.Sheridan looked at Burton. Thirty people? We cant shoot thirty people. Im not stroke any thirty people.Five minutes, Crowe, Burton said. wherefore you have no more than options.Whats the offer? Sheridan whispered to the sheriff.Dont worry about it. Im just trying to get the subject separated from the hostages so we can take him out. so wed better have a description of the suspect, dont you think?Hes the one in handcuffs, Burton said.Well, arent you the fucking hero? Sheridan quip back. mule driverSkinner watched from the front shadower of the Mercedes as the Food Guy was loaded into the back of the suburban with the cage in it. The Bad Guys hadnt even left the windows cracked. How would the Food Guy breathe? He wouldnt be able to sit in the front seat and put his head out the window either. Skinner was sad for the Food Guy.He crawled in the backseat of the Mercedes and lay down to nap away his anxi ety.The Head of the SlugThe first thing Catfish saw when he came through the doors of the Head of the Slug was Estelle standing at the bar, and he could nip the crust peeling off his heart like old paint. Her hair was down. napped out, it hung to her waist. She was wearing a pair of pink overalls that had been splattered with paint over a mans white tee shirt his T-shirt, he realized. She looked to him like what he always thought home was supposed to look like, but as a Bluesman, he was bound by tradition to be cool.Hey, girl, what you doin here?I called her, Mavis said. This is your driver.What I need a driver for?Ill tell you. Estelle took his hand and led him to a booth in the corner.Winston Krauss came through the door a second later and Mavis waved him over to the bar. Son, Im about to make you the happiest man in the whole world.You are? Why?Because I like to see people get what they want. And I have what you want.You do?Mavis stepped up to the bar and in low, conspiratoria l tones, began telling Winston Krauss the most titillating, outrageously titillating tale that she had ever told, trying the whole time to remember that the man she was talking to wanted to have sex with marine animals.Over in the corner booth, Catfishs modicum of cool had melted. Estelle was smiling, even as tears welled up in her eyes. I wouldnt ask you to do it if I thought it would put you in danger. Really.I know that, Catfish said, a gentleness in his voice that he usually reserved for kittens and traffic cops. It just that I been runnin from this my whole life.I dont think so, Estelle said. I think youve been trial to this.Catfish grinned. You gonna take them old Blues off me for good, aint you?You know it.Then lets go. Catfish stood up and turned to where Mavis and Winston stood.We ready? Yall ready? He noticed that the front of Winstons trousers had become overly tight. Yeah, you ready. You sick, but you ready.Mavis nodded, a slight windup(prenominal) ratcheting noise co ming from her spot, Take the second turn out, not the first, Mavis said to Estelle. From there it hugs the coast, so theres no hills.I have to go get my mask and fins, wailed Winston.Thirty-oneMollyHas it been five minutes yet? Molly was sitting cross-legged, her sword held across her knees. Theo jumped as if hed been poked with an ice pick, then checked his watch. He crouched by the cave mouth, listening for the sound of either salvation or deva shoes.About a minute left. Where the hell are they? Molly, maybe you should find some cover.What cover? She looked around the cave. It was an open chamber the only cover would be the darkness in the back of the chamber. loll behind Steve.No, Molly said. I wont do that. She heard a voice come from the back of her mind. Get to cover, you daffy broad. What, do you have a death wish?I have abandonment issues. Im not going to turn around and abandon someone else, Molly said.What? Theo said.I wasnt talking to you.Fine, die. What do I care? said the narrator.Bastard, Molly said.What? said Theo. non youMolly, how did you get those guys to come out and drag me into the cave before?I just told them to.Well, take their garb back to them and tell them to get dressed.Why?Just do it. And tell them to hang on to Steves sides and not let go, no matter what he does.Now whos nuts?Molly, please, Im trying to save him.The SheriffBurton checked his watch. Thats it. Get into position. Were going in.Sergeant Sheridan wasnt so sure. They have thirty hostages and we dont have any recon of their positions and we dont have a full team. You want to take this guy out with thirty witnesses?Goddamn it, Sheridan, get your men in position. We go on my signal.Sheriff Burton. Theos voice from the cave.What?Ill take your offer, Theo said. Give me five more minutes and Ill come out. We can all leave together. The others will come out after youre gone.You just want him anyway, right? Sheridan said. Hes the only one that can hurt the operation.Burton tu rned it over in his mind. Hed been determined to take out the constable and the woman, but now he had to rethink things. If he could get Crowe away from the others, he could dispose of him with no witnesses.Burtons cell phone rang. He flipped it open. Burton, he said.You shouldnt have made disparaging comments about my weight, Sheriff, the Spider said.Nailsworth, you piece of sh The crimp went dead.Suddenly the sound of a wailing Blues guitar came screaming over the marine terrace. Burton and the SWAT team turned to see an old white station wagon driving along the edge of the terrace, coterminous to where it dropped to the beach.An inhuman roar rose up out of the cave, and when Burton looked back to the cave all he saw was a huge reptilian face coming at him.Winston KraussWinston sat in the back of the station wagon, steadying the Marshall amplifier that was screaming out the notes from Catfishs Stratocaster. The amp was plugged into Maviss black box and a cord ran over the seat s into the cigarette lighter, next to where Catfish was playing. After the first few notes, Winstons hearing had shut down due to temporary deafness, but he didnt care. He could hardly believe his luck. Mavis had promised him the biggest versed thrill of his life, and he had doubted her. But now he saw it. It was the most gorgeous creature hed ever seen.SteveThe feelings of self-pity, jealousy, and heartbreak were new to him, but the response that welled up in him when he heard the sound of his rival was more deeply imprinted on his lizard brain and it displaced all the newer feelings with rage and the imperative to attack.He stormed out of the cave with pilgrims hanging on his back by the ridge of armored plates that ran down his spine. Two layers of protective covering slid over his eyes, shortening his vision, but it was the sound that guided him anyway, the sound that carried the strongest association with the enemy. He flashed silvery crimson and yellow as he charged over t he rocks, kicking aside the vehicles and shedding pilgrims as he made his way to his enemy at the shore.TheoMolly stood in the cave entrance, screaming for Steve to stop. Theo grabbed her around the waist and pulled her away just as the Sea Beast, dangling pilgrims, charged past them. She elbowed Theo in the forehead, immobilise him for a second, and she made for the cave entrance. Theo caught her outside on the rocks and held her.NoTheo wrapped his arms around her, immobilize her arms to her side, and lifted her off the ground, then held her kicking as he braced for gunfire. But none came.Burton was climbing to his feet just below them, focused on the Sea Beast as it passed. Shoot that thing Shoot it Shoot itThe SWAT commander had rolled out of the way and come up with his weapon ready, but with people hanging all over the beast, he didnt know where to shoot, so instead let his weapon fall to his side as he stared in amazement.Burton drew a pistol and began running after the Sea Beast. Below, two of the SWAT team had already broken into a run from behind the Blazers just as the Sea Beast bowled them over. The other two were pinned underneath one of the crushed vehicles. As they fell, each pil grim jumped to his feet and ran after the Sea Beast, who was making a beeline across the grassy terrace toward the white station wagon.Theo watched as the car stopped, Blues slide notes still screaming out of the back, and Estelle Boyet crawled out of the drivers seat and ran around to the back. The guitar playing stopped for a second as the passenger side opened, and out stepped Catfish Jefferson, holding a Fender Stratocaster.Let me go Molly screamed. Ive got to save him Ive got to save himTheo yanked her back toward the cave. When he was able to look again, someone he didnt immediately recognize had crawled out of the station wagon, and Catfish turn over him the guitar.Sheriff Burton was running after the Sea Beast, waving his weapon around, trying to get an angle to shoot without contact one of the pilgrims. He stopped, dropped to one knee, steadied his aim, and fired. The Sea Beast roared and whipped around, throwing the last of the pilgrims into a tumble in the grass.Molly whipped her head back into Theos chin at the same time she drove a heel into his knee. Theo let go of her and she rushed over the rocks and down toward the monster.CatfishEstelle had brought the car right to the edge of the drib to the rocky beach. Catfish looked at the pasture beating on the rocks below, then at his guitar cords coil in the front seat, then at the rocks again. They just might be long enough. But the dragon was going to get to them before he could find out.Hurry Estelle shouted.Catfish stood mesmerized by the charging monster, not a hundred yards away.Go, he said weakly, get yourself out of here.No said Winston Krauss. You promised.There was a gunshot and the Sea Beast whipped around in his tracks, bringing Catfish to his senses. Lets go, he said to Winston. Then he looked at Estelle over the top of the car and winked. You go on. This aint your time.Catfish played a few notes on the Stratocaster and then ambled after Winston to the surf. The pharmacist ran into the water up to his knees, then turned around. Catfish was having vexation climbing over the rocks to the water while keeping the guitar cord from catching.Thats far enough, Catfish said. He walked into the surf and stood next to Winston, keeping the guitar high to keep any sprayer off of it.Give it, Winston demanded.You aint got a lick a sense, do you?Give it, Winston repeated.Catfish played four bars of Green Onions on the Strat, the notes still blaring out of the amp in the station wagon, then draped the strap around Winstons neck and handed him a guitar pick. Have fun, Catfish said.Oh, I will, Winston said, a lascivious grin crossing his face. You know I will.Play Catfish said as he turned and ran up the beach. He saw Estelle already making her way away down the sho re away from the commotion. Behind him, the sour, rattling notes began to proceed from the amp in the station wagon as gunshots change the air.MollyThe sheriff fired three more times as he backed away from the Sea Beast, missing not only the monster but the entire North American continent. Molly threw herself sideways from a full run into the back of Burtons knees and cut his legs out from under him. She came up in a crouch, putting herself between Burton and the Sea Beast. The sheriff thought he heard the song Green Onions and shook his head to clear a hallucination. The Sea Beast roared again and the sheriff vaulted into a crouch, ready to fire, but instead of a sea monster in front of him, he saw a woman in a leather bikini. He looked over his shoulder and watched the Sea Beast snap up the white station wagon in its jaws and throw out it aside. The guitar sounds stopped and the Sea Beast slid over the bluff to the beach. Seeing that the danger was gone, he trained his sights o n the woman. People were drift by him on either side after the monster, wailing like a crowd of banshees.Molly looked over her shoulder and saw Steve going into the water, then turned back to Burton. Go ahead, you prick. I dont care.You got it, Burton said.Winston KraussHe was just beating on the guitar strings now, but it didnt matter. The amplifier wasnt working anymore and this attractive creature was coming to him. Winston was so turned on he thought hed explode. She was coming to him, his dream lover, and he yanked the guitar from around his neck, ready to receive her.Oh, come on, baby. Come to papa, he said.The Sea Beast charged into the water, throwing spray fifty feet in the air, then snapped his jaws over Winston, severing the pharmacists body into two sleazy pieces. The Sea Beast swallowed Winstons legs and roared, then snapped up the remaining piece and dove under the sea.The SheriffI dont think so, Sheriff, Sheridan said.Burton looked over his shoulder without taking t he gun off Molly. Sheridan had his M-16 trained on the sheriffs back. Dont fuck with me, Sheridan. Youre in this with me.Im not in this. cut down your weapon, sir.Burton lowered the pistol and turned toward Sheridan. Molly started to leap forward and the SWAT commander pointed the M-16 at her. castigate there, he said. She stopped.The pilgrims were all standing at the shore now, wailing as they looked out. Molly gestured in that style and Sheridan nodded. She ran toward the shoreline.What now? Burton asked.I dont know, said Sheridan, but no one has been shot here, and I have a feeling that theres going to be a lot of attention around this event, so no one is going to get shot.You wimp.Whatever, Sheridan said.Hey, Burton Theo Crowe was running down the hill toward them. You hear that?When they looked up, Theo ducked behind one of the wrecked Blazers and pointed toward the gray sky. Film at eleven.Burton could hear them now helicopters. He looked to the south and saw the two dots coming over the horizon. Two of the SWAT team members were topping the next hill. They had started running when the monster first came out of the cave. The other two were still pinned under one of the overturned Blazers. He turned back to Sheridan. The big cop was watching the approaching helicopters. Game over, Sheridan said. Guess its time to start thinking about my deal with the D.A.Burton shot him in the face, then broke for the far side of the rocks to his eldorado before the others had time to figure out what had happened.TheoTheo came up behind Molly and touched her lightly on the shoulder. When she turned, he could see tears streaming down her cheeks. Then she re-turned to staring out to sea with the others. She said, All I ever wanted is to feel special. To feel like something set me apart.Theo put his arm around her. Everyone wants that.But I had it, Theo. More by having Steve in my life than when I was making movies. These people matte up it, but not like me.The two heli copters were coming in close now and Theo had to speak right into her ear to be heard over the thumping blades. No ones like you.There was a stirring in the water just past the surf line, and something was rising in the kelp bed. Theo could see the purple gill trees standing out on the Sea Beasts neck. He was heading toward shore. Theo tried to pull Molly closer, but she broke loose from him, jumped off the bluff, and ran into the surf, scooping up two baseball-sized rocks as she went.Theo went after her and was halfway across the beach when she turned and looked at him with eyes filled with such pleading and desperation that it stopped him in his tracks. The helicopters were hovering only a hundred feet over the beach now. The wash from the blades kicked up sand in the faces of the onlookers.As the Sea Beast approached shore, only his eyes and gills supra the water, Molly threw one of the stones. No, go away Go The second stone hit the Sea Beasts eye, and he stopped. Dont come back Molly screamed.Slowly the Sea Beast sank below the surface.The SheriffThe speedometer on the Eldorado was approaching sixty when Burton topped the last hill before the cattle guard. He had to get to the airdrome and use the open ticket in his briefcase to join his money in the Caymans before anyone could figure out where he had gone. Hed planned for this all along, knowing he might have to make a run for it at some point, but what he hadnt planned was that there would be two Suburbans and a Mercedes park just over the top of the hill.Before he could stop himself, he hit the brakes and wrenched the steering wheel to the left. The tires dug into the pasture and sent the Eldorado up on two wheels, then over. There was none of the slowing of time or compression of events that often happens in accidents. He saw light and dark, felt his body being beaten around the Caddy, and then the crash of smashing metal and breaking glass. Then there was a pause.He lay on the ceiling of the overtu rned Eldorado, peppered with pieces of safety glass, trying to feel if any of his limbs were broken. He seemed okay, he could feel his feet, and it didnt hurt when he breathed. But he smelled gas. It was enough to motivate him to move.He grabbed the briefcase with his escape kit and slithered out the broken back window to find the Eldorado half-perched, half-smashed over the front of a white Suburban. He climbed to his feet and ran to the truck. It was locked. Sheridan, you prick, you would lock your truck, he thought. He didnt notice the people handcuffed indoors the K-9 cage in the back.The Mercedes was his last chance. He ran around it and yanked opened the drivers side door. The keys were in the ignition. He climbed in and took a deep breath. He had to calm down now. No more mistakes, he told himself. He started the Mercedes and was turning to back it down the hill when the dog hit him.