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chapter 6

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Johnny Slipknot

Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 39
Location: The Burned City
chapter 6  Reply with quote  


On the 28th of July, 1864, in the war that pitted brother against brother, two such brothers met, gun to gun, in the battlefields outside of Atlanta. General Sherman had repelled General John B. Hood’s assault successfully, but not without a deadly toll to the sons of Margaret Bellerose.

Thomas Bellerose had left their home in Alabama at sixteen years of age to live with his Uncle in Boston. There he would grow up to study law at the University where his Uncle taught. Thomas left his brother William, age fourteen, to see after their mother and tend their small farm. As their tearful mother watched on, the Bellerose brothers embraced and said their good-byes fondly, knowing they would see each other again, someday.

That someday was nine years later in a burning field in the middle of an endless night. The air was choked with smoke, ash, screams, and gunfire. Thomas was in Union blue, William in Confederate grey. In the swirling mayhem, all that either Bellerose could be certain of was that each faced an enemy and both were in a fight to the death. Ammunition spent, the brothers grappled each other to the ground, rolling across the scorched earth in a violent tangle. Finally, bayonets in hand, each brother slew his enemy. As they lay dying in each other’s arms, an explosion lit up the sky and each beheld, in horror, his brother’s face for the last time.

One hundred and thirty five years later, in a two-story house built on the very spot of the Bellerose brother’s death, Tommy Bullworth squared off against younger brother William in another Civil War.

“I wanna watch Godzilla! Let go Billy!” Five-year old Tommy had three-year-old brother in a headlock, who, in turn, had the VCR remote in a headlock.
“NO! Thomas da Tank Engine! Thomas da Tank Engine!”
“That tape’s stupid! Godzilla RULES! Give me it!”
“Go’zilla’s the STUPID!” Billy yelled.
“Is not! YOU ARE!” Tommy retorted.
“NO, YOU!”

The door swung open and Bull loomed large above them.
“HEY! You two knock it off, or the VCR’s going back to your Uncle Seth!”
“Yes, Daddy.”
“’Kay, Dad.”
The door closed, thus narrowly avoiding a repeat of history.

Jason “Bull” Bullworth went back down to the basement where Jay was still staring at the computer screen.
The basement/office was one-part maps, case files, and law books; three parts abandoned toys and out-grown clothes.
Trip’s locked-up e-mail sat in the middle of the screen like a taunt from God. They had been puzzling over it for more than two hours.

Jay said, “How the hell does he do this?”
Bull pulled up a chair and sat. “He’s evil, that’s how. He went down to the Crossroads and sold his soul to Bill Gates.”

They had tried every conceivable password they could think off. Birthdays, nicknames, parent’s names, names of their kids, pets, old hangouts, bars, movies, bands, super-models, porn-stars, book titles, Monty Python quotes, every stooge (including Shemp and Curly-Joe), any and all euphemisms for marijuana, and the capitol of Alaska. Nothing worked. They even tried the names of all the women they knew Trip had slept with. Then, for the hell of it, they tried the names of all the women they had ALL slept with. After some embarrassing overlap, they gave up and stewed.

“Maybe we should just delete it and get on with our lives.” Bull sounded tired.
“No. Trip said it was important. ‘Life and Death stuff’ he said.”
“Yeah, I know.” Bull had gotten the same short, confusing call.
“Plus, I already tried it when you left the room.” Bull punched him in the arm.
“What happened?”
“It disappears for a second and then boomerangs back to the mail-box. See?” Jay hit DELETE and the stubborn message vanished and re-appeared an instant later.

They sat there for ten minutes, silently in awe of their pot-headed friend’s computer prowess. There was a hard thump from above, followed by a loud crash, followed by Bull’s wife’s muffled yelling. They reacted like seasoned husbands and fathers.
“Want a beer?” Bull asked.

Later, walking to his car, keys in hand, Jay said, “Seth took that girl out tonight. He was a wreck all day. This morning he played the same song two and a half times.”
Bull dropped a Hefty bag full of that day’s trash by the curb, and said, “I know. I was listening at work. This girl must be something.”
“She’d better be.”
“So, he told her about the show, huh?”
“Yep, Ringer has been out-ed. I was proud. Of course if it doesn’t work out and she decides to make life difficult, there’ll be hell to pay with the suits at the station.”
“Well,” Bull folded his arms across his broad chest, “I think it’s worth it. He’s been tied in knots for too long. ‘Sides, doesn’t sound like she really cares about all that. Did he tell you--”
Jay nodded, “She knows about the band. Yeah, he said. It’s something, huh?”

None of them were too comfortable talking about that part of their pasts. That time had strained and nearly ended all their friendships. Things had been said that, while forgiven, always seemed to lurk in the dark waters of the mind. They stood in silence and let the past wash away in the moonlight.

Jay opened the car door and climbed in. “Blues Traveler at the Fox Saturday night?”
“Two, please.”
“Tickets will be under your name. ‘Night.”
“Night.” Jay shut the door and cranked the engine as Bull headed in.
“Hey, Bull,” Jay called through the open window. “You reckon Seth’s having sex right now?”
Bull didn’t break stride. “Night, Jay.”



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