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chapter 14

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Johnny Slipknot

Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 39
Location: The Burned City
chapter 14  Reply with quote  


Sometime after midnight, Bull got up to pee. Standing there, answering the call, he glanced through the window and spotted a patch of blue light on the ground outside. It was coming from the basement.

Bull grimaced. That would be Tommy. The boy had recently gotten in the habit of stealing down there to play Quake II on his dad’s computer. Bull had caught him at it before and reprimanded him, like a good father. But, like any father, he understood his son’s need to load up an ion-charged BFG assault cannon and rid the universe of evil aliens. Bull was also amazed (and a little proud) that the basement, in the dead of night, held no fear for Tommy.

He flushed and headed off to do his fatherly duty. In truth, his biggest concern was Tommy stumbling onto something inappropriate on the Internet. The boy had no interest in net surfing so far, but nowadays, just logging on could be an invitation to some rather graphic cyber-porn-palaces.

He could just hear it,
Momma, do you have a pee-pee on a belt like the computer lady?”
His wife would pack the house and never return.
After she came to.

Bull glanced in the boy’s room as he passed. Sure enough, the bed was empty, X-men sheets in a wad at the foot. He sighed and took the basement stairs.

Halfway down, Bull noticed the door that opened onto the backyard was ajar. He rounded the banister and said, “Tommy, what are you doing--”

It wasn’t Tommy.

Hunched over the screen was a man dressed entirly in black. He was enormous. Bigger, even, than Bull.
He was bald with a broad face, heavily lined and creased in concentration.

When he looked over to Bull, he seemed barely interested in his presence. Maybe even annoyed. Bull had the weird sensation he had somehow walked into some strange man’s office and should apologize. The feeling vanished when the man swiveled slowly to face him.

A silencer-equipped gun was pointed, casually, at Bull.
“Evening. What’s the password?” he nodded towards the infamous E-mail perched on the screen. His voice was deep and coarse. It seemed to travel over jagged rocks as it left his throat.

Bull’s mind was numb. Time seemed to have pulled over to the curb, in hopes of catching a glimpse of the car-wreck in his brain. Like everyone, he had played this scene in his mind over and over since acquiring a family and property. But, in his mind, it always involved a twitchy, ski-mask-wearing teenager crawling through the kitchen window about to meet a clear-headed Bull and his Louisville Slugger. Not a clear-headed Monolith, armed, and sitting at his computer meeting a dumb-stuck Bull in boxer briefs with a urine spot.

The man raised his voice a little, “What is the password?”
“I don’t…I don’t know.” Bull heard himself say.

The man nodded, as if he understood and looked back to the screen, leaving the gun trained on Bull.

Bull managed to find his thoughts. “Who are you?”
“What is this person to you?” the man asked, ignoring the question. “The one who sent this?”
“What? Look, Who are you? What are you doing in my house?”
The man cocked the gun to make it clear, he still had the floor. “Is he a friend or is he related to you?”
Bull's gaze drunkenly switched to the computer screen and the floating envelope. “Trip?”
The man faced him. “Trip, huh?”

Bull suddenly felt panicked. ‘Bout time, he thought.

“What’s Trip’s name? Real name?” The Monolith stood and took a step towards Bull. His head missed the ceiling by inches. Bull took a step back until he felt the washing machine against his butt.

Now, time was speeding up to a blur. His mind raced like a squirrel on speed.

“HER name. She’s an actress and her screen nam--.” His expression became one of confused outrage. “What the fuck, it’s—nevermind her. What the fuck are you doing in my house?!”

The Monolith stood silent for a moment, then chuckled deeply as he walked over to the bottom of the stairs, just feet away from the cornered Bull.
“That was pretty good. ‘Triple Threat’” he nodded in appreciation “You made me wonder for a second there. But with all due respect to ‘Dame Triple Threat’, the person I’m looking for pees standing up. At least, for now.”

Bull felt his face go red. He opened his mouth to say something, but found no words.

“It’s odd, you know? I guess I had you wrong. I wouldn’t have thought you’d be so concerned about protecting this friend of yours.” His deep voice became grave as a funereal, “Not when you’re wife and boys are so very…very…close by.”

Bull’s expression changed as if had been slapped from his face.

His heart became a jackhammer and his breath held at the top of his the man's words became images in Bull's mind. Somehow, the thought of the armed man going upstairs had never occurred to him, or what this man might do to his fam---

Time ceased to be out of joint as every howling uncertainty and fear was replaced by purpose. All thoughts of Trip left his mind as a strangely calm anger stole over him.

“I can’t help you.” His voice wine-dark and slow.
“Well, then I sugg--”
“Actually, that’s not true.” The Monolith raised his eyebrows at the interruption. “I can suggest you leave the way you came in. That would be very, VERY helpful to you.”

The man favored him with a twisted yet geuine smile, showing off a set of perfect, white teeth. “Now, THERE’S the Daddy I was expecting. I need a picture of ‘Mr. Actress’ for my employer.”
“I don’t have one.” He wasn’t sure that was a lie.
“Think I’ll take a look, myself.”
“You’re not going up those stairs.”
The man raised the gun to Bull’s face.
“You’re not.” Bull’s voice didn’t waiver.” There aren’t enough bullets in that gun to get you up those stairs.”
“I only need one.” He said, simply.

Bull tensed and got ready to rush him.
The Monolith waited for the it, feigning ignorance.

A Nintendo GameBoy flew down the darkened stairs and smashed into the Monoliths head, just above his left eye.

“YOU DON”T POINT THAT AT MY DADDY!” an angry Tommy in Power Rangers underwear (complete with pee stain) yelled from the top of the stairs. He stamped his little foot. “GUNS ARE BAD!!”

Bull grabbed the wrist in front of him in both hands and turned, twisting them both to the floor. They wrestled frantically through a sea of plastic toys and cardboard boxes while an outraged Tommy yelled at the bald stranger for knocking over his Big Wheel.

Finally, Bull heard the gun go clattering into the shadows. He raised up to deliver a roundhouse right when the man’s boot struck him in the chest, sending him careening into another pile of toys and a bass guitar that was covered in dust. Scrambling to get up, his hand found something long, hard, and familiar.

He took it and stood.

The Monolith, who was tossing aside boxes in an effort to recover his gun, froze when he heard the boy’s quiet voice from the top of the stairs,
“That’s my Daddy’s bat.”

He turned to see Bull approaching with slow deliberate steps, his big hands twisting on the ash-wood handle.

The Monolith squared his shoulders and got ready to leap. But, when he caught Bull’s eyes, he saw something there that was clear and irrefutable. Something that said;

.550 lifetime facing right handers/ .445 overall.
RBI leader three seasons running and the Undisputed
Home Run King of the APB League.

The Monolith bolted through the backdoor and into the night.

As lights came on upstairs and voices filtered down through the ceiling, Tommy hopped down the stairs, strolled over to his dad, and took his hand.

“I had to go potty.” He said, then looked up to his dad. “Guns are bad.”



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