Friday, March 30, 2007


Therapy Blues (part one of two)

Zeke blew out of town at dawn in a hotwired ’73 Ford Fairlane which some kid must have spent a small fortune restoring. Tough shit. Zeke had bigger problems. The sun was rising so quickly that the shadows of the town’s few tall buildings seemed to be shrinking back from the side of the road to avoid the car. Zeke kept up a steady 40 – no point in attracting attention – until he was clear of the suburbs and on the open road. Two lanes disappeared into the horizon ahead and on either side was parched prairie scrub. He turned the radio on, fired up a Lucky Strike and put his foot down.

It had been an accident. If the guy had just emptied the cash register he would have gotten out of there and nobody’d have been hurt. Instead the asshole had played at superheroes, no doubt to impress the three other customers in the store, and had gone for a piece he kept under the counter. Some Captain America he’d made after that, sprawled splay-legged on the floor with the contents of his head sprayed across the back wall. Zeke had had to take out the three customers, too, of course, one of them a girl who was quite a looker. He’d hauled the bodies into a back room and covered the mess in the front with some newspapers but it wasn’t going to buy him much time. He’d stowed the gun in the waistband of his jeans and loped through the silent streets till he’d spotted the Ford in a side road.

The early heat uncoiled itself across the prairie like a sidewinder. There’d been a couple of hundred dollars in the cash register and after an hour Zeke stopped at a gas station, filled the tank, and bought cigarettes, a bottle of Wild Turkey, a package of Slim Jims and a road map of Nebraska. He drove with the map open across the steering wheel and tried to figure a way out of this god damn hick state he should never have wandered into. New Mexico was where he needed to be, was where he could ditch the car and the gun and lie low for a few weeks, safe.

Nine o’clock, and the road ahead was shimmering and he was starting to stink of sweat. There was nothing on the radio but hayseed country stations. God damn shitkickers: did they really have nothing more in life to worry about than their ‘baybee leavin’ theyum’? Zeke thought that maybe he should take a shot at writing a country lyric. Hey Mister, I done gone done wrong/My heart’s real torn and sore/But not as torn as those shot-up stiffs/In the backroom of that store. He laughed and took a hit off the whiskey bottle.

Two hours he’d been driving, and he’d seen maybe ten other cars. And all around, the fucking scrubland. Where were all the cornfields the Midwest was supposed to be famous for, feeding the nation? God damn Okie farmers were probably laughing their fat asses off while the government subsidies kept pouring in, courtesy of hardworking taxpayers like Zeke. The heat was a shroud now, plastering his hair to his scalp and cloying in his mouth and nostrils. The radio station turned to static and he fumbled at the dial till he got a faint signal. More country, but a song he liked for a change: Bukkake Blues by The Snot Soup Singers.

The dog ambled into the middle of the road and stopped and Zeke hit the brakes in a drawn-out yowling of fraying rubber because it wasn’t just any dog, it was a great bastard the size of a pony, some sort of mastiff, and the Ford fishtailed and he struggled to hold it but the momentum carried the back of the car slewing round and the dumb bastard dog was just standing there staring at him and he saw it growing bigger and then he hit it and it was like slamming against a rock wall and something bounced off his head and he was out.


The sponge was cool and damp against his forehead like a mother’s kiss.

‘Ready to eat something now?’

The woman was maybe forty, her huge bulk squeezed into a tiny pair of lime polyester pants so that the rest of her spilled over the waistband like a mushroom’s cap. She wore a denim jacket over an orange T-shirt with a picture of Barbra Streisand on it. Her face was perfectly circular and beaming, and when she laughed her earrings jangled like overloaded key chains. Her hair was mouse-brown and tumbled over her round shoulders in unkempt tangles.

Zeke sat up. He was on a bed in a small, dim room which smelt of wet fur. He’d been awake now for a while, and had learned from the woman – whose name was Georgie – that he had been unconscious for ten hours. Georgie and her husband, whom Zeke hadn’t met yet, had pulled Zeke from the wreckage of the car and taken him to their house which was fifty yards down the road. They both knew first aid and had checked him over, and he didn’t seem to have anything broken. Zeke felt sick and his head ached like hell, but otherwise he was fine.

A tall, incredibly skinny man came in carrying a tray. His pitch-black hair was lacquered down and had a razor-sharp parting on the side, and he wore thick horn-rimmed glasses and a fixed, senseless grin. He looked like an older version of the kind of kid Zeke used to slap around in school.

‘Hi there. I’m Rudy,’ he said. ‘You must be hungry.’

Despite his nausea Zeke discovered he had an appetite, and he attacked the big plate of beef stew and was mopping up the gravy with a hunk of bread when he realised that the gun was gone from the waistband of his jeans.

As if reading his thoughts, Georgie said, ‘Your gun’s safe, honey, and we got your wallet and other stuff too.’

Zeke helped himself to apple pie. He needed to take a look at the car but from what this fucking rube couple had said it was a write off, which meant he had to find another set of wheels. Earlier he’d looked out the window and seen a pickup truck parked in the driveway. The two of them would be fairly easy to deal with, especially if he could get hold of the gun.

‘Lucky for you,’ Georgie said suddenly.


‘That we’re therapists. Both of us.’

What the hell? ‘Sorry, I don’t understand,’ said Zeke. He stood up. ‘Look, you’ve been very kind, but I should get going. If I can just have my -’

His legs buckled and he dropped back on to the bed. His arms flailed like empty sleeves. Something in the god damn food.

‘Oh no,’ said Georgie, giving him the warmest smile he’d ever seen. ‘You can’t go yet. Like I said, we’re therapists. And you need therapy, don’t you, honey? You’ve done something very wrong.’

Ah, Christ, he must have said something while he was unconscious, or there’d been news bulletins or something. He didn’t feel sleepy at all, just couldn’t control his limbs. The husband, Rudy, had disappeared and now he came back hauling a large, bulging refuse sack, his grin so broad that it threatened to split his face in half.

Zeke smelled something in the air and began to be afraid.

Oooh, this is going to be deliciously dark! I smiled and smiled when I read this.

"The sun was rising so quickly that the shadows of the town’s few tall buildings seemed to be shrinking back from the side of the road to avoid the car." That's a great image.
You sure keep us guessing Mr Eater, I love stories about The rapists.
Yes, me too.
Zombies, cannibals, therapists. You're drawn to the darkest areas of the human psyche. And we love you for it.
Footsie - manna! Can't wait for the next episode. It gave me the same feeling I got watching Deliverance for the first time.

I wanna guess at what's in the bag.
A years worth of turkey seepage?
25lbs of sun dried bologna?
Animal leavings?
Sam, Mr Special K, Kieran, Kim: much as I appreciate your opinions, you might want to revise them after you've read the second and concluding part. It's in rather bad taste.

SheBah: Deliverance was an inspiration for this, funnily enough, as was the House of 1000 Corpses/The Devil's Rejects duology of films.

Eddie: one of your guesses is partly right.
Ah, they're from PETA -- They don't mind at all that Zeke blew away those people back in the store, they're just pissed off about the dog.
"the rest of her spilled over the waistband like a mushroom’s cap"

I like that.
Just read 'Dinner with the Fenbys and the suspense was killing me but you did not disappoint. It's strange how the best stories seem to be written by people I know. Well done!
Strange how razor sharp partings have given way to dog legs.
OK I'm hooked - satisfied?
I await the bad taste with a cleansed palate.
Pat, as always I'm honoured to have you here and embarrassed by the coarseness you're being exposed to.

By the way, part two of the Fenby saga, Inspector Shrike Investigates, appears in the April 2006 archives.
Footsie, we await with breath bated -- you're surely not going to do a Doccy Maroon on us...leave us dangling.....
Yes, hurry up, Phalange Consumer.
Patience. It'll be up by the end of next week, by which time you'll all have lost interest.
What will be up next week?
What'd he smell? What'd he smell?!? Did he really kill those people or was it just the therapists manipulating his memories?!?
Wait, is this about scientology?
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