***WARNING: CONTAINS PROFANITY, VIOLENCE, AND DISTURBING THEMES***
” P R E T T Y B A G S O F M E A T “
A Zany Quintana Psycho-Killer Thriller
I am floating on a bed of angel’s wings. I am an arrow. I am a dolphin, sliding across a big blue ocean, chased by sharks, but the sharks can’t catch me. My head is a basketball. I can’t feel my head. I am stoned off my ass.
I open my eyes and see myself staring down at me. I hear myself mumble something in the fog: “Man, that bastard really knocked the hell out of you. Dumb-ass.”
Looking concerned, I fake a smile behind a pair of wire-rimmed glasses. I have short black hair and stubble. I am wearing a black tee shirt that reads “Go, Spurs, Go!” in silver letters. My breath smells slightly of stale beer.
“I thought I told them not to give me any pain meds,” I slur to my mirror image.
“Trust me, you needed them,” my twin brother, Alexandro, replies. “Quit your bitching.”
Now it’s my turn to fake a smile, but I can’t tell if I am pulling it off. I try to focus. Bright lights. Machines. Clear plastic tubes. I am in a hospital room. I think. “Where am I, brother?”
“Ugh, chingao! I’m not a g-goddamn g-guinea pig, why didn’t you tell them to take me to Methodist?”
“I didn’t tell them anything, butt-face, you were airlifted from an active crime scene. I was home, playing Charlie Pride records on my jukebox and drinking beer.”
“You mean you were drinking cheap beer.”
“Pabst Blue Ribbon is cop-beer,” he announces stoically. Alex is PD, as well. We entered the academy together. He’s a patrolman in Cibolo, about twenty minutes north of town. He busts a lot of white kids for smoking grass in Mommy’s Lexus on their way to Gruene and New Braunfels. He has a wife and son. He appreciates the financial security and relative quiet of working the ‘burbs. Still, he’s a relentless cop. Short, but fast. I wouldn’t fuck with him. “All dedicated law officers drink Pabst,” he continues. “Dad drank Pabst. Dirty Harry drank Pabst. So did Steve McQueen.”
“Oh, God, Alex, now who’s being a butt-face? You can’t possibly goddamn know what Steve McQueen drank…” I stop. Wait a minute. “Did anyone call Gary? Jesus. He doesn’t know.”
Alex sighs, as he plops down into a chair next to the bed. “Relax, fart-breath, I called him as soon as I heard. He’s cool, he knows you’re okay. Took me a while to get ahold of him, though. I really hate that goddamn phone message of his.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You know the one, where he says hello, and you think you’re talking to him, but it’s just a recording? I was explaining how your dumb ass wasn’t dead or anything, when I suddenly hear your nutty husband say, ‘Psych! I’m not here, leave a message!’ Fucking crazy.”
“He’s not crazy, he’s just moody. He’s an artist.”
“He’s a Looney Tune, and not the fun kind. He never leaves the apartment, not to check on his own wife at the hospital. That’s cray-cray. I even offered to drive.”
“Hello, ass-hat. He has a disorder, thank you very much.”
“You mean that bullshit about sweaters? Butt-face.”
“You already said butt-face, butt-face. And it’s called Agoraphobia.”
“Whatever yourself. It’s why he doesn’t leave the apartment, duh. Besides, he’s a writer. He doesn’t have to goddamn leave. You know you love him.”
“That’s not the point, sister. He’s a weirdo.”
“You’re a weirdo.”
“Your stanky butt’s a weirdo.”
“Oh, very funny. It’s not my fault I’m lactose intolerant, Alex.”
“I hated the bunk beds Dad made for us, since you were afraid of heights and I had to be on top. Heat rises, and so did your farts. It was like freaking napalm. Gave me nightmares.”
I laugh, despite myself. It hurts. I drool a bit. “You’re such a goddamn jerk, Alex.”
He chuckles, too. We’ve been going at it like this since we were kids. After Dad died, we were the only family we had. That, and the old man’s friends on the force. Cops watch out for cops, especially cop kids. Alex would never admit it, but that’s why we both joined-up. To be close to family. To be close to Dad.
“Do you want to tell me what happened, sister?” he asks, gently. “Once he hears you’re awake, your boss and several FBI guys are gonna show-up for the debriefing, and I’m going home to finish my beer.”
“I want a mirror.”
“No, you don’t. Not yet. Doc says once the swelling goes down, you’ll be fine. No scarring, no permanent damage, Zany.”
There it is. My nickname. That’s how everyone knows me. I goddamn hate it. Makes me sound like a Three Stooges movie. The only person I don’t mind calling me that is Alex, and the only time he calls me Zany is when he doesn’t want me to worry about something. Or hand me a fucking mirror.
“Just get me one. Look in my purse.”
He does. He finds my compact, and hands it to me. I swallow something dry. It tastes metallic. I hold the mirror up to my face. Black stitches. Caked, brown blood and gray pus. Red eyes. Split, puffy lips. Something unrecognizable. A monster. A zombie from a zombie movie.
I shudder, my breath freezing, my tears flowing down my numb, swollen cheeks. I am there again, in that awful room. Hanging by my bloody wrists. Cutting at the rope with a razor blade, the edge of it slicing into my fingers. Fuck, he’s awake. He’s coming for me. Hurry!
Alex is at the bedside now, holding me down by my shoulders. I am screaming. A nurse runs in. She prepares a needle. I see its face, the animal. I can smell its breath. I can feel its red spit on my skin.
There is a struggle. I black-out.
The nightmare begins all over again.
Copyright 2016 by Sean (Shawn) Rima. Published by Lulu Press.
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