55 A Wanderer, A Drifter, A Traveler far from Home

A Wanderer, A Drifter, A Traveler far from Home

 

<<Finnegan, you stumble along the side of a black asphalt highway.  you are singing

to yourself or me, or perhaps to the sky.  you sing in your gravel voice as you travel

along this small town’s main street.  it is the tenth month of the twelve month

calendar year.  this is normally your favorite time of year.  this year however, you

cannot feel the excitement in the fall of the leaves.  the seasons change.  even in the

Oklahellmouth they change.  but the wonder of nature is lost on you.  instead of

dressing up your son, Baby Thor, as a monster or hero; you are forced to try and be

a real hero and fight off real monsters.  right now you are struggling with the

demons inside your head, and i am not talking about me>>

 

Hero?  I killed my best friend by vomiting all over the windshield.

Hopskotch, dead?

 

<<you just scared the shit out of some liquor store clerk.  this happened when you

stumbled in from the road with blood all over your face.  it is just minutes past ten

in the morning, the alcoholic’s witching hour.  you are a witch in search of a bottle

of vodka.  carrying your leather jacket, you are in your dusty, name-brand work

slacks and black spouse-beater undershirt (complete with purple bra straps circling

your shoulders alongside the shirt straps.)  you buy your alcohol.  the clerk

understands the game.  the two of you exchange the minimum required words:>>  

 

“Is this all for you?”, asks the clerk.

 

“Uh huh.”, you say.

 

“Can I see your I.D.?”, asks the clerk.

 

“Uh huh”, you say.  <<you start to search your pockets>>

 

“That’s ok then, I believe you’re of age.  $3.79 please.”

 

“Uh huh.”, you say.

 

“Here’s your change, have a nice day.”, says the clerk.

 

“Uh huh.  Bye bye.”, you say.

 

 

<<you take your bottle and exit the store.  you are soon walking out of the small

town.  you carry your leather jacket over your left shoulder.  you wave to drivers as

they veer around you when they drive by.  it is amazing no one has called the small

town cops on you yet Finnegan>>

 

Maybe the cops already got eaten by your children.

 

<<now there is an idea.  you stumble along the two lane small Oklahellmouth

highway, singing drunken songs, smoking nasty cigarettes and sipping rotgut vodka.  

your life choices are terrible today Finnegan.  not completely unexpected

considering what happened to you 24 hours ago>>

 

Yeah, that really sucked.  First my husband steals my son, and then I get my best friend

killed.  I wish you’d just let me die Virus.

 

<<now do not be like that Finnegan.  just because you do not want to go on living

does not mean that i do not want to go on living in you.  and really, just because you

cannot see it now, does not mean there are not things in your future that you will

want to live to see>>

 

Shut up fortune cookie.

 

<<hey that actually hurt.  Ok, ok.  i get it.  well what if i told you that Hopskotch

Sunday did not die when he drove off with the Notnek monster sticking out of his

windshield?>>

 

Well I did see a burning gasoline truck wrapped around a Pre-us last night that begs to

differ.   

 

<<ok, so dig this.  your long lost husband Ruben was working on research treatment

back at McCow Towne hospital’s laboratory right?>>

 

Right…

 

<<and he was providing health care to inmates at the McCow Towne prison right?>>

 

Yes…

 

<<annnnd he was doing some sort of work for Tronald Dump back at the McCow

Towne meat company…right?>>

 

I can tell you are going somewhere with this.

 

<<ok, do not make the intuitive jump.  that is fine.  i got it.  i will spell it all out, you

addle brained kitchen monkey>>

 

I stopped drinking for this?

 

<<damn you Cook.  ok.  ok.  Hopskotch drove off holding his severed arm.  he should

have been dead from blood loss before he even finished driving Notnek through all

of the red barn walls.  after you ran Notnek through with the pitch fork, he started

bleeding all over the car and all over Hopskotch.  so cells under my control started

to infect the Dishwasher immediately.  by the time he and Notnek hit that semi

truck, I had almost completely reattached your little buddy’s severed arm.  they

crawled out of the flames and started fighting in the woods on the other side of the

road behind the truck you watched burn.  you got sad like you do and assumed the

Dishwasher and the Boss were both dead.  the Cook gets sad and goes away.  that

sounds like a country song>>

 

Wait what?!  Hopskotch is still alive?  where did he go?

 

<<there you go.  good question and a great story Finnegan.  Notnek pulls Hopskotch

from the wreckage of the Pre-us and drags him off into the woods away from the

explosion that always accompanies burning fuel trucks that are on their side and

on fire.  Hopskotch does not try to fight while he is being drug away.  the cellular

bond that Hopskotch and Notnek now share communicate Notnek’s helpful

intention.  Hopskotch’s cells realize that, ‘oh, he is saving me from fire. that is a

good thing.’ and Hopskotch’s brain notices that he now has two functioning arms

and hands again.  that impresses his brain so much that Hopskotch does not even

notice when his new cells start to tell him, ‘that cow monster is done saving you and

wants to hit you again’.  Notnek stops dragging Hopskotch Sunday and instead pulls

him up off of the ground by his feet and throws him like a sack of potatoes.  

Hopskotch crashes into and then through one of those puny trees found all across

the Oklahellmouth.  excited by his new found strength, Hopskotch quickly

rebounds and runs back at Future Notnek for the attack.  the Boss and the

Dishwasher battle epically for several minutes.  the two former and future

coworkers are soon interrupted by two more recipients of your husband’s care>>

 

<<Mack, was a prisoner treated for cancer by your husband.  Ruben tested me out

on Mack way before he decided to stick me into you Finnegan>>

 

It’s nice to know I wasn’t Ruben’s first choice to inject with an experimental  zombie

virus.

 

<<i know right?  it really is the little things, is it not.  anyway, Mack was a family

man before the Drug Express Attorneys locked him up for unlicensed trafficking

(A.K.B.S.A.A. being set up).  watching Notnek and Hopskotch wrestle on the forrest

ground and standing next to Mack is Fat Max.  Fat Max is wearing civilian clothes;

while Mack is still in his pink prison jumpsuit.  Fat Max is wearing jeans, a sports

team jersey and a Nascar baseball cap.  Fat Max has deer antlers sticking out of his

baseball cap.  Mack and Fat Max look down at Notnek and Hopskotch Sunday and

think that they look like an odd couple.  Hopskotch Sunday and Notnek look up at

Fat Max and Mack and think that they look like an odd couple.  and they’re both

right.  Mack raises a hand as if he is a human school child in class and speaks to the

Dishwasher and the Boss on the ground>>  

 

“Sorry to interrupt your play time fellas, but my buddy Fat Max and I need you to come

with us for a little while.”, says Mack.  <<a smile on his serious face and his hands on

his hips>>

 

“Yeah, with us.  For a little while.”, says Fat Max.  <<he speaks uncertainly>>

 

<<the convict in pink and the suburban ‘Merican’ male threaten no violence toward

Hopskotch Sunday and Notnek.  out of fear of the unknown or curiosity by it Notnek

and Hopskotch Sunday quit fighting and untangle their limbs from one another.  

the former and future coworkers help eachother, each other up and dust eachother

off.  ComradEnemies i shall call them.  Mack in pink leads Notnek and Hopskotch

through a path in the woods.  Fat Max brings up the rear.  Finnegan stands alone a

hundred yards away.  you think your friend is burning.  tears fill your eyes.  

Hopskotch is not dead but on a new adventure.  you won’t see him again until

Normal Towne.  tell me about your walk down that road Finnegan>>

 

So I am walking past a highway graveyard at noon.  It is so hot in the Oklahellmouth, I

wish I were with the dead.  I poured the last of my vodka on a truck driver’s tombstone.  

Drinking alcohol is becoming less appealing.  Maybe my offering to the God of Truck will

score me a ride out of this shitty town.  I’ve seen lots of oil field worker trucks traveling

by.  I have gotten lots of fuck me gazes from creepster after creepster.  I have received

lots of hateful sneers from soccer moms and moms of soccer moms as they drive by in

the family’s gas gargling hoop ride.  The only vehicles coming by now have eighteen

wheels and lots of ground to cover before their next truck stop.  I saw a Tronald Dump

semi truck full of new cows to stock his meat processing plant.  They are about to have a

shitty day at work.  Clickety clack, clickety clack, the cows are coming home.

 

<<oh look!  here comes a meat truck from McCow Towne!>>

 

…and it’s slowing down beside me.  Nice.  Fuck on me.

 

<<be nice Finnegan.  you need any friend you can get right now>>

 

“Hey little lady, need a lift somewhere?”, says the meat truck driver. <<a man in his mid-

twenties lives under this Dump Co. Meat baseball cap>>

 

“Well heck yeah!”, you say.  <<you are excited because even though he has no crazy

Hopskotch Sunday hair, the meat truck driver is black skinned and his ‘little lady’

comment reminds you of your dishwashing friend>>

 

“Where are you headed?”, asks the meat truck driver.

 

“Anywhere but here.  More specifically, I am trying to get home to Normal Towne.”, you

say.

 

“Well normally you would be in luck, but the restaurants in Normal Towne have not

been ordering or returning our calls for the past few days.  I was running meat down

there from our satellite supply warehouse last week.  There were so many orders from

your city that our McCow Towne facility couldn’t keep up.  But this week it is like the

whole city of Normal Towne just shut down.  We haven’t had a single order.  Crazy.”, says

the meat truck delivery driver.

 

“Yeah, that is…crazy.”, you say.  <<you want to tell the driver that you are pretty

certain you know why business has slowed, but think better of it.  this might be

your only ride away from the middle of nowhere and the monsters who dwell

here>>

 

“But I am headed to Oklahellmouth City.  Would you like a ride there?”, asks the meat

truck driver.

 

“Yes sir.  That will do me just fine.  Thank you.”, you say.  <<you accept the offer of a

ride and hop into the passenger seat of the truck>>

 

“My name is Tony.”, the meat truck driver says.  <<Tony extends his hand.  you shake

his hand and settle into the seat and buckle up>>  

 

“I am Finnegan L’Argent du Sang.”, you say.  <<you drop your last name to see if it has

any effect on Tony.  you think that it is unlikely that any of the Dump company’s

meat factory employees would have had any contact or interaction with your

husband; but you’ve made more things happen with less likely chances than this>>   

 

“Pleasure to meet you Miss L’Argent du Sang.”, says Tony.  <<Tony is not struck mute or

put in awe at the mention of your missing husband’s last name.  you smile and sit

back in the passenger seat of the Dump Co. meat truck>>

 

<<you are planning to take a train down to Normal Towne once Tony drops you off.   

Tony stops at several small town restaurants located along the highway between

McCow Towne and Oklahellmouth City.  you wait in the cab of the truck when Tony

delivers a few boxes of meat at each stop.  you wonder how many of these

restaurants will meet the same fate as the Bucket o’ Blood.  you fall asleep and

dream of Baby Thor being chased by a couple hamburger underwear monsters.  day

turns to night and night becomes day.  Tony is still driving when you wake with the

sunrise>>

 

“Damn woman, you snore louder than my granddad.  He’s an eighty year old cigar  

smoker.  Sure made it easy to drive straight through the night though.  Ha ha ha.”, says

Tony the meat truck driver.  <<Tony laughs and playfully slaps the shoulder of your

leather jacket which you snuggle under.  a black cow skin blanket with sleeves.  

kind of like a Snuggie made of skin>>

 

<<you blush when Tony jokes about your snoring and you are shocked to think of

how many hours you lay unconscious in this stranger’s vehicle.  but atleast now you

are more comfortable bringing up the subject of zombie cows.  you start off with

small talk.  Tony tells of his limited time on the Dump Co. meat factory truck

driving team.  he talks of an over jubilant training video where the company head,

Tronald Dump, tells of all the wonderful things that his company is going to do for

it’s employees>>

 

“I thought this job was going to be the greatest.  But I didn’t see my first paycheck until I

had been working six days a week for two months; and even then I didn’t get all of the

money I was owed, just a percentage to be paid out over time.  The worst part is that I

haven’t seen Tony Jr. in eighteen days now.  I am not even cool with going seventy two

hours with out being with my child.  I had a child with the intention of spending

everyday with him or her, you know, during their childhood.  When kids want to be

around their parents.  Do you know what it is like to miss out on your child’s childhood?  

To read about it in text messages and watch it online?”, says Tony.

 

<<you smiled at the first mention of Tony’s son.  and then you fought off the

overpowering urge to break into tears when you thought about Baby Thor.  When

Tony started to talk philosophically about Jobs/Work stealing human parent’s

children’s childhoods from the human parents; you crack like a stillborn baby

chicken’s shell.>>

 

“Ahhhhhh!!!!!  Fuck me… Thor!  Noooo!!!”, you say.  <<tears burst forth from your eyes

and fill the cab of the truck.  the emotional down pour threatens to drown both you

and Tony>>

 

“I’m sorry what?!  Fuck you Thor?  I don’t know what kinda super hero sex shit you are

into lady, but not in my truck.  Ok?”, says Tony.  <<your sadness comes across as sexual

desperation to the males of your species Finnegan>>

 

<<you actually stop feeling sorry for yourself for a moment Finnegan.  when you

realize the words coming out of your mouth did not actually convey the desperation

and sadness of you missing your son; you laugh.  Tony watches in fear as the

emotional weather in the truck turns one hundred eighty degrees.  Tony is almost

certain that he picked up a crazy person>>

 

“Ha ha ha, No man.  I don’t want to fuck you.  Thor is my son.  I don’t have a superhero

fetish, but I do enjoy wearing batman under-roos.”, you say.

 

<<this puts tony at ease again, somewhat.  you and Tony drive on to Oklahellmouth

City in a new awkwardness.  to move past the awkwardness you ask Tony if you can

put some music on the radio.  he happily agrees.  ‘Love Potion No. 9’ by the Coasters

comes over the airwaves.  you and Tony both start to sing along and laugh when you

hear  eachother.  you tell Tony how good he sings and he thanks you and does not

tell you how bad you may or may not sound.  Tony mentions that before he started

in food service, he was a musician in Oklahellmouth City.  you recommend that

Tony go back into music, as:>>

 

“A food service worker’s life can be brutal and short these days.”, you say.

 

“Umm…Ok…?”, Tony says.  <<obviously puzzled by your remark>>

 

<<you almost illustrate your point with the loss of Free Dave’s hand or the death of

Reverend Duff, but decide that this probably would not be the best way to let Tony

know that the end of the world is near.  also you really want to tell him that he is

delivering the devourers of all mankind in his meat truck.>>

 

<<Tony pulls into another nondescript suburban restaurant.  he exits the truck,

leaving it running and unloads five boxes of hamburger patties.  you watch Tony

stack the five burger boxes onto his dolly.  the second and third box start to bounce

around like something wants out of them.   the fourth and fifth boxes weigh down

and settle down the active bottom boxes when placed on top.  your conscience yells

at your mouth to open and warn Tony; but fear makes you hesitant.  you wind up

doing nothing.  Tony delivers boxes of monsters to Don’s Daily Diner and you do

nothing.  Tony is back at the truck putting up the dolly and back in the cab with you

before you can think of a way to save the employees and patrons of Don’s Daily

Diner.>>

 

“I love the Oklahellmouth.”, says Tony.  <<he jumps into his ‘i love this country’ speech

and climbs into the cab>>

 

“Oh yeah?  Why’s that man?”, you ask.

 

“Are you kidding girl?!  There is so much opportunity here.  So many ways a person can

make a living and a name for his or her self; if they’ve a mind to do it.  There is as much

opportunity here now as there was when Henry David Thoreau was running around

planting plants and writing words.  I mean that is the most beautiful part of both the East

and West ‘Merican’ way of life.  A tradition that we started here in the Oklahellmouth.  I

mean we are connected to the dream sister!”, says Tony.  

 

<<Tony’s optimism has filled the cab of the truck like cigarette smoke.  you however

are not smoothly breathing it in; no you choke on that optimism Finnegan>>

 

“Yeah…I guess you are right man.  I dunno.  I feel about as connected to the

Oklahellmouth as one of those dust balls blowing down the cracked and broken road.”,

you say.

 

<<this time your sadness does not come across to Tony as sexual desperation.  this

time your pity party signals negative vibes and bad mojo.  Tony debates whether to

change the subject or just throw your sad ass out of the truck>>

 

“Sooooo…uh, man, Don’s Daily sure was packed today.  I’d hate to be waiting on a table in

there”, says Tony.

 

<<you take Tony’s hint to cheer up or walk it off>>

 

“Oh yeah.  I hate waiting for food.  I can cook it better and faster than any restaurant I’ve

been to.  So waiting and watching fools attempt to meet my nutritional needs is beyond

frustrating.”, you say.

 

“Wow sister.  You are harsh.”, says Tony.

 

“I have just been a hands on manager way too long.  I also hate waiting in line for

gasoline.”, you say.

 

“Ho man, me too!  I have come close to committing violence at the gas pump on several

occasions.”, admits Tony the meat truck driver.

 

<<in an attempt to start an uncomfortable line of conversation (which any

conversation that includes sentient ground beef is bound to be), you decide to pitch

Tony your idea of the pee pee mobile>>

 

“And when you run out of gas waiting in line to buy more gas…”, you start.

 

“It has happened more than once with these fuel shortages.”, Tony agrees.

 

<<you both make fists and punch into your opposing palms.  you then smile and

pound eachother’s fists in a show of solidarity>>

 

“It is almost as bad as having to wait in line to pee.”, you say.

 

“It’s gotta be worse for women on that one.  I mean guys can go just about anywhere.”,

says Tony the meat tuck driver.  <<he flips on his turn signal and changes lanes>>

 

“Yeah, unless you’re on the road and stuck in traffic.”, you say.

 

“That is true.  I have had several emergencies there.”, agrees Tony.

 

“Wouldn’t it be great if they built a vehicle that ran off of urine?”, you ask.

 

“Huh?”, says Tony.  <<he swerves in his lane a bit>>

 

“I mean you could kill two birds with one stone.  Fill the tank and empty the bladder.”,

you say.  

 

<<Tony gives you a sideways look and then stares out at the road before him in

silence for a moment.  then he breaks into a wide grin and laughs>>

 

“You sure do think outside of the box Finnegan.  Piss Mobile.  You crack me up sister.”, says Tony.

 

<<Tony even holds up a hand for you to high five him with.  you reach across the

space between the seats with your leather jacketed arm and slap the palm of his

hand with your own.  this show of solidarity is all the encouragement you need to

dive head first into the next sphere of your conversation>>

 

“So, umm Tony, have you noticed anything unusual about your deliveries lately?”, you

ask.

 

<<your attempt to keep the panic out of your voice and sound casual is decent

enough to keep Tony from sensing danger>>

 

“Unusual?  No, why?”, says Tony.  <<again puzzled by your words>>

 

<<Tony expertly maneuvers the delivery truck off of the highway and through the

busy afternoon traffic of the over crowded Oklahellmouth City streets.  before you

can figure out what words to throw at Tony to disrupt his distribution of killer

quarter pounders; Tony pulls up to a restaurant very much like all of the other

restaurants that you two have been stopping by on the way here to OKHMC>>

 

“Ok, end of the line my friend.  Thanks for the interesting conversation and for snoring

me through the night.”, Tony says.

 

<<you look at Tony and your face conveys confusion.  you know it is confusion on

what to say.  Tony thinks it is confusion on where to go>>

 

“This is it.  My last stop anywhere near Normal Towne.  There is a rail station waiting

area over behind that Mexican food truck across the street.”, Tony adds.

 

<<Tony turns in the driver’s seat and looks at you expectantly for some words of

goodbye and perhaps for some thanks for the ride; but instead you open your

talking hole and the following words come pouring out,>>

“Tony, I don’t know what other way to put this but, Ok look, until a few days ago I was

the kitchen manager at a restaurant down in Normal Towne.  The Bucket o’ Blood.  We

just started ordering meat from Dump Meat Co. last week through this guy Rikki Torch,

and well the meat ate our janitor.”, you say.

 

<<you are interrupted by Tony>>

 

“Oh yeah I know Torch.  Annoying little salesman.  He’s one of the office people who

vanished the other day.  Wait.  What did you just say?  The meat what?!”, says Tony.

 

“I said the meat ate the Janitor, the Mostly High Reverend Duff, and then it attacked me

and the Dishwasher.  Oh and it ate Free Dave’s hand.  We fought it off.  I boiled the

monster in the fryer.  We thought it was over after I killed it; but later that day the

hamburgers started eating the customers and the steaks turned into a raging bull that

apparently brought the entire restaurant crumbling down and turned my boss, already a

world class ass, into a demonic hell beast with multiple arms and swinging udders.”, you

clarify.

 

<<you shudder at the mention if those udders.  you pause for breath and await

some sort of horrified reaction or amazement at your tale from Tony.  but Tony just

turns away from you and climbs out of the cab of the truck.  he reaches behind the

drivers seat and removes something lodged back there.  he closes the driver’s door

and walks around to the passenger door and opens it.  he points a tire iron at you

and says,>>

 

“Woman, get the fuck out of my truck!”, says Tony the meat guy.

 

<<you quickly gather yourself up and climb quickly out of the truck.  you have a

strong dislike of being beaten with metal tools.  Tony shuts the passenger door and

shakes his head in the negative when he looks at you standing open mouthed next

to the truck.  Tony walks to the back of the truck and goes back to work as if you

weren’t there.  you magically pull another pint if alcohol out of thin air and take a

swig of the rot gut booze and try to think of what to do next>>

 

<<enough of your drunken follows for a moment Finnegan.  i want to travel back to

travel back and see what happened to Dasha after you and Hopskotch left her and

the others back at the Battle of the Football ‘Merican’ Style!!! Stadium.  shall we?>>

 

Sure, lets.

 

<<when we last visited out hero Dasha, she was selecting a group of Normal Towne

citizens to take from Star and Free Dave’s “army”, and was preparing to lead a

scouting expedition to Oklahellmouth City.  Dasha’s team was to search for missing

family and to warn as much of Oklahellmouth City as they could of the impending

doom from the south.  do not take it from me Finnegan, take it from a random joe>>    

 

 

 

 

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