Wednesday, July 25, 2012

An Offer from a Snake

Every single word written here is an extraordinary exaggeration of events that have played out in my head... based on the stories I have heard from people I have met in jail or while I was dealing with my own stupidity and carelessness, resulting from my own addiction to alcohol and drugs. This is in no way a glamorization of drug use, but a tool to lend some humanity to a subculture that has been demonized and written off as a hopeless and worthless part of our human family. I do not condone or promote any of the behavior or activities herein.

Chapter Twelve

              I finished up my visit with Bull and his beasts at the back of the property, and watched him rolling around with the cats for about half an hour.  I watched a car pull up in the far driveway at the farmhouse and whistled with my tongue through my bottom teeth.  I began my trek through the mud and cut wood, glancing back to see Bull responding to my whistle by batting his cats away and back into the darkness of the property, shagging and scruffling the nape of their necks and their hindquarters as he bade them farewell.  The last cat dragged the carcass of the neighbor’s dog along with him.  Bull began to jog through the night towards my position.  I halted and watched the visitors exit their car.

            Bull walked up next to me and slapped me on the back.  “How about that shit?  You’re the only person to see those cats since the motherfucker who gave them to me when they were kittens!”  Bull wasn’t panting or sweating, even though he had just sprint a couple of hundred yards.

            “Yeah boss... what the fuck?  You have some serious wildcats roaming around your property.  Those cats took down the neighbor’s dog...  and ate that fucking motherfucker… and then you just walked out and played with them!!??”  I stopped and looked at his proud eyes and expectant stare.  “I will never cease to be fucking amazed with you, brother… I mean, holy shit… WHO ELSE SEES THAT KIND OF SHIT?”

            “Nobody…” Bull stated, matter-of-factly and laughed loudly.  “What’s going on at the house?”  He cast his eyes in the same direction I was staring.

            “Well, that Volkswagen just pulled in…  Dayna is up there with Milly and Bacardi McBoozey, and the house is cleaned-up except for a box of some pipes that I left in front of the wood-burner.  Who the fuck is driving that V.W.?”
            “I have NO idea.  I suppose we should we find out, huh?”
            “Yeah… I guess so… but, boss… I’m fucking beat.”  I slumped down and trudged towards the house.  I was quietly accepting the idea that most of what I heard about Bull was true, or at least grounded in some form of the truth.  Bull was meandering close beside me, and I could see from the corner of my eye that he was grinning and periodically looking in my direction.  He reached in his shirt pocket and handed me a glass pipe. He stopped in front of me and opened his flannel jacket to block the breeze.  I ducked inside of his makeshift shield and lit my flame under the pipe and inhaled deeply.  Bull smelled like mud.  I smiled to myself as the buzz fluttered into my brain.

            “Yeah… those are my cats.”  Bull was looking back over his shoulder as I pulled away from his open shirt.  I instinctively looked back over mine to make sure that those cats weren’t on our path... but recognized the gesture as futile and gave up. 

            “Fuckin’ right… I saw something about somebody getting mauled on Discovery Channel who was trying to keep pet a cat like that in their house.  You’re something else, Bull.  I haven’t figured out what you are yet… but you’re something else.”  I shook my head and pushed him as hard as I could mid-stride.  He held his ground and grabbed my wrists.

            “EEEEE Zay” he laughed and threw my wrists down.  We were coming up to the house now, and we both looked at each other waiting for each other to decide who would go first.  I took my opportunity to get ahead of him and walked up the back stairs of the house.  Bull pulled my foot as I took the last step, and my boot came off.  I tumbled and spilled through the door into the kitchen.  I rolled over and caught the boot as Bull threw it to me.  Mud from the boot sprayed my face and arms as I sat shaking my head, red-faced as the group congregating at the round table stood up to witness the ruckus. 

            “Oops… sorry man.”  Bull laughed and stepped over me as I pulled the boot back on and laced it tightly.  I wiped my face and eyes clean of the mud and filth from outside and thought,  that won’t happen again.  “False alarm everybody…  my friend saw a neighbor out there looking for his dog.  I don’t think he’ll be shining flashlights around the property anymore... at least not looking for his dog, right?”  He looked back to me, winked and flashed a fierce grin.

            “No, boss… he won’t be looking for his dog anymore.  I hope everybody realizes that this man is a fucking maniac of mythic proportions…” I started laughing and got to my feet.  “You fucking put your life into his hands if you wander out into the dark around here.”

            “Shit, brother… you put your life into my hands when you sit at this fucking table…  speaking of which…”  I walked up to Bull at the round-table.  Dayna, Milly, and Bacardi were keeping company with a particularly faded Roxy and a brawny looking guy with an opened case of Pabst sitting prominently in front of him.  “I know who this bitch is…  so, tell me," Bull inquired of the newest guest, "who the hell are you, and why do you have your beer on my grandfather’s table?”

            Roxy was fumbling with something in her lap that looked like teeth and was quick to push her dentures back into her mouth. “Take it easy, Bull… this is Snake," she said once she situated her mouthpiece.  "He’s with me.”
            “I wasn't talking to you Roxy, and that ain't what I asked, was it? What are YOU doing here?”  Bull took his seat at the head of the table and eyeballed Roxy deeply, then turned his attention to her friend.  I pulled a milk crate up and sat next to him.
            Roxy rolled an opened can of Pabst can around in her hands.  “I think you guys have something in common to talk about.  It’ll benefit everybody.”
            “Benefit everybody…  yeah.  Soooooo… Snake, is it?  Can you talk, or are you just being fucking rude in my house?”
            “Snake, yeah, and if that doesn’t work you can call me Butch” the newcomer offered.
            Bull just nodded at him and glared before turning his attention back to Roxy.
            “Roxy… how’s Beecher anyways?” Bull held his pack of cigarettes to his mouth and pulled one out with his lips.  His demeanor had changed and I was feeling anxious watching him draw information out of our guests.  He lit his smoke, dropped the lighter onto the table and folded his hands in front of him.
            “Beecher didn’t make it, Bull.  He’s dead.  I guess he jammed too much into his veins before he pulled up here that day.  His heart stopped before I got him to the hospital.”
            “You don’t say?” Bull shook his head, trying to look regretful.  “Butch... or Snake... or whatever... knowing that the last boy that followed Roxy here is now… ashes I suppose… what could you possibly hope to get out of following her here yourself?”
            “I’m no banger, man.”  Snake replied.  "I don't do needles."
            “Beecher wasn’t either before he met Roxy.”  Bull raised his right hand and pointed a finger at Roxy.  Roxy put her beer on the table and held her hand to her mouth and spit her dentures into her hand.
           “That’s not fair…” Roxy was turning red and twirling her fake teeth in her hands.  “I’m not sure that you didn’t have something to do with that you old fucking warlock…”
            “Careful, Roxy…  I was with you and this guy,” Bull pulled his thumb in my direction, “I had nothing to do with what Beecher was doing before he showed up.”  Bull leaned over to me and whispered, “Warlock?”
            “Wizard… same thing, boss. But it's kind of a big word for Roxy to be slinging,”  I smiled and whispered back.
            “Oh,” Bull whispered.
            “Anyhow… what the fuck do you have for me… um… Butch?  Is it?”  Bull focused on our new associate.
            “Snake,”  He replied.
            “Whatever Snake... Butch is too fucking hillbilly for even my standards.”  Bull laughed in spite of himself.  Roxy rolled her eyes and looked at her new boyfriend curiously.
            “Well, I have a tank of anhydrous in the car for you… I mean, if you can use it.”  Snake reached for his beer and pulled deeply from its contents.  The room became silent with the gravity of the offer.  He crushed the can when he finished drinking and dropped it on the floor.
            Bull melodramatically looked under the table to see where the beer can landed at Snake's feet.  “I think you better give me one of those beers before we talk about that, Snake.”  Bull replied.  Snake’s hand pulled a can from the case and rolled it across the table towards Bull.  Bull snatched it up and handed it to me.  “Here, you take that foamy mess… Snake, hand me a fucking beer if you wanna talk.”  Bull glared at Roxy.  She reached under the table and picked up the empty, crushed can.

            "Don't do that again you fucking idiot..." Roxy told him.

            Snake pulled another Pabst from the cardboard case and stood up to reach across the table to hand it to Bull.  I held my hand out from my body and cracked my beer at the same time Bull cracked his.  Foam ran out the can and over my hands.  I shook my head and Roxy laughed.  Before my lips met the can Bull had finished his beer and slammed the empty can on the table. 

            “How about another one… or… two…” Bull looked at me as I was slamming what was left of my beer.  “ And Snake... get that fucking case of beer off of my grandfather's table.”

This work is the intellectual property of Jerome J. Panozzo

No comments:

Post a Comment