It was a brisk morning in Muskrat Flats. Coley Blackstone was walking his dog Chubby. The wire haired terrier began to get excitable as they traveled closer to the pedestrian crossing near the Odd Fellows Hall. Coley became slightly distracted as he and Chubby crossed the street. He was fiddling with the Stocks application on his iPhone when Chubby broke away and galloped toward the entry door to the basement banquet facility. Sid Bartleby was there holding the door with one arm and a box of condiments he had just purchased at the Costco in Dana in the other.
"Comon, Chubby, comon boy!" Hearing this caused Coley to look up. He smiled and waved at Sid as he headed for the same door himself.
As he entered the hall, his senses were bathed with warm and inviting stimuli. The colors of the wains cotting, the paintings and photographs soothed his eyes.
Across the room he heard laughter as five of the older members were ball busting with Paul and Donnie, who were caught up in some sort of rehashing of one of their youthful exploits. The older members hung on, living vicariously through their hilarious accounting of getting their car caught in a plywood covered ditch.
Coley felt the warmth. He felt the warmth of the room, he felt the warmth of the people as some waved to him and others shouted out his name. He felt. Something he hadn't done for a very long time ... just feel. Something he had not done at all, for a very long time. The only time he felt anything was when he picked up a drink or drug. Even when he stopped drinking and drugging and welcomed Chubby into his life, he still rarely felt anything except for his affection for his black terrier.
Through an unexpected act of God or nature, whichever you choose to call it, his clandestine dysfunctional lifestyle of being a "homeless" millionaire was exposed. He saw this as the opportunity to get the psychiatric help he needed, and it was working.
He looked over at Sid who was standing over Chubby tempting him with a nice ripe banana.
"Who's the good boy?" He cooed. "Who's the good little boy? Is Chubby a good boy?"
Chubby sat at attention looking up at Sid,
"ruff ... mmph, ruff." He grunted, followed by a little wheeze as the terrier inhaled expectantly. Chubby got really excited when Coley came up and said,
"What's Sid got, Chubby?"
Chubby really perked up now that his master had gotten involved in the begging stalemate. Sid dropped the banana and Chubby caught it, in mid air, taking his prize under the table where Moe Eckstein was sitting chatting on a cell phone.
"Those blueberry muffins smell as enticing as ever, Sid."
"Thanks Coley, Iva just took a batch out of the oven a few minutes ago. Hey, I wanted to talk to you about the next meeting of the board of directors for the Blackstone Foundation, it would be great if you ...." Coley listened to Sid intently.
Moe was listening to the cell phone as Chubby slobbered his banana noisily under the table.
"Sonny Boy, what are you telling me?" He lowered the volume of his voice to a hush.
"Ex-girlfriend or not, she's married ... to your best friend, comon Sonny, you know better than that. What about Miranda, did you think about her. Wait ... I don't want to know. You were probably fantasizing about her while it was happening."
"Well, actually I was thinking about trying to get the two of them together ..."
"Sonny!" Moe Shouted. Others in the room looked in his direction.
"Dad, calm down it was a joke."
"Eh, some joke, you are going to get hurt, you are going to hurt someone. That girl, that vision of loveliness, Miranda, she's the best thing that has happened to you. Am I right, or what?"
"Dad, I wasn't thinking with the right head."
"Damn right you weren't." Moe chided.
"You should have seen the texts that Jerry had sent her, they seem to have an open relationship." Gomer tried to reason.
"Why are you arguing with me? You know you are wrong. That is why you called me ... huh? Well, am I right or WHAT?"
"Yeah, you're right. you're RIGHT! Jesus Christ!"
"He was a Jew, you know, before he went all crazy and shit."
"Comon Sonny Boy. Jenny is a lovely girl. What she and Jerry have between them as far as rules or whatever, that is their shit. You need to think about your own shit. Think about your recovery. Be faithful to Miranda, she's the one, I can feel it, and you KNOW it. I'm not going to tell you what to do, I know Jerry is out of town for a few more days. Just don't get hurt and don't do anything crazy, like smoke that joint in your ashtray."
"I actually got rid of that, I am beyond that, besides I don't want to get arrested for something really stupid, the stuff I get arrested for now, is stupid enough." Gomer became defensive again when his Father started in with,
"Sooooooooooo ..." Gomer took in a deep breath, preparing for more of the same.
"Speaking of Rabbis, Sonny Boy, "Shiva Las Vegas?" - I mean - really! Oy!"
Across town Jenny Smith sat looking through the Sheriff's leather bound writing tablet. The odd, rust colored cursive was no longer shocking to her. The thought that this was written in blood, whose blood, though? His, the vampire's? She found her hand wandering as she tickled her own sides with her long fingernails. Her flesh responded as goose pimples began to erupt where her nails had lightly teased.
She looked at her phone. It had been about 45 minutes since she texted Jerry. Still no response.
"Prick." She thought.
One hundred miles away, his companion from the night before was quietly getting dressed, hoping to sneak out of the room before yet another uncomfortable "morning after" conversation had to take place. She was slipping on her shoe as his phone chimed again. She stopped. Waiting, hoping he wouldn't wake.
He lay there, reeking of alcohol and cigarettes.
"For a guy who didn't smoke, he sure plowed through a good portion of my pack," she thought.
She looked in the mirror, adjusted her hair and the lapels of her business suit, then she looked down at his phone.
"Wake up, Loverboy! Love, Da Wife!" The display read.
"Fucking married, men ... why do I keep doing this?" She asked herself, as she slipped out the door of his room.
Gomer's phone chimed.
"I need to see you again, tonight. Don't feel bad about what happened, it was wonderful."
Gomer sat in a Hot air balloon gondola, in the hangar of his business, The First Step is a Doozy Skydiving School. It was a business that was running itself as his music career began to take off. Why bother closing it? The only condition set by his manager was that he do at least 6 jumps a year. A quota he handily met, last season. Gomer sat in the gondola, re-reading the message. He responded.
"I'd love to see you again. What time?"
Gomer sighed as Sveltie hugged him tightly. He kissed her as her tongue poke playfully into his mouth.
They entered Sheriff Hawthorne's secret room. She sat in the leather chair. Gomer sat in one of the wooden chairs. It looked like she had spent some time in Sheriff Hawthorne's unseen lair, that day. The room was meticulously clean. The cobwebs had been removed, the floor dusted and swept. She left the glasses and the bottle of Absinthe untouched. Unbeknownst to Gomer, she even did a thorough check for more hidden compartments which would yield another one of Hawthorne's treasures under loose floorboards, perhaps, or behind a wall panel.
She leaned back in the chair, lifting her skirt, exposing her thighs. Little wisps of white cotton peeked through the shadows underneath the skirt. Gomer focused his attention on the prize he did not get last night when he only enjoyed her hands and mouth. She leaned back seductively running her hands up an down her legs.
"Read to me." She said as he accepted the book from her. He turned up the oil lamp a little to get more light.
"I can't believe he wrote this in blood." Gomer handled the book carefully as he admired Hawthorne's written words. He cleared his throat and began.
"Still uncomfortable from fantastic events I had witnessed the night before between Astrid and Isabella. I was enjoying some much needed bourbon, in the bar, when my Deputy Sheriff, Waldo Robertson came in and whispered in my ear.
"You gotta see this Sheriff. "
My heart began to pump as Waldo, the only guy I ever met who could out drink me, led me in the direction of the carnival worker's camp which was located in the Flats near the Silver mines. It was about 4:30 in the afternoon. As I approached, I thought nothing would shock me after what I witnessed last night.
What I encountered defied explanation. A circumstance which was happening with increased frequency, these days.
Behind a road wearied coach, I saw a crowd in a large circle. In the middle of the circle was the corpse of a man sprawled out with a large snake, a brownish and beige reptile with dark brown markings - a constrictor, coiled on top of his body.
In the circle was a dwarf, dangling a live muskrat by his tail trying to entice the snake.
"Come, Salazar, I've got a nice rat for your dinner."
The snake followed the dwarf and the rat with his dark serpentine eyes, seeming to not want to move from his perch on top of the dead man.
I asked on of the carnival folk who the man was?
"That's Caesar. He wrestles the Snake. The snake won't let us near him."
The dwarf continued to circle the snake while another of the freaks, one who had reptilian features himself, slowly approach from the opposite direction.
The muskrat hissed and thrashed as the dwarf continued to dangle him in his gloved hand. I feared that the snake would bypass the muskrat and strike at the dwarf, instead. With one graceful move, as the snake coiled and attacked, the dwarf dropped the terrified muskrat and leaped backward.
Salazar the constrictor wrapped himself around the screaming muskrat, snuffing the life out of him quickly. The reptile man quickly tossed a burlap sack over the snake and scooped him up. The crowd moved in to get a closer look at Caesar.
I announced my self as the sheriff and beckoned everyone back. Caesar had a lean muscular build, many tattoos and was missing his front teeth. I turned him over exposing his front. He had a large gash in his abdomen exposing his bowels. Oddly, for such a grisly crime, there was no blood. It was then that I noticed fang marks in his neck. I pulled my knife out, some of the crowd gasped as I sliced his wrist. His body was bone dry, as dry as the silt on which he lay. There was not a drop of blood in sight.
There was a group of six Mexicans who came in close and the started chattering to each other wildly. Crossing themselves, as if God could help them at this point.
"Eets the chupacabra." When he said this word there was more chattering and nodding of heads and sombreros.
Si, Senor, el chupacabra" Then they all began to repeat this nonsensical word.
The crowd began to creep in closer to assess the situation for themselves.
I lost my patience shouting,
"What the fuck is a kookaburra?"
"No senor, Chupacabra. Eet ees a monster, they leeve in the mountains, y suck up you blood. They get the goats and cow. Eets a chupacabra. The vampire. They suck the blood. " Again the crowd of Mexicans was chattering this maddening word. The dwarf and the reptile man continued to tend to the snake, who actually appeared to be protecting the body of his master.
I leaned down and turned Caesar's head, which turned with alarming ease, as his neck had obviously been snapped. I looked at the bite marks on his neck, once more. I reached into my pocket, checked my watch, and took a pull of the bourbon I had in my metal flask. Caesar's girlfriend showed up and began to wail.
I spoke to the manager of the carnival and told him I would like to talk to anyone who may have seen or heard anything. I would be at the Hotel Saloon.
Just then, under a light silky cloak and umbrella, protecting her from the sun was Isabella. She made piercing eye contact with me. The crowd crept back allowing her to pass as Isabella worked her way toward Caesar's corpse. Astrid was following closely. I couldn't linger too long, looking at her embarrassed as I was, having missed our date, that afternoon. She was so beautiful, as was Isabella.
I couldn't help but notice as Isabella bent down to take a closer look at Caesar's neck, the blue and turquoise pendant she wore around her neck on a long chain was nestled seductively in the valley between her enticing breasts. She must have been penetrating my thoughts as her hand reached for the chain and slid down to the pendant. She lightly grazed the firm flesh of her breast with those razor sharp weapons she called fingernails. leaving a visible scratch which disappeared instantly.
"Even under such disturbing circumstances, you just can't help yourself, can you, Sheriff?" It was the most unsettling feeling. I heard her as clearly as if she were speaking to me, but no words were uttered by her mouth.
"Senorita, Isabella, eet ess el Chupacabra. My brother Juan, fought one in
Guadalupe last year."
"It could be the chupacabra, Jorge. Can you boys, take care of Caesar, clean him up? That is if it is okay with the Sheriff?"
I was dumbstruck. All I could say was, yes, go ahead.
I began to walk away, as I heard her voice bathing my mind like the most potent aphrodisiac.
"Astrid and I will meet you in our room. Perhaps we can explain what has happened here and how we can make this situation go away. Don't get too drunk, you will miss all of the fun. After all, we have a surprise for you."
Gomer brought his fingers up to his eyes rubbing them. He put his glasses back on. Looking at Sveltie who was looking very aroused and even more comfortable as she had shed her panties and was giving Gomer flashes of what he desired so much.
"Keep reading, your voice is so sexy." He couldn't keep his mind off of her. He had to have her, but continued to read.
"About an hour later, I was about to knock on the door to Room 10 in the Hotel. Astrid answered the door, nude. My heart leaped again as I walked in. On the bed splayed out in the same sheer outfit she had worn the night before, was Isabella. Between her legs was was a familiar blonde head. Circling that familiar head was a multi-colored swarm of light, as bright as the sun, which illuminated the room. One by one the lights began to penetrate the skin of the blonde on the bed.
Celeste, my favorite girl, turned to me and said,
"Coley, you have to try this, I've never felt so good." As she said this, she began to shudder. One by one the galaxy of stars penetrated her soft, white flesh. She was writhing shamelessly as Isabella pierced Celeste's hand which was massaging her golden breast, with a fingernail. I heard Celeste whimper at the She drew Celeste's hand to her mouth running her tongue along the trickle of blood. Isabella continued to stare at me seductively as Astrid began to remove my clothes."
"Man what a Freak!" Gomer said as he got on his own knees, looking up at Sveltie. She ran her fingers through his hair, smiled and asked,
"Are You going to make me see a galaxy of stars?"
Throwing caution to the wind, once again Gomer and Sveltie succumbed to desires which had been building for some time. It was just that each had refused to acknowledge what was happening to them, to each other. Perhaps it was a phase for both of them, perhaps they could just "stop" and resume their lives.
These are questions, the hard questions they have to ask themselves. Where is this going to lead? Is it just fun and games? These questions will just have to remain unanswered until that one clear headed morning arrives. The morning which will probably lead to one or both of them ...
Running Hard Out of Muskrat Flats.