Hanly, full of fury, threw in his lot with the brigands despite the odds. After the oaths were sworn out proper, I got him aside and asked what had pushed him over the edge. After all, at one time he had led the dissenters who said that opposing Earl Haethelmar was akin to self-murder.
“Well,” he said, wiping his mouth, “the thing that done it was the snow. I passed on the edge of his land, freezing and hungry. I saw his face in the window, fat and sleek, watching me for some offense, eager as a dog to catch me.”
Mehmet was astounded how lax Gatwick was once he had passed through the airport security. As he’d been trained, everything he needed was available in the duty-free shop.
For propellant, he’d purchased five three-ounce cans of a pungent men’s cologne. The materials from the lithium-ion battery would ignite once the condom of water burst over them, the chemicals’ reaction astonishingly explosive.
He’d assembled the bombs in the family restroom, using the diaper station for a workbench.
Mehmet smiled. By far his favorite part had been his choice of shrapnel, the sawn-off spikes from the crowns of miniature Statues of Liberty.
Jeffus took me and Petey-pie down the kitchen stairs into a basement that smelled like wet cardboard. Petey-pie was acting smartass like he does when he gets nervous.
“You ain’t gonna show us your dick room, are you Jeffus?” he said. “Your Temple of Terrible Porns?”
“Fuck you, PP,” said Jeffus. “You don’t want to see this shit, go home to your drunk mommy.”
Jeffus flicked on a light. The room looked like it hadn’t even been stepped in since the 70s. Gold carpet, warped wood paneling, a beat-up tiki bar in the corner. Petey-pie went over and picked up a bottle, popped the cap and swigged it. “Cat piss! Or, as it’s commonly known, Cutty Sark.”
He tried to hand me the bottle, but I was watching Jeffus unlock a metal cabinet in the corner. He got it open and flung the door wide. He bent to grab something, turned around and held out a Jap flag, waving it in front of him like a matador.
“Holy shit!” I said. “Is that real?”
Jeffus nodded. “Pops was on Okinawa. One time he got drunk and told me how he killed a Jap come into his foxhole by sticking his finger into his eye until he poked his brains out.”
“That’s bullshit!” yelled Petey-pie. “Impossible!”
“Oh yeah, smartass? How do you explain this?” He reached to the high shelf and took out the skull.
“Is that real?” I asked.
Jeffus nodded. “Pops cut the Jap’s head off with a Kabar. Then he paid a cook to boil off the flesh. He carved the scrollwork on the ship home.” Jeffus held it out at arm’s length like the guy in the play. “His most valuable possession.”
Moments can be burned into your mind forever.
You ever see that wall in Hiroshima, the one with the shadows of the people standing there when they got vaporized?
It’s like that.
When the bomb went off, it was like everything turned slow motion.
What had been a peaceful market was transformed into something hellish and surreal.
No fire, just people blown asunder.
Those who had lost something like a foot or arm walked around, looking everywhere for their missing pieces.
One little girl found she was still holding her daddy’s hand, but her daddy was gone, blown in half.
Oh, he was a card. You might say that jokes were his mother tongue. He couldn’t see a ladies hat without donning it an prancing about, pretending to drink tea with his pinky out. He was always hilarious.
That’s what must’ve happened. He slipped away freshen up and came upon Lord Hastings’ diving apparatus. I imagine he thought he’d have a lark by putting on all that gear and walking slowly thorough the parlor like it was the bottom of the sea. What fun!
When we found him hours later his face was a lovely shade of cerulean, poor dear.
Look, she said she wanted to. It’s not like I made her. Things just got out of hand, that’s all.
Maybe I handled it bad. Sure. I admit it. I ain’t perfect. I never meant to hurt her. Honest. I just wanted her to quit hollering. And then, like I said, it got out of hand.
It was over before I knew it. Seeing her lying there like she was just sleeping made me sad. I had hoped so much this would be perfect. Then she had to go and ruin everything by hollering.
But they won’t never find nothing.