• • •
“It was just there, Clyve! I heard the groanin’ when I came back out!”
Clyve lifts his glass with the triple-shot of Rumplemintz to his lips. Hardly a single drop hits his tongue. Clyve throws the drinking glass as hard as he can at the steps leading up from the dock, misses entirely, then turns on Merium like she was a fifteen-and-a-half-year-old whore with lovely hands.
“You drink my fuckin’ Rumplemintz, Merium?!”
Merium sniffs the air with great effort, then goes through the arduous process of getting back onto her feet.
“You’re damn fuckin’ skippy I did. What you gonna do about it, big boi?”
Going off instinct alone Clyve gropes at his junk, lickin’ his lips like they’re arid as a desert. “You get that flabby ass in’a th’house and I’ll show you what I’m’a do ‘bout it, y’harlot.”
“Fine,” Merium squeals, “you spindly lil’ whore-slaughterin’ son of a bitch lil’ twig, but you better be ready for me.” She grabs him by the collar and puts his ear to her mouth. “It’s a fuckin’ swaump down there.”
“Well I guess I better get drainin’, then,” he snarls right back, and then he’s standing at the bottom of the stairs waiting for Merium to haul her fine self up into their lovely lakeside home, and that’s when it hits him. “Merium, wait!”
“What, sugarcock?” she pants from the third step, sweatin’ like a pig. Poor thing’s all out of energy from hustlin’ down into the basement earlier, every movement is a struggle. “You want this leaky puss’ right here right now?”
“Not at all,” Clyve means to say in his head but says right out loud, probably because of the Rumplemintz. “There’s a half-dead preacherman floatin’ at the foot of our private dock, don’t you reckon we should make a call about that?”
Turning around might tumble her, so Merium nods slowly at her lovely lakeside home. “Yeah, I suppose we should.” She carefully maneuvers back down to the dock and steps aside so Clyve can hop up like the bony little grasshopper he is. “Make it quick, Clyve! Then get your skinny ass into the fuckroom and you wait for what’s comin’a’you!”
Clyve hucks an upped thumb over his shoulder at the top of the steps, then scurries on into their house and makes the call to The Internet Culture Company. They tell him they’ll send a vehicle out right away and Clyve thanks them for their service, as is required, then he holds his breath as he waits for them to hang up. They let Clyve wait a good fifteen and a half seconds before ending the call, and the bony old whore slaughterin’ son of a bitch damn near falls over from the suffocation of it all.
Clyve peeks out the window. Merium’s only halfway up the dock staircase. Good. He’s got some time.
Clyve runs down into the basement and peruses his trophy collection. ‘Bout a quarter-hour later when the ceiling begins to squeak and shift over his head, he seals up the jars and shelves ‘em, then licks his briny lips and hops up to slug one out with his woman of his dreams.
She’s waiting for him at the top of the stairway. Old thing’s standing over a puddle and the puddle stinks, the puddle stinks somethin’ tremendous, and Clyve only gets high off it. He grabs a handful of flab as Merium huffs and puffs, then squeezes to make sure she notices.
“Don’t get too excited yet, Clyvey baby,” she exhales as the sweat pours over her like water melting free of its glacier. “We got another flight’a stairs to go yet!”
“Don’t I know it! ” with another starved squeeze.
The household of Merium and her whore-slaughterin’ son of a bitch Clyve was blueprinted in a way that, in order to climb the stairs towards the fuckroom, one must block the front door. When Clyve is down on his knees at the bottom of the stairwell trying to lift Merium’s left calf – he always starts with the lef’ – so her foot can bend the first step, there’s a knock at the front door.
“Aw for Christ’s sakes,” Merium bellows, feeling more light-headed than ever. “Who’s at our house so late in the night?! ”
“I do not know, Merium,” as Clyvey Babey stands up out of the haze emanating from the fold between Merium’s belly and her waist, “but I’ll bet a bottle’a’Mintz it’s The Internet Culture Company come to take our priestly boy to the Compound.”
“Well go ‘head’n’answer it, then!”
“I cain’t, Merium!” he shouts her, back pressed to the wall. “You’re blockin’ the Goddamn door! ”
Every movement a struggle in appearance and experience, Merium sashays away from the stairs so Clyve can answer the door. Standing there on their porch shrouded in darkness is a ‘man wearing stained denim pants and a dusty black hoodie. Both his hands are tucked into the big center pocket. The hood is pulled way over his head.
“You Clyve Nerandum?” asks the dark shape.
“Sure am,” Clyve spits.
“Who is it, honey?!” Merium squeals into his ear.
“I’ll handle it! ” Clyve screams, stripping his throat. He turns back to the ‘man at the door. “Who’r’yew? Y’don’t look like The Internet Culture Company t’me.”
“That’s ‘cause I ain’t,” says the dark ‘man. He unpockets one hand and sticks the barrel of an old-style handgun snugly into Clyve’s forehead. “You’re one whore-slaughterin’ son of a bitch, Clyve Nerandum, and I’m gonna get a fat stack for your head.”
“Mother of a fuck,” Clyve says to the ‘man, as he can’t turn his head. “It’s one’a them Goddamn bounty hunters, Merium.”
“What’re you–” Merium starts to say, then drops it in favor of a scream when the back of Clyve’s head explodes and gray matter paints the bottom third of the staircase fifty shades of gore.
The ‘man – the Goddamn bounty hunter, that is – takes his other hand out of his pocket, revealing a cellular made by none other than The Internet Culture Company. He snaps a picture of Clyve’s dead self, taps the screen a few times, then snaps another picture, this time with the flash on. He then clears his sinuses into his mouth and unloads upon Clyve’s hollow face. Merium keeps on screaming her pretty li–… head off.
“Would you shut your trap?! ” the Goddamn bounty hunter shouts at her. Then, in a voice as sultry as Merium is moist, “Or am I gonna have to shut it for you?”
Merium begins to gnaw at her bottom lip. “The fuckroom’s up there,” as she gestures up towards the fuckroom, “but I ain’t try’n’a climb no stairs, big boi.”
The Goddamn bounty hunter drops his gun and his cellular and advances towards Merium. “Only thing I’m try’n’a climb tonight is you, little girl.”
As the Goddamn bounty hunter is climbing all over Merium Nerandum, a small submersible vehicle rises from the depths of Lake Atacama, breaking the surface just beyond the edge of Merium’s dock. A hatch opens in the top of this submersible vehicle and a pair of identical malleable metal arms with five-fingered hands reach out and start slapping at the water, as though they can’t quite see what they’re grabbing for. Then, one cracks the preacherman upside the head. He spews a mouthful of bloody water. Despite how cold the water is, it burns when it lands back in his actively bleeding wounds. Together the arms wrap around what remains of the preacherman’s form like a boa constrictor around a horrifically mutated fawn and lift him into the submersible vehicle. The hatch closes. The water stills.
About thirteen minutes later, the Goddamn bounty hunter gets tired of climbing and puts a bullet into Merium’s head.
“What the fuck?! ”
One bullet wasn’t enough – ‘man’s big, she’s got a strength about her. He pops three more slugs in her dome and she finally goes down peaceful.
“Cletus,” the Goddamn bounty hunter says into his cellular on his way out the front door. “Job’s done.”
“Yeah, I got the picture. I’m’a send it t’ya in a sec’. You can get the money tonight?”
“Good. Make the run when you get it, then meet me at The Hut.” He looks over his shoulder at the lovely lakeside house and shudders. “And get me an extra gram. I need it.”
This has been the end of the third subchapter of the first chapter of the book Over the River: The Emancipation of Jonathan Knox. Here is everything you need to know about it:
Over the River
The Emancipation of Jonathan Knox
Over the River is the third book in a trilogy called The Fall of the Seven Earths. I’ve also released that trilogy as a single book called The Fall of the Seven Earths. Here’s everything you need to know about it:
The Fall of the Seven Earths
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
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