Son of a Bitch
• • •
“No sir,” Cody says, plopping down on the couch without a hat on his head. “The Hut’s strictly a meeting place. Being this off-grid is against the law; no need for any unlicensed weapons charges if we get caught, you understand?”
“I do,” understands Jonathan Knox. He plops down on the couch opposite Cody, though his plop is more of a plummet. The trusty throbbing came back to his foot just about twenty, maybe twenty-seven seconds after he got up on his feet following the shootout at the Doe household; at this point it’s pulsating so bad he feels the pain moving shit around beneath his kneecap. The shitting cut might even be droolin’ again, he doesn’t know. Only way to tell for sure would be to unwrap the ugly son of a bugger, and there’s no way in hell Jonathan Knox is trying to see what his gashed foot looks like after the badstorm that’s been his life ever since he found himself in Bionic Wuester.
“Hm yourself. You looked like you were going to speak, then you just kind of spaced out on me.”
“Oh, sorry about that.” He makes to push the glasses back into position, but they can’t slide down my nose.’ He looks and feels like a fool. “Folks’ve been pointing that out lately.”
“Huh. Very well.”
Very well indeed.
The pair of them sit in relative silence for a few. Then, “So why were you swimming in the lake in the dead of night?”
Jonathan Knox chuffs. “You really want to know, Cody? I’ll tell you if you really want to know, but I’m almost certain you’re not going to believe me.”
A shrug. “I’d be fine either way, tell you the truth. I am only trying to start some dialogue.”
“I may as well just spill it,” spills Jonathan Knox. “So, a long time ago – I’m talking years, possibly even decades – I woke up strapped to a vertical table in a prison room.”
Cody’s eyebrows jolt up his forehead.
“My body was utterly riddled with needles and tubes. There was this guy, this reverend, this ancient old preacherman who called himself Neil Campbell. He–”
A barrage of hustling footsteps approaches The Hut. A ‘man with a dirty hairless face dressed in stained denim pants and a dusty black hoody barges through the front door like a bull and crashes next to Jonathan Knox on the couch nearest the door. His chest rises in heaves and hos as his breath slowly returns to him. He turns to Cody.
“Cody,” he says, “I got some fuckin’ news f’r you!”
No beats skipped, “Out with it, then.”
“The Compound ‘neath Atacama, Cody. TICC’s Wuester crib, whole thing’s been destroyed!”
“You fucking heard me, Cody, and don’t pretend you didn’t! Some hard to kill son of a bitch infiltrated the shit and blew it all to hell, killed everybody off but himself!”
Gaping, Cody turns to Jonathan Knox, then quickly back to Sylvester. “That… this is incredible! It’s the start of a revolution, ‘Vester!”
“Not quite, Cody,” Sylvester bemoans. “The TICC boys from Bur City are already on the case, rumor is they already started construction on the new one. It should be back up and running by the end of next week.”
Cody spits on the floor, right on the Goddamn floor. “Those bastards… all right, but what about the guy who did it? Who is he?”
Jonathan Knox feels his bowels filling with turtles, trillions of slimy turtles, and they all crave freedom from their shell.
“We could find him, get him on our side, we could… why are you shaking your head, ‘Vester?”
“‘E’s good as dead, Cody. The Wu Star is involved. ‘Ccordin’a Cletus’s uncle, the Wu Star Boss sent The Scarlet ‘Slinger after him. I’d be surprised if he isn’t dead already.”
“Fuck the ‘Slinger, we can still try! What’s the man’s name, ‘Vester? Out with it!”
“It’s you, Cody.” ‘Vester blows him away.
Just kidding. ‘Vester smiles wide, all brown teeth and gaps. “Damn right. According to Cletus’s uncle, the guy calls himself Jonathan Knox.”
Cody and Jonathan Knox give each other more than a quick glance this time around.
“We don’t have a photo of him yet, Cletus is working on that, but that’s his name. Jonathan Knox. Apparently they showed him on the news earlier on in the day, but uh, I can’t say I was around to catch it.”
The two continue to hold their stare. Sylvester is beginning to notice.
“Uhm, so the reason I wanted to tell you, Cody, is because I know how bad you want to get in with the Wu Star gang.”
Cody turns away from Jonathan Knox and shoots poisoned daggers at Sylvester.
“What? I figure we would work it together: you, me, Cletus, and uh, and this boi here,” nodding sideways to Jonathan Knox. “Cletus’s uncle at the Wu Star’ll keep feeding us information on the mark, we could all hunt the son of a bitch down, kill his ass, and you could turn in the body. They’d have to let you into their little club for that, Cody. Knox is the most wanted ‘man in all of Wuester. Maybe even all of America.”
Snapping turtles, not just regular turtles. Big, miserable old alligator snapping turtles swimmin’ ‘round in Jonathan Knox’s gut.
“So uh… who is this boi, Cody?” Sylvester has yet to actually face Jonathan Knox. I think it’s a disrespect thing, but I am not one hundred on it. “You gonna introduce us or what?”
“This boi here, uh… this is…” He looks to Jonathan Knox for something. Anything. “This is, eh…”
“Nick,” Jonathan Knox spills, offering a hand. “Nick Belane. Good to meet you, Sylvester.”
Sylvester turns his entire body to face Jonathan Knox and shake his hand. “Likewise, Bee-lane. Pardon my curiosity – it’s been known to get the best of cats like me – but how’d you and Cody come to know one another? I ain’t never seen you before, pal, and Cody’s not one to make friends.”
“Well I’m a… private detective,” Jonathan Knox says, letting the snappers waltz out through his windpipe. “I’m, uh… I’m not from Wuester, but I am an off-gridder, like the two of you. I ran into Cody in the woods not one hour ago, he saw how my foot was fucked so he brought me out here to rest up under a roof.”
“I was wondering about that, too,” Sylvester says, gesturing to the cloth boot. “What happened there?”
Cody is watching all this like a child at a magic show who thinks the woman’s really being sawed in half.
“I was moving through the woods pursuing a lead on a case and… I guess I wasn’t looking where I was going. Got ganked by a piece of broken glass or something. I, uh… I sort of broke into someone’s cabin and stole the cloth, wrapped myself up, then went on my way. I didn’t want to get caught, you know?”
[to be recont’d]
This has been the middle of the sixth subchapter of the second 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
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