the Buck chronicles pt 3
“Dearest Papa.” There was a young girl on TV. She was Russian, or at least she was supposed to be and she was leaning down at the side of a grizzled man with a big furry hat.
“Svetlana.” The man replied. Then he coughed. A bottle of Vodka was visible in the foreground, though it was in a bucket of ice.
“Oh Papa.” The girl replied.
Joe turned off the TV. He got up off the sofa and went outside for a cigarette. He’d popped some mescaline tablets earlier that day and he was seeing some shit, but he was fairly sure that the miniature polar bear that was reading the New York Times on his porch was real. “Hey.” Joe said. “This isn’t a library.” The bear sighed and turned the page.
“Rawwr!!” It said.
Joe didn’t have any matches so he bummed a light off the Polar Bear, but the matches the polar bear had we’re actually rusty nails, so Joe went inside and found his Bic lighter. When he came back outside he was surprised to see that the polar bear was gone.
“Hey,” Joe asked Grimace the McDonalds mascot who was lying in a hammock and throwing giant space darts at the moon. “Where’d that polar bear go?” Then Joe arched his eyebrows in confusion. “Where’d that hammock come from?”
“Hey…” Grimace said. He put on a pair of wrap around sunglasses and lit his own cigarette. “I, uh…yeah I don’t know man.”
Joe shook his head. “Well if…you see him…” Joe paused unsure of what was coming out of his mouth, dazed and glossed over. “Just tell him…” Joe stopped talking, looking straight forward.
Grimace remained silent, listening. “Yeah?” He finally asked. “Tell him what?”
Joe snapped out of his daydream. “Just tell him …I dunno… forget it…” He said finally, almost whispering the last part. “I’m going inside.”
Buck stared glassy eyed at the crowd of kids huddled beneath his towering form. Buck was always big, strapping, muscular, steady as a rock, but around children his enormity seemed to be multiplied by thousands and thousands. Buck strutted across the floor, stopped and pivoted, turning towards the group.
“Gentleman I am hung-over as fuck.” He said. “If this information leaves this class I will kill the rat and his family. I do not care. You wanna test that out, be my guest.”
Buck cracked his neck. “Today we will be playing ‘shut the fuck up’.” He said. “It’s a very simple game. All you have to do is shut the fuck up. Whoever doesn’t shut the fuck up, and by that I mean speaking, whispering, mumbling or murmuring , loses. If you lose I will sink you like a battleship, I swear to Christ.”
Buck made a great step towards the boys who were now in a straight line, standing stiffly.
“Rawipson, punch Derwangler in the heart.” Buck screamed, getting in Rawipson’s, a popular athletic boy, face.
“Sir, yes sir.” Rawipson said and he rushed towards Derwangler, taking three great steps and unleashing a furious combo of punches aimed directly at the heart.
“Very good.” Buck screamed. He blew his whistle. “When I blow this whistle you will all commence the game. When I blow this whistle again the game is over. Derwangler get me a beer.” Buck blew the whistle
Derwangler stumbled to his feet, clutching at his bruised chest and opened the blue cooler hidden behind the stands. “What kind sir?”
“Oh shit son,” Buck yelled. “Derwangler, you just lost the game. Now you have to climb up on top of the school and hurl yourself off.”
Derwangler looked shaken, scared out of his mind. Buck took the beer from his hand and cracked it, drawing a nice cool sip. “Ahhh…” he said. “Cancel that order Derwangler. I’m in a good mood now.” He took another sip. “New punishment; Derwangler Punch yourself in the face. On the whistle. Go!” Buck blew the whistle and Derwangler drove his knobby fist into his own eye socket.
“Ok, now sit down and shut the fuck up.”
Buck sat down and put his little stereo on next to him, pumping out some mellow grooves. He sat in a folding chair and nursed his beer for the entire period.
Joe is sitting in a blue Sedan as his friend Marc, tall, shaggy blonde hair, narrow almost Asian eyes, drives too fast down the sunny freeway. Marcs nose was crusted slightly with a dusting of dried blood and his cracked lips had a messily rolled joint pressed between them. His aviator sunglasses are perched at a slightly tilted angle, almost hanging off. He lights the joint and turns the CD player to Don’t Stop by Erasure.
“Have you ever thought about killing somebody?” Marc asks. He coughs as a puff of yellow smoke curls out under his lips.
Joe takes the joint and shakes his head. “No…” he says. “Like…not…not really.”
Marc smiles and nods. “Dude, some chick was murdered the other day over in like…like somewhere near here.”
Joe blinks. “No way dude.” He says flatly.
“Somebody chopped some chicks head off.”
Joe passes the joint. “Woah.” He says quietly, eyes half closed.
“Chopped it, like…right the fuck clean off, dude.”
Joe doesn’t say anything for a while, just watches the telephone poles going by, counting them, losing track and then counting them backwards starting from ten, confusing himself. “Why?” He asks finally, his voice low and disinterested.
Marc shrugs. “Who knows?” Marc switches to the next song on the CD, a mix, and it’s some Swedish techno shit, or possibly Dutch Rockabilly. “They found her head tied by like…her hair?” He pauses. “She was like in a tree. Her head I mean.”
Joe nodded slowly. “What about the body?”
Marc stubs out the joint haphazardly placing it in the ashtray. “Body?” He asks, squinting. “What…body?”
Joe swallows. “The girl.”
Marc laughs. “Oh yeah.” He says a little too fast and a little too loud. “Her body was in her bed and like…I guess who ever chopped her head off, like dressed the body in different clothes.”
Joe watched a balloon float over the tree’s slowly drifting up in a side to side swing pattern. “What kind of clothes?”
“Uhh…” Marc says. “Like…a dress…like a GAP Sweater…or a business suit and maybe…a tie.” He barely manages to get this last word out, struggling with something, the concept of perhaps a tie, or dressing in general.
Joe nods silently. He lights another joint, this one tightly rolled and blue.
“Her eyes may have been gone too. Drilled out…or maybe it was her shoes that they couldn’t find…or maybe her eyes were…clawed out.” Marc says.
“Shits fucked.” Joe finally says.
“Yeah.” Marc nods.
Buck sits on his stool, watching the television above the bar.
…On the news they report on a ring of drug smugglers who were caught trying to sacrifice a small child to gain protection from cops. All fifty states have ratified a bill that will make it illegal to ride an ostrich through a funeral ceremony. A woman in New Jersey just gave birth to ten children, three of which were born with no eyes, two with severe mental retardation, and two more are conjoined at the chest. An outbreak of what scientists are calling ‘peanut flu’ has broken out in Canada. Schools across the country have closed down and more than 200 people have been killed….
One day in the city, Joe had been walking in the city. He had hitch hiked there and he had woken in the bedroom of Filipino hockey player, fully clothed with a necklace of donkey bones hanging on his aching neck. He had five thousand dollars in his left shoe. He had been walking for about three hours when he decided he should probably find a way back home.
“Hey.” Joe said to an elderly man who was sitting on a park bench, sipping a cup of Lipton Raspberry ice tea. “Like, where does a bus stop around here?”
“A bus?” the man said. He had a heavy Japanese accent. “What sort of bus are you looking for? Greyhound, city bus or school bus?”
Joe lit a cigarette and sat down next to the man. He offered a cigarette to the man but he declined pointing to his front pocket indicating he had his own pack.
“I dunno, a greyhound I guess.”
“Around corner that way,” The Japanese man said, “then go left at Carls jr. and look right. There will be small building that says ‘Greyhound’. Go in there.”
Joe nodded his head. “Yeah, theres no way I’d be able to make it there. I’ll give you, like the rest of my pack of cigarettes if you guide me there.”
The old man frowned. “No way, that stupid.” He said. “You huge idiot. Find your own way.”
Joe scowled and was a little offended, but more just confused.
“Where you want go anyway?” The Asian man said. “Why you take bus, why not walk?”
“I don’t wanna walk all the way to my house.” Joe said, defensively.
“Why, where you live? You live in Russia? You walk, you American, you fat.” The Asian man pointed at Joe with a long wrinkled figure “When I was your age, this country dropped drop nuclear bomb on my city. Kill everyone. Then the next day they do it again in Nagasaki and kill what is left of my family, I live rest of life alone except for fat wife who die, killed by ninja.” The man shook his powerful, yet withered fist. “She killed by ninja in 1987. What the fuck is ninja doing in my house in Hiroshima suburb in 1987? My life suck, you walk home, you lazy.”
Joe stumbled away reeling from the encounter. He found his aviator sunglasses in his pants pocket. He put them on. He stopped after a half hour had passed with little success in locating a bus that could deliver him home. He was sitting with a puzzled expression on the bottom edge of a gray office building. The old asian man from the park bench passed by with a Japanese woman, young, attractive sailor uniform with a picture of a bizarre robot holding a samurai sword on the front, underscored with Japanese letters.
“You still lost.” The Man yelled, pointing at Joe when he spied him from across the street. “Where you live?”
Joe looked at him and shouted back. “Lokata.”
“Lokata right over the hill, fifty feet from Starbucks.” The man said. “Why you so dumb? What part of Lokata you from?”
Joe scratched his head. “Near the highway, right next to the Fleetwood Plaza.”
The Japanese man gave him a disapproving glare. “That five minutes away, how you get lost five minute walking distance from own home?” The man spoke in a stop, go pattern loudly pronouncing every word very clearly.
Joe tried to ignore the old man but was kinda pissed off and just turned to trudge up the hill.
“Why you walking around in middle of day in city. You no have job, you lazy.”
Joe stopped in at the small convenience store in the strip mall. He bought a large doctor pepper and immediately opened and drank the entire thing in one long gulping session right in front of the worried looking cashier. He finished it and threw it away as he walked out the door. When he got home he heated up a frozen taco and watched Con Air. He thought it was a really good movie.