The Dick of Death
The clanging demon interrupted a valuable experiment I was conducting regarding the ability of to absorb whiskey through the skin. As I sputtered and gasped for air, I determined that the results were inconclusive and grabbed for the receiver. It fell off the hook with a clatter, and I growled loudly enough for the party on the other end to hear me. It also woke the office cat, and Little Richard sauntered over and began to lick the medicinal firewater off my face with gusto. In the battle between my five-o'clock shadow and his sandpaper tongue, I might not even have to shave.
"Got a stiff one for you, Frank." The tinny ghost of the line growled. "Wooburn Plaza. Had to seal off Tombstone Ave. Bastard looks like he was shot out of a cannon. Nothing but a smear."
I growled once for acceptance and hung up.
Wooburn Plaza was the brainchild of a generous artistic grant aimed at the collapse of the architect market, coupled with a kickback scheme that would make Tammany Hall blush. It was art deco through the lens of a speed-freak, a tomorrowland stripped through a wind tunnel full of sharp curves and edges, built by a no-bid contractor to strict union rules. They'd torn down a whole city block of ancient red brick and rebuilt it out of concrete, steel, and the mouldering bodies of stoolies and whores. The mob had treated it as the biggest dumpspot on the planet, and more than one young Turk with more balls than brains, or a moll who thought her tits let her mouth walk away with anything, had ended up taking a walk down Wooburn and staying far longer than they intended.
The smear was along Tombstone Ave, right in front the tomb of Genevieve. I took off my hat and tried not to stare at the half-equestrian figures in marble guarding her final resting place. No one could say they were anatomically accurate, but only because if human males were proportioned that way no bride would live out their honeymoon. I kept my eyes on the words and tried not to feel inadequate standing in their shadow, but stupid tears came anyway. It was what she would have wanted.
Somewhere up above, where the smog damned the angels for sending them to hell, the watchtower bonged.
I smelt Grisworld before I saw or heard him; like a burning camel dipped in rubbing alcohol. He never smoked less than two Pall Malls at a time, unless he was sleeping, when his secretary would come by every hour and change out the one still burning hanging from his lip. I forced myself away from Genevieve's tomb to look at the remains.
A streak of blood and viscera ran the length of the ave, never more than about a foot wide, wider toward the middle and trailing perceptibly along the edges, maybe fifty or sixty feet long. Bits and pieces were scattered here and there with no particular pattern. I bent down and took a closer look at the concrete. Like a lot of Wooburn, it was porous and rough, like pumice. I'd expected the blood to pool, but all along the smear the edges were filled up with meat, skin, and gristle.
"He wasn't shot out of a cannon," I barked at Griswold. He stopped, eyes intense and bloodshot from whatever he was on, cigarettes flaring as he took a double-drag. "The poor bastard was scraped."
To Be Continued
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