No, YOU’RE Fucked Up!


by Michael Saul


I watch the second dead guy grope the first dead guy with his creepy dead hand.  Sick! And this used to be such a nice hideout…


Last week, we found the dead guy #1 in our hideout.  Our hideout, not some dead guy’s, it belongs to US. Me and Lemmy, my Best Friend Forever for as long as I’m using the term BFF.  We started Hideout Project Alpha a few weeks ago, stealing bits and pieces from here and everywhere to construct our crude clubhouse in the woods. Unabomber-light, for us, just right. We used whatever we could find. Splintered wood and chairs from neighbourhood trash day, old carpet from expired garage sales, those nails on the ground at construction sites that drop like joggers at the New York marathon from the pockets of lazy carpenters… we scavenged as good as we got and we got a lot of good stuff.


So Lemmy and Me, we was just having a blast nailing things to other things, just a fun guy-manly-man-stuff activity. I’m 12 and a half man-years-old now, I thought I should get to know the sweet caress of hard manual labor. And as we’re rocking out to the soothing sounds of metal on tree bark, that’s when Lemmy accidentally nailed my shoe to the ground (not through my foot, the empty “you’ll-grow-into-it” space in the toe part) and I started yelling and screaming my head off. Then I stopped. And I thought, “Maybe this could be modern art,” so I unshoed myself and the sneaker stayed to guard our fort and we went home for the night, three shoes between the two of us.


That was fine, pairs of shoes are for boys, not men. But then, the next morning, when we went back to the hideout to nail our “found” dumpster carpet into the soft shoe-dirt, there’s this dead guy bleeding on our welcome mat, right on the doorstep of our hideout. And right on top of Dead Guy #1 is a second dead guy, known to us only as Dead Guy #2. We didn’t know why he was here either. Or why they were a pen-and-pencil set of post-mortem. Maybe the first dead guy was lonely so he asked the second to help him to even out all the death. For balance, symmetry, maybe, who knows, I don’t speak dead-man. Problems, problems…Our brand new fort, christened with a pair of corpses. We’ll never be able to get the smell out. There goes the resale value, right down the toilet we forgot to build (it’s a lot of work to dig that big a hole). At least the dead guys are white guys, otherwise…


But then Lemmy, if you know Lemmy, this is just like Lemmy, and so Lemmy says…


Oh, wait you don’t know Lemmy. Lemme back up then and tell ya all about Lemmy.


Lemmy, or Lemmé, either way’ll do, was born Lemon Chicken Zuckerman, to a Chinese immigrant mom and a Jewish hippie dad (try to guess which name she got from which parent).  That’s a bad eggroll of the spinning-top dice any way you deli-slice it. It’s no Moon Unit or Diva Thin Muffin but it’s still pretty bad.  So now she just goes by “Lemmy.”  And I respect her for it. She’s always saying she’ll change it when she’s older to something normally-weird like Joodie or Ildi or Chatrice. Something without the tilted-head introductory looks she gets at hand-shake conventions like family BBQs or class conference meet and greets.  Skewed enough to be different, no Mary or Margaret but nothing from The Big Book of Celebrity Baby Names either.


She’s the only other kid in the neighborhood that’s my age so I guess I don’t really have much of a choice but I could’ve done a lot worse, like prissy princess type with frilly dresses or a plegic who can’t climb trees or even breathe properly.  At least she’s a good tomboy with sweet streaks of anger and greed, that’s all that matters. An in-tow companion who doesn’t mind getting dirt under her clear-bitten fingernails or barbwire slashes on her shins (that’s the price of exploring, everyone knows that). We’ve done so much together this past summer… but no, shut up, not like that. You’re probably thinking that we’re together, a relationship, a unit, a moist coupling of flesh and fashion.  But that’s only because you don’t know what she looks like yet. If you saw a picture, not that I’m so drop-dead, but she’s just… she’s a good tomboy fit. She’s one chromosome shy of a full woman and that’s the only shy part about her.  She could kick my ass without moving, she could, and I only say that because it’s you and because it’s true, I do!


I first met Lemmy on the beach in the days before I can remember. What I do remember is that she was wearing some scary one-piece bee-girl swimsuit that made her baby fat totally pop out at me. She really had to go pee but she was afraid to go in the water because she thought that it would attract Jellyfish (pronounced “Jewey-fishâ” by her at the time, in a cute cheek-puffed lisp) who would sting her over and over until she was a bloated floating bleeder and then her blood would attract sharks and so on until she was ripped to death. What an imagination.


And so, in my child, like, wonder, I offered her an alternative. I had just built my very own mammoth of a sand castle. It had guard towers, archery positions, as well as a moat filled with water and lined with stones so the water couldn’t leak into the sand. And in the middle, a nice open space big enough for a single person or seventy-two action-figured-sized people made of sand. And did I mention the three foot tall castle walls, perfect for pre-pubescent privacy in a public place? She crouched inside and within a couple minutes, my moat had an extra ingredient with which to deter the black knight and his Moorish invaders. Ammonia.


That’s the story. I let her pee on my sandcastle. And after that, we were friends for life.


So anyway, Lemmy says, “They look like sleeping circus freaks.”  And I think about that as I watch a worm crawl from one man’s nostril to another.  An arrogant bird with coarse feathers and a crimson-spattered chest that looks like a shotgun blast to the rib cage (a robin bloodbreast) flutters down from nowhere and takes command. It lifts one man’s finger and it moves the hand, eventually landing it in the other guy’s crotch. The robin hops from one floating dead man to another, scavenging squirming earthy fish-bait as it rearranges the crime scene. This bird is like some necrophiliac porno director.  Cool!


I use a big rotting oak stick to shoo the bird away and turn the bodies over (facedown is bad, it looks so uncomfortable and I’m pretty sure you only bury people like that if they killed themselves or if they’re Indians and these guys are surely neither). I take a deep breath of clean germ-free air and roll the two right-side up with my stick. Gag. I think I’m supposed to do something with a handkerchief, holding it to my nose and mouth or whatever. Where’s my handkerchief, dammit? This is double-sick double-time


The first face is an unrecognizable swirl of fiery ants and dried blood. The second plastic mask is fresher, a nose is a nose, eyes are eyes, features are still plain enough for anyone to recognize, even for a fingerless blind man. He (is it still a “he” if he’s dead?  When does a “he” become an “it?” If you have no relatives and you die, are you more of an “it” than a dead man beloved by all?  Does your dick still count if you can’t use it? So many questions)… what was I saying?  Right, that he reminds me of that guy on TV. Y’know, the one with the bad sitcom about how stupid his family is. You know the one. Sure, he’s shot his mortal wad, but the resemblance is still dead on.  I tell Lemmy and she gives me a big dyke look so I pretend I didn’t say nothing. But she knows the one, he looks exactly like him, I’m right, I know it.


Now, one body, I can forgive.  Maybe it’s a mistake, they didn’t know, fine, it happens.  Maybe a heart attack, like my Uncle Jesse, who crashed on top of my Mom’s modern art coffee table and his heart was just palpitated right through by a pointy shard of black glass.  Dead guys are like little children, it’s just so hard to stay mad at them. Not as cute, no, but close.


But c’mon, this ain’t no coincidence now, it’s a conspiracy. This means war. They’re dumping bodies on us, like the Japs in WWII. No, our safe pearl harbor away from home is unsinkable. We gotta fight back. Against who? I look for clues.  I pick up another stick and poke the first body.  It doesn’t prod so much as stab. Ugh. The ants scatter. Too squishy. I try poking the second body with my trusty poking stick.  I’ve seen enough TV crime shows to know how to do an autopsy. No gloves or surgical tools. That’s fine. I pick up another stick and use them like chopping chopsticks to proceed with the operation. I pull back the victim’s tie with my extended wooden limbs and try to cut the chest open (all white inside, no cavities!) but now the smell is getting to me and I forget what I’m doing.  I keep poking and prodding the body with my swizzling scalpel sticks until the rage consumes me and then I don’t remember what happens but all of a sudden I’m angry and jabby!


“Die, dead man, Die!”


I keep poking him and screaming until Lemmy knocks me into a tree.


“Stow your rage issues, old man!”


She’s right. I’m two months older than her and too mature to let my most manly testosterone consume me. It’s too hot out here, I thought it was battle heat, that’s it. OK, OK, I’m OK now. I regain composure and announce my diagnosis to the world.


“This man died of unavoidable and sudden death!”


We head back to Lemmy’s house to raid the spice rack and coat the body in a suitable smell.  I remember seeing something on one of the cable cop shows about what they use to decompose a body and remove the smell. Started with an “L” I think. Like “lie,” sounds like that. Pretty sure it was lime. And paprika. That’s it. Lemmy’s family only eats natural food, no preservatives or sugar, (gross, I know, but I’m careful to be respectful of their craziness. That’s what America is all about), so they have more spice on their rack than a Hooters’ girl on BBQ Wings Night (don’t know exactly what this joke means or even if I got the words right, I memorized it ad-lib verbatim from a late night HBO comedy special. Oh wait, I forgot to add the last word. Ahem. “Y’knowhatImsayin?” I think that was the punch line). We take about twenty spice bottles full of Middle Eastern granny grains and head back over to the idiot burial ground to flavor our new visitors with secret herbs and spices. Oh man, I haven’t had KFC in so long, I’m so hungry, I could go for some chicken skin right about now…


I start dumping out the red and black dots on the bodies.  Lemmy starts chanting some hippie “dust to dust, whole-wheat crust” mumbo gumbo ramble. I tell her to keep it down, that we’re not in the bayou doing voodoo, this is serious. Then I sit back and watch the ants scatter like mad as the clump of dusty seasoning hits the bodies.  The smell doesn’t change.  I feel like hurling but I think that would just make the smell better.  I had strawberry yogurt for lunch, the one with real fruit filling.


Heavy footsteps pound through the dry forest pathways. I can hear the twiggy ground snapping and groaning under the weight of adult fat.  “Hide!”  We jump into our makeshift fortress of fortitude and watch as two old guys walk through the brush into our clearing.  These guys are old, I mean really old, they must be at least thirty, maybe older.  Anyway, the oldest guy is puffing hard.  His skin looks gray in this light. Everything about him is gray, eyes, clothing, even the dirt becomes gray when it clings to him. I never want to be that old. If I ever get that old, I’ll invent a time machine and come back and kill my younger self to prevent my older self from getting so old. Yeah, foolproof!


The other guy is younger, with a bloody bandage on his right hand. Big droplets of blood seep through the wrapping and start to drip on the bodies. Fat red raindrops, pounding down on the dead people, drop, drop, drop. I try to listen to what they’re saying. The old guy is yelling at the young guy and complaining an awful lot, he must be the boss.


“I toldja we shouldn’t’ve buried dese guys here, now we can’t move ’em or the cops’ll know ‘e was here!”


“Oh! Joe… dese bodies look dif’rent t’you? I swears I left em facin down, like we said, eyes to de ground, like the rats dey was. And now dey smell weird too, like food from that Korean restaurant, y’know, dat one with da cat tongues and da dog testicles…”


They talk funny. Dems and dats and dese and deres. I think they’re from Minnesota. Like where that movie Fargo came from. Maybe that’s why I don’t recognize those dead guys, they’re all Minnesotians who moved here from Minnesota. Weird accents though, yah


“What, you think mebbe dey was movin aroun’ after dey died? And I ain’t smell nothing, maybe s’your cologne, what, d’you buy bulk from Paco Rabanne? (I don’t know who that is, I nudge Lemmy, she don’t know either, my guess is a mob boss in South America) Don’ touch nothing, ‘lright? Sometime, I think you dumb’r den yo broth’r, da one with the retard brain.”


“He ain’ retarded, he jus brain damaged from dat cancer of da tumor, you insens’tive fuck! If it wadn’t fo me, we’d’ve never’ve found dem two hiding out here, and capped them, two head shots, clean, all me…”


The younger one’s still bleeding, his bandage is soaked through, cheap cotton wrapped with stolen gauze. He leans over the first guy’s mouth, dripping blood from his wound onto the guy’s tongue. I start to think about the taste of blood in a dead man’s mouth and if that new guyâ’s blood is infected and what that’ll do to the spices and dead ants in the dead guy’s mouth and if it’s possible to become blood brothers by accidentally bleeding into a dead guys mouth and I lose feeling in my feet, can’t feel, Passing out now…


I turn and stumble backwards into Lemmy. My head presses up against her chest, something soft, either breast fat or neck fat. So soft, like a pillow made out of Vaselined leather and stuffed with tangerine slices. She turns around and pokes me in the eye. It’s definitely her breast. I can’t breathe, I’m trapped against her sticky softness. Her shirt is sweaty and she smells like stew. It’s a strangely nice smell, comforting. I feel sleepy. But I’m stuck, from the sweat, I can’t move. She tries to shake me off and a couple of our spent spice bottles fall to the floor and smash open against our rock walkway foyer.


“You hear something, Joey?”


We stand perfectly quiet like invisible nothing. I still have my head presses up against her, eyes shut. I’m three years old again, hiding behind my mother’s dress-legs at family reunion picnics. It’s worse for me than it is for her, believe me that. Sorry about the grammar but it’s near-impossible to think or even conjugate properly with a nipple in your ear. You try it, it’s hard…not the nipple, not me, neither of us are hard, no, it’s the-


“I ain’t heard nothin, ya shitty piece of fuck. Now gimme a hand wit dese bodies. We gotta cut up dese cunts inna moose shit sixteen ways from Sunday mass before dey start t’rot and some piss-dick pencil-pussy stumbles ‘cross our kill of kills. Now let’s’go.”


At the very least, I’m learning some good swears here today. If we live into the next school week, I can wow the playground with my quality cussing. Fuck! I try to remember them all, there’s so many great ones in the air. I wish I could write these down. The mobsters (are they? Not necessarily. Maybe they’re just swear-happy Italians. I don’t wanna stereotype nobody, that’s what America is all about, giving everyone the benefit of the doubt) start digging body-sized holes with their dented metal shovels. When they’ve got a good double-grave dug, they pull out the chainsaw. I see a quick bit before Lemmy pulls me away (I’ve seen Scarface on A&E. But this was way worse)…


She had her eyes closed. But I saw everything.


One time, Mom made me a gingerbread man but she used too much butter. Way too much, the thing was so gooey, it just oozed apart. When I bit off the arms, the legs, the head, they just burned smooth all the way down, it was like trying to nibble on a pixie stick. Even with all our seasonings we sprinkled on the bodies, these spice boys were no gingerbread men. But that’s how I saw it. Just replace “butter” with “blood” and “gingerbread man” with “decaying wormy corpse” and you have some idea of what it looked like. I can’t go into anymore detail or I’ll day-dream nightmares all week. Deep breath. I’m OK, I’m OK.


We keep our eyes closed until we fall asleep and then we close them even tighter. And the next day, when we wake up, the men (all of them) are gone and it’s all over. A neatly shovel-smacked clump of raised dirt sits just behind our little house in our cozy little backyard, right where the picket fence will be someday to keep out nosy neighbors. No big deal, just some earth dug up and packed down, it’s nothing. Who says it’s people inside there? It could have been animals. Sure, we had a couple of dogs that grew old and yeller so we had to put them out of their misery and bury them in the backyard. Why not?


And now, onto more important matters. I unroll the matted carpet and Lemmy starts nailing it into the dirt. She looks so funny holding the extra nails in her mouth. They look like bent gray Southern teeth, it’s a cool look for her. The stuff with the mobsters was fun for a while but this hideout isn’t going to slap itself together. I guess the Italians figured our shack was abandoned, but what does that say about our building skills? Doesn’t matter, they’re gone now anyways. Now we can live the rest of our lives in peace.


Me and Lemmy vowed never to talk about anything that happened that day. Not the dead bodies, not the cussing, chainsawing mobsters, and especially not the ear-to-tit contact, never. We made a blood-oath to hold it all in.


“If I tell, may the Devil rape my parents and drain my college fund.”


“If I tell, may Indians kill me and use every part of my body, including my soul, which they will roast and consume with a light honey-garlic sauce made from natural herbs.”


“If I tell, may a gang of gypsies cast a curse on my DNA so that I/my wife can only give birth to crackbabies and Aids babies until the end of Time.”


“If I tell, may lightening hit me thrice so that I may be in forever pain and only my eyes will still work and I’ll have twenty-four-hour supervised care with lots of nurses but when I’m blinking once for “Yes” and twice for “No,” everyone will think it’s the other way around and they’ll always do the opposite of what I tell them because I told.”


“If I tell, may my private area be set on fire daily as a constant reminder!”


ETC, ETC. You know how the rest goes, you’ve all done it too.


So of course, the next day at school, we told everyone at school about what happened to us in the forest (except the ear-tit-stew, some secrets are better left secreted). Everyone who heard and overheard listened but they didn’t believe. Lemmy and I swore up and down, “may worms, both tape and fried, eat our eyeballs and live in our stomach if we’re lying about even one word of this story” but it was no use. Nobody believes us because we’re just kids. Not even kids believe other kids, that’s the curse of being a kid. I wish I was old already, I wish I could control time, I wish I was big. I wish because I’m still just a kid and that’s all we can do is wish for the impossible.


I slept over at Lemmy’s house, so we could make plans for a new fort. Her parents, Shlomo Zev Zuckerman and his wife, Xiang Xo Ziang-Zuckerman, prepared a dinner of brussel sprouts, tempeh-tofu melts, and cauliflower-avocado non-fat ice milk for desert. It was like eating in a gas chamber. Chemical warfare, we learned about it at school. Between her parents and the food, it’s WWI and WWII added together (WWIII? Is it that time already?).


Me and Lemmy, we made a pact and she signed her full name, which she never does, only because this serious. We will return to the fort for one last time. And if that goes good, it means there’s more fun times ahead. It’s all very complicated. And then we slept in our sleeping bags in the camping tent set up in her living room and one time when she was asleep she kicked my leg so I moved closer until we were touching and stayed that way until morning but I woke up before she did so she never noticed. It’s no “Doctor, doctor, you show me yours, I’l show you mine,” but it’s a nudge in the right direction.


This is normal, right, it’s all part of man-development, right? I don’t know, everything’s new to me. I don’t know how to react anymore around girls or my parents or corpses. But at least with Lemmy, I sort of know where I lie. We’re a pair, they say (because there’s two of us, I’ve counted). And we’re so close, have been forever, if I remember. I dunno. I’ve always loved eating lemon chicken for dinner. Maybe, I can learn to love it before bedtime too….


A week later, we’re playing house in the fort. I’m hunting ants for our dinner. We stole a whole bowl of chocolate sauce from my house and so now we’re gonna fry up some chocolate ants in the sun and feed them to the blind kids down by the railroad tracks. It’s something to do on a day when there’s nothing to do.


And that’s when we hear a crashing through the forest. And we both knew who it was immediately, because adults don’t come here, ever. This is kid territory and these are big feet. For a second, I wish that it is a bear, a grizzly, the violent ones (the black bears, right?), coming to steal our porridge and honey and everything else in our picnic baskets and then tear our faces off with its claws. But we both know it’s not some innocent bear. It’s someone who knows we’re here. It’s the mob guys coming to get us again. Dammit.


Lemmy looks to me, to me, “What to do, What do I do,” that look. Sure, now I’m in charge. In response, I calmly pick up the ketchup squeeze-bottle from the counter (it’s there because we had eggs for breakfast, fresh off the stone fire stove) and spray some imitation catsup on her. I cover her face and neck in ketchup, carefully avoiding the breast area, because like I said, we’re not talking about that so it doesn’t exist (in my mind, she’s every bit the tomboy, right down to the bits and bytes below, but I’m especially not talking or thinking about those). It’s no different from my month at Camp Grabass or the week she spent going to second base with the kid who burned off his fingertips in a Chem-Lab-in-a-Box explosion. It never happened, OK, end of story (not this story, that one). And that goes double for this and triple for you too, follow?


For a second, I think she’s going to save me the trouble of ketchuping my own face. Then her fingers uncurl out of fist formation and she gleefully rubs the rest of the ketchup all over her shirt, her wrists, her neck. She picks up a second bottle. I close my eyes. Red pulpy goop fills every dry spot on my skin. I try to resist the urge to lick it off and lie down on my back in the living room (located in between the kitchen stone-stove alcove and the family room television set {a hollowed out old one filled with puppets and mice}, on the way to the stairs that lead upstairs to the master bedroom, a place where Lemmy and Me act like a real married couple {she throws expensive things at me and I call her a tramp and go sleep downstairs on the fold-out sofa we found out by the trash, only one bad spring to avoid and its right by my eyeball, can’t miss it} our hideout away from home. Sometimes, I wish we could freeze time or run it on a circle-loop and these years could last forever. But they can’t. Because time is sequential and linear, idiot!).


We lie in the ground in our ketchup mass-suicide-pose. I try to remember what those corpses looked like and put on my best mask-of-death face. I’m biting my tongue so hard not to laugh, I feel like my brain is about to shoot through the back of my shorts (that would be supremely messy, if such a thing were possible). Think unfunny, think unfunny, must control funny bone…I think about the last “laugh-out-loud-fun-for-the-whole-family film-Gene-Shalit-recommends movie” that I saw with my parents. And like that, I’m all dramatic again, totally calm, as serious as British actor.


Part of a cell phone conversation drifts through our rust-painted stolen screen door, bits and pieces of a one-way speech for the ages.


“…if you’re gonna rob me, lemmee finish, wilya!”


“…da rest o’ my days, livin an’ dead…”


“…safety first fucker…


“…to rape yo mothah from beyonna grave…”


I’ve recreated the entire episode here in full, for your convenience.


“any way else, I’ll feed yo tongue to yo teeth. Morris, I got two drivers, tree hitters, and enough bodyguards to choke an entourage. But I only got one slot for an accountant. And if you want dis job, listen once, hear me twice. If you’re gonna rob me, lemmee finish, wilya, let me just finish this for fuckin once, if you’re going to steal from me, skim me, take me a’ ridin’ you had bettah take everythin, don’ leave me a dime to pick my teeth with. Because otherwise, I’ll find ya. I don’t care how long it takes or how much it costs, I’ll spend da rest o’ my days, livin an’ dead, trackin you down to da ends of de earth and beyond. I’ll borrow money if I have to, and you know how I feel about debt, so that should tell you right there, I’m fuckin serious here, I’ll do it, just to peel your skin off, glue $100 bills to your gleaming red exoskeleton, and burn you alive, asshole. I’ll keep an extinguisher handy, safety first fucker, just to keep you alive long enough to set you on fire again. But if you want the job, you got it, it’s done. Give my best t’Marianne and ‘e kids and everyone else you know and all that. Yeah, yeah, , til tomorrow, OK bye.”


Footsteps to the door. They’re right outside. The door creaks open. I count four, no, six feet a-clomping (half as many feet as there are days of Christmas, for those of you keeping score at home). They stop. I hear silent shock and confusion. It’s the greatest sound in the world.


“You colossal fuckups! You killed kids, we never kill kids. Read the goddamn rulebook, no, better yet, look here. Yeah. Hey! You, yeah, look here, look right here!”


Two more gunshots ring out. I crack open one eye and squint at the scene. An old mobster in a coat, really old, the boss probably, he looks like he’s fifty maybe, is holding a gun that lisps smoke out of its barrel. The two mobsters from before, Joey and (Tony? Paulie? Christopher? Something that ends in an “y” or a Roman Catholic overlord) I’ll just call him Joe, the older guy, they’re lying on top of each other, the same way the corpses in the beginning were arranged on top of each other, the same way it says in Leviticus for a man not to lie with mankind but I guess in death, it’s all A-OK corral under God and junk like that.


But there’s something that’s not A-OK in my mortal eyes. Our screen door is blown off the hinges, from when the two mob flunkies toppled backwards through it (not really their fault, I blame the bullets). Our beautiful rusty piece of history. It was a screen door that came off a Polish submarine sunk by our boys during WWII. At least, that’s what the kid up the block told me and he traded it to me for two Kellogg’s-sized scoops from my big brother’s mystery bag of pills that I found behind his desk after he got sent off to military school for setting the vice principal’s wig on aflame during a fire drill.


The old mobster in the coat and his son, I’m guessing, he’s a young guy who looks like a Jr. to the old man’s Sr. The two just stare at the bodies and do nothing. It’s fine work, clean this time. Joey and Joe-Joe bleed from perfect forehead shots, no blood, right through the brains. It’s almost funny, their mouths are an “O” of surprise and their foreheads are also an “O” of surprise, two perfect burnt circles of moist redness. It’s like one of those drawings of a face, you turn them upside down, they look like another face, the eyes become the mouth, the nose is a different nose, you know the ones I’m talking about, they’re in all the top magazines.


“Get the shovel.”


They younger one starts to leave, perhaps to get the shovels, who knows?


“Hey, that’s our screen door, you gotta pay for that.”


Did I say that?


The older mobster turns around, looking at us like we’re dead. I feel like I should say, “You look like you’ve seen a ghost” but in movies and TV, people only say that when the other person has just seen someone who’s supposed to be dead and it’s stupidly convenient because they don’t know who you’ve seen, they weren’t there. Nobody ever gets scared by a squirrel and somebody says to them, “You look like you’ve seen a ghost”, no, that would be retarded. I’m not dead. I can definitely do better than that.


But hold that thought, I’ve got a gun pointed at my forehead ripple. The old man wants to make me into an upside-down picture. Lemmy glares at me from the ground. She’s still pretending to be dead. I put her hand on her thigh and pull myself up into a sitting position. I speak into the hollow-point at the end of the gun like it’s a wireless microphone. I’m not the best public speaker but I can wing this, I’m sure of it.


“Hi, we’re corpses.”


The younger mobster returns, a shovel in each hand. He looks as shocked as a death row inmate in Texas. I smile at him too, even with a gun trained on me, I can still smile.


“You can’t shoot us, we know where the bodies are buried.”


They smile, I don’t know why. But they do. The older one puts his gun down and looks me straight in the eye and laughs out a wheeze like he hasn’t laughed in a 1000 years.


“Kid, you’ve got guts. Give me a call when you get a car and I’ll make you a runner.”


He tips his hat to Lemmy.




She pouts, doing her best impression of a fat lip fighter. She probably wanted to save the day. Maybe next time our lives are threatened by mobsters, I’ll let her smooth-talk them. Maybe. She’s in full-on Jewish American Princess Jap mode, arms crossed, eyes narrowed, jaw locked, getting her sulk on.


The mobsters look at her and find that funny too. We’re both getting laughs today. The old mobster tussles my hair and gives me a shiny new twenty for all the damage he caused. “Buy yourself a new screen door kid, American-made, you deserve it.” We sit around the kitchen, cook up a batch of three-cheese omelettes, and sit around just talking about new times. They treat us not like kids but like real people. It’s so cool. They don’t even stop swearing despite the fact that now that they know we’re alive. This is great!


I ask them how many guys they’ve killed but they won’t tell me. The older guy, Da Boss, he says, “Enough to fill a cottage country cemetery,” but he won’t tell me how many that is.  They treat Lemmy like a real woman, talk about how beautiful a wife she’ll make one day, all that sweet talk that I never know how to say and when I try, it all comes out like an out-loud bra-strap snap. These guys are real class, old guard gentlemen, speakeasy style and shit. I wish everyone was like them, then I wouldn’t hate life so much.


Afterwards, Lemmy cleans house while I help the mobsters find the two corpses that started this whole mess. They redig the hole in our backyard and throw the two new guys in with their old friends. Another slightly higher pile of padded dirt. Otherwise, everything is the same as it ever was. I’m not scared anymore. Sure, the guys make a couple jokes, “If you ever tell anyone about this,” and then make the throat-slit-gesture but it’s all in good fun. They’re cool, I like their suits, they’re neat.


And that’s where we put our flower garden and where Me and Lemmy lived happily ever after. The End. Fin. That’s all folks. Sof-kol-sof. Now get the hell out of my head before I call the cops or get my gun. I have work to do.



I said Get Out! What’s wrong with you people, can’t you take a hint, Jesus Christ!


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