Blood drive

When I didn’t answer right away, the Indian woman gestured towards her minions “If they don’t answer in three seconds, kill them.”

Is it racist that I’m always surprised when an Indian person speaks with a British accent?  Martialla drew her pistol and I held my hands up, appealing for calm.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, everybody chill.  There’s no need for any killing here, we’re all friends here.  We were cryogenically frozen in two thousand and two if that’s what you’re asking.”

There was enough room that the headpiece/helmet thing on her suit didn’t move much but I saw her head swinging back and forth inside “Impossible.  You’re lying.”

“No, honest inj . . . uh, I mean, for real we’re from two thousand and two.  Uh, George Bush is president.  Uh . . . Friends is still on but it sucks now.  Uh, some stupid movie about a girl on a swim team is number one at the box office right now.  Oh, wait, wait, check this out, I never thought I’d show this to anyone again.”  I dug out my driver’s license and held it up at her.  “See, issue date nineteen ninety-eight?  Uh, what else?  Y2K was bullshit, nothing happened.  Uh, who won the Superbowl?  Some skinny dude, I don’t really follow sports.  Help me out here, Mar.”

“Queen Elizabeth celebrated her Golden Jubilee.”

I scowled at her “What are you talking about the Queen for?  Indian people don’t want to hear about the Queen!”

“India is part of the Commonwealth, I figured she’d know about it at least regardless of how she feels about the Queen.”

“Commonwealth?  What the hell are you talking about?” I turned back to the doctor “Ignore her, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.  I assure you . . .”

She gestured with the sound of her crinkling plastic arm covering “Would you be willing to give me blood samples?”

“Sure. . . yeah, why not?  Actually were here to trade anyway so . . .”

“Where is your facility?  How many more of your people are awake there?  Do you have satellite access?”

“We can talk about all that, what we need is some water filters, downriver . . .”

I started as Martialla suddenly had her pistol in both hands in a shooting stance, shouting as she pointing it at one of the flukeman “Stay the fuck back!”  She barged back into me, kind of shouldering me back while gesturing with the gun at them “Stay in fucking front of me where I can see you.”

I held my hands up again, I almost stepped into Martialla’s line of fire but realized at the last moment that was a terrible idea and stopped “Hold on, hold on, hold on, everyone’s cool right?  We’re all getting along here.”

Martialla turned her weapon in the direction of the Indian woman and her five guards all instantly clumped together in front of her, protecting her with their bodies like the Secret Service “Lady, tell your fucking mutant fucks to stay away from us.”

Her voice was significantly cooler than before “There’s no need for alarm, they’re just curious about you.”

I looked back at Martialla “Would you lower that please?” She kept both hands on her pistol but dropped it to her waist and I turned back to the doctor “No offense meant, you know how it is out there, dangerous world and so forth.  Sounds like we’re all on board with making a trade here, right?  And maybe this will be the first step to a more cordial relationship between you and the folks downriver.  They certainly could use the help of a doctor down there and it looks like you have . . .”

Her voice had turned absolutely frosty “I have no interest in those violent degenerates.”

I forced a laugh “I hear you there, they’re gross, between you me and the lamppost I don’t really want to deal with them either, but when in Rome you know?  I was just thinking that if we all worked together then maybe . . .”

“They have nothing of value to me.  I’ll give you all the water filters you want for blood samples from you two.  I don’t want to hear from anyone else or see anyone else on my land.”

“Fair enough, fair enough, maybe over time we can help . . .”

She gestured curtly “Come to my lab.”

Before I could answer, Martialla barked out “No.  We’re not going anywhere.  You want to draw some blood you can fucking do it out here.” She gestured at Stabby and Horseman “You want to bring Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum here back with you that’s fine but leave the rest of these freak show assholes in whatever slime infested kiddie pool you keep them in.”

I held my hands up yet again “Now hold on here, there’s no reason to be hasty, I think . . .”

Martialla’s face was like stone “I am not going anywhere near whatever Island of Dr. Moreau Mengele bullshit she has going on in there.”

Ela Halloween Special #1

Sueno Beach, despite its many charms (and it boasts many) has the poor fortune of having been founded on the sacred burial ground of a group of Miccosukee vampire werewolves who were viciously slaughtered during their most magical of rituals by a roving band of Spanish Conquistadores witches. Spanish Conquistadores is redundant you say?  Shows what you know about conquistadores. 

Needless to say (yet here I am saying it) because of this poor location, the charming beach community is super cursed.  Also their symphony is second rate at best. At best.  This story of Sueno Beach begins with a lass named Martialla – ha, you thought it was going to be Ela didn’t you!  Didn’t you?!  A woman of grit and determination like her managed to lock down a plum job at Sueno Beach Video Rental.  In the morning meeting once, Martialla mentioned that maybe they should get a more creative name, but the teenager that runs the place never listens to her.  Why does a video store need a morning meeting?  Good question.

Martialla has had a long day renting people copies of Harry Potter and the Mummy Returns and she’s glad it’s closing time.  She thinks to herself “What kind of video store stays open until midnight anyway? Especially on Halloween. Especially on the anniversary of all those kids being killed and drained of blood by Charlie Sheen” as she starts to close things down. She’s just finished up vacuuming when the bell on the door chimes and she turns her head.  As she does almost every night at closing, Ela has come to visit her good friend Martialla.  As befits a woman of such great talents as she can claim, Ela was able to secure a pretty sweet gig herself as a party clown, which I think we can all agree is much better than the standard non-party clown.  I knew a guy they called Party Clown in college.  He was douche.

Martialla nods to Ela as she’s wrapping up the vacuum cord “Hey buddy, how goes it?”

Ela hops up on the counter and helps herself to some licorice, not real licorice but you know, the good red stuff “I tell you Martialla, people think that clowning is all fun and games, but it’s hard god damn work. The kids are bad enough, little monsters, but it’s the fathers that wear me out.  Why the hell do so many men want to bone a clown?” She shakes her head.  “It’s brutal man.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to make a balloon octopus and fight off a gross dad at the same time?  Because I do.”   She takes off one of her big shoes to scratch her foot.

Martialla rolls the vacuum into a storage closet “I don’t know what to tell you, I guess men are suckers for a woman in uniform.”  She grabs her jacket from behind the counter.  “We’re out of here, you want to grab some Chinese or something?”

“Yeah” she jerks her head towards the big glass.  “But I think you got some customers first”

Annoyed, Martialla goes over to tap on the closed sign “Can’t you read?  We’re closed, piss off!  You’re going to have to wait until tomorrow to rent Riding in Cars with Boys.”

Outside several dozen people stand by the window.  Well, not BY the window, smushed into the window like toys in a claw game – their hands and faces bumping up against the glass as if they don’t realize it’s there and they don’t know what’s stopping them from moving forward.  Their oily flesh squeaks loudly against the glass as they shuffle back and forth, their hands probing and their cheeks dragging across the glass. Martialla can just barely hear them making a low groaning sound – very subtle – as if they’re in some kind of pain.  It’s too dark to get much of a look at them, but Martialla has a very bad feeling about this.  She backs up a few steps and waves Ela over.

Martialla continues backing up slowly “Uh . . .  do these guys seem alright to you?”

Ela puts her face against the glass and puts her hands up around her eyes to peer out into the night at the people literally inches away from her “Two arms, two legs, one head – everything seems to be in order to me.  Hey, wait a minute, wait a second”. She looks harder.  “I’m not sure, but I think one of these guys out there is wearing suspenders and a belt!” She turns and laughs heartily.  “What a moron!  Wearing a belt and suspenders is wildly redundant!” She glances back “Oh, and one guy has his guts hanging out. There’s a woman missing half her face, a dude with no foot, and I can see that guy’s ribcage.  Now that I mention it, many of them look pretty fucked up in some fashion or another.” She turns back to Martialla again. “But other than that, they all seem normal enough.” She chuckles. “What kind of idiot wears suspenders AND a belt? It’s wholly unnecessary! What will these poor fools think of next? Glasses AND a monocle? That actually sounds pretty cool now that I say it.”

Martialla is still backing up with a horrified look on her face as the glass shatters violently and the people stumble into the store – some of them falling face-first into the ground like inanimate objects, not throwing out their arms or trying to catch or protect themselves in any way.  But they’re all moving sure enough, writhing and grasping and lurching into the store. They’re people – or at least they used to be – all of them with whitish-gray skin in various stages of decomposition. Their groaning gets louder and more urgent as they reach for Ela with fetid, rotting hands tipped with blackened and cracked fingernails.

Ela stumbles backwards into a rack of videos and sends dozens of copies of Monsters Inc. flying in all directions “Sweet sassy molassy!”

Martialla is standing gawking with arms at her sides, shocked into paralysis, as one of the festering corpses on the ground reaches and grabs her by the leg.  Ela manages to beat it off (not like that) with her big shoe and then she scrambles to her feet and runs for it.  One of the hideous things grabs at her, catching the white ruffle of her clown outfit, but it breaks off and Ela runs like a bat out of Hell.

Ela waves frantically at Martialla as she sprints “Go, go, go! Run for your life Martialla, it’s the day of swine and roses!” She blows past the still stunned Martialla.

Martialla finally comes to her senses as the ambulatory cadavers shuffle towards her with their arms outstretched and their disgusting rot-filled mouths hungrily open and spilling maggots like the cookie monster spills cookie crumbs (plentifully if that wasn’t clear).  One of the walking dead reaches out, inches away from touching her with its stinking zombie paw, but she shoves over a rack of new releases that knocks the creature to the ground.  Martialla finally takes off after Ela as the other horrible things crawl over their fallen comrade in their eagerness to get their hands on some warm living flesh. Martialla and Ela haul some major ass out the back door and into the night.