Lenny the dwarf herded me into the double wide, prodding with his gun as if searching for my asshole. I won't lie. A brief escape plan involving grabbing the gun with my butt cheeks flashed into mind; however, I abandoned it due to a very realistic concern about being shot in the process.
"Hold up," Lenny said, accentuating my halt with a barrel-jab to the kidneys.
I stopped, glad for the pause. Nothing but darkness occupied the far end of the double wide. The inky void made the inside seem to go on forever. Anything might've lived in the bowels of that hideous place.
A red neon light flickered. As it fluttered to life the shadows scattered. The light sputtered to its full brilliance bathing the back of the trailer in a ruby glow; the image of a she-devil in a seductive pose shone like a burning coal. Beneath her radiance sat a man.
He possessed the wide staring eyes of a child, coke bottle lenses magnifying those peepers to comic proportions. A pair of toothpicks passing themselves off as arms jutted out of his Raider's jersey. He smiled at me, and I imagined him being a the kind of neighbor who loans out his garden tools, never gets them back, and never complains.
Gesturing, he said, "Lenny, bring me one of the girls."
"Yes, sir, Mr. Mix Hendricks."
Lenny rustled a girl off the couch. She staggered over, a drug induced zombie.
Mix Hendricks walked over to her, "This is Michelle. She's a lovely girl. Anyone who sees her smile is given a gift from the gods."
Michelle's lips twitched as if her brain could send the message to grin, but her facial muscles couldn't quite follow the orders. Without another word, or a batted eyelash, Mix Hendricks pulled out a knife, and cut her throat. He looked as bored by the act as someone getting the mail. Michelle smiled.
I turned away. Lenny jabbed me in the thigh.
"You watch it all," the dwarf growled. I fixed my eyes on Michelle.
Mix Hendricks grabbed her by the hair. Pulling her head back not only held her up it opened the slit in her throat wider producing an anatomy lesson in severed tissue and internal tubing. Blood flowed out, splashing onto the floor. Long ribbons spurted out her neck and draped across my face. The drugs lost their grip on Michelle. The reality of her circumstances triggered a panicked attempt to clutch her throat, stop the drain, but Mix Hendricks slapped her hands down. It didn't take long for Michelle's eyes to go dull, though it felt like hours.
Mix Hendricks let the body drop to the floor. Dusting off his hands, as if crumbs of Michelle lingered on his fingers, Mix Hendricks said, "And that's how we do things. Understand?"
Part of me, a large part, felt this was a rhetorical question one should only answer with a nod. However, the other part of me insisted I say, "Of course. In case the gun jammed firmly up my ass didn't already prove I'm fucked, you decided to kill someone to emphasis that fact."
Mix Hendricks grinned, "I like your eyes." -- wiping off his knife on my shirt he said, "Lenny, have this one bury her. If he gives you even a glint of sass put him in with her..."
"No problem," Lenny said.
"...Alive," Mix Hendricks added, "He fucks around bury him alive."
"With pleasure," Lenny said.
Stepping away Mix Hendricks paused, "Oh, if he does manage to somehow stay above ground then take him to Elsa. Have her check him out, price him, that sort of thing."
"Sure thing boss," Lenny said.
And with that Mix Hendricks returned to the other end of the double wide. Taking a seat in a battered wicker lawn chair he snapped off the light. For a moment, it seemed as though the shadows hesitated to touch him.
I picked up Michelle, and carried her outside. With his gun and words Lenny poked at me constantly. Not daring to make a mistake I kept my eyes on the ground. He led me to a cemetery of scrap metal crosses where a shovel already awaited us at the entrance.
As I dug Michelle's grave Lenny said:
"You think this gun was up your ass, huh? You got no idea. Once we took a shotgun, and greased it up real good. Took our time slowly sliding that thing right up this fellow's poopchute. When we couldn't get any more in we pulled the trigger -- BLAMMO! Like a big fucking piñata."
It took two hours to dig the hole. Most of the time went because Lenny kept in insisting I make the edges even, dig the slant out of the bottom, and all kinds of piddling details meant to provoke me. But I kept my teeth in my tongue, and my eyes on the job.
Inspecting the grave Lenny nodded, "That is a fine hole you dug. Fine hole."
Glancing around he saw the giant, Lagos, carrying a crate of ammo. Lenny waved to him. Lagos hurried over.
Lenny said, "Take this dead bitch to the pigs, and feed her to them." -- I grit my teeth together -- "Cemetery's for Raiders, not disposables."
The ammo crate under one arm, the dead girl under the other, Lagos headed off. Lenny then took me to a white hut with a red cross painted on the side. Faintly I heard the notes of a violin.
"ELSA!" Lenny shouted. The notes cut out. A few seconds later a woman in her forties emerged from the hut. She wore khaki pants, a gingham shirt, and a revolver holstered on her hip.
Tying her hair back in a small ponytail she said, "Was haben wir denn hier?"
Lenny replied, "Eine Einweg, ausgewertet."
Elsa said, "Gute Rasse?"
Lenny shook his head, "Arschloch."
Elsa grimaced, "Was für ein Pech. Bitte, bitte, lassen Sie ihn zu mir."
I have no idea what the fuck they said to each other. However, Lenny handed me off to her. She then led me into the hut by herself.
Inside I saw an improvised hospital. Rows of makeshift shelves holding an array of plants I assumed to have medicinal purposes, a sturdy combination safe in one corner that probably held the more pharmacological cures -- the manmade antiseptics and -biotics -- a wooden table reminding me more of a cutting board in a butchers shop than anything in an operating theater, and nearby a host of tools that probably stood at the forefront of Medieval medicine.
Elsa said, "Welche Sprache sprichst du?"
Recognizing one word I took a stab at answering, "English."
She smiled, "Ah. This is no problem then. My name is Elsa, well," -- she considered saying more but decided against it -- "That's how I'm known."
I introduced myself.
She said, "Now, I have a job to do. I'll try to make it as painless as possible. All right?"
"Okay." She brightened, putting on a butter melting expression.
Elsa set about performing a general physical exam. She took my measurements, blood pressure, and did the typical doctor's tsch-tsch when I confessed to smoking. As the exam went along she made notes on a small pad. Afterwards she called for Lenny on a walkie-talkie she kept on her desk.
A few minutes later Lenny strode in, "Was ist er Wert?"
Elsa folded her arms across her chest, "The smoking doesn't make him the best for Runner, but we need to replace the ones we lost, so ja, we could do that. His penis is nice, but too average size for Thelma -- she only want the biggest we got. Still he is good for labor."
"How much you think we'll get?" Lenny said.
Elsa flipped through her notebook. Adding figures in her head she eventually said, "For labor we'd get a few gallons of gas, and maybe a goat or pig. However, he is healthy. No disease, so there is always... Caliban..."
She trailed off. Lenny understood the implication. I certainly didn't, especially being distracted by that too average comment I couldn't deal with for fear of Lenny burying me alive.
Lenny laughed, "Oh ho! And that sick fucko lets us name our own price." -- Lenny patted me on the knee -- "Looks like you're one valuable asshole."
Sensing my confusion Elsa informed me, "Caliban is the leader of a small gang down the river. He and his men will pay a great deal to rip you apart and fuck the pieces."
I couldn't help asking, "Well, if that's the case, Lenny, would you be a dear and bury me alive?"
Lenny chuckled, "Nope. I think you're more valuable alive."
"I do too," I said then sighed, "Though probably not the way you do."
COMING SOON! PART 5: THE GOOD DOCTOR