Tag Archives: horror

Toilet Gator – Chapter 48 (Full)


Cole and Rusty stood on top of of Roxy’s trailer and watched as Capt. Rick Roundtree of the Sitwell Fire Department cut into the steel with an ultra-sharp circular saw. Sparks flew everywhere and the Captain had to take periodic breaks every time the blade got too hot.

The Captain flipped open his soldering mask. “What the hell happen here? Buncha drunk kids tip this thing over?”

“Beats me,” Cole replied. “Manager just called saying he heard a big fuss and when he came out, Old Roxy’s place was like this.”

“Weird,” the Captain said as he flipped his mask down. “Because it’s not like its hurricane season so I doubt the damn thing didn’t just blow over.”

Captain Roundtree continued to cut.

Rusty nudged Cole in the ribs. “Hey Cole. Maybe this trailer was a-rockin’ when someone came a-knockin.’”

Cole stood there in silence.

“Get it?” Rusty asked.

Cole did not respond.

“Because, you know, Roxy’s been known to dabble in the world’s oldest profession,” Rusty said.

Still, no response from Cole.

“Roxy’s a hooker!” Rusty said. “You get it?”

“Oh yeah,” Cole said. “I got it but first, if you have to explain it, then it’s not funny and second, there’s a woman’s life at stake here. Does everything have to be a joke with you?”

“I wouldn’t say, ‘everything,’” Rusty said. “But I like to think if the situation were reversed and I was trapped in a knocked over trailer I wouldn’t mind if someone had a few laughs at my expense.”

“Grow up,” Cole said.

“People gotta laugh, Cole,” Rusty said. “People gotta find happiness in this twisted world wherever they can find it.”

The Captain switched off his saw and set it aside. He and a few other firemen then removed a large, square section of steel. Captain Roundtree took a flashlight off of his belt and shined it down into the darkness of the turned over trailer.

“Hello!” Captain Roundtree. “Fire department! Anyone down there?”

A few seconds past before a very weak sounding Paul answered. “Hello?”

The Captain searched around the trailer with his light until he landed the beam on Paul’s face. Paul was slathered with a thick coat of blood, water, and a brown substance which could have only been…

“Shit!” the Captain said as he looked up at Cole. “You gotta see this.”

Cole joined the Captain. He took out his flashlight, squatted down over the square hole and peered down at Paul. “You alright?”

“Are we talking physically or emotionally?” Paul asked.

“Physical’s my main concern at the moment,” Cole answered as he leaned down and shoved his hand into the square hole. “Take my hand, son.”

Paul reached for Cole’s hand but it was no use. He stood up on his tippy toes. He tried jumping for it. The kid was just too short.

“Damn it,” Cole said. “Someone will have to go down there.”

Cole waited for someone to step up, but all the firemen looked away, avoiding eye contact.

“Don’t everyone volunteer at once now,” Cole said.

All the firemen began whistling jaunty tunes, pretending they couldn’t hear the police chief.

“Fine,” Cole said. “I’ll do it myself.”

“No,” Rusty said. “I’ll do it.”

Cole was surprised. “You will?”

“Damn right I will,” Rusty said. “Cole, I never told you this but every once in awhile, old Chief Haskell and I get together and have a few beers and get down on ourselves for not following you into Wade Randolph’s shack that night. Hell, I hate to play the ‘woulda, shoulda, coulda’ game but it’s been hard for the old chief and I to not think about the possibility that maybe, just maybe, had all three of us worked together, we could have taken down that vicious dog no sweat.”

“I have no doubt that all three of could shot that dog dead instantly,” Cole said.

Rusty stared off at the moon, lost in thought. “I know whenever I think about that day, I say to myself, ‘If I’d only manned up, would Cole still have his leg?”

“Yes,” Cole said. “I most certainly would.”

“Would Cole’s wife never have run out on him?” Rusty asked.

“She would not have,” Cole replied.

“Would Cole be a happier man today?”

“A thousand times happier,” Cole said. “Without question.”

Rusty snapped out of his philosophical trance and looked down the hole. “I’m not gonna fail you twice, buddy.”

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Toilet Gator – Chapter 48

Cole and Rusty stood on top of of Roxy’s trailer and watched as Capt. Rick Roundtree of the Sitwell Fire Department cut into the steel with an ultra-sharp circular saw. Sparks flew everywhere and the Captain had to take periodic breaks every time the blade got too hot.

The Captain flipped open his soldering mask. “What the hell happen here? Buncha drunk kids tip this thing over?”

“Beats me,” Cole replied. “Manager just called saying he heard a big fuss and when he came out, Old Roxy’s place was like this.”

“Weird,” the Captain said as he flipped his mask down. “Because it’s not like its hurricane season so I doubt the damn thing didn’t just blow over.”

Captain Roundtree continued to cut.

Rusty nudged Cole in the ribs. “Hey Cole. Maybe this trailer was a-rockin’ when someone came a-knockin.’”

Cole stood there in silence.

“Get it?” Rusty asked.

Cole did not respond.

“Because, you know, Roxy’s been known to dabble in the world’s oldest profession,” Rusty said.

Still, no response from Cole.

“Roxy’s a hooker!” Rusty said. “You get it?”

“Oh yeah,” Cole said. “I got it but first, if you have to explain it, then it’s not funny and second, there’s a woman’s life at stake here. Does everything have to be a joke with you?”

“I wouldn’t say, ‘everything,’” Rusty said. “But I like to think if the situation were reversed and I was trapped in a knocked over trailer I wouldn’t mind if someone had a few laughs at my expense.”

“Grow up,” Cole said.

“People gotta laugh, Cole,” Rusty said. “People gotta find happiness in this twisted world wherever they can find it.”

The Captain switched off his saw and set it aside. He and a few other firemen then removed a large, square section of steel. Captain Roundtree took a flashlight off of his belt and shined it down into the darkness of the turned over trailer.

“Hello!” Captain Roundtree. “Fire department! Anyone down there?”

A few seconds past before a very weak sounding Paul answered. “Hello?”

The Captain searched around the trailer with his light until he landed the beam on Paul’s face. Paul was slathered with a thick coat of blood, water, and a brown substance which could have only been…

“Shit!” the Captain said as he looked up at Cole. “You gotta see this.”

Cole joined the Captain. He took out his flashlight, squatted down over the square hole and peered down at Paul. “You alright?”

“Are we talking physically or emotionally?” Paul asked.

“Physical’s my main concern at the moment,” Cole answered as he leaned down and shoved his hand into the square hole. “Take my hand, son.”

Paul reached for Cole’s hand but it was no use. He stood up on his tippy toes. He tried jumping for it. The kid was just too short.

“Damn it,” Cole said. “Someone will have to go down there.”

Cole waited for someone to step up, but all the firemen looked away, avoiding eye contact.

“Don’t everyone volunteer at once now,” Cole said.

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Toilet Gator – Chapter 43

Cole, Rusty, Sharon and Gordon gathered around Maude’s desk, reviewing the giant stack of reports she’d taken throughout the day.

“This guy thinks the Toilet Killer is an alien from outer space,” Cole said.

“Check this one out,” Rusty said as he read part of a report out loud. “The Toilet Killer is my mother-in-law and even if it is, you cops should feel free to pin it on her and put her away forever because that bitch is cray cray.”

“I can relate,” Cole said.

“I beg your pardon?” Sharon asked.

“Huh?” Cole said. “Nah, I was just saying, in general, most people could relate to that. I can’t, because your mother was great. A saint, really.”

Rusty coughed into his fist. “Cough, cough, pussy! Cough!”

Gordon read from a report in his hand. “The Toilet Killer is a hitman hired by the CIA.”

“Not impossible,” Rusty said. “Although personally, I still don’t think we’ve paid enough attention to the possibility that this might not all be the work of the Al Qaedas.”

“It’s not the Al Qaedas, Rusty,” Cole said.

“We don’t know it’s not, not the Al Qaedas,” Rusty said.

Sharon read from a report. “The Toilet Killer works for the Al Qaedas.”

“Rusty,” Cole said. “Did you submit an anonymous report?”

“How dare you impugn my character, sir?” Rusty asked.

Sharon kept reading. “You may think this is not the work of the Al Qaedas, but keep in mind we don’t know this is not, not the Al Qaedas.”

“This is ridiculous,” Gordon said. “Just a bunch of attention seeking crackpots.”

“Tell me about it,” Maude said as she returned to her crossword puzzle.

“Well,” Sharon said. “The trail’s cold and these are the only leads we have so we better…ow…”

Sharon grabbed her head.

Cole and Gordon rushed to Sharon’s side and asked, “Are you OK?” at the same time.

“I’m fine,” Sharon said. “Just, Gordon and I have been at this mess twenty-four hours straight now. My head’s pounding.”

“You should get some rest,” Gordon said.

“You um, want to crash at my place?” Cole asked.

Sharon hesitated. “Really?”

“Sure,” Cole said. “Why not? I’ll give you my key. You know where everything is.”

Rusty coughed into his hand again. “Cough! Pussy! Cough, cough!”

“No,” Sharon said. “That wouldn’t be right and besides, Gordon needs a rest too.”

“Not gonna lie,” Gordon said. “I could nap.”

“Come on,” Sharon said. “We’ll charge a room off to the FBI.”

“One with room service,” Gordon said. “I’m starving.”

“Wait,” Cole said. “You’re leaving?”

“You’ve got my number if anything happens,” Sharon said. “In the meantime, maybe you and Rusty could run down some of those leads. I’d stay and help but…I’m beat. Come on, Gordo.”

“Way ahead of you,” Gordon said.

The agents walked out of the door. Cole looked around. He’d been left with Rusty, Jeff the computer guy, and a few random agents and officers who were hustling about.

Rusty slapped Cole on the back. “You’re a better man than I am, my friend.”

“What?” Cole asked.

“I know I’d lose my cool if a musclebound jock like that made it clear he was going to plow my ex-wife right in front of me,” Rusty said.

“No one’s banging anyone in front of me,” Cole said.

“I know,” Rusty said. “But he was talking about it.”

“He was not,” Cole said. “No one’s banging anyone. They’re just co-workers.”

“Whatever you say,” Rusty said.

“I do say,” Cole said.

“Fine,” Rusty said. “And I sympathize. If a giant weightlifter was about to repeatedly jam a hog that was much bigger than mine into the only woman I’d ever loved, I’d try to deny it too. The mind has all sorts of mechanisms like that to keep us from flying off the handle.”

“He’s not…” Cole shook his head and sat down. “They’re not having sex. And how do you know his hog is bigger than mine?”

“I don’t have proof or anything,” Rusty said. “And I don’t believe that NN1 report about you having a micro dong but…”

Cole blew up. “Never speak of that report again!”

“Fine,” Rusty said. “But look at the dude. He’s totally built. Like Schwarzenegger in his prime. I’m not saying your hog is below average. I’m saying his there’s a strong likelihood that his hog is above average.”

Cole dropped his head down on Maude’s desk with a thud. “Maude?”

“Yes, dear?” Maude asked.

“Wanna settle this?” Cole asked.

Maude sighed. “You want the truth?”

“I guess so,” Cole said.

Maude reached her old hand out and stroked it through Cole’s hair. “That man has a giant hog and he’s minutes away from giving it to the love of your life. I’m sorry, dear.”

“It’s OK,” Cole said. “These things happen.”

Maude lit up a cigarette. “Coffee, dear?”

“Yes, please,” Cole replied.

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Toilet Gator – Chapter 42

FBI computer scientist Jeff Harvey labored over a computer screen at the Sitwell Police Department. While Sharon and Gordon watched his every move, the pencil neck geek played with a neon orange toy. He grabbed it by the center, gave it a spin, and then allowed the unsharpened blades to twirl around and around in a circular motion.

“What the hell is that thing?” Gordon asked.

“It’s my Stress Spin-a-ma-jig,” Jeff answered. “It calms me down in stressful situations.”

“What’s so stressful about this?” Sharon asked.

“I dunno,” Jeff said as he punched a few keys on the keyboard. “Maybe because I’m tracking the only viable clue in an internationally publicized, high profile serial murder case and the two investigating agents have nothing better to do than jerk off behind me as they watch my every move?”

“No one’s jerking off,” Sharon said.

“Figure of speech,” Jeff said as a worldwide map appeared on the screen.

Cole, Rusty, and Maude entered the station.

“It’s about time!” Sharon snapped at Cole.

“Yeah,” Cole said. “Listen, Sharon, I thought I was doing the right thing by getting out of the office, given our…”

Sharon threw up her hand in a “stop” motion. “Say no more. I understand.”

“But I thought about it,” Cole said. “And I really do want to help.”

“I’m glad you’re on board,” Sharon said.

“Also,” Rusty said. “We have doubts as to your ability to solve this case because of your vagina.”

“Shut up Rusty,” Cole said.

Sharon sighed. “Same old Rusty. Hasn’t changed in ten years.”

“Tell me about it,” Cole said.

Jeff stopped his spinning toy. “We’ve got a hit!”

“Where is he?” Sharon asked.

Jeff tapped his finger right into the heartland of America. “Wisconsin.”
“Why would he be in Wisconsin after everything that happened down here?” Sharon asked.

“Beats me,” Gordon said. “But we’d better get the Milwaukee field office on the line.”

“And now he’s in San Francisco,” Jeff said.

“What?” Sharon said.

“Shanghai,” Jeff said. “Mumbai. Amsterdam. Australia. Whoa, now he’s in Monte Carlo! I hear it’s lovely there this time of year.”

While Maude returned to her desk to sort through paperwork, the agents and cops watched Jeff’s computer screen as a little red dot traveled all over the world.

“How is this possible?” Sharon asked.

“Whoever this guy is, he’s good,” Jeff said. “Like, next level good. He’s masked his phone signal, making it appear as though it’s pinging off towers all over the world.”

“Who has the knowhow to do such a thing?” Sharon asked.

“Either an MIT scientist,” Jeff said as he twirled his Spin-a-ma-jig. “Or a random computer nerd with plenty of time on his hands.”

“Well shit,” Cole said. “He must be from out of town because I can’t think of a single person in Sitwell with a brain like that.”

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Toilet Gator – Chapter 40


Ten years later, Cole had gotten all the drinking out of his system, but he was pretty sure he’d never stop hunting. Every year, he got two weeks’ worth of vacation time, and every year, he spent it on a trip to shoot something nasty…usually in the face.

He’d replaced his booze addiction with one for baby back ribs. Though he did he best to not over indulge, he figured the return of his ex-wife allowed for him to have one plate. Maybe a side of grits. And some collard greens. And a loaded baked potato with extra sour cream. Hell, that woman done him wrong. Throw in some buffalo mac n’cheese and extra crispy tater tots.

As Cole sat in his favorite booth at Ruby Sue’s BBQ, he sorted through his mail. Bill. Bill. Bill. Junk mail. A brochure for a travel company that sold big game hunting trips to Africa. Cole was certain he’d never allow booze to touch his lips again, but he was never going to stop hunting. He had two weeks of vacation time coming to him every year and every year, he would invariably find himself traveling to some exotic location with his Angry Barracuda just to think of Old Mongo’s face as he shot some unsuspecting beast. He realized those beasts had not done anything wrong to him but somehow, it made him feel like he was re-taking control of his life.

He found another envelope. This one was from the Global Kids’ Initiative. Cole had long subdued his sadness over the fact that he had yet to become a father by sponsoring a small African child. Every month, Cole mailed his check for thirty-one dollars on time. It was the only bill he looked forward to paying.

Cole opened up the envelope. First, there was a letter from Global Kids’ Initiative:

Dear Donor,

Thank you for sponsoring an African child through the Global Kids’ Initiative. We appreciate your donations, but did you know there’s no limit on the number of children you can sponsor? Why, for a dollar a day, roughly the same cost as a soda pop, you can sponsor another child through our fine organization.

An eighteen year old waitress stopped by Cole’s table. Her hair was long and black, draped over her shoulders. She wore a standard pink uniform. The moniker on her name tag read, “Mindy.”

“Your diet cola, sir,” Mindy said.

“Thanks,” Cole replied. He allowed the glass of fizzy goodness to sit on the table and bubble for awhile as he read on:

Seriously? You’re going to sit there and toss a bubbly, aspartame laced glass of cold death down your throat while you could be sending your soda money to us, so that we can help another impoverished African child? Have you seen the kids in our commercials? Have you seen how they’ve got distended bellies full of tapeworms and flies buzzing around their heads and vultures swooping overhead just waiting for them to drop so they can pick what little meat they have left on their bones? But oh, sure, sure, just go ahead and drink that soda. We hope you choke on it, you unmitigated pile of iguana shit.
“Wow,” Cole muttered to himself. “They’re getting a little rough with the fundraising pitch lately.”

Cole set the charity letter aside and discovered a form that he could fill out in order to sponsor a second African child. He looked to his soda, then to the form, then to the soda, then to the form.

“Screw it,” Cole said as he took a sip of soda. “I’ve lost too much in this life to miss out on caffeine too. You’ll have to wait until the good people of Sitwell find it in their miserable hearts to give me a raise, Second African Child.”

“Talking to yourself?”

Cole looked up to see Minde holding a plate of Ruby Sue’s best vittles. She plopped it down on the table.

“Yeah,” Cole said. He looked over his plate. So much deliciousness. Cole wasn’t one to overindulge on food on a regular basis, but when he did, he did it right.

“Where’s Ruby Sue?” Cole asked as he looked around. “Been coming around here nearly twenty years and tonight’s the first night I’ve never seen here.”

“Retired,” Mindy said.

“Get out,” Cole said.

Mindy smiled. “I will get right back in there.”

“Don’t tell me they’re closing the place,” Cole said.

“No,” Mindy said.

“Thank God,” Cole said. “If I have to start going to one of those chain restaurants with all the bullshit all over the walls, I’ll just lay down in the middle of the road and wait for a bus to run me over.”

The waitress grinned. Cole knew he was way too old for her, but he enjoyed making a female smile. It’d been a long time since he had done so.

“I’m going to have to tell Cousin Steve how happy he’s made you,” Mindy said.

“Cousin Steve?” Cole asked. The name seemed familiar. He knew deep down somewhere, he knew of a Steve.

“Howdy Chief.” Cole looked up to find himself staring at the establishment’s cook, a bearded man in a hairnet, wearing a pair of glasses and a stained apron.

“I’ll be damned,” Cole said. “You’re Ruby Sue’s little boy.”

“All grown up,” Steve said.

“And running the place?” Cole asked. “Hell, I remember you jumping all over this joint when you were knee high to a dragonfly.”

“Time flies,” Steve said.

“That it does,” Cole said. “That it does. Where’s Ruby Sue off to?”

“Hawaii,” Steve said. “All this month. Caribbean cruise after that. She saved up a bunch so now she’s gonna travel the world. Left the place to me on three conditions.”

“Those are?” Cole asked.

“Gotta keep the same name,” Steve said.

“Yeah,” Cole said. “Ruby Sue’s Barbecue’ sounds better than ‘Steve’s Barbecue.’ No offense.”

“None taken,” Steve said. “I also gotta keep all the jobs in the family, like Cousin Mindy here, or my brother Darnell on the cash register.”

Cole looked over at the cash register. A snaggle-toothed doofus with a crooked nose waved at him.

“That’s Darnell?” Cole asked. “I thought he died when that mule kicked him.”

“Nah,” Steve said. “He just got his teeth, brain, and overall personality messed up. Boy was on his way to being a Rhodes Scholar when that happened too.”

“Such a shame,” Mindy added. “Aunt Ruby warned that boy not to tickle that mule so many times.”

“Third condition is that I got to cook as good as my Momma did,” Steve said.

“Huh,” Cole said. “Now that is a tall order because no one I ever met in my life ever cooked as good as your Momma. You think you’re up to the challenge?”

Steve looked at Cole’s plate. “Only one way to find out.”

“Right,” Cole set. He pulled a rib off the rack and bit into it. The meat was supple and tender, seasoned just right. “Mmm. Boy, I don’t think you got a thing to worry about.”

“Thanks Chief,” Steve said. “Better get back to work.”

“You let me know if you need anything,” Mindy added.

Steve and Mindy went back about their business. Cole enjoyed his meal while he read the latest letter from the African child he was sponsoring. He received a letter from the young lad every month, and he cherished all of them.

“Dear Mr. Cole Sir,

Things are doing very well in my village. The virus outbreak is subdued and the tarantula infestations are down to a minimum. Also, only twelve of the village girls were taken to be sold into the international sex slavery market, which, though terrible, is an improvement over the twenty or so a month that are usually taken. I’m not sure of the cause as to why less girls were kidnapped this month, but what is that American expression? ‘Do not look a gift salamander in the butt hole?’

Yes, very well, moving on then. How are you, Mr. Cole Sir? When last you wrote, you mentioned you were just beginning to get over the loss of your vile ex-wife, the evil Miss Sharon. I do not know this woman but every day I pray that her intestines will be shattered when she is run over by a herd of angry giraffes. You deserve better than this beastly woman sir, and if you keep the faith I am certain that

Speaking of giraffes, more scientists have been coming through this area in the hopes of making giraffes fornicate in order to save their dwindling species. I am sorry to say that I once accidentally walked in on two giraffes while they were doing the despicable deed and I fear I may never be right in the head ever again. At least the giraffes were enjoying themselves. Although, come to think of it, I can’t confirm whether or not they were as their incredibly long necks kept them from ever actually looking at one another.

Mr. Cole sir, I cannot thank you enough for your donation of one dollar a day. With your donations, the nice do-gooder white people who are trying so hard to make penance for the sins of their vile white devil ancestors, are providing me with food and medicine. Today, I got a shot for dysentery and I have been promised a shot for measles tomorrow. So many shots, so little time! Plus, I got to eat nibble one rationed portion of charity cheese. Have you ever eaten a piece of charity cheese, Mr. Cole sir? It was so delicious but my body was so unused to such rich food that I made doodies for days, and days, and days, and days. Months even. In fact, I am doodying right now. I believe that is what you Americans call, “multi-tasking.”

Cole looked up from the letter. He felt bad that he had so much food in front of him while the African child he was sponsoring had so little. However, he didn’t feel bad enough to not dip half a buttermilk biscuit into the barbecue sauce on his plate before shoving it directly into his pie hole.

The letter continued:

“Mr. Cole sir, please let me know if I am out of order in asking you this, and I will give myself a thousand lashes on my foreskin, just as the ruling military junta does every day for failing to show up to inspection on time. I do not mean to show up late, but as you know, I am very slow, as I am malnourished and filled with more diseases than Madonna’s adult diaper. Is that a funny joke, Mr. Cole sir? I do not get it but one of the white devil missionaries told me it was very funny. I hope you laugh for an extended period of time upon reading it, Mr. Cole sir.

If possible, and I know it would be difficult as you are a man who works very hard for your money, but would you consider sponsoring a second African child? I have many friends who are not lucky as me. They have never received any shots, or pieces of charity cheese, or anything. If possible, I would appreciate it and I will say more prayers for you than I do already. If not, I understand and I will continue to love you very much just the same. Also, the white devils told me to tell you that they did not tell me to write this, so they did not tell me to write this, Mr. Cole sir.

Also, I wish you a very happy birthday. I hope this letter arrives in time. Forty years. In my village, a man who has attained forty years of age is considered to be very old and wise, almost a confirmation that magic exists, and that it exists in the form of a man. Rarely do any of us live past forty, between the diseases, the sex slavery, and the non-stop wars. Do not even get me started on the hungry tiger attacks.

I must go now. The military junta has arrived and I must accept the very painful whipping that my testicles are about to receive. I shall get through it though, as your kindness and generosity reminds me there are many good people in the world.

With much love and admiration,


“Oh hell,” Cole said as he uncrumpled the donation form and began filling it out. “You drive a hard bargain, Mutumbo, but you talked me into it.

“Happy Birthday!” shouted two familiar voices.

Cole looked up from the form to find that Rusty and Maude had made themselves at home in his booth.

“What the…how’d you two find me?”

“Please,” Maude said. “You just turned forty, the Mayor went on TV to insult your penis, and your that hose beast of an ex-wife of yours is sniffing around town. We know you too well to not have surmised that you’d be here, stuffing your face and putting yourself on the fast track to diabetes.”

Cole scooped up a heaping helping of collard greens and shoved it into his mouth. “Maybe if you two know me so well, you’d know I’d rather be alone.”

“What?” Rusty asked. “You want us to go back to the station and get bossed around by that skank all night instead? Not on your life.”

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Toilet Gator – Chapter 40


A month later, Cole and Rusty found themselves sitting in the parking lot of an abandoned strip mall. Broken windows. Cracked paint. Run down shops that were once hustling and bustling with customers, now gone the way of the dodo thanks to a burgeoning Internet economy.

“How do you this guy won’t just shoot you and take your money?” Rusty asked.

“He won’t,” Cole said.

“OK,” Rusty said. “How do I know he won’t shoot me?”

“That’s a risk I’m willing to take.”

Minutes later, a rusty old van pulled into the parking lot. A gruff looking man wearing a skull cap stepped out, holding a bright orange lock box. A hissing snake was tattooed on his neck.

“How do I know I’m not going to get man raped?” Rusty asked.

“Again,” Cole said. “A risk…”

“Yeah, yeah,” Rusty said. “A risk you’re willing to take. Jay Leno’s got nothing on you.”

The duo stepped out of the car. “Are you Mr. Sagittarius?”

“Maybe,” the man said. “Maybe not. Who’s asking?”

“Mr. Pisces,” Cole replied.

“Hmm,” the man said. “That fits. Yes, I am Mr. Sagittarius.”

“Good,” Cole said. “Now let’s…”

“Whoa, hold the phone, Cochise,” Mr. Sagittarius said. “What’s the password?”

Cole pulled a crumpled piece of paper out of his pocket and read the words on it out loud. “Crank That Soulja Boy.”

Mr. Sagittarius stared at Cole blankly, as though he was waiting for something.

“Oh,” Cole said. “Crank That Soulja Boy…69.”

“And?” Mr. Sagittarius said.

“Oh,” Cole said as he looked at the paper. “And the ‘C’ in Crank is a capital ‘C.’”

“That’s more like it,” Mr. Sagittarius said. “All passwords must contain a number and a capital letter. Mr. Sagittarius doesn’t mess around.”

“Can I see the piece?” Cole asked.

“Depends,” Mr. Sagittarius said. “Can I see the cash?”

Cole pulled three thousand dollars’ worth of crisp, one-hundred bills out of a manilla envelope and fanned it out. He waved the money around, then put it back in the envelope.

“Alright,” Mr. Sagittarius said as he unlocked the orange box. “Mr. Sagittarius can see you don’t mess around either.”

Cole looked inside and stared at the magnificently shiny hand cannon inside.

“Behold,” Mr. Sagittarius said. “The Angry Barracuda 500.”

“Umm,” Rusty said. “I think I’m going to go get a fro-yo with some extra gummy bears.”

Mr. Sagittarius looked at Cole, but pointed at Rusty. “What’s his problem?”

“Nothing,” Cole said. “He’s cool.”

“He doesn’t seem cool,” Mr. Sagittarius said.

“I’m cool,” Rusty said. “I just like that fro-yo place across the street. They have great gummy bears.”

“Defeats the purpose,” Mr. Sagittarius said.

“What?” Rusty asked.

“You’re going to get a frozen yogurt because it’s less calories than ice cream,” Mr. Sagittarius said. “But then you’re going to cover it with gummy bears and shit until it has as much or even more calories than ice cream. That defeats the purpose of getting frozen yogurt in the first place. You might as well not be a little bitch and just get a full blown ice cream.”

“Thank you for the nutritional tip, Mr. Sagittarius,” Rusty said.

“No problem,” Mr. Sagittarius. “Mr. Sagittarius used to be a lot bigger, but he lost a hundred pounds over the past three years.”

“Wow,” Cole said.

“That takes a lot of commitment, Mr. Sagittarius,” Rusty said.

“It’s all about taking it day by day and making the best possible health choices you can,” Mr. Sagittarius said.

“You’re an inspiration to us all, Mr. Sagittarius,” Rusty said. “Now if you’ll excuse me, that frozen yogurt calls…”

“Knock it off,” Cole said.

“Look,” Rusty said. “You guys do your thing, but I don’t want to be a party to an illegal transaction.”

“What illegal transaction?” Mr. Sagittarius said. “I’m a fully licensed and insured gun dealer, compliant with all aspects of state and federal law.”

“Bullshit,” Rusty said.

Mr. Sagittarius opened up the door to his van.

“Shit,” Rusty said. “He’s going for a gun.”

“Will you get your vagina under control?” Cole asked.

Mr. Sagittarius returned with a folder he handed to Rusty. “Here you go.”

Rusty inspected the folder. It was filled with documents, permits, and licenses, all bearing the name of…

“Sidney Weimariner?” Rusty asked. “What’s with all this ‘Mr. Sagittarius’ bullshit then?”

“Mr. Sagittarius prefers to go on the down low as much as possible,” the gun dealer said. “There are many reprobates out there who want what Mr. Sagittarius has.”

Rusty pointed at Cole. “Then why is he, ‘Mr. Pisces?’”

“Because I like fish,” Mr. Sagittarius said. “I know who he really is. Who are you?”

Rusty gulped. “Mr. Blonde.”

“Mr. Blonde?” Mr. Sagittarius asked.

“We’re doing astrological signs,” Cole explained. “Not colors.”

“Oh,” Rusty said. “Sorry. I just really like Tarantino.”

Mr. Sagittarius took the folder back from Rusty. He pulled out some paperwork and handed it to Cole. “There you go, all fully registered, nice and legal like, to one Mr. Cole Walker.”

“Wait a minute,” Rusty said. “Isn’t there a waiting period?”

“You’re right,” Mr. Sagittarius said. He looked down at his watched and hummed a few bars of a catchy tune. “28…29…30 seconds. Enough waiting.”
“Har dee har, har,” Rusty said. “What about a background check?”

“Rusty, why are you trying to screw this up for me?” Cole asked.

“There’s just something off about this,” Rusty said.

“Mr. Pisces,” Mr. Sagittarius said. “Are you going to kill a bunch of people with this gun?”

“No,” Cole replied.

“That checks out,” Mr. Sagittarius said.

Rusty slapped his forehead in disbelief.

“Look,” Mr. Sagittarius said. “I don’t need to perform a back ground check because technically, this is a gun show.”

“It is?” Rusty asked.

Mr. Sagittarius wiggled his hips and swayed from side to side. “Best dance show ever.”

“You call that a show?” Rusty asked.

“You want me to sing too?” Mr. Sagittarius asked. “What do want to hear? Marvin Gaye? Maybe a little Gladys Knight and the Pips?”

“Please,” Cole said. “Ignore my friend. He’s a ginger.”

“That explains it,” Mr. Sagittarius said.

Cole handed over the money. Mr. Sagittarius handed over the gun.

“It’s a magnificent weapon,” Mr. Sagittarius said. “I put a lot of work into finding it.”

“Appreciated,” Cole said.

Mr. Sagittarius handed Cole the key to the lock box. Cole locked it up.

“Only owned by one previous owner,” Mr. Sagittarius said. “He only used it one time to shoot a rhinoceros in the face in self-defense.”

“Come on,” Rusty said. “How do you shoot a rhinoceros in self-defense?”

“I don’t know,” Mr. Sagittarius said. “I wasn’t there. I don’t judge. Good day, gentlemen. I wish I could say it’s been a pleasure, but you made me drive into Redneck country and well, I’ve had nightmares ever since I saw Deliverance.”

“Damn,” Rusty said. “That movie sure did give the south a black eye.”

Mr. Sagittarius hopped into his van and drove away. Rusty and Cole returned to their car.

“Well,” Rusty said. “You got two more weeks of leave left. What are you going to do know?”

“Get drunk and shoot a shit ton of animals,” Cole replied.

“That sounds healthy,” Rusty said.

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Toilet Gator – Chapter 39


Cole unwrapped his burger and winced as he saw two big pickle slices sticking out from underneath the bun.

“You know I hate pickles,” Cole said.

“Really?” Rusty asked with a fake lisp. “I thought you loved pickles, big boy.”

“Rusty,” Cole said. “Seriously, man. I need you to dial it back.”

“OK,” Rusty said.

“They’ve been weening me off the painkillers and I’m on edgy and moody as fuck,” Cole said.

Rusty chomped on an onion ring. “Well, a big ass dog did turn your leg into a Happy Meal so, I suppose those feelings are normal.”

Cole glared at Rusty.

“What?” Rusty asked. “That wasn’t even a joke! I’m just saying, it’s normal for you to feel like shit. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t feel that way in your situation. Just let it all out, man.”

“No,” Cole said. “Fuck that noise. Everyone wants to talk about their feelings. ‘Waah, waah, boo hoo hoo, I have so many feelings.’ Like that helps anything.”

Rusty picked the bun off of Cole’s burger and flicked off the two pickles. “Look here, this is a real easy fix. There. No more pickles.”

“Damn it!” Cole said.

“What?” Rusty asked.

“Well now your hand’s been on it…”

“I wash my hands, Cole,” Rusty said.

Cole picked up the burger.

“Although, come to think of it,” Rusty said. “I did take a big shit this morning and for the life of me I can’t remember if I washed my hands after.”

“Enough with the jokes!” Cole said.

“Not a joke,” Rusty said. “I truly can’t remember. That burger may very well be crawling with fecal coliform bacteria.”

Cole shrugged his shoulders. “Fuck it.” He bit into the burger, then moaned happily. “Oh God. Three months of jello.”

“I knew you’d like it,” Rusty said. “And I did tell that girl at the drive through to not put pickles on yours but you know those damn kids never listen.”

Cole and Rusty munched on their food for awhile as they watched Network News One on the TV in the lounge.

“In recent news Vice-President Cheney has announced that he will try really, really hard to not shoot any of his friends in the face ever again,” Kurt Manley said. “The VP added, ‘That was totally my bad, people. Totally my bad. In other news, Senator Barack Obama spoke to supporters on the campaign trail today…”

Senator Obama appeared on screen at a podium. “For when we have faced down impossible odds, when we’ve been told we’re not ready or that we shouldn’t try or that we can’t, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Yes, we can!”

“Will you get a load of this guy?” Rusty said. “‘Barack Obama.’ Why don’t they just run a guy named Jihadi Al-I’ll-bomb-ya?”

Cole sipped his soda. “I don’t know. He’s a real slick talker. I’ll give him that.”

“What you like him?” Rusty asked.

“I don’t like any politicians,” Cole said. “Republican. Democrat. All the same. When they walk in the room, grab your wallet and hold on tight.”

“Shit,” Rusty said. “You got that right.”

Obama continued. “It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation: Yes, we can. It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail towards freedom through the darkest of nights: Yes, we can!”

“‘Yes, we can,’” Rusty said. “‘Hope and change.’ Bunch of bull.”

“He’s got it locked up,” Cole said.

“You think?” Rusty said.

“Yeah,” Cole said. “The man can talk the paint off a barn door.”

Rusty took a bite of his burger and swallowed. “I dunno. I heard McCain just picked this Sarah Palin lady to be his vice-president.”

“Sarah who?” Cole said.

“Palin,” Rusty said. “Governor of Alaska. Supposed to be a real smart cookie though I dunno, I haven’t heard her talk yet.”

Cole stole one of Rusty’s onion rings. “Really, who gives a shit?”

“Indeed, brother,” Rusty said. “Indeed.”

Rusty wiped the crumbs off his mouth with a napkin, then stood up.

“Got a hot date tonight, dude,” Rusty said. “How do I look?”

“Like you should be a supporting cast member on The Sopranos,” Cole said.

“Oh God,” Rusty said. “Don’t even get me started on that show, Cole. I whacked my TV set for a good thirty-five minutes after that finale because friggin’ HBO made me think it was on the fritz.”

“Where’d you meet this one?” Cole asked.

“Online,” Rusty said. “Internet dating, Cole. It’s amazing. You just log on and it’s like your own catalog of poon.”

Cole bit off a hunk off his burger and chewed. “She’s probably a man.”

“I will hear no insults about the lovely Layla,” Rusty said.

Cole washed down his bite with another sip of soda. “Layla’s dick is probably bigger than yours.”

“Blasphemy, sir!” Rusty said. “You have besmirched my honor!”

“You don’t have any honor,” Cole said.

“Oh, right,” Rusty replied. “Check this out.”

Rusty grabbed the sides of his pants, which were secured by dozens of snap-on buttons. The redhead yanked, the pants broke free and there he stood in the middle of the lounge in his polka-dot boxer shorts.

“What the hell?” Cole asked.

“Breakaway pants!” Rusty said. “You like ‘em?”

“No,” Cole said.

“Check it,” Rusty said. “I put these bad boys on. I take Layla out to the club. We’re drinking. We’re dancing. We’re grinding all over each other. We’re in the mood and…splatow! Off come my pants! No muss, no fuss!”

Dr. Kragen walked into the lounge with a parfait cup in her hand. She spotted a pants-less Rusty and instantly turned around and walked away. “Nope. Don’t even want to know.”

“You really need to put your pants back on,” Cole said.

“Oh,” Rusty said as he looked down at his hairy legs. “Right.”

After Rusty was fully clothed again, the duo continued their meal in silence for awhile. Finally, Cole speak.

“Where is she?” Cole asked.

“Where’s who?” Rusty replied.

Cole slapped the remaining half of his burger down on the paper. “Don’t do that.”

“Do what?” Rusty asked.

“Play dumb,” Cole said. “Don’t play dumb with me.”

“Who’s playing?” Rusty asked. “I’m very dumb.”

“Where’s Sharon?”

“I don’t know, man,” Rusty said. “She didn’t call you?”

“No,” Cole said.

“That’s weird,” Rusty said.

“Stop it,” Cole said.

“Thought she said she was going to call you,” Rusty said. “She probably got busy with something.”

“Knock it off,” Cole said.

“You know how women are,” Rusty said. “They’d forget their heads if they weren’t attached.

Cole pounded his fist down on the table. “Where’s Sharon?!”

A few patients and their families turned around to stare. Rusty waved them off.

“OK,” Rusty said as he put down his burger. “I’ve been dreading this…”

“What?” Cole said. “Come on, man, out with already. Be straight with me!”

“I’ve been straight with you,” Rusty said.
“No you haven’t,” Cole said. “Every time I see you, you got some excuse for her. She’s really busy, she’s sick, she’s visiting her mother, her sister’s got the flu…I was too high to figure it out but now that the doctor cut my dosage I’m getting the distinct fucking feeling that you have been very far from straight with me.”

“Cole,” Rusty said. “I didn’t want to…”

“I lost my leg and my wife hasn’t come to see me once,” Cole said. “I’m not an idiot, Rusty.”

“I know,” Rusty said.

Rusty pulled a piece of paper out of his folder out of his pocket, unfolded it, and handed it to Cole. As soon as Cole looked at it, he felt his entire world collapse. Two words were written on it in Sharon’s handwriting. “I’m sorry.”

Cole crumpled up the paper and threw it against the wall. He pounded his fist on the table over and over. “Fuck!”

The patients and families looked over again. Cole let them have it. “The fuck are you looking at?! Mind your business!”

“That night,” Rusty said. “When the doctors told me you were stable, I swung by your house to tell Sharon and she wasn’t there.”

Cole cocked his head back and stared up at the ceiling in a daze.

“I let myself in,” Cole said. “Found that on the kitchen table. All her stuff was gone.”

Cole remained silent.

“I’m sorry,” Rusty said. “You’ve been through so much. I didn’t want to upset you. I figured it might mess up your chances of getting better. Kept hoping maybe she’d come back or something and it’d all be fine but…that never happened.”

“You call her?” Cole asked.

“Yeah,” Rusty said. “Left a bunch of messages. Just went right to voicemail.”

A few silent minutes passed. Cole kept staring at the ceiling. Rusty kept eating dinner.

“Shit,” Rusty said. “Now I feel bad for telling you about my date.”

“She probably has a dick,” Cole said.

“She most definitely has a dick,” Rusty replied.

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Toilet Gator – Chapter 37


“God damn it!” the Chief shouted as he got off his radio. “Animal control is twenty minutes out!”

“Shit,” Cole said. “She doesn’t have that kind of time.”

Wade grabbed the Chief by his collar. “Chief! Man, you gotta save my little girl, man!”

“Get off me, scumbag!” Together, the Chief and Rusty slammed the perp on the hood of a patrol car and cuffed him.

“Jesus,” Rusty said. “You believe this guy, Cole? Cole?”

Cole was too busy cocking a shotgun he’d just pulled from the trunk of his cruiser. Steely-eyed and determined, he marched toward the shack’s front door.

“Cole!” the Chief shouted. “You can’t go after that dog all by yourself!”

Cole ignored the Chief.

“Get your ass back here!” the Chief shouted. “That’s an order!”

Cole paid no attention. Rusty grabbed his longtime friend by the shoulder. Cole shook him off.

“Cole!” Rusty said. “You seriously doing this?”

“No choice,” Cole said.

“Did you see that thing?” Rusty asked. “It looked like Godzilla fucked Cujo and had a baby.”

Cole kicked opened the door to the shack, then looked at Rusty. “Come or stay, but I’m going in.”

Rusty drew his weapon. “Alright! Fuck it! Damn it Cole, you got some big ass balls.”

The duo stepped into the kitchen. Old Mongo could be heard growling loudly in the other room. He started barking his head off.

“And I have some tiny balls,” Rusty said as he walked out of the shack. “You’re on your own, Cole-train.”

Cole shook his head. “Figures.”

Old Mongo moved. Cole could hear his big paws tromping all over. He entered the living room with his shotgun pointed out in front of him. Around twenty little plastic bags filled with cocaine sat next to a scale on the table. Neither dog nor girl were anywhere to be found.
“Hey pig!” Wade shouted from the outside. “You do your job yet and rescue my little girl? My tax dollars pay your salary, you know!”

Cole could hear the Chief’s voice too. “Like you pay any taxes. Shut up before I pistol whip the piss out of you, Wade.”

And Rusty’s voice entered the mix. He was on his radio. “Yeah. Gonna need an ambulance. Hell, you’re gonna wanna get the coroner over here. My dumb ass partner’s gonna get his ass ate.”

“Fuck you, Rusty,” Cole mumbled under his breath.

Cole turned a corner and found a stairway. Carefully, he put his foot on the first step. It creaked. The sound traveled, causing Old Mongo, who had already made it upstairs, to bark incessantly.

Cole tried it again. He moved slowly, gently, trying his best not to make a sound. He reached the top of the stairs and found Wade’s bedroom. Empty beer cans littered the floor. Hundreds of risqué photos ripped out of nudey magazines were taped up all over the walls.

“Classy,” Wade muttered.

Outside, the shouting match between Wade and the Chief continued.

“What the hell is wrong with your dog?” the Chief asked. “That doesn’t look like any kind of dog I’ve ever seen.”

“I dunno,” Wade answered. “He’s been real ornery and mean lately, ever since I started feeding him PCP.”

“PCP?” the Chief asked. “The hell would you do a fool thing like that for?”

“I dunno!” Wade shouted. “He’s a guard dog, aint he?! He needs to be alert to guard shit, don’t he?”

“You asshole,” the Chief said.

“Just another day in the life of Sitwell,” Rusty said.

“Shut up, Rusty,” he Chief said.

“Shutting up, sir,” Rusty replied.

Cole stepped into Molly’s room. Old Mongo was pacing about, staring at the bed and snarling. Molly’s little eyes peeked out from underneath the bed and looked up at Cole. Cole looked at the girl and put a finger up to his mouth as if to say, “Shh!”

Now was Cole’s chance. He aimed the shotgun at the dog, hoping to catch him from behind. Blam! The dog was down. Cole walked toward the dog’s body with his shotgun still drawn.


Old Mongo was up and angrier than ever. He charged at Cole, biting into his right leg. Reflexively, Cole put his second and last shot right into the ceiling, then dropped the shotgun.

Cole scrambled on his hands and knees toward the hallway as the dog continued to chomp into his right leg. With his left leg, Cole kicked the dog in the head, buying him enough time to stand up. Blood rushed out of his bite wounds and all over Wade’s pre-stained carpeting. The pain was unbearable, but Cole still managed to move.

Once Old Mongo was out of the room, Molly sprang out from under her bed and shut her door. Out in the hall, Cole drew his sidearm. He pointed it at the dog and got off one shot. Old Mongo flinched, like he’d just been bitten by a fly.

“Aw shit,” Cole said as the giant dog jumped on him, knocking him down the stairs. The pistol flew right out of Cole’s hands. Man and dog tumbled down the stairwell, attacking one another with all their might.

On the floor below, Cole screamed louder than he ever had before in his life as Old Mongo chowed down on his leg. Cole reached for the utility knife on his belt. He unfolded it, then stabbed the dog repeatedly…over and over again until…blam!

Rusty had entered the shack and put a bullet in the dog’s head. Blam! Blam! It took two more before Old Mongo was finally down.

The Chief entered. He looked down at Cole. His young officer had passed out.

“Jesus,” the Chief said. “His leg’s holding on by a thread.”

The Chief pulled off his shirt and held it over Cole’s leg, desperately trying to hold in the blood.

Rusty clicked the call button on his radio. “Maude! Need an ETA on that ambulance! Stat!

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Toilet Gator – Chapter 30


Freedom Firepower. It was Sitwell’s top gun store/shooting range. On any given day, many a Sitwell resident could be found plugging paper cutouts of bad hombres full of red hot lead.

The owner was used to it. He loved the sounds of gunfire and the smell of gunpowder. Although he wore a pair of mirrored aviator sunglasses, a trucker’s cap and a sleeveless T-shirt, he walked with perfect posture. He took a sip of beer, then enjoyed the cool feeling of a frosty can in his hand.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the owner said. “I am Gunnery Sergeant Moses T. Malone, United States Marine Corps, Retired. In my day, I took many a pile of cow shit dropped off on my doorstep by Uncle Sam and turned them into bloodthirsty killing machines. I’m talking trained killers who devour their enemies in one bite and then laugh in the glow of the moonlight as they shit out their bones.”

Moses looked to the clerk standing behind the counter near the door to the gun range. “Felix!”

Felix was half the size of Moses. His hair was brown and bushy, completely untamed. He looked like he hadn’t shaved in months and wore a black patch over his right eye. He was a man of few words. “Hmm?”

“Have you collected the requisite entry fee of eight-hundred and seventy-five dollars from each and every one of these pupils?” Moses asked.

“Affirmative,” Felix replied.

“Excellent!” Moses said. He clasped his hands behind his back and paced back and forth in front of his class.

“You unsavory ass maggots are in the gun range section of my humble establishment,” Moses said. “Here, you will learn how to fire with great precision and acute accuracy, for a true shot is, more often than not, the only thing standing between the protection of your life and the lives of those who love and a gruesome death at the hands of a crack pipe hitting lunatic criminal, the kind of which all those commie pinko hippies will gladly fill the streets with if they get their way. Isn’t that right, Felix?”

Felix nodded. “Mmm hmm.”

“Felix, my hetero, non-gay life mate and I saw a whole heap of shit in the war,” Moses said. “And God knows I’d be lying if I said we didn’t bring some of that pain back with us. I don’t know how Felix deals with his doldrums because he doesn’t talk much and frankly, that’s why we get along.”

Moses took another sip of beer, then drew a pistol from a holster on his belt. He walked over to an empty booth on the range, pointed his weapon at the paper target down range, then fired over and over again until the target’s head was blown completely off. “As for me, I get my kicks taking little sissy fairies like yourselves and turning you into stone cold killers.”

The instructor holstered his women. “Any questions?”

Multiple tiny hands shot up into the air.

“Yes,” Moses said as he pointed to a little girl with pigtails. “What is it,

“My Momma said she’s gonna divorce my Daddy for signing me up for Gun Scouts ‘cuz she says guns are bad,” Chloe said.

Moses laughed. “Young lady, no offense, but your mother sounds like a radical left-wing lesbian who daydreams all day about crawling inside Hillary Clinton’s vagina and taking a nap. If she’s really going to divorce your father for enrolling you in a fine organization like Gun Scouts, then he should thank his lucky stars that he won’t be wasting another day of his precious life with such a contemptible shrew.”

A little boy raised his hand.

“Yes,” Moses said. “Kevin.”

“What was the war like?” Kevin asked.

Moses chuckled. He looked to Felix. “You hear this kid? ‘What was the war like?’”

Felix smiled, then picked up a remote off the counter. He pointed it at the big flat screen TV mounted on the wall to the left of his work area and turned on NN1. Countess Cucamonga coverage, as usual.

Moses put his hand on the little boy’s arm. “Son, if there’s one universal truth of life, it’s this. It is impossible to explain what something ‘is like’ to someone who has never experienced it. An astronaut can’t adequately describe to me what it is like to be shot up into this space because I’ve never been there. Therefore, it stands to reason that I can’t tell you what it’s like to gut a man with a rusty razer blade, then pull his rotting carcass on top of my body in order to hide from a roving enemy patrol. No, young man, I could never explain to you what it was like to stare into the cold, motionless eyes of a dead man for three days while being scared out of my mind that I was about to be just like him. I can’t tell you what sorrow I felt as I stared into that man’s eyes and thought about that man and what he must have once been as a human being – how he once had a family, probably a wife, children, how he had hopes and dreams and with one quick flick of a sharp piece of steel, I took that all away from him and turned him into a human shaped pile of trash for me to burrow under like some kind of two-bit junkyard dog.”

“Oh,” Kevin said. “OK.”

“Any other questions?” Moses asked.

Billy, a chubby lad, raised his hand.
“God damn it,” Moses said. “I’m gonna have to make you do some push ups, boy. What the hell do you want?”

“Mister Moses, sir,” Billy said.

“That’s Sergeant to you, pork rind,” Moses said.

“When do we get to shoot the guns?” Billy asked.

Moses guffawed. He looked towards his hetero life mate. “You hear this kid?”

Felix smiled. Moses looked at Billy and mimicked the boy’s squeaky voice. “‘When do we get to shoot the guns?’ That’s you. That’s what you sound like.”

“Well,” Billy said. “When?”

“Son, your Momma must have ingested a heaping helping of crystal meth while she was cooking you up in her baby maker because you sound like a meth baby to me,” Moses said. “Are you a meth baby?”

“No sir,” Billy said.

“You think I’d just hand you a gun on your first day, when you don’t know Jack Shit about anything?” Moses asked.

Billy shrugged his shoulders. “Yeah?”

Moses shot the boy a sour look, then smiled. “You’re Goddamn right I would!”

The instructor turned to the clerk. “Felix!”

“Hmm?” Felix asked.

“Take these little patriots out around back to the kids’ gun range,” Moses said. “Give ‘em each a man stopper and show ‘em what to do.”

“Hooray!” the kids shouted in unison. They all swarmed around Felix’s ankles as the quiet man ushered the students out the door.

“You kids listen to Felix, now!” Moses shouted. “I have deputized him with all my powers and authority as a licensed gun safety instructor! Just be sure to stay on the side of his good eye so he knows what the hell all you little shits are up to!”

As soon as his class was gone, Moses smiled. “Aww, kids. They grow up so fast.”

The instructor paced the length of the gun range, critiquing the stance and technique of each customer all the way.

Blam! Blam! Blam! A little old lady pumped multiple rounds into her target’s chest.
“Worst grouping I have ever seen in my life, Ethel,” Moses said.

“I’m trying, Sonny,” Ethel said.

“Yeah,” Moses said. “You know who else is trying? The gangbanger whose soul purpose in life is to break into your house and have his way with every one of your orifices! Are you going to let him get away with that shit?”

Ethel got mad. She pointed at the target and squinted. Blam! She put one right in the target’s head.

“Atta girl, Ethel,” Moses said. “No one’s touching your old lady parts without your say so, that’s for damn sure.”

Moses moved on. A bespectacled geek in a polo shirt was aiming his gun with his hand tilted to the left, gangster style. He squeezed off a few rounds, but his bullets flew past the target.

“Son of a bitch, Clyde!” Moses said. “What in Sam Hill are you doing?”

“I…I don’t know, Moses,” Clyde said.

“Why don’t you just do yourself a favor and go back to your restaurant, take all your money out of the cash register and wave it around in the air and shout, ‘Come and get it, lowlives! I’m a failure as a man and I’m literally powerless to stop you from depriving me of my livelihood!’”

Clyde hanged his head low. “I’m sorry.”

“Shit,” Moses said as he grabbed Clyde’s wrist and turned his hand straight. “Don’t apologize to me. Apologize to yourself. What is this shit you’re doing?”

“It’s gangster style,” Clyde said. “It’s how Tupac and Biggie used to shit.”

Moses scoffed. “Oh, you want to shoot just like Biggie and Tupac?”

“Yeah,” Clyde said.

“Yeah, well, don’t,” Moses said. “Maybe if Biggie and Tupac had held their guns straight they’d of iced the punks who capped them and then they’d still be out there putting out albums today? Ever think of that?”

“No,” Clyde said.

“That’s the problem,” Moses said. “None of you young people ever think at all.”

Moses pointed Clyde’s hand directly at the target. Blam! A hole opened up in the target’s shoulder. Clyde smiled. “I hit it! I actually hit it!”

“That’s a shitty hit,” Moses said. “Your perp could still steal your cash with his other hand and if he were so inclined, could probably still have the strength to push you down and have his way with your man hole but…at least it’s progress. Keep it up kid, and you’re be popping heads like ripe casaba melons in no time.”

Clyde threw his arms around Moses. “Thank you, Moses! Thank you!”

Moses extracted himself from the hug. “Whoa, whoa, hold the phone, Jack. What do you think this is, some kind of homosexual love shack?”

“Huh?” Clyde asked. “No. No, I was just so happy that I…”

Moses walked away. “Keep it in your pants, compadre. The only thing that will ever go near my butt is the colonoscope of a trained medical doctor and even then I’ll have my reservations.”

Blam! Blam! Blam! As Moses reached the last booth on the rang, the “blams!” grew deafeningly loud. “Well holy shit, if it isn’t Cole Walker!”

Cole pulled off his protective ear phones and nodded at Moses.

“I knew I heard the sweet siren song of an Angry Barracuda,” Moses said.

Cole flipped open the chamber and dumped his spent casings all over the counter in his booth. Moses held his hand out. “May I?”

The chief handed over his massive hand cannon. Moses hovered his nostrils over the barrel and sniffed away. “Mmm…mmm…oh how I love the smell of an Angry Barracuda in the morning!”

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Toilet Gator – Chapter 23

Maude gave up on her knitting and moved on to a crossword puzzle. She chewed on the end of a pencil as she stared blankly at a particularly confounding clue.

“Hmm…number fourteen across,” the old gal mumbled. “An eight letter world that starts with N. ‘This small fellow rode high in the saddle until he got his Waterloo.’”

At the desk to Maude’s right sat Officer Burt Duncan. He was a year older than Maude and only a year away from retirement. Thus, he didn’t really try to hide the fact that he was openly sleeping at his desk during his shift.

“Burt?” Maude asked.

Burt snored.

“Hey!” Maude shouted. “Burt!”

Burt snored some more.

Maude wadded up a piece of paper into a ball and chucked it at Burt’s head. The old, gray haired man jumped up with a start. “Huh? What?”

“What’s an eight letter word that starts with N and is a small fellow who rode high in the saddle until he got his Waterloo?” Maude asked.

“Oh, hell, Maude,” Burt said. “You woke me up for that?”

“You’re an officer of the law, numb nuts,” Maude said. “You should be awake already.”

“Eight letter word that starts with N,” Burt said. “Let me think.”

“OK,” Maude said as she studied her crossword puzzle. “Don’t hurt yourself.”

“Nipples?” Burt said.

Maude mouthed the letters as she counted them on her fingers. “N-I-P-P-L-E-S…you dumb ass, that’s seven letters.”

“Close enough,” Burt said.

“It needs to be better than ‘close enough,” Maude said. “And ‘Nipples’ isn’t even the name of a person.”

“Oh well,” Burt said as he closed his eyes. “I tried.”

Maude’s phone rang.

“Hello. Sitwell Police Department.”
The voice of a frazzled woman was on the other line. “I’m gonna kill him!”

Maude rolled her eyes. “Henrietta Wilkinson, is that you?”

“Yeah!” Henrietta shouted. “Ernie done come home drunk again! He’s fat, lazy, don’t got no job, and I’m sick of cleanin’ up after his loser ass.”

“Calm down,” Henrietta said.

“I’m gonna shoot his ass!” Henrietta shouted. “You better send someone down here to stop me!”

Maude sighed. She covered up the receiver then looked over to Burt. “You feel like breaking up the Wilkinsons’ weekly bru ha ha?”

Burt pulled his hat down over his eyes. “Not particularly. She sound serious?”

“About as serious as the hundred other times she’s pulled this stunt,” Maude said.

“She’s bluffing,” Burt said.

Maude spoke into the phone. “Henrietta are you bluffing?”

“No!” Henrietta said. “I’mma put two in Ernie’s ass! One in each cheek!”

Maude turned to Ernie. “She says she’s not bluffing.”

Burt shrugged his shoulders. “Eh. Ernie had a good run.”

“Maude!” Henrietta said. “You better do somethin’ quick or else I’ll…”

An angry look took over Maude’s face. “Henrietta Dorothea Wilkinson!”

The other end was quiet for a minute. There was some light sobbing before Henrietta finally answered. “Yes, ma’am?”

“Don’t you sit there and bark orders at me, young lady!” Maude shouted. “You used to be such a nice girl when you’d come over to my house and play with my granddaughter, Bernice, but lord have mercy, I just don’t know what’s come over you, girl.”

“I’m sorry,” Henrietta said. “I just feel down.”

“We all do, darlin,’” Maude said. “But that doesn’t give you the right to go and threaten your husband and call the police department, making all kinds of crazy demands. That’s a good way to get yourself locked up.”

“I know,” Henrietta said.

“Look, girl,” Maude said. “I know Ernie isn’t much to look at. Lord knows that on the day he was born he must have fallen out of an ugly tree and hit every single branch on the way down, but you gotta be honest and realize you’re no prize pig at the county fair either.”

“I know,” Henrietta said.

“Sure, Ernie doesn’t have a job,” Maude said. “She’s he’s dumber than a box of rocks and he drinks like a fish but honey, we all know that big sore on your lip isn’t a zit like you keep telling everyone. I know a herpes sore when I see one.”

“I tried rubbin’ some cream on it,” Henrietta said.

“Herpes is for life, sweetheart,” Maude said. “So what’s your big plan? You’re gonna shoot Ernie and then what? Prince Charming is gonna ride on in on his noble steed and whisk you and that big purple golf ball on your lip away to a better life in his castle?”

“Well,” Henrietta said. “When you say it like that…”

“Truth is you’re both ugly as sin and no one else wants either of you so you two had better make the most of it,” Maude said.

Henrietta sniffed. “We will.”

“Good,” Maude said. “Are you lying to me about having a gun?”

“Yeah,” Henrietta said.

“I thought so,” Maude said. “I thought Chief Walker took your piece the last time you pulled this.”

“He did,” Henrietta said.

“Good,” Maude said. “Now baby girl, this line is for serious police business so you can’t be calling it just because you want some attention. You want attention, you go on over to the library and join the ladies’ book club or flash your titties to strangers on the inter webs or something.”

“OK,” Henrietta said.

“I mean it,” Maude said. “Our officers are too busy chasing down the killer that did in that singer with the fat ass to worry about your bullshit.”

Henrietta blew her nose…loudly. It was a snotstravaganza, right in Maude’s ear.

“Oh yeah,” Henrietta said. “I been hunkerin’ down in my house watchin’ Network News One around the clock like that handsome anchorman fella told me to. They catch whodunnit yet?”

“That’s classified,” Maude said.

“Oh,” Henrietta said. “Say, Maude. Do you think it’s safe to shit?”

Maude was taken aback. “What kind of question is that?”

“Well,” Henrietta said. “You got three people who all died when they were trying to take a shit so, I figure this killer has got it in for people who take shits.”

“Young lady that is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard and I’ve answered this line in a town full of degenerate drunk ass hill billies for thirty years,” Maude said. “You go and get off this line and think about what you’ve done.”

“OK,” Henrietta said.

“And go take a shit!” Maude said. “Maybe you’re all backed up and that’s what’s causing you to have a screw loose.”

“OK,” Henrietta said. “Bye.”

“Goodbye,” Maude said.

Maude hanged up the phone. She turned on her computer and logged on to the Network News One website. “Big story our little town is wrapped up in, huh?”

Burt was back to snoring again. Maude looked at the old man and shook her head. “Sitwell’s finest.”

The phone rang again. “Hello. Sitwell Police Department.”

A random male voice was on the other end of the line. “Hi. I had a question about something I saw on the news.”

“You’re talking about the famous girl with the big butt and the other two people that got killed?” Maude asked.

“Yeah,” the man said.

“I’m not sure I have much information to give you sir,” Maude said.

“Well,” the man said. “I was just wondering. Do you think it’s safe to go to the bathroom?”

“Pardon me?” Maude asked.

“I got one giant, angry turd in the chamber, lady,” the man said. “But these people on the news, constantly talking about people getting murdered while they’re on the toilet…kinda makes me afraid to go to the toilet.”

“Sir,” Maude said. “I’m not an expert on toilet related homicide, but I’d say the odds of you getting murdered on the toilet are pretty slim.”

“But,” the man said. “It’s still possible. I mean, Countess Cucamonga and that old guy and that college guy probably thought the odds of them getting murdered on the toilet were slim, right?”

“I suppose so,” Maude said. “Look, sir. You’re a grown man. You need to make your own decisions vis a vis your bowel movements. I can’t decide for you.”

“OK,” the man said. “I think I’m gonna try to hold it for a little while longer. It’s just gonna be hard because I had a deep dish pizza with stuffed crust and extra sausage last night and I’m prairie dogging like there’s no tomorrow.

“Prairie dogging?” Maude asked.

“That’s when the shit pokes out of your butthole like it’s trying to take a look around because, you know, it’s ready to come on out into the world, but then it pops back up there because you’re trying to hold it,” the man said.

“Sorry I asked,” Maude said.

“OK,” the man said. “Thanks.”

“Don’t mention it,” Maude said.

Maude hanged up the phone. She worked on her crossword puzzle for a little while. “Eight letter word that starts with…”

Ring! Maude picked up the phone. “Hello. Sitwell Police Department.”

The voice of an angry old man was on the other end of the line. “Do you have any idea how much I pay in taxes every year just to pay the salaries of all you useless people?”

“I have no idea, sir,” Maude said.

“I practically want to slit my wrists every time I pay my taxes,” the old man said. “But I pay them anyway because I’m a good, God fearing American.”

“Are we going somewhere with this, sir?” Maude asked.

“Yes,” the old man said. “I want to know why is it that with all the taxes I pay, you morons can’t make it safe for everyone to shit.”

“Huh?” Maude asked.

“The news!” the old man shouted. “People are dying as they shit and you people haven’t done a damn thing about it. My wife just had to shit in the woods like a bear. I feel one coming on in a minute and now I’m going to have to shit under a tree because I don’t dare use the commode while a lunatic is running around killing people on the can!”

“I’m very sorry for the inconvenience, sir,” Maude said.

“You better be!” the old man said. “I’m going to write the governor, my congressman, both senators, the president and…”

“OK sir,” Maude said. “I have to go do anything but be on this call now. Bye.”

Maude hanged up the phone. Over the course of the next ten minutes, the calls came in at a fast and furious pace. All of the callers had one word on their minds – “shit.” As the calls came in, Maude jotted the details of each one in her notebook:

Ed Larson – wants to know if it is safe to shit.

Sarah Michaels – is it safe to shit?

Terry Bradford – Is it possible to throw the killer off the trail by shitting in a neighbor’s toilet instead of your own toilet?

Jenny Waterman – What if you just have to pee? Does the killer have anything against people who pee?

Mitch Douglas – Is it safe for me to shit in a box and then bury the box in my back yard?

Kate Rooney – Has the town considered setting up police monitored port-a-potties?

Finally, there was a lull in the calls. “Burt,” Maude said.

Burt snored.

“Burt!” Maude shouted.

Burt kept snoring. Maude threw another wadded up paper ball at the old man’s head. “Burt!”

“Damn it, Maude!” Burt shouted. “What now?”

“Do you think it’s safe to shit?” Maude asked.

“I don’t know,” Burt said. “What’s the alternative?”

Maude was about to turn back to her crossword puzzle when she noticed something peculiar about the items on her desk. The photo of her and her grand daughter, her cup of pens and pencils, even her cup of coffee – everything was shaking.

“What in the…”

Maude looked out the front window of the building. There, in the parking lot, a giant, jet black RV with government plates pulled up. The door opened and Sharon stepped out, her eyes masked by her sunglasses.

“Aw shit,” Maude said.

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