I spent the last few years writing books about songwriting and as well as a fantasy series for middle graders (The Misadventures of Hobart Hucklebuck), but when I decided to try something new, well it led to Forever Zombie a collection of short stories.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Reality Check

March 9th – 7:06 a.m.
Last Chance City Jail

Marshall Tucker made sure his revolver was fully loaded and grabbed the Spencer carbine from the corner gun rack.

“You coming, Mo?”

Mo shook his head.

“Not with that lunatic Rango running around town. Jeez, the way he just took a bite out of Dodger’s arm. I mean, if I’d known he was that hungry, I would have offered to buy him breakfast.”

“The only breakfast you ever see comes in a bottle, Mo.”

Mo had no reply.

“Ah, good,” the marshal said as he picked up his tin coffee cup to take one last drink. “Here comes Elvis. Guess he had to go home and change his underwear. I swear, if he wasn’t my nephew...”

Elvis Parsley walked up the boardwalk and after glancing in both directions, he entered the jailhouse. He quickly closed the door behind him.

“Okay, Elvis. What the fuck is going on out there? Mo here told me that Rango Starr is running around sinking his teeth into folks. Of course, we both know Rango is dead, so what’s really happening?”

Elvis swallowed so hard his Adam’s apple bobbed up and down several times.

“I can’t explain it, marshal. But it’s the gol’ darn truth.”

“You’re both fuckin’ lunatics,” the marshal swore.

“Uh, marshal,” Mo said softly from where he stood by the front window. “You might want to take a look at this. And after you do, you might be wantin’ a liquid breakfast yerself.”

Marshal Tucker sighed and stepped over to the window.

The tin cup slipped from his grip and clanged to the wooden floor, splashing coffee and grounds all over his boots.

He barely noticed.

“What the...”

Dodger McGuinn was walking up the street.

Well, he wasn’t exactly walking. He was more or less staggering.

Tucker was beginning to think the entire town of Last Chance had been drinking their breakfast this Tuesday morning.

A mother with a young son and daughter in tow noticed Dodger lurching toward them. Dodger’s white linen shirt was soaked with blood from a gash in his arm and a gaping wound in his neck. The woman screamed and instinctively grabbed her children and held them close.

Dodger seemed excited by the scream and his lop-sided grin looked out of place.

The marshal opened the front door of the jailhouse.

“Dodger!” he yelled.

He wasn’t sure whether Dodger re-acted to the sound of his name or simply the shout, but the shop clerk froze in his tracks and glanced in their direction. His head lolled off to the side, as if he couldn’t quite hold it upright.

“Geez,” Elvis whispered. “He sure looks dead to me. Except for the fact that he’s standin’ there in the middle of the street, of course...”

Marshal Tucker jacked a cartridge into the Spencer and took aim.