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29 Gastric juices

And The Man comes on the radio, transistor gluegummed in my ear. He says to me, he says, Do you believe? Do you, Phil Kindred, believe?

I stopstart on urban sidewalk, bunnyhop step, surprised. Me? Do I believe? But The Man is gone and I hear ticking. Or is it tapping? Do I?

Fingering the flatblade in my backbelt. Razoredge draws blood. Billboard poster whipcracks in the north wind. Up I look, I look. BulletEyez.

Gazing implacably at my cocked head, his mouth a sneer, shutterbound. I jig sideways into an alley and pressflesh on cold brick, shivering.

Do I believe? Not me, oh no. Virgin Mary flashfrozen in an eyeball, superimposed on Trinity's mushroom cloud. Not my religion, bang a bomb.

Peering edgeways I see the poster is a toaster, BulletEyez vaporized, a toaster full-o waffles ready to be syrup-slicked. Advertising at me.

Calumet, I have your number. You are next. Puffa huffa your last breath. Breaking sidewindow on a Caddy, I climb inside and get it a-going.

Rolling tirehard U-turn skidding. Clipping sideview mirror, sparkcity. Foot mashed floorboards, engine thrusting. Baby, I'm a-comin', hear?

Kill'd ya once, bud, whatchoo doin' still heartpumpin'? Neon skips off puddle and kisses my windshield, me panting at a red, vibrating hard.

Gunning the Caddy through a plate glass window, cheapdive called The PorkRind. Glassmashing crashing. Half a pig on a plate, bibs 'n diners.

Calumet's in the booth in the back, plate of bigfries dipped in bacon grease, slippyfingered shinyfaced not too happy to see me crusading.

Collared in my fist, I drag him out the back door, his leather shoes carving a halfpath through swiny innards on the floor in the kitchen.

Somebody's squealing, it ain't me. Calumet porcine, eyebugged. Shoulder hits a green sedan and two heads popup in the backseat, lustbusted.

Black and white rolls by, copsters eating lobsters. Tapping? They don't see. I drag Calumet feetfirst to the D-bridge, pools of nightlight.

Any last words? Calumet blubbering. Kindred your dadddddy! My daddy what? Your daddy was our leader. My daddy what? Our leader, the Elder.

This I don't want to hear. I bend and lift, bodygrip and over he goes, a spiral fall, cracks the riverice fifty feet below and goes through.

Blackhole winking lights from neoncity, blackwater running silent, breathless, blackblood freezing on my sleeve, Calumet on an astral plane.

Retracing steps, icy air lungfully. Peaceful, hungry. Through the kitchen in The PorkRind, waiters cleaning up the mess I made. Menu please.

Diners scrambling, give me clearance. I get into the Caddy, snouted into the front window, engine still running. Hornhonk and piggyfood.

I eat a plate o' porkrinds and chase it with a Bud. That waffle poster sure stimulates gastric juices. Lipsmackin', I back her out, no tip.

Tinkle of falling glass, put it in gear and crawl east, cityscream in my pitydreams, disciple down, Calumet drowned, my shadow slowdancing.

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