kermix : pineal gland : 23 stories : ASSOCIATION

23 stories.

true tales of twenty-three.


by J. Bastard


Dexter decided to stop off at a local bar on his way home that night. He walked in, got carded, and smirked at the bouncer as he flashed his ID -- age 21. He'd always looked 17, but he didn't mind; he got a kick out of fooling people into thinking he was underage. It still amazed him what laws some people would break for someone who looked underage. Nobody ever refused him a cigarette when he was out, even when he was 17. Or 15, for that matter. It amazed the fuck out of him.

On his way to the bar, he spotted someone he vaguely knew towering over the crowd of people. "O.D.!" A bald head turned swiftly to see who the hell knew his name, and nodded sharply in recognition at Dexter. He then ducked slightly and began shuffling through the sea of idiots towards him.

"W'sup, Dex? Where's your skateboard?" O.D. was referring to the four-footer that Dexter commonly used to transport himself between home, work, and the bar. Dex explained to him that it slipped out from under him one night and slipped under a car. The beauty of it was that the damn thing was still in one piece; the front truck was bent to hell and the right wheel was bent at a 45-degree angle, but otherwise it was nothing that couldn't be fixed.

"That fucker's indestructible!" Dex howled over Johnny Cash on the jukebox. They shared a laugh as someone's back jarred O.D. from behind. He turned to see who it was. Dexter watched as O.D. and his even-drunker leather-clad assailant began to argue about what appeared to be absolutely nothing. By the time their voices got loud enough for Dex to hear, the stranger was yelling, "What, you wanna rumble?"

O.D. and Dex were both goggle-eyed for a second, then O.D. spat out a giggle. "I'm fuckin' serious. You wanna rumble or what??" O.D. looked at Dex and exchanged a glance that said there's only one way we're getting rid of this prick, turned back and said, "Fine! Whatever! Just get outta my face, man." He gave them a place and a time -- a local parking lot, midnight tomorrow night -- and left them alone. They were barely able to hold it together long enough until the stranger was out of sight before they both laughed so hard that Dex fell out of his chair.

The next day, Dexter woke up late -- about 4 P.M. -- to the sound of his phone ringing. It was O.D. asking if Dex could stop by his place within an hour or so. Dexter was surprised to say the least; he didn't know the guy very well, but what the hell, he figured; he had nothing better to do.

Before he knew it, it was 5:15 P.M., and he was in a car with O.D. and the rest of the current local Deuce-Tre Art Mafia, running around town to all their respective homes and helping them rummage through their garages for various types of equipment -- garden tools, sports gear, and other improvisational implements. By ten 'o clock P.M., he and about seven others -- most of them nearly as tall as O.D., who was 6'6" -- were all decked out in the most bizarre Halloween outfits he could ever have imagined. The only problem was that it was mid-July.

O.D. himself was adorned with a hockey mask, a spiked leather jacket, and a Louisville Slugger whose business end was covered in barbed wire. The rest of the ensemble had hockey sticks, Frankenstein rakes, a Garden Weasel, et cetera. Then there were things Dex simply couldn't comprehend the use of in a rumble -- a mop, a wastebasket, a potted plant, and a Super Soaker 200 filled with water and red food coloring.

At about 11:30 P.M., they headed out in a pickup truck, in costume, blasting Ministry's The Deity on the slightly-worn speaker system, not saying a word as they made their way across town. They finally pulled into the darkened parking lot in full battle armor at 11:45 P.M. The driver left the stereo on, full blast. They got out and waited.

"You think we're actually going to rumble?" Dexter asked another masked Deuce-Tre after a long silence, his adrenal glands taking in the anticipation and the beautiful noise of Ministry.

"I don't know," came the reply. "I hope not."

He wasn't sure whether to be amused or frightened; he wasn't much of a fighter. But he'd heard that O.D. wasn't either, when it came right down to cutting through the bull. And it seemed that most of the Deuce-Tre could handle themselves supremely in a fight, but preferred simply to intimidate if given the choice.

At 11:59 P.M. the band fell silent. So What on the stereo continued to fuel Dexter's fire. He was ready.

At 12:02 A.M., another vehicle entered from the opposite end of the parking lot. Their lights shone right in the faces of the awaiting party.

It circled their truck slowly. The music was still thumping; Dexter's heart was beating more rapidly now.

The vehicle then proceeded to pull a U-turn and exit quietly in the direction it came.

At 12:03 A.M. it was gone.

The Five laughed their asses off and went drinking, and took Dexter with them.