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MY WILD LIFE - CHAPTER III
by: Max Burbank

Havenít read Chapters 1 and 2? Go back and read them now or this wonít make one damn bit of sense.


Hereís a poser. Whatís the difference between a great leader and a bully? Iíll give you a hint. When Doug Macarthur got his ass canned by Eisenhower he said, "I shall return". When Celine Dion sneezed a JellyBean right through Barbara Walterís skull, Oprah fainted.

Thatís right. The Great Oprah Winfrey keeled over like a drunken sorority pledge. I have to say I was surprised. I once saw her sucker punch a Sarah Lawrence intern for microwaving her baked potato too long; and when the kid was down? O shaved her head with a letter opener. I guess accessory to murder crossed some sort of interior line in the sand. I know sheíd been kind of squirrelly and paranoid about the whole menacing, gigantic, bull dyke scene ever since Rosie went public, and maybe the thought of hard time in the joint just proved too much for her.

Someone had to take command of the situation. It sure as hell wasnít going to be Celine, who at the best of times had the constitution of an insane Canadian Gerbil with Attention Deficit Disorder. As a material witness there was no way we were leaving Meredith at the crime scene and since cheek gouging, eye rolling and Monkey calls are generally not on a short list of leadership qualities, it was doubtful sheíd take the reins. That left me and the Pakistani guy under the counter.

"Celine. Get O in the car." I said slowly, looking her straight in the eye.

"But, but, but what about Ms. Wal-TAIRS? I seenk my Szelly-Bean, it take her whole brain out ze back her head, non?"

"Celine," I reassured her, "Listen to me. Iíll put your eye out. Iím not kidding. If you donít get Oprah into the car right now, Iím going to stick my thumb right into your left eye and pop it out just like Little Jack Horner getting his Christmas Plumb. Sammy Davis Junior had enough panache to play arena venues with a glass eye. Do you?" She went.

"Viera," I said, "Mer. Youíre going to have to pull it together now. Iím taking off and if you stay here the fuzz will pin the rap on you."

"ButÖ butÖ" The aging former news gal sputtered, "The counter guy-"

"IíM BEHIND THE COUNTER, CROUCHING!" he shrieked helpfully, "IíVE BEEN DOWN HERE SINCE MS. WALTERS WALKED IN! I DONíT WANT ANY TROUBLE! I ONLY GET MINIMUM WAGE AND THE SEVEN ELEVEN CORPORATION DOES NOT GIVE PAID TIME OFF TO TESTIFY IN CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS!"

"The security camera-"

"IS PERMANENTLY FOCUSED ON THE VERY COUNTER I AM NOW CROUCHING BEHIND! SINCE DECEMBER OF LAST YEAR THE SEVEN ELEVEN CORPORATION HAS BEEN USING THE SECURITY CAMERA SYSTEM TO ENSURE ITíS EMPLOYEES DO NOT ENJOY THE PORNOGRAPHY INVENTORY WITHOUT PAYING FOR IT!"

She headed out to the parking lot and for a moment it was just me, the guy under the counter, and Walterís corpse. I thought about closing her eyes, but that would have meant touching her, and besides, the surprised look on her corrupt, hateful mug was the only silver lining my cloud had at the moment. Iíll tell you the truth; I was pretty badly shaken. Not so shaken I didnít grab a box of Teddy Grahams on the way out. The ones with the tiny chocolate chips in Ďem. Stealing is a filthy habit, but I was broke, and those things are awesome. Anyone says different is a GodDamn liar.

For a miracle, Dion had the common sense to stow Oprah in the back. She was trying to teach our erstwhile leader some sort of Quebecois hand slapping game, which is always amusing when one of the participants is in shock.

I climbed behind the wheel, shoved a handful of sweet, sweet Teddy Grahams into my mouth and found out just how fast Oís ride went from 0 to 60.

"Celine," I said, a fine mist of broken Teddy Bear shaped cookie bits spraying the windscreen, "Put the Jelly Beans in the front seat."

"Que? ButÖ but non, zey are mine! I woní put zem up my nose a-gan, I only will eat of zem! Renne gave zem to me, Ďee say "Ere, Celine, Ďave some zselly BEAN for daí road, non? Iím your mana-jair aní us-BOND even zo Iím old enough to be your gran-fa-ZAIR, so Ďave ze szelly BEAN, non?í"

"PutÖ the beansÖ" I said, testing my teeth to see how much jaw pressure it would take to splinter them, "inÖ theÖ front."

"NON!" she brayed hysterically, pressing the greasy zip lock to her bony chest, "NON, ZAY ARE ZE GIFT! ZE GIFT OF HEES HEART! I WILL NEVAIR GIVE ZEM UP!"

"THATíS WHAT DEGAUL SAID, AND ABOUT FIVE MINUTES LATER THE NAZIíS WHERE DANCING IN THE CHAMPS ALIZE, YOU CRAZY BITCH!" I hollered, flailing spastically over my shoulder at her. The car lurched into the guardrail and sparks flew. Meredith wailed and started reflexively hitting me in the side of the head. She must have been flashing back to our romance. And hereís the sad truth. Iím pretty sure DeGaul never said word one about JellyBeans.

"Pull over" Oprah muttered, and we got quiet. All you could hear was the roar of the engine and the guardrail slowly eating through the passenger side of the car.

"Pull over" she said again. Ever seen "The Seventh Seal"? Black and White Bergman flick? Max Von Sydow plays chess with Death? When Death says, "Itís your move"? Thatís what O sounded like. But who am I kidding? Youíve never seen that movie. And thereís nothing in "Porkies" even remotely like the moment Iím describing. Maybe something from "Dude, hereís my Car?" but I was totally messed up on cough syrup when I saw that and I ended up in the tank with a guy named Norge who insisted Iíd promised him dinner at Arbyís, so I canít say. The point is, screw you. I pulled over.

"Viera. Get in the back," Said O opening her door. "You. Slide over. I drive."

Remember what I said about 0 to 60? Oprahís wheels did 60 to 120 in half that time.

"Iíll tell you what," She said, "This is getting fixed. I am not taking the fall. Celine. Put the beans in the front."

"But-"

"Do it. If it seems easier Iíll drop you off at the next police station. And you," she said without even looking my way, "Keep your eyes peeled for a liquor store. I got a powerful thirst. And give me those damn Teddy Grahams."

Continue onward to Chapter IV


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