Last Call

Sam and Dave 2 LaneDave checked the soles on his Wavekoreys for tread as he sipped at his bottled water and studied the sun. According to his calculations, it was closing in on five o’clock. He decided it was time to start looking for shelter with the night closing in.

There’d been a time when the night belonged to lovers . . when the night belonged to them. Inside the new world, nightfall came with an entirely new set of rules, the most important of which was to pay attention to the sun. Being caught without a home base after dark was just asking for trouble.

It was haunting, the time right before dusk. The trees took on the appearance of grim faced reapers as the earth devoured all color. There was a hum- barely perceptible but very much present- as the dead prepared their reign. A mysterious howl loosed itself from the trees, the entrails of its sound nipping at Dave’s heels from maybe a mile south. He moved off to the shoulder of the two lane and checked his gear.

The mysterious sound was gaining on him, so Dave moved into the clutches of a sycamore tree and waited. It didn’t take long for the identity of the howl to make itself known- in the form of a vintage silver Corvette. Dave watched as her radials breathed fire as it kicked its way into sunset.

He moved back onto the shoulder of the road and watched the tail lights get small before going hard red.

“Shit!”

They must’ve spotted him. Dave froze in place as the ‘Vette parked itself on the double yellow line. Running into the woods was risky, but so was staying put.

As Dave considered his next move, the Corvette’s tail lights went soft and he exhaled momentarily before opening his eyes to find headlights aimed right at him. He darted back into the thick of trees as the engine roared and the wheels burned up the distance between them. Inside of a few seconds, the silver Corvette was mere yards away.

“Hey!”

Dave remained silent, listening for evidence. A buzz of different voices nested within the dark enclave, camouflaged by the Hendrix tune “Purple Haze”.

“Come on! . . . It’s alright.”

He remained still as the occupants turned the stereo down and began arguing. Dave counted three of them. An alto was pleading with the other two that they should forget it and keep moving. His pleas were being overruled by a tenor whose every other word was four lettered. And then the bass timbred voice shut them all up before removing himself from the vehicle. He was on the high side of six feet with tattoos raining down his tree trunk arms.

“Hey man . .we don’t mean any harm, we’re just trying to get somewhere safe! Same as you.”

Dave remained still. If the fire hydrant dressed in leather and jeans was being truthful, they would give up on him and move along. Good guys didn’t take unnecessary risks. Bad guys didn’t stop until they exhausted them.

“Hey!” It was the four letter wizard talking now. “Get the fuck out here so we can see you!”

“Shut the FUCK up Nelson!”

Then Dave heard it, a couple of walkers trudging closer. He kept still, hoping they might provide cover by wandering up to his unexpected company, but he turned to find their cold dead eyes were focused on him.

Dave bolted to his right and ran for it, but the click of a revolver stopped him in his tracks.

“Nice and easy, motherfucker . .” It was the four letter wizard, wrangling him to the shoulder of the road and into a face to face with the grizzly bear leader.

“Some people do it the easy way. Some people need convincing, nothing wrong with that. Name’s Zed.” He stuck out his paw for Dave but was met with a cold stare.

“Aw shit Zed! We got us a fighter!”

“Hey guys! . . Walkers!” Said the passenger who had remained in the Corvette and was busy removing himself now.

“Yeah, just in time for dinner.” Zed muttered as he took the man by the collar and held him in place without much effort.

“Hey! What are you doing?!” The man screamed.

“Collecting information.” Zed explained before turning to Dave.

“They’re coming!”

Zed ignored the man and asked for a name but got silence.

“A name or he gets fed to the bio-hazard brigade, my man.”

Dave remained silent.

“Tell him your fucking name! For Chrissakes!” Screamed Zed’s prisoner.

“Dave.”

“Where are you headed? . . . Dave?”

Silence.

“Tell me where you’re headed or Daddy Warbucks becomes dinner for two.” Zed warned.

Dave remained silent as the captive man pleaded with him to talk.

“Now, this is Daddy’s car and he was kind enough to let us borrow it and we were kind enough to let him live. Just tell us where you’re going so he doesn’t have to be puppy chow.”

“Tell them!”

Silence.

“It’s no stain on my conscience, but you . . you seem like the type who’d lose sleep over such a thing. Just tell me where you’re going and . .”

“Maryland.” Dave said.

“Ding ding ding! We have a winner!” Zed hollered, before kicking out his prisoner’s legs and watching his body go helpless to the swarm of walkers.

“NO! NO!! Hellllppp meeeeee!”

Dave was forced to watch as the two walkers silenced the man, eating away at him slowly and with horrifying detail. Their gray skin was soon bathed in crimson as they continued working at a corpse. It was no longer possible to tell the sex of these walkers, as most of their hair had gone lost and their shapes had gone the way of sunken ships. Their mandibles still worked quite well and they used them with the hateful purpose of hyenas.

“Didn’t have to go down like that. All I asked for was the truth.” Zed said.

“I told you . .”

“No, you lied. And now . .”

“Martin.” Chimed Nelson, the four letter wizard.

“Martin is dead as a result.”

“Fuck you.”

“I told you Zed! This dude is a cold blooded, motherfucking gangster! Woohoo!”

“On the contrary. I’m seeing a refined gentleman on the way to something good. If I didn’t know better, I’d say there’s a real purpose to this young man’s journey. And we’re gonna find out what it is,” Zed said.

“Shit, or we could just shoot the cocksucker and be gone!” Nelson argued.

“You’ll have to excuse my friend here. He’s got the manners of a wild boar. But I know a man with something to live for when I see one, and you . . my friend, have a destination in mind.”

“I told you, I’m going to Maryland.”

“No, no . . no. You gave up your name, no sweat . . but you weren’t quite so forthcoming when I asked where you were going. Which tells me it’s gotta be worlds better than where we just came from. And I’ll tell you this . . . wherever it is you are going?  . . we’re going.”

“Why don’t you just kill me?” Dave said.

“Same reason we didn’t kill . . .”

“Martin,”

“Yes,” nodded Zed. “He served a purpose. Until he didn’t.”

“He’s probably got some fine ass bitch who lives in one of those McMansions and shit!” Nelson squealed.

“No, this boy’s in love, you can see it in his eyes. Just like that sweet little piece of ass I took down back in South Carolina. You shoulda been there Dave, we came across this group, the one girl in particular . . fuck if she didn’t look exactly like my future bride.”

Nelson laughed at the horrible intimations as Dave’s brain began piecing together where these bikers had come from and what exactly they had wrought.

“She couldn’t have been more than twenty, ain’t that right Nelson?”

“A ‘lil old for my taste.” Nelson said.

“We ordered the group to stop, but they kept fighting us. We lost six fellas in the firefight. I remember her running, she was about to get on with the rest of her life. And then . .”

“Bitch went down!” Nelson screamed.

“Didn’t have to be that way. We could’ve lived happily ever after.” Zed bemoaned sarcastically.

Dave gritted his teeth in order to suppress the rage as he looked Rebecca’s killer right in the eye and let him know just how serious he was about ending things.

“One of us is gonna die tonight, Zed. And that’s your choice . .”

“Oh shit! The balls on this fucker!” Nelson cackled.

“Gather up his things, Nelson.” Zed commanded as he took his partner’s revolver and pointed Dave towards the Corvette.

That’s when it occurred to Dave that the contents of his bag would lead them straight to Borneo Runnings, and Sam. It was the worst of every possible outcome, and now he was faced with having to prevent it from happening or die trying.

“How does it feel Dave? To be in love? . .” Zed asked as they walked to the Corvette.

Dave dropped to the ground as his left leg cocked back before kicking at Zed’s kneecap, unleashing a guttural scream which was quickly followed by a stray gunshot into the air. Dave leapt up and grabbed the revolver and was about to aim it at Zed when Nelson tackled him. They wrestled off the shoulder of the road and into the wet grass, Dave’s grip on the revolver weakening.

“You’re dead now, motherfucker! And then we’re gonna find your bitch and . . .”

Dave took his thumb and ripped through Nelson’s eye socket, tearing away at the flesh on the side of his skull until he fell away in agony. He got up and shot Nelson in the stomach before turning his attention to Zed, who was just regaining his feet. Dave shot his kneecap.

“Fuck!” Zed screamed as he fell to the ground once more.

A swarm of walkers entered the clearing and set their sights on Nelson, catching him without much trouble. Dave listened until he went silent and then he wiped at his brow as Zed fought back at the excruciating pain emanating from his legs.

“I got friends . .” Zed began.

“No you don’t, you’re too much of a pussy to go it alone out here.”

“You’re gonna pay.”

“Yeah, I am.” Dave agreed.

A few stragglers out of the swarm began making their way up the shoulder, focusing their attention on Zed now.

“Kill me!” Zed pleaded.

“Since you asked . . .” Dave began. “Being in love is the greatest thing I ever did . . it’s one of the few ideas man ever had that was worth a damn.”

“Kill ME!”

“I wouldn’t expect you to grasp the concept, but romance? . . . it’s how humanity narrates all the things that nature achieves genuinely. It doesn’t just introduce itself to you, Zed . .”

“Quit the shit and kill me asshole!”

” . . . Love knocks you on your ass and says Hey Motherfucker! You’re coming with me!” 

“FUUUUUCCKKKK!”

“And . . you just go. No seatbelts . . no questions asked.”

“Fucking shoot me, man!” Zed screamed as the walkers moved in.

“I won’t shoot you, but you don’t get to live . . .”

Dave moved back as the walkers converged on Zed. He stayed there, watching the macabre scene unfold, as if to make absolutely certain that his nemesis was not coming back, in any form. The dead went about their work, uninterested in the witness who was standing just a few feet away.

He moved into the Corvette and brought the engine to life. He had three quarters of a tank, and he didn’t need a prayer to figure out the road in front of him and what he planned on doing with it.

“Ah Zed . . this is why you can’t have nice things.”

The glove box brought paydirt, in the form of fresh, hand rolled cigarettes and a silver Zippo with a well worn Grateful Dead logo stamped on its face. He blessed the Carolinas for possessing such a deliciously fertile womb as he flipped the Zippo to life and took a hard tug of tobacco.

The night was attaching itself to the stained glass panorama of a dying sun and the ripples of blackness took on the appearance of stillborn veins as it stole away the light. It reminded Dave of his childhood home and those ivy creeps that would wrap fresh brick walls in a deathly embrace of murderous patience. Dave figured on another thirty solid minutes of playing crazy with the speedometer before he had to shutter the headlights.

Didn’t matter. He was playing with house money, and he wasn’t about to lose. Not now. His was the ideal of this horror show reality, that Clint Eastwood’s alter ego lived truly in the actions of every man who dared tread its unholy province. Behaving as if there was nothing left to lose, and meaning it.

He listened as the radials struck a handsome chord with the gaping wound of road looking to be stitched up tight; just as a needle does to a fresh round of vinyl. The engine threw a blanket of smoke away as Dave used it hard and long, and that’s when the old familiar feeling started up, and it brought a smile to Dave’s face the likes of which a Roman soldier might have worn at the gates of hell. His thirty something bones were now possessed by the brash, cocky kid who’d been pissed off at the world for making him follow the rules. The kid who lived his life as if he were bulletproof. And the fact that he knew better in the here and now? Only made him that much more dangerous.

Dave was throwing his entire hand into the pot and betting on the girl at the end of the bar who just so happened to be the most beautiful thing he’d ever laid eyes on. The one with the fiery curls and the caramel eyes and the runway legs that promised to show him how the West was won.

It was last call, and he liked his chances just fine.

 

45 thoughts on “Last Call

  1. Dude. Dave is a badass! I had no idea. Well, *I* did, but I’m not sure *Sam* did. That could be interesting down the line…

    So much to love here, but the thing I love the most. The total shock and surprise of Nat King Cole and his mellow sweet lovey-dovey tune, after such a raw, gritty, dark post. Not what I was expecting at all. (At first I thought maybe you’d go with Patti Smith, “Because the Night belongs to lovers…” Especially after your opening lines. Then I thought you’d go Hendrix. But you totally had me going.)

    Laughed out loud at this:
    ” . . . Love knocks you on your ass and says Hey Motherfucker! You’re coming with me!”
    Like a Tarzan knocking out a Jane.

    Loved Zed. Absolutely loved him. Are you sure he’s dead? (This is where you say, “Zed’s dead, baby, Zed’s dead.) Because he’d have made a hell of character moving forward. But no reason we can’t move backward with him as we (Mick) did with Rebecca.

    I also kinda loved the whole feel of Dave speeding off in a sweet ride at sunset. Reminded me of Sam’s opening dream of she and Dave tearing through the wasteland in a Shelby GT500 into the lovely fire burning all around them.

    So let’s see, Dave has got a sweet ride. He’s got gas. Cigarettes. But what I really wanna know? Is he wearing sunglasses? 😉

    Great job Soul Man. Loved it!!!

  2. Christy,

    The line you were loving up was inspired by your Untethered post, to which I JUST commented on, thanking you. Peas…..carrots…..yeah, because we roll like that! Ha!

    Yes, I DID think on using Patti Smith, and Hendrix Watchtower, Elvis Costello, the Doors, the Ramones, Creed (the band, not the boxer :), Ella Fitzgerald, Blondie, Adele……ugh, you get the idea…I played ’em all and then a whole lot more. But Nat fixed me on him, because it just made too much sense…such a wickedly beautiful contrast. Why not?

    FUN FACT: The ’68 Corvette is a two seater. Do the math….it doesn’t work! But no matter, because I figured Martin (the late owner of said sweet ride) was the kind of dude who would go custom on his ride. And besides, I HAD to go with the ’68 ‘Vette because it was one of Jimi Hendrix’ prized possessions, so there’s that.

    I played the whole Pulp Fiction thing in my head in that scene with Zed and Nelson. It was basically an ode to gun shop Bruce Willis limps into. And Dave watching over Zed’s extermination was his silent way of saying “Zed’s dead, baby”. And yes, Zed can come back in flashback form, and now that you say that? He is gonna…..Imma do a Zed as he was before the whole apocalypse thing.

    Dave wears Raybans. Brown frames, not black.

    The Lovely Fire blog is such beautiful timing, seeing as how I have several entries lined up in ‘me head now. But first things first…..in the next Dave entry, he meets a ‘friend’.

    Christy? You’re a lovely fire.

    You just are.

    • Of COURSE he wears Ray-Bans. Brown. Duh.
      Scary how much synchronicity between our posts, but especially between our comments at the same time, on the same subjects, on our different blogs. Normally having another person stomping around in my head is a freaky thing to me, but you… hey…make yourself at home. You seem to know where everything is anyway. Just close the door on your way out, and try not to let the dogs out.
      One Tarantino for another… 😉

  3. Yes, I do happen to know my way around, lol. And the same goes for you, mi casa es su casa hermana.

    Ah yes, my girl Uma. Me loves Uma. I only wish she would’ve decided to forego any reconstructive work, because she was perfect just the way she was. I remember first crushing on her in The Truth About Cats and Dogs.

    Quentin T seems to be the theme ‘o the day.

    And I’m thinking….how hot a thing to see Sam and Dave throwing down on some macadam in that ’68 Corvette? Dayum!

  4. Really good pilgrim.I was dragged into the story when I didn’t have the time to be dragged in. That’s how good it is. That kick to the knee was genius. The only way to take someone out. Well done.

    • The groin is too problematic, and if you miss? Not good. The kneecap is the go to last resort, because the target is way bigger and if you get anywhere near it, you’re going to blow it out for sure. Nice call there Sheriff. Like I told you, me and you in a zombie apocalypse…ain’t nothing stopping us. I’d follow you anywhere.

  5. Seriously…I have no room at the cool kids’ table, but I’m so happy you let me sit with you guys.
    You nailed this story – a mixture of action and survival all while keeping Dave’s quest for Sam alive. LOVED that Dave took care of Rebecca’s killer and am all warm and fuzzy over the final scene with the car, the glove box, and reminder of Sam’s caramel eyes and runway legs.
    The real treat? Reading the dialogue in the comments between you and Christy. You two have no idea how much I’m learning (I’m a voracious student) – about dialogue, story flow, plot lines, characters, nuances, what ifs….I’ll certainly read this again when I’m back in reader/writer mode tomorrow.
    Like John noted above..I didn’t have time to read this tonight, but I really wanted to and couldn’t put it down until I finished.
    I’ll be back tomorrow…I know there’s more to see the second or third time around.
    And, Nat King Cole? Genius! It kinda reminds me of how my son plays 40s music while he’s playing his violent xBox games.
    You have me thinking…wondering….

    • Mama Mia,

      Your humility is only surpassed by your genuine personality. And um, I never sat at the cool kids table when I was in school. I hung around with the peeps I trusted and believed in. Still do, so we’re all gonna fit just fine come 2016. I’m out of my mind excited at the possibilities.

      When we move this Sam and Dave party over to Fire full time, it’s only going to get better. I tore right through this entry, since it was mostly dialogue.

      Thinking on a couple different themes for Drinks. I want to send you the ones I have narrowed it down to, there are about half a dozen. Want your expert advice on what you think will fit best. I’ll do that later this morning.

      Thanks for the love Mama!

      • “I hung around with the peeps I trusted and believed in”
        So true!!
        I can’t wait to see your ideas. I told Christy not to worry if I don’t jump right in with new characters or story lines…I’m feeling my way through this, and want to do it right. My son has actually been my sounding board, too.
        And OH EM GEEE….can’t wait for you to see how Viggo’s invitational is shaping up 😉

        • It’s a good thing I will be announcing a Drinks re-set in a couple days, otherwise can you imagine my readers tuning in to see Viggo and his hunky friends plastered across Drinks?

          Did I just say hunky? Not that there’s anything wrong with that….

  6. I like it, no, love it when sycophants get their eye sockets ripped through. But I really loved this: “it’s how humanity narrates all the things that nature achieves genuinely.”

    The use of the word caramel in post and comments (though I prefer amber) has me 1) hungry, and 2) thinking of this. Who has who worse, I wonder? Dave or Sam?

    Well done, thank you.

    • A,

      I know, right? Yes . . I was going to make sure this sycophant went down hard. Bastid had it coming to him.

      Hmmm . . . Imma say Dave, but I’m biased. Christy’s gonna say Sam, but . . yanno, so’s she. So I leave it you peeps to break the tie. As far as my use of caramel, I grew up with a Cuban grandmother who fed me all things caramel, so it stuck.

      Nick Cave? Girl, if you’re going to bestow such gifts here at Drinks, feel free to comment on anything and everything. Nice!

      • Ok. You both use the term Bastid. And you both like Nick Cave? This is like the coolest thing ever.

        Who has what worse? Shall I feign ignorance? “Frown and be perverse and say thee nay”?

        Cayman, did you see on the Fire “Featured Music” page I have a Nick Cave song as my featured choice? It’s a good one if you don’t know it.

        Off to scavenge the Christmas candy for any form of caramel…..

        • Hey, she started it! She used sycophant in a sentence with such deft, it made me think . . what a degenerate bastid that Nelson truly was! I knew he had to go, and I knew he had to go horribly.

          Who has who worse? Does Dave have it for Sam worse than she has it for him? I say Dave has it worse, for sure.

          I shall check out the Cave, thanks! Go get that caramel, and hey! How ’bout those Falcons! They won their Super Bowl today!

          • Amber does pretty much everything with deft precision. She’s like a ninja. No, wait, she’s like a female Chuck Norris. She’s a good friend to have.

            Um yeah, that makes sense, who has who worse, especially given her song choice. (See? Ninja.) I was zoned in on Nick Cave caramel limbs, so figured I’d best ask before I embarrassed myself.

            Well, Sam *is* basically staving off death through sheer willpower and walking through the underworld because she’s a woman in love. And she let hot crossbow guy pass her by. I mean come on…

            But Sam has it so bad that she’d be willing to let Dave think that he had it worse if it really meant that much to him. Sam’s pretty sneaky that way. (She’s got some Ninja in her too.)

            Sent from my iPhone

            >

            • Amber came up with a Top 10 Post for us. As in Top 10 reasons Sam has it for Dave and of course, Dave’s answer to that. It can be romantic and funny and kickass, just like our ninja warrior princess pal Amber.

              And oh by the way, I meant to tell you a couple things. First of all, the “Read More”….I tried it! Again! And once again, it didn’t work. Of course, I didn’t try it until my post was complete. Does that make a difference? Anyways, I was like “No way am I gonna lose this post, so I didn’t keep trying it.”

              You make some incredibly solid points as to why Sam has it worse. And alls I can say back is, Dave just took out a 300 pound bulldozer who was threatening his girl. So, to all those musicians who write songs about dying for the girl of their dreams, Dave actually would die for his girl.

              Go Falcons! I really loved this football weekend and all those crazy results. Even if it isn’t soccer . . it’s pretty good stuff. . . 🙂

              See? I’m brushing up for the futbol! Goooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllll!!!!!

              Okay, I’ll stop.

              PS- Almost forgot (AGAIN). The line “You don’t get to live”, courtesy of Rick. He said it about the Terminus peeps and the hipster doofus leader, what was his name? I love that line,

              • Top 10 post. I like. Wheels are turning. Hmmmm.

                Read More. Seriously? Ugh. Shouldn’t matter when you insert the tag. Could be a theme glitch. I’ll take a look and play around once you give me a key 😉

                I guess try it sometime on Fire and see if you have same problem. If not, it’s the theme. If so, we’ll cross that bridge.

                Terminus hipster….what WAS his name? I can see him. But all I remember is the Bob BBQ and Bob getting the last laugh.

                Sent from my iPhone

                >

                • It probably is my theme. I have been shopping themes for Drinks, and I’ll send you my possibilities. Feel free to send me ones you think will be good as well. I’ll consider any and all.

              • God I love Google.

                Gareth.

                From Paste magazine:

                Apparently there are hipster douchebags in the zombie apocalypse. Who knew? I’m speaking, of course, about Gareth, the Terminus head honcho, who even has a hipster douchebag name. To me, he looked a lot like the hipster douchebag professor that Julie Taylor slept with when she went to college. I swear I haven’t looked this up yet, and am doing it right now…and no, I’m totally wrong. That was Gil McKinney. But tell me he doesn’t look like Andrew J. West, Josh. Gil. Andrew. Right? They’re cut from the same hipster douchebag cloth.

                Link: it’s pretty amusing: http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2014/03/the-walking-dead-review-a.html

                Sent from my iPhone

                >

                • I had to google Julie Taylor, lol. I had no idea who that was. And yes, Gareth. What . . a douche. He wasn’t worthy of bad guy consideration, not for me.

                  The Futbol vs Football post should be during Super Bowl Week. Imma get creamed in the polls, but that’s alright, I won’t cry about it. Not tooooo much. 🙂

  7. Holy Crap Cayman! When you said Zed I could totally picture Bruce Willis kicking some ass in Pulp Fiction. Too funny. I love that Hapkido move to the knee…definitely a way to get things started. I’m loving the fact that ‘he’s living his life like he’s got nothing to lose and means it’ dude AWESOME line and what’s even greater was your last line of the story! LOVED IT!! Dude totally left me with that yes! feeling. The kind of feeling you get after reading a great book or watching a goooooood movie. Dude I got it from Dave’s last call. High five buddy! Your fiction is rocking it! Andale!

    • Hapkido, good eye!

      Yes, Dave is well aware that victory against a stronger opponent does not come in the moves you make while engaged in battle but in the plans you make before the battle begins. Ain’t no way he was making it out of there alive if he hadn’t thought on such scenarios a thousand times over. He knows it’s not enough to be tough, you’ve got to be smart. Be deliberate but not slow, be cautious but not hesitant. And do whatever it takes to get back to Sam, and that means, whatever it takes.

      Dave is ready for anything. And he’s going to get tested as time goes on. Fo sho.

  8. Hey saw your notes above. I’ll try to hit on everything, but if I miss something, just remind me. I’ve got about a thousand balls in the air.
    – Themes for drinks, sure, send me your faves. It’s fun playing with different looks, it just comes down to what you dig. I used Lovecraft for Fire because it shows the author byline on each post on the main page (important with multi-writers) and because I liked the ability to use a large header photo.
    – Football debate. That should be okay. I’ll need to recharge in January for a couple weeks, but that’s something we can work on bit by bit and will be a much needed fun low brainer.
    – Fire … I’ve been working on the About page tonight. I think it looks pretty sharp. Take a look and I’ll ask A to do the same. Lemme know if it needs any tweaks.
    – Hunky … I think went out of style in 1982? I still use hottie which went out in 2011 I think. I have no clue what the cool kids say now. Bae? I’m digging “delicious” though at the moment. Or maybe we can start using caramel. 🙂

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