Suggested Audio Candy:
Tobe Hooper & Wayne Bell Soundtrack Suite
Good old-fashioned Texas hospitality, that’s what I need right now. I feel adequately rested after my jaunt at the Overlook Hotel and now I’m ready for a good old-fashioned Texan hootenanny. I’ve heard mixed reports about the folk down here, apparently if you find yourself a nice welcoming family then chances are they’ll invite you to dinner, make you their guest of honor. However, it also plays host to some fairly repugnant characters and one badly timed deviation from the beaten track can leave you in all sorts of strife at the hands of some of the less hospitable locals.
I stopped off at the nearest self-service gas station to gather further Intel and spoke with Cleatus to be sure I know what I’m getting myself into. He was a strange little fella, hardly a tooth in his face to hold it all together, it appeared his entire head may fall into itself at any given moment. Despite his somewhat disheveled appearance he was nothing if not helpful and he informed me of an old ramshackle farmhouse about three clicks away from my coordinates, off the track and a number of miles away from civilization. Apparently a family reside there who are very welcoming, even more so if you’re a weary traveler. They love nothing more than to offer some Southern-fried entertainment to such stragglers.
Alas I have no transportation from hereon in, my car was blocked in by Dick’s snow plough back at the Overlook Hotel so I figured I’d make this a road trip of sorts. I’ve hitched my way here thus far, it may have taken a week to get here but I’ve been introduced to all manner of effervescent characters en route. I also learned the rules of the road and that wasn’t so congenial if truth be known. Still, you do what you do, it is what it is and I am what I am so I just bit the bullet and applied the lipstick as instructed. What’s done is done now but, I would have to say, next time I’m taking Greyhound.
I got rather lucky whilst walking down the dusty track from the gas station and a group of co-eds stopped to offer me a ride. They too had been told of the nearby plantation and were contemplating paying the family a visit. There’s five of them in total and, all but one, they seem perfectly welcoming. Their plus one is a dude called Franklin, a chubby wheelchair-bound hypochondriac who has been moping like a bitch ever since they picked me up. The less time I spend with this douche the better, when we dock the camper van I may just let off his brakes on a slight incline and give his chariot a nudge. Let the buzzards deal with his sorry ass. Meals on wheels.
The blistering summer rays have begun to subside now and I’m starting to grow a little perplexed. Kirk took it up himself to undertake a reconnaissance mission at the nearby farmhouse and wandered off to investigate nearly an hour ago. He still hadn’t returned half hour later so Pam went to find him and bring him back. Another twenty minutes passed and she was nowhere to be found either. Jerry went next, taking that one-way stroll down to the house and it has been ten minutes since I last heard a peep out of him also. My primary consideration was that the trio are having some sneaky ménage à trois that they’ve neglected to mention to the rest of us. Franklin would just get in the way and his sister Sally is also his carer so that rules her out too. Still, it would have been nice if they’d thought to ask me along.
I just heard a really girly scream coming from inside the house, if it was Jerry then I’m assured his denims are on too tight. I told him you’ve got to let the python writhe from time to time, it’s no good keeping it cooped up with only its own eggs as company. I suppose I’m next up as Franklin will never get his chair up the porch steps and Sally isn’t about to leave him. They can stay back at the van and keep lookout in case the others return. It looks like the house is quite quaint from where I’m standing although it may well be a dive on the inside as looks can be deceiving as I keep discovering.
Deceived once more, this place is a shit box. From its exterior it looks like the kind of comfy homestead where Ma would bake a delightful lemon meringue pie and Pa would play you a few licks on his banjo. In reality, it is somewhere far less inviting. I fell headlong into a room strewn with old bones and hollowed out skulls, not the welcome party I was expecting I have to say. It stinks like unwashed gym socks and decomposition and the way they treat their poultry is less than encouraging. The choked chicken is dangling in a bird-cage by the window and there’s enough feathers floating around to fashion a boiler suit for Big Bird. Speaking of which is that Snuffleupagus’s remains in the corner? His eyes have long since rotted away but I can tell those lashes from a mile off.
On the plus side I did manage to fix that nasty old rickety door. A little WD40 did the trick and now it slides open lovely. It is what lies beneath that causes me the most consternation, a bloody hook swinging like it’s just seen action. It’s constant dripping suggests that whatever animal has been offed is probably still nearby and the thought of stumbling onto a slaughterhouse worktop is far less than appealing. Never mind, there’s an old freezer over here, perhaps it’ll contain a packet of choc ices or a Cornetto Enigma. Negative, no lollies in this freezer. Three dead bodies but nothing to slurp upon. It’s disappointing as I’d even got my lips ready but at least I now know what happened to Kirk, Pam and Franklin.
It’s all going off now. I ran like Gump straight back to the van and attempted to explain my peril to Sally but Franklin put on the water works and filled his colostomy bag to bulging. There wasn’t enough gas in the van to get us to the nearest town so it appeared there was no other way than to siphon his piss into the tank. If we could just fool the engine for a few kilometers then we’d be home free. I even offered to buy Franklin a beer at the local tavern to show my appreciation for getting us out of this fix. Credit where credit’s due. It was all going MacGyver until somebody else showed up on the scene and our ingenious plan was utterly thwarted.
There’s such a thing as a gentle giant, look at that cyclops from Krull or Sloth from The Goonies. They were just misunderstood is all. There’s no misunderstanding here, this juggernaut is pissed and he’s waving a fully fueled chainsaw above his head like he’s just about to open a considerable can of whoop ass. No need for Bonus Brain here, I had to think on my feet as, despite his man mountain frame, he sure could cover ground fast. I told Sally to run ahead and get help and informed her that I would take care of Franklin. I did. It was to my delectation that I was honored with this role as all I have desired since we pulled up was to ensure Franklin was well and truly taken care of.
I waited until she was out of earshot and then wheeled my good buddy Franklin into the path of the oncoming maskhead and this afforded me the opportunity to put some distance between us. I couldn’t help myself, I kind of stayed around for a bit to make sure he received the sort of treatment he warranted. He did. Now I am on the back foot but it was so worth it. I’ve been running for ten minutes now with that great hunk of lunk just a few yards back and breathing down the back of my collar. I’ve picked up about nine gnat bites along the way and my clothes are in tatters after navigating the thicket but finally I am almost back at the gas station. All I want is a friendly face and the guy on graveyard duties has a grill like an oyster shell, I can see his pearls dazzle from here.
He was a real gentleman that old coot, couldn’t do enough for me. He said he’d get us help and we jumped in his truck but, considering this madman was still at large, he suggested I place a gunny sack over my head to keep me low profile. I really appreciate his concern for my well-being and he’s even suggested I join him and his folks for dinner. My tummy has been grumbling for the last three hours and Bonus Brain polished off the last twinkie so I accepted his kind invitation. The whole brood is here and I’m informed that Grandpa will be down soon to join in the festivities. I’m honored, apparently they only wheel him out on very special occasions so I clearly must be in favor.
That’s the last time I’m eating at this establishment. Twenty five minutes I waited for the entrée and flaming hot buffalo wings don’t take that long to rustle up. Even if they’d just brought a basket of bread out or something to masticate while I was waiting it would have been acceptable but instead I’ve spent the last ten minutes being set upon by that crusty old codger as he attempts to get my attention with a hammer. His hearing isn’t great as I keep telling him I’ve had enough and I’m not putting up with it for another second. I wonder at what age it becomes unacceptable to pound a geriatric. Is there a cut off, a law in place which forbids the beating of those above 75? If so then I’d be advised to leave him well alone as he must be pushing the ton.
Bonus Brain, what would you do in such circumstances I wonder? He swallows his last mouthful of twinkie and offers me his enlightenment. “I’d get your ass to Mars son, I just got a look in the kitchen and this place certainly ain’t Michelin starred I tell you that. Plus, Pa just went for a whizz and I didn’t hear a sink running afterwards. Right now he’s got his fist in a pheasant. Get your freak on Wrangler and don’t you be dallying”. Got it, I make a dash for the door but not before planting one on Grandpa. “No you festering old wank trolley, it most certainly isn’t hammer time” I bark and bolt before I reap the repercussions.
It doesn’t take long to make the roadside and, when I arrive, I am fortunate enough to flag down a nearby tanker. The driver climbs out and I’m positive it’s Sherman Klump but there is no time for formal introductions as that savage Sasquatch is hot on my trail and appears to have lost control of his chainsaw. Sherman, if that is indeed his name, could do with clocking up a few kilometers on the treadmill as he’s just slowing my ass down. Thankfully there’s a pick-up truck in the vicinity and I make my getaway just in the nick of time. About three hundred yards up the track we come across Sally. I cast my mind back to Franklin and my solemn oath to protect him. Time to slip back inside that gunny sack before she clocks me. Sorry Sal, I think there’s another gas station about 35km down the road. Just keep going straight love.
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
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Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2014