Toxic Bandwidth: Final Verse

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Sequence In Full

First Verse
Second Verse
Third Verse

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Fear Factory Linchpin

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If somebody had informed Lesley Jobe Henkleman a week ago that he would be attending prom donning a carnation then he would have promptly replied with “like fuck I am.” It just didn’t interest him; just an overblown popularity contest to remind him how far down the social pecking order he really was. However, the butterflies currently masquerading around his tummy were rather an excitable bunch and the evening had taken on an altogether different appeal since he discovered a cunning way to get his own back on those who had wronged him. The list was more extensive than he had considered; sure there were five main puppet masters but there were also droves who thought nothing of whispering harsh jibes to one another as he passed through the school halls. The power of his trusty radio had begun to go to Lesley’s head and his uncle’s words “keep it for when ya need it most” were ringing in his ears. Right now the need was strong; prom afforded Lesley the ideal opportunity for closure of a period which had been anything but happy.

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He lurked about the undergrowth for a few minutes and watched the lemmings begin to filter in, blissfully unaware of the inhospitable end which awaited them. Of all those attending there were precious little he would think twice about snuffing out; most of them were sheep and his only true friend was the one he clutched by his side as he prepared to crash the party. He was already filled with contempt by the time Billy ‘Bulldozer’ Botherton-McGee strolled around the corner with an airhead hanging from either bicep. Lesley was tempted to run straight towards him and tune that fearful frequency but decided to hold back, at least until Daryl Fellini showed. He would likely arrive in a stretch limo, clad in designer tux and conspicuous by his depleted entourage. He presented the ultimate prize to Lesley; every low punch to the kidney had been orchestrated by him and his life had turned into a waking nightmare just because it amused Fellini to do so. He was a no-show thus far but would invariably be the last to arrive as he had an audience’s adulation to milk and milk it he would.

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Lesley was started to get a little twitchy waiting so decided there would be no harm in venturing inside for a closer inspection of his first subject Billy. He stayed back in the shadows so as not to arouse suspicion; kids like Lesley stuck out like a sore thumb at social gatherings such as this and he wasn’t ready to blow his cover just yet. Billy was being Billy, boasting about how many arms he’d deadened throughout the day and flexing his pectorals to impress the easily impressionable. For the time being, Lesley was more than content to play voyeur as he knew from the showers after gym class that his muscles ceased at the waist. Billy’s wedding tackle was out of keeping with the rest of his physique; for such a formidable athlete it seemed fitting that his dick resembled a quail’s egg. Ordinarily that would have been punishment enough but, given the fact that Billy had had a hand in so much of the misery heaped onto poor Lesley’s shoulders over his tenure at the academy, there seemed like far more inventive ways of making him suffer.

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“Has anybody heard from the others?” Billy questioned his equally thick-headed friend Brett “I can’t get hold of Dale, Stephen or Charlie. They’ve all gone AWOL.” Brett shrugged his shoulders “Nothing. I don’t know what’s going on there. Can’t get hold of Trudy either. Told you she wouldn’t show” Brett replied, bummed that his date had decided against honoring their date. Lesley knew there was a reason why he despised Brett also; he had one of those voices which really grated on his fraying nerves, like nails down a blackboard. His first compulsion was to drown out his whiny voice with a quick fix of 66.6 but instead he chose to let the conversation take its course. “Well I say fuck it. You spiked the punch bowl right?” Billy asked. “Does a goldfish shit in its bowl? Course I did. Three liters of Russian vodka and a dash of speed should liven the crowd up some.”

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Lesley scoped out the punch bowl in question and, true to form, the queue behind it was extensive and even included members of the faculty, all looking to drown their sorrows. “So tell me Brett. Which lucky lady is getting her barn doors slammed tonight?” Billy asked. “Lucinda Turner” Brett responded confidently. “You sly dog. Lucinda ‘Whippet’ Turner. How the fuck did you manage to pull that one off? I mean, no offense, but you don’t drive a car and your balls haven’t even fully dropped yet. What gives?” Billy quizzed. “Guess I just got lucky” he replied, popping his collar. “Lucky my nut tail. Have you drugged her or something? She’s way out of your league son. Shit, she’s even out of my league” he confessed. “She loves The Walking Dead. Big Norman Reedus fan. Massive! I just lured her in with a signed photo I mocked up. She was putty in my hands Bill. Said yes right away” Bill looked unimpressed. ” Have you given her the photo yet? he asked. “Yeah, when she got here” said Brett. “Bad luck. I’d say that’s the last you’ll be seeing of the whippet this evening.” Brett looked around and, sure enough, there was no sign of his date. “Fuck it, I’ve got some Rohypnol in my pocket. Game’s not over yet”

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Lesley was appalled by their deluded conversation and growing tired of waiting for Daryl to put in an appearance. He was itching to test out his new toy on a larger audience and had had about as much Jimmy Eats World as he could take for one evening. Just as he stepped out of the shadows he was thrown a most unexpected curve ball. “Lesley Henkleman. I don’t believe it.” It was Clarissa Johns, possibly the only girl in school who had a kind word to say about him and not who he wanted to see right now. “Hey Clarissa” he confirmed sheepishly. “If there was one person I wouldn’t expect to see in a meat market like this then that’d be you Lesley. What possessed you to come here? I mean, it’s nice to see you but have you forgotten what happened at the school gates earlier. They’re gonna beat the shit out of you if they see you.” Lesley felt smug in the knowledge that three of them were already smoothies. “No they won’t. Not tonight. Can I ask you a strange favor please Clarissa?” he asked. “Sure. Shoot” she replied. “Could you leave…please?”

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“Oh. Why? I thought we got on okay. Have I said something to upset you or something?” she quizzed, visibly deflated. “No I just…look things are going to get severely fucked up in a minute or so. I’m just saying. I’d rather you weren’t here when it goes off.” Despite Lesley’s best efforts not to offend the girl; she had evidently taken it to heart. “Are you even aware that you’re not the only one who feels less than welcome here already? Do you know what the other girls called me in gym class? Dog ears. They weren’t talking about my ears either Lesley.” Lesley struggled to conceal his faint amusement as he had indeed heard that nickname banded around and was very much aware of the true meaning behind it. “I know. They’re all bastards. Every single one of them. Except for you Clarissa. That’s why I want you to leave. Please. I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important.” She was bemused “What’s so important that you need me gone?” Lesley was mindful that he wasn’t making headway with the tactful approach. “Look. Just FUCK OFF!” That one worked a treat. Clarissa fucked off as requested but his outburst didn’t go unnoticed.

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“Well well. If it isn’t vagina basket.” He knew straight away that it was Daryl Fellini’s voice he heard behind him. Even more disconcerting was the fact that Billy had also been alerted and was already cracking his knuckles. Lesley knew there was no more time for procrastination as his addressees were now present and correct. “I’m not looking for any trouble.” That was a blatant lie on Lesley’s part; trouble was exactly what he was here for but he was curious to see how things panned out. He had control at his fingertips should things turn awry and judging by the vein protruding from Billy’s temple right now, he knew he wouldn’t be kept waiting for long. They assumed position; Daryl stayed back and began the obligatory put downs while Billy prepared for his next instruction. “I have to hand it to you. You’ve got some testicles showing your pus-filled face here tonight after the shit you pulled earlier. But do you know what Lesley? Credit where credit’s due, you showed that maybe you’re not such a dickweed after all. Don’t get me wrong, you’re a waste of oxygen, but it was good to finally see a little pluck. Five years it took. Five long years for you to become a man. Truth is, I’m going to college after the summer and I probably won’t ever have to look at your ugly mug ever again so what do you say we let bygones be bygones?”

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Could Lesley have heard him correctly? Could Daryl Fellini, the biggest turd in a sweater ever to funk up the halls of Adler’s Academy, have just offered the pipe of peace? “Of course. That does still mean I want your stink out of here right now. If not, Bulldozer’s going to pop some pimples” That was better, Lesley took consolation in this latest statement and felt justified in producing the transistor radio from his side. “What a beauty. Real antiquated Lesley. What you gonna do, kill us with death metal?” Daryl taunted. “Something like that” he replied, finger hovering above the on button and ready to start the party. “It looks like you’re not going to take my kindly advice. Bulldozer, sick balls!” Just like Mungo, the man-mountain prepared to let his knuckles do the talking which at least gave them a break from dragging along the floor. Lesley couldn’t bring himself to press the button; it was as though he was daring himself to deal with the threat man-to-man despite the fact that there could only ever be one outcome…teeth in the punch bowl.

John 5 & Griffin Boice The Lords Theme

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“66.6 bitches.” Upon flicking the kill switch, an all-too-familiar audio bled into the airwaves and the hapless Bulldozer was the first to receive its dark sermon. His face caved in on itself along with the heads of around a dozen others in the vicinity including Brett, which he considered a happy accident. Before Daryl could react Lesley turned to face him but was out of range so began to advance, eyes blackened pits of suffering and a demonic grin spread across both cheeks. “You ready for a little musical enlightenment Fellini?” he asked. “Like fuck I am” Daryl turned and ran towards the door, showing his cowardly true colors to all his stunned subjects. Lesley wasn’t about to let him slip from the net and had become seduced once more by the craving for carnage which spelt bad news for anybody within a ten yard radius. A dozen white gowns become painted crudely in crimson as he commenced his march of death. He was beyond reasoning; slipping into the void that he had fashioned, that he had controlled, which now controlled him.

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Unfortunately for Daryl, he reached a bottle neck by the only available exit and this gave Lesley the opportunity to cover the remaining ground. He flicked off the radio as he neared his perp; if there was one thing he desired it was to look into the whites of Daryl’s eyes before cranking the crescendo. “Look at me” he said calmly. “Fuck you. You’re fucking crazy. Stay away from me” Daryl sobbed. Lesley noticed the back of his trousers beginning to darken as Daryl’s bladder had finally succumbed. This wasn’t enough humiliation for Lesley; not for five years of hell endured. “I said look at me!” he reiterated forcefully and this time Daryl reciprocated. “Stay back. I’m warning you” he blubbed. “You’re warning me are you? I think this dog’s had its day don’t you Daryl? I’ve laid awake at night crying because of you. You have single-handedly destroyed any hope I have had of making friends for the past five years. Well guess what, with friends like this lot, I say bring on the enemies. Look at you all, there ain’t a single one of you who thinks their shit stinks. You’re all a bunch of sheep. Flocking around what? This dick with ears. Look at him, take a long hard look at Daryl Fellini. I’ve had dumps with a higher IQ. No I’m sorry folks. You’re all just as bad as him in my books. You all deserve to burn in fucking hell.”

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It was time for Lesley’s encore. He activated his box of evil a final time only this time at a far lower volume setting. He wanted to enjoy every last second of this; God knows he’d waited long enough, been put through the paces enough, been slapped around sufficiently. This was closure. Daryl doubled up in agony as his intestines began to bleed. Lesley raised it another notch, fascinated by the more measured approach. He fell to his knees, eyes streaming with blood, still Lesley patiently bided his time and reveled in his opposite number’s steady dismantling. Another notch. Volume was halfway now and Daryl clutched his crown in agony as it began to rupture. “If you couldn’t stand the heat Daryl, then you really should have stayed out of the kitchen.” This was far too princely a line not to wrap things up with and Lesley cranked the volume to its capacity. Daryl Fellini left quite a mess behind him as he exploded where he kneeled, along with virtually every other bystander. Lesley proudly glanced across the splash zone at all of the silly little lambs he had slaughtered.

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At the back of the room, just out of grim earshot was Mrs Cunningham. Of all the teachers throughout his tenure, she had been the only one who seemed genuinely interested in Lesley’s well-being. He was glad she hadn’t perished. “I’d say that’s closure wouldn’t you?” he said, to which Mrs Cunningham had no response other than utter discombobulation. “The music made me do it Miss. I guess they were onto something when they said rock and roll is evil. Rock on.” He offered her the horn salute and turned the radio against himself; his body opening up in a fountain of blood and sinew immediately as the radio dropped to the floor and ceased communication. Mrs Cunningham, or Angela as her friends knew her, could barely move for sheer terror but managed to pluck up the courage to pour herself another glass of that particularly zingy punch and knocked it back without blinking. Then she poured herself another. And a third. It appeared she would need all the Dutch courage she could get as she was on clean-up duties tonight.

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Truly, Clearly, Really, Sincerely,

Keeper of the Crimson Quill

Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2014

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