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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

ym_76_oct19_supermarthalloweenspecial.jpg
Art by Steve Cartwright 2019

The Supermart Halloween Psychopath Special

By Michael D. Davis

 

          Count Whorton wiped his nose on the back of his hand then went back to ignoring the goober half his age in front of him. Mark Miller, otherwise known as The Mole Man, for his pimple-bespeckled face with rodent-like qualities and large dark John-Boy blemish on his forehead, called himself Count’s boss. He continued his lecture all while scratching around a newly formed zit.

          “You just can’t be coming in drunk or drinking. This is not that kind of place. Consider this a warning, Count.”

          “I’ll consider it,” Count said, “but Mole Man, stop your worrying. All I do is put shit on shelves in the middle of the night when it’s a wasteland where only the occasional druggy or scumbag comes in for a melon. What’s it really matter if I’m nippin’ some or not?”

          “Well, like yesterday, when you put the hunting knives in the cereal aisle.”

          “I don’t remember that.”

          “Well, it happened. How? I don’t know because the knives are on the other end of the store.”

          “Maybe for someone comin’ in who needed cheap tasty flakes and a quality blade it was a convenience.”

          Mole Man rolled his eyes in an overly dramatic fashion then said, “even so, here at SWEENEY’S SUPERMART we don’t place knives with the cereal.”

          “Whatever you say, Mole Man.”

          “Damn right, now try to stay sober, its Halloween, we’re probably gonna have an increase in customers.”

          “Right, right boss sir,” Count said with a salute.

          After Mole Man wandered off Count put a few more toys on the shelf then saw someone moving up the aisle. It was a clown with a bowtie, polka dots, and large floppy shoes. Although diverting from clown normalcy was the dried drips of blood coming from its ruby red lips and the sliced open throat. Standing still Count Whorton watched the clown move toward him at a slow pace. It got closer and closer until its face was only inches away from his own. It breathed heavily in his face while watching him with wide eyes before finally kissing him.

          “Christ, Irmie, you had me spooked,” Count Whorton said pulling himself away from her.

          “Good,” she said. Irma Side, Count’s better half in more ways than one, was unrecognizable. She took Halloween seriously, it being her favorite day of the year, even though she celebrated it her way year around. “I was leaving the apartment for the midnight bash at Dynamite Dotty’s when I saw you forgot your work flask.”

          “I couldn’t find it.”

          “Yeah, I hid it.” Irma pulled from her pocket a black flask with a skull and crow on it. “Happy Halloween, Countey,” she said with her sweet screechy voice.

          “Oh, Irmie that’s fantastic. Is it-”

          “Filled to the brim, what am I, stupid?”

          “No, you’re great.” Popping the top, Count took a sip.

          As he placed his new flask in his pocket a scream rang out through the store. Quickly getting to the front of the building Count and Irma saw a crowd of people running to hide. Crouched down one aisle of men’s socks and underwear was Mole Man. Approaching him Count said, “Mole Man, what’s goin’ on?”

          Mole Man looked up at Count and Irma, let loose a scream, and ran away with surprising speed.

          “What the hells goin’ on around here?”

          The stores constant 80’s pop background music came to a halt with the clearing of a man’s throat over the intercom. “Excuse me shoppers and Sweeney’s Supermart employees the store is now on lockdown,” the man said. Count and Irma started toward the registers. “We have already killed one of your night owl shoppers and we will continue to kill everyone in this building until we have what we want. Which is either death of everyone here or something a little more personal. If anyone contacts the police, they will die a miserable death. Happy Halloween and as always, thank you for shopping at Sweeney’s Supermart.” The man’s voice stopped and “Come On Eileen” started over the speakers.

          Hiding behind racks of sunglasses, Count and Irma could see the only two people at the registers. The man who had been speaking stood over six feet tall and was wire thin. He wore a fanged pointy eared and bald-headed mask that left his chin and neck exposed. The other one wore a white sheet with holes cut out around the eyes. The Ghost had small gloved women’s hands showing with blood on the front of her sheet.

          “Who the hell are these people?” Irma said.

          “Beats the hell out of me.”

          Retreating from the front of the store they found another Sweeney’s employee in bedding. Laying on the bottom shelf amongst a bunch of pillows was Alfred Box. He stood three and a half feet tall after crawling out of the shelf he said, “Criminy, that one of them Count?”

          “No, Doc, this is Irma, my girlfriend. She just loves Halloween. Irma this is Doctor Box.”

          Pushing up his glasses and putting out a hand Doctor Box said, “I’m not in actuality a doctor. He just calls me that. Good to meet you.”

          Irma shook his hand as Count said, “he’s the smartest son of a bitch around and I sent him up the river once.”

          “It was an incident of unrequited love and regretful decisions. I harbor no ill will towards Count. Incidentally, I consider him a friend.”

          “And a good friend too, now are the others dead or just trying to hide?”

          A middle-aged woman in a Sweeney’s Supermart uniform ran by at the end of the aisle straight towards the front of the store.

          “Not hiding,” Irma said. The three of them went to the end of the aisle and watched. The woman ran with the grace of a fish swimming in the gut of a bloated tiger. She went right for the doors which wouldn’t open. She shook them and beat the glass before catching a glimpse of the lanky Vampire coming up behind her. She screamed, running towards the pharmacy. The Vampire was on her quickly swinging a machete wildly. As she passed the shelves the woman threw over the counter medication and bandages at the Vampire. Many hit him but few slowed him. He swung the machete landing it in the back of her head, she fell pulling down a rack of laxatives as she went.

          “Poor Carol,” Doctor Box said.

          “We need to move, Countey. Where are the others you think?”

          “Probably towards the back room, Irmie, let’s move.”

          They moved quietly through the rows of items not meeting anyone as they got closer towards the back. Arriving at the door to the break room things seemed normal. Count tried the door, the knob turned but it didn’t open. Pushing against the metal door with his shoulder did nothing. “Anyone in there?” Count called out. “This is Count Whorton. Doctor Box is here too. Living employees.”

          There were some sounds coming from inside the room then the door opened a crack. It was Mole Man. “Is that one of them?” He said nodding towards Irma.

          “Naw,” Count said, “this is Irma, my girlfriend.”

          Mole Man hesitated then opened the door completely. Inside the small room were several people, some customers, mostly employees.

          “What are we going to do?” a man said.

          “Did you see Carol out there?” one of the employees asked.

          “Look here,” Count said, “we’re in a bit of a situation but we’ll get out of this. First of all, Carol’s dead, sorry.”

          “Are you sure?”

          “A machete to the head is usually fatal. Now, we need to call the blue boys to help us out of this jam.”

          “They said they’d kill us if we did.”

          “They also said they may kill us anyway so what are we really risking here? The few last hairs off a shaking snowman’s ass?”

          “What does that mean?” said someone towards the back.

          “I’ll even make the call if it makes you all happier. Irmie you got your phone?”

          “Yeah, Countey, I’m just kickin’ myself for leavin’ my gun at home.”

          Count Whorton took Irma’s phone and called the Quartertown police station. “Irmie what’s Klunkel’s extension again?”

          “666.”

          After putting in the extension number Count waited for him to pick up even though it was the middle of the night. Count never knew Klunkel not to be there and sure enough, he answered. “Detective Klunkel Quartertown Police Department.”

          “Klunky, its Count. I’m at work over at Sweeney’s Supermart and it’s a real store of horrors. We got two masked assholes trying to kill everyone. Two are already dead.”

          “Good one asshole,” Klunkel said.

          “I’m serious, Klunky they already killed Karen from produce.”

          “CAROL was a cashier,” corrected an employee.

          “You need to get your gun-toting, badge-wearing ass down here.”

          “I would honestly Count, but all these camp counselors are being killed down by the lake and I won’t even get into what’s happening with this babysitter’s batshit crazy brother. So, have another drink and Happy Halloween.”

          Count got out, “you dumb son of a,” before the call ended.

          Before he could tell Irma or the crowd that help wasn’t imminent the Vampire’s voice came over the loudspeakers again. “Hello once more, this is going beautifully, but sadly a little slow. So far, my lovely partner has taken a customer’s life and I’ve split an employee’s head in two. Frankly, I thought we’d be a lot farther along by now either; I’d have what I came for or there’d be a pile of bodies but two does not make a pile. So, let’s speed things along. I would like some personal information that only one person here has and that person is Count Whorley Whorton. Like before, either I get what I came here for or you all die. I’m content either way. You pick. Thank you.” The 80’s jams returned with a hit from The Cars as Count Whorton mumbled a swear, all eyes turning towards him.  

          “Throw the ugly bastard out,” said the voice towards the back.

          “Now wait a second,” said Doctor Box holding up a hand, “let’s think now.”

          The woman employee who’d asked about Carol took a pocket knife out and flipped open the blade.

          “Listen here you fuckers, we ain’t going anywhere,” Irma said.

          “It’s you or us,” said the woman with the knife before charging forward. Count hardly blinked, Irma moved defensively in front of him and Doctor Box hit the woman with a chair and said, “sorry Becky.”

          “Nice one, Doc Box,” Irma said, “but Countey I think we should be scootin’ on out of here on second thought. They got awfully hungry eyes and I think we’re on the menu this Halloween.”

          “Right next to the mummy hot dogs. Doc, you comin’?”

          Becky had started to stir on the ground while the rest of the room formed an angry looking group. “I don’t think my actions will be kindly forgotten, so yes please.”

          The Mole Man unlocked and unbarricaded the door to let them out then whispered good luck before quickly slamming it behind them.

          “Three against two we got the majority at least,” Count said taking out his flask.

          “Well, two and a half,” Doctor Box said with a slight smile.

          “There’s someone I can call for help, I think he’ll come.”

          “Who?” said Irma.

          “The giant,” said Count finding the number on the phone. After he finally got it dialed and ringing a teenager’s voice answered saying, “Happy Halloween this is Bing Bing Burger would you like to try our Super Slick Slammer Slider for two-ninety-five?” in a slow unenthusiastic tone.

          “No,” Count said, “I need to speak to Kenny.”

          “Hold please.”

          After a second of silence, there came a booming voice, “yeah?”

          “Kenny, good, this is Count Whorton.”

          Filling him in the same quick slurred enthusiastic summary he gave Klunkel only moments earlier Count Whorton had Kenny coming to the same conclusion.

          “Stop fucking with me, you drunken ugly bastard,” was Kenny’s response before hanging the phone back up on the wall. He sighed, shook his head and walked three steps before the phone rang again. This time it was Irma. She had two profanity injected sentences for him that had the gorilla-sized Kenny apologizing and running out the back of the burger joint.

          Returning our attention back to the Supermart, Irma hung up the phone just as Count Whorton started talking. “Good, the Giant’s on his way, but he’ll be a while. This is the plan to figure out who those Universal Horror wanna-be fucks are, why they want to kill me while keeping them from killing anyone else as we hopefully kill or at least maim them. Surviving the night while staying generally not dead ourselves. Since its Halloween, I call it Plan B: from outer space.”

          “What happened to Plan A?”

          “Plan A was to have a quiet fucking night at work where none of this shit happened. Now, Irma call back the coppers, but instead of dialing extension 666 for demon dumbass Klunky, try to get Miss Pinky. She’d try to get the national guard over here. Doc Box, you be as stealthy as a one-eyed pussy cat and try to see what the killers are up to. I’m gonna head to the cereal aisle and grab a few weapons so we don’t end up living life in a lead-lined coffin.”

          After hurried plans were made to meet back up at the handicap accessible bathroom, everyone went about executing Count’s Plan B: from outer space. I could tell you which route Count took to the knife possessing cereal aisle or how Doc Box army crawled up to a view of the cash registers but I’m not going to. Instead, I’m sticking with Irma.

          She ripped her wig off which had started to sweat and itch then ran a hand through her short hair all while dialing the phone. It rang twice then a voice which Irma knew well answered. “Miss Pinky its Irm-”, dropping to her knees pain burst from Irma’s back where she’d been kicked in the kidneys. Slipping the phone in her pocket Irma got herself up and saw the Sheet Ghost.

          “You gotta pretty high, hard kick there for a skinny little bitch in a bed sheet,” said Irma.

          The Sheet Ghost waved a large butcher knife in front of her face. “And you’re gonna die screaming an old hag in clown’s makeup.”

          “Bitch, that’s on my bucket list, let’s get to it.”

          Irma kicked the Ghost in the stomach sending her reeling backward just as Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams” started playing. The Ghost ran at Irma, knife slashing through the air in front of her. Irma blocked the knife with her arm, the blade cutting her skin-deep. Then grabbing the wrist of the hand that held the knife, she twirled the Ghost around ripping the knife from her. The Ghost fell back, then ran at Irma again although she now had no weapon. Irma had had enough. She punched the Ghost in the head once, twice, three times to lay her out cold.

          When Count Whorton finally rounded the corner making his way in the handicap accessible bathroom both Irma and Doctor box were already standing by the door nervously waiting.

          “I went as fast as I could,” he said, “ripped a few packages right off the shelf we’ll just have to take the fucking knives out the plastic.”

          “I don’t need one,” Irma said showing the bloody butcher knife.

          “Where’d the hell you get that, Irmie?”

          Irma opened the door to the handicap accessible bathroom. Tied up on the floor was the Sheet Ghost.

          “Bitch cut me, I bandaged my arm with my oversized bow tie.”

          “Fuck, Irmie you okay?”

          “I’ll live.”

          “Your clown costume’s practically a utility belt,” said Doctor Box, “got bandages and everything.”

          “More than that,” said Irma pointing at the Ghost on the floor, “look, tied her up with my handkerchief rope.”

          “What?”

          “You know, clown pulls out a handkerchief, but it’s actually fifty all tied together different colors. That’s what I used. What else was I gonna use? My ten feet of chain?”

          “You did amazing, Irmie. Get anything out of her?”

          “Yeah, she wanted to kill me.”

          “Good to know, Doc, what you see?”

          Doc pushed up his glasses scratching his nose in the process. “Um, not much really. The man in the vampire mask is sitting at register thirteen eating candy.”

          “Alright Doc,” Count took another nip from his flask. “Fuck a rickety rocking chair, who are these bastards?”

          “It’s someone who knows you, Countey,” said Irma, “maybe even someone you know.”

          “Hey,” said Doctor Box, “didn’t you just start up a detective agency? Could it be a disgruntled client?”

          “The Bloody Whorehouse Detective Agency has only had one case, a missing dog.”

          “Find the dog?”

          “Naw, funny story, guy was a nut, never had a dog.”

          “Come on, Countey, other than the mask, did he look like someone you know? Did his voice sound familiar? Anything?”

          “I don’t know. I don’t know.” Count closed his eyes and put his hands over his temples. A few minutes later, looking on the verge of tears Count opened his eyes again and said, “I think I know who it is.”

          Irma tore open the plastic of one of the hunting knives. “Then let’s go get him, Countey.”

          Devo’s “Whip It” snapped through the aisles as the three of them made their way to the front of the store like three very odd trick or treaters. Creeping past aisles and aisles of deathly quiet items, Count whispered to Doctor Box. “Doc, could you make out what kind of candy he was eating? I want to confirm somethin’?”

          “What? Yeah, caramels. The same that are on sale.”

          Count nodded.

          As they reached the front, they poked their heads around the end of a shelf to see if the Vampire had moved. He hadn’t. The best plan they could come up with was one of surprise attack. So, the three of them crouched down and began to crawl with knives at the ready across the slightly sticky store floor. Their Olympian swim to register thirteen wasn’t a fraction of the way over before the Vampires’ voice pierced their ears.

          “So, this clown, dwarf, and ugly drunken bastard walk into a bar…stop me if you’ve heard it.”

          Irma, Doctor Box, and Count stopped and exchanged stunned glances for a moment that felt like an eternity then Count stood up. Brushing himself off while still holding the knife, Count said, “Thank God you said something. I’ve never been good at the whole sneaky thing and I just want to get this whole fucking thing done with, all while keeping my asshole hairs from getting plucked in the process.”

          “What a way of putting it, Count,” said the Vampire sitting atop the conveyor belt, “I’m disappointed you didn’t dress up today. Then again, maybe you did. What has snow white pale skin, dark circles under the eyes, crooked yellow teeth, a twisted hunchback, and a drinking problem?”

          “My mother?”

          “I was going to say a rotten son of a bitch.”

          “Yeah, sure, whatever. You care if I go get a pack of cigarettes while you talk?”

          “Have your little friend do it.”

          Count turned around to Doc and Irma standing behind him. “Could you Doc?”

          “Sure, Count,” said Doctor Box.

          “Who is this man, Countey?” asked Irma.

          “Count Whorton pointed his knife at the Vampire and said, “This, dear Irma is Stuart Stegman. Former accountant, current murderer and forever a psychopathic asshole… right?”

          “That’s not very nice,” said Stuart, popping another caramel into his mouth.

          “It’s true though,” Doc returned with Count’s cigarettes. “Thanks, Doc. You’re just in time to hear about Stuart there. You see, years ago, before I met you Irmie and before I sent you up the river, Doc, I was a regular Quartertown private investigator. And one day Stuart the accountant got off work and was heading home to kill his wife, Carmilla. However, Carmilla, a bright woman either aware of the plan or fed up with her spindly-ass toothpick psychopathic asshole husband decided she was leaving. And before her husband got home, caught her and killed her, she hid their daughter, Mina, somewhere he has never found her. In his search for his daughter, he hired me of all people. I didn’t find her but if I did, I wouldn’t tell that skinny fanged fucker over there.”

          Taking off his vampire mask Stuart said, “Allegedly killed, Carmilla. It was never proven that I killed my love.”

          “Maybe not by law, but common sense has you frying in the chair,” Count said looking at his face. A face Count hadn’t seen in years. A face consisting of two beady eyes and a boney nose tied together with a receding hairline. In other words, just a normal fucking face. “By the way, asshole, what’s with the old lady caramels you popped those back then too.”

          “My vice is a penchant for hard candies similar to your booze.”

          “Uh-huh,” said Count lighting a bent cigarette, “let’s get down to brass tacks the blue boys are on their way and your ghostly henchman is tied up in the handicap shitter, so hand over the machete and weep in the fetal position until we haul your ass off to the hoosegow.”

          Stuart didn’t move, but he did smile. “I’m not going anywhere until I learn where my daughter is.”

          Irma stepped forward with a question, “Why do you think Count knows?”

          “Well, because in spite of looking like an incompetent dumb fucker he gets things done. I read a while back he solved a case where a woman came to him with just a finger. Then he took down a murdering drag queen and reopened his P.I. office with a new colorful name. I know he knows where she is.”

          Count threw up his hands. “I really don’t. Not. Lying.”

          “Since my loves… passing, I’ve learned to love again. With not only one, but two. You met one of my new Carmilla’s earlier, dressed as a ghost. My other new lovely Carmilla has been going by the name Becky and is currently in a crowded breakroom with a knife to the back of a certain pimple-faced manager. One text from me he dies. Then the others.”

          “You’re gonna kill Mole Man?”

          “And then the others. If you don’t tell me where she is.”

          “One last question Stuart,” said Count waving his knife around. “These new women in your life, they’re also named Carmilla?”

          “All my loves are named Carmilla.”

          “Jesus H. Christ, I didn’t know we were having a Halloween half-off sale on psychopaths. Fuck, Irmie? Doc? Did you know that?”

          “Enough!” said Stuart holding his cell phone up. “One text and they start dying. Tell me where she is now.”

          “Don’t you do it, Stuart,” Irma said.

          “I will if I hav-” Stuart suddenly ducked as Count’s knife came flying at him. “What the hell was that?”

          “Worth a try,” Count said with a shrug.

          “That’s it, they’re dead.”

          Stuart started to make the text as the front door exploded inwards. A twenty-pound Halloween-decorated rock skidded and rolled across the floor. Emerging from the broken glass of the sliding door was Kenny. He stood tall and wide wearing a stained apron, Bing Bing Burger paper hat and for Halloween a large red cape that flapped in the wind. He tightened his grip on the bat he held looking around. He saw Stuart who had grabbed up his machete upon hearing the glass break. Knowing the threat, Kenny ran full speed ahead across the store like a lunatic loose of the ward, cape flapping, bat swinging. When Stuart glimpsed the bullet that was Kenny coming for him, he ran without stopping to drop his machete.

          Count, Irma, and Doctor Box stayed back as Kenny’s blur passed them in pursuit of Stuart.

          Count said, “I don’t know if it’s a hallucination or this story’s narration, but did Kenny look like a superhero?”

          Ignoring Count’s comment Irma said, “Look he dropped the phone.”

          “Did he send the text?”

          Irma picked up the phone and hit a few buttons. “Text unsent.”

          “Thank God,” said Doctor Box.

          “Yeah, they’re still alive. Let’s go make sure they stay that way.”

          They reached the back of the store just as “Another One Bites The Dust” split through the air. They had a rough time getting Mole Man to open the door to the breakroom but at least that meant he was still alive. After they kicked their way in Irma went up to the girl with the Becky nametag sitting amongst the others. Before a word could be said Irma had her out cold, bleeding and the pocket knife she went at Count with earlier taken away. The crowd started to panic, yelling and screaming.

          “Hey,” Count said, “she was one of them. God dammit, ready to kill you all. Now either get the fuck back or help tie her up.”

          The room went suddenly quiet, no one moved or breathed. Count was amazed his speech had such an effect until he realized that Kenny was eclipsing the door behind him, his bat still ready to roll heads.

          “Jesus Christ, Kenny, you get him?”

          “I hit him a few times, but then he disappeared.”

          “What?”

          “I shit you not. I got two good whacks in then he went around a corner and disappeared. I’m so sorry Irma, Count I mean it.”

          “It’s okay Kenny,” said Irma, “the police will be here any minute they’ll find him.”

          “I already heard sirens.”

          “Good…shit, we need to check on the Ghost.”

          When they got to the bathroom the door was open and the room was empty.

          “Well, Happy Halloween, Irmie,” said Count drinking from his flask, “Happy Halloween.”

          When Klunkel showed up Count asked him if he caught the camp counselor killer or that babysitters’ brother. Klunkel didn’t respond.

          Count Whorton and Irma walked out of Sweeney’s Supermart just as the sun was rising. Klunkel had said they couldn’t leave yet, but Count said his flask was empty and that always meant his shift was over. As they got in the car Irma started it up and Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing” came on the radio. Just before pulling out of the parking lot Irma said, “I gotta ask Countey. Do you or do you not know where Stuart Stegman’s daughter is?”

          “Of course, I do, but I’m not telling that fucking psychopath,” Count said and turned up the radio.

The End


Michael D. Davis was born and raised in a small town in the heart of Iowa. Having written over thirty short stories, ranging in genre from comedy to horror from flash fiction to novella he continues in his accursed pursuit of a career in the written word.

It's well known that an artist becomes more popular by dying, so our pal Steve Cartwright is typing his bio with one hand while pummeling his head with a frozen mackerel with the other. Stop, Steve! Death by mackerel is no way to go! He (Steve, not the mackerel) has a collection of spooky toons, Suddenly Halloween!, available at Amazon.com.    He's done art for several magazines, newspapers, websites, commercial and governmental clients, books, and scribbling - but mostly drooling - on tavern napkins. He also creates art pro bono for several animal rescue groups. He was awarded the 2004 James Award for his cover art for Champagne Shivers. He recently illustrated the Cimarron Review, Stories for Children, and Still Crazy magazine covers. Take a gander ( or a goose ) at his online gallery: www.angelfire.com/sc2/cartoonsbycartwright . And please hurry with your response - that mackerel's killin' your pal, Steve Cartwright.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2019