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Douglas J. Ogurek
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whitemetal.jpg
Art by Mike Kerins 2016

The Sound of White Metal

 

 

Douglas J. Ogurek

 

“So do not be afraid.” – Matthew 10:31

 

 

A masked man stood among bushes and swayed. He held a paintball gun and wore a blue armband. He faced a body of water with geese floating at its center. “What’s malamal mean?”

Another masked gunman with a blue armband bent a branch. “I’m almost the guy’s fuckin’ boss.”

“Maleel?”

“In Shockman’s universe, that word doesn’t exist.”

“You said it earlier. At Mom’s?”

“Probably an architecture word.”

“I don’t know.”

Unrhythmically a robin chirped above them. Shockman snapped off the branch. “That’s so fucking annoying.”   

Fifteen feet behind them, a red flag topped an eight-foot pole. Beyond that, more blue-banded figures advanced into the woods.

Shockman tapped the swaying man’s gun. “Now come on. Let’s see you crush it, Doggie.”

Doggie aimed at the geese. Detuned distorted guitars rumbled in the distance. A synthesizer and drums fortified them.

Doggie thought of Ty, his tail wagging and muscles rippling as he tried to sniff a butterfly.

Doggie’s gun popped. The projectile flew twenty feet wide of the geese.

Shockman repositioned himself. A photo of a nude woman stuck to the tread of one of his boots. “That shit’s not even music in my universe.”

“Hey, Ty’s still really strong. He can really jump.”

“White metal or whatever that buttonhead hillbilly over there called it? It’s so cantankerous.”

“What’s can . . .” The music stopped. Doggie swayed, and adjusted his mask. “Remember when you still lived with us?”

“What’s going on in that buttonhead’s head?”

“And Ty, he bit that little girl?”

“Where’s my fucking paint grenade? It said they had paint grenades.”

Popping came from the forest. Doggie turned around, then crouched. “Oh man. They’re coming.”

“Relax. They’re still way out there.”

“What are we gonna . . .”

“We just hide here till somebody comes for that flag. Then sh-kh sh-kh sh-kh we crush those fuckers.”

Doggie swayed. “That tree there? That’s a bur oak. I seen a lot of them on Third Street. Over there by Dovey’s?”

“Yeah, Dovey’s. Get that shit outta here.”

“We inject them. We got these chemicals, and we inject the chemicals. Into the trees?”

“You ever see Terry there? At Dovey’s?”

“It’s a highly pressurized injection system. Injections. That keeps those oaks strong.”

“Terry Voxland?”

“Or they get that nutrient deficial?”

“She’s a volunteer or whatever?”

“It’s pressurized. I don’t know.”

The robin chirped awkwardly. Shockman fired upward. The paintball splashed through the branches, then the bird took flight. Shockman pushed Doggie’s gun toward the water. “You need practice. Let’s see you hit those geese.”

“Does it hurt? When you get shot?”

“It stings for like a second. Now come on. Hit that shit.”

Doggie took aim. “Hey, Mom probably wouldn’t like that naked lady thing. You know that naked lady thing you got at your piano?”

“Mannequin. Mannequin, Doggie. Now beat my shot.”

Doggie adjusted his grip.

“I never wanted to play that bastard piano. I wanted to go outside. But Mom, man. She’s got this crazy shit going on in her head.”   

The white metal glided and swayed, and then, abruptly, slowed, and warned stompingly.

Doggie thought of his tree stake gun injecting fertilizer.

His next shot sailed ten feet over the geese.

“I should’ve smashed that buttonhead’s CD player.”   

Doggie huffed, then mumbled. “Caltenkron . . .”

“I’ve got no idea what the fuck you’re saying, bro.”

The music faded. More guns popped. Two blue-banded figures scrambled within the woods.

A hundred feet from Shockman and Doggie crouched another figure, his back to them.

“Shit, that’s Vozone. Watch me crush that shit.”

“But that guy’s got blue.”

“So?”

“We’re blue.”

“This is the bachelor party, Doggie. And I’m the fuckin’ bachelor.” Shockman advanced through foliage until he was fifteen feet behind Vozone. Five times Shockman’s gun popped.

Splotches covered Vozone’s back. He fell forward and growled. “Aw I’m hit I’m hit I’m out. The fuck, Shockman? Your team, your team. Now I’m out. I’m on your fuckin’ team.”

Shockman shrugged. “Sorry. Didn’t see your blue thing there.” He returned to Doggie by the flag.

“Man, why did you shoot him, man?”

“How can you beat that?” Shockman gripped his shoe. “These are Garrots. Look at that. Fucking Garrots.”

“Man, we got less guys now.”

“And that bottlehead Vozone says, ‘So?’ So? These are Garrots. I don’t know what the fuck’s going on in those people’s heads.”

“What people?”

Shockman took out a phone. “Those Mexicans. Garrots are cutting edge shit.”

“Hey, oh no.” Doggie pointed at a small, D-shaped hole in a tree trunk. “That’s the EAB. Those EABs, they’ll kill this thing.”

Shockman showed Doggie his phone. “Here, look at this shit.”

“But we got these guns. For the EABs? These special guns? They’re pressurized guns.”

“Look here. It says right here. ‘Paint grenades are available for five bucks each.’”

“You just shoot them. That guy said no cell phones.”

“Fuck him. The head-banging buttonhead. Let’s see you hit the geese.”

Guns popped. Doggie stood and faced the water. “Looks like some babies out there.”

“More of a challenge sh-kh sh-kh sh-kh.”

Doggie swayed, and watched the geese. “Hey, what happened with that stripper last night?”

“Nothing. Just fooling around. You gonna shoot?”

“What about Barbara?”

“Bar’s fine. Forget about that muffler last night. Now aim that thing. She’s a muffler.”

Doggie took aim.

“I tried to hire that Voxland bitch, get her to do some business development? But she won’t do BD. She says she’s happy where she is.”

“Hey, you gonna get rid of that statue thing at your apartment?”

“. . . happy working for that dinky-ass firm.”

“. . . that manquil kin thing?”

“Moothard or Mootzhart or whatever that dinky-ass firm’s called. Now shoot.”

The white metal ripped through their area. A vocalist roared unintelligible lyrics. The voice sounded submerged.

Doggie remembered Ty going up to a Mexican guy and wagging his tail. The man smiled and petted Ty.

Doggie’s shot splattered against a tree.

Shockman attempted to mimic the voice. “Kill your mom. Kill your dog. Rape your neighbor. Kill rape kill.”

“Man, that’s what they’re saying? I don’t know. It doesn’t sound like it’s what they’re saying.”

The music stopped.

Shockman pulled out a flask. “If I had a paint grenade, I’d stuff it in that buttonhead’s mouth.”

“That’s not what they’re saying.”

Shockman lifted his mask slightly, took a sip. “This shit fuckin’ tastes like piss. You and that charity.”

Doggie adjusted his mask. “What’s malal . . .”

“I gave you that fifty for Eabry. Eabry’s the best vodka. How much did you give those buttonheads?”

Doggie swayed. “Huh? Hey, what’s cantrank . . .”

“The fools outside Reinerts. Collecting money for dismembered kids or whatever?”

“Dis . . . ten. Or fifteen. For poor kids or something.”

“In my universe, that’s a waste.” Shockman used a stick to puncture the mouth on the sticker beneath his shoe.

Paintball gunfire erupted, then a man shouted, “I’m out. Damn, fuckin’ shit. I’m out.”

Doggie squeezed a paintball. “Hey, that guy over there? He said not to shoot at animals.”

“It’s called a mannequin, Doggie. That statue thing at my piano? Women like that. They want you to dress them up like that.”

The paintball burst between Doggie’s fingers. “Hey what’s that word you used earlier?”

“Take care of them like that and tell them what to do.”

“Mana . . . malebul or something?”

“Male bull? Yeah, male bull. Ha. I said male bull. Get that shit off your fingers. Wipe it on the tree there.”

“Ty’s a pit bull.” Doggie wiped his hands on his pants.

“It’s malleable, Doggie. Malleable. It’s an architecture word.”

“Was that stripper Mexican or something?”

“She looked like Candy. At work? You take the potential client out for a few drinks? And you bring Candy? You’ll have a new client in no time.”

The music returned. A growl ground over a wall of distortion.

Doggie remembered when Ty licked the boy who fell off his bike.  

“Maybe this’ll come down on that buttonhead.” Shockman fired upward. “That fifty was for Eabry’s, man. And you get me this shit. What was going on in your head, Doggie Boy?”

The music shifted: a piano pranced over a deep extended guitar note.

Sometimes Ty growled and wagged his tail. He wanted to play then.

Doggie swiped his gun, then mumbled something with the words “supposed to” in it.

“What? I have no idea what you just said.”

“I don’t know.”

A hundred yards from them, a red-banded figure dashed from one patch of tall grass to another.

“Shit. That’s Spokes. You see that? That’s Spokes. I’m gonna nail that buttonhead.”  

Guitars churned. Drums blasted. Doggie crouched and breathed quickly. “He’s on the other team?”

Shockman turned Doggie toward the water. “All right, Doggie. You got one more shot at those geese; the other team will be here soon.”

“You think he’ll shoot us? Man, I don’t want to get hit.”

“I told you it’s fine. I’ll nail him.”

“But I don’t want to get hit in my back.”

“He won’t. Now you got one more practice shot.”

Doggie aimed. The drum and guitar assault dissipated, and from it drifted a slow piano solo. The largest goose stuck its head in the water.

One time, Ty bit a girl.   

Spokes’s head rose out of the grass, and Shockman used a stick to mash a paintball against a tree trunk. “These clients, they don’t know what the fuck they want. Spokes is gonna get slammed. What they want is to tell you how you fucked up.”

Doggie lowered the gun. “Hey, what happened with that stripper?”

“What they want is more sex partners.”

“I saw you go into the bedroom.”

“That’s what Dad wanted. More sex partners. That’s what everyone wants. That’s how you get jobs in architecture.”

The piano played lingeringly and, as if surveying battlefield carnage, mournfully.

The girl kept trying to put sunglasses on Ty. Doggie told her not to, but she kept trying.

“Synergy. That’s what you want. So you get the Asians to do the work, and you get the hot women to do the business development. Events and dinners and that shit. Fuckin’ synergy.”

“Hey, remember when Ty bit that girl?”

Spokes scuttled to a bush.

Shockman pulled off a piece of bark. “Spokes. The guy gets a monitor, the thing’s bigger than my monitors. I mean I got two monitors, but I’m almost his fucking boss.” Shockman pushed the barrel of Doggie’s gun until it pointed toward the geese. “Now come on Doggie. Fuckin’ crush that shit. This is your chance.”

Clear electric guitar notes joined the piano.

Doggie’s brother went to the little girl’s house. He was nice, and he asked her parents not to tell about the bite. Or Ty would have had to be put to sleep.

“That stripper. You went in the bedroom.”

“Listen, you got a favorite tool?”

Doggie lowered the gun. “We got this pressured gun. Pressurized.”

“So that tool’s great. Beautiful. I’m gonna nail Spokes right in the nuts. You love that tool. But sometimes it’s not there. So you use other tools.”

“Bob lets me use it. The gun’s a pressurized tree stake gun? It’s like a gun and it puts this stuff in the tree. Injects it.”

Louder popping. Someone shouted, “Aw, you asshole.” Spokes scooted closer to them.

The piano played alone again, and slightly faster.

Doggie thought it sounded like climbing a hill, and the sun starting to show.

“Ty bit that girl. Remember that?”

“Yeah, yeah, Doggie. Yeah. Now crush those geese sh-kh sh-kh sh-kh.”

“She just went up to him and put those sunglasses on. I said ‘Don’t,’ but she just did it and she hurt his eye.”

“I’m gonna nail this buttonhead. Right in the nuts.”

“She wasn’t bleeding or anything. After he bit her?”

“I was so nice to those people. Oh fuck, here they come.” The geese had taken flight, and drums joined the piano. “Now this is it. Aim. Come on, fucking aim.”

Doggie’s gun rose as the geese approached and ascended. A distorted guitar slid in.

Doggie thought of chainsaws. Bob used them to cut down dead ash trees, but also to prune.

“I was so nice to those people. Talking about you, and your dog and that shit. And the bitch—you know the brat’s older sister?—she still wouldn’t let me screw her.”

The white metal played triumphantly.

Whenever he saw a little dog that barked and barked, Ty rolled onto his back.

The geese, honking, flew overhead. Doggie’s gun did not fire.

-- END --





Douglas J. Ogurek’s fiction, though banned on Mars, appears in over 35 Earth publications. He lives on Earth with the woman whose husband he is. They are owned by a pit bull named Phlegmpus Bilesnot. Ogurek also reviews films at Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction. More at www.douglasjogurek.weebly.com

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