63)   Super Sunday, February 19th :  5:30 – 5:35 AM   Ghede Un-Chaine-d”


Kristi Chaine was unconscious, if not quite dead, but… as Jack Gobelman dragged her through the door and down the mostly deserted, yard-wide catwalk of the eastern Promenade… all of the hate and the bitterness he’d stored up for her over the past month spewed out across her limp form in an incoherent, one-sided rant…

          “No lawyers, no Screaming Eagles now… just you n’ me, babe… have I got numbers for you to crunch, I am the bone-crunching number-cruncher, babe… eight, forty-two thousand six hundred twelve, three-fifths to the seventh power stations in Butte, Montana… don’t look for Vern, he’s on the carpet now… who let the dogs out?… I’ll bet that cardshark… David, David Lee… is that you down there? bringing my meatball soup… what hey, David?  I’m gonn megahertz you!  How is Fort Worth…

          David had pulled himself up to the lower rungs of the ladder and started limping after Goblin.  “Fort Worth is fucked, Jack… fucked as D.C. and everywhere else.  It’s all over for these clowns… uh, sorry, uh…”

          Because, as if summoned by the still-roaring Ghede, three of Big Sonny’s clowns in greasepaint, polka dots and giant, Styrofoam shoes… scared witless by the hellhounds baying at the chaos… dashed across the Food Court to leap and snap at the zombies on the Baffler countertop trying to scale the bellowing plastic head.  The zombies, overtaken by a primal, juvenile terror at the out-of-control clowns, dropped back to the Court among the fighting dogs… who also paused; themselves terrified of Big Sonny’s deserting Pennywhistles.

          “It’s over, Jack.  We won!  We were right,” David took the opportunity to shower praises on the madman, “…you were right!  The President has reversed course, they’re gonna show the game tonight after all… Skins and Raiders…” he added, using the old, politically incorrect terminology that had come back into underground legendermain after “Commanders” had expired of ridicule and devolved, demi-officially, back to The Football Team.

“No skin off my pigskin.  Don’t like football, rather drink an ocean of margaritas.  Goin’ to Margaritaville, soon as I find a dumpster to throw this trash in…”

“Don’t, Jack… it’s murder.  They got cameras all around… (pointing) …let’s just get her down, get the fuck out of here.  We’ll leave her off at some hospital, go to Margaritaville together, watch the game… after we go home and cop some sleep.  Why they’ll give you back your pension now, or a promotion if you want to come back, maybe a commendation…”

“Don’t have a home to cop sleep in,” Goblin retorted, then began singing off-key… improvising to the tune of Jimmy Buffet, sort of, in a manner as would never win him a spot on American Idol or one of those other singing reality shows.  “Copped pop in a flop-shop… bitch flipped off the top, dropped… into a Dumpster with lemons an’ salt… step aside, my good fellow, and I will give you five…”

          Where the Promenade catwalk branched off, following the eastern corridor north and south along the row of boutiques, a dazed zombie scuttled away, squeezing himself against the rail and, then, held out his hand, expectantly.  Goblin slapped the hand with a grin, then grabbed Kristi’s other wrist and dragged her to the door above Henri’s Chocolatíer, pushing it open with his ass as David limped after him…

          My it smells sweet in here!” Goblin exalted.  Su-weeit! like a job and a family and a home, all of which you took away from me.  Now… where’s the dumpster?  There it is!” 

          David Lee, barefoot and bleeding profusely, now, grabbed hold of the rail for a moment and glanced back into the food court, where Ghede was as covered with zombies as bare skin on a hot August twilight – clowns like brightly coloured pustules slowly migrating upwards towards the great idol’s scalp.  But this was too much weight for the metal bands securing the effigy, and the giant black, laughing head lurched forward as the bands finally snapped, bounced off the Baffler countertop and fell forward towards Brunhilde and two other dogs worrying Vern Cooth’s corpse in the Food Court;  Ghede’s passengers… clowns and zombies alike… crying  out in pain and terror as it began to roll…


                   “God… oh God help me!”

                             “Help!  Mr. Sonnenschein… help!”



The dogs scattered and the luckiest hominids atop Ghede were thrown off with varying bruises and fractures… the less fortunate beneath were crushed, causing the big black head to swerve and roll, still roaring, down the western Promenade towards the gates of the One World Mall.  Most lay silent in puddles of gore; the unluckiest... twitching and groaning... screamed as the hungry dogs returned.  Ahead of them, the last exiting Giga-Plex employees looked up, howled with terror and ran for their lives… some reaching the gates, others being crushed under the laughing, bouncing orisha or dragged down by dogs.  Turning away with a sick expression, David resumed his pursuit of Goblin and his hostage, espying the former Research Manager of the FCC lifting Kristi Chaine half over the catwalk rail… directly above Henri’s bubbling tub of hot chocolate… as he burst through the door…

“Jack, you really don’t want to do this.  You’re a Federal employee, like me… we took an oath…”

          “To protect and dubserve the Constitution of the United States.  I remember!  (placing his right hand over his heart).  I, John Maynard Gobelman, solemnly swear… fuckit, Davy, recite along with me or the bitch goes into the dumpster!…

          “Alright!  Alright!  I, David Yelverton Lee…”

          “Oath-Keepers All... to prospect and proturb til’ the government shuts down again…” Goblin continued, proudly, then shook his head and rolled his eyes, “what kinda fuckin’ name is Yellowtron?”

          Edging closer and shrugging, innocently, all the while, David detected a flash of sanity in the gaze of his former superior and replied, coaxingly... Yelverton!  My folks came from up north, they were football fans.  Followed the Giants…”

          “I told you, David,” Gobelman snarled, “Don’t give a jot nor a Why Ay Tittle.  I don’t like football…”

          He dropped his right hand to grasp Kristi’s jacket, seized her buttocks with the left and started to haul her up and over the rail.  David lurched forward, but his dog-bitten heel failed him and he tumbled towards them, grasping Kristi by the knees as Goblin tugged mightily until then, unbalanced himself, the former manager of the FCC Research Division toppled over the rail and plunged into the bubbling, boiling chocolate.  Kristi slid back, dropping to the catwalk atop David as Gobelman screamed in agony and one blistered hand rose above the brown tide to seize the edge of the vat…

          “What… oh, my head hurts and it smells so… heavenly!…” Kristi stirred, blinked and sniffed, “are we dead?”

          David extricated himself and, using the rail to stand, looked down.   “Not yet!”

          Kristi also rose and both looked down as Gobelman, with a superhuman effort, tried to pull himself out of the vat, only to fall back into the quiddity of Henri’s Chocolatíer, burned beyond hope of recovery and already suffocating beneath a thick, savory coating of delicious chocolate – a Lester’s Likeness in black, lifting his right arm in a final salute to the world and clenching a fist of power before sinking beneath the bubbling maelstrom.  David vomited over the rail into the vat…

          “That’s not gonna help…” Kristi advised, pulling herself to her knees.




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