Tuck your tail and run (chapter 4) by Christopher Reel

After she left I sat lost in thought.  Becoming a father scared the hell out of me. I have always been irresponsible, lazy, and a fuck up. I was pretty sure that there were many fucked up people in this world but I bet that I was the only fucked up person who was unemployed and had a tail at the same time. But I wanted to be a father especially of Tabitha’s children. She was my first love and she loved me for who I was.

Before I answered the ringing phone I imagined the look on Tabitha’s face after I came home from grocery shopping and forgot our baby at the supermarket.

‘Hello.’ I said into the phone. On the floor I noticed a piece of paper.

‘Is this Alex?’ A woman’s voice said.

I nodded.

‘Hello.’ The woman’s voice said.

‘Yeah this is Alex.’

‘It’s me, Monica. Phil told me to let you know that he’s on his way.’

‘Oh, alright.’ I said.

I hung up the phone and then picked up the piece of paper from the floor. It was a 20 dollar bill with a red happy face drawn on it. I remembered the old man drawing the happy face as he proclaimed he would make me a believer. I thought about my wagging tail as I balled the bill up.

‘I wouldn’t do that if I was you.’ Said the voice of a little child.

I dropped the crumpled legal tender onto the floor as I looked frantically around the room.

‘Down here.’ The voice said.

I looked down and 20 dollar bill was standing, long side up, with what appeared to be little white arms and legs sticking out of it. The red inked happy face looked as if it was three dimensional.

‘My name is bill.’ It said.

‘What the fuck?’ I jumped up onto the bed.

First a tail and then talking money. Things were getting out of hand.

‘The bill jumped and climbed onto the bed. It had grown twice its original size.

‘Mr. Warlock.’ I said while looking around the room expecting the old man to step from behind a door clapping his hands and saying ‘I got you. I bet you’re a believer now.’

The bill stood in front of me on the bed and laughed the laugh of a possessed child from a low budget horror flick and then said. ‘Fuck a warlock. I want your soul.’

‘My soul?’

‘Your soul.’

‘I need my soul.’

‘Give me your soul or I’ll be forced to take it.’

I didn’t respond.

The brief silence that stood between us caused me to realize that I was talking to an enlarged USD. Suddenly it leaped at me. Sharp metallic pains pierced the calf of my left leg. I kicked into the air until the thing released from its bite. I didn’t know where it landed but I had to get out of the room. I slowly stepped off of the bed. The pain in my leg pulled at me. I could feel the blood running down my leg but I ignored it. I walked in a half crouch half stoop towards the door. My mind raced in circles. The only thing that was clear in my head was that I had to get out of the apartment. Fuck what it was. Fuck where it came from. Run.

At the bedroom’s doorway the light in the room suddenly goes out. The hallway lights also went out. The glare of the street lamp’s dingy yellow glow streaked from the hallway window across the carpet. I took slow pre-cautious steps out of the room, not sure where the bill was. I looked back at the doorway when I heard a creak and what appeared to be the silhouette of a small fat child standing there waving thin arms.

‘Give me your soul, dame it.’ Said the childish voice which had a soft static like echo behind it. It was the bill, but not the bill. It somehow grew and changed into something. I had no plans on investigating. I ran in a sloppy impatient dart and slipped onto the floor. Not worrying where the thing was I pushed myself upward to continue my escape but it jumped onto my back. It was now the weight of a fat 6 year old. I started shaking and punching at the thing. Its hands, small and meaty with finger nails of wood, had blood drawing grips into my shoulders. I ran us backwards into the wall. Its grip eased as it fell to the floor. I turned to it. It sat quiet and dead like. Its big green head rested forward on its chest. Its torso was green, hard, and shinny. Its arms and legs were flexible white poles with green meaty fist for hands and feet. I thought about kicking or punching it or tossing it out of the window but for some reason I never thought to run until its head popped up. Its eyes were red dots and its mouth a line that curved and split into a smile as it said. ‘I will be the beneficiary of your soul.’

I have no knowledge or training for dealing with little green monsters wanting to highjack souls so I had to keep to my initial plan, which was to run. I ran out of the apartment, and in a forward stumble I hurried down the stairs. To my surprise the little monster stood in front of the door. I didn’t have time to wonder how it got there because my goal was to get on the other side of the door. With gleeful energy it charged at me the way a fat kid would charge at a MacDonald’s. In the small hallway my only escape would have been to run back up the stairs, which I’m sure, would have been stupid. Suddenly the little monster leaped at me. I swung my body into a well-simulated roundhouse kick. There was no impact; I missed the little bastard entirely. The weight of the errant kick threw my equilibrium off, sending me to the floor. I landed on my back, and once again I was reminded by pain that I had a tail. Although a tingling sensation screamed with echoes from my lower back up my spine with agony I had no time to dwell in the pain because the little monster was air borne. I bent my legs and then kicked upward. The impact felt as if I kicked a large rock. The little monster landed by the stairs with a thump. I pushed my self to my feet and then ran out of the front door, slamming it behind me. I kept an eye on the door as I ran backwards down the walkway. The monster burst threw the door in a head first dive landing on its back rolling forward onto its feet. It jumped up and down laughing with destructive excitement. I ran into the street. The block was quiet as usual. The pursuing monster and the silence provoked me to scream; to call attention to myself. I wasn’t screaming out anything rational, such as ‘There’s a monster chasing me.’ or ‘Call 911.’ Instead what came out was ‘The British are coming.’

Fear makes me say crazy things.

I was running so fast that when I tried to make a sharp turn at the corner I went wide while trying to slow down without stopping. With a diving tackle the monster knocked me into a parked car. What followed was a flurry of punches to my head and face. I started to become dizzy as black spots invaded my vision. I was going to die. I was sure of it. I was going to die a fuck up. A 23 years old fuck up. And, the fashion that I was going to exit the world wouldn’t help my image. I could see the headlines:

An unemployed fuck up with a tail whup to death by a little green monster — In related news the green little monster runs and is elected to city council.

But I couldn’t die. It wouldn’t have been right. It wouldn’t have felt right. My wife was pregnant. Although the punching had stopped I had to dig up the strength from deep down inside of me and swung a wild punch where the monster’s head should had been, instead I hit Phil in the stomach.

‘What the fuck, man?’ Phil grunted.

Disoriented I climbed up the car to a stand. ‘Where did it go?’ I said.

Phil’s eyes opened wide as he stood upright. ‘Get into the car.’ He said before diving into the open driver’s side door. As I ran around the car to the passenger side I noticed the little monster with a tire iron lodged in the top of its head running towards me. Phil pulled off in a frantic swerve. Through the rear window I watched the little monster stop and pulled the tire iron out of his head. He stared at me with frustration and anger in his inhuman face that sent a fear of dying into me that would have a hold on me until I die or at the least until I’ll smoke a joint.

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About thebabbler

The Babbler is social commentary and literature by Christopher Reel

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