Buck Fantastic: The Savage State of Worms

The City of Thieves was a post-apocalyptic wonder. The entire city was one huge, walled platform. Pieced together with flotsam and debris, NuBab, the City of Thieves, was the ONLY sanctuary in all the Dark Country. And, even then, calling it a sanctuary was an insult to real sanctuaries everywhere. Buck Fantastic and Plan B had already killed six people and they’d only taken about that many steps into the town.

“Cutthroat aren’t they?” said Plan B as he re-holstered his two handguns. Excepting his brain, Plan B was artificially organic, what the Old American Forseers would call a “Cyborg”.

“Little bit. Criminals from all of the Fortified Cities are banished to the Dark Country. They are free to live out their lives if they survive the trek, which is unlikely seeing as how it’s a constant struggle with mutated elements and undead monstrosities,” answered Buck.

“And if they don’t make it?”

Buck shrugged. “We killed more than a few of those poor zombie bastards on our way here.”

“I get it. So only the real pricks survive.”

“Yeah. And us.”

“That’s what I said.” Plan B flashed his charismatic smile (the one trait his conversion to a machine-man couldn’t seem to harden or alter). “So what are we doing here?”

“Got a job. Supposed to meet an old merc buddy at a dive called the Bootlegging Senator.”

“Alcohol and politics. A combination that’s sure to end in a fist fight. Sounds like my kind of bar,” Plan B smiled.

“No doubt. Hold on, I’m gonna ask this guy for directions. Hey old timer,” he said and heaved a slouching wino to his feet. He slapped the man a few times to wake him from his alcohol coma. “Hey! Earth to bum! How do you get to the Bootlegging Senator? Hello?”

“Eh?” The bum’s breath smelled like the rotting corpses of Rank and Rancid after they killed each other in a fight and no one was around to find the bodies. Buck instinctively dropped him and covered his nose and mouth.

“The Bootlegging Senator. Do you know where it is?”

“’Course! Everyone knows, but no one says anything. Some call it a conspiracy. I call it conspiring against the truth!”

“What in the name of the Goddess Paige are you babbling about?” said Buck.

“Listen. Way I hear it, they was here before people showed up and rebuilt. But they was dormant, see? On account of them needin some living organisms to feed on and this being right smack dab in the middle of the Dark Country. Nothing livin out here cept the dead! Heh. Heh.” The geezer coughed into his hand. “Once the people moved in they woke up and infected the first. All worms are one worm!”
“What the hell does that have to do with anything?” asked Plan B, flabbergasted.
“Nothing. He’s crazy. Let’s find it ourselves.”

#
And find it they did. They literally stumbled upon it after another hour of wading through crowded streets sticky with sweat and humidity, snapping the wrists of pickpockets and the occasional necks of would-be muggers. As a matter of fact, Plan B noticed the sign while dangling a thief in the air in front of him.

“Hey. Isn’t that the place?” Plan B tossed his prey aside like a rag doll and started toward his discovery.

“Smoothly done,” said Buck.

The Bootlegging Senator was pieced together with driftwood and built into some ancient ruins. It was a classy three story establishment. The real spiffy kind with half-naked jezebels hanging from the windows cat-calling for customers and un-sober men stumbling out the door and into the welcoming arms of thieves. Inside was a smoky, humid crowd of bodies with a permeating stench somewhere in the realm of “funky jockstrap.” Rickety wooden tables and chairs salvaged from a junk heap filled the room past capacity.

“They must have live music tonight!” Plan B roared above the din.

The crowd was rowdy and the two newcomers had to dodge a bar fight that broke out as they stepped in. Buck overheard the two combatants argue shortly before the violence started.

“No! Fifteen percent is twenty credits!” yelled a Sasquatch of a man at his shrewish counterpart.

“In this economy? Please! She’ll be lucky to get 10 percent.”

“Cheap asstard!” Sasquatch charged blindly toward the object of his fury.

Buck, caught in the middle, nonchalantly stiff-armed the charging drunk and stepped around the pile of sweaty bodies battling over the tip.

“Buck! Over here!” A voice called above the ruckus. Buck’s old mercenary buddy, Carl, sat in a corner.

The two adventurers joined him and ordered a round.
Carl was a bear of a man with a huge barrel chest clumsily situated atop skinny legs. He had a massive red and white beard that fell halfway down his chest and a crop of thinning reddish white hair covering his shoulders. His face was scarred from his many close encounters with death, cunning and stubbornness hidden behind his eyes.

“Carl! Good to see you! It’s been a while!” Buck shook his friend’s hand.

“Since the Rip Wars. I never seen a man kill a demon the way you did, Buck. It was like art.”

“I’m an artist,” Plan B chimed in. “Or will be one day when I retire from the road.”

“Who’s your friend?” Carl asked Buck, only acknowledging Plan B’s presence with a short nod in his direction.

“I’m Plan B,” said the cyborg and extended his hand.

“Plan B? What’s that mean? Plan B?” Carl smirked.

“I’m what happens when Plan A doesn’t work.”

“How often is that?”

“More often than I’d like to admit,” said Buck. “He ain’t lying though. He’s got weapons stashed more places than a two-slotted jezebel.”

“Well if you’re a friend of Buck’s, you’re alright by me.”

“That’s a relief,” sneered Plan B, mischief playing behind his eternal smile.

“So Carl,” said Buck. “What’s going on?”

Carl finished his pint and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “Somethin’s rotten in the City o’ Theives.”

“Looks like a lot is rotten in this swamp slum. What can possibly be so out of the ordinary?” Plan B wondered.

“Exactly,” growled the seasoned fighter and leaned in. “What could possibly be wrong in slaggin’ NuBab? This is the only place where wrong is right! Anything goes here. It’s every beastly bastard for himself. And none of this turd pile’s denizens are more corrupt, more greedy, more evil than its leaders, the Council of Thieves. Which is where the problem starts. Finish yer swill and I’ll show you.”

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About Universal Shift

I am the Sonata Unusual. I coat myself with some obtuse angle too far below zero to become any warmer. I create motivation, activate schemas, moisten gardens with scents of natural honeydew. Construct this meaning, you sleepy flock. Silence your singing—despairing contortions out of tune. Shatter the brittle butterfly glass with your hideous wailing. I am born of my god’s imagination. When I die I shall meet him. For there are many things to discuss over tea…or scotch.

Posted on February 4, 2012, in Author, Fiction, Philosophy, Uncategorized, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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