Authors: James Curcio
Tags: #urban fantasy, #sex, #myth, #rock, #mythology, #psychedelic, #polyamory, #goth, #gonzo, #counterculture, #burning man, #rave culture
The staff looked at each
When they were out of
earshot, Loki looked at Jesus. “Was the spitting really
No, but when will I get to do that again?”
A janitor stood outside the
motor pool parking lot, back to the wall, kicking back and smoking
his second cigarette in a row. The door slammed open. His cigarette
hung precariously on his lip as three crazed faces regarded him
Then a freak faggot with
purple hair punched the living Christ out of him.
They jumped into the
nearest van and drove away.
As Loki drove, the other
two shined flashlights out the windows, as though looking for
We’ll do a loop, then head for the gate. You two duck and
Stop!” Dionysus yelled.
Loki slammed on the brakes.
Standing in the glare of the headlights was Cody, clutching his
Friend of yours?”
Roomie, remember?” Dionysus said, nodding.
Destiny,” Jesus said.
Loki scrutinized their
faces. “No use arguing, is it? Fine.”
They pulled alongside Cody,
who jumped in.
Stay low, okay?” Loki said.
They halted at the exterior
gate. A security guard nervously squinted up at them. Loki opened
the drivers window.
There’s a breach in the East fence, I’m gonna check it out.
You have a radio?”
The security guard patted
the walkie-talkie on his belt. “Just this one.”
Mine’s dead. Shit. Call it in and have someone follow me
Got it,” the security guard said, waving them out.
They drove off into the
darkness of night. The moon hung in the sky, nearly invisible. She
sent her borrowed sunlight off into space instead, perhaps jealous
of her big blue brother.
A white Crown Victoria,
unmarked, pulled up in front of a brick apartment building. The
engine hitched and knocked a moment before stopping. The door
kicked open, and Adam Trevino heaved a sigh for no apparent
He plodded up the stairs to
his apartment, brooding at the way his sidearm thumped his ribs as
he climbed. Might as well fret about the gun; its weight, suddenly
uncomfortable, the vast legal machinery dedicated to keeping it in
the holster. Better that than to contemplate the empty pocket in
his overcoat, where his credentials used to be. His suspension was
in its third day. It wouldn’t be reviewed for two more, and in all
likelihood, he would be stripped of rank. Orphaned. Better to sit
at home and watch the news.
At the door, he reached
into his pocket and removed a key-less entry fob. Pushing it once
shut down the motion and pressure sensors, pushing it twice
unlocked the door. Trevino’s front door featured a typical urban
dweller’s fetish of deadbolts, though vestigial. Inserting a key or
a tension bar would only set off the alarm.
Upon entering one’s
apartment, one hung up one’s coat. One locked the door, and pushed
play on the answering machine. One removed shoes and turned on the
television against the gurgling backdrop of coffee
His eyes caught on the
citations hanging on his otherwise bare walls: bravery,
marksmanship, forensics. None of it mattered, it seemed, after one
He hit play on an
old-fashioned answering machine and continued through the apartment
towards his coffee machine.
Adam, hi. It’s Sheila. Look, I heard about... It’s bullshit,
you’re damn fine police. It’ll blow over, I just know
Having poured himself a cup
– black, no sugar – Trevino flopped onto a creased leather couch.
He started flipping through the channels, though he couldn’t manage
to ignore the damn answering machine.
I just wanted to say, we’re all here for you, you know?
Anything we can do to get you back out there, just...Call me,
Christ, Sheila. Adopt a dog,” Trevino grunted. The machine
beeped. “Next message...” There was a long pause. The voice that
emanated from the speaker sounded somehow more robotic, more cold,
than the automated voice of the answering machine.
Good evening, Adam. We understand PA SBI unit no longer
requires your services. Subject to 28 U.S.C. 561 (d), you are
hereby informed of appointment as Special Deputy US Marshal Adam
Trevino almost dropped his
You report for duty tomorrow, 7 AM, in room 101 of the
Federal Building. Congratulations, Deputy.”
Trevino stared at the
answering machine, waiting for the other shoe to drop. He
entertained the thought that his old buddies were playing a
practical joke on him. But no. They knew that was one thing an
joke about. Certainly not now. He looked up at the citations
on his walls. Finally, he smiled to himself. “Beats the shit out of
the Pinkertons, doesn’t it?”
He settled into the news,
still unable to wipe that smile from his face. A blond news
reporter stood in front of a fence with a sign that read Pennhurst
Psychiatric Hospital. Her perfect little face was creased with
solemnity and her eyes were perfectly blank.
Can you tell us more about that, Amy?” the voice-over
wandered as he wondered why he was planning on drinking a pot of
coffee at this hour.
... for ten months, involuntarily committed in the wake of a
series of bizarre attacks on 24-hour eateries and places of worship
in Montgomery county.”
Amy was replaced with
grainy surveillance footage of a 1950’s style diner, devoid of
audio. A bald man stood on a counter, dressed like a South American
guerrilla, wearing what looked like an explosive vest. He was
preaching wildly while waving a detonator. A purple-haired freak
ran around the store throwing money at hostages. Two terrified
looking waitresses stood in the background, holding up a black
banner with white Arabic writing. In front of the banner were a
bunch of giant paper mache penises, painted with pink swastikas and
the words “GAY FOR ISLAM.”
Trevino shook his head in
disbelief. Those kids were obviously not real terrorists, but you
fuck around like that. They ought to be locked up.
Amy’s voice over continued,
“...While staff report the two were responding well to therapy and
medication, it is now clear their recovery was anything but
There was a close up cut of
the bald man’s face, mouthing the words “Lip reading is dead sexy.
Trevino blinked. “Oh, I
remember you now, you little shit...” That did it. The smile was
gone. He’d worked that case.
Standing in front of
Pennhurst, Amy continued. “In a daring, late-night escape, the two
have vanished, taking with them a hostage: 29-year-old Cody Kilroy.
Hospital staff are unwilling to comment on their pending
investigation...” There was a close up of the rope ladder, danging
from the blown-out window, fluttering in the breeze.
...but Action News has learned that explosive devices were
triggered in the course of their escape, before the three fled,
apparently on foot.”
Trevino shook his head. “My
ass. That ladder’s upside down. Loki and Dionysus hit the roof...”
He turned off the TV. “...then grabbed Jesus while everyone ran off
into the woods. Steal a van, join the pursuit, split off.” He shook
his head and stared at the ceiling. “I’m glad you shit-canned me,
Major. Twelve more hours and this could’ve been my ass.”
He frowned again, and
looked around his empty apartment. “
really need to adopt a dog. All
this talking to myself is getting creepy.”
Trevino arrived at 7 A.M.
sharp wearing a new suit and with a spring in his shamble.
Grim-looking people bustled through cryptic errands. After passing
a security check-point, Trevino crossed towards a bulletproof glass
gate, manned by a receptionist.
Without making eye contact,
the receptionist replied, “Elevator to B1, make a left, second door
on the right.”
The gate buzzed and slid
The three suits contained
separate bodies. They sat in separate chairs along the polished
walnut table, and carried separate briefcases. None of that meant
There came a discrete tap
on the door, and the suit paired with a blue tie called,
A dour, Eastern European
woman leaned in. “Mr. Trevino is here for his interview. Shall I
send him in?”
Thank you, Ms. Bejta. Have him wait, please.”
She nodded and slipped
The three drained of
animation and turned their attention elsewhere. Folders opened,
pens went into motion, and knuckles thoughtfully
efficiency, Trevino was bullied through the door. He appeared pale,
intimidated. The suits relaxed as he took in the Seal on the wall
They sat on one side of the
table, equal parts salesman and bureaucrat. Between them was a
badge and a thick file bearing the CLASSIFIED stamp. Like hungry
cats, all three sets of eyes latched onto Trevino as he sat stiffly
and tried to appear competent.
Special Deputy Trevino. Adam. Welcome.”
He shook each of their
hands in turn, unable to tell them apart. They may as well have
SBI’s loss is our gain. Glad to have you.”
One of them pushed the
badge across to Trevino, while the others passed him the file.
Trevino put the badge in his pocket and patted it. “Let’s hope it
stays there.” He gestured towards the folder. “May I?”
Your clearance was updated this morning.”
That’s the spirit.”
Trevino raised an eyebrow,
feeling a vague twinge of memory, something about a scene from
Macbeth. He pushed it away and opened the file. He was immediately
confronted with the close-up of Dionysus from the previous nights
You worked the Mother Hive Brain case in early 2011, is that
Sir...” Trevino started.
You don’t look happy, Adam.”
He continued turning the
pages in the folder. “Happy doesn’t enter into it, sir. Though that
name never meant anything. It was just something for the news.
‘Mother Hive Brain, agents everywhere, alien brain terrorists, be
afraid.’ Three mad geniuses and an insanity defense.”
There were two.”
That we made,” Trevino said. “This one–” he tapped a photo of
Loki and several other terrified patrons being escorted from the
diner by solicitous firemen, “stayed out of the file. He remained
at large, and I believe he broke the other two out last
This theory wasn’t well-received at SBI, I take
Trevino laughed bitterly.
“It wasn’t like that. We just had nothing and said nothing. With
these two in custody, we closed the file. Good guys
Film at eleven.”
Yeah. Something like that. So, why DoJ? They’re just a bunch
We have reason to believe these...individuals are, or will
be, instrumental in a widespread terrorist conspiracy to
manufacture domestic insurrection in advance of a series of
We want them, Deputy.”
Trevino closed the file and
tried very hard not to laugh. “I don’t see that, here. What am I
That’s why you’re here, Adam.”
Your mission is to gather human intelligence on these
subjects, liaise with our office to correlate your reports and
build a domestic terrorism case. Once you’ve gathered sufficient
information, only then do you take them down.”
The three looked queasy.
Nothing in their vocabulary enabled them to tell Trevino the simple
truth: that those three men had to be stopped. They could barely
think it, let alone express it in human language. Their only answer
was a deep, blind howl in themselves, a primal negation of the
three men in that folder who, for reasons they could never express,
could not be allowed to live. Laws had to be obeyed.