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Exquisite CorpseExquisite Corpse
Issue 10 - A Journal of Letters and Life
Serials
CHUM (Continued from Cybercorpse # 9)
by Mark Spitzer
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Holy Crap! CHUM (now available at your local misanthropic bookstore, or order now by clicking here) just keeps on chumming! When we last visited our island of the damned, Nadine was losing it completely. Meanwhile, Yann--who's on the outs with the clan--is off at sea where a storm is a brewing. Now, however, there's another element thrown into the mix (a sparkling little nympho?), like water on a gasoline fire! So take cover ye swine, and batten down the hatches, because this is the PENULTIMATE installment of CHUM!
 
 
 
     CHUM XX
 
April is in her kitchen slicing melons when suddenly the sun comes out. The daylight shocks her--it seems completely artificial. She puts down her knife and stares up at the sky. A moment ago it was gray and cruddy, threatening to rain. But now it's as sunny as Southern Californy.
     Then something else happens that is out of the ordinary. She hears a truck rumbling up the street. Sometimes they rumble down by the docks, but she's never heard one in front of her house. So she goes to the door to check it out.
     There's a rickety old truck pulling up across the street. Some men are getting out, and then a dashing gentleman, followed by an astonishing blonde about the same age as Nadine. Immediately, the men start unloading the truck: sofas, chairs, boxes, trunks...
     April is so excited she almost pees. Neighbors! Thank God! She rushes back to the kitchen, slices the melon in a jiffy, arranges the pieces on a plate, runs out the door, then crosses her lawn.
     As April approaches, she slows to a walk, and watches as the gentleman directs the workmen, now unloading canvases. He's pointing his stogie at places along the fence where he wants them to be. All of them are nudes of men, and not very good.
     "Yooo hooo," April calls to them. The two newcomers turn and look her way.
     "Hi," April says, "I live across the street and I see you're moving in. Can I offer you some fresh fruit?"
     The girl is instantly starstruck. "Oh My God!" she cries in an Aussie accent. "It's April Berger! I can't believe it! Is that who you are?"
     "Well, kind of," April answers, and holds the platter out to them. "I came here to escape the madness of the media. I was starting to feel like Lady Di... if you know what I mean."
     The gentleman remains stoic. "No thank you," he answers, apparently out-of-touch with pop culture. He goes back to directing the workers. They're wrestling a piano into the house.
     "Careful now, careful now," the gentleman calls to them, then heads in their direction to get in their way, and make them nervous by hanging over their shoulders.
     "Don't mind Daddy," the girl tells April, trying not to show her awe, "he's socially uncoordinated. He's a painter."
     "Lovely," April replies, "and what about you?"
     "Oh, I'm just a silly little teenager whose personality hasn't fully been formed yet. Every year Daddy comes here to paint the sea, but this year I begged him to take me."
     "Oh, I just love your accent," April tells her. "What's your name."
     "Suzanne," she answers, blushing.
     "Well," April says, "have some honeydew, Honeydew."
     They both giggle, and Suzanne accepts. A montage ensues:
     Knowingly, their eyes shyly brush each other's. Lashes flash. Enticingly, April raises a piece of melon to her mouth, while Suzanne, delicately, touches her lips to her own. April sees Suzanne seeing her seeing her, and Suzanne sees April seeing the same. Suzanne licks her cube of fruit, then closes her lips around it. April does exactly the same--and it disappears in a kiss. They chew. Cheekbones rise. No language is exchanged.
     It is fitting then, that a few hours later, April and Suzanne are down in Secret Cove, rubbing lotion on each other, and letting the sun lick their skin. They are topless, of course, as nubile nymphs tend to be in the fantasies of lusty men who love the lines of luscious maids.
     And it is fitting also, that Nadine, having returned with a basket of ironed lingerie, should wonder where her mistress is--so raising her binoculars, scans the beach.
     "Rrrrrrr!" she growls, when her vision alights upon the cove. There are four perfect breasts in the air, two of which she has never seen before. They're not as big as April's are, but they're bountiful and firm. No doubt, Nadine deduces, they belong to the daughter of that faggot across the street.
     "That dyke!" Nadine sneers, and zooms in as close as she can. Two half-naked bodies are glistening with oil. And then she sees them sitting up, and popping the cork on a bottle of champagne. They are laughing away and having a good old time.
     "Rrrrrrr!" Nadine growls again. April's teeth are all over the place. She's happy as a clam--down there with that tramp! With her nice ripe tits and her bright yellow hair--things Nadine doesn't have--things, which, if she had, it would be her down there instead of that tramp!
     "Rrrrrrrr!" Nadine sees them talking to each other, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, flapping their wrists and gesturing away, laughing so hard they hold their sides--while she is expected to dust the damn place!
     Then she sees them go for the grapes. At first they play a little game, tossing them into each other's mouths. Both of them are poor shots though--never hitting their targets, but always hitting each other's breasts. And every time a tit is hit, they laugh like vixens, they laugh like whores! And then they begin to feed each other.
     "Fucking tarts," Nadine whispers, touching herself. They're rolling the grapes around in their mouths, showing each other how they suck cock! Nadine knows she can suck cock better than them. If they all had a Yann in front of them, she'd be the first to make him come.
     "Oh Great!" Nadine spits, and steadies her hand. The smaller slut is lying back against April now, resting her head between those double-D tits, and opening her mouth like a blow-job whore. April starts to feed the little trollop! What!? Oh My Fucking God!---
     Nadine puts the binoculars down, and for a second raises them with the intent to smash them against the floor--but decides not to. She goes back to watching what she can't believe she is seeing--simultaneously reaching into the drawer. She knows where April hides it, so immediately takes it out and starts it up. It hums. Nadine doesn't wait an instant. She plunges it into her swollen cunt.
     "RRRRRR!" she growls, clenching the binoculars even tighter, feeling the vibrations in her core. "You fucking lesbo bitch!"
     Down on the beach, it looks like the gals are getting frisky, but really, all it is is play. It's play for April, stroking Suzanne's hair, feeding her grapes, one by one. It's play, as they emit intermittent utterings of utter satiation, half-naked on the sand in the rays of the day. It's play, as April makes a perfect grape dance on Suzanne's perfect breast--as a perfect nipple rises, taking form--and April's hardens just as well. It's play.
     April has no intention of seducing Suzanne, and Suzanne, the youngest of five sisters who grew up playing naked with each other on the beaches of Perth, sees this as a sisterly thing. If either of them is getting excited, it's because they're giddy from being together, and the champagne. They are only pretending, even though the warmth cannot be denied--the warmth of flesh against flesh.
     "Come on," Suzanne says, and jumps up, "let's swim!"
     She sheds her shorts and runs into the waves, leaping in with hardly a splash. April follows, tossing her bottoms onto the sand. They bounce around in the surf, ducking under waves, laughing their asses off.
     A little fish swims by and Suzanne screams. She isn't really frightened by it--but it's an excuse to continue their flirtation. She leaps toward April, acting like a girly girl.
     "A Fish! A Fish!" Suzanne shouts, affecting fear. She wraps her naked self around her new friend's nudity--providing the occasion for supposed throes coupled with erotic moans--as April plays along, writhing, and groping back, giggling at their little game--which they embellish with urgent squirms in the brine.
     Then a wave comes curling toward them, so they duck beneath it. And when they come up, April's lips are pressed to a breast of Suzanne. She blows on it, making a fart noise. Both of them laugh like crazy, and April can't help it--she pees in the sea.
     Up in April's window, however, the laughter is of a different nature. It's that mad laughter of Nadine. She is stabbing the vibrator--into her! and into her! and into her!--like a dagger, aggravating her infection.
     Then, when she comes, she lets loose a blood-curdling cry, and jerks all around like an adulteress getting stoned in the town square of some Arab village.           
     "AIIIIIIIIII-YIIIIIIII-YIIIIIIIIII!!" Nadine screams, and pulls the vibrator out. There is pinkness on its skin, but it isn't menstrual blood. It is blood from severe agitation.      
     HATE HATE HATE!
     Nadine doesn't even wipe it off, but sticks it back in the drawer. She looks through the binoculars again. Out in the waves, they are still dancing around like little bimbos, no doubt fingering each other.
     HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE!
     Nadine can't watch anymore--she storms across the room and stops in front of April's dressing table. Peering into the mirror, she despises what she sees.
     "What the hell are you looking at, you ugly bitch!?" she challenges it, but of course it only mimics her. Next to Nadine's sneering reflection, there's a photo of April taped to the glass, tossing back her silky hair, showing off her cover-girl skin.
     "RRRRRRR!" Nadine growls, attempting to copy the pose, but she can't get the posture right. She stares at the picture. April has wide gorgeous eyes. Nadine has little piss-hole eyes. April is tall and bubblicious. Nadine is short and squat like a trashcan.
     "RRRRRRR!" Nadine grabs her face and tries to stretch it. It doesn't work. She tries to hold her eyes wide open, but when she lets them go they return to their original shape. She hitches up her boobs, but they don't get any bigger.
     "RRRRRR! RRRRRRR! RRRRRR!" Nadine snarls, and sees her neck begin to twitch. It's starting up again goddammit!
     She starts tearing through April's make-up, smearing eye-liner all over her face, and then some rouge. It doesn't work--she looks like the sloppiest whore in town.
     Grabbing a jar of cold cream, she lifts it high--but again, catches herself. She looks at it, defenseless in her hand. It can't do shit, it can't even object! She squeezes it, it breaks. Cold cream, mixed with blood, oozes from between her fingers.
     "HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW!!" She laughs at the ceiling--then wipes her hand on the mirror as if smearing shit on it. Nadine laughs again. She laughs and laughs and laughs and laughs. She laughs herself silly. She laughs like the Devil.
 

     CHUM XXI

Twenty-three miles out, Yann and the others are laying their nets across the projected run of the projected salmon. This is the Big Run, when the fishermen haul in tons of illegal coho and king, which legally, only the Native Alaskans have the right to fish for. But who's going to do anything about it? The U.S. Coast Guard, the Japanese? NATO? Nope... nobody! And so the fishermen string out their nets, as they've been doing since the 1800s.
     None of the sailors except the captain will talk to Yann. If One Eye warms up, then there's a chance that the men will take him back--but by that time, Yann plans on being long gone. After this run, he's heading straight to April.
     April! He can see her clear as day: her lips, those lips--more powerful than alcohol! He truly believes that he will die if he never gets to kiss those lips. He must kiss those lips to live!
     But it's not just those lips which have become those lips, it's also what's attached to them: the woman he is obsessed with, the woman he is in love with. And he plans on telling her so. He'll march right up to her and be honest with her. And she'll either accept his love or reject it. And that will be his destiny.
     "Hey Fuckferbrains!" the captain scowls. "I thought you were on watch!"
     "I am," Yann says, turning toward him.
     "Then what the fuck's that!?
     Yann looks out and sees a dark cloud. It extends from one end of the horizon to the other.
     "It must be that heavy weather coming back," Yann says, "looks like the sun only lasted a couple hours."
     "Well if it isn't," the captain barks, "it's your ass!"
     Little do the fishermen know, El Niño has come early this year. Already, it has wiped out a village in El Salvador, leaving over 3000 people either dead or missing, and has gone out to the Pacific where it bumped into an errant typhoon, then bounced off and took a right. And as it roars north toward the Bering Strait--a tempest of gale-force winds, tidal waves, and Russian destruction in its wake--snow falls before it and behind it. It is heading for the North Pole, where it will eventually skate across the ice and unfurl in the vast white soundlessness, as if it never was.
     Yann watches the boats spreading out. There are six of them, each with a mile of nets between them. The salmon have no chance. Already he can see them coming, leaping and splashing toward their boats, just like every year before. These, however, are the first of thousands. More will follow, racing for the rivers of their birth.
     But suddenly, they change their course. Yann sees it happen. They turn around and go back. This has never happened before.
     "Hey!" Yann yells. "Something's wrong!"
     None of the men answer him, but they shoot him dirty looks. He's lucky he's not down in the bilge, so he better shut up and open his mouth only if something's up. His job is to keep watch for other boats, or dangerous weather--none of the boats being equipped with radar.
     So Yann goes back to watching the storm. No doubt, it will be just as much a drag as it has been for the last couple days, menacing and miserable, but harmless.
     Yann looks through the telescope and watches the horizon. As the black line begins slinking closer, he feels a tightening in his gut. He doesn't know why, but he figures it's because this storm resembles the storm that took Bubba out. But that storm won't be back for another year.
     The approaching cruddiness, however, is something that none of the fishermen even have a concept of. Above it, there are squiggly lines bending the air. And the temperature is dropping. It is different--something they have never seen before. Yann calls the captain over.
     "Take a look through the scope," Yann tells him, "it looks kinda funny."
     "Look," the captain says, "don't bother me with that fucking shit! You think I don't know fucking rainclouds when I fucking see em!? You think I just fell off the fucking turnip fucking truck!? Stop fucking bugging me, Fuckface!"
     Yann shrugs and watches the skyline. The thing is getting bigger, blacker, faster. There's a white mist in front of it, visible through the telescope, but not to the naked eye. Yann recognizes what it is, though. It's snow.
     Now Yann's sure they're about to get smeared. He stands up and clangs the bell, sounding the alarm.
     "What!?" the captain comes around the cabin yelling. "What the fuck, Fucking Shitfuck!?"
     "That's no ordinary storm!" Yann says. "We gotta turn the radio on!"
     The captain rolls his eyeballs. "We ain't got no fucking radios that fucking work, you Fucking Fuck! You know that!"
     "Well take a look," Yann says, trying to hand him the telescope again. "I'm telling you... we're gonna get it!"
     "If it gets fucked up then we'll fucking turn fucking back," the captain tells him with a bit of compassion in his voice, "but you know as well as me... you don't fucking go out and fucking run your fucking nets then close up shop till you start getting fucking fucked with!"
     The captain turns around and goes back to the cabin to snort some more bathtub crank. It's the Bubba Murphy school of fishing again. Yann knows there's nothing he can do--so straps on his life-jacket just to make a point.
     "HAW HAW!" One Eye yucks. "Look at fucking Fucknuts!"
     All the fishermen laugh at Yann.
They aren't laughing half an hour later though, when the flurry comes flying at them--horizontally. Then suddenly, all of them are wearing life-vests.
     The captain comes out of the cabin, wiping at his nose, flashing his eyes all over the place. The whole crew is watching the skyline. It's a few miles away and rolling toward them, looking like a flash-flood of mud, as far as the eye can see.
     "Fucking Jesus!" the captain swears. "What sort of a front is that!"
     The temperature drops like a rock, from 73 to 33 in just a few seconds.
     "Haul In The Fucking Nets!" the captain orders. The men start hauling ass. There are battered seagulls in the nets. The water gets green and slushy.
     Pretty soon, the snow is sticking to the boat and all the equipment. It gets so thick they can hardly see six feet in front of them. They are in a blizzard at sea.
     But then the snow is suddenly replaced by rain, equally as horizontal. Now the men can see, but what they see is not encouraging. The other boats are hauling up as well, because the monster is upon them: ten times taller than King Kong, and blacker than his asshole.
     "Jesus Fuck!" the captain yells. "Where the fuck did this come from!? Yann! What the Fuck were you doing!?"
     Yann doesn't answer him. It is churning above them, darker than the smoke of a thousand flaming freighters, roiling like a chemical blaze, holding in its muffled combustion--an electrical nightmare so devoid of light that the blasts inside can be heard roaring like jet engines, but cannot be seen--as the whole charged mass searches for something to attach itself to: anything sticking up from the vast flat ocean below.     
     BLLAMMM! Lightning leaps out and strikes the first boat. It immediately starts burning. The second boat sets off for the first, as Yann and One Eye stand side by side. They are on the sixth boat, all of them connected by a line of nets.
     Yann picks up the telescope as the rain pounds his face. The second boat is having trouble getting to the first boat because of its connection to the third, which is preventing it from moving forward. The second boat is kicking up black smoke, tugging on the nets dogging its progress, and the first boat is going down.
     "Let me see that!" the captain growls, and grabs the telescope from Yann. He sees the men on the first boat piling into the lifeboat, and the men on the second boat slashing at the net-lines, as the sky continues to unleash its fire, striking again and again at the red-hot mast, drilling itself into the ship.
     A flare is fired from the lifeboat, but nobody hears it because of the thunder. The flaming ship is half-sunk, and everyone knows that when it's gone, the sky will look for another node to dump its fury into.
     "Cut The Ropes!" the captain yells. "Fire Up The Engine!"
     "All the ropes?" One Eye asks.
     "All the Motherfucking Ropes!" the captain orders.
     Yann runs to the starboard side and gets out his knife. He starts in slashing at the ropes, which are over an inch thick. It's a tedious process. The first boat has almost gone down and is starting to pull the second one under. Yann hacks away like a madman while One Eye just stands there playing pocket pool.
     Then there is darkness and wind. The sun is gone and the sea is rougher. A six-foot wave comes up from nowhere and washes across the deck. Yann holds on as the boat teeters. It's going over, just like before.
     "NOOOOOOOOO!" One Eye screams, and grabs on to Yann. He clings to him as the boat rights itself and leans the other way. Yann uses these few seconds to shove One Eye off and sever the rope he's working on. Then he moves on to the next one.
     BLAMMM! Lightning hits the boat closest to theirs. Yann sees it in the flash lasting a second, and then it's gone in the darkness. The captain comes out of the hold with a chainsaw.
     "What the hell are you doing!?" One Eye yells.
     "I'm chopping down the mast!" the captain yells back.
     Like all the jimmy-rigged fishing ships of the island, theirs is a sailboat that's been patched and repatched, and is driven by an inboard motor. It's unethical, of course, for a captain to take down his own mast, thus upping the odds that the others will get hit, but it's also an act of survival. Another wave hits the boat.
     "GodFuckingFuckFuckingDammit!" the captain yells, pulling the rip-chord. "Get The Stern To The Waves!"
     He is shouting at everyone, but no one in particular. Yann figures he better get in the cabin and drive the boat--considering that the captain has taken on another job.
     "Here!" Yann says, handing One Eye his knife. One Eye takes it without a response. Yann doesn't know if this is pride or fear or stupidity--but none of that matters now. One Eye knows what he's supposed to do, and so does Yann.
     When the keel settles, Yann dives into the cabin, grabs the wheel, and wrestles it to the right--just as a wave came washing over the transom, pushing the boat ahead in its crest.
     "Start The Pumps!" the captain shouts.
     Yann looks out and over his shoulder. The sea is an immense toilet, starting to swirl. Soon it will flush them into the abyss.
     "GNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNYYYRRRR!..."

     Yann hears the captain laying into the mast, which is aluminum with steel underneath. Whether or not the chainsaw can cut through it, Yann has no idea. He sees a blaze of sparks and feels the teeth tearing away. The vibrations go right through the floorboard and into his nuts. Into everybody's nuts.
     "Motherfucking Shitfucking FUCK!" the captain swears, and keeps on grinding away. Yann opens up the throttle full-bore, but the nets are still tight, and One Eye is doing a crummy job at cutting the lines.
     "Come on!" Yann yells at One Eye, and jumps out of the cabin. "You Drive!"
     One Eye glares at Yann, refusing to move. Sparks rain down in the darkness, as they feel the lift of another wave below them. One Eye won't budge.
     Yann moves fast, throwing One Eye into the cabin and grabbing back his knife. All One Eye knows is that the boat is wavering, so he grabs the wheel and points the bow the direction of the tell-tales--which he can see because of the sparks. The prop is out of the water and revving to the red-line.
     KRRRR-POWWW! Lightning hits the ship, and everyone feels the charge. One Eye's heart almost stops, but doesn't. The captain's, however, is another story. The current goes right down the mast, into the chainsaw, and into his aorta. He drops dead on the spot, the chainsaw falls out of his hands, and the mast bends, and collapses, snapping stays and cables all over the ship.      
     There are three other members of the crew, but where they are Yann doesn't know. The chainsaw is spinning on the deck. He dives for it and grabs it with the agility of an athlete who sees something happen the split-second it occurs and acts just as fast. In less than a second, it's in his hands and he is mowing through the ropes holding back the boat. He feels the engine grip the ocean.
     Lester comes up from the hold and flicks the deck lights on, just as Yann hits the kill button, turning off the chainsaw.
     "We got the pumps running," he tells Yann, as if Yann is the captain. "Charlie and Fred are running em! We gotta lotta water down there!"
     Yann looks up at the captain, now a pile of squashed meat. The mast is on top of him, and he is smoking from his fingertips. Yann reaches up and feels his wrist. No pulse. The boat rises once again. They are beneath the crest of a colossal wave, which is rising and rising and rising above them, while bearing down on them at the same time.
     "Help! Help!" One Eye cries, letting go of the wheel, then grabbing it again. He's freaking out.
     "Captain's dead," Yann yells at Lester. "Go down and get Charlie, tell him to come up here and drive the boat!"
     Lester does what he is told. Yann has appointed himself captain, to no one's objection. At least he can think--and what he thinks is that One Eye is doing a lame-ass job at steering the boat.      
     Charlie comes up, and flicks on the running lights. He's a forty-five year old alcoholic who had gone down to Big Sur as a teenager, lived the life of a surfer dude, and competed in some national competitions. He'd done alright for a while, but then he started dealing coke. He got busted, jumped bail, and came back to the island. Yann figured he'd be better than anyone else on board at riding the wave.
     "Get in there and drive this sucker!" Yann orders Charlie, and Charlie obeys. One moment later, One Eye is out and clinging to the deck, glaring at Yann for firing him.      
     Meanwhile, Charlie is pulling the boat to the left. Everything begins to tip--and again, One Eye reaches out and grabs for Yann. Yann wraps an arm around him and holds on to the rail with the other hand. For a second they hover almost upside-down, waiting to drop into the sea. One Eye stares his hate into Yann, and Yann stares blankly back at him.
     "We're Going Down You Fucking Piece Of Fucking Shit And It's All Your Fucking Fault!" One Eye screams, and loses his grip on Yann. Yann, however, holds on to him, as well as the rail.
     The next thing they know, they're shooting the tube.
     "YAAA-HOOOO!" Charlie howls, and the boat levels out.
     One Eye disengages himself from Yann, and pushes himself away. Yann, however, is watching the mast, which is still attached by a thin strip of metal. The deck is at an angle and the mast is slipping. Only a few measly ropes are holding it, including one about to snap--
     "Duck!" Yann yells in One Eye's face, but One Eye won't. He just scowls back at Yann, who drops to the deck. SNAP! The mast swings down, hitting One Eye like a baseball bat, knocking his head completely off.
     Yann screams as he watches it sail into the sea, followed by a fountain of blood. One Eye's body loses its grip and slips off the deck. When it vanishes with the mast, its neck is still spewing away--like a killer whale clearing its blow-hole.
 
 
     CHUM XXII

April and Suzanne head back because it's getting cold. When they reach their homes, they exchange kisses, and plan to get together soon. Dark clouds start to roll in.
     "Hello Nadine!" April calls as she walks into her house, but Nadine doesn't answer.
     She must be gone, April figures, and heads to her answering machine. There are several blinks, indicating messages. She pushes the button. It's her agent, Larry.
     "Listen, April... they've been coming down hard on me, I had to tell them where you were and how to get a hold of you. It's about Ronson. I told you they'd be wanting to contact you. Who's they? I'll tell you who. The FBI, that's who! I'm sure you'll hear from them shortly if you haven't already. Look, what am I supposed to do over here, just wire you money whenever you want it? What good does that do me? If you're not making any dough, I'm not making dookie! Give me a call soon. See ya Babe."
     The dial tone follows. Then three or four hang-ups.
     April tries to *69 the hang-ups but can't. The island doesn't have that technology yet.
     (Little does she know, these calls were from the FBI, trying to find out if she is in fact on the island, because an agent is on his way to interview her--but not like Geraldo would. A billionaire is missing.)
     April bites her lower lip, then heads upstairs to rinse the salt off her skin. She walks into the bathroom, flicks on the light, pulls down her bikini bottoms, and plants her ass on the toilet seat. She starts to tinkle, then looks between her legs.
     "NOOOO!!" April screams, and jumps up pissing. In the toilet is Poo-poo, but not the human kind. It's her kitten--with a chord around its neck, stiff with rigor mortis.
     April falls into the bathtub and lies there with her heart beating like a rod gone bad in a worn-out V8. She is petrified. What the hell is wrong with these people? Are they out to get her? Are they in the house right now? And who, in particular, would do such a thing?
     "Poo-poo," she whispers, and lies there peeing. After a while though, she gets up, pulls her bottoms up, and tip-toes to her room. She flicks on the light, expecting an axe in the face, but all she sees is a giant smear on her mirror, and the words "DIE BITCH!" written in it.
     April sighs a sigh of relief, and reaches into her dresser drawer. She pulls out her flaregun.
     Slowly, she goes around the house turning on the lights and holding her gun like they taught her to do in Copchick, that box-office bomb in which she played a big-busted chick-dick named Cleavage Heat. Everything, however, looks pretty normal.
     After locking all the doors and latching all the windows, she sits down in the kitchen and wonders what to do. She can't call the police, because the closest thing to a cop on the island is the postal clerk. And she still doesn't trust that Father O'Flugence, or even Nadine. Yann is the only person on the island she feels she can turn to--but he is out at sea.
     The only logical thing to do, April decides, is to go to Suzanne and her father across the street. But what if it was her father who did this? He didn't seem to be very friendly toward women.
     Then April remembers the hang-ups on the answering machine. Oh shit! she thinks, I'm being stalked! She knows she has to get the hell out of this place--with or without her grandmother's cross, with or without Elphy or Bun-bun or any of them--with or without saying goodbye to Yann, or Suzanne--but with her life!
     She stands up and goes to the liquor cabinet, gets a bottle of whiskey out, and pours herself a shot. It steadies her nerves, so she has another. There's only one thing to do: go to sleep with her flaregun by her side, shoot any intruders, and hope to make it till morning. Then she'll go down to the docks with cash in hand and hire a boat to take her away from this grotesque burlesque where the bars are primal brothels of spite, where girls claw themselves in the face, and the priest fucks young boys in the ass!
     April begins to feel pretty good about her decision. She knows she's tough, and admires herself for keeping it together. She takes the flaregun and marches upstairs to her room. She gets dressed without even looking at the mirror, and then, when she's ready, gets some rags and wipes the cold cream off. Now she feels even stronger than before, to be able to operate under such conditions. Other women would've just pissed in their pants, but not her! Besides, she assures herself, this was the work of a coward, not a killer. If somebody really wanted her dead, they would've already done it. Obviously, someone was just trying to scare her.
     Then she fishes Poo-poo out of the toilet and takes her outside where she quickly buries her in the garden. That's the last time she'll ever leave her place unlocked, she thinks, so just anyone can walk in off the street. April goes back in and bolts the door behind her.
     A few minutes later she hears a knock at the door, and feels her bladder quiver. She holds back the urge to pee, grips the flaregun, and looks through the peep-hole. She sees Suzanne hugging a blanket and a pillow. April opens the door.
     "Hi!" Suzanne sings, bouncing into the house. April locks the door behind her, and tries not to throw her arms around her, and tell her all that has transpired. It might scare the poor little thing--and maybe there's no reason for that.
     "I asked Daddy if I could come spend the night at your place, since we had such a great time at the beach today and our house is such a mess," Suzanne tells April. "Do you think that would be okay?"
     April thinks about it for a second. She'd love to have the company, and it'd make her feel a whole lot safer to have someone with her. And it's not like she has to tell Suzanne the scurvy details, it'd just make things worse. She could fake it, being an actress and all.
     "Why I'd love that," April says, a hardly audible falseness in her voice. "I'd just love it."
     Then Suzanne sees the gun, and looks questioningly at April.
     "Oh that?" April says. "That's just a flaregun, you know, I use it on the Fourth of July. I was cleaning it to keep it in proper operating condition."
     "Oh, of course," Suzanne smiles, and walks into the room. She knows April is full of shit, having never been a very good actress. But that doesn't matter. All that matters to her is hanging out with April Berger!      
     April goes and gets some wine, and pretty soon they're listening to Sting and singing along with the Police. April brings down Elphie and Bun-bun and they make them dance around, and converse, saying silly animal things. April starts to feel a lot less on edge. Then they both start to yawn.
     "I could sleep down here on the couch," Suzanne says, making her statement sound like a question.
     "Oh nonsense," April tells her, "we'll sleep together in my bed."
     Suzanne nods excitedly. There's nothing she would rather do than snuggle up with April. So that's what they do, after putting their nightgowns on and brushing their teeth. Right before they shut off the lights, however, Suzanne sees April stash the gun beneath the bed.
     Then suddenly they're spooning. April is on the outside.
     "April?" Suzanne whispers.
     "What is it, Honeydew?" April asks.
     "I really really really had a great time today. I'm so glad you're on the island."
     "Awww, that's sweet, Sweetie," April tells her. "I'm really really really glad to know you too, and I'm really really really glad you're here."
     "Really?"
     "Yes, really really really really!"
     "April?"
     "Yes?"
     "I really really really think you're cool."
     April squeezes Suzanne, and both of them giggle, then start to drift off. They don't even hear the rain start to fall. They don't even hear the wind begin to scream through the trees. They are beat from sun and fun--visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads.
 

     CHUM XXIII

Nadine storms through the storm--first through the snow, then through the rain. She's hysterical, raging through the blackness and the hard wet wind, laughing at the unseasonal sky. The sky, however, is not laughing back. It is flinging things, sometimes almost blowing her over. But Nadine doesn't care. She has totally lost it.
     She doesn't know where she is, who she is, why she's doing what she's doing, or why her neck is twitching like it is. She doesn't know what time it is, what day it is, or why she's out on the street--and then on the beach--yelling, "DIE BITCH! DIE BITCH!" into the wind.      
     She doesn't even know who she wants to die. All she knows is that's it time for someone to pay!
     A shack appears. It's Mother Kralik's, and candles are burning inside. She goes to a window and peers into the warmth. All the hags are sitting there, playing cards and boozing hard. Even her mother is there. Nadine starts to remember things.
     Yann! April! That little slut! It's a conspiracy! Her mother's in on it! Mother Kralik started it! The cat! Oh yes, the cat! That was a good one with the cat! "DIE BITCH!" That was good too! She knocks on the door.
     Mother Kralik opens it, and Nadine steps in with at least half a gallon of rain. The door slams behind her. She is soaking wet.
     "Well, well, well," Mother Kralik says, "if it isn't Cinderella! Shouldn't you be home catching up on your sleep, so you can scrub tomorrow?"
     Nadine glares at Mother Kralik, and Mother Kralik sees a fucked up kid with a fucked up face, drenched to the bone and crazy-eyed to boot. Mother Kralik starts in:
     "Where've ya been? Sucking dogdick!?"
     "Yeah!" Nadine says. "I was sucking dogdick. You should try it sometime, it's the only dick you'll ever get you ugly old bat! HAW HAW HAW HAW!"
     For a second, Mother Kralik's eyes go wide, but then she nods with approval. Everything is like she planned. She knows the girl is weak, and easily manipulated--but she didn't think she'd break so soon.
     "Sit down," Mother Kralik invites. "Get drunk, get loose! Everybody! Now's the time to get ripped like never before! I'm talking FUCKED UP!"
     Nadine sits down and starts slamming shots. They all slam shots, and exchange taunts that would make the roughest sailors feel uneasy.
     "Fuck me!? Fuck you! You listen to me Cuntfart!"
     "Piece of Dogshit! Piece of Dogshit!"
     "Assfuck! Assfuck! Diarrhea!"
     The candlelight flickers. Birds bash against the windows. Branches fall and hit the roof. Rain streams in. The storm howls at the seams of the shack.
     "Beershit! Cockshit! Fuckshit!"
     "Bloody Pusing Miscarriage!"
     "Tampon-Face!"
     "Douche-Bag Breath!"
     "Squidshit! Suck my Squidshit!"
     "HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW!"
     Hedonism! Rotten teeth! Awful horrid gory laughter! Turgid twisted wrinkled grimaces! The women continue taunting each other.
     "Wormshit!"
     "Grubshit!"
     "Crabshit!"
     "Snailshit!"
     A dead rat lands on the table. Someone cuts it up. Nadine stands up, falls down. Somebody pukes. A fight starts up. Mother Kralik screeches glee. Furniture tips over, plaster falls from the ceiling.
     SKRRREEEEEEEEE!! BLAFFFFFFFF!! KRRRRRRSSSSSSHHHHHH!!
     Thunder! Lightning! Crashing Smashing Bashing Sounds! The rain beats against the walls. Saltwater washes under the door. Nadine's mother sits there like a tombstone. A flaming punch is brought to the table. The rat's blood is squeezed into it. They drink like pledges at a fraternity kegger.

          Lightning!

                    Thunder!

                          Fire!

                               Laughter!

     Nadine finds herself on the floor, once again trying to get up. All the women laugh at her, as she laughs back at them. The walls spin, her neck goes hyper, twitching away like never before. Her eyes shoot back in her head.
     SLAP! Mother Kralik slaps Nadine, trying to bring her back. Nadine comes back--and Mother Kralik makes her drink even more. Nadine spits it up, but chugs as much as she can. She goes into a seizure. The women laugh even harder. What a show!
     "You Little Shitwipe!"
     "Hey, Fucking Watch Out, Fucko!"
     "Eat Shit and Die!"
     "Maggotshit!"
     Nadine can't take it. She jumps up shuddering and zigs her way to the door. She lunges and lurches and makes it outside, falling down on the sand. The sea has come up five or six feet. The tempest blows in, screaming from the sea. Nadine tries to cling to a tree. Island shrapnel blows all around her. A fish slaps her in the face, as her body continues to jerk and quirk volcanically. She bites her tongue, her heart kicks her chest from the inside out. She falls down on the sand and continues shorting out, then breathes in and out, in and out, in and out, trying to control her tremblingness. She gets it under control, then grips her head, trying to hold the madness in.
     "RRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!! RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!" Nadine growls, louder and harder and fiercer than before. She knows it's time to laugh, she has to laugh. If she doesn't laugh, she'll kill herself. She'll Kill Someone By God!
     But No! No more laughing! Her laughing days are over! They're done! She's sick of laughing, sick of denying, sick of pretending! Sick of being sick of being sick! Nadine screams. She screams her fucking lungs out:

     "GGGNNNNYYYYYYAAAAAAARRRRRRRRKKKKKKKK!!!
          FFFFFNNNNNNNYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAARRRRRRRKKKKKKKK!!!
               "PFFFFFFFHHHHHHHHAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRKKKKKKKKKK!!!"

     And the storm screams back, just as demented. They scream at each other and it builds--bursting and blasting and cracking between them. Water washes all around her. Nature in delirium!
     Nadine turns and aims herself at the door. She lurches in drenched again, and so does a wave filled with crabs. They scatter and clatter across the floor, clicking claws across the boards.
     The hags shriek like a bunch of buzzards. Widow Flanahan bites Widow O'Reilly. Someone breaks a bottle. Glass shatters. They grab things away from each other, and spit and snarl and wail like the Dead. They booze like barbarians, drinking past oblivion.
     Mother Kralik gets in Nadine's face, and starts spouting off about her mother--how she doesn't take care of the bitch. Nadine can't understand the rabid hag--but knows that this is the face that raped her: With a candle! A cig! A bottle up her cunt!
     Mother Kralik increases her harangue. Now she's not doing it for the reason she started, now she's doing it keep the upper hand. There's something in this little slut that just doesn't give a damn--there's a look on her face--a sneer that goes deeper than nineteen years could ever go. She has been transformed by the storm.
     "You Never Feed Her!" Mother Kralik hollers in her face. "You Never Clean Her! She's Your Motherfucking Mother, You Stupid Cunt!"
     Mother Kralik goes on. She knows that screaming at Nadine can only buy her time. When she runs out of breath, Nadine will have the power. The little bitch is more than free, she's in control, because she doesn't have control, because she doesn't give a shit--because she's willing to run the risk.
     Nadine looks into Mother Kralik's face. Whatever the old crone is yelling at her, it doesn't mean shit. When she looks into those filmy eyes, she sees herself emotionless.
     "Glyaahhh Glyaaahh Brrrhaaaa," Mother Kralik says, her serpentine tongue waggling like a tentacle. Her gums are bloody and her breath is putrid. Her liver is reeking inside her. She is a disease!
     Vertigo! The tongue disappears and Yann appears, ramming his dick into her ass. Nadine's ass. It's an anemone. Yann fucks it with a harpoon. He fucks it until it turns into a mirror--the mirror in April's bedroom where her reflection is stretching but her face remains the same. She is an Infection! She is Shit! She is Nothing! Her father slaps her across the face, jams his finger into her ass. A rat scratches in her colon. Her father is a fudge-man, slapping her up and beating her mother. There's shit on his dick and pubes in his teeth. Her mother's head bounces off the wall. So what? April and Suzanne dance in the cove. Their nudity is an atom bomb. April's pink is suicide.
     "HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW!!"     
     Laughter! Mother Kralik's rancid laughter. The bitch is looking into her mind--her ticking twitching epileptic mind, which, now, is hearing this:
     "And then you came back, oh yes you did! Maybe you don't remember though, seeing as how you were all wigged-out and feverish! Oh yes, you were delirious! That's what you were, you little pussy-licker! But did I object? Oh no, it'd been a long long time since anyone'd gone down on me! Haw Haw Haw! You crack me up Nadine, the way you kept mumbling 'April... April... April...' It was pitiful! HAW! It made me want to take a shit! Right in your mouth!"
     "Huh?" Nadine asks, suddenly startled. She's starting to put two and two together.
     "Yep!" Mother Kralik continues. "You were a pathetic sight, missy! Blubbering away like that--what the fuck is wrong with you!? But still, I obliged. Not that you made me come or nothing, but you did give me a good cleaning-out. And believe me, there must've been a half-ton of nasty crusty discharge in there! HAW HAW HAW!"
     Nadine stares agawk at Mother Kralik. Her jaw is actually hanging open.
     "But you wouldn't stop blubbering, you disgusting little dyke! All that rank yellow rot--you just kept sucking it up! It was enough to gross even me out. That's why I had to start smacking you in the ears! But that just made you get off even more, now didn't it!?"
     Nadine can't take it. She breaks from her state and slaps Mother Kralik in the face. A tooth goes flying across the room.      
     "DEVIL-WHORE!" Mother Kralik screams. "That was my last toof!"
     The room is shocked into silence.
     "Now you've really gone and done it!" Mother Kralik snarls. "You Filthy Little Lesbian! You Syphilis Scab! You Gonorreah Pustule! You're Dead, Bitch, You're Fucking Dead!"
     Mother Kralik's eyes bulge wide, then roll back in her head. To Nadine it appears as if her orbs have been replaced by two peeled hard-boiled eggs. Mother Kralik mumbles stuff, swaying around like a puppet, invisible strings jerking her limbs. The room spins.
     Nadine looks at her mother. Her mother is a drooling fool, and the hags are worthless imbeciles, muttering like monks to save themselves. They're terrified, the stupid old biddies!
     "Be Damned You Cum-Sucking Slut!"
Mother Kralik screams, her eyes now back in their sockets. "For Now I Cast My Curse Upon Thee, Devil-Whore! And Your Precious Little Rich Bitch Too! You're DEAD!"
     "Now see what you've done," Widow Murphy suddenly says, breaking from her catatonic stupor, "you little idiot!"
     Nadine flips out, breaks everything in flailing distance, slaps at her back as if she's covered with biting flies, then springs for Mother Kralik--to wring her motherfucking neck.
     "YIIIIII-YIIIIIIII-YIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!" Screams Nadine, as her mother gets in front of her, and holds her back. Nadine claws at the air, and then her mother's face--screeching like a bevy of slaughter-house swine.
     "YIIIIIIIIIIIIII!! YIIIIIIIII-IIIIIIIIIII-IIIIIIIIIII!!"
     "You'd be better off taking on your Hollywood whore, Devil-Bitch!" Mother Kralik advises Nadine. "But you're afraid of her! You're her little Scrub-Slut! That's what you are! She's got you in her spell!"
     "Me!?" Nadine is surprised to hear herself say--having given up on the idea of language. "Afraid of her!?"
     "Yes!" Mother Kralik shoots back, her breath a blast of septic miasma. "You wash her feet, you wash her ass, you wash Yann's cum out of her shithole!"
     "I'll show you!" Nadine replies. "I'll wash her motherfucking soul! That's what I'll do! The Bitch! I'll show you, Bitch! I'll show the Whole Bitch World!"
     And off they go, all of them, following Nadine into the storm.

                              (to be continued...)


Yikes! It doesn't look like Nadine's on her way to pick daisies, now does it? And since this story has got to end, tune in next time, and it'll end forever! Coming up... The SQUALID, FILTHY, GRAPHIC & DISGUSTING, ULTRA-VIOLENT/SEXY Conclusion of
CHUM!!!!


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