The Way of the Thumb
Three-Rivers stood, squirrel upon shoulder, and hat on head, along the side of the thunder-trail called Route Seven by the painfully unimaginative and ever-counting Masters of Nearest Sunset. They had, against T.T.’s advice, chosen the way of the thumb, as walking along this gravely side-path that ran next to the paved way would have scuffed Three-Rivers’ bison-rider boots of snakeskin. It was also out of the question to walk on the smooth road surface, or one would be flattened like so many of Gerald’s fellow Sunset squirrels who dared the perilous thunder-trails.
My, this is dangerous. I am so glad to be wearing my hat against the chance of some terrible accident.
When he had appeared it was just after dawn, as he did not want to frighten any of the thunderbeast riders. They were on the summer side of the road that followed the course of the Good River north and west. Gerald now scampered up his neck and was hiding under his hat, as it was thought that people would not want squirrels inside of their mechanical servants, and, well, because Gerald was a coward, and was afraid to be seen and shot by some ‘hawngry redneck somebitch’. Gerald was therefore useless in the summoning of a compliant driver.
“You know Gerald, I bet people would stop if you stood on my hand and stuck out whichever one of your claws approximates a thumb.”
Gerald’s muffled voice could be heard from under the hat, “Listen dumbass dese country White-boys eat squirrels. ‘Sides you cute. Some nice lady ‘ill pull ova en snatch yo ass up. En also, in case dare some law about hitchhikin’ I’m stayin’ unda da hat ‘cause da popo would give me ta animal control—daz like given a Jew ova ta a Nazi.”
“Oh Gerald, here is an eighteen wheeler, hear it rumble?”
The giant mechanical slave-beast of the white-haired man within stopped and hissed like a thousand copper-faced snakes. Three-Rivers then climbed up on the side and pulled open the door and hauled himself nimbly up into the seat.
How nice this is, this spry youthful body, compared to the sickly damaged body of my childhood.
He turned and grinned up at the jolly fat man with the white hair and beard and looking glassed for the eyes, “Mucho thanks dude!”
“Name’s Archie. Where ya off to son?”
“We are off to Three-Rivers’ town, my squirrel and I!”
As he spoke he took off his hat to expose his cowardly totem and the man smiled, “Oh my, he is a tame squirrel! Well I’ll be. Are you a carney?”
…They made their way to the stall of Teche, and Aristotle presented his friend with the Constitution of Temesa. After much commiserating and asking after the banal affairs of one-another’s families, Teche placed the Geographica scroll in a cylindrical shipping vase, and made a wax impression of Alexander’s seal upon it. Teche made a gift of oil to Doryklus as he asked about his training and the upcoming contests, both sacred and civic. Polos however, had stepped away, and now came rushing back to them, “Master, come, come, to the center. A man from Tie-up has arrived with news of Alexander! Come!”
…It was many moments before the speaker managed to hush the crowd. He then spoke with an ominous tone to his voice, “Alexander is dead. The Hegemon said goodbye to his companions, shield-bearers and file-men, thirteen days ago.”
A loud acidic voice carped, “Why I do not believe it. If he were indeed dead no corner of the world would be free from the stench put off by his corpse!”
The crowd began to converse, surge, shout, murmur, like many waves colliding in an estuary to form an eddy. The messenger though raised his voice above that of the crowd, “I am Timon of Halicarnassus and I bring this news as heard by my ears at the Port of Issus, from the lips of Alexander’s own companion, Astyanax of Pella. Make of this news what you will, but please, avert war!”
The murmur of the crowd began to rise to a threatening timbre and Aristotle was splashed across the check by spittle from an Athenian patriot, who bawled, “Down with the tyrant’s puppets and to death with the Macedonian occupiers!”
With that insult the tall middle-aged aristocrat spoke his last words through a mouth possessing teeth, for his face literally exploded as Doryklus’ mallet-like fist smashed into it like a stone into a cushion. Doryklus was not a man of words, and simply stood flexing his great hands as he glared at the friends of the now mewing man at his feet...
…He fired up the bike, and when he began to roll off three cop cars came roaring up. He gunned the throttle and wheeled her up over the hood of the cruiser straight ahead and then bolted down the street on foot with three slow-ass two-legged pigs trying pathetically to keep pace.
He hurdled the hood rats sitting on the stoop out in the cold and just knew it would be his luck to have a lurker around the corner. So he shoot out a stiff arm as he blew by the corner house and heard the narc’s nose snap on his palm. Another cruiser tried to cut him off and he ran right over it and headed down the alley and jumped onto the dumpster and over a double-high concrete wall and scrap-wood fence down into a small concrete yard.
Yuck, this smells bad, even through this mashed nose.
As he spun to his feet and his hand slipped in a smeared pile of dog shit three pitbulls converged on him. He stood with one gnawing on each shin and another snapping at his face while he held its neck between his hands and it raked his chest with its paws. He tossed that one high over the fence behind him and heard it skidding and then snarling as one of the cops starting shooting at it.
Wow these two are trying to drag you down and have a feast!
He reached down and ripped one of the meat-munchers off of his shin. He was relieved when he felt his skin give way and the stubby teeth scrape the shin bone. But when he heard that thing swallowing and chunking down a piece of his flesh he got pissed and threw it over the house above. Now that the pit in the alley was being shot to death by the cop Jay decided to give the cop a little more trouble and just kicked the remaining dog over the fence into the alley beyond.
Try that with an empty clip Porky!
He had to smile when he heard the firing pin click into an empty chamber and the ravenous pit started ripping into the cop as the other cops came to his rescue. He turned quickly and bolted toward the stairs to the kitchen door above, then slipped in dog shit again as a fourth pit that he hadn’t seen bit into his right arm, and they rolled over and over in the slushy smeared dog shit that covered the cracked patio.
Damn this sucks.
Yeah that’s what you get for kicking around that meth-cooker’s dogs when you were an ornery yard-ape. This is karma come to get your hillbilly behind.
He just picked the thing up with his left hand as it chewed on his right arm and ran through the backdoor of the house. There was no storm door and he just shoulder-barreled through the cheap plywood door as it gave way in a shower of glass and rotten splinters. He trampled a crack-ho who was frying eggs in the kitchen, ran over a skinny Jamaican dude with smelly dreads in the hallway, and blew by two fat rappers playing a video game as he ran right through the living room window and crashed arm-munching-dog-and-all into a wrought iron fence. The dog was impaled on the spiked iron fence and he tore his forearm out of its mouth as it yipped, snarled and wiggled.
South boy, south—run your ass off!