Story By Mark Slade Art By Amanda Turco
(Dedicated To David Drake)
“I see those dog-faced assholes now,” Miriam screamed as he looked through the periscope and shifted into fifth gear. The tank kicked up a cloud of dust, burying the skeletal dune buggy baring down on it quickly. The desert sun was high in the sky burning, a hole in old Earth’s atmosphere. We were being chased by The State’s Imperial police and they were looking to throw Miriam and me in the underground slammer for selling black market oxygen.
Hey, wherever there’s a buck to be made, Miriam and me will sell the nipples off a dead bitch’s tits.
“Hey Rat,” Miriam called out to me. “Those dickweeds are closing in on us!”
“Go into sixth gear and hit the hyperspeed button,” I said. I spun around in my chair, flicked on the necessary switches on the tanks motherboard. The tank wheezed and jittered. The wheels rolled over branches, bushes, a hillside, finally crushing a small house by the sea. We were ready to jump head first in the polluted waters off the coast of Maine when the tank sputtered, choked, died on the shore of rolling waves.
“Fuck!” Miriam cried out. “If they catch us with that oxygen it’s over with!” He bawled. Being a mutated hermaphrodite must be hell with those wild mood swings. I’m a woman and my mood swings stay in check at all times. Well, mostly.
“Shut your fucking gob, Miriam!” I screamed at him. He lowered his head, sobbing quietly. “The damned override crossed the lines on the motherboard again. Remind me to give Gav a swift kick in the nuts when I see him.” Gav was our mechanic. I pay him in ten percent of the cut from the oxygen I sell to the dead on the streets who still think they are alive. The oxygen goes to their brains and they can function like the rest of us with minimal cannibalism of the living. Minimum I mean opening their own butcher chops to sell to the living. Oh the government does not want zombies to become the norm of everyday existence. They wouldn’t have a war to wage, thus the world would pay attention to other things fucked up. Such as the water supply being taxed or no regular citizens are allowed to have any transportation unless they are a part of the government beat down.
“Get out of your unauthorized vehicle, citizen!” We heard the voice of the police officer. “We will count to three before we commence artillery fallout.”
I looked at Miriam. He wiped his eyes and reached for the laser dispenser Gav converted from an AK-47. I shook my head.
“Let’s go out there without those.” I said.
“Are you sure, Rat?” He asked, ready to break into tears at any time.
I thought about it, then nodded. “Yeah.” I said. “Something tells me the Glorious Ninth can’t take any more hits right now.”
“AHHHHHHHHHHHH! Stupid tank! Fuck you Gav!” Miriam punched the dashboard. Several 8-track tapes of digital speeches by the former president of the world fell to the tank’s floor. It’s only fitting that a fallen leader who opposed military politics would fall. Ten years ago Henry Beasley was gunned down and the military released a virus that killed off most of the population in hopes to rebuild the world with better citizens. Instead they created a zombie apocalypse that 21st century movies used to make and crammed down our throats. I motioned for Miriam to open the tank’s lid first. He cursed me under his breath. The lid slid open and Miriam poked his head out. He saw two deputies pointing flash guns at the tank. They all look the same. Those deputies have long spiky pink hair, no shirt under their overalls. Large boils cover their bodies and they have to wear sunglasses because the sun’s rays could burn holes in their retinas. I swear the chief of police were cloning these fuckers.
“Get out now!” Deputy 1 screamed.
“Or we’ll blast you to kingdom come!” Deputy 2 screamed.
“That’s original,” I said. “You two are a couple of cards.”
I pushed Miriam out of the way so I could pull myself out of the tank. We both lined up against the tank, our backs to them so they can frisk us. I felt hands roll across my breasts and cup my nipples. If I could find clothing less revealing I could wear in the tank other than a tank top and cargo fatigues, I would.
“Hey! Watch it buddy!” I told one of them. Deputy One giggled and snorted. He probably hadn’t had any since shore leave, unless he found a willing corpse in a ditch somewhere. Miriam seemed to enjoy the frisk as well as Deputy Two. He hovered over Miriam, breathing heavily, smiling ear to ear. Miriam wiggled his fat ass to encourage him to do more than touch.
That’s when an idea popped in my head.
“You like her?” I said to Deputy Two. He grinned and nodded. “Yeah?” I smiled back. “If you let us go, she will fuck your brains out. How’s that, stud?”
The Deputies exchanged glances.
Deputy Two nodded immediately. Deputy One had his doubts.
“The Chief would have our asses for this.” He stated. “Zeppo there would be content with a piece of hairy ass and his walking papers. He can always work on his Uncle’s pig-shit farm. Me,” He jabbed his thumb into his own chest. “I got a family, see. I got four little snot-nosed grubbers, a bartender, and two fucking wives that rely on me. What do I get out of this?”
I sighed heavily and rolled my eyes. I looked over at Miriam and he and Deputy Two were already tonguing each other touching places no one needed to witness. I made up my mind to fake a smile and flutter my eyelashes. “You know,” I made my voice a little more husky and whispery. “I have always wanted to fuck in the Glorious Ninth,” I pointed to the tank.
Deputy One’s chest heaved. He shook a bit and stepped closer to me. He laughed, showed me the one good tooth in his jar shaped head. Whatever he’d eaten before did not kill that horrible stench that rose from his rotten gums.
“Let’s make hay, baby,” Deputy One said.
Let’s make hay? That was the best that moron could come up with? Pathetic. I smiled at him, took him by the hand. I climbed the thin ladder and watched Deputy One follow closely. I climbed down inside the tank slowly. I found a nice dark corner so I couldn’t see the nasty fucker’s tiny dick. He rushed toward me, tried to plant one on me. I turned my head and giggled
With my left hand, I found the gasmask connected to one of the tubes of oxygen. “Come here and give me that kiss,” I whispered to him. He giggled and pushed his face into mine.
I ducked to one side and placed the gasmask on his face. He jerked back slightly, mumbled something inaudible. Before he realized what was happening, I already turned the oxygen lines on. They hissed and popped.
I heard him struggle, began screaming. There was nothing he could do. I turned the knob all the way to ten. Deputy One was stuck to the gasmask, his lungs taking in five meters of oxygen. In mere seconds he had lost consciousness. I heard a pop. He fell in the slim sunlight that came from the open hatch of the tank. The gasmask was full of his blood.
I tossed Deputy One to the ground before I lowered myself out of the tank. I saw Deputy Two lying face down, the top of his head had been melted by his own flash gun that Miriam had in his belt.
“I see you scored too,” I said.
Miriam had a satisfied look on his peeked face. “You don’t know half the story, sister,” He smiled sheepishly.
“C’mon, you shit-picker,” I yelled at him and climbed in the dune buggy. Miriam sat in the seat behind me, found a pair of goggles. “That fucker Gav can come out here and kickstart the Glorious Ninth!”
With that we sped away in a whirlwind from the shores of Maine and headed toward Old Boston, leaving behind us two dead State Imperial Police officers and cloud of black dust.