Chapter 42: Kodek’s Back (at Shotgun Mary’s)

Kodek was sitting on the edge of the bed with his eyes shut, he was trying to meditate. He was trying not to think about the sound of the bolt sliding out from the door of his cell. Trick of the mind, right? He didn’t look up. A rough and strong hand clamped around his upper arm. Now he opened his eyes and looked up to his left. The Bear of Berlin, aka the Bedlam orderly. Clever disguise, perhaps?

Bear held something out for him. A tin of Altoids. “Go ahead, take one,” his deep German-accented voice rand in Kodek’s mind. “We need to get you out of here.”

Clever disguise indeed.

When Kodek first stepped through the door to Shotgun Mary’s the first thing he really noticed, ignoring the annoying chime of the bell hanging over the top corner of the door, was the smell of grease. Judging by the asshole at the far end of the counter, it was entirely possible it might have been him.

More coffee?”

Kodek suddenly snapped out of it – he was seated at the counter now, as if a very tiny section of his life has just beet edited out of his memory. – and his head whipped back to the waitress behind the counter, wearing a yellow-striped apron around her white short-sleeved blouse, a pencil behind her ear and a steaming pot of coffee in her grip. Norman fucking Rockwell. She was cute. Kodek glanced at the nametag. Anna.

No thanks,” he told her, and she went down to the other end of the bar to ask the Latin guy the same thing, but he only grunted at her and shoved another strip of yellow yolk-soaked bacon into his mouth.

It was time to pay for the coffee. When Kodek reached for his wallet, he found that he’d genuinely forgotten it in his car. Thankfully the waitress in the yellow uniform trusted him to go as far as the parking lot to go and get it.

The stupid bell rang when he exited and he could feel Johnny turning ans staring at him as he left.

His feet crunched the gravel of the parking lot ground and he consciously trod softly the rest of the way – though he didn’t know why, everyone in the diner knew he was going out to his car. Habit, he figured. Had to be stealthy in his line of work. Speaking of stealthy…

Kodek slid the key into the lock of the trunk of his car and twisted, deciding on the chainsaw. When he lifted the trunk lid all the way, he reflexively jumped back and was horrified to hear his own voice yell out in surprise when he saw the blood-caked corpse of the beach girl in there. Or likely, a hallucination of her, because as Kodek stared into the trunk the only think in there was an axe, a shotgun an AK 47 a set of hunting knives a shovel and his chainsaw. No corpse, blood-caked or otherwise.

What the fuck” Kodek whispered, and looked around to see if his vocal outburst had disturbed anything. Didn’t appear so. Thankfully.

He reached into the trunk, grabbed the chainsaw with his left hand and slammed the lid shut with his right, slipping the car keys out of the lock and into his jacket pocket. I should have a HazMat suit for this sort of work, he thought as he walked softly back to the front door of Shotgun Mary’s.

This time, when he entered, there was no time-edit. In fact, if anything, things were going in slow motion now. He stepped through the door, ignoring the echoing ring of the overhead bell, painfully aware of the sound of each of his footfalls as quiet as he was being, yet oddly, surreally, he couldn’t hear the chainsaw at all although he could plainly see the blade spinning around. It was about to happen. Johnny shot him with a Roscoe six-shooter. I didn’t matter, Kodek knew that, even though he wasn’t exactly sure why it didn’t matter. Something to do with the Altoids, he figured.

Something thick and black and the side of a large slug dropped from somewhere on (in) Kodek, hit his shoe, and darted off. Lizzie yelped out and hoisted her ass onto the back counter and her feet on the customer counter as if avoiding some scurrying mouse. Whatever it was, when it was gone, Lizzie finally let her feet touch the floor once more.

Kodek swung the revving chainsaw in a downward arc. Johnny’s arm split off from him, but the gun fired a second time anyway.

Slow motion.

Kodek turned his head to the right – the same direction the bullet was hurling – and glimpsed the Spanish cook, whom he’d previously assumed (had been told) was Shotgun Mary herself, though she was dressed in the SAME yellow uniform as the waitress (DEJA-VU), as she ducked low, presumably to avoid being caught in any potential crossfire. That had been a mistake. Kodek could see, even before the event had completely played out, that the bullet would crash right through the cheap Gyprock separating the service counter and the kitchen, directly where she was ducking for cover.

There was no scream when the bullet crashed through the wall, but Kodek knew. The yellow waitress was panicking, but Kodek blocked her from his mind.

His revving chainsaw entered Johnny’s guts and climbed up inside his torso, and everything went dark crimson.

Someone, somewhere, was screaming her lungs out.

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