Chapter 43: Anna’s Back (at Shotgun Mary’s)

Anna arrived at work at the greasy spoon called Shotgun Mary’s. Lizzie, the waitress who could be pretty bitchy at times but often funny (they had stayed after work a couple of times and had helped themselves to the beer from the walk-in fridge supply that should have been caged up but wasn’t) was already there. Today, she looked to be in bitch-mode.

Hey, Anna,” Lizzie put the effort of a smile on her face. Slight bitch-mode, Anna silently corrected.

Anna headed through the kitchen. “Can you keep an eye on things? I have to change!”

Sure!” Lizzie called back from the front.

Anna made her way all the way through the kitchen to the back room, loosely called the staff room, it was really just a cheap row of crappy lockers and a scuzzy bathroom in the far corner. And the laundry pick-up, which, to Anna’s dismay, hadn’t been picked up All of her kitchen whited were in there, and had obviously been since Anna’s last sift on Friday. Three days ago. Fred, Mary’s husband, was supposed to have the uniform cleaners’ schedule worked out. Fucking Fred. Anna went to her locker and spun the combination lock, pulling the cheap door open and seeing her old waitress uniform there. She hadn’t worn it in months. She pulled it out and saw the nametag, still pinned over the left breast: LIZZIE. “Shit,” she grumbled.

Maybe the nametags had been switched, but then again, maybe the entire uniform had bee. Anna pulled out the uniform and sniffed the armpits. She could smell a slight chill in the half-forgotten uniform, but nothing like oppressive or foreign body odour, so she opted for the yellow uniform instead. She slipped it over her bra and panties, slid her shoes on and marched into the kitchen and began her cooking preparations while she heated up the grill. Breakfast was usually a busy time at Shotgun Mary’s.

While she was chopping the onions, that annoying LIZZIE nametag caught the corner of her left eye. She put the knife down and took the nametag off, went around the service counter where Lizzie was fucking around with a pot of coffee, and instead of saying anything, just slipped it onto the front counter beside the cash register, forgetting about it. There was a good chance Lizzie would see it there and if she wanted to, could put it on her uniform. Either way, Anna didn’t really give a shit.

After that, the morning went along in a motion of fits and spurts and some bizarre slow motion perspective that made Anna feel like she’d had too much sugar and caffeine that morning. Which, she decided, was entirely plausible. But it got especially bad when that Latino fellow Lizzie called “Johnny” had walked in.

He’d finally ordered a breakfast containing unspecified eggs, so Anna made him her best sunny-side up. He looked like the type of guy who would stick a piece of bacon into a soft yolk. They way he was chowing down on the breakfast, she figured she’s been right. He put her on edge, but he seemed okay… until the other guy came in.

The other guy ordered a coffee. He was trying to make conversation with the Johnny character. He was going to be a fucking problem, Anna could feel it in the pit of her gut. And then he forgot his wallet. Lizzie let him go, even though Anna defintiely wouldn’t have done that, even if it was only a lousy cup of coffee, it was the damned principal of the whole thing… Her gut-rot got worse and she hurried out of the kitchen to the bathroom in the back.

Even though it was the staff bathroom, Anna usually made it a habit to hover over the toilet seat to take her piss, avoiding all porcelain contact. Now, though, for the first time in several months, she plunked her bare ass straight down on the seat and as she took a piss, became quickly enwrapped in what she knew was a full-blown panic attack. At least she know what it was as she’d had one before, so she was able to get herself under control and not call 9-1-1 this time for fear she was actually having a heart attack.

If you were having a heat attack,” the paramedic had told her, “then you’d be in pain. IF there’s no pain, it’s usually a panic attack.”

And knowing was half the battle, she supposed. Barely over her attack, but getting her breathing under control (1-2-3-4, out-2-3-4-5-6-7-8) she pulled her cotton panties up under the waitress uniform, turned, flushed the toilet, splashed some water on her face and dabbed it with a paper towel as she walked back to the kitchen.

When she got there, she saw the sever arm of Johnny Handsome flying through the air trailing an arc of gushing blood, and she found she was looking staring down (slow motion) the barrel of a Roscoe six-shooter attached to the hand of the freshly severed arm. And the fucking the had FIRED!

Anna ducked, and screamed… just before the bullet crashed through the wall, with insane speed, the black-slug-thing shot up her ankle, she felt the brief wetness at the crotch of her cotton panties and that was it. She was fucked.

***

Somewhere, locked in the trunk of a car, Zarana’s corpse was SCREAMING her lungs out… Actually screaming them out. They exploded from her mouth in a back-oily mess of some coagulating – and moving – flesh-thing.

***

The next thing Anna knew (even if she didn’t quite remember the DINER) she was driving the yellow Ferrari.

Jump cut.

Speeding down the road, she saw her target. The fucking Mini Cooper. Just like The Italian Job, just like Dr. Fraurenspeigel had told her it would be–

She crashed into the back of the fucking Mini, sending it into the stone barrier at the edge of the cliff leading down to the sandy beach below. The car didn’t go all the way over, though. The saw the guy – the same guy from Shotgun Mary’s whop had the chainsaw – pull a box cutter out of the Mini’s glovebox in preparation for the inevitable battle.

She wasn’t going to die today.

She had the bazooka.

Entrenched in an epic fight that culminated in an explosion, a dead inter-dimensional alien that had come out of Anna’s body (she pushed that from her mind) and Kodek’s near death as she attacked his torso and genitalia with her alien vampire-tongue, all the while him screaming something about someone named “Brain” setting him up, Anna was suddenly yanked off of Kodek.

When she rose from unconsciousness, she was back on the toilet. In the diner. That’s where she met Brain. He asked a lot of fucking questions about Dr. Fraurenspeigel, but all the while all she could think about was what the fuck had happened at the front of the diner?

Brain eventually took her through the kitchen and showed her. The diner was a bloody fucking mess and there were pieces of Johnny everywhere. She didn’t see Lizzie, but was pretty sure the bitch wasn’t too far away.

Look here,” Brain pointed. There was a hole in the kitchen wall below the service window. A bullet hole.

When Anna bent down to take a closer look, something hard smashed her over the head, and she painfully fell into unconsciousness once more.

When Lizzie walked into the kitchen, she saw Brain exiting though the back door. She caught a glimpse of him turning the corner of the diner, heading back around to the front parking lot before the swinging metal door slammed shut. “Asshole,” she whispered in Brain’s general direction. She hunkered down to Anna’s body and pinned the LIZZIE nametag over her left breast and then, for no real reason, slapped her across the face. She stood up when she heard the sirens approaching.

***

Richardson walked into the fucking mess, giving more of a shit that he’d just gotten blood on the sole of his left shoe than that he’d stomped through fresh evidence of a major homicide. Possibly a serial killer, Metro Detective Richardson thought, and grinned.

Will somebody turn that fucking thing off?!” Metro Detective Richardson screamed at his officers, who all jumped into action, though not one of them really wanted to handle the blood-and-gore-soaked yellow chainsaw revving on the diner floor. But somebody finally got some nerves and did handle it, cutting the motor.

Finally,” Richardson said, letting out a long breath. “You!” he said, pointing at the waitress who was standing at the far end of the bar in utter shock and horror. She might be catatonic.

Fucking actresses, even he knew…

He tried to read her nametag, but like pretty much the rest of her, it was covered in Johnny’s blood. “Can you talk?!” he asked harshly. To his surprise, she nodded – after a few seconds. And she told him everything he needed to know…

***

Anna was lying on her back, unconscious on the kitchen floor. Lizzie was standing over Richardson’s shoulder as he hunkered down, checking the possibly trajectory of the Roscoe bullet that had crashed through the kitchen wall.

Fuck off,” he told Lizzie. She did, in a huff.

Richardson reached into his jacket and pulled out his unregistered back-up firearm with one hand, with the other he fished for the gun silencer, then screwed it quickly onto the barrel of the gun. He thought of the Morimoto Corporation, and their damned lawyer Derrikson, who was currently being a thorny pain in Richardson’s ass about this whole Shotgun Mary’s mess, god knew why, and sure as fuck Richardson wasn’t about to ask for further details… One second later, he shot Anna in the head. As her brains splashed up and onto her face and tits, he saw the nametag: LIZZIE.

Whatever.

He unscrewed the silencer and put the weapon away, hidden in his jacket once more. “Officer!” he yelled out into the service area, standing straight, he looked through the kitchen service window.

We need that photographer in here, NOW!”

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