Chapter 29: The Propaganda Racket #2 (of three)

Episode 29: The Propaganda Racket #2 (of three)

Kodek was walking towards Johnny with a chainsaw in his hands, his feet stepping across the faux-tiled floor of a 50’s throwback diner called nearly-ironically Shotgun Mary’s. Kodek had no fucking idea who Mary was, nor did he particularly care. Johnny was in the middle of his bacon-and-eggs and so wasn’t looking terribly concerned at Kodek approaching with his chainsaw (not yet revved to full-tilt boogie, obviously), but the waitress in the yellow skirt-outfit who was wearing a nametag that said Anna even though her name was Lizzie/Francesca-something-or-other (damn these code names were getting confusing) definitely looked mare than a little concerned, the coffee pot half-filled with hot black liquid in her hand (that could be a weapon, too, Kodek knew, hell he’d seen Fast Times at Ridgemont High) so Kodek gave her a half-hairy eyeball and the international signal for “Sshhhh…” partially to indicate something like Hey, it’s cool, baby, we’re on the same team, besides, I’m not really here for you at all.

But wait. Was that true? Kodek was sure that it had been true at one point in time, but that perhaps it wasn’t exactly one-hundred percent true any longer. Things do change…

Kodek revved the chainsaw. That surely got everyone’s attention, and suddenly, it was the bacon and eggs that were being ignored.

Kodek wasn’t sure exactly what had happened (or where Lizzie the waitress had gone off to) in the aftermath, but he knew he’d likely have to get a move on before the cops showed up. The inside of Shotgun Mary’s looked like it had been painted Jackson Pollock with Johnny’s insides. There wasn’t much left of Johnny as a whole, anymore, more like a half. Possibly a third. What was left of his half-head attached precariously to his upper torso was being dug through, quite literally, by Kodek’s bare hands. When he pulled them, caked in blood and shredded flesh, from the inside of Johnny’s upper torso, the black slugs spilled out and despite an effort to escape the florescent lighting inside the diner, lay squirming in death-throws on the faux tiles, splattered in blood and ripped intestines, mixing with shit and piss.

Kodek gathered all the black slugs he could. With his bare hands, he held them tightly, crushing some of them and not caring, not really feeling the oily ooze of their guts at all because his hands were so caked in Johnny’s flesh and blood (and shattered bits of bone), until he got behind the counter and found the stash of take-out bags generally meant for diners’ leftover meatloaf.

He crammed the dying black things into the take-out bag and rolled the top of it down, sealing it. The inside of the paper bags were lined with a thin, wax plastic, like the barf bags in the back of airline seats, so he figured they were at least a little liquid-tight. Probably for all the food grease, he guessed.

He took the bags, slipping once on the splattered blood on the diner floor, and just as he exited Shotgun Mary’s he wondered, only for a split second, what had happened to the female cook he thought he remembered seeing behind the counter and through the rectangular cut-out in the wall that gave air to the kitchen in the back…?

Not sure if his mind had been playing tricks on him, he abandoned the thought of the cook to focus on the main task at hand: Getting the eff-you-see-kay out of there.

He popped open the truck on the car, and was not only amazed to find he (evidently) had failed to put his chainsaw back in there, but that there was a waitress names Lizzie and name-tagged Anna) dressed in a cute yellow-and-blood-spattered outfit bound and gagged.

And she was definitely not a happy camper.

Months later, sitting across from her in a joint called Escape from New York Pizza on Haight Street in San Francisco, Kodek wondered why she, his supposed contact, looked so fucking pissed at him…?

You don’t need to send me to San Francisco,” Lizzie said to Larry the Brain. Brain was actually impressed at how cool and logical she was being. She didn’t seem at all like the raving blood-spattered lunatic who had attacked him only half an hour ago. Goddamned epidemic of MPD, Brian mused, likely from all the fleshy time-virus carriers that he’d been experimenting with. At any rate…

You want me to what?!” Lizzie Borden, a.k.a. Girl in the Yellow Waitress Uniform, asked.

I want you to kill you old boss,” Brain repeated. “You have a problem with that?”

Lizzie shook her head.

Good.” Brain couldn’t get that damned children’s chant out of his head – every time he laid eyes on Lizzie, yellow waitress uniform or not…

Kodek stared into the open trunk of his car, holding the trunk up with one hand, his eyes darting over Lizzie’s bound body, in his other hand, the wax-lined take-out bag…

Then he remembered.

Well, he remembered one reality, anyway. But this was the current reality, and certain things needed to be done in order to-

Lizzie was trying to scream something at him from her gag. Curious, Kodek set the take-out bag down on the back bumper, gently holding it there with the side of his leg so that it wouldn’t slide off the metal and spill on the parking lot. He reached inside the truck and pulled her gaga down to her chin. After that she stopped trying to speak.

What is it?” Kodek prodded, his voice with an edge of impatience.

For a moment, Lizzie would only glare back at him.


Don’t you remember me?” she finally asked. This surprised Kodek, until he remembered that he shouldn’t be surprised by obscure revelations. This was all becoming par for the course, now. Unfortunately…

You’re my boss,” she elaborated. He found himself surprised again, but this time he just went with it.

Your boss? Since when?”

Since Larry the Brain paired us for that science experiment he was conduction for the Morimoto Corporation. Holy shit, Kodek, that must’ve seriously scrambled your brains.”


Kodek, the cops are coming, untie me, get me in the car, let’s get the fuck out of here and I’ll explain everything to you.”

Kodek was getting annoyed with himself, he’d lost the ability to tell if she was fucking with him. His head began to hurt. He could feel the paper bag against his knee…

And then he remembered.

Don’t worry, we’ll get you out of here.” He lifted the bag from the bumper, opened it, reached in and took the handful of half-dead oil-slugs and crammed them into Lizzie’s screaming mouth. When he couldn’t cram them in any further, he punched them into her face and mouth, then replaced the gag and tightened it. Her eyes were bulging, she was forced to swallow if she wanted to breath again. Kodek wasn’t sure she’d be able to. He slammed the trunk anyway, her skin going white just as-


The door at the back of the studio slammed shut and Petersen and B.B. Looked up to see Kodek dragging Francesca back in, her yellow uniform blood-splattered. She looked unconscious. Fuck that, she looked half-dead, Petersen realized. He dropped his Styrofoam cup of luke-warm coffee on the floor and walked quickly over to them, the pair of macabre dances, entering the hall.

Derrikson finally glanced over, cigarette still dangling form his lips, and he grinned. Good boy, Kodek.

B.B. Clapped his hands together, bringing the small film crew to immediate attention. “Okay everybody,” he bellowed in his thick German accent, “The star is here, back to work! Back to work!”

The grip and cameraman went to setting up the camera and the sound tech tweaked the knobs on his sound mixer before checking the boom-mic.

What the fuck did you do to her?” Petersen asked Kodek. At least Francesca was coming around, now.

Nothing,” Kodek shrugged. “I brought her back. Now she’s your problem.”

Yeah? How’s that?”

Kodek glanced past Petersen and saw the Derrikson had become interested in the quiet verbal exchange.

Well, you are the director, right?”

Petersen fumed.


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