Road Killing: Planet Buzzkill Chapter 1

#1: X White 

He woke late with a gnawing hunger in his  stomach. There was something else though; a  feeling of uncertainty, which had never greeted him  upon waking in the past. He rolled over in the soft  afternoon light, basking in the rays of the autumn  sun filtering through the white blinds of his third  story apartment. He peeked over Anna’s abandoned  pillow at the clock and saw that it was 1:18 PM. It  was Sunday afternoon already. He had slept  through mass again, and he could tell by the sounds  down the hall that Anna and her mother had  returned already and were hard at work in the  kitchen. 

Victor Cruz was a dishwasher at Mo’s Bar and  Grille. The job paid well enough to keep them in the  apartment. He did not get home until 4:30 AM on  the weekends, which did bother him, because it  meant he missed mass. Anna would not wake him  when he was tired. She was a good hardworking little girl. If it were not for Anna and her mother  making empanadas and cooking for the single  construction workers that lived in this complex,  they would not have a car, and would have to live in  some rough neighborhood downtown—no place to  raise the children. Anna was already pregnant with  twins. Just the thought made him smile as he  pushed himself up out of bed in his boxers and T shirt and headed down the hall to have breakfast  while the ladies had lunch. 

The carpet was nice and white and fluffy,  having been brushed by Mamma—by hand!—as  she did every morning of the week.  

America, home of the lazy gringo and the fat rapper!  

He could not believe how lucky he was to be  living in such a nice clean place provided by such  easy regular work. And when the babies got here,  they would all be able to stay. When spring came he  would pick up a landscaping job during the day so  that Anna could go to school. With an associate’s degree she wouldn’t have to do laundry at the  hospital every weekday night, and Mamma wouldn’t have to stay home alone all night,  particularly with the two new babies—a boy and a girl would arrive in just two months. 

He thought to himself as he passed the bathroom, How lucky can one Mexican chicken  farmer be? 

Then, as he stepped into the living room, he  heard Mamma sobbing. She was sitting on the  couch holding her face, looking down at her ankles  sobbing. When she looked up at him there was  terror in her eyes; an expression he had never seen  on her face. He made to walk over to her and she  put out her hands for him to stay back. Just then he  heard Anna curse and screech in the kitchen.  Mamma’s eyes told him that that was where he  needed to go—now! 

Anna cursing, that must be bad! A rat—Mamma  got bit by a rat! A rat is in this nice apartment? Oh  I’m taking care of this!

Victor stepped quickly around the corner to  see Anna swatting wildly with a recipe magazine  at…a…a spider? Only this was like no spider Victor  had ever seen, not even around Vera Cruz. His wife  was in a kitchen fight with some disgusting spider  that had bit Mamma. There was only one thing to  do. 

Victor grabbed Anna in his left arm, took the  magazine from her as she sobbed hysterically, and  rolled it up.  

Girls are always so afraid of such creepy yet  harmless little things. 

He would take care of this and then have his  empanadas. No spider, no matter how big, was  going to get between Victor Cruz and Mamma’s  empanadas!  

The funny thing was this spider was as large as  a quarter and was sliding across a strand of red silk  that ran from the counter back up to the top of the  refrigerator. It had crab-like eyes on stalks, a white  X on its hunched-forward beetle-back, and did not seem to have enough legs. He smashed the nasty  little redneck gringo spider with the cookbook and  it flew across the room and splattered on the  window. It sounded surprisingly heavy as it slid  down the window trailing gooey stuff.  

Anna jumped a tiny jump of relief in the crook  of his arm, so he turned to kiss her and calm her  down. Her lips tasted sweet and salty from her fear,  “Baby, is Mamma okay? Did, she get bit?”  

For answer, his pretty little wife, with her big  brown eyes and perfect perky pregnant little body  stretched into one of his old T-shirts, just looked  past him in horror, up at the top of the refrigerator,  and screamed! 

Victor pushed her away as he turned and felt  something stick to his left shoulder. Above the  refrigerator, on top of the frosted flakes box—his  favorite cereal, with the oil-company tiger on the  box—perched another of those nasty spiders. A  long strand of red silk—no, more like stretched out  chewing gum—was connected between his shoulder and the disgusting spider. The spider’s  eyes seemed to him more like a fly’s eyes or a  grasshopper’s, with the many facets, as they  gleamed softly in the filtering sunlight.  

Victor snarled and advanced on the nasty thing  with his rolled up magazine. Even as he closed the  distance between his self and this household  invader Mamma cried hysterically in the other  room and the spider leaped. His swing missed as  the spider travelled so fast along the cord—no,  attached to one end of a contracting rubber-band— that it was on his shoulder as fast as the snapping  sound that announced its arrival.  

“Arrgh!” Victor growled as he stabbed at the  thing with the butt of the rolled up magazine,  smashing the bottom banana-shaped part of its  abdomen and its bottom two legs against his hard  shoulder. As he clenched his teeth and breathed in  for another stab, a stab that would squash the thing  against his shoulder, he saw that it had a mosquito  like tube coming out of its face and into his  shoulder, and that it was already filling up on his blood! The white X on its back was becoming red,  and more black goo was dripping from its smashed  hind part. 

Enraged with the knowledge that this nasty  little thing was drinking his blood he brought down  the butt of the rolled magazine with all his strength,  smashing it into his shoulder. But the thing had  jumped off, and back, no longer attached to him by  the gooey red strand. Instead it was floating above  and in front of him under a translucent red  …parachute? The same gooey red bubblegum stuff  that had just connected them was now acting like a  tennis-ball size parachute. The nasty spider-like mosquito-faced beetle was gliding slowly down  from a point just above Victor’s head.  

As Victor cocked back with his magazine and  Anna screamed out in the living room, the  grasshopper-like eyes of his tiny enemy seemed to  regard him with a calculated intelligence. There  was something about the way the little eyes  twinkled, one tiny panel at a time; that gave him  pause. But, with another cry from Mamma, he regained his resolve and swung. As Victor swung  like he was swatting flies for pennies for German  tourists back in Cancun, the thing’s back opened,  the X in two parts now, and no longer red, but back to white. Something ejected from the opened hatch like shell of the back—no some things—out to the sides. Some were splattered on the magazine as it  hurdled to its target, and others disappeared above  his left eye even as the sickening smacking sound of  the heavy magazine hitting the bug and splattering  it into the cabinets mixed with the syncopated  screams of feminine horror coming from the other  room.  

With no time to relish his victory over the  insect intruder, Victor took a deep breath before  darting around the corner. When he did so a  number of red, white and black, chocolate-chipped sized dots rushed into his mouth. He gasped as  something attached to the back of his throat, and  something—some things!—clawed their way up  into his nostrils—and, oh God!—something bigger  descended, with pinching pauses, down his throat! 

Victor was overcome with horror. He had,  himself, like his apartment, been invaded by  something he could not stop and did not  understand. He knew suicide was a sin, but he was  already in Hell—there had to be a saint for this, and  if there wasn’t God would surely make one! He  would have yelled goodbye to Anna if he thought  she could hear him over her and Mamma’s  screaming. But if he had, he somehow sensed that  the sound coming from his mouth would not be his.  

With one last act of defiance Victor Cruz  sprinted across the kitchen and dove headfirst over  the table through the front window. The glass  shattered with surprising ease. The light metal  decorative windowpane frames did hang him up— or at least it seemed—for an instant as he crashed  through the shattering glass toward the hard  pavement below. The light metal frames clung to  him and scratched him, but did not stop his decent  to the pavement.  

As the clawing and burrowing in his airways  continued and began to burn he looked at the pavement like a lover, wishing for nothing but her  final kiss. It was not to be. His hip brushed a tree  branch, a branch of the tree that housed the comical  squirrel that Mamma fed from her own hand, and  he flipped over, landing flat on his back. He felt his  back break and separate from his hips when he  landed. Then, as the back of his head slammed into  the pavement, he was fortunately spared the horror  of continued consciousness.

4 thoughts on “Road Killing: Planet Buzzkill Chapter 1

  1. Thanks for making my skin crawl.

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  2. Literally had my skin crawling. Thanks.
    BTW, would love to see your 4-act outline concept. Enjoyed the shows with Rusty.

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  3. Not sure if the first one made it. Anyway, this genuinely made my skin crawl.
    Also looking forward to seeing your 4-act approach outlined. Enjoyed the podcasts with Rusty.

    Like

  4. Boomertech. Delete the other two, I can see them now!

    Like

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