Monday, February 3, 2014

Hell Block by G. Arthur Brown (Random Title #6)

You scan the shelves at the back of the Waltonbauer’s for a simple, cheap solution to what ails. Ricky had told you that you could find something there to help with your pitiable condition.

You had always considered yourself smart, and, DAMMIT, you are smart. That doesn’t mean you had not been up to a particularly damnable level of folly. Dating the daughter of gypsies is always a tricky avocation. So what--she found a red hair in your underwear? It could have come from literally anywhere. It didn’t have to be semen gluing it there, either. It could have just been a random hair that floated through the air and down into your crotch, glued there by snot that you accidentally spat inside your drawers when you were on the toilet. But she jumped to conclusions, and she happened to be right, and she said that her mother could see it all in a crystal ball and that her father was good with knives. But if her mother had seen it in a crystal ball, then why did she think the red hair belonged to a cis female and not a transsexual? Gypsies don’t know everything. And luckily for you, her father died in a tragic roofing accident shortly after she found that little scarlet traitor hiding in the fabric of your tighty-whiteys. Weird part is: he wasn’t even a roofer. And since he would not be there to slice you bow to stern, her mom put some kind of curse on you.

You ran to Ricky, and he had some great weed, and you guys smoked it and you sat in his Green Room for like an hour. He calls it the Green Room because the whole thing is lighted by weird fish tanks containing no actual fish but plenty of algae. When you get really high, you can totally imagine you are in a low budget sci-fi horror movie from the early 70s. It’s so dim that your vision actually seems grainy like cheap film stock. And sometimes you imagine that clumps of the green slime are moving, coming to life, developing appetites that might give them cause to exit their watery prisons and seek out blood-filled flesh on land. Kind of like a low budget sci-fi horror movie from the early 70s. But where were we?

You got high and you told Ricky your woes. And as he always does, he offered you the solution to your problem. And as you always do, you wrote it down on a slip of paper torn from mail that was probably very important. And as it always is, your handwriting was barely legible, so now you are standing in a drug store, gaze locked on various products intended to cure supernatural maladies. One claims to treat lycanthropy, another is specifically for “witch tit,” whatever that means.

So, you bite the bullet and ask a girl who works there.

“Um, hi. Do you have something called… Heil Black?”

“No, we have no such thing as Heil Black,” she says, not looking up from the box of alien pregnancy tests she’s merchandising.

“Oh, shoot. My friend told me I could get it here.”

“Lucky for you,” she says, looking at you with bright eyes, “we do have Hell Block, a fine product to alleviate damnation by voodoo, gypsy curse, Lord’s name in vain, and many other causes.” She points to the product on the shelf. It comes in a weird bright red box with pictures of cartoon devils all over it.

You pick it up and look for any signs indicating how it actually works. “Is it effective?” you ask her.

“Can’t really say. No one ever comes back from the grave to let us know if they escaped Hell or not.”

“It’s only $3.99. That seems cheap.”

“I got this pen for free,” she says, pulling it from atop her ear, “and it works.”

You frown. “But eventually, you know, that ink is going to run out.”

“Not really a glass-is-half-full kinda guy, are you?” she asks.

“My glass is half full of poison. Does that make me a pessimist or an optimist?”

“I hope it makes you an optometrist, because I really need some new glasses.”

Of course, you are an optometrist. How could she know that? You look into her eyes. Her glasses are a bit out of date. They aren’t too huge for her face, which is how you know they are at least five years old. But even so, you can see beauty in those pale green eyes and you are in love.

Luckily, she turns out to be a tranny, and the two of you live happily ever after. Until you die and go to Hell, because all those kind of products are totally bogus. You shouldn’t waste your money. 

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