“Dave? This is John. Your pimp says bring the heroin shipment tonight, or he’ll be forced to stick you. Meet him where we buried the Korean whore. The one without the goatee.”
That was code. It meant “Come to my place as soon as you can, it’s important.” Code, you know, in case the phone was bugged.
“John, it’s three in the—”
“Oh, and don’t forget, tomorrow is the day we kill the president.”
He was gone. That last part was code for, “Stop and pick me up some cigarettes on the way.”
I jumped back as the turkey, the tongue, and a slab of ribs levitated off the floor.
The man-shaped arrangement of meat rose up, as if functioning as one body. It pushed itself up on two arms made of game hens and country bacon, planting two hands with sausage-link fingers on the floor. The phrase “sodomized by a bratwurst poltergeist” suddenly flew through my mind. Finally it stood fully upright, looking like the mascot for a butcher shop whose profits went entirely to support the owner’s acid habit.
Enough, I said to myself. Just go. When you’re on your deathbed you’re gonna wish you could get back all the time you spent waiting for other people.
Justin’s mouth opened again, struggling to speak words completely foreign to itself.
“Shitload. Know why? It’s because there’s a shitload of us in here. Now here’s what’s gonna happen—”
They got within blessing distance of the angel and Marconi said, “Father, you give us grace through sacramental signs, which tell us of the wonders of your unseen power. In baptism we use your gift of water, which you have made a rich symbol of the grace you give us in this sacrament. At the very dawn of creation . . .”
“John, are we crack dealers now?”
John opened a drawer on a writing desk and pulled out a big manila envelope. He extracted a bundle of papers, newspaper clippings, a couple of folded-up tabloids, a glossy magazine called Strange Days with a picture of a UFO on the front.
He said, “No. Nothing like that. Out in Vegas, we met a guy. He was a pimp. We made quite a bit of money as male whores. They used to call you Rocket Rimjob. You won the gold at the Greater Nevada Sodomy Olympics back in July, landed a bunch of endorsement deals. You own that house you and Jennifer live in. Paid cash, I think.”
He looked dead serious when he said this. I said, “Are you messing with me?”
“No. You really own that house. I made up the whoring thing, though. I like to add a little bit to it each time. Seriously, what happened is Molly won a bunch of money at the casinos.”
He pulled out a newspaper, a color “Lifestyles” section from the Las Vegas Sun, headline blaring “Dog Wins Quarter Million Playing Slots!” There was a picture of John with Molly in his arms, struggling to get away from him.
And so, feeling like men trying to work a jigsaw puzzle blindfolded and using only our butt cheeks to grip the pieces, we left.
The bathroom door burst open, and Molly came trotting out. The left half of her body had been shaved almost down to the skin. The right half was as shaggy as before. John emerged after her, brushing a layer of dog hair off his clothes.
John said, “Well, that’s done.”
Before I could stop her, Amy asked, “Why did you—”
“It was Molly’s idea. She wants to look like two different dogs when she’s coming and going. She thinks it will make it easier for her to steal food.”