Chapter Twenty-Seven continued oh when will it end
When we left Cindy and her closest friend Alternate Cindy, they were throwing themselves against Mom’s bedroom door at the end of the hall upstairs, thinking themselves elemental heroines battling the forces of demonic evil.
What was happening in the real world was that Mom was in her bedroom, having her way with Allen, and the snuffling and breathing noises the two Cindies had listened to with horror were mostly being made by Allen.
When the Cindeeze burst thru the door, they saw Mom standing over by Dad’s side of the bed, her arm raised in punishment with a wooden spatula in her hand, her eyes closed and her head back in a posture of extreme emotion.
Kneeling before her, his head in a Richard Nixon mask, his limbs securely bound with cords, was Allen, making vigorous snuffling noises into Mom’s crotch as she left red welts on his ass with the spatula. Both of them were pasty white, flabby, and wrinkled. Both were having one hell of a good time.
Exactly what tableaux one or the other Cindy might have seen will never be known for certain, but it probably wasn’t what was actually going on. That would have been too horrible to witness. Cindy’s brain undoubtedly translated it to something involving dragons and witches, something she could understand and react against. If she’d actually taken in what Mom and Allen were doing, she would have curled up into a little ball and never spoken again. But her severely impaired state was a blessing, and cushioned most of the shock she would otherwise have received.
Cindy let out a top-volume shriek that went off the scale down in Ben’s dungeon office. Part of her struggled to find the gun in her bag, while the other part of her charged at Mom with both hands outstretched, her only desire to rip and tear until she came apart.
But Mom had a wooden spatula, and except for a slight delay as she switched her attention, was in an obliging mood, and pretty damned strong.
Allen immediately got in the way as Cindy flailed and Mom whacked. His rubber mask twisted so he couldn’t see anymore, and he was elbowed, kneed, punched, pulled, scratched and stepped on as two women fought it out on top of him. Not a good place to be. Allen tried to defend himself, but he couldn’t fit under the bed, and once he fell over, all he could do was roll over on his front and hope they missed his head and his butt. They didn’t. They got his ear and his eye and his nose, his kidney and his testicles, his instep and his fingers. They even yanked out a couple of handfuls of hair off his back. It was a good thing Cindy misplaced her high heels somewhere.
All this time, Allen could hear Cindy screaming – hysterical, crying and shouting at once. And he could hear Mom answering, her speech low and monotonous, repeating the words of an exorcism ritual she’d seen on the 700 Club. This enraged Cindy all the more, and Allen was kicked and shoved a lot for the next few minutes, while they got louder and more heated and more animated, until Cindy and Mom were shouting and screaming at each other as if they were both really enjoying themselves. But he could hear real pain in both of their voices, and it made him want to get up and just hug them both.
Except he was tied up and they were both beating the shit out of him. It was only a small part of him that wanted to comfort them, anyway, and it died when it was kicked in the head a couple of times.
Poor Allen. He was left in peace for a few moments, as the battle raged in another part of the room, and then Mom was there, ripping off his mask. “Why are you just lying there?” she screamed. “I need help! Get up and save me!”
She was a wreck: her hair stood out around her head in a white halo of thin frizz, and she had bloody scratches on her face and down her neck, and on her shoulders, and her chest, and her arms. And there were bite marks on her hands and forearms. There were fresh red marks that were going to be bruises all over. Mom was crying and furious at the same time. Her eyes popped out, and the tendons of her neck, and her face was red and puffy and there was a gob of spit at the corner of her mouth, and her nose was running.
Allen never loved her more.
He pondered this as he rose groaning to his feet and stumbled down the stairs, following Cindy’s bloody footprints and a trail of damage to walls and furniture thru to the kitchen and out the back door. He loved Mom because she had so much life in her, because she was a feisty old bitch who knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to go after it. She was a challenging woman for sure, but he loved breaking challenging women. And he loved being beaten, too. Granted it was a bit of a conflict, but Allen also loved cognitive dissonance.
Judy heard the noise as she came back around from checking the back door. It sounded just like the fights they had when Cindy was a teenager. It was disappointing to hear, because it meant she couldn’t crawl off and go to sleep with all the racket. And having other people over meant dinner and being polite and all that.
She decided to go back to her car and go park at a Walmart for the night.
As she started down the driveway she noticed that the mat had been moved back to the dip at the edge of the carport. Cursing softly, she bent down and grabbed the corner again, and dragged it back onto the driveway to drain. It really belonged on the porch, and she hated to see it getting ruined in the mud. It was one of Frank’s projects…
She stood there in the driveway, missing Frank. The rain picked back up again and she turned for the street, to go home, which was noplace, because home was Frank.
While the Cindy twins were upstairs battling the Mom monster, Sam and Dave were setting up shop in the bushes behind the house.
It didn’t take a special microphone to pick up the ruckus in the house, and they scrambled to start recording. It was mostly screaming, tho, with a lot of cursing and rather biblical name-calling.
While they were fine-tuning their focus on the back of the house, Laurie crept in. The space between the bushes was already tight, between them and their stuff, and the trenchcoats really were bulky, and heavy now that they were wet. Laurie, on the other hand, was mostly naked, compared to them, so they felt lucky, and then started bickering about who was going to have to give his coat to the lovely lady. In the end they sat on one coat and let the bushes drip on them while Laurie tried to look stylish in the one they gave her. All this in a little hollow place in the bushes that the kids used to think was tiny even when they were just kids.
Laurie was holding, so they all shared, snorting coke off her fingernail. She took care to jab each of them inside their nostrils, feeling mischievous. She really had no idea what was in the stuff she put on her fingernails, just that the housemom recommended a certain preparation based on something a maybe spy-type told her all hush-hush after too much liquor, and she thought she might want to use it on Gordon one day, and so she’d bought it. So maybe it would work on all these people, or not – who could know? The world wouldn’t miss a one of them, not even Sam and Dave. Hey, we all die, right?
Laurie was still trying to wrest movie references out of the situation, so she’d have something pithy to say. Sex on Mom’s car was one thing – almost art. But crouching in the wet bushes getting dripped on, next to fucking cops who were taking lingering looks up her skirt and making inane conversation while vacuuming up all her coke…
She reached over and snatched the bag from Sam, who tried to look authoritative with a ring of white powder around his nose. She cut off the protest. “And you’re here why?” she demanded. They started babbling but she cut them off again. “I don’t care.” She dipped her little finger into the bag and scooped up a nailfull of bliss, like she was inhaling self-esteem.
She was just deciding to crawl the hell out of the bushes and go back to the car and fuck the stupid revenge scene when Cindy appeared on the back porch, screeching and wailing. They could hear her gnashing her teeth and tearing her hair – Sam pointed it out on the sound meter.
Laurie was horrified. She could see Cindy clearly thru the leaves, her clothes torn, her handbag flapping as she turned looking this way and that and peering into the bushes at them. Cindy was obviously deranged. Dangerous. A wild animal.
Cindy’s hair was stiff around her head, like Mom’s, but it was worse-looking because at least Mom’s hair was white, wispy, halolike: Cindy’s hairdo made a fright wig look chic, even tho it had cost a couple of hundred earlier in the week and would have to be cut real short to repair the torn-out patches. Blood was running down all over her silk suit and her stockings were torn. The blood dripped and pooled on the ground as the rain picked up again.
Laurie snorted in derision.
Cindy heard her.
Judy was back at her car. The door was open and she was bending to get in, thinking she needed to throw everything in the car into a bag and sling it into the dumpster. Then she heard screaming in the back yard. She straightened up and shut the door, and went into the back yard the side way, along the bushes. It was raining harder now. It dripped into her eyes and ran down her nose. She began shivering with the cold.
Gordon heard the screaming too. He was standing on the other side of the back door by the fence, just out of sight, scratching his ass, which had started to burn a little. The noise sounded like a cat fight. He wavered between appearing suddenly – Gordon to the rescue – and keeping the hell out of the way, and opted for prudence. Laurie could take care of herself. He reached into his pockets for the pause that refreshes, but that evil bitch must have taken it.
The screams fell silent. Suddenly he couldn’t get there fast enough to rescue his stash. He strode out from the shadows and stopped dead when he found himself in the middle of a game of statues.
Laurie was sitting on the ground near the bushes, her legs splayed out in front of her, her head lolling. Her arm looked broken.
Sam and Dave peered out from the bushes in shock.
Mom stood in the door in her housecoat, holding a wooden spatula in her fist, enraged.
Allen stood in the yard, naked but for his shoes and socks, his mouth open, his brows knit, his hands out in supplication.
Cindy stood in the middle of the yard, six feet from Laurie, pointing a gun at her, sneering and drooling.
Judy stood in front of Cindy, between her and Laurie, with her hand on the gun.
Gordon considered the tableau. How was he going to turn the situation to his advantage?
Allen moved slowly closer, staying out of Cindy’s line of sight.
Sam and Dave retreated into the bushes, looking for the back way out and wondering if they should take their equipment.
Laurie started whining and whimpering, rocking with the pain, more dramatically as she realized she was on show.
Judy and Cindy stood locked together. Judy stared into Cindy’s eyes, searching for her sister inside the freak show. She felt Cindy’s grip loosen, and helped her to lower her shooting arm.
Mom huffed, “I told your father you’d end up like this.” Cindy swung her head to look at Mom, a dazed expression on her face. Judy could feel her tighten up again. Mom stood there waving the spatula, looking superior. “You sicken me. You’re no child of mine.” She clasped a hand to her chest. “After everything I sacrificed for you, you have the gall to attack me.” She swung her hand to point at Cindy. Her mouth was curled up, her face was red, and her wattles shook with rage. “You’re a disgrace to this family. I’ve never been so disgusted by anyone in my life. I wish I’d had an abortion.”
Cindy’s face got ugly. Her body convulsed, and she swung her gun arm up to shoot Mom. Judy held on to it, and they arm wrestled, rocking each other back and forth. Nobody else moved.
Laurie started giggling. “You sound like pigs eating.”
Cindy and Judy paused and looked at each other. Neither of them liked the sound of that. Then the struggle intensified; the gun waved wildly from Mom to Laurie. When it went off, nobody was certain, but it looked like Judy had just finished wrenching it away from Cindy.
The bang hurt everybody’s ears. Both Mom and Laurie fell to the ground and were still. Everybody froze up like statues again.
Cindy and Judy stood there in the middle of the yard looking at each other in wonder.
Allen stood a few steps away and felt warm pee running down his leg.
Sam crouched in the bushes and fought nausea while Dave found his phone and called 911.
Gordon stood and thought about which one to rescue. His mother, or the mother of his child? The one he’d lived with all his life, or the one he was supposed to live with from now on? Which one did he wish dead the most and which the least? The one who he was dependent on, or the one who depended on him?
Judy fled around the side of the house, the gun in her hand. She was going to call 911. And Mom’s body was blocking the back door, so she went for the front door. Which was locked. So she came back around and nearly tripped on the doormat, which was back over the dip. Sighing heavily, she moved it out of the way one more time. There was no need for another injury, and she was willing to keep helping just because she should, but it was costing her a lot of patience and energy to keep intervening to put things where they went. And nobody else seemed to be doing anything constructive, so it was just more work for her.
Judy’s flight decided Gordon. He ran to Mom’s side and checked her over for bullet wounds. Then he took her hand and patted her face and whispered his concern and devotion while she revived.
Gordon told Allen to see to Laurie until the ambulance got there and gently lifted Mom upright. “Let’s get you to medical attention, Mom,” said Gordon the Perfect Son, wrapping her in his long arms like a spider.
Cindy moved, turning to track Mom’s progress. She followed with halting steps, slowly at first, but then, remembering where she was, she launched herself at Mom’s back, and pulled her to the ground, right out of Gordon’s grasp.
Mom still had the spatula, but it was no good at close quarters so she dropped it. They rolled on the grass, Mom’s housecoat torn and filthy, Cindy’s clothes still ruined from round one. Cindy had her hands around Mom’s neck and was trying to get on top of her so she could put her weight into it. Mom was kicking with her knees and punching, gouging, and tearing with her hands. They sounded inhuman.
Gordon backed away slowly. Maybe he should reconsider throwing his lot in with his Mom. He looked over at Allen, who was staring at the fight, in a trance. He looked at Laurie, who wasn’t moving. He turned to rescue her, his heart full of love and concern, and his foot hit something. Annoyed, he kicked at it, and continued, right into the middle of Frank’s Mat O’Death(tm). Frank’s invention was truly ingenious, because in addition to an electric shock delivered by a series of thin film batteries and capacitors, he had included a special mix of dry chemicals that reacted strongly with water to create even more energy to be stored up and discharged suddenly an available (and soaking wet) ground.
Gordon. Ground. He paused to think about the sound of the words. He paused to listen to something – “You’re grounded!” – that was it. Mom’s voice sung thru his nerves. Mom’s voice from all those years ago, angry and full of God’s vengeance. He never liked when her anger was directed at him. He’d avoided hearing that voice at all costs his entire life; placing anyone, anything between its withering power and his vulnerable little self.
Mom’s voice, strident thru the ages, became static and stretched out, and somehow symbolized the strong feeling coursing thru him. It was a really big rush, like really strong cocaine in his veins, burning toward his heart. He could feel his muscles trembling, and he heard a thrumming in his ears. He bore down and rode it, but it was like an orgasm, when you just can’t concentrate on anything else. He was standing there, arcing back against the wall of the carport, taking the strongest neurochemical surge of his life. It was mystical. He saw a light.
Nobody noticed. Not even when the steam began to rise from his feet. Mom and Cindy were playing on the grass, Allen and Judy were bending over Laurie. Sam and Dave were hauling ass back to their car, trailing bits of equipment behind them. Gordon was getting more and more uncomfortable, and realized that he wasn’t breathing. And that his stomach, formerly queasy, was now feeling like it was boiling. He felt his guts churning and rushing. The zipper of his pants was starting to burn his dick. And now he had a splitting headache. Enough. Time to go sit down. Slowly he peeled himself upright, away from the wall, and tottered off the mat.
His legs collapsed underneath him and he landed against the wall crookedly, sliding slowly over sideways until his forehead rested on the welcome mat, which reached out tentacles and fed on his brain.
Cindy and Mom were still tussling half-heartedly, but the fight had gone out of them, and Judy left Allen with Laurie and walked over to break them apart easily. She helped Mom to stand up, then reached for Cindy, who just sat there, crying like she was three years old. She wrapped her arms around Cindy, who sobbed on her shoulders and showed no sign of wanting to get up off the grass.
Judy wasn’t strong enough to lift her, so turned to Mom for help. They gathered Cindy up and moved to go inside with her, but suddenly Cindy broke away and stood glaring at Mom, her face changing from baby to battle hag in an instant. Then it changed again. She wobbled on her feet.
Cindy looked puzzled, like she’d forgotten how to talk. Then she glared daggers at Mom again, and at Judy too, for good measure. Then she laughed, as if she’d just gotten the joke. Then she threw up all over herself, in a gurgling froth that adorned her ruined silk suit with an accent scarf of acid green. When she raised her head, her eyes were bloodshot. Judy got scared. Mom got that disapproving look on her face.
Cindy started talking, and appeared to be speaking in normal sentences that would have made sense if they could hear what she was saying. But she foamed too much, and her words tripped over themselves.
Then she stopped, shrugged, turned on her heel to walk away, and fell over dead.
It rained harder. The wind picked up. It thundered. They heard a siren.
Go read chapter 28