Moscow Mule

The Afflicted

Another prompt from Chuck. I had fun doing my dialog-only flash, so I tried another experimental style here. Here it is at 1003 words:

I wouldn’t admit it to anyone, but I was a little nervous. I mean, come on, he’s a legend. I’ve been a fan of his work for as long as I’ve known about him. I have to say ‘about’ because no one really knows him. Rumor? Check. High kill ratio? Check. Infamous? Yep, that too.

I actually met him once. Nope, no shit. I first heard about him fighting in Panama. The Afflicted were trying to spread south. Where? Duh. South America. We had gunboats patrolling the coasts. They were always in sight of the Isthmus of Panama. You couldn’t be too careful. The damn things would walk to the beach and just keep going. They would usually drown. No fat meant no buoyancy. Oh, they tried to swim, but they usually sank. We protected our bases with a moat. I know, medieval, right?

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, the Moscow Mule. I don’t know how he got that name. I think there’s a drink with the same name, but I don’t know – I don’t drink. There’s just too much sugar in alcohol. Can’t risk it. I’m sure the outbreak ended many an alcoholic. Besides, alcohol was better suited as a degreaser than something you’d want to put in your body.

There I go on a tangent again. The summer in Panama was an especially hot one. The water in the moat was barely five or six feet deep. The afflicted could wade through the water to get to us. Not good by any stretch of the imagination. I was on patrol and going through magazines like crazy. One bullet would stop a normal person, but the afflicted were getting hopped up on some sort of honey mead. The scuttlebutt told of some sort of religion they had. They thought the insanity while in the throws of affliction brought them closer to god. As if these things knew what a proper god was.

So there I am – a pile of bodies and on my last magazine. I can’t keep enough lead in the air to slow the horde. I want to run, but as god is my witness, I can’t swim. Yeah, believe it. I figured I could try to wade, but I’m a small fucker. Well not small compared to you, but I’m only five foot six. Yeah, five six carrying an extra seventy pounds of gear. I was totally fucked. Yep, ran out of ammo. I still had my KA-BAR, but trust me, you don’t wanna go up against one of those fuckers with a knife – they’ll tear your arm right off.

So, there I am out of ammo and twenty of those things are advancing on me. I put some heavy thinking into slitting my own throat and trying to drown myself in the moat. I tell you what the fuck I did, I hauled my lame ass into the water.

From outta nowhere he rose up outtta the water. A fuckin Phoenix I tell ya. Yeah, the mythi-fuckin-al bird. He was wearing a helmet – some kind of rebreather. The helmet had a red handprint with only three fingers. Huh? Oh, about your height. Ha ha. Yeah he wasn’t as skinny as you. Dude fired off a shot from some kind of hand cannon, tossed me an old style M-16 and we shot the shit outta the afflicted. He climbed to the top of the pile of bodies firing again and again.

Well, I nearly pissed myself. Nope, not gonna deny it. That was a sphincter moment. We stop shooting – all them fuckers are dead. I just stood there looking up at him like some sort of slack-jawed moron. You know what he did next? Nope. Try again. Shit, relax. I’ll tell you. Don’t get your panties in a twist.


He starts walking down the pile of bodies like some sort of meat steps. Hits the bottom, pulls a grenade outta his pocket, pulls the pin and tosses it over his shoulder. Yeah, like one of those old World War II pineapple grenades. What the fuck you think happened? The grenade blew up. Fuckin body parts everywhere. Knocked me on my ass. Nope, he just kept walking towards me. Yeah, not even phased – not one bit.

He holds out his hand, hauls my ass to my feet and kinda pats my cheek. No, like one of those old mafia movies. Yeah, me to. Nope, he didn’t say a word, just walked into the water and disappeared under the surface. Scariest day of my fuckin life I tell ya. And the Moscow Mule didn’t say a fuckin word the entire time.

So here I am. Six months later I find this in my rack. Unfold it. Yeah. It’s not just worn off; the handprint has only three fingers. Yep same as the Moscow Mule. No shit, I know that’s today’s date. Why the fuck ya think I’m here? Hey, no, I’m sorry. I guess I’m a little excited. I sometimes forget I’m talkin to the fairer sex, ya know. No, I don’t think that’s offensive. Look, let’s just get past it. I’m sorry. You sure? Okay, I’ll follow you. Lead the way.

Where’re you taking me? Your lair? You a vampress or something? Hey look I run my mouth when I get nervous. Yeah, my mother used to say the same thing. HOLY SHIT!

What do you mean, what? The big fuckin steel door with the Moscow Mule’s symbol on it. Is he on the other side? Have you met him? I don’t think so. Well uh… You’re a girl. No, I’m not a sexist pig. Okay, prove it. What the fuck is this? A glove? Show me. Please? You fuckin are him! Her. Whatever.

I can’t take over. Besides, won’t people notice you’re missing the same finger as the Moscow Mule? Heh. No I guess they won’t be lookin at your hands. Why me? I guess. Thanks. Wait! Okay, good bye. Hey, thanks for savin my ass back then.

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About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degree in Computer Systems and Applications and is currently attending Northern Arizona University. View all posts by Mark Gardner

5 responses to “Moscow Mule

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