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Friday, October 1, 2010
The Convent, The Brothel and The Skyscraper (crash WALKER Chapter 15)
Crash Walker woke up in a dark cell, not knowing if it was day or night. Dressed in torn, bloody cowboy clothes with no wristwatch to complete the ensemble, it was anybody’s guess but his what time it was. The cell wasn’t very well ventilated, so he picked up his cowboy hat and fanned himself, rubbing his face periodically to ease the ache caused by the full impact punch he took before he passed out. Looking around, he saw that the walls were made of stone, much like in the old movies. Scrawled in chalk was “Fuck Duffy: and over in the corner was “Duffy Sucks It”. If he didn’t know any better he was somewhere in Duffyland.
He heard footsteps, graduating to someone showing up to his cell, a six-foot tall Chimp costume opening up his cell door and crowding him.
“Chuckie Chimp!” Walker cried, recognizing the full-sized figure from a million Jack Duffy cartoons, “What are you doing here?”
Chuckie Chimp unstrapped the billy club hooked on his belt. “You’re in Duffyland Jail, man, don’t you know anything? Everybody talks about this place”. He prodded the club into Walker ’s chest. “This is where we keep all the unruly guys from the park, they guys we pull for smoking pot, and losers like you Mr. Duffy just plain doesn’t like”.
“Easy, Chimp, what’s your deal, clyde?”
“The boss wants to see you, TV Star. Don’t even think about escaping either, Duffyland jail is several miles below the surface from Duffyland”.
Chuckie Chimp twisted Walker’s arm behind his back and cuffed his wrists behind him, which started burning, about to go numb. Chuckie Chimp prodded him to move down the hall towards the Duffyland Jail Conference Room.
He was led into a darkened conference room with stained glass windows, of which fake sunlight poured through. He stood in front of a panel of dapper old men, some which he recognized, like the man in the center, Jack Duffy.
"Good evening, Mister Walker", Duffy said to the cowboy-dressed prisoner. "As you know I'm Jack Duffy, President and CEO of Duffyland Entertainment. To my right is Bernard Franks, President of the Farmer Franks All-Meat Wieners conglomerate, Judd Parks, owner of the Los Angeles Arrows baseball team and a few other sports ventures and Las Vegas hotels, and Harry Starck, CEO and owner of VIP Pictures Entertainment. To my left is Randall McIver, owner and operator of McIver Ford, McIver Chevrolet, McIver Plymouth Dodge, and McIver Volkswagen, to name a few. At the far end is Fritz Van Winter, President of AeroVW". All the dapper, silver haired men puffed away at their cigars and cigarettes, swilling down their cocktails with the bored aplomb of the rich and powerful. "We are the California Committee".
Walker nodded his head towards the group. "Hi, gentlemen. Is this about that Bill Flagg thing? I didn't kill him".
"No", Duffy chuckled, "Of course you didn't. Flagg basically did himself in. Confidentially, between you, us, and the stained glass, Bill Flagg was a pathetic excuse of a man, liquor, drugs, just a mess. Passing himself off as a National hero, taking terrible advantage of all the generous benefits we gave him. No gratitude -"
"-Simply awful", Franks finished. "We had to close him out".
"You had him killed?" Walker's eyes grew big.
"We kind of closed his account, as it were", Parks grunted.
"What could we do?" Duffy asked. "We offered him the Governorship and he wiped his feet all over us".
Fritz Van Winter burned his eyes into Walker, and muttered, "I have my doubts about this kid. He's a gigolo, ingratiating himself on my daughter".
"Who's your daughter?"
"Don't act like you don't know, my spoiled, wayward daughter, April. She's broken her mother's heart, and I'll be damned if you get that chance either, kiddo".
"Of course - AeroVW, Aeronautics Van Winter, my dad worked for your company. No wonder April knew where he was locked up. The little sneak!"
"Your father, a talented man gone to seed. He could have won the Nobel Prize, but so self-destructive. Came in one morning and said building warheads was wrong. He talked himself out of nuclear immortality".
"I like this kid", Duffy stared at Walker, "We made a good choice with him. Chuckie Chimp, won't you release his handcuffs? After all, this is our future leader!" Parker coughed up a baseball-sized glob of phlegm and spat in his handkerchief. "The future King of California!"
Chuckie Chimp pushed Walker hard and unlocked his handcuffs, Walker pushing back and rubbing his aching wrists. "Yes, you'll rule like a king over the people of California! California, land of unlimited potential, opportunities for all. The future is ours, as a great man once said, tomorrow belongs to me".
McIver got excited and burst in. "You're coming on the ground floor, kid, leader of the greatest city in the world, the universe, the galaxy. Everyone will want to live here and make their fortunes here. Why it's the home of the new Gold Rush, cowboy! We're building and building and building BIGGER and BETTER buildings! And tearing all the old, boring, useless, so-called historic buildings down!"
All the old men had worked themselves up, faces red, enthusiastic and screaming excitedly. Walker craned his head back and forth like a crazed bird taking it all in.
"King of California, Governor Crash Walker! Good, God-fearing Christian leadership!" Duffy gushed, his pencil-thin mustache getting all sweaty. "Fireside speeches from the Orange County church of your choice! Just think, young Walker: the greatest role an actor could ask for: leading America to become bigger and better than any country in the world, and you'll have our money and our guidance, like a great director. Lights! Camera! Capitol Hill!"
Walker broke into a shit-eating grin. "You mean I get paid to sit on Capitol Hill and diddle all the chicks I want?"
"We need a handsome matinee idol-type to lead us through the treacherous waters of student unrest in Northern California, those looting Negroes and the influx of illegal drugs brought to the Sunset Strip by Mafia racketeers in Southern California. Order must be restored!" Parker bellowed.
Starck beamed. "With the looks of J.F. Kennedy and the politics of The New Order-"
"-Nazi precision with good old American folksy palaver. I like it!" Van Winter finally melted his steely reserve.
"Well dang, Chuckie Chimp, I like it too! YAHOOOOO!" He threw his cowboy hat up in the air.
"Good work, boys, see? I told you he'd see things our way. California will be ours".
"Um", Walker rubbed his chin, "Now what about my dad? What happens to him?"
"What about him? AeroVW is paying his retirement home bills and he's perfectly happy with his chess".
"Now, son, don't be sullen, he'll be fine. By the way, we're so sorry about your friend Mister Bell and his fatal mishap".
Walker's smile froze, "What? Billy's dead?"
"There's nothing we could do about it, but still, Future Governor Walker, think of him as a soldier in the battle for Operation Gold Rush".
Walker sulked sadly. A huge man in a weasel costume walked through the double doors.
"What is this?" Parker asked, "What's this character want?"
"Willie Weasel", Duffy reprimanded, " Go back to the front desk. We don't need your presence here at the present time".
Willie Weasel pulled out a .357 Magnum, "Fuck you, Duffy. The cowboy comes with me".
"Who is this lunatic?" Duffy nervously cried. Willie Weasel tore off his mask to reveal the demented sneer of Sgt. Gene Kurlich of the Los Angeles Police Department. "Crash Walker, I am placing you under arrest for the first-degree murder of William Flagg", he said as he tied Walkers hands behind him with rope. Walker winced, thinking, great, here we go again.
Walker booted him towards the Committee panel and Kurlich's gun went off, blasting Fritz Van Winter in the face, instantly killing him. Guards dressed as various funny animals ran into the room to detain Kurlich. Walker espied the open door and hands tied ran out, enjoying the distraction. He ran up the darkened staircase and took a turn at the top of the stairs. The front office was at the end of the hallway, he ran through and saw half a dozen dead funny animals.
He grinded his ropes against the railing until they loosened and he wriggled his hands out. He found a set of keys in the pocket of one of the dead funny animals and unlocked the exit door. He ran out and locked the doors behind him and found himself in the middle of a darkened, abandoned amusement park. He ran through the darkness and tripped.
As he got back to his feet he looked up at a sign that said, "BIBLE LAND - PREPARE TO MEET GOD!"