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Thursday, September 23, 2010
Spaceball Ricochet (crash WALKER Chapter 14)
The cowboy rode his horse down Hollywood Boulevard at an insane, frantic pace, horse and rider both sweating profusely...The cowboy turned behind him to see a camera truck advancing on the horse's hooves, cameraman filming him while an old film director in a fishing cap screamed at them both through a torn megaphone, pointing at him and swearing, unable to hear his screams...He turned back and saw a line of swirling red lights in the far distance....The horse was running ever faster, frantically, eyes bulging out of his head, the cowboy smacking him harder to keep from getting run over by the camera truck...he turned back and the truck was gone...when he faced ahead he came closer and closer towards a line of policemen standing in front of their patrol cars like a firing squad, going into battle position, lifting their pistols...the horse and the cowboy running deliriously towards the firing squad when the policemen OPENED FIRE!
The cheap radio blared into his right ear with the sounds of Billy Stewart singing “Summertime”, knock-down drag-out scatting, “Yo-lakaka-da-dee Yo-lakaka-da-dee”, the horns screaming in his ear. He almost jumped out of bed at the sight of two visitors in his room. “Rise and shine, Gorgeous”, Tony smiled at Walker, and then turned to the “Wrangler’s Canyon” comic cover dartboard on the wall, his smile turning into a frown. “Your series got its own comic? Who’s the guy on the cover?”
“It’s supposed to be me”, Walker rubbed his eyes. “Bullshit artist!” Walker turned to see Billy Bell nosing around the kitchenette, plugging in his cheap percolator. “Where do you keep the coffee?” Bell asked, turning on the tap water. “Right by the fine china. What are you guys doing here?” “Today’s the big day!” Bell smiled. “Don’t you remember that thing we talked about at the Teen Fair?” Walker gave him a blank stare. “You know – the publicity stunt? For that movie you’re gonna be making soon?” “Look at this guy, he musta tied one on”, Tony burped, “Big night for the TV star, huh?” “Hardly. A ghost from the past”. “What were the tits on this ghost like?” Walker plopped his head back on his pillow. “Remember that supermarket opening I flew to Atlanta for, and I nailed this dizzy chick? Well, she came out here”. “Coolness!” Billy smiled as he brewed the coffee. “No, not so cool – she expects me to set her up with a casting agency, get her head shots, pay her rent, the whole shneeze. She was screaming at me in the middle of Scandia”. Tony and Billy both laughed. “All you needed was the “I’m pregnant’ speech”, Tony groaned. He leaned into Walker’s closet and started throwing cowboy clothes at him.
“She was probably too loaded to remember it. I can’t show my face at Scandia for another six months, dammit”. He started changing into his cowpuncher clothes. “Hey”, Tony pointed to the dartboard, “Are they paying you for the comic?” Billy handed Walker his coffee. “All the black coffee I can drink”.
Hollywood Boulevard was sectioned off from Las Palmas to Cahuenga, not a large stretch but large enough for the minor spectacle planned. Balloons, banners and bleachers were already set up. The banners screamed, “Billy The Kid Versus The Vampire Queen, Live From Hollywood!” Crash Walker got out of the rusty station wagon and stood behind the roped-off start line. Fat tourists with their fatter children were already getting impatient in the bleachers. "Liar Liar" by The Castaways piped in from KFWB was scrawling over the speakers around the stands, the singer's high, whiny voice wailing over the shrieking organ, a sheer trebly skronk that filled the streets. Walker stood by a Palomino and an old Forties motorcycle with sidecar was parked next to the horse.
“I gotta hand it to you, Crash, you have some big connections, when I called the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce all I had to do was mention your name and they told me Johnny Grant was one of your biggest fans. Getting this little strip of road was a snap!” Billy Bell chuckled. “So this it, huh?” Walker asked Bell. “Yup, the Big Stunt”, Billy grinned, adjusting his black jumpsuit, tightening a cape around his neck. “All we’re waiting for is the guy who drives the sickle”. “Tell me one more time. What’s the routine?” “It’s pretty simple. You ride your horse from here to Cahuenga and me and the biker will be riding next to you. I climb out of the sidecar and over his shoulders and get on your horse while you’re riding it, see? And we do a fake fight on the horse –“ “-While I’m still riding the horse? Are you kidding?” “It’s perfectly safe, Walker . We have a little tussle while the horse’s still running down Hollywood Blvd". “Is that safe? I don’t know, something could go wrong”. “Hey, I’m a pro, it’s safer than lying in bed, trust me. Damn, where’s that guy?” A man with a Dracula mask in a monk’s robe with the hood thrown on shoved his way through the crowd towards Walker and Bell.
“What’s up, Monster Guy?” Billy asked the late arrival. “You’re not the guy from rehearsal. Do I know you?” “The other driver couldn’t make it”, the man in the mask answered, his voice muffled under the rubber face. “April Van Winter sent me”. “Did they tell you about the stunt?” “Yeah, yeah, I know the drill”. Crash Walker looked at Billy with a suspicious look. He didn’t like the looks of things but it was too late to back out now. He looked above Musso & Frank's Grill and noticed a few sparse clouds in the sky.
The music stopped, a mike cranked up with feedback shrieks and crackles, and Tony's voice announced, "And now, ladies and gentlemen, kids of all ages, live from Hollywood, a scene from the upcoming motion picture, Billy The Kid Versus The Vampire Queen. Watch as Billy The Kid fights the Vampire Prince for control of The Wild, Wild West. On your marks, get set......GO!"
The sparse crowd in the bleachers cheered while one lone TV camera from KTTV filmed the event. The Monster Mask kicked the motorcycle into action as Walker mounted his horse and kicked him into a quick run.
Billy Bell slowly climbed out of the sidecar and straddled the driver's shoulders so he could jump over to the horse running next to them.
"Is he going to jump on that horse? Will you look at that?" a fat lady tourist drawled to her husband. As soon as they started down the strip a sun shower broke out, the sun rays beaming down slat-like from the sky as sheets of hard rain needles beat down. "Well, I'll be damned-we came here for some of that California sunshine and it's doggone raining! What a gyp!" The rain began pelting hail stones, making the bike wobble and skid all over the road. "Will you look at that? The devil's beating his wife!"
Walker kept riding his horse as he looked on in horror as The Monster Mask pushed Billy off his back, Billy almost falling off the bike into the street but instead hanging on to the sidecar, pulling his legs into the tiny cabin from the shell. The Monster Mask pulled a chain out from his robe and threw it at Crash Walker's head, beaning him in the nose. Walker tried to grab the chain but it fell out of his hands into the street.
Monster Mask jumped from the bike onto Walker's horse, the bike now weaving towards the stands. Monster Mask tried pulling down Walker from the horse, but Walker grabbed his throat and tore off the attacker's mask. It was a fat, sweaty nerd with horn-rimmed glasses and he couldn't identify him.
"WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING, YOU FUCKING PSYCHO?" "I AM PHILIP NIERDORFF, PRESIDENT OF THE WILLIAM FLAGG FAN CLUB, AND ON BEHALF OF MILLIONS PATRIOTIC AMERICAN TELEVISION VIEWERS I AVENGE THE DEATH OF A TRUE AMERICAN HERO. REST WELL, SWEET PRINCE!" He began choking Walker with all his might as the horse ran on. Both of them began sliding off the saddle from the wet rain.
Billy Bell finally gained control of the motorcycle, waving triumphantly to the crowd but it was too late. The bike skidded on hailstones and plunged into the crowd, taking out three rows of bleachers.
Walker punched Nierdorff in the crotch, releasing his grip on Walker's throat. He grabbed the Colt .45 from his holster, pointing it at Nierdorff, who sneered at him. "YOU CAN'T KILL ME WITH A PROP GUN, ASSHOLE!"
"One of my shooters is a prop and the other's real. I wear my prop on the left side. WELCOME TO MY RIGHT SIDE!" Walker shot at Nierdorff, but the horse skidded on hail stones and the bullet deflected, going through a very strained pair of shorts, hitting a fat tourist in the butt. The lady from Yuma howled her head off.
"NICE TRY ASSHOLE!" Nierdorff twisted the gun hard at Walker's face and went for the trigger. "THIS TIME THE GOOD GUYS WIN!!!"
The Palomino was wet and sweaty, eyes bugging out of his head, shrieked as he tumbled at 75 mph towards the finish line, violently throwing off Mister Philip Nierdorff of Kansas City, who flew straight into a parked school bus, landing on his neck first, emitting a large crunch, instantly killing him. Walker and his horse skidded and flew towards the bus, Walker landing with his cowboy boots on Nierdorff's face, kicking out his eyes.
By this point children were crying, tourists from Minnesota were screaming, "Liar Liar" went back on the PA, and the swirling red lights of an ambulance flashed in Crash Walker's face as he staggered to his feet, staring down at the horse lying sidways and breathing heavily by the school bus. His leg looked broken, but the President of the William Flagg Fan Club was definitely dead.
The ambulance attendant ran over to Crash Walker as he shook his head. "Mister Walker, are you alright?" "Yeah, dude, I'm fine. Never mind me, my buddy over there took a terrible spill, help him". The attendant just stood and stared at him. "Well, what the fuck are you staring at? Help my buddy!" The ambulance driver cold-cocked Crash Walker, the cowboy blanketed in the black velvet of unconsciousness and strapped to a gurney and driven off in the ambulance.