You Can't Always Get What You Want
By Mark Justice
By Mark Justice
Pinwheels of light in his eyes. Snakes crawling through his head.
So it had been when he was killed, so it remained as he stumbled, shucked and hopped across America, a rotting, flaking marionette whose strings were controlled by vengeance and an indifferent universe.
Indifferent, though not without a wicked sense of humor. Resurrection, with an eternal chaser of the meth he had swallowed in the car before the show and the gun.
The gun...did that come before the jangling electric caress hit his nerves?
Didn’t matter. For nearly twenty years only one thing did.
When the good, clear thoughts hit, he remembered a leather vest and eyes deader than his own, while words pounded into his skull: asiamesecatsquirmingdogthesweetestpet
He had tried to kill the dancing devil, the slithering beast, that much he knew, then came the sharp thing over and over and the bludgeoning and he was done. They dumped him in the ground, where he stayed until that beat slammed into his brain again, and he woke up still cranked, digging out of the grave and dancing across the desert, the words scorching his torpid thoughts:
Searching for the leather vest and dead eyes.
Legends sprang up around him. He felt the whispers and knew the names they called him: The Dust Man, Easu, Lonely Boy. They felt him in their dreams as he passed. The dark light of his craving casted shadows on their souls. Some had seen the leather vest, and those memories guided him from one side of the country and back again. He walked between thoughts, his feet never touching earth, until it ended back where it had began.
The leather vest was gone, the dead eyes replaced by first recognition, then fear. Words sputtered forth in a cacophony of desperation. They might have said I’m sorry or don’t hurt me or under my thumb. It didn’t matter. Nothing did.
Soon enough it was done. As his murderer floated away, he fell to his knees, waiting for the rhythmic babel to finally end, to free him. To end him. But as the moonlight spiraled comet trails of colors, the words
grew louder, and he could not scream.
A tall thing detached itself from the surrounding darkness. A hidden observer.
It was Him. The Beast.
A hand was extended, and a crimson tongue caressed ruby lips.
“Please to meet you,” the Beast said to him. “Hope you guess my name.”
And he knew, The Dust Man knew, he wasn’t finished yet.
© 2008 Mark Justice