User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active
 

Alright fine.

Okay, so the rubber duck bobs in the water, ignorant of the vapor steaming from the pool and rising to the banisters and balustrades in the warehouse. It wears a yellow raincoat and holds in a cartoonish way an umbrella inscribed with the words “Gosh darn it, I’m wet!” It drifts in between two pillars of steam, bumping like a lily pad just underneath the nipple of child peddler Marc “The Lobster” Cameron. So fat is the nipple that one might consider it to be a breast. The tattoo on Marc’s pectoral is further an example of this fact, a strange attempt at a Chinese dragon that might have looked better on a fit body but has since taken the form of Mushu from Mulan. At least I think that is his name. I don’t know. I’ve never seen it. That or the godawful remake. Don’t ask how I have an opinion of a movie I haven’t seen. I just know. Okay. All I’m saying is that this goes to show that some movies should be immortalized, having already stood the test of time with intergenerational audiences.

But anyway. I digress.

Anyway, The duck. So the duck bobs underneath Marc’s nipple, trailing in between heated hot tub water infused with lime and lye. Reminds me of how some soups, like, if they are really good soups, get a layer of fat on them that you have to scoop out. I don’t know much about this either. The only soup I’ve made is lobster soup, which in case you haven’t noticed, is the center part of this story.

So anyway, as I was saying. Where was I? Right.

So anyway, Marc wakes up naked in the pool, not aware of which derelict warehouse he is in or how he went from a lovely high-end courtesan orgy to being strapped here, a la – take your liver and leave you in a tub full of ice sort of deal. It’s the duck he sees first, looking up at him.

And so he says to me and my mate what any logical person would say: “Where the hell am I?”

And so my mate, a strange country bloke who goes by “The Justice” (stupid name, I know, but he likes comic books. I’ll stick to my name, thank you very much) materializes in the rising vapor. Like any minute now Marc will release that we are steadily increasing the temperature.

The Justice stares at Marc like someone shit in his cereal. At least I think so. The Justice wears an astronaut helmet that he claims to be a relic from the Challenger explosion (yeah, right) and like construction worker overalls. There is a little faded American flag on the helmet.

The Justice says, “One of your warehouses, Lobster. So you’ll know better than anyone how hard it is to find us. How can no one hear your screams?”

One time, I saw The Justice curb stomp a convicted rapist who got free from sentencing because his dad was some insurance magnate or something. Still not “proven”. One time, I saw The Justice file a wife-beater’s fingernails to the bone. Still not “proven”. And one time, I saw The Justice put on his shoes in the following order: left sock, left shoe, right sock, right shoe. I do not understand The Justice.

Okay and so Marc “The Lobster” is just starting to show signs of discomfort. He’s wiggling and all that, not quite sure if it’s the kidnapping or the steadily heating hot tub that gives him such a fright. Little Mushu is starting to sweat. And up and down the way the duck goes, drifting stupidly between columns of toxic vapor.

But it’s really not long until The Justice comes ‘round to Marc and provokes him enough to rattle the chains that cuff him to the floor. This was a stupid move, one which made The Justice very upset. It was not that he could hit The Justice’s weird little astronaut visor by any means. It was the intention, and that just about set The Justice off. With two thumbs hooked around his overalls, he kicked the pressure valve and cranked the hot tub up a couple of notches. And like at this point Marc the Lobster is beginning to scream in his bath of magma.

It only seemed fitting that I put some bubble tincture into the tub. The rubber duck must have felt like he was in some sort of spa. Or maybe it’s a girl. I don’t know.

Where was I? No, I’m not drunk. It’s only been one glass. Well,obviously not including the shot. Sure, I’ll have another.

Shut up, everyone. You asked me to tell the story. Right?

Okay.

So anyway now Marc is really starting to turn red and blister. The bubbles and lime and all that other chemical crap that The Justice made me buy are starting to cause burns on his body, cracking and flaking his rolls of fat. Reminds me of when the sun beats down on mud and you get those little ravines that up-close look like they could belong to the Grand Canyon? Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon? Overrated, I say. But anyway it looks like that. But you know, like flesh-colored underwater.

And The Justice says to the Lobster, “Okay, Lobster. I can get you out of here. Treated for all these burns. Tell me which of your warehouses keep the children.”

And Lobster threatens The Justice again, saying all this bullshit about how he owns half the police force, half the bars around town. Not to mention the obvious fishing and canning warehouses throughout the city. He says that sooner or later someone will find The Justice and make him pay. Then, in a strange turn, offers him money, like, loads of money, like enough to retire in the Bahamas with two bikini babes giving you foot rubs kind of money, to just let him go. The Lobster I mean. Not The Justice.

And the Justice, being the psychopath that he is, doesn’t even shake his helmeted head at the offer, or perhaps he does and we can’t see it. Either way, The Justice answers by grabbing the back of the Lobster’s head and dunking it into the water. Can you imagine all that bubble mixture, lime, and lye going right into your wide-open eyeballs with as much force as a fist to your nose? The Justice holds him under water, his Challenger helmet apathetically still. The Justice holds him underwater until I thought the Lobster was going to stop shaking and then picks him up not by his hair but like his nape, holding on the rolls of his neck fat like a little kitten.

And then the process repeats, over and over, dunking and dunking, layers of the Lobster’s flesh flaking off now like skin peeling from sunburn, little pockmarks of reddened skin underneath all that blubber. About fifteen minutes in I notice the bubbles are starting to fade so I put in some more mixture and voila it’s like being in a washing machine it’s so steamy in here.

How long did the Lobster last? I don’t know. A pretty long time.

Until finally he just…relents. Picture this: The Lobster with his eyes sunken and swollen, half turned to goo, finally just gives The Justice the locations of his canneries where he is keeping those children in cages like some weird pedo-doggy kennel. And I’m here thinking, why didn’t he just tell The Justice the first time? He would have saved everyone a lot of trouble.

The Justice asks me to unlock the handcuffs on the Lobster’s wrists. The guy was so swollen and red that I thought he was going to pop. His skin was so moist and weak that the metal cuffs actually cut into his bone and when he twisted away from me, thinking I was going to hurt him or something, I actually peeled some of his flesh like I was cutting a gyro meat tower. How do you pronounce it? Giro, geero?

Anyway, I digress. Sorry. Wait, what was that? Okay sure, one more if you’re buying.

Where was I? Ducky, bubbles, oh, right. Okay.

So the craziest thing about sticking someone in boiling water with a concoction of salt, lye, lime, and whatever the hell goes into bubble liquid, is that it really erodes the body. Like really erodes. Layers of flesh like an onion. And here I am trying to pick up that fat blob of fat who everyone calls the Lobster and jeezus. He is heavy and not helping me at all. The Justice stands back and watches, afraid to get his hands dirty I guess. So anyway, I’m picking him up and he just…slides out of my arms, like there are no bones in his body. All those layers of fat just come tumbling off. Looking at his melted mass I realize that above the water his face was just getting dunk into the sour stuff. But we chained him to the bottom of the pool and he could not move an inch for…for a while. It was almost cartoonish. His lower half was just a mangled mess of skeleton like someone popped a balloon and all the rubber just splayed out like a dead flower. If you’re wondering what it smelled like I won’t tell you because you’ll never want to eat hotdogs again. The poor umbrella-wielding rubber ducky now has particles of flesh and meat on him, now bobbing between islands of fat and fingers that rose to the top. The Lobster falls from my grasp, slips out with as much lubrication as a used condom, leaving me with what amounted to a bodysuit. No, I didn’t keep it. I threw it in the trash.

And some of the Lobster falls into the water with such force that it splashes on The Justice’s visor, a little on his overalls, a speckle on his boots.

He says to me, “Gosh darn it, I’m wet.”

And I truly do not think The Justice understood the irony of it all. He doesn’t think like that, you know? Not how you say…cerebral or all that.

Where is The Justice now? Not telling any of you. I just met you all. Oh, bullshit I’m not lying to you.

Wait. Why is everyone silent now? Do you all know each other or something?

Bio:

Glenn Dungan is currently based in Brooklyn, NYC. He exists within a Venn-diagram of urban design, sociology, and good stories. When not obsessing about one of those three, he can be found at a park drinking black coffee and listening to podcasts about murder.

"For more of his work, please visit whereisglennnow.com"

0
0
0
s2sdefault

Donate a little?

Use PayPal to support our efforts:

Amount

Genre Poll

Your Favorite Genre?

Sign Up for info from Short-Story.Me!

Stories Tips And Advice