“Dude, I need to borrow something.”
Knowing Denny, ‘something’ could be anything. I really didn’t want to know.
Instead of just telling me he said, “I need to show you something,” before he marched into his bedroom.
I didn’t want to see what he needed to show me, but I followed him anyway. Before Denny decided to take our weekend partying and make it a full-time lifestyle we’d been friends.
He pointed to the fifty-inch television propped up against the wall. On it was a frozen image, a still shot from a movie. I recognized the film, which made me kind of special. Only Denny, myself, the dude who made it and maybe his mother would recognize Bandsaw Bobby 2: The Brain Harvest from a single frame.
Even Alton Strode’s own mom probably gave up watching his films after Bandsaw Bobby 1. How Strode managed to make a sequel to a film very few people saw, and even fewer people enjoyed, is one of the great mysteries of the world. Except for Denny, the world forgot about Bandsaw Bobby. In a genre full of low budget cookie cutter mediocrity Bandsaw Bobby managed to be the film even slasher connoisseurs couldn’t give a shit about.
Denny claimed to have met Strode at an abandoned warehouse people went to these days to score drugs. Claimed being the operative word. While explaining the plot for the never made Bandsaw Bobby 3: Dismembers Only, Strode told Denny there were hidden messages in the movies. Denny dedicated his amphetamine-fueled life to finding these messages.
Denny pointed at the dog behind Bandsaw Bobby while he chased a bikini-clad actress and said, “There’s a reason there’s a dog in this shot.”
“Yeah, it wandered into the shot. Since only someone going through the movie frame by frame would notice it, they left it.”
“Strode is not the kind of filmmaker who does anything by accident.”
Strode struck me as exactly the type of filmmaker who put things in his movies by accident, but I didn’t want to argue.
Denny went to his laptop. The movies were never released on anything but videotape. Denny managed to turn his VHS digital just so he could study it.
He moved the film forward, froze it and zoomed in.
“See the book on the table?”
I did, though it was easy to miss since there was a pile of fake brains on the plate next to it.
“Tell me the third letter in each word, including the author’s name,” Denny said.
“I’m guessing you already know, so you tell me.”
He moved the film forward. I interrupted before he could show me the next code, “Let me guess, the third letter on each word in the billboard in the background is going to spell kill.”
“Fourth letter, and ‘slay’.”
It made sense now, or at least batshit crazy tweaker sense. We’d known Brendan since middle school. Denny hated him since high school. Denny couldn’t get over the time Brendan banged his girlfriend. Which would have been understandable, if Vicky had actually been Denny’s girlfriend.
It looked like Denny came up with a convoluted excuse to murder Brendan. I wondered how many hours he spent finding the right combination of letters and symbols to tell him to do what he had wanted to do since high school.
Denny was fast forwarding the movie when I said, “Stop.”
“You need to see the next part.”
“No, I don’t. Let me guess, you want to borrow my gun?”
“Yeah, but there’s more.”
“You can’t murder Brendan.”
“It’s not murder if it’s necessary.”
“Yeah, it is.”
“You need to watch the rest. This is what Strode is trying to tell us.”
“Strode wants Brendan dead?”
“Alton Strode wouldn’t know Brendan if he was blowing him behind Taco Bell for a fix.”
“Do you have to bring that up? It was one time.”
“Sorry, the point is Strode did not make a movie…”
“Okay, even better. He didn’t make two movies just to tell someone he didn’t know…”
“He does know me.”
“Not when he made the movies he didn’t.”
“He was guided by mind travelers.”
“Yeah, from the future. They can’t travel back themselves, so they send back ideas and shit. They’re using Alton’s films to warn us. Some fucked up shit is going to happen.”
“And Killing Brendan will stop this fucked up shit?”
“I have to kill his dog too.”
“Yeah, I can show you his name during the eyeball scene spelled out on…”
“Dude, you need help.”
“Yeah, I know. That’s why I called you.”
“I’m not loaning you a gun.”
“What part of ‘fucked up shit’ don’t you get?”
I opened my mouth to argue, but logic and common sense were beyond Denny. Nothing I could say would change his mind. Instead, I told him again, “I’m not loaning you my gun.”
“Then get out.”
The look on his face made me wonder if he was going to start combing the Bandsaw Bobby series for the letters in my name.
The glance over my shoulder before I walked out was the last I ever saw him. Brendan’s dog chewed out Denny’s throat and ate half his face when he broke in armed with a butcher’s knife.
“So this whole werewolf apocalypse is your fault,” Don said as he gestured broadly to the darkness beyond the light of our fire.
I shrugged and took a slug off the homemade corn liquor we took from the men Don and I murdered for their coats, “He said fucked up shit was coming. This does seem like some fucked up shit.”
“You really think it was connected? You think your crazy tweaker pal could have stopped all this by killing some douche and his dog?”
Something howled in the distance as I said, “Couldn’t have hurt.”