Judson Michael Agla

Dead Dog Day, Part 1

The leftover evidence of last night’s macabre massacre of debauchery was seemingly crawling furiously out to sea and with the same determination back on up onto the shore. There was no grace this afternoon, it was going to be a new vicious type of sodomy.

I was laying half on and half through the holes in my lounge chair, somewhat conscious but mostly unconscious. I had a field of vision somewhere between the angle of my sunglasses and my bucket hat, I was clutching a mostly finished bottle of rum, and I’d fallen into a worrisome self-induced atrophy, horrified by the thought of that barbecuing sun creeping around my sunglasses and shooting a powerfully concentrated beam of unshaded light into one of my eyes that would then manifest into a horrific chain of events leading to the eventuality which included my brain beginning to savagely slam itself into the sides of my skull like a hyena tripping balls in a small enclosure.

I cautiously began to raise my arm to plug the rum bottle into my mouth, moving almost robotically, careful not to move too abrasively, bringing on the inevitable beginnings of what could have been the worst hangover I’ve ever had. The plan was to get just enough rum into my system so I wouldn’t die when I attempted to move.

After recovering the ability to swing my head sluggishly from side to side, anxiety began to set in as everything I hoped didn’t happen actually did. There were bottles of every size shape and color, bodies strewn out prostrate all over the beach, hopefully still alive (I’d been getting heat about that lately), piñatas busted open coming in on the surf, still spewing out pills syringes and dildos of remarkable size, as such would require hospitalization immediately upon insertion. Party favors, wallets, purses, wigs, clothing, all sorts of luggage, an a small herd of donkeys painted up with foul slogans, butterflies and flowers, swastikas and peace symbols, and some very dangerous incantations from the Necronomicon. They were roaming the beach looking just as stunned as me.

I regained some motor skills and with that, fell straight through the already doomed lounge chair, its aluminum supports crushing and bending around me. I was fucking trapped without any cigarettes or hope for help from the preferably not but probably dead people on the beach. I started to feel some sensitivity in my body with the realization that I had vomited, pissed, and shit all over myself.

“FUCK ME!”

I had managed to squirm around a bit when I noticed my old faithful bag of angry rats to my right. They were pretty fucking angry, given the fact that they were now beginning to drown in the surf. I reached over and, using the bag of angry rats, for leverage I managed to pull myself from the clutches of that abyss of plastic, plaid, and aluminum.

Struggling to stand, I swung the rats over my shoulder. I felt like I wrestled a fucking bear and lost horribly. Looking back at my shack, I could see where this confrontation might have occurred. It had been completely leveled, a sort of wrath of god without prejudice type of leveled.

It was then that the bodies on the beach began to rise all around me, crippled, desultory, and thoroughly lobotomized, holding their heads in an attempt to stop their own brains from killing them. They were all damn lucky they hadn’t been decapitated or cannibalized; the island was full of headhunters and crazed experimental surgeons who had been expelled from their countries due to their bizarre, horrific, dark alley atrocities committed without consent or appreciation. They were always on the prowl for bodies, dead or alive, just so long as they could carry them off without attracting too much attention. We also had a black market where human organs of any value were tossed around, bought, sold, and packaged up to mail off to someone who would be having a very nice Christmas. It was like a butcher shop for exotic meats. For all I knew, it may have been our biggest export.

There were many ways to die on the island, hence the bag of angry rats I carried without falter, everywhere I went. Nobody is going to fuck around with someone fucked-up enough to walk around with a bag of angry rats, the intimidation factor is enough for anyone to steer clear and be on their way. I’ve only ever had to use it a few times, but my bag of angry rats had become the source of dark subterranean legends on the island. In all truth, it’s a disproportionate massacre. I’ve never seen a body being torn apart like that, shreds of skin and bone exploding out beyond any discernible radius, intestines strewn about the bars and streets, hanging from the rafters, tourists being killed off with shrapneled bits of skull and cartilage. Most people get kind of religious after seeing something like that.

I stumbled over to where my hovel had become a heap. It was a dump, I mean a REAL dump, seeing as how I had built the thing from materials FROM the actual dump, which in reality was only about a hundred feet away. I don’t know if that meant I’d been technically living IN the dump, but it didn’t matter anyway; I wasn’t going up to town to check the city plans at this fucking point.

I was still shitting myself as I made my way to the crime scene (the sort of Voodoo type of debauchery I’d been involved in had the unfortunate random side effect of incontinence), the beach pocked with grenade holes all up and down its shore. No doubt this had been Dem’s handiwork. Dem was our local demolitions expert, officially retired, but he sure loved to light up a party. He was infamously known for tossing sticks of homemade dynamite from our local watering hole, The Corpses Cantina, out into the street at passing tourists. I saw one get his fucking leg blown off once, but it was all good fun.

Setting down my bag of angry rats in the sand, I opened it up and and let them out for a little run. I usually feed them a little PCP at parties; it gives them a nice little bump and makes them particularly ferocious. And, based on how they went tearing down the beach, I’d wager I probably gave them a little bit extra the night before.

Gazing around with glassy eyes, it was then I discerned some unusual debris scattered about the catastrophe zone, splintered planks of wood and mangled machine parts strewn all along a deep rut carved into the sand. The distinct odor of burnt oil and gasoline hung in the air. Upon closer inspection, I found all the evidence I needed to convict the murderer of my shack. Someone had driven a bloody boat straight up onto the beach.

I didn’t have time to investigate much further before a furious blue bolt came down from the sky like a sledgehammer of the gods, exploding straight through my skull and into my brain. I had officially without a doubt begun what was most probably to be the worst hangover I’ve ever experienced in my whole fucking life. Death was on the table, self-induced or otherwise, dehydration levels were off the scale, and my brain was attacking me from within. Literally, psychologically and philosophically, I was working with the I.Q. of one the little monkeys that hang around town throwing their feces at tourists. I was legally retarded, I wouldn’t be making any educated decisions for days, and I would never actually fully recover. Other people shoot people like me out of “basic humane sympathy.” People here become government property, ushered off to Area 51 where they’re stuck into closets with decomposing aliens.

It was a “Dead Dog Day” as it goes, here on the island. I’ve never known the origin of that saying, but everybody seemed to have their own version. I’ve always envisioned a dog, too beaten and whipped in the unrelenting boiling hot sun to even crawl across the road, where a huge bucket of cool refreshing water awaits. Hours later, in total anguish and torment, the dog has made it a quarter of the way across the road when a huge truck comes speeding by, flattening the dog’s head and introducing its contents to the world at full velocity. The horrifying punchline to this specific version is that the dog doesn’t die; he just keeps squirming and cooking in the sun and on the searing hot concrete, still trying to make his way across the road, occasionally getting hit, his body a disintegrating atrocity. However strong his determination, he never makes it to the other side, but he never stops either.

I rummaged through all the sealed rubber bags I could find (always store your important shit in rubber bags; everything on the island always sinks at one point or another), looking for a pack of cigarettes and anything that I could summon up the ingenuity to make fire with. Having scored my booty, I plunked myself down on the engine casing of the wrecked boat nearby. As I sat smoking away, I shifted my weight a little and received a horribly acute stabbing sensation in my left testicle. Somehow keeping my balance as I almost lurched face-first into the sand from the pain, I reached into my pocket and pulled out a pair of boat keys.

“FUCK ME!”

On the island it was an unwritten, unspoken, semi-criminal but perfectly acceptable behavior to steal other people’s boats, and I was one of the more infamous abusers of the “let it slide” understanding that most of the islanders possessed, having to frequently steal each other’s boats themselves. Small children learned how to hotwire a boat before they could even kick a ball or throw a grenade. The interior of the island was thick with jungle and virtually untraversable, aside from a few side roads and a number of leftover WW2 mine fields, so you had to travel by water if you were going to get anywhere.

Back in the 1950’s, some rich expatriate hiding from what most people who end up here were hiding from commissioned the construction of a fleet of lifeboats to address the issue of transportation and to protect the islanders during the unpredictable but inevitable bi-annual sinking of the island. It still happened these days; twice a year, the whole fucking island would sink into the ocean on random dates. It would sink in a matter of chaotic horrifying hours, and half an hour later, the water would all drain right back into the ocean along with everything that wasn’t too heavy or tied down. This expatriate must have been in it thick, because shortly after arriving, he gathered up a bunch of his “men” and set them on an impossible titanic mission to go out and erase all evidence of the island’s location. Whether breaking into map stores or infiltrating secret libraries, he called them R.A.M.’s (Reassessing Agents of Maps) and sent them off to the four corners of the globe. I’d never seen the island on any map or heard of anyone who had, so they must have done their job. As for the wealthy expatriate, he died of syphilis four months after he arrived.

If I wasn’t to die today myself, I would have to gather a small but very specific bunch of supplies. First was some really dark spiced rum, a few bottles of which were already secured in an old nonfunctional chest freezer, one of the few possessions I had that was still standing. Secondly, a shit load of clonazepam and Tylenol 3s, the ones with the codeine. I should probably crush them down to a powder and take it in the nose, but I really wanted to avoid any superfluous extremes. I also needed dump trucks full of cigarettes and an adequate amount of fire making equipment. Finally, one or two “Fucking Fucked-up Fuckers”, an extra special cocktail that was only served at The Corpses Cantina. It started off with a 16 oz blood rare steak, the brains of a mostly extinct unmentionable animal that may or may not be on the endangered species list, a clusterfuck of hallucinogenic roots, mushrooms, and insects, and as far as the real truth goes, nobody really knows.

As it goes, I would have to message the cantina for my cocktails to be delivered, as I would never make it into town without a surprising newly evolved gift of super-flight or a splitting up of atoms Star Trek type of transportation device. We have a message service here called “The Monkey Chain”; for years the islanders had trained some of the smaller monkeys (the ones that throw feces at tourists in town) to perform all sorts of abominable tricks and tasks, some homicidal, some slightly crossing the lines of pedophilia, and they all knew how to use guns with expert marksmanship. “The Monkey Chain” was mail delivery system owned, operated, and governed by the monkeys themselves. All I had to do was whistle a particular tune, and a representative would come bouncing on by, picking up the parcel and whatever the going rate was that day, depending on the dangers to be traversed en route to destination and the size, weight, and legality of the object being shipped. But in general, most monkeys would just take whatever wad of crumpled up bills you threw at them.

The monkey came by as I was ineffectively attempting to create a sort of tent-like canopy thing. I had already made up a bed/coffin out of splintered boat planks, but I still needed that fucking sun off me. The monkey took the message and some cash for the cantina; I hustled him into accepting a handful of rusty 38 caliber bullets that had been soaked in salt water for months but still worked most of the time. The monkey sauntered off but not before chucking a little slimy chunk of feces in my face.

The entire empire of monkeys and other simian species on the island beat the human population 4 to 1, so this in itself demanded a great deal of acceptance and fearful respect. “MONKEYS THROW SHIT”; they’ve been throwing shit since before the dawn of man, who I suspect threw their own shit for a while along the evolutionary trail. It was something that you just had to expect; at some points during the day, every day, you’d have shit thrown at you and after a while the islanders just got used to it. It gets so that you hardly notice it, nobody complains, nobody cares; it’s like living next to a railroad and somehow adjusting your senses so that you never notice when the wretched trains scream by.

As it goes, about ten years ago, some of the more charismatic and abstract-thinking monkeys managed to get a book published in Sweden, where it was misguidedly  translated by those believing it to be a New Age Arabesque/Southern Caribbean language crossover of symbols and claw marks scratched into bark by Pigmies explaining the do’s and don’ts about dieting in the rain forest. The monkeys were rightfully pissed and tried to get it pulled from the shelves until they found out that it was a bestseller in some war-torn third-world countries and the money started coming in. The actual book wasn’t bad; it was called “The Deciphering and Literalizing of Different Styles and Forms of Feces Throwing in Accordance to the English Language.” Every piece of shit thrown means something, you see, and the monkeys did a hell of a job in the making of this book. Unfortunately, however, it was scratched into bark and completely illegible. I did catch some of the few nuances and a definite style emerging, but in all honesty, I really didn’t understand a word of it.

In the meantime, I had managed to rig up a minimalistic desultory type of shelter for my temporary hospitalization. The sail from the “borrowed” boat acted as a canopy held up by a mix-match of some precariously fashioned poles, ores, a hockey stick, three rifles, some rusted pipes, rope, and a lot of wiring and tape used in place of actual rope. The bed had evolved a little, in that it was now covered with life-jackets and dirty cloths. I’d even managed to fashion an easy to reach bedside table out of an old up-turned soft drink box. Everything was carefullly placed with the precise purpose of me not having to move anything but my arms; cigarettes, lighters and matches, books, writing materials, all my pills with a facility to crush them for nasal ingestion if it came to that, an extremely exorbitant amount of bottles full of rum, and still quite enough room for my cocktail delivery, which was scheduled to be arriving shortly.

I guzzled the “Fucking Fucked-up Fuckers” cocktail and lay back into my makeshift casket. Cigarette lit, pills taken, rum opened with book in hand and a feeling of slightly reduced velocity to my brain’s bouncing exercises, I managed to drift off after smoking a joint the sheer size and elegant rolling of which could have been presented to royalty. The dreams/nightmares that followed I couldn’t recall, but I woke screaming bloody murder, having no clue of who I was or how I managed to get into this person’s body.

As disorientation and self-loathing closed in on me once again, so too came in the relentless tides. Sitting up, clearing my eyes of sand, salt water and monkey shit, I saw standing before me  a petrified, shaking, gelatinously slatherhed shadow of one of my better friends in the realms of debauchery, Captain Edgar.

Captain Edgar wasn’t a captain at all; he couldn’t paddle, steer, start, swim or barely even get onto a boat out of fear and an acute sense of unbalance. Plain and simple, he liked to pretend he was a pirate. He had one of those black t-shirts with the Jolly Roger printed on it for every day of the weak, he had an eyepatch which he randomly wore over a different eye depending on his mood and the time of day, he carried a lightsaber that was hardly ever lit up due to the salt water getting into the batteries all the time, and he spoke in a dreamed-up version of what he thought pirates might sound like. For this, we really got on his case, so he localized speaking that way to the more touristy sections of town.

There he was, standing before me stark naked, shivering, crying and vomiting a little. The gelatinous goo he had been covered in was unfortunately the digestive fluid of one of the many giant carnivorous plants growing in and around the jungle. It was a surreal and arduous task to succeed in escaping its clutches on your own, and most people carried a grenade or two for this specific purpose or for any other tight situations that inevitably arise on the island.

I set Captain Edgar down gently like a mangy puppy I’d just kicked and felt bad about. He was speaking in tongues and obviously out of his mind, far beyond the everyday madness of his general persona. I wrapped a blanket over his shoulders, which was actually a louse-ridden tarp in the midst of disintegration that I had pulled out of the dump.

After filling him up on rum, pills, grass, and half a pack of cigarettes, his frenzied demeanor began to throttle down a bit, and decipherable words began to emerge from his quavering mouth. Disjointedly at first, but soon enough the words manifested into full sentences and I could see through his fiery bloodshot eyes into his shattered mind that he was beginning to realize where he was, who he was with, and under benevolent duress he slowly came to accept that these particular dimensional coordinates was the place he was supposed to be.

Here I was, half dead and trying to endure the kind of damage to my brain that only a few homicidal deranged Nazi surgeons could ever even conceive of, and I’ve got to workshop through whatever misadventures had come upon my cohort while in all likelihood his brain had already been covertly transplanted with a jellyfish.

Upon reaching semi-composure and constitution, with the pills and rum finally succeeding in carrying out their job, Captain Edgar’s ethereal self popped back inside of his mortal frame, no doubt with its own collection of tales of the macabre, but now with all extraterrestrial components of his personality back in place. He continued to speak, and I listened without any sympathetic or empathetic curiosity. I wanted him well enough to survive this day, but I wanted him the fuck gone.

He started out with the carnivorous plant story and I drifted away, having found myself in that particular situation many times before, as most if not all of the other islanders had at some point in time. I just couldn’t take another perpetually spinning broken record of an experience that everyone on the island had already fucking been through. He went on about some situation in town where some idiotic drunk tourist went off “old west style”, blasting his snubnose revolver and demanding to be compensated for a handful of worthless rusty bullets some monkey had sold him. I began to start nodding off, Edgar’s story turning into a kaleidoscope of bewildering sounds, until hearing that unmistakably worrisome word that indicates the inevitable incursion of law and order and white bread, a puritanical invasion into a surreal land where everyone is hiding from something, where there wasn’t a legal object, event, sexual exploit, book or other writings, paintings, substances of any sort, machines or items that at some point might be called machines anywhere on the island. The curtain was going to be opened and a destructive deviant wizard was going to pop out with vicious ambitions. There were guerrillas positioned all over the jungle, Voodoo cabarets, and whorehouses that allowed unspeakable and impossible incorporeal sex parties, some of which were affiliated with a few monkey unions who were trying to get their shitty little paws into everything as of late. Everybody had stashes of guns, drugs, and other antiquated munitions. We weren’t just talking about grenade launchers and dynamite, we had tanks, howitzers, functional missile silos with malfunctioning and mostly missing launch controls, cannibals and headhunters and anything and everything we didn’t want the Coast Guard to find.

I understood the politics of the island at the level of a retarded child in kindergarten, but I did know that there were very secretive, back alley cutthroat, end up disappeared or decapitated or both, kind of channels in place that kept certain organizations and sovereignties away.

Captain Edgar was looking pretty horrified, pointing his finger in the direction of the bay where a cruise ship had recently run aground. There were Coast Guard rescue boats everywhere, they even had a goddamn helicopter, and how the fuck didn’t I even see them? They’d been in clear site for the entire afternoon. This whole disastrous event, this exhibition on fire, the wolves are at the door with claws, laws, and a pair of keys.

A while ago I surmised that some of the more elite islanders, rich in physical wealth like property and precious metals, those that excel in the dirty playgrounds of commerce, those with an obscene amount of ammunition and massive murder machines that literally ate the ammunition and spat it back out, they were the ones who stood the most to lose. Their homicidal projectiles choose their own course, asses blasting off and velocity manifesting into a momentary consciousness within the metal itself; they know where they are going, homicidal projectiles choose their own course.

Anyway, I’m talking about “payoffs”; even an island such as ours needs an outside source of incoming cash, grass, and ass. The ocean liner company Oceanic Falls was the only cruise line that came to the island aside from the stray ships that get lost and end up in our bay, which was a very risky kind of bad news for them, due to the itchy trigger fingers perched on high ground. That said, we have not as of yet caused any international incidents.

Oceanic Falls was on the verge of bankruptcy. They had a small fleet of cruise ships all fucked up and sinking, hence the irony of its name. It was the cheapest vacation available with deep sub-level amenities such as the absence of seaworthy lifeboats, busted shitters replaced with buckets, food rations from WW2 served up on paper party plates and plastic forks, no plastic spoons or knives mind you, just the forks. The pumps rumbled viciously day and night to keep the boats afloat due to the lack of funds and personnel to actually fix the numerous holes in the hulls. The repair crews had left the company with advice from their union years ago. Duct tape and inept, unschooled, uncertified welders were the only things keeping the boats afloat, shit houses on the water with the stench of impending doom trailing in their wake.

So the deal was that Oceanic Falls was the only ship line that was permitted on the island. Oceanic Falls agreed not to disclose the whereabouts of the island or what unspeakable atrocities occurred there, and we wouldn’t report any possible infractions seen or heard about the condition of their boats. Unfortunately, this “deal” was based on the misguidedly tenuous belief that all would go as planned. The Coast Guard ship running ashore was never part of the plan, their presence wasn’t planned, and the gruesome manifesting consequences of this catastrophic event were most certainly not planned.

As it goes, asses are asses, and I’ve got to worry about my own. I’ve got a painted herd of donkeys that aren’t going anywhere, dangerously huge dildos, copious amounts of pills, other drugs that require syringes, and syringes, all erupting from probably once obscene pedophiliac-themed piñatas. I was concerned that, all pieced together, the evidence would point to a super-perverted mass abomination of animal rights and possible investigations into any solicitous activities concerning children. But who the hell was going to check out the dump? I mean, the stench and fumes this time of day were a biological hazard, and being the dump it was nicely tucked away at the far end of the beach, next to where the jungle began.

My thoughts turned back onto Captain Edgar, who was presently out in the surf, curled up in the fetal position next to one of the donkeys who seemed to have taken a liking to him. The donkey was licking his face and positioning himself to do some unmentionable things to my friend. As I dragged his ass back to my ramshackle abode, Captain Edgar began coughing up sea water as well as some horrifying truths about the previous night.

Pointing out at the mayhem still unfolding out in the bay, he meekly said, “WE crashed that boat.”

At the very same moment of Edgar’s confession, there came a stir behind us where the beach meets the trees. A man emerged in full-on jungle camouflage with all the bells and whistles, his face painted with tiger stripes, a helmet geared up with night vision, a menagerie of grenades representing every nation that had ever sold or smuggled arms pinned all over him, strapped with huge Desert Eagle side arms and carrying an M16 over one shoulder and an AK47 over the other. JESUS FUCK, he was a walking museum piece, a collective aberration sporting a piece of every modern war that had ever been fought anywhere.

It was Dem, of course, the third member of our viciously demented little crew and consensual contributor to most all of our unspeakable debaucherous behaviors, including but not limited to thefts, property damage and destruction, potential homicide (unproven), the blowing up of things arbitrarily, general crimes against humanity, and that unfortunate night with the cow and the parachute which we all felt really REALLY bad about.

“What do you guys remember about last night and this clusterfuck out in the bay?” Dem calmly asked, regarding our living corpses.

We all squatted in a circle like the chiefs of some warrior clan going over the strategical intricacies of some integral insurrection. FUCK, in all reality, we all fell into heaps onto whatever was flat and wouldn’t explode beneath us. Our conversation resembled apes trying to sign words the other apes didn’t know, an extravagant tableau of atrophy and self-abuse, completely unable to decipher the numbers that led to the equals sign.

It took a lot of time, pills, and rum, but we finally pieced together the most probable version of the prior night’s events. We figured that, by morning at least, we’d all be held up in some third-world jail. No passports, no money, no booze, and no chance of ever reaching the civilized world alive. I’d have to find someone to take care of my bag of angry rats.

***

Dead Dog Day, Part 1
Dead Dog Day, Part 2
Dead Dog Day, Part 3
Dead Dog Day, Part 4
Dead Dog Day, Part 5

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