Gotta have tits, Elmo, huge knockers. None of these flat-chested skateboard types.

Fuck off.

That one! That one!

I drive; I choose. And shut that fool thing off.

Don't shove that beaver-plucker in my face, fuckhead. God only knows where it's been.

Wouldn't you like to know?

Stan, you're sick, you know that?

Me? You should see ole Elmo here, bustin' bottoms with that pile driver of his. Get it? Pile driver?

There! Elmo, whataya want, man? Didya see the hair on that babe?

Fuck off.

What's that for?

The heat rub? Elmo smears it all over his rubber, man, before he butt-fucks 'em.

You're puttin' me on. Really, Elmo?

Yup.

You guys have really done this before?

Sure, Pauly, whataya think? We got two last month. Didn't we, Elmo?

Yup.

Elmo! There! Come on, man. Whatarya lookin' for?

A loner.

Shit, man, that'll take all night.

Fuck off.

There! There's one.

Where?

With the backpack, see? Slow up.

She's a baby, you guys.

Makes for a tighter fit, eh Elmo? Look at that mane!

Get ready, Stan.

Jesus, what are you gonna do with those?

Elmo, I think we got us a chicken-shit here. You gonna piss yerself, Pauly?

No. Just askin'.

Relax. We don't stick 'em 'til after. Crack the back door. And rip off some strips of that tape.

Now. Now!

Julian's eyes shot open. Like ink on felt, the outlines of the dream began to blur. He scanned the fleeing company for clues as to who they were, not recognizing anyone, nor seeing himself among them. Unless these indistinguishable figures were aspects, alter egos? The very prospect caused his mind to shudder.

A van with a fisheye window distorting streets of glaring neon. Voices, voices, voices in a choir of brute intent. This was all that he could salvage; the rest had decomposed.

Julian tossed off the bedclothes. A nasty taste defiled his mouth. He walked to the bathroom, knelt before the toilet bowl, and vomited. It did not help.

Back in his room again, the air was dank, oppressive. He felt suffocated. He had to leave. He quickly dressed and went outdoors.

A gust of frigid predawn wind fixed him with a shock, then bore him up to the wooded hills, gratefully benumbed.

 

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