Another clueless, airhead model

Friday, September 28, 2012

Zombies of Dungpileton

This is a fictitious web novel.  All characters, living or dead,
and locations or events in this web novel are entirely fictitious or merely coincidental.

Chapter 8

The waft of sweet cannabis filled the house of the rogue botanist despite his best efforts to shuttle it through flexible ventilation shafts from the hydroponic garden to the attic.

Race asked if he was wary of local authorities noticing the smell coming from this house.

Not as long as I continue to put money in their Paypal bribery account.  Otherwise, rumors of my check in-don'tcheck out house keeps almost everyone away.

Almost everyone?

The front yard is monitored by laser sensors relayed to alarms and monitors in each room.  The backyard has a nearly impenetrable boundary of very nasty plants which I’ll show you in the morning.   Maybe there will also be an opportunity to show you my special way of dealing with anyone crazy enough to make it to the interior of the back yard.   

Race scanned the front room with awe and admiration.  On one wall were shelf after shelf of glass jars filled with dozens of cannabis strains – Kush, Blueberry, AK-47, Critical, Super Silver Haze, Big Budda Cheese…. On another shelf were hundreds of smaller jars; the end product of years of extraction from plants for their psychoactive alkaloids.  Some labels he recognized – Lysergic Acid Amide from morning glory seeds (Ipomoea violacea), mushrooms (Psilocybe cubensis)/(Amanita muscaria), DMT from huisache (Acacia farnesiana), Salvinorin from Yerba de Maria (Salvia divinorum).  Others were unknown to him – iboga (Tabernanthe iboga), Hawaiian woodrose (Argyreia nervosa) and corkwood tree (Duboisia myoporoides).  The amount of psychotropic plants was impressive for one room until Race found the same setup in every room in the house.  Even the bedroom which only allowed enough space for a cot, computer and shelf-less wall with disturbing overlapping drawing of hundreds of dismembered stick figures strewn around a nuclear mushroom cloud. 

I’ve set aside a space for you to rack out.

The botanist led Race to a small enclave with a cot where his dogs Kahn, Othello and Mr. Spock slept.  Race never questioned the eclectic accommodations.  He accepted that the botanist was too far gone to join the rest of society.  He dropped off his gear and luggage to join the botanist for dinner and as expected it was boiled chicken and rice.  It was boiled chicken and rice when he visited last time and it will be the same dinner years from now.  After dinner the two sat down to a vaporizer of the botanist’s finest stock and discuss the current mission.  At face value the botanist loved the idea of Dungpileton destroyed in a Zombie apocalypse but he knew it wouldn’t stop there.

How far are you willing to let this go?

Until I can eliminate the top level insurgents in our government and it starts with the thin man.  If I have to wait until this town is one big zombie slave camp then so be it but I won’t let it go beyond to other cities.  My first meeting with the Family operatives is in two days.  Until then, you know as much as I do.  Now, what’s this about some geek babe you met at the Comicpaloza?

I still find it hard to believe this chic is a geek’s dream come true.  Her name is Debbie and so far she passes every test with flying colors.  I’ve yet to stump her on Star Trek trivia and that is what bothers me.

How so?

The answers are too perfect and detailed.  I mean, I bring up Stovokor and she goes into a long story about Jadzia Dax and Worf’s quest to honor her death. This led to a two hour discussion of fluidic space where the Borg starts a war with Species 8472.   It’s like she memorized every Star Trek episode down to its most nuance event just for me.  Then there’s that faint Russian accent in Debbie’s’ voice when she rambled on.  

Race glanced at the floor in contemplation.  Something about a beautiful Russian woman, and he’s known many in his life, was formulating in his brain but he could not focus in his condition.  There was an easier solution. 

Ok, if you can remember the details then let’s look them up on the computer and see if some of what she says is just pure internet trivia. Do you have a picture of her?

Yeah, I snuck one in with my cell phone but I’m having problems with my screen.  I’ll send you it.
Their search for a connection between Star Trek trivia and Debbie’s’ insincerity proved inconclusive.  Race didn’t see any justification for the botanist to fret so much.

Look, you need to start a real relationship instead of spending all your money on hookers.  Like Freud said, Sometimes a cigar is a cigar.

The botanist could accept this if it weren’t for the connection between him and the assault on Jessica.  Race knew his old friend well.  When he came to a crossroads there was only one way to reach a definable outcome.

Okay, if I can’t convince you to get a piece of legitimate ass then you will have to consult the Great Oak and I suspect you were looking for an excuse to do that anyway.  

You know me too well, Race.  The botanist walked over to a shelf above his cot and removed from a jar his most precious hallucinogen – a button of peyote (Lophophora williamsii).  Tomorrow we seek the Great Oak’s guidance so we better get some rest.  

Race slept well as far as sleeping well goes for him.  Rarely would he feel secure enough to go into deep sleep.  His weapon stayed by his side, a Mark XIX Desert Eagle .50 caliber pistol and that, coupled with the botanist’s security arrangements allowed him a much needed REM respite.  His dreams never needed interpretation.  They were straight forward reliving of his missions and assassinations, the too many people who died, his one true love now deceased.  She appeared to him in a  ghostly vestige.  They would always caress and part with a kiss but this time, as she approached, he was drawn back into the world of reality by the barking of dogs.  When he awoke he saw none of the dogs present.  Getting up he walked to the window of the door to the back yard.  A utility pole light revealed the botanist walking up to very thin man lying on the ground.  He appeared to be covered in tattered, bloody clothing.  Without hesitation the botanist raised his arm and brought down a mallet on the head of the man.  He immediately stopped moving.  Discarding the mallet the botanist walked to a machine with a hopper and a long, large diameter pipe extending from it - a wood chipper.  The pipe bended downward over a large box container.  He turned on the machine then positioned the dead man to the back of the hopper.  Lifting the hopper lid, he heaved the man into the chipper which immediately grind and exited mulched body parts into the box.  All three of his dogs waited patiently beside two cats, Doobie Jr. and Motorhead.  Cats being cats, they did not heed the botanist’s orders to wait to eat the remains of the man which he scooped into their bowls with a shovel.  The dogs however gorged themselves when given the command to do so. Race smiled, knowing he would get a full explanation in the morning and went back to sleep.  

In the morning Race walked out to the back yard where the botanist was smoking a joint while rinsing out the wood chipper with a garden hose.  He had a joint of OG Kush reserved for Race.  Lighting it, Race took a long drag then commented on last night.

So this is what happens to tresspassers?

Yeah, another one got past the wall.  It’s always someone jacked up on meth or PCP and stealing weed from my garden to sell for more drugs.  This is always a special treat for the boys. 
Race looked behind him at the dogs and cats sitting by their bowls, expecting to have him for breakfast.  After cleaning out the wood chipper the botanist lead Race on a tour of the wall.  The wall was groves of Hercules' club (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis) and devil’s walking stick (Aralia spinosa), interweaved with poison ivy (Toxicodendra radicans) and green briar (Smiax rotundifolia).  At the base of the grove grew bull nettle (Cnidoscolus texanus).  Thick vines of dewberry (Rubus trivalis) faced the back yard, offering berries in the spring.

Hecules' Club
Devil's Walking Stick

Bull Nettle

The botanist walked over to his cannibis garden, picking up a jar of white powder which he poured around the the base of several plants. Human bone powder mixed in the soil was his secret recipe for growing the best weed in Texas.

Let’s get breakfast and head out to the oak.  I'm jones'in for some barbacoa.

The Great Oak
San Bertram National Wildlife Refuge

No one worked at the refuge on Saturday other than law enforcement officers who were busy tracking poachers.  The route to the oak was a walk of twenty minutes along a grassy trail to the interior of the forest.   Along the route Race posed a question to the botanist.

If you are atheist then why do you believe you are connecting with the oak on a spiritual level?

Good question.  There’s nothing spiritual about this.  In fact this is no different than a believer praying.  We are both seeking answers we already know.  I just need to dig a little deeper in the recesses of my mind.  My guidance from the Great Oak is strictly metaphorical but my presence is a real reconnection to the natural circle of life. 

The Great Oak, a live oak (Quercus virginiana var. virginiana), was discovered by General Langford ten years prior when he, Race and the botanist were hiking the area.  It usurped the Goose Island Oak's claim as the largest oak tree in Texas with a circumference of thirty-two feet, a height of 67 feet and a crown of 100 feet.  The age was postulated at 500+ years.  Deeper in the route the heavier canopy dispersed sun loving plants, promoting a sub-story of shade tolerant laurel cherry (Prunus caroliniana), soapberry (Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii), Cherokee sedge (Carex cherokeensis) and sabal palms (Sabal minor). 
The Great Oak
When the men arrived the botanist opened his backpack to produce two one-gallon jugs of water.  Mosquitoes swarmed around him but he chose not to apply DEET repellent rather, he poured water on the ground, producing a mud slurry.  Disrobing, he completely smeared mud over his entire body and positioned himself with his back to the oak.  He instructed Race to not interfere no matter how much it looked he might injured himself.  He then removed a pouch from a lanyard around his neck and retrieved from it three buttons of peyote.  After the third button was chewed and consumed the botanist leaned back against the oak and closed his eyes.


Spider Allies

3 dogs + one dog door
1 cat master demanding to be let outside all the time
Coastal Texas

And you get torrential invasions of mosquitoes that invariably find their way into my house.  My defense is the vacuum cleaner and it is not uncommon to suck up 30+ mosquitoes in four rooms.  To assist me I’ve allowed my abode to be occupied by spiders that make their home in the corners of the ceilings.  I often see the husk of over a dozen mosquitoes in a web. 

Although thrilling and death-defying, the prospect of living with Black Widows and a potential bite would be a drag on my day so I sought to identify who my friends were.  Fortunately my spider allies are the common, non-toxic Comb-Clawed Spiders (Achearanea spp.).  They belong in the same family as Black and Brown Widows and the American House Spider. – Family Theridiidae

My friends will be transported outside because the walls are to painted.  I’m sure over the period of a month I will acquire new allies. 

KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Arthropoda
CLASS: Arachnida
ORDER: Araneae
FAMILY: Theridiidae
GENUS: Achaeranea

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Zombies of Dungpileton

This is a ficticious web novel.  All characters, living or dead, 
and locations or events in this web novel are entirely fictitious or merely coincidental.  

Chapter 7

Those are gonna be some really cool scars!

The botanist walked into Jessica's hospital room as she displayed her sutures to Consuela and Pablo.  Consuela, the executive administrator of the Texas Gulf Coastal Complex, was not taken aback by the site of sutures crisscrossing Jessica’s arms and legs.  She had seen her share of blood when she was an EMT.   Pablo, the Complex Fire Management Officer, was intent on finding which suture was the longest.  So far, it was four inches. Having seen enough, Consuela told her husband it was time to return to work, leaving the botanist to admire the repairs.  But there were other matters on his mind besides well-wishing; Jessica had phoned the botanist after the attack and voiced her concerns of a link between that incident and him. She repeated Vladimirs’ statement. 

You and that devil botanist will burn in hell and a new kingdom of God will rule America.

The botanist exhibited a look of confusion to allay Jessica’s fears because he didn’t want her to worry any more in her current state.  In his alter life there were no such thing as coincidences. The coincidence between this attack and the sudden turn of events in his personal life seems to have no superficial connection but from his experience, that line of reasoning has led to more than one agents’ death.  There would be time later to hash it out with Race.

So that judo training finally came in handy?

Yeah, replied Jessica.  I was on auto-pilot and pure adrenaline but if it weren’t for Maggie you would be visiting me at the morgue.  What is going on?

I’m not sure.  I know we’ve pissed off a lot of powerful companies with deep political connections but surely they wouldn’t go to this extreme.  Would they?

Jessica thought for a few seconds.  Well, perhaps we’ll get more answers when the LE’s (Law Enforcement Agents) finish their investigation.  She had one more suture to show the botanist.

Look at this.  Jessica partially lifted her shirt to reveal an 8-inch long suture across her abdomen. 

A half inch deeper and my guts would have spilled out all over the floor.   

The botanist was envious  and joked - Holy shit! How come I miss out on all the assassinations! Jessica laughed and doubled over in pain, nearly opening the abdominal sutures. 

Sorry about that. 

That’s OK.  I’m taking extended leave.  Somewhere else, anywhere away from here.  What about you?

Oh, I’m sticking around.  I have plans.  Get well and let me know where you end up. 

The botanist was heavy in thought as he left the hospital in Lake Jackson, 15 miles east of Dungpilton but light years in medical treatment.  Had Jessica been treated in Dungpileton she would have been added to the list of patients that never left the hospital alive due to its high percentage of antibiotic resistant bacteria. 

There are no such things as coincidences he continued to tell himself.  So what was the connection between Jessica’s attack and Debbie , the woman he met at Comicpalooza?  Why does she live in Dungpileton of all places?  They hit it off from the start, enjoying a lunch and conversation filled with Star Trek and Dr. Who trivia.  Every episode he brought up was countered by her with an uncanny display of knowledge that only a hard core geek would know.   The skeptic in him said beautiful, geeky women like Debbie shouldn’t exist in his life.  Yet one did - his ex-wife who left him three years ago because she couldn’t rot anymore in Dungpileton.  She moved in after the marriage but because she was not related to the Angleton clan there were no job opportunities in this horrible little town other than prostitution.  He remembers the day she left, the imploring to come with her and establish a marihuana farm in New Mexico.

You grow the best weed in Texas but we can’t make a living here because the regulators take a 90% cut.

The regulators she referred to were the drug enforcers of the mayor and his police force.  All drugs, whether grown for sale or personal consumption were subject to confiscation unless the grower was registered with the city.  The botanist was not registered, keeping his sales low-keyed through an underground network in Houston but he couldn’t move more than a few ounces a month.  Finally she left him, never understanding the real reason why he remained, never knowing his obligation to Race and his country.  His years in the Marine Corps engrained unquestioned loyalty in him.  Someday in the years ahead he would fulfill this obligation and live a new life in New Mexico.

After his wife left the botanist retreated to a world of psychoactive plants, purchasing them from the internet as seeds or cuttings from all over the world.  They were grown within the confines of his house and backyard.  Through self-experimentation, he disengaged from reality at every opportunity but each trip left a residue of bitter hatred for the city and people that destroyed his marriage.  Someday, he tells himself, when he finally leaves Dunpileton there will be a bright flash from a neutron bomb in his vehicle’s rear view mirror.  The bomb was confiscated by him after a mission with Race which killed terrorists planning to detonate the bomb in Washington D.C.  All it lacked was an ample supply of tritium.  For now, there was the matter of Debbie and an opportunity to satiate his nymphomania.  Her had a date with her tomorrow and getting lucky with her would save him money on cocaine-addled prostitutes. 

Dungpileton City Hall

Race Banner’s first contact for the zombie project was the mayor of Dungpileton, Thadeus Angleton IV.  To Madison, the mayor’s receptionist, Race was just another businessman, probably peddling a new way to distribute cocaine or methamphetamine.  That’s all she encountered lately at this boring job but kept telling herself she shouldn't complain.  Her father, the mayor’s brother, secured this job for her after high school while her friends were left to fend for themselves on their back in the non-family sectors of town.  When Race arrived she displayed a smile of black, rotten teeth recessed within a lesion-covered, pockmarked face.  She looked many decades older than her age of nineteen.  Madison paged the mayor who approved the appointment.  After Race left, Madison took out her meth pipe to indulge in a toxic combination of pseudoephedrine, anhydrous ammonia and corrosive solvents, aka Meth. 

Race entered the office to witness the mayor embraced in a passionate display of kissing and breast groping a woman on his lap.  The mayor looked at him, sighed and introduced his wife, Nadine.  Race noted the mayor and his wife each had similar facial features and eye color and could easily be mistaken for twins.  After Nadine excused herself to leave the mayor issued a reminder. Don’t forget to tell Mom I’m coming over for dinner on Sunday.  Apparently keeping family control of Dungpileton was taken more serious than Race realized.  He seated himself at a chair in front of the mayor’s desk.

She's a hot piece of tail ain't she Mr. Banner or shall I call you Race?

Please do.

The mayor's energetic demeanor belied his pale, sickly looking appearance.  His left eye persistently ticked and not surprisingly that gene was expressed in his wife.  In a picture frame on the mayor's desk was a photograph of him, his wife and two slack jawed children, a boy and girl in the range of ten years old.  The mayor got down to business.

Race, it is my understanding that you are here to initiate Project Zombie and my orders are to assist and facilitate in any way I can.  May I ask, which route did you take into town?

Straight into town on business 288.  Why?

You drove through the tourist zone, the main area of businesses away from other sectors of  enterprises that provide the bulk of revenue for the city’s coffers.  These sectors will provide the participants for the project.  I read up on the pathways the parasite needs to infect the subjects and in my opinion the best method is to have them ingest the cysts after church services.  Attendance is always followed by a brunch and no one passes up on this because they may not get another decent meal for some time to come.  There are two grocers in town.  One is well stocked for family members and the other only sells rotting vegetables and fruit, molded bread and putrefying meat, eggs and milk.  The only thing that isn't rotten are foods loaded with high fructose corn syrup and these we sell for exorbitant prices.  It's either buy the sugar bombs or shit your pants for weeks with salmonella.  The poor fools are either too stupid or lazy to drive to Lake Jackson for fresh food.  Church brunch is also a prime opportunity for prostitutes to make a little extra cash away from their pimp so we will see if the parasite can also infect a host through sexual activity. 

But what about other denominations?

There are only two churches in town and both are non-denomination.  One is for the ruling family and the other for the sectors in which live our project participants.  Muslims, Jews and other non-Christians were eradicated from Dungpileton decades ago.  The residents of this town will not be contaminated by false gods, not even in the other sectors.  Inbreeding provides all the tax paying residents we need but if an outsider should slip through the cracks they are quickly dealt with except for federal government workers.  The disappearance of federal workers would bring unnecessary attention until we are ready to expand this project to the rest of the country.  Besides, there are only two, both working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  One is some lunatic botanist in sector 6.  I can’t recall his name.  The other, David Siegfried is passing time in jail for nearly beating my nephew to death.  Unfortunately too many tourists corroborated the beating was justified and we will have to release him soon.   He would have met a mysterious death in jail if our citizens were the only witnesses.  The mayor didn’t add his nephew was a registered sex offenders who approach the daughter of the man who left him in the hospital on life support.  The mayor also seemed unaware of the order to assassinate the rogue botanist.  He gave Race more contacts to assist with the project which would start the following day.  He closed the meeting with a tidbit of FYI.

Did you know Race that I have the patent on the armrest you will see on shopping carts at the grocers?

Race entered the receptionist office to find several cans of Mountain Dew littering the floor.  Madison was facing a bookcase, obsessing over the exact placement of hundreds of books according to their alphabetical title.  Persistent lesion scratching had promoted a stream of blood to flow down the side of her neck.  She didn’t notice it or Race leaving.

Sector 6

The botanist moved to Sector 6 after the departure of his wife.  After previously living in an apartment in the family only sector of Dungpileton he realized a yard and fence offered more privacy and space to grow plants for his mind altering experiments and top of the line Dro.  The apartment manager was only too eager to release him early from his contract and not bother anymore with the hands off exception he had to abide by for federal workers.   Sector 6 also had the best prostitutes, best in that they were less scavenged by drug addiction and venereal disease.  They were the only ones present on the streets, walking relentlessly day and night through swarms of mosquitoes and oppressive heat and humidity.  The protocol was to meet the John or Jane at their resident but neither they nor anyone else stepped on the property of the botanist.  The urban myth of no one leaving his residence was the first warning new sex workers received and no one wanted to test its validity.  He would have to quell his sex addiction at the brothel by the church.

When Race drove on the botanist’s street he knew where to go without looking at the house number.  Like other houses, his was obscured from the road but it was by vegetation.  The other houses were blocked from view by mountainous piles of rotting food, takeout containers, boxes of new consumer electronics and drug paraphernalia ranging from bongs to crack pipes to hypodermics for shooting heroin.  Trash pickup for non-family residents occurred every two month – maybe. The botanists’ front yard was a wildscape, inhabited by a multitude of native flora unlike the yards of his neighbors.  Theirs were wastelands of non-native St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) or Berumda grass (Cynodon dactylon) with an occasional crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) and Chinese tallow tree (Triadica sebifera).  Those yards were sterile, dead zone that never evolve with the local wildlife.  Where Race was able to see past the garbage he noticed every window had the blind pulled down by a hand with eyes peering out to watch him drive by.  Ever vigilant he noticed hookers approach his vehicle from the front and rear and then abruptly walked in the other direction when he pulled into the botanist’s driveway. 

The botanist greeted him in the driveway.  He was expected and both men warmly greeted each other. 

Before entering the house, the botanist pulled from his trouser pocket a small black object with an electronic button on its surface.  Leading Race to the end of the driveway the botanist instructed him to look down either end of the street.  He then pointed the object in his hand towards a wireless megaphone hidden in a Texas wild olive tree (Cordia boissieri).  After depressing the button a signal was sent to activate the megaphone and SD card within its housing.  What blurted out was a cacophony of tunes reminiscent of an approaching ice cream truckWithin ten seconds Race witnessed a chaotic deluge of humanity spew forth from every house on the block.  Pale, morbidly obese children with video controllers in their hands and skeletal meth addicts crashed through or climbed over the garbage walls.  Most of the children simply collasped from exhaustion after a few feet.  Others who made it to the road discover the truck never existed.  The botanist laughed, telling Race he did this every day and they still ran out like it was the first time.

It never gets old. C’mon inside, I have a beer with your name on it. 

Race entered the house, noticing since last time there was twice the number of animal skulls nailed around the door jam.  Inside, he was nearly overwhelmed by the sweet scent of flowering cannabis.  He hoped there was also a bong with his name on it.