Oh Fuck


astrid_icon.gif buddy_icon.gif eugene_icon.gif rex_icon.gif

Scene Title Oh Fuck
Synopsis Fuck, fuck, fuck! Aah! Fuck!
Date March 28, 2018

Ruins of Staten Island

The sun sets behind the Jersey City skyline like a brilliant fireball. The early March air is set ablaze by the orange light, casting long and dark shadows across the Hudson River, seeming even darker when those fingers reach the west coast of Staten Island.

The Greenbelt has always been an untamed part of the island, ever since the bomb drove everyone away and left factories and warehouses abandoned. Years of criminal occupation did worse to it, the riots and civil war laid much of what stood there flat to the ground. Only the broken chimneys and empty cellar holes of houses remain, all overgrown with weeds and brambles. Scrub tree growth shoots up from some of these forgotten corners, where half-standing walls of meat packing plants meet derelict hulks of fire-bombed shipping trucks.

It's in this tangled morass of post-war urban decay and natural reclamation that the Arrowood brothers have taken a huge, figurative shit and marked their territory. In the shadow of the fire-hollowed shell of the Happy Clam Fish Packing Plant are a pair of trailers wedged into a V, surrounded by an open field of brown scrub grass and rusted automobiles that are tipped onto their sides like makeshift walls, closing in their little coastal trailer park like a gated community.

Fire lights up the dirt-packed space between the trailers, a roaring bonfire burning in a sand pit surrounded by bricks and cracked cinder blocks. Stained and cracked plastic lawn furniture surrounds the fire, along with coolers full of mostly melted ice and a few remaining bottles of piss-cheap beer. A line of multi-colored Christmas lights is strung between the trailers, trying to class up the place.

The sounds of conversation, laughter, and profanity mix with the noise of barking dogs coming from the fish packing plant’s hollow shell. Dozens of dogs, from the sounds of it and from the looks the guests have taken in the past. Eugene Arrowood raises dogs, some of his favorites run rampant around his makeshift fiefdom, shitting everywhere and being generally terrible.

Eugene is enjoying the crisp night air, and a cigar. Standing over an open grill, Eugene is pleasantly grilling flanks of sizzling meat and humming along to the tinny tunes of a scratched Credence Clearwater CD that can only reliably play about four tracks before having a seizure. The music is being belted out of a small portable radio sitting in on the tailgate of his battered pickup truck, currently laden with a bloody blue tarp.

“I fuckin’ love family gatherings,” Eugene opines as he scrapes the grill with his spatula.

By the bonfire, Astrid lies stretched over a half-sunken lawn chair, one leg flung over the edge and swinging idly. Mud-spattered boots, and a very fluffy off-white faux-fur jacket are warm against the night chill, but her legs are almost bare thanks to the denim cut-offs she's wearing, goose pimples raised down her skin from ankle to thigh. Her knees are bruised, and a few nicks and scrapes mar her flesh here and there.

And then there's her face, which is still healing from her adventure in the Crucible a week ago. She'd been a sorry sight the day after, but a week or so on means the swelling's gone down, leaving behind blotchy discolouration at her eye, her brow, her throat. A black line of a scabbed over split dips out from her hairline, her blonde hair left loose in tangles.

Currently, she is snapping her fingers at the nearest dog, trying to lure it closer for ear skritches. In her other hand, a joint slowly embers away between her fingers.

"Aww," she says, of Eugene's sentiment, putting on his accent over her natural New York with, "Bless your heart, Genie."

Which is an improvement to how her temperament's been since she lost a match to a lying mutant terrorist, but then again, there's always a weird kind of black hostility lurking under the surface even when she's being sweet. Or especially when she's being sweet.

Buddy’s up on his feet with a .22 making a spinning target sing dink bolt plink bolt pink bolt some forty or fifty paces beyond the “gates” — steel glittering in light of the fire as it whips around the base. The target is stuck down in the dirt, flanked by a trio of swiss-cheesed beer cans and a smashed bottle.

He has a cigarette in his mouth, a fogged bottle at his boot and a cowboy hat pushed down low over his brow, felt stained dark with dirt and sweat.

A rustle in the brush further off into the scrub sees him pausing in his reload; Princess sits up in her lawn chair behind him, pitbull paws waddled in against cracked plastic, floppy ears pricked forward. She says whuff. There’s something crawling between the tires of a rotted out truck — low to the ground, eyes burning infernal gold out of the darkness.

Hey!” he calls back into the camp proper, beer nudged off kilter when he stretches to turn back, and bolts a round up into the chamber. “Bring the spotlight.”

He might be about to put another course on the menu.

The sound of a small motor — in this case, a moped’s — can be heard whining up to where the overturned cars wall off the trailer park, finding the breach that’s just wide enough for the bike and its rider to squeeze through. “Is that possum? I’m not eating possum,” calls out Rex as he dismounts the moped and lifts the seat to pull out his offerings to the barbecue: a couple of bottles of wine and a bag of Doritos.

Cool Ranch.

He’s overdressed, but that’s natural for him — designer clothes that are all just a few seasons old, and if one looks closely, marred somewhere — a cigarette burn, a moth hole, a snag. Today it’s a navy peacoat with a red scarf atop slim jeans and navy-and-white wingtips.

He makes his way to where Astrid sits, flopping down on the chair beside her and dropping the bag of chips in her lap.

“Naw, naw, naw,” Eugene grouses at people shit-talking his grilling. “Na’I know ya’ll are sensitive about your meats. So, I made sure this isn't anything weird. I even made the barbecue sauce myself.” Proud of his accomplishments, Eugene continues to scrub at the grill, turning a look over his shoulder at the commotion Buddy is making.

“Buddy, fee the love’a god, m’trying t’grill here!” Eugene steps away, brandishing a spatula at Rex. “Hey, Cool Ranch, grab that ol’ floodlight and help Buddy find whatever fell off’a his dick.” While Eugene tries to press-gang Rex into participating in Buddy’s ostensible hunt.

In the interim, a pair of wiry bulldogs with heavily scarred snouts come crashing out of the tall grass, hurrying over to Buddy and circling him, sniffing the air and barking loudly at whatever it is his bait had lured. Their barking gets the other dogs barking at the fish packing plant, which gets Eugene barking, and— that’s just something he does when he dogs get vocal.

Astrid does not hesitate to abandon her efforts with the dog to instead rip open her the pack of Doritos with a waft of processed corn-based snackfood smell. There's a loud crinkling as she dives her hand inside of it, extracting a handful of delicious crunchy triangles, and then angles a wolfish grin at poor Cool Ranch, who is now called Cool Ranch, and also had just sat down before being called upon to shoot fucking raccoons or something.

"Do you not love," she says, in a barely discreet conspiratorial tone, extending out one long arm to offer Rex her joint for his troubles, "this redneck realness?"

Which is around when the chaos of barking starts in earnest, and for a moment, she thinks about hating it, but enough dope in her lungs, soaked into his system, has put her in a good enough mood to give a crooked grin when she notices Eugene having joined in on the baying. This prompts her to likewise do the same, only with an "ar-ar-arooooo" of piercing resonance.

Doritos in hand and weed likely left in Rex's possession, she rolls to get up onto her feet with only a hint of physical complaint as her ouchies twinge and torment.

Rex heaves a sigh, reaching for the joint and taking a long draw, before he smirks at Astrid. He doesn’t jump up in a hurry to follow those orders. “It’s the most real realness. Super real-y. Thank you for being heeeere and keeping me sane,” he says, air-blowing Astrid a kiss, before taking another quick toke and passing the joint back. He apparently has work to do.

“Notice he still didn’t say what the mystery meat is,” he stage whispers, with a glance toward Eugene, his eyes widening just a bit.

The baying makes him snort. “Jesus Christ. Et tu brute?” Rex does not contribute to the Twilight Bark.

With that he turns on his heel to do as directed, heading toward the pile of miscellaneous clutter the spotlight sits in and moving it closer to the cacophony of dogs and Buddy before turning it on to play look who’s coming to dinner.

Buddy drops out of his ready to bury the heel of his boot deep in the side of one of Eugene’s hounds and shoves off with force enough to roll the beast all the way back over onto its paws. Grill this shit.


Princess in her throne tucks down into an apologetic wiggle (to the tune of a ”Not you, Princess.”) tail motoring out through the chair back.

“Feels like I’m livin’ at the fuckin’ pound.”

Rifle stock back to shoulder, Buddy raises the barrel when Rex blesses the wreckage ahead with a circle of bleach white light, currently host to a big fat raccoon. The first pop sees it folded in on itself in a writhing, shrieking heap. The second stifles the struggle down to a twitch and kick at one hind leg, claws scratching the underside of the car its rolled under.

Got him,” called back to the rest of camp, Buddy stoops to swing his beer up out of the dirt on his way to claiming his prize.

“Thank you kindly, Cool Ranch.”

There's a hoot to replace Eugene’s howling from earlier, and he's quick to swipe up a can of beer from beside the grill in toast. “Yah Buddy! Woo! You show that Staten Island pig what's what. Bring on in that city bacon!” Spitting his mostly finished cigarette out into the dirt, Eugene flips his steaks with a satisfied grin.

But once the steaks are flipped over, he ambles away from the grill and taps Astrid on the top of her head as he's going by. “Watch that naw, a’ight? Don't want none of that beef t’burn. It's gotta be nice’n juicy or else how’re we gonna pair it with the wine!?” Eugene is basically hollering that as he walks off, going up the steps into one of his trailers and disappearing behind the crack of a screen door slamming shut.

Astrid says something around Doritos which mostly sounds like, "yeff fsheff," and she's rolling onto her feet, leaving chips behind, ribbon of weed smoke trailing after her. Her path more puts her in a position to watch a dying or dead raccoon get retrieved out from under the wreckage, hand on her hip and other hand holding her joint aloft between pinched fingers. The heat emanating off grill and bonfire both toss the fried ends of her hair around, and she seems thoughtful, for a moment.

And then yells back to Eugene, over her shoulder, still squinting at the spectacle ahead, "Won't we get rabies if it's not well done?"

This fucking life, man.

But she picks up the tongs and pokes at meat slabs, partially as if to discern what they are but also to play-act at being useful when really she'd rather be poking holes in beer cans or doing her nails. She moves her hips along to the dulcet sounds of Credence Clearwater, bringing the fast burning twist of paper back to her mouth.

"Think about it this way, Rex," she says, as she tends to the grill, "I hear on the mainland, they're eating rats. Those things taste fucking vile."

At the sight of the raccoon, Rex croons out, “Run, trash panda! Run for your life!” But he laughs when it’s taken down all the same, his sympathy for the beast apparently short-lived if they ever existed in the first place.

“Ugh,” he says, in regards to eating either raccoon or rats, before he turns to cast a long look over his shoulder at the barbecue and the meat cooking on it. “Is that actually beef, or Staten Island beef?”

The spotlight is turned off, and he strolls back toward Astrid. He plucks the joint from her hand for another draw as he scrutinizes the meat on the grill, brown eyes narrowing a little. “Burn everything. I’d rather eat burnt food than get worms or something,” he whispers to her, before he glances back at the Arrowoods. “That might be too real even for us.”

Raccoon scooped out from underneath the car with his boot, Buddy throws it up on the hood instead, knife whipped up off his belt, beer planted aside. He pushes his sleeves up while he waits for his eyes to adjust, and from there it’s all steel hissing through hide and a gassy squelch when he twists his fist in to get under the ribs.

“You ain’t ever complained before,” called back matter-of-fact at Astrid on the subject of rats and their taste, near elbow-deep in raccoon, he plops a heaping handful of Stuff off on the hood.

“Either of you see the gut bucket?”

He’s standing with his hands out, like the phone’s started ringing in the middle of him doing dishes, craning back towards the grill for help. A flick of his wrist skips a glob of yuck off his fingertips.

“Or is watching meat cook a two man job?”

The screen door to Eugene’s trailer swings open and Eugene comes sauntering out with a bunch of paper Dixie cups balanced in each hand, with the blue and purple swish across them. “Hold on that bucket!” Eugene hollers as he comes down the handful of rickety steps from trailer to dirt.

“So I got me this stuff in from that useless piece’a shit Ricky. That little shit-pig’s a dumb bag’a fucks, but he's got great connections for a balls deep high.” Stepping over to Astrid, Eugene drops off one of the cups. Two fingers of mostly clear liquid visible inside.

Then Eugene moves over to Rex. “Now this here’s the same stuff I took when I down in Texas back in eighty-six. It's mind opening; helps you find your inner voice, y’know?” A cup is handed down to Rex. “Nothin’ says a fine night like a little mind-opening experience bringing us here friends together.”

Walking over to Buddy, Eugene looks down to the raccoon, then back up to Buddy. “You'll wanna wait until this takes effect. You ain't never gutted something until you do it when your eyes open.” The cup is left on the hood next to the raccoon.

“So this might be a little bit more potent than the shit I did back in’na eighties, but we ain't pussies an’ I'm sure as shit Ricky’s blowin’ smokeup my ass.” With the last cup in hand, Eugene tips it back and swallows whatever the fuck is in the cups in a single gulp, followed by an open-handed slap at his chest and a loud hoot.

“Astrid! Flip them steaks!” Eugene shouts, worked up into an excited frenzy.

Joint gone and replaced with a paper cup of mystery, Astrid does not immediately tip it back, watching Eugene's antics — and absolutely making sure he drinks this shit first — and watching, a little, the reactions of the other two. She sniffs the contents of the cup, but nothing about its harsh chemical scent implies whether or not it lived any of its life in Ricky's bathtub, and really, out here, grilling rodent steaks and the smell of gore and trash and fire—

Does anyone get to be picky, where they get their kicks?

She grins over at Rex, firelight in her eyes, and then lifts her cup with one pinkie extended. "How about unreal?" And she brings the cup to her mouth, and tips it back as Eugene demonstrates. Instead hooting and hollering, she extends her tongue in a blagrgh, and shakes her head.

Then turns to the grill, and flips butchered meat with a fleshy slap, grease spitting, fire licking.

“It’s definitely a two-man job. Or maybe a one-man job, and between us we’ll figure it out, sweet cheeks,” croons Rex back to Buddy, though he rolls those eyes at Astrid. “Gut Bucket is the name of my Tool cover band.”

The Dixie cup is taken and given a squint. “Do I trust anything that Ricky’s made, is the question…” he murmurs, but Eugene drinks his, and Astrid drinks hers, so he shrugs. “Bottoms up,” he says, tipping his own paper cup back. He shudders violently — a little dramatically — and crumples the cup like he’s a frat boy with a beer.

“Bottoms Up was totally my screen name on MySpace,” he adds to Astrid, before looking around for the Gut Bucket. He doesn’t look very hard, though, before shrugging and reaching for the Doritos.

There’s a broken glass edge to Buddy’s glare that cuts clear across the campsite to Rex at the grill, but he doesn’t say shit. Jaw worked, humor blackened out of the slow curl of his free hand, cooling blood pulling sticky at the hairs on his knuckles. Sweet cheeks. Come over here and he’ll show you some —

Hey, Eugene’s back!

“…Eighty-six?’” echoed with some too-late trepidation while his memory rolls itself on back, he stands at a loss next to the mess he’s made. Knife in one hand, gore up to his wrist in the other. The same hand he uses to pluck up the dixie cup, leaving dark smudges over pastel pink and green.

“Is this peyote?” he waits to ask low and discreet-like until Eugene and the two musketeers have already pounded theirs, brows screwed up with the effort of all this recall backwards and calculation forwards.

He looks down into the cup.

Back at the grill, Princess crawls past Rex’s feet near all the way on her belly, piggy little legs kicking behind her, tongue lolled pink over her nose, eyes squinted up into happy slits Astrid pls ples pleas ples.

“It ain't Peyote!” Eugene snaps back at Buddy. “It ain't ayahuasca either! Naw, if I told ya what it was I’d be violating a blood pact I made with that shaman.” Eugene pitches his empty cup to the ground, looking back over at Astrid and Rex.

Bobbling for a moment, Eugene manages a euphoric smile. “If Ricky’s worth his saggy tits this all should be kicking in after about twent— "

Oh, The taste of your lips I'm on a ride

Smoke winds up in twin fingers from the southern Staten Island coast. Reeds and grass are on fire, a rolling curtain of flame belching black smoke that creeps across the coast, broken by sand and old tires.

You're toxic I'm slippin' under

Music pounds from a battery-powered 1996 Sanyo boom box sitting in the cabin of a fishing boat run aground nearby to the flames. Bullet holes riddle the ship’s right flank and smoke belches from its engine. The designation Oar Place or Mine? is spattered with blood.

With a taste of a poison paradise

Adjacent to the boat on that pebbly beach, a jet ski is run square into a rock. No rider in sight. There's a duffel bag, mostly unzipped, bulging with old CD jewel cases. Like someone robbed a mid 90s Best Buy. The waves lap against the bag.

I'm addicted to you

Eugene Arrowood awakens next to Oar Place or Mine, face down in the shallows. He exhales a watery breath, coughing fitfully as he pushes up onto his hands and knees. The White of his tank top is stained pink in places that it's torn open. He's also bleeding from several shallow scratches on the top of his head.

Don't you know that you're toxic?

The sound Eugene makes is at once confused and delirious, a half-formed slur of noises that made sense when he started to make them. He paws at his head, pulls back bloody fingers and staggers to his feet. Another noise, this one not his, comes from around the front of the boat.

And I love what you do

The frustrated yowl of a fully grown ocelot wearing a collar trailing a leash.

Don't you know that you're toxic?

And another sound — a hrrgghh drifts from fifteen feet away, a female heaving sound as someone else slowly resumes consciousness, although hasn't quite made it there yet. Astrid has her head resting on someone's chest, so it would seem, her blonde hair in tangles and her makeup smudged into vague, shadowy shapes around her eyes, half of her mouth. A burn mark sears black into the sleeve of her faux-fur jacket, and on one thigh, a set of claw marks have only just begun to scab closed.

She sniffs, and smells wretched ocean life, and lifts her head.

Having rested it on the too-firm curves of a torso made of plastic. The mannequin she's been cuddled up to on the sand is white under scratched up silver paint, one arm missing, and some attempt to clothe it has been made in the form of tangles of seaweed, styled into a bikini top. It's perhaps this alone that prevents Astrid from slumping back down onto her sleeping partner, rolling to sit on her ass, gripping her head.

Looks up at the sound of a yowl whining out under the dulcet tunes of Britney Spears, and then exclaims, in a hoarse, burned out voice, "What the fuck is that."

Sprawled out nearby, Rex’s eyes are closed but flinch slightly at the sound of the yowling and the voices of the others as they come to life. Or something like it. He makes a noise of protest in his throat, like a teenager might to a parent trying to wake them.

His sandy feet are bare and his pant legs rolled up. One cheekbone has a hairline-thin slash along it, ending perilously close to his eye; the skin around the laceration has puffed up in a welt, a livid red against the pallor of his skin. The remnants of carefully applied eyeliner gather beneath his eyes, giving him dark circles that help to complete the look of beach zombie.

“The fuck was in that drink,” he grunts, but doesn’t make any effort to get up or even open his eyes.

Buddy rolls slowly over onto his back, one heel drawn in, cramped through the shoulder. He’s shirtless under his jacket, bare chest clawed all to shit, dark leather shredded at his sleeves. Blood is still struggling to well up through the crust of wet sand packed into some of the deeper cuts, and when he turns his head to spit, that’s bloody and thick with sand too.

“Looks like an ocelot.”

Throat clagged with more of the same crud, there’s an audible whinge in his extra twang, the worst of what might’ve followed hitched up behind a manly sniffle. The bridge of his nose is split where he hit the ground face first.

He reaches down to grab himself, eyes closed hard against flame licking a little too close for comfort at his periphery.

“Think I landed on my dick.”

Swallowing loudly, Eugene stares the animal down while slowly rising from a crouch. It is displeased, with ears folded back and mouth open just enough to reveal teeth. “There ain't no such thing as a fucking ocelot, Buddy. This’s a cheetah.”

Holding one hand out toward what Eugene is certain is a cheetah, he makes little clicking noises that only further agitate the animal. “C’mon would’ja just look at this?” Eugene looks around for Astrid and Rex. “We went on a journey, and came back with a spirit ani— ”

Cultural appropriation is cut short as the ocelot pounces on Eugene, knocking him back into the sand. “Ahfuck!

It’s all bound to attract some attention.

A tall figure dressed in a polished business suit cuts through the smoke, a handkerchief clasped over his mouth to filter the soot from the air. This does little for his eyes, which are dark and watering by the time he appears on the other side of it.


Embers flicker harmlessly on Sylvester’s jacket, but he’s dusting them off with the back of his gloved hand anyway. He looks to the ocelot — or the cheetah, he supposes, depending on who you ask — poised atop Eugene’s chest, its claws kneading his flesh aggressively through the tattered fabric of his clothes.

Or what’s left of them.

He unholsters the sidearm stashed neatly under his jacket, flicking off the safety in the same motion. His hand comes up and he snaps off a shot at the boombox.


Ding. That’s the sound of the bullet puncturing the hull of the boat instead.

Ding. So is that.

Ding. And that.

It’s not until the fourth shot that he shatters the window and the radio goes up in a burst of sparks and splintered plastic. He lowers his handgun and turns his attention back down to Eugene in the sand. His expression appears calm. Serene, even. Then—

WHAT. THE. FUCK.” Each word is punctuated by a foot driven into Eugene’s ribs.

Sylvester isn’t trying to kick the ocelot.

Astrid is only just getting to her feet as gunshots ring out like thunder, and she claps her hands over her ears with a whine of hangover complaint.

"What the fuck, Succotash," is hoarse enough that it's barely audible, staring at the sight of the government agent having appeared out of nowhere — until her focus shifts to where the ocelot has leapt sideways out of the way, and is now standing on the beach, its belly low on the sound, its tail thrashing.

Now, Astrid grins, eyes going bright. "Holy shit," is laughed out, hyena hysteria on the end of that as she starts pacing towards it, a slightly off-kilter sight in her cut off shorts and fur jacket and hair gone feral. "This thing's fucking swol. Heyyyy," is an abrupt shift in gears, voice pitched up an octave as her approach goes noticed by the feline. In a stage whisper; "Hey, Buddy, c'mere, get its leash— "

It sinks onto its front paws, which in a dog might signal play, and in an ocelot, signals indecision between fight and flight. Astrid, who does not know the fucking difference, sort of responds in kind, jumping into a crouch nearby as if to square off with the ocelot, grring back.

The sound of Sylvester's boot hitting Eugene's ribs sinks into her background noise.

The sound of gunshots makes Rex finally decide to move, rolling to the side and then up into a wary crouch, bloodshot eyes darting from person to person as he tries to determine what’s the most likely to cause him pain, dismemberment or death.

At the moment it’s a toss-up between the ocelot and Sylvester.

“I tat I taw a puttytat,” Rex manages to say, mouth thick and cottony. “There can only be one,” he adds in an ominous undertone — except it’s not the ocelot Sylvester is dropkicking.

“Careful, bitch,” he murmurs to Astrid, standing and backing away should that ocelot decide to launch itself at the woman mocking it. “I don’t think it likes you.”

Eyes forced back open to the sound of gunfire, Buddy hauls himself up onto a knee, and from his knee to his feet. Balance all a-wobble to one side, he sinks back on his bootheels in the sand against the harbor spinning around him and blinks hard. Blood-caked sand crumbles off his sides when he grunts.

The ocelot clawing Eugene, bullets sparking off the boat, Astrid’s stage whisper and Rex’s warning assemble themselves into the scene laid out before him. And that scene encompasses some kicking.

Right hand reached back around his belt, he comes up with a chunky silver revolver, filigreed sight to grip, and points it square at Sylvester.

“Why don’tchu drop that gun, take a step back and adjust your attitude before I take that bigass nose of yours and plug it up your own asshole.”

He switches back the hammer.

“Ain’t a hankie in this world fancy enough to —.”

Eugene is in a heap in the sand, the ocelot now crouched on his chest with claws ever so politely sunk in to Eugene so as to not fall. The big cat tilts a head at Astrid, ears back and weight shifted forward, tail agitatedly swishing from side to side. With an agonized and confused grown, Eugene holds his arms out to his side. “Will someone get this fuckin’ animal o— ”

The boat’s engine explodes.

The ball of fire that rises off of the back of Oar Place or Mine is choked with black smoke and carries incendiary debris with it that then arc and rain back down to earth. The ocelot bolts at the explosion, scrambling forward and leaping at Astrid, only to jerk back by the neck and slap down onto the sand as it's leash goes taut. The leash now hooked around a piece of driftwood.

Chunks of plastic and metal splash down into the water, some to the sand. The boat is now simply engulfed in flames on its back half.

Astrid falls promptly on her ass from both leaping ocelot and exploding boats, expelling a complaining yelp on impact. It tapers into a groan, hand to forehead, ears ringing, the smell of burning fuel and sea life, the churn of her gut, all trying to harsh her steeze. She is dimly aware of guns being pulled on people who probably— fucking— deserve it, because if there's anyone here who is likelier than most to be a downer, it's the federal agent.

"It's going to like me," she says, on a delay, once debris finishes pockmarking the beach, and looking to Rex. "Or it's going to wind up as steaks."

Shaking her head — and a fair amount of dry sand seems to shake out of her locks — she climbs to her feet, wrinkles her nose as the urge to heave swells and ebbs, steers a look towards where the ocelot is recovering from its clothes lining itself. "Can't believe you choose now to be the time you don't have any horse tranqs on you," she says, of Rex. She reaches down, picking up a long, crooked, washed up piece of beach wood.

So armed, she's approaching the ocelot, holding the stick out as warning as she circles around to the leash pulled taut. Somehow, the presence of the large cat is less unbelievable to her than Sylvester.

If Sylvester had any notion of fighting Buddy on his pistol, it’s engulfed with the boat in the explosion. The SESA agent is abruptly flat on his ass in the sand next to Eugene, pistol hanging loose from the hand in his lap, the other braced against his ear.

He’s going to have a serious case of tinnitus tomorrow. Right now, he can’t hear much of anything but he’s shouting regardless. “Do you have any idea who that cat belongs to!” he roars, or imagines he roars. It comes out as more of a hoarse, prolonged croak.

Falling backward from both the concussive power of the blast and his own dramatic and flailing effort to get back from that ocelot, Rex lands on his ass and takes a moment to blink stupidly at the scene in front of him. Slowly he reaches up to wipe his face when he realizes he’s bleeding anew, glancing down to look at the bit of wood that struck him.

He realizes Astrid’s speaking to him and turns to look at her, brows raised incredulously. “You use that word choose like it has anything to do with any of this,” he says, a sweeping gesture made to the littered beach. Slowly he gets to his feet with a wince. “Where the fuck are my shoes?”

Buddy pulls the trigger.

He pulls the trigger out of sheer convulsive reflex at the same moment he’s clocked in the head by a piece of boat big enough to drop him flat on his back. Wood, metal. Whatever it is, it snaps him unconscious again for a solid twenty or thirty seconds, and he’s every bit as slow to rouse as he was before.

No telling where the bullet went. Out into the sea, with any luck.

A choked cough stifles into a laggard smash of his hand up over his face, gun tripped out loose through his fingers somewhere along the way. There’s blood coming from somewhere, now. He’ll find the source eventually, if he keeps probing up over the side of his head.


There are sluggish waves crashing in slow motion somewhere under the shrill ring in his ears, voices around him. A shoe poking him in the back.

“I dreamed we had a ocelot.”

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License