Mulling it all over, Dick says,“Okay, fine. What we’re going to do is, we’re going to bring this whole damn space station back to the Earth...”
“Ah, but, Dick, you forget,” said Frank, with Daphne still pressing the business end of the snubnose against his glistening forehead, “we are not in your earthling state of reality.”
“So we’re gonna fly this damn thing back into our state of reality,” said Dick.
“Oh, Dick,” said Frank, smiling weakly, “you do not understand. This here hotel and casino -- as fabulous as it all is -- is still merely a station. Think of it as a whatchamacallit caravanserai in the vast desert of space. It is not designed, nor is it equipped, to break out of, of --”
“Fishtown,” said Daphne.
“Yes,” said Frank. “Fishtown. This dimension. For that you need one of our marvelous specially designed flying saucers, outfitted with a, a, uh --”
“A Reality Woofer,” said Daphne.
“Correct,” said Frank. “I can see you were paying attention. By the way, Mrs. Ridpath, I wonder if I might have a cigarette?”
“No,” said Daphne.
Dick looked at his own cigarette, then stubbed it out in a stand-up ashtray near the host-stand.
“All right,” he said. “Take us to the saucer.”
“Hey, pal,” said Brad Dexter, “I just finished telling you the saucer is on the fritz thanks to your old lady --”
Like a flash Dick pulled his trusty old Browning Hi-Power out of his side jacket pocket, cocked the hammer, and pointed the gun at Brad’s chest.
“Cut the bullshit,” said Dick. “You and Frank are coming with us to the saucer. Everybody else stays here and enjoys the show.”
Joey slipped his hand under his jacket again.
“Say the word, Frank, and they never make it through the door.”
Harvey whipped his big revolver out of his waistband, cocked it and pointed it at Frank’s head.
This was now two revolvers pointed at Frank’s head.
“Go ahead, Frank,” said Harvey. “Say the word.”
“I got just one question,” said Frank. “Who the fuck was in charge of frisking these people?”
“Let’s go, Frank,” said Dick. “We’ve got a flight to catch.”
Two minutes later, Dick, Daphne, Harvey, Frank and Brad were all in an elevator car, going down. Brad and Frank were closest to the doors, Frank to the right and Brad to the left, with Dick and Harvey behind them. Dick had his gun pointed at Frank’s back, Harvey’s pistol was in Brad’s back. Daphne stood in a corner, smoking her cigarette and holding her revolver at her side.
“Y’know, Dick,“ Frank said, “I find it a little hard to believe you would shoot me in cold blood.”
“It wouldn’t give me any pleasure, Frank, but you gotta believe I would do it. You know how violent we humans are. And you know I’ve had to kill people before.”
“Okay, granted, you’re a tough guy. But you bump me off, where’s that leave you?”
“Brad will help us,” said Daphne. “Won’t you, Brad?”
“Lady,” said Brad, “long as I got a rod pointed at my back, you say jump I say how high.”
“Faggot,” said Frank.
“Hey, ya know what? Fuck you, Frank,” said Brad. “I been putting up with your bullshit like three thousand years now, and let me tell you, these people put one in your skull you won’t see me shedding a tear.”
“Yeah, you’d like that, wouldn’t ya, punk? Don’t think I don’t know you’ve had an eye on my job --”
“Fuck you, fuck your job.”
“All right, both of you, shut up,” said Dick.
Frank turned around.
“Okay, tough guy,” he said. “Shoot. See what it gets you. You fucking ignorant earthling. Don’t you realize you kill me my superiors will fucking give you a fate worse than fucking death? How’s an eternity in fucking blackness and solitude and immateriality and silence sound to you, pal? Just you. Just you, and your own pissant awareness of your own paltry self for the rest of fucking eternity, huh, buddy? You think I had a rough time in the stockade from Ernie Borgnine in From Here to Eternity? You ain’t seen nothing, my friend. We’re talking eternity in the fucking hole, pal.”
Frank took his gold cigarette case out of the side pocket of his jacket, took out a cigarette and put it in his mouth. He snapped the case shut, dropped it back in the pocket, then took his thin gold lighter out of the opposite pocket, and lit up.
“On the other hand,” he said, “you play ball, you’re the king of the damn earth -- plus you got practical immortality. This is not a bad deal for an earthling. I am sorry about your two friends on the earth down there, but there is nothing we can do to help them. If we had an operable saucer we would move right in there with a death ray attack and deal with the situation, I assure you. But going off half-cocked like this -- this is just --”
The elevator came to a stop with a slight lurch, and after a second or two the doors slid slowly open.
“Our floor, Frank,” said Brad.
“So whaddaya say, Dick?” said Frank. “Put away the hardware and all is forgiven and and all is forgotten.”
“Nice speech, Frank,” said Dick. “Now get out of the elevator.”
“Ah, you’re fuckin’ nuts,” said Frank.
“Sure,” said Dick. “I’m an earthling. Now move it.”
(Click here for our next thrilling chapter. And kindly turn to the right hand side of this page to find an up-to-date listing of links to all other extant episodes of Larry Winchester’s A Town Called Disdain™, a Monogram Production.)