*”Larry Winchester is the Homer of our age, and A Town Called Disdain is both our Iliad and our Odyssey.” -- Harold Bloom
“You,” said Moloch, and, Sten gun pointed at Dick, he limped closer, his broken leg making a revolting crunching sound with each step.
“Now, let’s not go off half-cocked here, pal,” said Dick. He tossed away his cigarette.
“You,” said Moloch again.
Repetitive motherfucker, thought Dick.
Daphne grabbed Dick’s right biceps with both hands. He really wished she wouldn’t do that. He was armed to the teeth of course, revolvers in both jacket side pockets, his Browning stuck in his belt, but the problem was getting one of these out and shooting this idiot before getting shot oneself.
Moloch stopped about ten feet away from their little group. The Sten remained pointed at Dick.
“Fucking hell,” said Brad.
“Shit,” said Harvey.
“Who’s this joker?” said Buddy.
“Zip it, Buddy,” said Mac.
“Yes,” said Moloch. “Zip it, Buddy.”
“So consider me zipped,” said Buddy.
“You,” said Moloch to Dick. “Do you remember -- Songjin? a certain joint British/American commando raid?”*
“Songjin?” said Dick. “Um, sure. Sure I do.”
“And do you remember a certain thin, perhaps to your American perceptions slightly effeminate, British marine subaltern?”
The shock of recognition, through the chaos of more than sixteen years, of the clean-cut earnest young officer in Korea and this bearded, one-eyed, bloody-faced, shambling leather-clad evil wreck before him now.
“No,” said Dick.
“Yes,” said Moloch. His normally euphonious if raspy voice was now rather nasal because of his broken nose, which still sputtered and bubbled fitfully with thick blood. “Oh yes,” he repeated.
“Jesus fuck,” said Dick. “What’s your name again?”
“I am called Moloch.”
“No,” said Dick. “Your real name. Nigel? Ian? Vyvyan?”
“Moloch will do, thank you very much.”
“So,” said Dick, “we’re like -- comrades-in-arms and all.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that I despise you.”
“What?” said Dick. “’Cause I shot your friend the other day? Come on, pal, as I recall it he was coming at me with a goddam blackjack.”**
“I don’t care a fuck about him. I don’t even care that you and your associates have just smeared my gang into the dust with what appears to be a flying saucer.”
“Well, uh, Moloch, I assure you that that was not intentional. You see, we lost control of the ship and --”
“I just told you I don’t give a fuck about that.”
“What I care about is you. You. You fucking hero,” said Moloch. “You know, Songjin was my first combat mission. And my last real one, actually. My one chance to prove myself. And I never even got to fire a shot. Whereas you got to be the big Yank hero.”
“What a lot of horse shit,” said Dick.
“And then,” continued Moloch, “just to add insult to injury, you -- you turn up years later, and -- and --”
“And embarrass me in front of my men.”
Dick paused a moment.
“What an incredible load of horse shit,” he said.
“I’ll show you what horse shit is,” said Moloch.
“Now wait a minute, fella.”
“No. I won’t.”
“Look,” said Dick. He was trying unsuccessfully to pry Daphne’s fingers off of his arm. “Moloch, a couple of months of therapy with a good shrink, you’ll be over the whole deal.”
“I have a better idea. I’m going to kill you. Now. And then I’ll kill your friends. I think that would be jolly good therapy. I think that would be jolly good therapy indeed.”
As Moloch spoke Dick was deciding to dive sharply forward and to the left, and, hoping that Daphne would let go of his arm, to pull out the Browning with his right hand, and, provided he was still alive, to squeeze off a few as soon as he hit the ground, all the time knowing that he had a snowball's chance in hell unless of course Moloch’s Sten should jam -- when the oddest thing happened.
A baseball came out of the sky and struck Moloch in the head, ripping a great gash in his skull above his right ear and down he dropped like a sack of shit as the ball rolled along the ground, teetered on the edge of the sink hole, then dropped in and disappeared.***
Well, so much for that, Moloch was able to think. He thought he had been shot, who knew by whom. It didn’t matter now. Some fucker. He looked up at the stars and noticed they were beautiful. So what.
And now I’ll be extinct, he thought. And about fucking time.
And so as flights of demons sang him to his rest he felt his chi hissing out of the hole in his head like air from a punctured tire and then the voices faded out and he felt himself fading out.
All right then, fuck you, he thought.
* See Episode 34.
**See Episode 13.
*** See Episode 78.
(Continued here and until the last loose plot strand is sorted. Meanwhile, please feel free to look to the right hand side of this page for a possibly up-to-date listing of all other published episodes of Larry Winchester’s A Town Called Disdain™, available absolutely free for a limited time only (offer void where prohibited).)