Saturday, April 23, 2016

TV CASUALTY

I've been away from here too long! Between 60 hours on the job, writing for Popshifter, trying to get my next book going, trying to sell my four current books, and prepping to move halfway across the country Stranger With Friction has been sorely neglected. I'm not going to announce a return to regular features, because honestly, it will probably be sometime in June before I'm back to running on any sort of consistent schedule. I will, however try to get at least one post up a week. And you can always catch me once or twice a week over at Popshifter.com!

Tonight I wanted to just do a quick run down of some the shows of been following. I don't have cable, instead I have internet running through my Playstation so I can run Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix. So, the most current I get is the night after a show airs. In some cases though, a show either doesn't show up or it only shows up on Amazon for $1.99 an episode. I'll pay that for say Walking Dead, but not for Supergirl. After the way Season 6 of WD ended though, I'm feeling like a chump for not having that the other way around. So for some shows it might be a year or more after they aired before I see them. I just watched True Detective Season 1 and started True Blood Season 1. 

For the sake of this review I'll only list shows that are currently running.

Gotham I have dug my heels in and stood up for this show on social media and I'll do it here as well. Of all the super hero properties that have come to the small screen, Gotham was the one I was least excited about. I saw the show having great potential, but my expectations were low going into Season 1. Fortunately, after a the first few episodes, Gotham found its footing and then continued to improve straight through the season finale and then hit the ground running in Season 2. Watching villains like Penguin, The Riddler, and Mr Freeze develop has been really fun. The portrayals of young Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle have been spot on. The show's anchor, Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) has been a solid hero, even through his personal flaws and missteps as he fights to keep his moral center from shattering as he's constantly being forced to bend or even break the rules to bring justice to Gotham-which explains why he's so sympathetic and willing to take help from a certain pointy eared vigilante in his near future. Yes, Gotham is Batman without Batman, but it is still a great Batman show. It's unrelentingly dark and violent, it's been freely embracing the sci-fi and horror aspects of the Batman stories, and it has laid a rock solid foundation for the day David Mazouz's Bruce Wayne finally dons the cowl. Gotham is Noir-Punk with elements of Clockwork Orange and The Island Of Doctor Moreau. Well written, well directed, awesome cast, and some great taste in music. I love this show and hope it stays around for years (as long as it doesn't pull a Smallville and pull the plug as Batman emerges!).

Bates Motel If this show was just Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore playing off each other it would still be worth watching. The show takes us back to the roots of Psycho while mixing in a really fascinating small town crime drama and modernizing the story. Some people balked at the very notion of anyone else playing Norman besides the legendary Anthony Perkins, but Freddie Highmore is actually a blast to watch, especially when he becomes 'mother'. Like Gotham, there is a built in prejudice against this show and that's really too bad, because like Gotham you have top notch writing, directing and an all around great cast. It's hard to take your eyes off Farmiga and Highmore. Also like Gotham, we know where the story winds up, but we're on new ground story wise. Like they say about vacations; half the fun is getting there.

Arrow/The Flash/Legends Of Tomorrow I'm a DC guy, always have been. My earliest memories involve sitting on various living room floors (we moved around a lot) with my Mego Caped crusaders watching Adam West and Burt Ward kick the crap out of a cavalcade of colorful criminals. When Arrow debuted I was pretty excited, but I mainly stuck around through Season 1 out of duty; I wanted the show to succeed and continue and possibly spawn more DC shows, but I wasn't totally in love with it. At least not until Season 2, where the show really found it's legs and got interesting. Season 4 though has felt a bit meandering to me, which sucks, because I like the characters and the actors, but Arrow is being lapped by it's sister shows The Flash and Legends Of Tomorrow. I appreciate each show having it's own flavor, but Arrow needs to step up it's game to stay relevant. The Flash has been consistent since episode 1 as have Legends Of Tomorrow. The villains and cameos have been a lot of fun, hell last week Legends guest starred Jonah Hex and it was so good I've started hoping for a Hex series. I want to see Arrow become a little more colorful and take on more super villains. I think it's time he met up with Green Lantern and have the show start to mine those classic Denny O'Neill/Neal Adams stories of the 1970s.

Supernatural As a long time horror fan and gore hound and considering that my favorite directors are David Cronenberg, Dario Argento, John Carpenter, and David Lynch, the last show I ever expected to like was one about two pretty boys hunting monsters on the CW, but I'll be damned if I didn't binge watch six seasons and then keep up with every episode from the Season 7 premiere. I really like the show's take on vampires and werewolves and how it digs into monster lore from around the world. It does a good job of building dread and horror and mixing in some (by TV standards) gruesome violence and still bringing legitimate laughs. Ten seasons and it still finds ways to keep going and keep the formula fresh. 

I'm looking forward to October when I'll get to see American Horror Story; Hotel and I'm only looking forward to the next season of Walking Dead for Jeffery Dean Morgan. In the last few minutes of the season finale he literally stole the show. "Give me your shit or I'll kill you." Indeed.
   

Saturday, March 12, 2016

KING VULTURE'S SOUND ATTACK; YOUR CAR IS AN ABATTOIR OF LOVE MIX

Throbbing Gristle...DOA
Big Black...Kerosene
Human League...Nightclubbing
Cabaret Voltaire...Just Fascination
Einsturzende Neubauten...Sehnsucht
Gary Numan...Metal
Wire...Ex-Lion Tamer
David Bowie...Ashes to Ashes
Killdozer...Going To The Beach

DEADWORLD...THE BEST ZOMBIE SAGA EVER.

Back in high school, my friend Jase and I would spend many a weekend driving around scouring the used book stores and thrift shops. One Saturday we found a treasure trove of black and white indie comics, mostly horror; The main find though, was Deadworld. There were about four five issues of the original twenty-six issue run, some from Arrow Comics and some from Caliber Comics.

We were hooked by Deadworld's twist on the zombie genre. You have a gateway to another world, some four armed eyeless monsters, some intelligent zombies, tight writing, and killer artwork. Finding more Deadworld became as high of a priority for us as another black and white horror indie we'd been chasing for a couple of years, Faust; Love Of The Damned.

Before you roll your eyes at the notion of another zombie anything, be aware that Deadworld launched in 1987 and didn't just follow the George Romero model of zombie storytelling, like nearly every other zombie novel, movie, TV show, or comic. The apocalypse of Deadworld has a supernatural origin; a gateway has opened and the walking dead, led by some intelligent zombies, invade our planet. The gateway was only opened temporarily and the main villain, King Zombie, wants to reopen it permanently and take over our world. On the human side, you've got a group of friends trying to stay a step ahead of King Zombie and his army.

There are some very uncomfortable similarities to Robert Kirkman's Walking Dead, here's series co-creator, Gary Reed talking about them to Comic Book Resources (click the link for the full interview);
"Well, I've never read the comics but have caught some of the TV show. My general impression of the show is that it's a little slow but it seems pretty interesting. I actually get asked a lot about it not just because of the zombie worlds but because the events that I've seen in "Walking Dead" are very similar to a lot of stuff that happened in the original "Deadworld" series. I mean, I don't want to be that guy that screams "rip-off" like so many others, but there are a number of similarities... the guy with the hand cut off and blade attached, the sword wielding female with chained up followers, a wife named Laura and a son named Carl, a religious family that seems unaffected by zombies, these are just some. I really don't think about it too much unless someone asks and I do get lots of advice from many people about going after them. I don't really think about it as I'm so busy and I have to determine if I should think about it more. The current "Deadworld" storylines are so far removed that it's hard to look way back in the past. I guess I need to give it some more thought and actually explore it in more detail about any kind of connection."

More important than the similarities, though, are the differences. Walking Dead relies on the Romero model of a vague cause for the zombie outbreak. Reed and Vincent Locke took Romero's influence and gave it more depth and gave their outbreak an origin. We've seen talking zombies in Return Of the Living Dead, but we've never seen anything like King Zombie; imagine a zombie Lemmy Kilmeister, from Motorhead, riding a Harley and all the bad-assness that implies! Ruthless, sarcastic, and pure evil straight to his black, shriveled heart. Deadworld has also done a lot more evolving and at a much faster pace. And though the publishing became sporadic in the 1990s, Deadworld is still going, making it by far the longest running zombie comic, always delivering both quality writing and artwork.

Speaking of the art, series co-creator Vincent Locke's iconic artwork has been seen in the graphic novel A History Of Violence as well as on death metal album covers, including Cannibal Corpse. His unique style made Deadworld extra creepy and the violence more shocking. And though he moved on to other projects long ago, he has had some very good and worthy successors with Dalibor Talijic, Sami Makkonen, and Mark Bloodworth.

Cliber Comics also published some Deadworld related one shots that were unrelated to the main story, one of which, Roadkill, is basically a prose short story in a comic book format with beautiful full page black and white paintings by Dave Dorman. Del Stone Jr wrote the story involving a group of neo-Nazis trying to reclaim America from the zombies, but runs into a hero smart zombie, named Hitch. (Hitch returned in Heavy Metal's Monster Massacre).

In terms of story, depth, quality, and gore Deadworld sets a high water mark, not just in comics, but in the horror genre. If you're sick of the Walking Dead's meandering, go find the comic that did it first and better.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

HELLRAISER; JUDGEMENT

By now you've probably noticed a lot of people making scathing, misspelled diatribes against FX artist/writer/director Gary Tunnicliffe in regards to the announcement that he is helming a new Hellraiser film. Also Doug Bradley will once again not be Pinhead. Take a deep breath. Filming has just started and there has been no footage to pass judgement over. (By the way, the new subtitle for this tenth entry is Judgement.)
Every time I see a post about the new Hellraiser film on social media it's followed by comments seething with anger, people convinced without a shred of evidence that this will be the worst sequel of all. I ask myself, why, children, why are you so angry? Yes, Revelations sucked. It was a hack job to keep the Hellraiser rights within Dimension's control. And Hellworld was almost as bad, but to say the franchise hasn't been good since the first or second film is at best a matter of a opinion and at worst a lie.
Considering that about half of the sequels were based on non-Hellraiser scripts with Pinhead plugged in and they still wound up watchable, dare I say enjoyable, is somewhat miraculous. Story wise, everything post Bloodlines and up to Hellworld mostly suffered from low budgets. There were some story flaws, true, and the films did little to advance the actual story that began with the first film. Hellraiser is not the first franchise to be guilty of such sin though. Look at every Friday the 13th film after Jason Lives. As much as I love F13, most Hellraisers after Bloodlines are better than most Fridays after Jason Lives. Strangely though, a steaming pile of dung like Jason Takes Manhattan gets more love than Deader. Has Hellraiser simply become fandom's punching bag?
Let's compare Hellraiser with some other big franchises; Halloween lost it's way after part six and Texas Chainsaw after part three. A Nightmare On Elm Street reached it's peak with The Dream Warriors and while it kept the story intact for three more sequels it suffered from the law of diminishing returns. All five of the franchises have suffered from bad sequels and/or remakes of wildly varying quality. They all also suffer from a case of arrested development. None of them have ever really taken a chance with a major reinvention of the franchise or ever evolved the story. (Wes Craven's A New Nightmare took a stab at this, but didn't recharge the franchise so much as it gave fans a chance to see Nancy [Heather Langenkamp] take on Freddy one more time.)
Some of the comments that have been echoed the most have been "No Doug Bradley, no Hellraiser" or "No Clive Barker, no Hellraisr". That's as silly as "No Ian Fleming, no Bond", or "No Bob Kane, no Batman", or worse, "No Michael Keaton, no Batman". Sometimes a franchise outgrows it's creator and sometimes the creator has better things to do than churn out sequel after sequel. These childish temper tantrums at writers and directors are as unhealthy as cigarettes for horror as a genre. What is a director? An artist. A director creates. No director sets out to make a bad film (ok, most don't). Even if it's for a pay day more than a creative impetus, no director wants to be associated with a bad film.
I don't expect Judgement to outshine the first two Hellraisers, but I also don't expect it to suck. After everything I've read from or about Gary Tunnicliffe I believe he has embarked on a journey to create a really good Hellraiser film. He's not just a hired gun keeping the rights in Dimension's hands, he's a fan and has worked on the FX for more than half the films in the franchise. So instead of throwing Gary under the bus for attempting what none of us could get done, lets be supportive and send a message to Dimension that we care about Hellraiser and demand quality films from them.   

Sunday, January 17, 2016

LOOKING BACK AT DAVID BOWIE'S LOW

David Bowie went back to his home planet almost a week ago and there have been many people come forward with beautiful things to say about this great man who towered over rock and roll. A giant among giants who's influence will never be erased.
I've spent the week listening to three albums; 1972's Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars and 1977's Low and "Heroes". Bowie was one of those artists like, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, or Johnny Cash that was just always in my life either through the radio or television and I don't remember becoming a "fan" of any of them they were just a natural part of my life. In a way, I took Bowie for granted for years. I was always happy to hear him on the radio, regardless of era, but he wasn't an artist I obsessively sought out, like Black Flag or Townes Van Zandt, until I heard "Heroes".
I was twenty two and living in Boston. I'd gotten a job at Waterstones Book store, on Exeter St. working in the receiving department. Whoever occupied my table before me had left behind a small stack of CDs which included Marvin Gaye, Roy Orbinson, a Motown compilation, and Bowie's "Heroes". Bowie really surprised me. "Heroes" had such a vital sound-artistically rich, but with a pop sheen. I knew I needed to start taking Bowie as seriously I took Lou Reed.
My next purchase was the Rykodisc double cassette Best Of, which accompanied me on many train rides to and from work. What I learned about Bowie was that he brought a sheer joy and exuberance to playing rock and roll which other artists lacked. Not to take away from anyone's songwriting abilities or their albums' production values, but Bowie wasn't to cool to smile through the music. That was refreshing and was always a good palette cleanser after a lot of the hardcore, blues, and doom metal I usually listened to.
It took me awhile to finally land on one of his albums that I'd call my favorite, but Low was it. Recorded the same year as "Heroes", Low is part of the Berlin trilogy that also includes Lodger. 1977 was a pretty crazy year for Bowie and long time friend Iggy Pop as they worked on each other's albums and recorded Pop's The Idiot and Lust For Life the same year as "Heroes" and Low. We're talking about four of the best albums made by either artist crafted in less than a year!
One of the things that set Low apart was the synth/electronic b-side that was mostly instrumental. The a-side featured some very good songs that are like little sci-fi character dramas (the sci-fi aspect being provided by the Kraut rock influence of synthesizer music). Be My Wife was released as a single and was the most classic Bowie sounding rock song on the album. The rest of the album is much more avant garde than anything Bowie had attempted up to that point, and despite what some critics thought, it was a great success. Partly because the album had a secret weapon in Brian Eno of Roxy Music providing much of the synth sounds. I can't say I've ever been a huge Eno fan, but I certainly have a great appreciation of him on Low.
When the news of Bowie passing hit, Low became my go to album. The last one, Blackstar, is amazing, and I enjoyed listening to it last Saturday morning while I was writing, but I think I'll take a little more time before I return to it. Low has a hopefulness to it that has been a great comfort, even in the more down beat instrumentals and lines like "Sometimes it gets so lonely...". In my head Low creates a whole world in it's seven tracks, as complete as a JG Ballard novel. There's not a hell of a lot of other rockers that have accomplished as much as Bowie and stayed good and vital for as long as he did. His shoes are just too damn big to ever be filled by the Fall Out Boys and Kanyes of this world.    
(full album here)


Monday, January 11, 2016

MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN MONSTERS PART 46; TAXI DRIVER TURNS 40 THIS YEAR

"Did anyone prophesize these people?
Only Travis"
-Red Angel Dragnet by The Clash

Martin Scorsese's masterpiece, Taxi Driver, debuted on Febuary 8th 1976, the same year David Berkowitz aka the Son of Sam started his killing spree in New York City. There were also a total of 1,600 murders in the city that year (in 1980 there would be 1,814 and in 1990 2,245!!) The city was still suffering from the 1975 fiscal crisis which would eventually lead to the 25 hour black out in 1977 which lead to looting, arson and murder. Then there was the heroin and crack and a massive decrease in police presence which made an already violent city more terrifying.
Taxi Driver was about one man in that city. A man who claimed he would not take it anymore. A man that would stand up to the scum, the filth. But Travis Bickle (Robert DeNiro), he was no hero. Travis Bickle was a sick man. A man suffering from post traumatic stress disorder from his time in Vietnam, but there's no sense in Taxi Driver that Bickle wasn't already touched with a bit of darkness before he shipped out from boot camp. Not to say Bickle lacked a moral center, on the contrary, he knew the difference between right and wrong and firmly believed in his rightness. He was no junky, dealer, pimp, fairy, creep, whatever. He was a man who could not take it anymore. A man who dreamt of the day a real rain would come and wash all the filth off the street.
There are two distinct stories intertwining in Taxi Driver. One, is the story of Travis the fed up taxi driver, who after a chance encounter with a 13 year old prostitute, Iris (Jody Foster), decides it's his duty to rescue her from this scumbag pimp named Sport (Harvey Keitel). Travis purchases guns from a black market dealer to become a hero vigilante. The second, is the story of Travis the lonely Taxi driver who meets the angelic Betsy (Cybill Shepard). He falls for her hard, but after a disastrous first date she never wants to see him again. He's so tore up by her flat rejection of him that he purchases guns from a black market dealer, intending to assassinate presidential candidate Charles Palantine, for whom Betsy works for and admires.
The two stories twist around each other like snakes, but Travis also seems outside of his own stories at times. Left alone to narrate his own descent into hell. He floats in and out of the roles of savior and destroyer and doesn't seem to understand that they're not different, they're the same man with the same story. He's "God's lonely man." He's sick, weak and he knows it (like Fyodor Dostoevsky's antagonist in Notes From The Underground) and he has to get better and get stronger, healthier, all the while self-sabotaging all his own efforts.
 Even if you haven't seen Taxi Driver you probably know the "You talkin' to me?" bit or have seen the images of a mohawked DeNiro. It was a favorite of The Clash and they quoted a chunk of dialogue in the song that opened this essay. It's a touchstone of cinema and pop culture.
Writer Paul Schrader drew inspiration for the film from the loneliness and depression he felt driving around all night after his divorce. He was also influenced by the aforementioned Notes From the Underground. Notes and Taxi Driver are both related to the audience by the a first person narrative, men who are not well with the world. Bitter outcasts who fantasize revenge. Schrader saw the taxi
driver as good metaphor for loneliness and knocked out the screenplay in less than a month. Scorsese landed the directing job after his stellar work on Mean Streets, which also starred DeNiro and Keitel. Neither Schrader or Scorsese set out to make a horror film, and some will argue Taxi Driver's ties to the genre, but the end result is a work of urban horror that's closer to Henry; Portrait of a Serial Killer than Goodfellas. Taxi Driver is certainly a film, regardless of how you'd categorize it, that many horror fans can latch on to, like Apocalypse Now, The Warriors, or Class of 1984, that take cues, consciously or not, from the horror genre. And in turn Taxi Driver's influence crosses genre boundaries. I've seen horror films that wish their violence was as effective as the last several minutes of Taxi Driver. Also, something else that ties it to the horror genre is Bernard Herrmann's amazing score. You may know Herrmann also scored Hitchcock's Psycho. 
Taxi Driver is as close to perfect a a film can get. It's meticulous in its world building and portrayal of the darker aspects of the human soul. All the stars really go above and beyond in their roles, even supporting characters played by Albert Brooks, Peter Boyle and Scorsese himself are essential pieces to this amazing puzzle.



Saturday, January 2, 2016

EXCERPT FROM CITY LONG SUFFERING; TROUBLE 'ROUND HERE

Hey, fiends! Here's an excerpt from from latest book, City Long Suffering. If you like what you read you can get the e-book HERE for $3.99 and the physical book HERE for$11.99. 
The afternoon was wearing down when Robert pulled into a large gas station. As he unscrewed the cap he scanned the parking lot and street and saw the Camaro from earlier in the day driving by slowly from the direction they’d just come. It pulled into the parking lot of a grocery store across the street. The driver parked by the entrance, but the engine was still running. By the time the gas tank was full the occupants had still not gotten out. Robert replaced the cap and slid back behind the wheel, watching the rear view mirror.
“What? You see something, Robert?”
“That Camaro that passed us earlier. Somehow they got
 behind us again and just parked across the street.”
“How many were in the car?”
“Two.”
“Ok. Just take off like nothing’s wrong. It might just be
 a coincidence.”
“Right.”
Bad Penny had dozed off, but opened her eyes as the engine restarted.
“Mmmm-where are we?”
“South Carolina.”
“Yikes. How much farther should we go?”
“I was going to stop here, but I think we’ve got a tail.”
“Oh shit, for real? Robert what the fuck are you going to do?”
“He’s going to drive and we’re all going to stay calm. If there’s trouble, I’m a good shot.”
Robert put the car in drive and pulled out onto the street, passing the Camaro. About half a block
 past and the Camaro pulled out too.
“Damn.”
Robert put the pedal to the floor, whipping into the oncoming lane past a pick up truck and then
 a hard right up a small hill. The street lead into a neighborhood and Robert started taking rights
 and lefts, but he never lost the Camaro that were just behind them at every turn.
Robert bounced the Charger out onto a four-lane highway keeping it floored, but the Camaro was
 driving right up his ass.
“We need to find a crowded shopping center or something…”
“Not if there’s going to be shooting. Look, pull into that church. I’m gonna stop this shit right now.”
Ann had the gun in her hand and turned the safety off. Robert took a hard left, skidding a bit and
nearly hitting the brick sign. The Camaro had to swerve, bouncing into the shallow ditch and into 
the parking lot. By the time they were able to stop Ann was already out of the car leveling the gun 
at them.
The passenger jumped out first with a sawed off shotgun. Ann pumped a single slug through his throat. 
As that was happening, the driver was getting out, but the sight of his partner’s blood splashing across 
the windshield gave him pause-time enough for Ann to shoot out the front left tire.
Robert had gotten out and was moving low behind her.
“Stay back, Robert. You! Get out of the car or I’ll put a bullet between your eyes!”
The driver got out, hands raised.
“Whoa, whoa! I don’t know what’s goin’ on, lady! I was just told to follow you!”
“Yea, and I guess you didn’t know your buddy had a shotgun? Put your hands on the hood and spread 
your legs. Robert, check him. And get ready to get messy, because if he moves, I’m blowing his 
brains out.”
Robert patted him down and took a .38 from his waistband and his wallet. Robert looked in the 
back and saw more guns, a machete, a chainsaw, baseball bats, rope, and chains.
Robert turned to Ann, “They’re boy scouts.”
“Huh?”
“They’ve got enough hardware back here, they’ve prepared for everything.”
Ann stood behind the driver, reaching around to hold the pistol under his chin.
“You kill those people yourself? Huh? Or are there more of you?”
“I didn’t kill anyone.”
“Then who told you to follow us?”
“You ain’t gonna live long enough to find out, bitch.”
“Oh, did you find your balls?”
Robert was going through the car, “I found his cell phone! …Damn, there’re only initials by the 
numbers.”
“Don’t worry, Porter will figure it out.”
“Nooooo heeee woooooon’t.”
“No?”
“Shit, I bet he’s already dead.”
Ann took a step back and put a bullet through the back of his left knee. He dropped to the ground 
screaming profanity. Bad Penny was slack jawed and got a chill when Ann turned her head to the 
side admiring her own handy work.
“I lost my son two years ago. I also lost my ability to give a shit about, well, almost anyone. Except 
my husband. He’s not dead. In fact,”
She shot his other knee.
“He’s going to kill whoever sent you after us and anyone else connected to you all. Robert, get his 
keys and then help me dump him in his car.”
Robert pulled the keys out of the ignition and pocketed them. Then he pulled the driver up by the 
armpits, while Ann grabbed him by the belt keeping the gun pointing at his face. They stuffed him 
behind the wheel and closed the door. Ann turned toward the Charger stumbling a bit, shaking so 
bad she almost dropped the gun.
“J-Jesus!”
“Are you ok, Ann?”
She grabbed Robert’s shoulder.
“That was crazy, huh?!”
He chuckled, “Uh, yea.”
Ann got out her cell phone and hit Porter’s number. She smiled at Bad Penny mouthing ‘holy shit!’ 
to Robert.
Porter’s phone rang almost until the voice mail would have picked up.
“Hi, cunt. Where you at?”
Robert caught Ann as her legs gave out. She stared at the phone in disbelief. Robert took it from 
her and hit speaker. There was a gravelly voice calling out to her.
“Are you there, you dried up bitch?”
“Who is this?!”
“Would you believe the Terrible Head? Now who are you, homie?”
Ann screamed into the phone, “Where’s Porter?!”
“He’s right here, mama! Relax. Tell me where you are and we’ll come get you and you can see him. 
Where’s my boys? I know they were on you just a little bit ago.”
“Bleeding, mother fucker! One’s already dead!”
“Awwww! That’s so unfriendly.”
Ann tore away from Robert with the phone and ran to the Camaro. She jerked the door open and put 
a bullet into the driver’s crotch.
“Who’s on this phone, asshole?! Who has my husband?!”
He just screamed and shook his head.
She shot him in the belly next.
“WHO, god dammit?!”
On the phone the Terrible Head was whooping and hollering. “Kill’em, bitch! Go on! You ain’t 
seeing yer old man in one piece ever again any way!”
Ann shot the driver in the face and started walking toward the Charger. She said into the phone, 
“I’ll see you soon,” and hung up.
“Ann…”
“We’re going home. Pop the trunk.”
Robert hit the button on the key fob and he and Bad Penny followed Ann to the rear of the car.
Bad Penny slapped Robert in the chest, “Holy shit, dude!”
The trunk was full of shotguns, semi-automatic assault rifles, and handguns. Ann started popping 
rounds into the chambers and handing them to Robert.
“Put them up front.”
“Are expecting the zombie apocalypse, Mrs. Gray?”
She glanced back at Bad Penny.
“We expect everything.”
“Ann, what about Porter? Should we call Ray or Sam?”
She thought about it for a second.
“I don’t know who we can really trust at the department. I can’t think of anything Ray could do. 
Daily. I’ll call Sergeant Daily with the highway patrol. Porter liked…likes him.”
They all got back into the car. Ann looked back at Bad Penny.
“What to do with you?”
“What do you mean?”
“This is going to get ugly. We need to drop you off somewhere safe.”
“I would really feel safest with you!”
“Ann, someone else could be following us. If we drop her off they might take her.”
“Yea…you ever shoot a gun before?”
“No.”
“Then take the shotgun. You don’t need to be a good shot with it.”
Robert found the fastest way back to Maupins with the GPS and headed for the interstate.

Ann went through her contacts and found Sergeant Daily’s name and hit ‘call’.