Pizza Bones -Emergence Of A Killer (Book One) by Paul Kirk by Paul Kirk - Read Online

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Pizza Bones -Emergence Of A Killer (Book One) - Paul Kirk

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Endnotes

(PREFACE) The Man in the Moon

Section 5.7B.34 - Subject to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval, develop a coordinated study plan with the fishery managers to evaluate the extent of predation on juvenile salmon migrating through the five mid-Columbia river reservoirs. By October 1993, all five reservoirs should be indexed for predator populations. -Excerpt from 1994 Fish and Wildlife Program

***

A diffuse fog lifts…and becomes his first conscious memory. He is groggy while lying in his crib in the near darkness. The small bedroom is warm and comfy. He wiggles and squirms beneath the fuzzy blue blanket just for the pleasant feel of the texture on his bare arms and legs. He opens sleep-heavy eyes once more to see the Mickey Mouse nightlight casting elongated shadows on the far wall. He can see the small uncurtained window slightly off center and his dreamy eyes take in the full moon beginning to invade the top right corner. Moon. He knows the name of the round light shining.

A strange sound enters the quiet room. Scratch. At the window. He snaps further into awareness. It is a level of awareness never achieved before. Clarity. An intense wave of trembling fear strikes his belly. It numbs his toes. Then confusion. Something is wrong. Squeak. Snick. Something at the window. Big shadows at the window shifting about in the moonlight. He follows the movement as it slows, then stops for a moment. He suddenly makes the connection that he is seeing a pair of big hands touching the bottom of the glass.

He remembers to breathe as his newly developing mind makes intellectual jumps, unprecedented up to this point in his fourteen months of life. He begins sequencing events, patterns, and timelines. In a burst of revelation, he ties together the wrongness that occurred throughout the entire day. Especially at the park. He is impelled to do something, take some action, and yells for Mommy in a throat-constricted fashion. Mommy.

Silver moonlight flickers from the window as the big hands shift about. Paralyzed with fear, he watches the window slowly slide in its vinyl tracks. A face tentatively peeks in. He knows the face. His mind easily recalls the smiling, but bad man, who was talking to Mommy at the park. The patterns click further. He feels again what he sensed at the park as he sat uncomfortably strapped in the stroller. A bad man. Not like Daddy. Bad. He recalls his insistent yelling for Mommy's attention. He did not want himself, or Mommy, to be near the man. Fear. Not like Daddy. A bad man. Go away.

He knows he needs his Mommy and the concept of time fuses with the need. He needs her . . . right now. Getting light-headed, he remembers to breathe. He yells much louder for Mommy and includes Daddy in there also. He yells again before he can yell no more. In his paralyzing panic, he can think of no other words to yell. He freezes and stares through the crib slats into the black eyes of the bad man walking slowly across the carpet. Go away.

He can’t breathe anymore. He tries to pull away from the heavy hand. In a desperate, almost pathetic gesture, he tries to squeeze out of the tight grip. Nothing. Then dizziness. Being lifted in the air with a blanket swirling swoosh. He steals a breath as he is tossed about beneath the folds of his blanket. The blanket falls free of his face and permits a panic stricken glance back into the room. He can see his empty crib as the cold, fresh night air registers in his lungs. He knows he is almost out the window.

He is able to scream loudly before being smothered with weight and cloth. He feels himself rock forward then sharply rock backwards and he spins and twists in too many directions to follow. He hears a loud, very loud thundernoise, louder than anything he has ever heard before. More thundernoise and he feels himself falling. He lands on his head and sees a brilliant display of bright stars zing about behind his tightly closed eyes. He cries in pain above the fear.

The stars clear and the pain subsides. He looks up from the floor into the face of …Daddy. But Daddy has no smile in the moonlight and his eyes are on fire as they flicker from side to side. He hears a word yelled from his Daddy's tightly stretched lips. In his young mind it sounds like: Clear. He hears muffled noises. A loud familiar voice . . . Mommy. Eyes wide, he watches closely as Daddy drops to his knees beside him while playing with a shiny, silver thing in his hands. Click. Snick. Then, Mommy yelling. A doggy barking outside.

Through eyes soaked in tears, he can see his Daddy slowly reaching back to hand the shiny silver thing to Mommy. Mommy . . . now looming above him with a face marble white. She has her hand to her mouth and moans. He hears his name: Brian...my baby. He begins to yell for her but ends up distorting the words, grunting instead, as he is pulled into a crushing bear hug that buries his face in weight and cloth. Abruptly released, he grabs another breath and can taste a strange smell lingering in the air. The light switch is turned on and brightness momentarily blinds him. He feels himself being moved out of the room. His eyes strain to catch a glimpse but the room’s contents are shielded from view. He wants his blanket very much. It is right there on the floor.

***

Chapter One: Discovering the Inner Voice

Concrete cures as water diminishes from the contents. The less water put into the mix, the stronger the end result. However, you must maintain a constant state of moisture on the exterior to control the internal evaporation rate. It is important to keep any concrete thicker than three inches, moist for at least one week. Concrete reaches its full set strength after seven days. -Bobby Hawk on concrete properties.

***

Brian was beyond excitement. In direct contrast, the morning had been agonizingly quiet. Fully dressed, down to his new boots and best jeans, he was ready to work. He was pleased that he had successfully tied his laces on the first try.

It was a beautiful summer Saturday. He sighed heavily and placed his solemn face between his small hands resting on the cool marble windowsill. With a sense of time weighing heavily, Brian stared through his bedroom window, closed against the night chill. He felt the morning sunlight shining into his room and could sense the heat washing past him in faint pulsating waves. Awake since 6:15 AM, he longed to hear the rustle of his Daddy's movements in the next room. His Daddy had some Saturday overtime this weekend and, as a special treat, Brian was to go with him. We're going to water the bridge, whatever that meant, he thought. He was excited that soon he would see for himself.

Brian tracked the waiting minute-by-minute using the clock on his nightstand. He knew sixty seconds was one minute. One number for each second of time. Three hundred seconds for every five minutes. The math game was his favorite, and, to pass the time, he decided to play. To make the game interesting, he chose to focus hard on turning his head to look at the clock only when exactly five minutes had passed. He wanted to see only the zeros or fives. He wanted to catch the numbers. Catch the time. Track the zeros and fives.

The first two attempts were close, but slightly miscalculated. He had to wait eleven seconds on the first attempt and seven on the next for the clock's last number to read a five or zero.

Dammit, he said, frustrated at his inability to succeed. Dammit, he repeated, because he loved saying the heavily toned words he learned from Mommy and Daddy and the big kids across the hall in apartment 6C.

He decided to try harder. Brian stared at the clock until, beneath the frustration, he felt a subtle change in the game he was playing. It was a strange shifting in his head that brought with it a calmness. An unspoken confidence that promised success and safety. Strangely, he felt relief and suddenly knew that if he just forgot about the clock, an accurate image of the clock, complete with changing numbers, would appear in his mind. He saw it changing in his head. This happened at the precise moment he needed to turn his head to see the clock change.

During the time between the five-minute clock changes, he discovered that it was no longer necessary to think about the clock’s numbers. He could leisurely look out the window to follow the passing cars. He could track the neighbor’s movement and watch a dog sniff near a fire hydrant. During one interval, a crow landed on top of a telephone pole in the parking lot. The crow was active, jerking up and down in a strange dance before pushing off and dropping toward the ground, floating out of sight. He imagined the crow's caw, heavy and reminiscent of an angry human yell and, as the crow left the pole, the flash image of the clock popped up. He looked over at the clock and the numbers flipped, right on cue. Neat.

By 7:45, he had been on the nose, as his Daddy would say, eleven times. Except for his first two attempts, he looked at the clock only as the numbers changed from a four to a five, or a nine to a zero. Five minutes is equal to one clock change. He liked the feeling of getting it right each time. He knew Mrs. King, his kindergarten teacher, would be impressed with this trick. Maybe he would show her on Monday.

Brian grew disinterested in further attempts. The game was no longer a challenge. He decided that he wanted the clock images to stop and heard/felt the tiny click of agreement in his head. The clock images stopped.

Rubbing his nose several times against the heat of the window, he focused on the weather, identifying a large batch of white clouds rolling quickly into view. The clouds sparked a stream of images that took shape at an incredible pace. There was a dinosaur. A turtle. Scorpion. Abominable Snowman. Skeleton. Too many to follow. A pressure was building to keep track of all the images and, feeling intensely uncomfortable with the onslaught, Brian closed his eyes for a moment. He wanted the images to slow down and, in wishing so, heard/felt the subtle ‘click’ of agreement in his head. When he viewed the sky the second time, the images had slowed considerably and with it, he felt the calming effect of the clouds. His heavy sighs faded and his shoulders drooped with the release of tension.

At 8:00 AM Brian could wait no longer. He really had to pee. Though there was a fairly strict rule that he not exit his room until someone was awake, he opened his bedroom door and walked the short distance to the bathroom along the beige carpeted hall. He entered the bathroom and caught sight of his steel-gray eyes and sleep-tangled hair in the mirror. He lifted the toilet lid and urinated loudly, taking great care not to hit the back of the seat. He had no wish to get yelled at like he had two days before.

Brian enjoyed making the big bubbles jump and grow in the toilet water. He moved his hips from side to side, simply for the pleasure of watching the big bubbles spread to the sides of the bowl. He hesitated before flushing, taking time to appreciate the bright yellow color but wrinkled his nose at the increasingly strong aroma. He flushed, knowing the noise would rattle the pipes in the wall directly behind the toilet, the wall adjacent to his parent's bedroom.

Taking a risk, Brian dropped the lid from its full height onto the toilet bowl, emphasizing to his parents that he was awake. The sound was as loud as he had hoped. Oops.

He began playing at the sink and filled it almost to the top with warm water. He took the three toothbrushes from the pink plastic holder and dropped them into the basin. His own toothbrush was blue and much fatter than the other two. His brush would receive special attention.

Brian took a Kleenex from the box on the toilet top and wrapped the handle of his toothbrush in the pink tissue. He froze for a moment, listening intently for any sounds coming from the other room.

Nothing yet.

{Huh?}

Okay to play.

{Oh. Is this me talking?}

Yeah.

{Oh.}

Dipping his toothbrush into the water, Brian swirled it around in smaller and smaller circles while his hand sank deeper in the pleasantly warm water. The Kleenex melted into a long floating tail and he spent several moments lost in the slow fluid motion. The toothbrush became a large hammerhead shark looking for food. Just like the one at the zoo aquarium. The picture was crystal clear, as if he were standing again in front of the thick glass at the zoo, mesmerized by the constant motion of the shark.

The distinctive loose rattle of his parent’s doorknob returned the shark to a toothbrush. Wasting no time, Brian extracted his toothbrush from the water and scraped the remains of the tissue into his hand. He tossed the wet blob into the wastebasket and scooped up the other two toothbrushes. He plunked all three, dripping wet, into their holes in the holder and pushed the plunger before wiping his hands on the bath towel. His mother entered the bathroom.

Morning, little Boo, she mumbled. She gave him the usual morning smile.

Hi, Mommy.

Brian waited for her to say something.

Well . . . go on, Boo, I gotta pee, she said with some urgency.

Sorry, Mommy, said Brian. He closed the door behind him.

He stood next to the door, listening to his mother pee. It sounded entirely different than when he peed, almost the same sound of Uncle Joe's tire going flat when a roofing nail in front of the apartment complex had punctured the tire. The distinctive sounds behind the bathroom door triggered new images in Brian's head. The images came hard and fast. They shifted into focus complete with movement, color, sound, and the capability of slow motion.

He enjoyed the movie flashes that often appeared in his head. On this occasion, he recalled with perfect clarity, playing by himself in front of the apartment building. Soon, he was fully immersed in the memory…

He is lying on the ground, tenaciously digging a tunnel beneath a large tree root, trying to dig the tunnel big enough to have his silver Mustang Boss Hoss pass through without touching the top or sides. The Boss Hoss. An exquisitely detailed view of the clean and new Boss Hoss looms large in his mind. Another comparative image takes its place. The current version of the same Hot Wheel car. Beat up. Scratched. Left for dead in his top dresser drawer.

Tucked tightly against the tree, he feels the scratchy roughness of the tree bark through his red sweatshirt and, needing to gain additional footing to help in his work, he feels the tension of his boot toes digging into the grass and dirt. He concentrates on scooping the black dirt with a stolen kitchen spoon. The spoon, catching on small surface roots, flicks dirt into his face. He tastes the gritty texture of the dirt. He spits. Dirt does not taste good.

He stops excavating. Uncle Joe, wiggling into his favorite leather coat, comes out of the apartment main entrance doors and is walking fast. He is talking loudly to Daddy and Brian knows he has not yet been seen. Daddy is walking beside Uncle Joe to the red 1963 Ford Thunderbird parked in the lot near the apartment's main exit. They are big men. Both laughing. Words. New words. Don't understand them. They are laughing at something. Uncle Joe says the words hittin’ some tail.

Listen. Hear the voices.

See ya, Joe, says Daddy. The two men hug each other in front of Uncle Joe's car. Daddy is bigger than Uncle Joe and picks him up off his feet during the hug. Back slapping. Hard. Twice.

Yeah, talk to you tomorrow. Make sure you tell Becky that her spaghetti was fuckin' great. She spoils the shit out of me. Uncle Joe starts the car and takes a moment to run his hand through his sandy blonde hair. He checks himself in the rearview mirror and begins to pull from the parking spot.

You got it, you prick. Next time bring two bottles of wine if you're going to drink one yourself, says Daddy.

Hey, you had a glass! Uncle Joe yells as he continues to back out of his parking spot.

PSSSSSSSS! Sounds coming from Uncle Joe's car. Looking. Standing now next to the tree, trying to place the sound. Air from an untied balloon. No. Coming from the front tire of Uncle Joe's car.

Aww, fuck me! Uncle Joe yells, pounding on the steering wheel.

A flurry of motion. Uncle Joe gets out of his car and steps beside Daddy. They look at the left front tire, which is hissing loudly.

Slapping his hand on the fender and kicking the hissing tire, Uncle Joe yells, That's a goddam roofing nail in there, Bobby. Some fuckin' asshole left a fuckin' roofing nail on the road 'cause they don't know how to fuckin' clean up after themselves, the motherfuckers.

Uncle Joe reaches through the window of his car door, grabs his keys. His blue eyes blaze in fury. Fuck me. Just fuck me. And I'm already fuckin' late as it is.

Uncle Joe walks to the back of the car and—

The door to the bathroom opened and the movie flash abruptly stopped.

Dressed already, Boo? she asked, looking him up and down. I guess you’re ready to go out with dad to the bridge, huh?

Yeah.

How long you been up?

Since 6:15, he said. AM, he proudly added.

Wow, in the AM, huh? His mother grinned. Well then, how about we get you some breakfast and then we'll wake up Daddy?

Yeah, I'm hungry.

Come on, Boo. Let’s eat. What you hungry for? Pancakes?

Yeah.

Okay. The usual. You want to help make 'em?

Nah, 'cept can I break the eggs? asked Brian. He followed his mother into the kitchen.

Sure. Get out the big bowl. And don't drop it, it's glass.

Okay, said Brian. All of his attention was on the successful delivery of the big bowl to the table. Mission accomplished.

Brian sat in his usual chair and began kicking the metal table leg with his boots. Not too hard, just enough to hear the faint metal sound and feel the vibrations in his arms. His Mommy moved around the kitchen in her pink fuzzy robe and matching slippers. When her movements permitted it, he liked looking at the pretty flower design on the shiny beige shirt she had on under the robe. The light made the material shimmer with the movements.

His mother measured and dumped the pancake mix into the bowl and placed it in front of Brian. She pulled two eggs from the refrigerator, set them next to the mixing bowl, and walked to the stove. The eggs began to move in an erratic arc toward the end of the table until Brian made a quick but gentle grab to halt the movements.

Crack the eggs for me so we can get cookin'.

Brian loved breaking eggs. He enjoyed smacking them on the side of the bowl with just the right amount of force to make a large crack. The egg oozed out between the two pieces of shell and the yellow plopped into the pancake mix.

Done, he said. His Mommy took the bowl to the stove while stirring the mix. Brian waited with a rumbling stomach. She poured the pancake mix onto the griddle. When the pancakes were ready, Brian ate them with his usual starving appetite. In no time, he had devoured the pancakes and was licking the syrup off the plate.

You want some more, Boo?

No, I’m full.

Okay, go wake your Daddy up.

Okay, said Brian, eager to get the day started. He ran to his parent's bedroom, slowing at the entrance with caution.

When he entered the room, Brian saw his Daddy sleeping on his side, covered to his waist with the green and white comforter. Daddy's big arm, with the screaming eagle tattoo was hugging a pillow. The curtains were closed, limiting the amount of daylight seeping into the room. Brian waited while his eyes adjusted to the darkness, and then he slowly walked closer, prepared to jump back if his Daddy was playing possum. When his Daddy played this game, it was Brian's job not to get grabbed and yanked onto the bed. It was a job he took very seriously. After several seconds of cautious scrutiny, he realized that his Daddy was asleep and not playing possum.

The familiar smells of the morning bedroom lingered. The smells were sleep smells, not offensive, but with a certain staleness to the air that an open window might clear. Rarely did Brian ever see such a calm look on his Daddy’s face. Brian gently shook his Daddy's shoulder. Daddy? he whispered. It's time to get up. Mommy made pancakes. Brian received a small grunt after the second shake, not nearly as gentle as the first. He waited for a few moments, and then continued his attempts.

Daddy, there's pancakes Mommy made for you. You gotta get up, said Brian, still shaking his Daddy's big shoulder. He received another grunt.

Don't you want to get up and take me to your work? Brian asked. I'm already dressed and I got my new boots on. We gotta water the bridge, Brian added.

I'm up, I'm up, his Daddy mumbled. Instead of opening his eyes, his Daddy turned his head and buried his face into the pillow.

Okay, Daddy. Want me to pull you out of bed like last time? asked Brian.

No . . . fifteen more minutes. Just give me fifteen more minutes.

Okay, I'll tell Mommy. I'll be back in fifteen minutes.

Brian entered the kitchen. His Mommy sat at the head of the table, her long-fingered hands wrapped around a cup of coffee. Her lips formed into a little O as she sipped from the cup.

Daddy wants fifteen more minutes. Is that okay, Mommy? asked Brian.

Sure, give him fifteen more minutes. He earned it. He had a hard night's work, she said.

Brian noticed a brightening of her eyes. The corners of her mouth turned up slightly in the beginnings of what appeared to be a smile, but didn't quite make it. He had seen this look on his Mommy's face before.

I didn’t know Daddy was working last night. Did Daddy have to 'water the bridge' last night, too? Is that why he had a hard night? asked Brian.

The faraway look in his Mommy's eyes cleared. She turned to face Brian and the smile gained strength.

No, Boo, Daddy didn't have to 'water the bridge' last night. Why don't you go watch some television and I'll clean up in here.

Okay, Mommy, said Brian, still confused.

Brian went into the living room and turned on the television. His Daddy liked to call it the Zombie screen. He found Scooby Doo on channel 4. His Daddy had taught him how to check the top of his head for mushiness before watching any television. He felt around using both hands. Okay today. No danger of turning into a Zombie just yet. Brian considered Scooby his favorite show. He liked the dopey dog and funny people and how they were always getting caught in strange places while trying to solve a puzzle.

Today's show was no different. Scooby and Shaggy were stuck in a cave trying to find a way out. Unfortunately, they kept encountering a ghost trying to keep them away from a scary house.

Fifteen minutes is completed. Time to wake Daddy.

{Huh? Oh, yeah.}

Mom? Should I go wake up Daddy now? It's fifteen minutes, Brian yelled.

Sure, Boo. Give it another shot.

Reluctantly, he dragged his eyes away from Scooby fighting with the ghost and returned to his parent's bedroom. No real changes had occurred from his last visit except that now his Daddy was lying on his back and snoring softly from his partly opened mouth. Brian hesitated for a few seconds, unsure of whether his Daddy’s sleep was real. He shook the tattooed shoulder harder than the last time. The snoring stopped and his Daddy's eyes snapped open. They locked onto him with a captivatingly harsh stare and he instinctively stepped back. Abruptly, the deadly stare shifted to a more gentle acknowledgment of Brian's presence.

Hi, Daddy. Do you want to get up yet? Brian asked.

Ahh . . . hey, Boo . . . ahh . . . yeah . . . okay, I'm up now . . . yeah, I'm up, his Daddy mumbled in a scratchy voice. He stretched out languidly across the bed, loudly moaning in the process.

Boo. Tell Mommy I'm so hungry, I could eat a horse. Okay? I'll be right out to have a little breakfast, and then you and I can head out to the job site to water the bridge. Go 'head, Boo.

You sure? Brian asked.

Yeah, I'm sure. Tell her.

Okay.

He hurried down the hall, eager to tell his Mommy about Daddy eating a horse. Visions of chewing on horsemeat entertained him as he entered the kitchen.

Mommy?

Hmm?

Daddy says he's up and he wants to eat a horse.

Not right. He's so hungry he could eat a horse.

I mean, he's so hungry, he could eat a horse, said Brian.

Oh, he is, is he? Mommy said with a smile. Well, you just march on in there and ask him how he could be so hungry. It's not like he did anything but sleep last night.

Brian listened to her soft laughter.

Okay.

Brian hesitated. He knew the game they were playing, he had played it before. It was fun because they included him, though understanding the conversations left him frustrated. He needed more information to figure this out. He decided to ask.

Mommy, you said that Daddy had a hard night's work, but now you're saying that he was sleeping. I don't get it, Mommy. Sleeping's not hard, ‘specially when you're tired.

You don't miss a trick, do you, little Boo? His mother smiled down at him. Just go ask Daddy how he could be so hungry since I'm the one who did all the work last night. See what he says.

Okay. Brian ran to his parent's bedroom. Reaching the bedroom door, he could see his Daddy pulling on his stained and faded work pants. A cigarette dangled from his lips and a bluish cloud