You are on page 1of 5

The Showdown by Cramulus

The Showdown
By Cramulus

Hank pulled the trigger. Through It was lonely out here. Hank missed
the scope, he could see brains explode out having companionship. He loved his little
of the haint’s head as the gunshot echoed brother, but the kid wasn’t a good
off the hills. Hank let out a cowboy whoop conversation partner.
and got up off his belly. “This shit’s gone on for too long,”
“Did you see that, you said Hank, taking a gulp from the mug.
motherfucker?” he shouted. “I’m gonna Behind him, Rex was watching the boob.
snipe every last fucking one of them!” “Ya think that old git is gonna let it drop?
The only reply was a gunshot which Or am I gonna hafta kill all his haints?” Rex
took Hank’s hat clean off his head. didn’t look up.
Swearing, he scooped it up and dove into a “You drank your pac milk today?”
bush. Hank looked around frantically but asked Hank, looking over his shoulder. Rex
couldn’t spot Randy. That bastard was shook his head, eyes glued to the boob.
probably snickering right now. Hank “I’m tellin’ ya,” said Hank, “you
fingered the hole in his hat and gritted his gotta drink a glass of it every day. Or else
teeth. you’re gonna get radiation poison. And you
do not want that.”
Later that night, when he went back Half the mug of whiskey was gone
to the ranch, Hank poured himself a mug when Hank heard a bleating noise from the
full of plastic-bottle whiskey. He went to back. Cupping his ear, he listened to the
the dresser, opened the sock drawer, and noise. Hank yelled “Goddamn!” He put on
took out the folded picture. his boots, said “Goddamn!” again, and ran
The photo was creased down the out the back door.
middle right between Hank and Randy. The pacs were awake and agitated.
Hank looked himself in the mirror, then They were all milling around the pen in a
back at the picture. He’d gained a lot of sort of daze. One of them, sulking in a
weight since then. Lost a lot of hair, too. It corner, was still bleating. Hank said
was a familiar story. Boy meets girl. Boy’s “goddamn” a few more times as he stepped
best friend steals girl. Girl bangs everybody over the pacs to see what was wrong. Oh
and makes everybody hate each other shit, he thought as he squatted next to the
forever. Boys pull out guns. Girl runs away pac, it’s Pepper.
into the irradiated badlands and is never The little yellow guy was sitting in a
seen again. puddle of blood. Hank flipped the round
“Hey Rex,” Hank shouted across pac over onto his back and probed between
the house to his mute kid brother, “I nailed his legs.
‘nother one of them haints today.” From Fuck. Gelded. Fuck.
the living room, he heard a golf-clap. Rex was staring at a glass of pac
Hank walked across the house and milk when Hank burst in the back door,
opened the front door. He stood there in furious. “That bastard Randy castrated
the cool breeze, sipping his whiskey and fucking Pepper,” fumed Hank. “He castrated
looking out at the badlands. my best stud!” Rex shook his head,

The Showdown by Cramulus

This meant war. “That’s what the pac milk is. They
War? Well, the crease down the secrete it to attract her. See, a mizz can tell
middle of the photo had been there for all sortsa things about the pac from the
years. The war had been on. This — this smell of the milk. She can tell who’se got
meant it was about to get mean. the best DNA. Just like that. But the
problem is that a stud can only have one
Hank woke Rex up at the crack of orgasm in his whole life. Them scientists
dawn. “It’s ‘bout time you learned how to haven’t figured out how to build them to
work the ranch.” Rex rubbed the sleep have more. He can make a little milk every
from his eyes and got dressed. “If Randy day by being around a mizz, but if he gets
ever gets the balls to finish me off, you’re too excited, he’ll blow his balls out. So if
gonna need to know how to work this the mizz chooses a mate, that guy is done
place yourself. And anyway, you’re old forever.” Hank pantomimed shooting a
enough to start getting’ some pistol at the ground. “We put him down in
responsibilities.” back.” Rex winced.
They stood next to “Same with the
the pac pen as Hank Hank leaned in close. “I mizzes. After they get
explained, again, how to milk know what you’re preggers, they don’t
pacs. Rex had heard this wondering. How do you want to breed ever again.
several times before, but make a hormone?” Sex equals death.” He
being mute, he had no way of Rex shook his head. shot the ground again.
objecting. “You punch her in the Rex coughed.
“See pacs aren’t born stomach!” “I know,” said
in nature like cattle, they’re Hank, “that’s why the
made in a lab. Male pacs, called studs, are scientists engineered them not to breed.
easy to make and cheap to buy. Female The stud can only get off for real if he
pacs, called mizzes, that’s a different story.” smells the mizz’s pheromones, see? And
Hank and Rex only owned one she only secretes them when she’s ready to
mizz, Lurlene. She was kept separate from get it on. But the mizz can’t make that
the males, inside the barn. It was Rex’s job pheromone on her own. She needs a
to feed her three pills every morning. If it special hormone to do that. And she don’t
got too hot or too cold, they let her sleep got it.”
inside the house on the rug in front of the Hank leaned in close. “I know what
boob. you’re wondering. How do you make a
“Studs get really excited when they hormone?”
see a mizz. Awfully excited. They get Rex shook his head.
themselves all worked up trying to impress “You punch her in the stomach!”
her.” Hank erupted into guffaws. Rex
Hank wiped his brow with a rolled his eyes.
handkerchief and squinted at the sky. It It was time to milk the pacs. Hank
was going to be hot today. and Rex put down a tarp inside the pac pen
“I know what you’re thinking,” he and then went into the barn to grab the
said to Rex. “All the studs look exactly the mizz, Lurlene. Rex’s arms could barely fit
same, so how does the mizz choose a around her spherical yellow body. He held
mate?” Lurlene up near the pac pen. When the
Rex was actually thinking about the studs saw her, they went crazy, bouncing
boob but he nodded anyway. and chomping and dripping milk all over
the tarp.

The Showdown by Cramulus

“Careful,” said Hank, “if she gets The sun wasn’t quite up when
excited, she’s gonna jump right outta your Hank finished installing the gigantic
hands.” magnifying glass. He was in the hills just
Once the studs calmed down, Rex east of Randy’s ranch, polishing the lens, a
carried the mizz back into the barn. Hank large circular piece of superglass. The lens
shooed the studs off the wet tarp and rolled was mounted on a metal rod which Hank
it up. Then they hung it up over a bucket to had driven deep into the rocky soil.
collect the milk. Hank tussled Rex’s hair as Superglass was sturdy – not even a bullet
the milk dripped into the bucket. Without would break it. Hank smiled at his
Pepper, the bucket wouldn’t be quite as full handiwork.
today. “It’s gonna be sunny this morning,”
“Damn shame you can’t talk,” said said Hank to himself. “Perfect weather for
Hank, “’cause if Randy ever shows his face revenge.” As the sun peeked over the hills,
around here, I’d want you to tell him off.” light was focused into a bright beam
Rex shook his fist at an imaginary Randy. pointing at Randy’s ranch. As he watched
“You could tell him that he’s a no-good from the distance with binoculars, Hank
shit farmer, and that shit worms are gonna snickered like a kid watching ants fry under
chow down on his stupid guts.” Hank and his magnifying glass.
Rex both folded their arms. Randy’s face appeared in the
There was a crash inside the house. window, squinting at the intense sunlight
Hank yelled “Goddamn!” and drew his streaming directly at his face. He cursed
pistol. He kicked open the back door in loudly and began to scramble. Seconds
time to see Randy scrambling for the door. later, Randy emerged from the house in his
A lamp had been knocked over and a few long johns, running barefoot towards the
of the kitchen cabinets were open. giant lens mounted in the hills to the east.
“Shit damn fuck!” shouted Hank as “Better do something about that
he cocked the pistol at Randy. laser, boy,” Hank said quietly, snickering,
Randy dove behind the boob as “It’s gonna set your house a’fire.”
Hank took a shot. The bullet pierced the It would take Randy at least five
boob, causing air to escape with a loud minutes to get up there and pull the giant
hissing-farting noise. Rex gasped. Randy magnifying glass out of the ground. Hank
dove through the door as Hank took made his move. He darted over to the barn
another shot, exploding the plastic bottle of and threw the doors open. Animals rustled
whiskey on the table. nervously inside.
In front of the house, Randy Hank talked to himself, pretending
jumped on his hoverbike and sped into the Rex was there with him.
sky. Hank, red with anger, shot at his “Haints, like pacs, are made in a lab.
shrinking silhouette until the gun clicked, They’re kinda like plants—they eat sunlight
empty. “Bastard got away.” instead of food. When they have too much
Behind him, Hank could hear Rex energy, they poop it out. We use the guano
sobbing. Inside the house, the poor kid was for fuel.”
kneeling next to the deflated boob, his eyes The sleepy animals blinked in the
red with tears. dim light of the barn, anxious. Each animal
“I’m gonna go get the was covered by a sheet. The sheets had
motherfucker,” swore Hank. And he meant little eye holes cut in them, making the
it. haints look like little ghosts. They made
excited noises, looking at the abnormally
bright sunlight outside. Hank kicked open

The Showdown by Cramulus

the pen door and the haints rushed outside, the floor and Rex was nowhere to be seen.
mooing happily. Must be out back, doing chores, thought Hank.
Hank talked to an imaginary Rex as Hank came out the back door and
he pulled the sheets of the haints. “Ya see,” stopped in his tracks, his mouth agape.
he explained, “those idiot scientists don’t Rex was inside the pen, trying to get
know what they’re doing. Haints aren’t a grip on a slippery mizz. The studs were
made very well. They aren’t supposed to get bouncing around, knocking Lurlene out of
more than a few minutes of sunlight per Rex’s hands every time he managed to get
day or else… well, watch this.” his arms around her. Pac milk was
The haints, frolicking happily, everywhere, coating every surface. It shot
began to burn in the direct, focused out of the studs like thick, wet sneezes.
sunlight. Their skin bubbled and steamed, “What the fuck happened?” cried
their happy moos reaching a frenzied, Hank as he leapt over the fence. Rex shook
orgasmic crescendo. his head, tears in his eyes.
The light shifted slightly as Randy, “The mizz is excited,” said Hank
in the distance, fumbled angrily as he scooped her
with the gigantic lens. He Hank’s voice cracked as up. “When Randy was in
tried to pull it up out of the tears welled up in his eyes. the house yesterday he
ground, but was having musta switched her pills for
trouble lifting it at the right “It’s a motherfucking jizz hormones. All the studs are
angle. Finally, the light parade.” blowing their goddamn
dimmed as he successfully loads. ” As he tried to hold
removed it from the rocky soil. But it was the mizz up above the excited studs, thick
already too late. milk splashed at him from all angles.
The haints were happy at first, “They’re all worthless now.”
mooing as they excreted round, shiny dung Hank’s voice cracked as tears
pellets on the ground. After a few minutes, welled up in his eyes. “It’s a motherfucking
the content moos took on a note of panic. jizz parade.”
They couldn’t stop shitting. The light,
focused by the lens, had charged them up “This ends here, Randy,” shouted
too much. There was blood in the stool. Hank, the sun setting to his left.
Then there was more blood. Then, darker “Damn right it does,” said Randy,
blood. They were mooing in terror, shitting his thumb hooked into his belt loop above
themselves to death. his pistol.
Most of the haints would shit their They stood twenty paces away from
guts out and shrivel up like raisins in the each other, guns loaded. Rex stood nearby,
morning sun. But even the survivors would half hidden behind a boulder.
be useless now, their bowels prolapsed “You killed my pacs,” said Hank.
from overuse. “You killed my haints,” said Randy.
By the time Randy got back to the Hank sneered. “You made me
ranch, Hank was far away, his laughter shoot my boob.”
echoing through the dusty badlands hills.. Randy spat tobacco the ground.
“S’only fair. You been shooting my haints.”
“Hey Rex,” said Hank as he entered Hank laughed, “Yeah? Well you
the house, half expecting to see his kid made me do that when you dumped all those
brother sitting on the couch in front of the sand weevils in my bed.”
boob. The deflated boob was still flat on “I only did that on account a you
getting my dog hooked on drugs,” said

The Showdown by Cramulus

Randy. “Do you know what it’s like to buy like wreckage, and instead of hands she had
drugs for a dog?” giant red lobster claws.
“Whatever, you peed on my Hank shook his head in disbelief.
carpet,” said Hank, his fingers drumming “Jesus, what happened to you?”
on the holstered pistol. “I thought you was dead,” said
“Whatever, you stole my girl.” Randy.
“Whatever?” shouted Hank, “You Lurlene hissed, revealing a double
stole my girl!” row of fangs. She was pissed. “You think
Tumbleweed bounced by. The you’ve been lonely?” she said, her voice like
badlands were silent except for the low battery acid. “Look what you’ve done to
whistle of the desert wind. me. Fuck you two!”
“It gets lonely out here,” whispered Lurlene lunged forward, snapping
Randy. her lobster claws. Hissing, she grabbed
Hank nodded. “Sure does.” both Hank and Randy by the necks. Their
Rex, crouching behind a rock, eyes bulged as she squeezed, slicing open
squinted at the two. He couldn’t figure out their throats. Hot, sticky blood sprayed
what was going on. They had stopped everywhere. Lurlene let go and the bodies
yelling, now they just kept staring at each wavered for a moment before they
other’s faces. The anger was gone – they collapsed to the ground.
had reached some kind of mutual Rex moaned, grabbing handfuls of
understanding. They were having a his own hair. Lurlene spun around, seeing
moment together. Rex half behind the boulder.
Hank and Randy began to walk “Oh God,” she said to herself, “I’m
slowly towards each other. Hank looked so sorry.”
like he was going to cry. Then they were Rex shook his head over and over
standing toe to toe, eye to eye, lips again, tears welling up in his eyes.
quivering. “Come here baby,” Lurlene said,
They kissed. scooping up Rex and sitting him on her
It was hesitant at first, neither man shoulder. “I’ll take care of you.”
willing to let his guard down. The tension Rex didn’t know what to make of
slowly melted into tenderness. the female mutant who had just killed his
Suddenly, the ground began to older brother. But he was alone now, and
rumble like an earthquake Hank and Randy so was Lurlene. Rex thought her voice
held each other, trembling as the sand sounded familiar, like somebody he had
shook. Rex pressed himself flat against the known a long, long time ago.
ground. Their silhouettes faded into the
Suddenly, something burst out of sunset as she carried him away from all this.
the earth. A cloud of dust filled the air.
Hank and Randy saw a familiar
silhouette. The two clung to each other as
the dust settled.
“Lurlene?” they both said at once.
Rex’s eyes were wide. Was this the
girl they had been fighting over all along?
Living in the irradiated badlands had
changed her – her skin was scaly, her eyes
were yellow and catlike. Her hair looked

You might also like