Hard Boiled Brains, Part 3
The house was not quite as I had left it. I turned from the door but tripped on the way to the light switch. The chairs were scattered, there was trash everywhere, and the posters and pictures were clinging desperately to their last tacks. It looked like a storm had swept through the living room.
I pushed myself off the floor as the pounding continued from the front door. Frantically I pulled the couch across the den and propped it against the door. My eyes searched for anything else that I could use to reinforce it.
I pushed it across the floor.
I piled them on top of the couch to add weight.
The keg shell!
With two hands I prepared to hoist it off ground. My knees bent, my legs tightened, and I thrust upward with all my might.
The empty shell almost hit the ceiling.
Cursing, I tossed the keg into the pile with the rest.
“See if there is anything heavy on the balcony,” I called to April, then headed down the hallway for a mattress.
A scream pierced the midnight air.
I darted to the balcony and saw her cornered and cowering away from the terror that threatened her: my roommate.
He crept menacingly slow, and with each step uttered a single word.
“Now, Phil,” I tried, stepping in between to confront him.
It didn’t register. He continued to stare blankly in his red-stained shirt.
Again he called out, slower, like the gasp of a choking man.
I took a step back.
Even in death, he still craved that damn burrito.
“Marlowe,” I tried again, looking for any sign of recognition, any trace of his former self.
He bulldozed the barbeque out of his way. It careened over the railing and fell into the water below.
Even in death, he still made a mess.
I reached back for the putter.
“Braaaainnssssss!” He called again, this time even louder.
He snapped and let his fists fly in a rampage. They smashed into the recycle bin and sent empty beer cans clamoring across the balcony. This time he roared:
Even in death, he still made a hell of a lot of noise.
I’d had enough.
“Sorry, Marlowe, but we’re fresh out.”
With one swing I removed the noisiest appendage.
The body dropped immediately, its arms flailing one last time before stilling on its aluminum resting place. The head bounced over the railing. I heard a splash far below.
A poke in the back reminded me of what I had gotten myself into. She looked into my eyes and pulled me by the shirt.
“You saved me.”
I could feel the warmth of her breath as she spoke. Our lips drew close.
An unholy crash sounded from the living room. There were many more outside the front door. I could hear the growls of frustration as body after body slammed into the wood. The barricade would not last very long.
I turned back to more pressing matters.
“Well, only for a short time,” I said. “Chances are, in the grand scheme of things, I only prolonged the inevitable—“
“Shut up and kiss me.”
I kissed her. She kissed me back. For a very short moment the rest of the world and all its troubles melted away. Then we broke.
The ocean breeze felt even cool on my brow and I realized I was sweating.
“Is that the way you like it?” she asked when our lips had parted.
“Doomed from the start?” I replied. “It’s not what I prefer, but it seems to be the way it goes most of the time.”
The sound of wood splintering echoed from the empty living room. The roar grew louder.
Her head turned toward the ocean, the moon, it’s bright reflection glinting across the water. Then she noticed the waves.
“Look,” she said. “The tides seemed to have turned."
She was right. I sighed.
“Here I was, thinking it was just my lucky day.”
She smiled. She should have laughed. She did.
“Do you love me, Jack?”
An explosion sounded from the front door and the cold bodies began to pile into my apartment. I shook my head.
“Sweetie, I’ll love you till the world ends. I promise.”
It was a promise I kept for a very short time.