Moon: Chapter Excerpt / by Kenneth Buff

Here's an excerpt of the novel I'm working on now:


I’ve made it a little deeper into the Oklahoman heart. I’m stopping here for the night, mostly because it’s quiet, and because of all the damn signs. I just can’t resist a good road side attraction. I stopped in Kansas to see the world's largest Czech egg. Not really as cool as it sounds. Just a giant fake egg with a diamond painted on it. But those damn signs make it seem so awesome! I also stopped to see the world’s largest largest prairie dog and to meet Jesus in the wheat. Kansas has some weird shit on the side of their roads.

The attraction for Stillwater was this place called “Eskimo Joes.” Seems oddly racist, and not sure why an Inuit would have a giant smile and be into dancing (are those stereotypes I never learned? Maybe they’re more into them down here), but still, there were a half a dozen signs indicating that this is the coolest place in Oklahoma, and I’d be a real idiot to pass up the chance to rip it off for whatever the hell it is that’s so special about it.

I found the place. After burning rubber down a number of side streets I finally found a sign pointing me in the right direction. Hell of a little thing. Looks like this place was popular even after the collapse. All the glass is broken, and the walls are stripped down to the bare wood paneling.

I’m carrying the Colt and on my hip, and the pump action in my hands. This place seems like the perfect hangout for anyone who doesn’t mind a light breeze and wants to bask in the once awesome aurora of an Inuit named Joe. His smiling face is painted everywhere. He’s on the floor, the walls, bright plastic cups that are strewn around the floor. Not sure if he was a local cartoon character, or some kind of midwestern legend, but he seems to have had some significance to these people.

I tiptoe up the stairs and I hear a creaking at the top that isn’t coming from my feet. I bend down, and listen intently. There’s running and then the door to my left blows apart in a rain of plywood and buckshot. It flies over my head, burying into the banister behind me and the mural of Joe on the wall. I aim the shotgun at the hole in the door and I make it a little wider. I fire off another round, not hearing a scream or moan I stop and peek through. There’s no body, just a long hall with more doorways on either side. I think about entering when I hear stomping coming from the room to my left. I turn and see a young boy with a gun. I bang my shotgun against his and his gun flies out of his hands. He grabs mine and jumps on me, kneeing me in the cock. My grip on the gun loosens, but I don’t let go. I fall to my back and he’s still trying to wrestle the gun out of my hands. He’s biting down on my fingers and jumping up and falling back down onto my cock with his knee. I turn to block him, and his knee digs into my leg instead. 

I gurgle with anger, and let the shotgun go. He falls back in surprise and looks at the pump action like it were an early Christmas present. He’s remembering that there’s a scraggly man in front of him that he needs to kill, he’s about to point the shotgun at me, but before he can I pull the Colt off my hip and I fire three rounds consecutively, hitting him on his left side. One of them has hit his heart, I think, because he’s bleeding everywhere, and he certainly looks dead. Even so, I stand with my gun pointed at him, still afraid he’s going to rise and dive his fist into my balls. He doesn’t though. He’s a bloody mess, the tie-dye shirt with a smiling cartoon Inuit is soaked with red. I grab my shotgun from his dead hands and roam the abandoned juke joint, searching for my prize.

I walk away with a stack of plastic cups with the cartoon character stamped on them and a half-dozen teacher themed shirts with Joe in various movie character roles. I briefly wonder what the hell it was the kid wanted to kill me for. Protecting his boxes of plastic wear? His tie-dye shirts? Or was he killing to keep himself from being killed? 

 I throw the shirts to the back and fire up the Sub. I decide I’m going to spend the night sleeping on the campus lawn. I’d ripped off some camping equipment from a mountain store on my way through Nederland, and I’ve been itching to use it. I can’t think of a better place to try it out than a manicured lawn on an Oklahoman college. I just hope I don’t get bit by any fleas.