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Authors: Jeffrey Thomas

Everybody Scream!

BOOK: Everybody Scream!
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A Punktown Novel


Jeffrey Thomas

Also by Jeffrey Thomas

Terror Incognita




Letters From Hades

Punktown: Third Eye (editor)


Honey is Sweeter Than Blood

Everybody Scream!

Everybody Scream! © 2004 by Jeffrey Thomas

All rights reserved

Published by Raw Dog Screaming Press

Hyattsville, MD

First Paperback Edition

Cover image: David Anthony Magitis

Book design: Jennifer Barnes

Printed in the United States of America

ISBN 0-9745031-9-3

Library of Congress Control Number:


thanks to the Raw Dog Screaming typing pool, who arduously transferred to type a manuscript written by hand in 1987-1988–most particularly to Jennifer Barnes, who did the bulk of the work. And thanks to Scott Thomas, for being Frankie Dystopia and my brother.

Smoke Circus

Licorice skies

Bend the lights

Of a steel skeleton horizon.

I spin in your vehicles

Cotton candy clouds

Popcorn teen faces

Scream the riders, loud.

Amass the delighted

Vibrant, excited

Is this where life starts?

Shooting gallery hearts.

Bumper car kisses

Who stops to idol?

The flax of humanity

Like a gold hero's title.

Flesh and metal

Neon and death

Flame the smoke circus

The purpose of breath.

-Frankie Dystopia




In the colony city of Paxton, also known as Punktown, the current number one rock group was Sphitt, and the number one rock song this summer was their hit
In Your Face
. This song now played on Kid Belfast's music system–the third time he had heard it this morning. It had been background music previously but now he focused on it, listened to it.

As it was for millions of other young men right now,
In Your Face
song. It wasn’t that he especially emulated the group physically, or their nearly indistinguishable kindred groups Flemm, Mhukas and Sputum (several of which had the same manager), as many of their other fans did. Sphitt’s hair was snowy white fluffy lion manes overwhelming their tiny faces with their little chins and chiseled cheekbones and seemingly ceaselessly distended puckered pouts. Kid had short bristled hair, a nondescript light brown, and his lips were thin, their compressed lack of expression hardly sultry. When the members of Flemm and Sphitt did smile for the stills, their smiles were lazy insolent smirks worn like jackets tossed over their shoulders, and this was the unified smirk of most of their fans, as much a distinguishing badge as the explosive manes. When Kid smiled it was a shy, embarrassed grin like a fissure in his usual composure.

Also, Kid didn’t spit much. Many boys now frequently punctuated their speech and activities with spitting, spit over each other’s shoulders in greeting, at each other’s boots in farewell, and at each other’s bodies in hostility. Naturally he had done this to some obligatory extent, but he had seldom joined in the frequent contests of mucus launching of milling boys, and had only tried chewing tobacco once. He had almost vomited. It was, almost inconceivably, simply the music itself which appealed to him–its bombastic, melodramatic chest-beating, every song an overwrought epic of operatic emotion. Only their thundering exultant anthems seemed to rouse him from his near constant sullenness, but it was naturally their passionately unhappy, venom-spitting opuses that gripped him most. More than manes and kissable pouts with saliva loaded behind them, Kid Belfast embraced the
of the songs by Sphitt, Mhukas and the rest.

He lay on his back in Noelle’s bed, the sheet a stilled tide against the beach of his naked hairless chest, fingers laced under his head. It was his music system but it was here in Noelle’s dorm room, a guest like he was, though it stayed while he came and went.

Noelle giggled with Bonnie Gross at the window, their bottoms presented to Kid, Bonnie’s tiny bottom bare, tanned a darker color than Noelle’s skin, although Noelle was partly black in extraction and predominately so in appearance. Bonnie was nude, as usual, Noelle wore an oversized men’s white undershirt as a nightshirt. Somebody in a car, a male fellow student, was yelling back and forth with the young women. Kid was not a student; he had just slept over.

“Yeahhh, I’ll be there!” Noelle shouted huskily. “I’ll be there! I will
there!” The male yelled something back. “I don’t know–I’ll be there.” His turn. Then Noelle. “I don’t know where I’ll be–everywhere!” Him. Then her. “All day!”

“Just be there!” Bonnie giggle-yelled down. Goodbyes were called. Noelle and Bonnie turned away from the window, Bonnie strutting past Kid on the bed, her back arched and shoulders so thrust back that her small tanned breasts aimed up at the ceiling. Kid might have been excited by her nakedness if he hadn’t hated the idea of items as soft as bottoms and breasts being burnt to a leathery darkness. Noelle, on the other hand, was natural in her light darkness...soft...and Bonnie was
naked, always open, but Noelle had that shirt on, the points of her breasts teasingly nosing out the material, the hem falling just below her thighs. Noelle better understood her visual effect.

It took Kid a great effort to ask Noelle from the bed, as she bustled about with groggy animation, “Where is it you’re going today?”

“The fair,” she said, stopping at the cooking unit her mother had bought her to heat a mug of water from the jug in the mini fridge Bonnie’s mother had bought her, so as to make tea.

“With who?”

“Oh, I’ll be there with thousands of people.”

“Including the person who was yelling up at you just now?”

“Yeah–including him–he’ll be there. With thousands of people.”

“And you’ll be meeting him. Right?”

“Maybe. Maybe
.” She gave him a look. Not a long one, but long enough.

Bonnie laughed at Kid, sipped her glass of cough syrup-thick, apricot-scented breakfast wine. “The Green Monster,” she said in a horror movie voice, wriggling the fingers of her free hand.

“That should be a ride at the fair,” Noelle Buda joked. Both women giggled heartily.

The bones of Kid’s face worked under the skin. His eyes screwed themselves into the ceiling. Angry replies, counterattacks ground themselves against each other in his mind like his teeth, but couldn’t pry their way out of his jaws. Bonnie had to be in his way, as always, throwing his strength off balance, an obstacle, one of Noelle’s “buddies,” a cancerous growth that Kid would have liked to slice off Noelle and ground under his heel.

“In your face,” sang Chauncy Carnal, of Sphitt, “I want to shoot my gun,

Blow your brains out, now ain’t that fun?

Seize you by your tresses, slam home my sperm

Rip off all your dresses until your lessons are all learned

If that’s what it takes for you to look in my eyes

If I have to deafen you so you’ll hear my cries

If I have to tear into your dreams to make myself real

Do I have to spit in your face to make you feel?

To make you feel, make you feel that I’m real?

Oh, oh, oh, in your face, you sorry little bitch


Barnacle-like organisms clung, or rather were fused, to the insides of the damp tunnel, each one as big around as a large truck tire, projecting funnel-like, black and glistening but for the anemone-like translucent white tentacles which flowered at the ends. The tentacles glowed, attracting unwary moths and such and illuminating the tunnel, and slowly writhed as if in some underwater current, but Wes and Fen merely avoided them casually. Once this circular tunnel had conveyed water; the barnacle-things had fed on insect-like plankton forms, but had since adapted mindlessly to the plankton of the air. They were possibly a hundred years old, like this tunnel.

Wes and Fen were both nineteen. Their plastic sleeping bags still lay on the sheets of packing foam and the flattened-out giant cardboard box they had put down to insulate themselves further from the moist tunnel floor. Wes sat cross-legged on his bag pouring some black coffee from a thermos. Fen, who hated coffee, sat on a chair made from two cinder blocks and a board, smoking a cigarette. On their radio/chip player they listened to a chip by Sputum–but not too loud. They were in hiding. By Wes’s knee on his bag lay his automatic pistol.

“Have a doughnut, spitter,” said Wes, chewing, holding out a crinkly bag.

“They’re stale. They were stale yesterday. I need some real food.”

“All we can eat at the carnival tonight.”

“All we can eat. Are you going to sit down and vote on the best quilt, too, while you’re at it? We aren’t going there to eat and play games, mucoid, we’re going to make our move and get out of there. What if one of the enemy is there and spots us? Many people will be there, it’s not impossible.”

“The enemy,” Wes echoed with a smirk.

Clack-clack. Fen’s automatic was a foot from Wes’s nose. Though Wes’s identical Tikkihotto military sidearm was closer to him than his friend’s gun, Wes didn’t take the chance. “Yes,” hissed Fen Colon, “the enemy. You can mock the fact that I was in the army for two years, but the sleeping bag you slept in last night is an army bag, the gun you carry is an army weapon, the coat on your back is an army jacket, the boots on your feet and the thermos you got your coffee from are army issue. And it’s my army training that’s kept us alive so far and that will see us through tonight, after which our lives will get a hell of a lot better. So mock me, mock the service...but the next time you do you’re on your own. You can do things the civilian way, and walk right into the minefields and blow yourself to confetti.”

“Oh yeah, if I left you on my own you’d really let me walk away alive.” Wes wasn’t so cowardly that he couldn’t speak his mind with death poised in his face.

“You miserable little drooler.” Fen spun away from Wes and off his chair, stepped further down the tunnel and then whirled to glare at his friend, cramming his pistol back into its holster. “You really got a high opinion of me, don’t you? A soldier never betrays a buddy! Never! You’d do that to me in a second, but don’t ever think I’m as low as you!”

“All I said was one stupid little thing!” Wes turned his head to spit on the wall to emphasize his exasperation. “Let’s just forget it all, huh?” Wes sipped his coffee. You’d think that Fen’s code of honor had been forged on the battlefield instead of at a military training station/vocational school on the outskirts of Paxton. Fen had acquired their gear mostly from army surplus stores, and much of it was of the Tikkihotto, not Earth Colonies, armed service. Wes bit into his doughnut. Stale. Too stale for poor Fen, the soldier.

“The enemy are soldiers,” Fen grumbled. “You don’t stand a chance against soldiers unless you yourself are a soldier. Being a soldier is a state of mind, a religion, and your gun is your Bible and your crucifix and your God. God won’t keep me alive unless He’s in the mood, but my gun is always there for me. The enemies think the same as me, mucoid, the same way. And they outnumber us a hundred to one. You haven’t seen them, you think it’s all a joke. I almost wish we would run into them tonight so you’d see.”

“Alright, okay. I’ll take it seriously. What if some of them are there buying when we make the move–do we wait and let them go or fuck them, too?”

“I want to avoid engaging at all costs. Only if we must will we engage them. They aren’t yet aware of us; the less they know about us after the move the less far away we have to run to be safe.”

“They won’t wonder about that drooler we fucked? That won’t put them on guard?”

“Moband was highly connected, highly involved in many avenues. They won’t necessarily...won’t be likely to associate his murder with LaKarnafeaux.”

“Yeah, well just maybe to be on the safe side they’ll have some gunners around keeping an eye on LaKarnafeaux. If I can think of that, then I’m sure these
can.” Wes stressed the word a little sarcastically.

Fen let it go by. “They know LaKarnafeaux can look after himself. He may be a little on guard, but I don’t think he’ll be too fortified. All should go well. But we aren’t going there tonight to buy candyfloss. Remember that.”

“You’re the one who wouldn’t eat stale doughnuts.”

Fen fingered his pack of cigarettes out of his breast pocket. Two left. That was worse than only having stale doughnuts. He’d have to pick up a few packs tonight at the fair, along with a few
bites. This pack, and the pen lighter (a writing instrument, red, with a lighting device at the other end) he now used to ignite his second to last cigarette, he had taken off Moband’s corpse. Wes had done the actual killing, after they’d first found out who the big dealer of the drug purple vortex was, said to be working the fair. Only this lighter pen, applied to Moband’s forehead, had finally elicited the information. Roland LaKarnafeaux. The “enemy,” as Fen Colon referred to them, got all their vortex from him...hence Fen’s insistence on caution tonight when he and Wes Sundry went to rob and kill LaKarnafeaux.

Wes preferred calling the enemy what they called themselves–Martians.

The next cut by Sputum started up...
I Am What You Eat
. Wes bobbed his head enthusiastically to the thumping beat, spit at a mammoth barnacle on the wall and then sang along to the words:

“Hey you squirmin’ mermaid, wriggle on the beach

The water’s so close and so far from your reach

Flap your fishy tail–spit, you smell fine!

Got my knife all set and I’m ready to dine

BOOK: Everybody Scream!
6.45Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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