"Hey Sheth; how can you tell if a elephantsh been
in your refrigerator?"
"Fuck you, Wyatt."
"It's cold out! What do you think the wind chill
"How the fuck should I know?" Seth's eyelids were
starting to freeze together. "The bank clock Uptown said it was 37 below
zero, but that's the straight temp."
It was just past eleven PM and the brothers had
been stomping through the ice-glazed snow that blanketed Riverwood Cemetery
for almost a half-hour, the wind shoving at their backs.
"Which one, again?" demanded Wyatt, breath steaming
through his scarf.
"Osmolagnia. Cody Osmolagnia. Carmen used to babysit
him when he was little. He drowned swimming in Lake Ida last summer," Seth
mumbled through his ski mask. He was dragging a white laundry bag that
held a boltcutter and a prybar.
"Here we are."
The pair stood in front of the Osmolagnia family
mausoleum. It took both of them to shove open the heavy iron door after
Seth snapped the lock with the boltcutters.
Stomping the snow off their boots, they switched-on
a penlight and shined it on the coffins. Cody's was on the floor, underneath
a shelf holding the casket of his grandmother. Grasping the handles, Seth
and Wyatt dragged the coffin to the middle of the vault and sat down on
"At least we're out of the wind!" Seth pulled a
glass pipe and a carefully folded piece of chewing gum foil from inside
his blaze orange snowmobile suit.
"Fucker! I knew you'd bring shum!" Wyatt pulled
a mini-torch from the pocket of his parka. "I thought you shed you had
a eishcream habit."
"At least I'm not into 'kibbles and bits', Ratboy,"
said Seth, referring to his brother's custom of popping Talwin and Ritalin
together. Each held the torch while the other sucked the heroin smoke into
"I never been shucked-off by a Chineesh chick, before."
"Fuck you, asshole. Carmen promised me a hundred
buck and a blowjob if I brought her Cody tonight. You can have fifty bucks,
but I get the blowjob!"
"Can I watch, then?"
"OK; but you can't take any pictures!" Seth was
starting to feel as happy as a baby in a barrel full of titties. "We better
hurry, or we'll miss the last bus back!"
They stood up and Seth banged-off the coffin lid's
lugs with the tire iron and lifted it.
Seth played his penlight up and down the green-and-black
eight year-old in the moldy suit. Holding his breath, he grabbed Cody under
the arms and dragged him onto the cement floor.
"Quit saying that and hold the bag open!" Wyatt
did as he was told and by bending Cody in half at the waist, they were
able to fit him into the laundry bag, dropping in the boltcutters and prybar
after him. Each grabbed a drawstring. The brothers steeled themselves for
what lay outside. Together they counted, "One, Two, THREE!" and stepped
"FUCK!!!" They screamed into the wind. It had rained
two days before and everything had been coated with a quarter-inch of ice.
Even the gibbous moon had a halo of ice crystals around it. To Seth, it
all looked so... pretty. He couldn't wait to get his present back to Carmen's
apartment, fuck her pretty face and spurt between her lips if she let him.
"We going out the shame way we came in?"
The bag slid easily over ice-crusted snow, the wind
blew icy twigs onto their heads. Wyatt smiled behind his scarf when he
saw all the evergreen wreaths decorating gravestones and hung on the doors
of mausoleums. "Look, Sheth, a Chrishmush tree!" He pointed at a small
balsam leaning against a crying marble angel with its fingers broken-off.
Most of the tree's cheap ornaments lay broken and scattered around it.
Fifteen year-old Wyatt had always been wildly sentimental
about Christmas. He demanded his parents put up the decorations the day
after Halloween and always helped his dad string-up the outdoor lights.
It was his proud duty to assemble the manger scene in the front yard, for
which Wyatt would pilfer outdoor decorations from miles around. He wore
foam antlers everywhere he went starting the day after Thanksgiving, he
shoplifted presents for everyone he knew, and wasn't shy about letting
them know what he wanted for Christmas. Wyatt despised the day after New
Year's, when his weary parents made him take the decorations down.
The pair had arrived at the hole dug under the iron-spiked
fence they had slid under. Seth went through first, so Wyatt could push
the laundry bag under the fence to him. After Wyatt squirmed through, the
boys each grabbed a drawstring and shuffled down the sidewalk in babysteps,
trying not to fall on their asses. It was four blocks against the wind
to the bus stop at Hennepin and Lake.
Wyatt started reciting out loud one of his favorite
books, Dr Seuss' GREEN EGGS AND HAM. When he finally finished and started
reciting HORTON HEARS A WHO, Seth told him to shut up.
"Don't tell me to shut up! Dad shesh to tell you
if you don't go back to shcool, he'll quit paying your rent!"
"You can tell dad to shuck my dick!"
Seth knew it was an empty threat. He would have
to move back home, and knew Mom and Dad couldn't handle that, anymore.
Fuck going back to school. He heard reading text books gave you syphilis.
"I'll tell him you shed that when he picksh me up
from your apartment Shunday night!"
"Go ahead, ash hole!" Seth hated having a younger
brother. What he really needed was some more smoke. He remembered there
was a dealer named Scooby, who lived a couple of blocks away. If they didn't
stay too long, they would still have time to catch the last 21A that went
east on Lake Street that would take them to the office furniture warehouse
where he and Carmen had apartments on the third floor. When they got to
Aldrich, Seth forced Wyatt to go left.
Standing in front of the dealer's house, with all
the lights on and dogs barking, Seth had a hard time believing anyone lived
in the house with all the windows broken and aluminum siding stripped-off
to about ten feet.
"Wow! A haunted housh!"
They walked onto the porch and stomped the snow
and ice off their boots. Seth pounded on the door. After a minute, a steroid-addled
bodybuilder with no eyebrows opened the door while holding onto the leash
of a snapping pitbull.
"Is Scooby Doo here?"
"Tell him it's Seth."
The door slammed shut and the brothers flopped down
on a broken couch. Ten minutes later they were about to leave when the
door was opened by a scrawny guy with ink blue hair and a matted maroon
beard that fell to his belt buckle.
"Seth! My favorite trust fund baby! Come in."
"You know I don't get my trust fund for another
"Who's your bud?"
"That's my little brother, Wyatt. He's staying at
my apartment this weekend."
They walked into the foyer, dragging the laundry
sack behind them. Scooby gawked at the pair's cargo.
"You're doing laundry, tonight?! Radio says it's
a 65 below wind chill!"
Seth giggled. "Its not laundry. We just stole a
kid's body from Riverview Cemetery for Carmen!"
"Carmen the Cambodian? I know her! What does she
want with a dead boy?"
"I dunno. Carmen used to babysit him or something.
She promised me a hundred bucks and a blowjob if I got him for her tonight."
"That sounds like Carmen! Let's go downstairs and
do some business, but leave the bag here." Scooby led the boys past cracked
walls swarming with roaches and through a minefield of dog turds. Upstairs,
they could hear men laughing and shouting over a woman's screams. From
the filthy kitchen, they descended down rickety wooden stairs to the basement.
A single fluorescent shoplight illuminated three
pitbulls chained to fast-moving treadmills, the bodybuilder watching a
small, black-and-white TV with the sound turned down, and a sobbing, shirtless
man kneeling on the packed-earth floor with a hand crushed in a vice attached
to a workbench. Fresh cigarette burns dotted his torso.
"Wow!" exclaimed Seth after taking off his ski mask.
"A black-and-white TV! I heard of those but I never seen one before!"
"Traded for it with a rock." He peered past Seth
to Wyatt, who was unwinding his scarf. "How come your brother don't talk?"
"What time ish it when a elephant shits on a fensh?"
Uh oh, thought Seth.
"I dunno," said Scooby. "What time is it when a
elephant shits on a fence?"
"Time to get a new fensh!" Wyatt burst out laughing.
The dealer looked confused, then angry. "Why did
the shicken crosh the road?"
"To get to the other side?" asked a wary Scooby.
"Awww... you heard it! Why did Jeshush crosh the
"He wash nailed to a shicken!"
The bodybuilder sitting on the folding chair twisted
his tiny, shaved head around. "That's blasphemy!"
Seth jerked a thumb at the whimpering man with his
hand in the vice. "What's his story?"
Scooby looked ready to explode. "Fucker comes here
looking for crack with his wife, when he already owes me $450! Me and Casper
drug 'em down here and gave him one choice; we entertain him down here,
while his wife entertains our customers upstairs for $10 a pop 'til his
debt is paid-off! We wanted to charge more, but she's ugly as a hat full
of assholes. That's her on the TV. Jinx is on the camcorder upstairs."
"Hey, it's Big Boo Boo's turn!" Casper shouted.
"You guys gotta watch this," said Scooby. "Big Boo
Boo's got the biggest prong you ever saw on a white guy!"
Huddled around the small screen, the brothers gasped
when they saw Big Boo Boo's tool rise from between his knees.
"That fucker ish deformed!"
"Your old lady will be able to do squat thrusts
over a fire hydrant when Big Boo Boo gets done with her!" Casper told their
His sobbing increased in volume and intensity.
"Let...me...go!" he wailed.
Scooby cackled and turned the TV so he could get
a better view of his wife's violation and cranked-up the volume.
"What can I do for you boys?" asked Scooby, suddenly
"Howzabout fifty bucks worth of skag on credit?"
"You got it." Scooby pulled two bindles from his
ragged jeans and stuffed them in a pocket of Seth's snowmobile suit. He
pulled on his ski mask and mittens. "Time to go, Wyatt."
"Before we go, Shcooby Doo, will you let me do shumthing?"
"What?" Scooby sounded suspicious and annoyed.
"I alwaysh wanted to carve The Cat In The Hat on
a guysh back with a rashor blade." Wyatt looked directly at the crackhead
trapped in the vice. "Or Curioush George."
"Go for it," Scooby grinned.
"You don't have time for that, Wyatt! If we miss
the last bus, we'll have to drag Cody six miles down Lake Street!"
"But Sheth, I got a rashor blade and I wanna shtay
and wash TV!" Wyatt protested.
"You're not the bawsh of me!" wailed Wyatt when
Seth grabbed his hand and started pulling him up the stairs, struggling
the whole way. Seth slapped him with his open palm, causing Wyatt to start
bawling and Scooby and Casper to burst-out laughing.
"When they got to the top of the stairs, Seth wrapped
his brother's scarf around Wyatt's snotty nose and mouth. He was still
quietly blubbering. "Shut up!"
"I'm...gonna...tell... momanddad... you ...hit...me."
"Like they're really gonna give a shit!" They each
grabbed a drawstring on the laundry bag and dragged their ghastly cargo
outside. The cold hit them like a mallet.
Shuffling down the icy sidewalk toward Uptown, Wyatt's
crying got softer and softer 'til it finally ended. "You shure got shum
neat friendsh, Sheth!"
They arrived at the business district as the bars
were closing and people were drunkenly sliding and slipping toward their
cars. They laughed uproariously when they saw a guy slip and bash his head
on a parking meter and crumble unconscious or dead on a dirty snowbank.
The trio joined a small crowd huddled at the bus
shelter at Hennepin and Lake. Wyatt nudged a woman in a silver ski jacket
standing with her boyfriend.
"Hey lady, how can you tell if a elephantsh been
in your refrigerator?"