Walkin’ the Dog
Present day [PM] a sleepy neighborhood on the outskirts of downtown in a large North American city. The home of sexagenarians Andrea and Hector Righinn and their little dog Harry.
Andrea: [Busy in her kitchen calls out to her husband] “Hector its ten thirty. Harry needs his walk. [Pause] Hector would you please give it a rest with that damn machine and take the dog for his last walk? Honestly you’re becoming obsessed with that thing.”
Hector: [emerging from the basement] “Hey girl, you used to complain about me sittin’ on the couch watchin’ T V. Don’t ya like the new me”? [He makes an exaggerated muscle-man pose] “Can you tell the difference?” [He nods at the photograph on the wall above him; a younger Hector stretched out fully in a soccer net saving a goal.]
Andrea: “I think it’s great that your getting back in shape but you do tend to overdo things.[ She kisses his cheek.] Now will you take Harry out, the poor dog has his legs crossed”
Hector: [To Harry] “Come on shit machine let’s go stink up the neighborhood.”
Andrea: “Hector you’ll hurt his feelings”
Hector: “He’s an animal Andy; ya can insult him as much as you like as long as ya don’t forget ti feed’m; much like your brother George.”
An oven glove sails over Hectors head as he ushers Harry out the back door
Hector: [Calling back through the closed door.] “Nice pitch kid, see ya in a bit”
Andrea: [voice from inside, laughing] “Have a nice walk”
Hector walks with Harry on a leash. They cross the back-yard and exit through a gate. On the other side of the gate is a narrow tree lined lane. Hector leads Harry down the lane toward the lights of a neighboring street. They turn left and at the end of the street turn left again. Harry sniffing and peeing. The neighborhood is quiet. They don’t meet anyone. Eventually after a few more turns, Harry squats to take care of business.
Hector: “Jeez dog, you DO stink up the place.” [Hector bends down pulling a doggy-poo bag around his hand.] “My God dog this thing’s as big as yir head.”
As Hector scoops up the dog-poo a car speeds down the street screeching to a halt at the curb side opposite. From the car a very loud base booms out into the quite night. Harry begins to bark at the car. The engine and base are shut off and two young men in hip-hop clothing emerge from the vehicle their voices loud and abrasive replacing the silenced music. They cross the street passing Hector and Harry and Harry snarls and barks at them.
1st Punk: [bends towards Harry] “RAAAGH!”
Both Punks laugh at this and continue walking toward a townhouse complex on this side of the street. Harry now more agitated pulls free of Hectors grip on the leash and runs barking toward the two young men.
Hector: “Harry, come back here “
Harry has reached the punks and is barking and snarling at them.
1st Punk: “Fuck off dog” [He aims a vicious kick at the dog, the tip of his boot making contact. Harry yelps]
Hector: “Hey asshole, leave my dog alone”
1st Punk: “I’ll stomp the little fuck into the dirt, he comes near me again”
2nd Punk: [pulling on his companions sleeve] “We got some business to take care of here Rats. Be nice if ya didn’t wake the whole fuckin’ hood.
1st Punk (Rats): [Toward Harry] “AGGHH!” [He forms his finger and thumb into a gun and fires it at Harry.] “Bam” [He turns laughing sardonically and hurries after his buddy]
Hector retrieves the leash and control of Harry and turns to retrace their steps towards home. He looks at the expensive car that the punks arrived in, and then at the bag of dog excrement in his hand a smile forms on his lips.
As Hector and Harry turn the corner at the end of the street Rats and his buddy return to their car. Rats presses a button on his key fob and the trunk pops open. 2nd punk throws a sports bag into it and slams it closed
2nd Punk: [Getting in the passenger side of the car] Good nights work huh?
Rats: “That fukin’ old asshole”
2nd Punk: What you on abou…?
Rats: [Starting the car and looking around] “I’ll kill that old fuck and his fuckin’ dog”
2nd Punk: [Notices the mess smeared on the windshield] “Shit”
Rats: ‘You tryin’ to be funny”
2nd Punk: “What? Oh right, shit ha-a.”
Rats: [pulling the car around] I’m gonna find that old bastard and use his fukin’ face to clean it up”
2nd Punk: “Ah maybe we should get the fuck outa this hood man. [He indicates with his eyes and head toward the rear of the car] you know?
Rats: [driving and looking around.] “This won’t take long. He must still be close by.”
They turn another corner and just ahead they see Hector and Harry.
Rats: “Got’ya fuck-head” [He accelerates the car aiming it at Hector and Harry]
Hector hearing the revving engine looks over his shoulder the car is bearing down on them. He scoops up Harry and runs across the street to the opposite sidewalk.
The car screeches to a stop on the sidewalk, where Hector and Harry had been seconds earlier busting part of a picket fence. Rats backs the car up and turns it in pursuit of Hector.
Inside the car:
2nd Punk: “Hey granddad moves pretty fast [He reaches inside his coat] why don’t I just waste the old prick”
Rats: “NO! He’s mine. You can shoot’m after I park this Beamer on the fuckin’ assholes head.
Hector hurriedly crosses the street once more to a house with a waste high chain-link fence securing its front yard. He drops Harry into the yard and runs on. Harry runs around the yard barking unable to get out.
The car once again changes direction in continued pursuit of the older man.
At the corner now, Hector looks right and left. He goes right; the car swerves to the right bumping over the curb at the corner. Rats straightens the car out and is amazed to see Hector standing on the opposite sidewalk just ahead, giving him the finger.
Inside the car:
2nd Punk: Whooo! That old bastard’s nuts. Get’m man.
Rats: “YOU ARE FUCKIN DEAD POPS”
Rats presses on the accelerator at the same time holding down the brake, burning rubber. The older man stands stalk still grinning, his finger still stretched in the well known gesture of defiance.
Rats pulls his left foot off the brake and stomps the gas pedal to the floor. The car barrels toward Hector still grinning, finger stiff. At the last possible second the older, yet nimble man dives and rolls across the grass like the soccer goalie he used to be.
Too late, Rats sees the fire hydrant that Hector has been intentionally obscuring. The car smashes into the hydrant crushing the front end and sending a torrent of water shooting into the air.
Hector rises from the lawn he’s on the passenger side of the car. He sees the second punk push open his door, a gun in his hand. Hector dives at the door his weight pushing it closed crushing the young mans arm and head in the process. He straightens up and slams the door on the young punk a few more times. The punk groans and slides semi-conscious down on his seat.
Rats has pulled himself from the car he’s stumbling around on the grass slipping and sliding on the quickly flooding lawn. Woozily he fumbles in his pants for his gun.
Hector: [Picking up a large pistol from the lawn] “Looking for this?”
Hector holds the gun by the barrel offering it to Rats. The younger man makes a snatch for the proffered weapon. Hector pulls the gun back, then using it as a club he strikes hard at the outstretched arm, making painful contact with the young mans wrist.
Rats: “Ahh! You fuckin’ old bast…[He kicks at the older man]
Hector side steps the kick and brings the large gun down with all his strength on the young mans knee. Rats yells in pain and falls to the ground screaming and weeping.
Hector: [Opening the gate of the yard where he dropped Harry] “Come on Harry lets get you home”
Hector pushes open his back door and follows Harry inside. In the background he hears police sirens. He closes his door.
Andrea: [From another room] “Hector, what’s all the noise about outside?”
Hector: “Beats me”
Andrea: “How was your walk?”
Hector: “Same old, same old”
Andrea: “Come to bed”
Hector: I’ll be right in, after I hit the can.
Andrea: Hurry up; one of your favorites is coming on, Die Hard.
Hector laughs as he closes the bathroom door.
‘Why am I still alive Mr Jones?’ The voice was deep and rich, almost musical. Close, though not quite Barry White. Hank Rawley had cultivated his slow, soft voice over many years. It had a reassuring tone. It was the voice of someone you could trust. Hank Rawley had been a criminal since the age of eight.
‘Well…I’m afraid I’ve had a better offer, old boy.’
Mr Jones, also of the criminal classes was a gun for hire—or maybe, bomb for hire, would be more accurate.
‘We had a deal pal. You came recommended.’
‘Yes, that may be but, it’s double the money you see. And it’s not like… well really old chap…I mean after all it’s not like I do this for fun.’
Rawley leaned forward in his chair. He rested his forearms on the kitchen table and stared into Jones’ eyes.
‘Who?’ Repeated Jones.
‘Who made the better offer? You limy fuck.’
‘Oh really dear boy let’s not descend into name calling. I know you could never tell by my accent but actually I’m Welsh.’ The thin immaculately dressed Jones gave the impression of being the director of a private school or hospital; affluent affable and intelligent, with just the right hint of deference.
‘I could give a shit if you fell out of a syphilitic camel in the Kalahari. Who made the better fucking offer?’ Rawley prided himself on his ability to stay cool under any circumstance, BUT guys like Jones got under his skin. Welsh was just another kind of Brit and Brits had a tendency to piss him off.
‘I’m afraid that I’m not at liberty to divulge names, client confidentiality and all that.’ Jones wasn’t intentionally annoying. But he did notice an occasional hint of condescension in his voice. He made a mental note to work on it each time he heard it. But it was always there.
Hank Rawley relaxed a little.
‘So you’re here for what, to give me back my dough? I don’t get it. Some dope gave ya double the money that I did, NOT to kill me.’
‘Precisely.’ Chirped Mr Jones, he reached into his jacket pocket and produced a silver flask. ‘Drink?’
Jones took Rawley’s look of contempt as a no. He reached for one of the water glasses by the carafe, on the table between them.
‘Really, no reason why we can’t be civil old boy, do you mind?’
‘Knock yourself out.’ Rawley watched as Jones, in his precise manner, poured a large measure from the flask into the water glass then returned the flask to his pocket.
‘Thank you. Your health.’ Jones sipped the golden liquid.
‘So why are you here Jones?’
Jones looked admiringly into the glass.
‘I know you’re a lover of good scotch Mr Rawley. This really is excellent single malt. Thirty five years old don’t you know? Please join me, and I’ll explain my presence here tonight.’
‘Yeah? OK, go ahead. Pour me one.’ He reached forward and slid a water glass up the table toward Jones. ‘Now what’s the story?’
Mr Jones retrieved the flask from his inside jacket pocket and poured a measure into the glass. He took a step forward and handed the glass to Rawley.
‘Slangie.’ Said Jones.
Rawley drained the expensive whiskey in one shot returning the glass to the table in the same motion.
‘Now, spill asshole.’
‘You hired me to kill you and make it look unmistakably, like an accident. That way the considerable insurance policy you have with Standard Provincial would be paid out, to your loved ones I assume, no questions asked.’ As he said this he refilled Rawley’s glass.
‘You’re telling me stuff I already know.’ Rawley drank again, slower this time.
‘Quite. Well the Standard Provincial Insurance Company runs a check on backgrounds when such a large policy is initiated and…’
‘More stuff I know pal. My cover story was foolproof.’
‘Yes I saw the file it was very well done.’
‘What do you mean you saw the file? Why would the insurance file mean anything to you? ‘
‘Well my client, my new client that is, he’s an investigator for Standard Provincial. He saw your file on a colleague’s desk, and recognized your photograph.’
‘I never gave them a photograph.’
‘Oh come old chap, they’re an insurance company. Don’t be so naive.’
‘OK, so this guy sees my picture, so what?’
‘He recognized you old boy. He’d seen you before, in Montreal, in 1998.’
‘OK I’m listening.’
Jones raised the flask and gestured to Rawley. ‘Another?’
Rawley drained the small amount left in his glass then held it up for the other man to refill.
‘Sure go ahead.’
After refilling Rawley’s glass Jones raised his own. ‘Cheers.’
Rawley once again downed the expensive scotch in one gulp.
Mr Jones placed his drink carefully on the table before him. He steepled his fingers, and brought them to his pursed lips gathering his thoughts. Then he said. ‘The Hartley gallery of fine arts, Avenue du Parc, Montreal 1998. Ten paintings valued at 7.5 million dollars, stolen, gone, never to be seen again, at least, not in public, that is.
My client had the security contract for the gallery. It was a new business venture for him, a family affair. They were on a tight budget. His son was the younger of the two guards on duty that night, the one who didn’t entirely succumb to the chloroform that was used to render them unconscious. He managed to rise to his feet and stumble around in a semi-drugged state on the upper floor, where your people had left him. He, no doubt, thought he might raise the alarm. You were busy on the ground floor or had maybe even left by then. Anyway, semi conscious, semi darkness, open-plan stairs design. He was discovered at the bottom of the stairs, where he had landed badly, breaking his neck.
My client had seen you on the gallery’s security videos several times in the weeks leading up to the break-in. Video tapes that, of course, disappeared. He knew the fix was in. What could he do without proof?
He lost his son. Soon after the event, he lost the business. His wife lasted two years, mostly on booze and drugs, before she ended her torment with an overdose. There was nothing he could do. Nothing that is, until the fates once more put your face in front of him three months ago.’
Rawley’s mouth felt dry. When he spoke his words sounded strange to him. ‘I didn’t know about any of that shit. Fuck it was just business.’
‘My new client views it somewhat more…personally.’
Rawley tried to shake off a sudden feeling of lightheadedness. His words were slurred. ‘Ha! You didn’t bother telling him I have cancer now, did you?’
‘Oh, he’s aware of your condition.’
‘Well I don’t get it. I’m dying; I’m on the way out? I paid you to off me for crisesake. Shouldn’t this schmuck be happy?’
‘My assessment of his happiness, or lack of it, would be mere conjecture. My assignment is to render you incapacitated, and then leave you here for the client.’
‘Lee… me… incaps… ata…huh?’
Jones held up the flask. ‘Rohypnol.’
Rawley stared at the flask then at Jones. ‘But you… same…’
Jones produced a second identical flask from his right inside jacket pocket. ‘No no. Not hardly old chap.’
Rawley’s head bobbed back and forth in small jerks. ‘What’s…what’ll he… wha…?’
Jones removed Rawley’s glass as his head began to fall toward it on the table. ‘If asked, my guess would be, that what ever time you have left in this world Mr Rawley, will be extremely uncomfortable, to say the least.’
Rawley, his head on the table whispered. ‘Bastard.’
Mr Jones removed a folded plastic bag from a pocket. He placed both flasks and water glasses into it. As he turned toward the front door he said. ‘In your own words, Mr Rawley, it was just business. Goodbye.’
Through the Tear
Johnny Blue 2013
Sam Burke tentatively stretched out his arm into the air; seconds before he had witnessed something impossible; a tear had opened in the space just above him. As he moved his fingers back and forth where the opening had occurred, he muttered to himself "I must be going nuts".
Sam didn't really believe he was going nuts, because when the rip in the air opened up, a shining container fell through it. A silver tube about three feet long and two foot wide, it lay in the long grass just off the opposite side of the path where he stood.
Sam looked around in the faint hope that one of the dog walkers who frequented Chine Meadows would be out this early. No, the doggie people never showed up before seven thirty in the morning; one of the reasons he liked to come out early. Sam looked at his watch, six forty-two. He looked at the shiny cylinder in the flattened grass. Sam didn't think he was a coward but he knew he wasn't particularly brave either. He would have really liked one of those dog walkers to show up about now, even the crazy lady with the Great-Dane; anybody.
The cell-phone, of course. Sam reached into his jacket pocket for the phone his daughter Jennifer had given him last Christmas,
I know you don't like "the newfangled junk" dad but I worry about you. You're not getting any younger you know. What if you're in an emergency or something?
Sam pressed and held the little green telephone icon on the dial pad; the way Jennifer had shown him. The small screen responded but not the way it had done at Christmas or when Jennifer made him turn it on at the beginning of the summer.
Dad it’s no good having this thing if you don’t turn it on and carry it with you. Really dad, come on!
So he had put the phone on the table by the door and popped it in his pocket whenever he left the house. Sooner or later he’d also remember to turn it on each time as well.
This time it didn’t play the annoying little tune, it didn’t show him the picture of himself and Jenny in Santa hats; it looked like the picture on the TV when there’s no picture. All scrambly and what did they call it? White noise?
“Newfangled junk” said Sam as he stuck the useless phone back in his pocket.
The silver tube began to make a humming sound. Sam looked toward it and as he did it seemed to disappear; no, not disappear, melt. Where there had been a solid looking object seconds before, there was a mound of white goo.
It was like a big pile of semolina pudding the kind his Mum made when he was a youngster in England.
Something in the goo/pudding started to move; a wormy thing it slithered down the mound toward Sam. When it reached the grass Sam could see it more clearly. It was about four inches long and maybe two in circumference; it wasn’t exactly a worm or a slug; and definitely not a snake. It looked like it was made of soft shinny cheese.
“Wow” said Sam when he saw the little creature had a face. It reminded him of ‘Casper the Friendly Ghost’ from the American comic books he grew up reading. It was kinda’ cute.
Behind the little ‘Casper’ thing the mound was really moving now. Hundreds, maybe thousands of little ‘Casper’s,’ each identical to the next, were skittering onto and through the grass.
The first little creature had reached the toe of Sam’s boot.
Sam looked at the big eyed smile on its face. Again he thought it's so cute. He felt comforted by its presence; he reached down and laid his open palm on the ground.
"Hey little guy, come on I won't hurt you"
The small creature wiggled toward Sam's hand, as it reached his fingers it's tiny smiling mouth opened to an astonishing ten times its original size.
In less than a second Sam's right arm was gone from fingertip to shoulder. Before his mind could grapple with the absurdity and horror of the attack four more of the deadly 'Casper's' were at his feet their enormous mouths opening.
The original attacker and three of his colleagues took a fraction more than two-seconds to devour Samuel William Burke entirely. The forth, would be, attacking 'Casper' was caught in the cross-fire of the feeding frenzy and was gobbled up as swiftly as, and in conjunction with Sam.
None of the dog walkers made it to Chine Meadows that morning; indeed Chine Meadows would never again be visited by dogs or walkers.
The spot where Sam Burke first saw the tear in atmosphere above his head, was the epicenter for the coming devastation of all Human and animal life on Planet Earth.
From Chine Meadows in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, the Toomblat (the name of the creatures Sam thought looked like Casper) moved with great speed, east, west, north and south.
Southward they unconsciously divided into almost equal numbers across the land and through the water of the Great Lakes. Less than two weeks after their appearance on the planet the entire length of the eastern seaboard of North America was devoid of life.
As they fed they flourished. The Toomblat population increased rapidly.
They reproduced asexually, like starfish, unlike starfish each of the Toomblat was capable of spawning a fully grown version of its self every three or four days; and they all did.
They ate their way south to Tierra del Fuego and north to Ellesmere Island as they did many of them took to the oceans joined by their brethren when the land had been picked clean.
They moved like two gigantic schools of fish through the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and converged on Europe and Africa at roughly the same time.
As they wend their way throughout the lands and seas of the planet, they fed on everything, from humans to insects. Their living meals offered no resistance, due to the aura of serenity the Toomblat exuded.
They sought out their food in every possible location; mountain top to ocean floor, jungles to deserts.They consumed everything they found in cities, towns, villages, open fields and hidden government installations.
In seven weeks, four days, eleven hours, twenty minutes and twenty-one seconds, give or take; the only life remaining on Earth consisted of plants and microbes.
The Toomblat had no appetite for vegetation or sub-atomic beings, that were not attached to a larger meal.
When they had exhausted the ready stock of rations Planet Earth provided, they did what they had done in all of the previous experiments, that they had been the subjects of, they ate each other.
The last Toomblat on Earth died of starvation exactly three weeks after the last creature native to the planet (an albatross) had been eaten.
The Other Side of the Tear
"Why would you conduct a new Toomblat experiment on Earth One? Considering Earth One itself was a viable ongoing project."
"There was a slight misunderstanding, we should have targeted Earth Two. I hope the outcome isn't an inconvenience for your own work."
"Somewhat, though not greatly so. The Earth One project will continue."
"I reviewed some of the recent observations you made, concerning the Earth One experiment. It would seem we have inadvertently granted the wishes of a large number of Earth One's homo sapiens"
"What do you mean by that?"
"I mean by eradicating Earth One of humans, we have saved the planet,"