Thursday, December 6, 2012
"Deckren! Deckren!" Coxli's face was so close to his that the closest scales blurred and condensation spattered his cheeks as the agitated lizard's hysterical diatribe evacuated his sinus cavities. "Damn, dude, destruction, damage, dipshit driver doing dumbass deeds!" Coxli hauled back for an adamant slap, but the cobwebs were clearing and reflexes facilitated a block, which sent stabbing pains up through his elbow and a vicious twinge behind his shoulderblade. "Decker. It's Decker now." There was a whole sea of memories swooshing back and forth inside his throbbing skull, both Degren's and his, but his old psyche came to the fore. "ust have been the accident and the time we've spent on this, um... hologram, or fabrication, or whatever, of my home planet, I dunno... but call me Decker. That Deckren thing was Tut's idea, and it seemed appropriate at the time, but it's goddamned clumsy-sounding to me now. There's Degren and there's Decker, and there's Furge, and who knows what other splinters jammed up my ass and into the back of my head, but I'll be goddamned if I'm gonna let this endless fucking peyote trip melt my personality any more than it already has." "Er... Decker." Coxli said it dubiously, running the back of his right index claw along the pale fur on Decker's forearm. "Decker, I smell something burning." "Double shit fuck with a shit-spray chaser, why didn't you say so?" "You had stuff to get off your chest" "Yeah, I still do; this goddamned German racing harness! Fucking squarehead Nazi bastards didn't need to truss me up just to drive... help me with this fucking buckle....OUCH I think my fucking wrist is broken... shit shitshit I smell the fire now, we're gonna die..." Coxli fumbled the harness clip free and Decker dropped headfirst to the roof of the car, which sent forked lighting tongues from the base of his skull to the back of his eyeballs, but he flopped to his belly and crawled out through the broken passenger window with the lizard's tail smacking him in the face twice before he was left in the dust. "Get as far away from the car as you can, FAST!" Deckren groaned to his feet and tried to sprint but his right calf seized in a wicked twinge; he hobbled as quickly as he could behind the nimble saurian, expecting any second to be blown off his feet as the SUV self-destructed. He was limping along thirty seconds later when he heard a muffled "whump"; he didn't dare turn around, kept limping along, but then he heard the sizzling of flaming plastic drips falling. He turned to see the upside down car blazing brightly but not explosively. "Fuck me green, can't even have a good climax scene in this stinking peyote script. Castenada, you are a fucking prick!" The shack was just as they'd left it; a pile of fruity-mastodon-splintered wreckage, cascading down the slope. "Let's see if we can find the entrance to the river. I seem to recall we ran that way." Decker gimped along as Coxli scurried in circles around him. Decker glanced nervously around, anticipating fluorescent pterodactyls to accost them at any second, but the skies remained clear. "It's just around that little cliff right there. Mind the snakes" "Snakes?" Coxli's crest cocked slightly to the left and his right inner eyelid fluttered up and down. "B-b-big ones?" "Um, never mind. Degren warned me about snakes when we first came in this cave, but there were none." "That doesn't mean there won't be any now. You go first." "Chickenshit." "Wait... I want to try something." Decker concentrated for a minute, then turned an ear toward the cave mouth. He was rewarded with the sound of muttered drawling from inside the hole. "Consarned sidewinders a'slithering and a'slidin' all over under a man's boots, like to tripped me right down a blind hole. Got my best knife all bloodied up now, too..." Decker's heart surged up into his chest. "Cletus!" He shouted, "You old tobacco-pilferer, you dirty skunk, you consarned figment of my imagination. come on out here where I can see you!" "Decker?" The miner's gritty voice rose a full octave. "Hell, pardner, I'ma coming right out!" A dusty tin cloth hat emerged from the crevice. "I'll be gum-swaddled, if it ain't really you!" He stuck a horny palm out enthusiastically and Decker grabbed it, then pulled the skinny figure to his chest. "Damn it's good to see you, you stinky bastard!" "Now you jest ease up on this ol' miner, I ain't none too fond'o yer grabbin' me like some saloon floozy, ya hear?" Cletus' expression belied his words, however; he actually threw one arm around Decker and thumped him vigorously and repeatedly on the back, driving sharp hatchets of pain through his shoulderblades and reminding him of the recent driving debacle. "well, this calls for a cel-uh-brayshun!" Cletus dragged a rather ornate bottle full of amber fluid out of the inside left pocket of his now-crusty drovers coat and yanked the cork out with his teeth. "Here yuh go, man, first swig's fer you... and don't be a goldurn sissy about it, nuther!"