In the crawlspace, scattered pieces of bloody meat slowly gathered into a pile. Strip after exasperated strip of ragged, slimy, miserable flesh hauled itself back to the whole, incorporating itself with a disconcerting sense of déjà vu into the form of a man.
Soon the dark crawl space concealed a large man with short cropped sandy hair and brutish features. Once again he was dressed in a dirty wife beater T-shirt, jeans, heavy boots and a motorcycle jacket. A handgun, knife and cigarettes coalesced out of nothingness as they had so often done before.
Grease was back.
"$#%#¥," he said to himself as he opened his eyes. "Not again."
He sat up and lit a cigarette. His eyes narrowed and his mouth moved in silent snarls as he considered his direction in life. He thought about all the crimes he tried to commit for no good reason, and the mind boggling retributions that were immediately visited upon him.
He remembered kidnapping Helen and bringing her deep into the desert. He'd planned to drag her into a rocky defile, crack her skull and leave her for the buzzards, but she'd managed to break away from him and hide. He'd finally given up, figuring she'd die soon enough. The story ended when he'd climbed back to the barren flats and found Helen had escaped in his car. Chris Hugh hadn't even bothered to write about his slow anguish, the days of terrible thirst. Grease looked down at his hands. He had bloodied them trying to dig for water in the dry riverbed. And the horrible regret, almost worse than the thirst: he'd thought he was so cautious, making sure to leave his keys with the car. He knew he was completely isolated and didn't want to take any chance of losing his keys in the defile. He'd laughed madly over his caution. He'd never imagine the butterball lawyer would get away from him. He'd signed his in death warrant by leaving the keys in the car. And the cases of bottled water he'd so carefully stored in the trunk--he'd cried when he thought of them, then caught his tears and licked the precious liquid from his fingers. His last sight had been a clumsy vulture vomiting on its own feet in order to cool down in the searing heat. And then it hobbled toward him...
That was his first death, but there had been many more. That death was slow, but at least it had dignity. Since then, he had been chopped into three pieces right in the middle of delivering one of the few bits of dialog he'd ever had. He'd been transformed into a dainty white cat strangled in a case of mistaken identity. He'd been tripped down the stairs and peed on by another cat.
Grease shook his head at the memories, then winced with embarrassment as he recalled being inexplicably eaten alive by a shark while standing on dry land. That was the LOLshark. "Yeah, LOL--Laugh Out Loud for everyone but me," he sighed.
He thought for a long time about his actions and the things that happened to him. Then he thought about the good things that happened to the characters that were basically good.
"Every time I try to do something rotten," he finally concluded, "I get punished all to $&@$. But characters that act decent end up at a fancy ass party in downtown Palo Alto." He leaned back against a foundation post and scratched his scruffy chin. Every single character that had ever appeared in a Chris Hugh or Anchorite story was upstairs, having a party in one of the best restaurants in California. He took a long drag on his cigarette. "I need to do something different."
He put out his cigarette and kneeled down. And in that dusty crawl space he prayed for the first time in his existence. "Oh creator," he said. "The burdens on my weak shoulders are too much. For your greater glory, so that I may fulfill my ordained purpose, please look to me with pity. I, your humble servant ask this of you. Oh creator, please look into the deepest reaches of your memory and grant me some seriously evil cronies to work with."
Meanwhile, Chris and the Anchorite were having dinner, or what they termed "noms."
"I'm not really comfortable with Grease praying to me," Chris said. "It seems sacriligous."
"Well, you are his creator."
The Anchorite held up his hand and googled the word 'sacriligous' on his phone. "'Grossly irreverent to what is considered sacred,'" he said. "You're making fun if yourself, not religion, so this is not irreverent. Certainly not grossly irreverent."
"And I'm careful not to capitalize 'creator' in reference to myself, even though good grammar dictates that I probably should since the word is being used as a name," Chris said. "That should count for something."
"I think you're fine," the Anchorite said.
They each agreed with the other, then discussed copyright issues regarding well known fictional villains. They concluded that it was a vast, complicated and incredibly boring area of law and that the safest guideline would be to only use characters whose creators had been dead for more than 70 years and that were very clearly in the public domain.
Down in the crawlspace, Professor Moriarty, Dr. Jekyll and Frankenstein's Monster stared at Grease resentfully. Only Count Dracula seemed happy. Sauron and Lord Voldemort had left to have dinner at Zibibbo's down the street.
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