"Aw shit dude, wait"
Updated: Aug 28, 2019
The air was dry, little wind blew, and the night was still. Mark and Andrew sweated lightly as they sipped slurpees on the curb outside the 7/11. Both were Blue Raspberry. They drank in silence, for their thirst was great and hydration was their priority. After a good few minutes of this activity they both made a loud “Sklurp” type sound that signaled that each had reached the bottom of their slurpee. With this signal they turned towards each other with grins on their faces.
“Sir do you have your reefer?” said Andrew to Mark.
“Why I do indeed, do you have the fungus? “ asked Mark.
“I do” Andrew replied.
With this exchange Mark began splitting and emptying some cigars repacking them with the aforementioned reefer. As Mark did this, Andrew casually weighed out doses of mushrooms for each of them. In mere minutes the two had completed their very public felony and packed up their vices. Mark with his reefer in a fanny pack, and Andrew with his mushrooms in a small black leather bag that he placed inside his messenger bag.
Following their cleanup, they quickly chewed the bitter, cracker dry mushrooms, and frowning at the taste. They then stood up and reentered the 7/11. They walked in and made a beeline to the drink section, were they debated on which beverage would be the superior compliment to the bitter taste of the mushrooms. Mango Iced Tea was decided to be the one that would do it. They each grabbed a can and then made their way to the chip aisle. A family size bag of sour cream and onion chips was also selected. The mushrooms simply willed it. They also willed Andrew to grab a tin of Altoids.
Mark and Andrew went to the front of the store and joined several other customers in the queue . A rushed looking man got in line behind Mark and Andrew. The man was dressed in a fedora pulled down low with sunglasses and a large trench coat that seemed to swallow him up. Mark and Andrew debated the likelihood that war in space would use swords and took no notice of the mysterious stranger who was behind them in line. . They were both more hopeful than analytical on the matter.The man behind them looked annoyed at the rate in which the line crawled towards the stores counter. He checked his watch repeatedly while glancing out the stores wide glass front with concern evident on his face.
After some period Mark and Andrew reached the front. They both made a move to pay and then it was decided they shall split the cost. Andrew's wallet lay in the abyss of his bag. The stranger behind them tapped his foot.
Andrew frantically rifled through his bag, getting more and more embarrassed as he felt himself beginning to sweat from the mushrooms. Finally he just emptied the contents of his bag, on the counter.
At this point the only people in the store still were Mark, Andrew, the mysterious stranger, and the clerk who was completely uninterested in what anyone present was doing. Getting annoyed with how long Mark and Andrew were taking to pay, the man blurted out “I'm sorry boys, I am really in a rush could I just go? “
“Oh yeah, of course” said Mark who was admiring the packaging of the cigarette packs behind the counter, which were now breathing slightly as the mushrooms took effect.
Next to the contents of Andrews bag the man placed the small black leather satchel he was clutching on the counter. The man then bought a pack of camel blues, an energy drink, a lighter, and two packs of beef jerky.
As the man was getting his money out, the rumble of several muscle cars and a few motorcycles could be heard out by the highway. The man's expression grew more rushed as he registered these sounds. The man quickly gathered his goods and grabbed the satchel nearest in his vision. He then bolted out of the store without receiving his change.
The man's old Chevy could be heard firing up and tearing out of the parking lot. A moment later several cars and motorcycles sped through the parking lot in the same direction the old man's Chevy had disappeared. Through all of this Mark just absentmindedly stared at the packages of cigarettes and Andrew had gotten his money out at this point.
With Andrew's funding found, the two completed the transaction and left the store. The sipped their Iced teas and contemplated whether that transaction took a long time, or if they were just high. Mark decided that they probably were not quite high enough and Andrew agreed with this sentiment. Mark lit the blunt he had expertly rolled and the two coughed as they walked down a heavily wooded side street back towards their apartment complex. It would only be a 20 minute walk, however the mushrooms made the typically mundane trek into an ordeal of the best kind.
The foliage on the road around them began to breathe and warp. Colors were more beautiful than either could remember them typically being, and the entire world just seemed lush.
As they were walking they came to a wooded path that led into the woods. Taking this shortcut they walked until they found a battered wooden bench. They sat down and decided that it would be here that they would smoke the second blunt and snack a little.
Mark took out the blunt and lit it as Andrew rifled through his ever crowded bag.
“Aw shit dude wait!” exclaimed Andrew in a now melancholy sort of panic.
“Chill out man, what is it? ” asked Mark breathless and lost in the art that was the rapidly warping and shifting world around them.
“Dude remember when that guy went ahead of me when we were paying at 7/11? “
“Well I think that he and I accidentally switched bags at the store.” Not fully understanding or listening to what Andrew was saying Mark opened the bag of chips and began to crunch away. Andrew stared at him with a look of despair while he waited for Mark to show a sign of understanding.
After several moments, Mark's eyes went wide and he said, “We gotta find that dude and hope he doesn't call the cops.”
“You're right dude, but we can't think that way. Don't want to freak ourselves out. Let's go drop our stuff at home, and then we will find that guy.”
Mark responded to this with a nod and they both got up and started walking out of the forest. Mark aggressively crunching chips while Andrew hit the blunt. They walked, smoked, ate, and marveled at the beauty of the world as they walked to their apartment. They saw few cars, and no people.
Upon arriving at their apartment they came to find that the door had been flung open and their things gone through. The entire apartment was ransacked. The furniture all flipped and strewn about. Cushions cut open. Drawers pulled out. Mark began muttering about how “the heat was on, man”, while Andrew simply admired the warping of the condiments that were spilled all about the kitchen.
After several minutes attempting to process the actual extent of the destruction, it became apparent that nothing was taken. This puzzled them both.
Mark broke the silence, “I am going to smoke outside, I don't want to sit in this trash heap.” Andrew simply nodded in acknowledgement, still quiet as though his speech was capable of further wrecking the room.
When Mark opened the door to smoke he noticed a note that had been stuck in the door. It read, “Hello, I think you were ahead of me in line at 7/11. I believe we may have switched bags on accident. I can be reached at 451 Massachusetts Way, Suite 4400. Best, Red” The note was accompanied by smears of what was most likely blood but Mark didn't fully acknowledge this while he turned the matter over in his head.
On the one hand the chance to recover their stash would redeem their “at risk of becoming dull” summer, on the other hand there was the unknown danger that this situation could bring. He read out loud to himself to make the words stand clearer against the psychedelic noise inside his head. Understanding Mark then walked over to Andrew with the note and after Andrew read it asked, “Do we go for it? Could get ugly. “
Andrew shrugged and said, “Yeah why not, I'm not busy. “
The two began to make preparations for their rescue mission. They did not know what peril to expect so they prepared as any person walking into the unknown would, fearful but ready. Mark had a baseball bat that seemed a reasonable thing to bring to such an occasion. Andrew grabbed a baseball and mitt to downplay intended use of the bat. He also had a pellet pistol, purchased to shoot rats in the alley when drunk, tucked into his jeans. They completed their outfits with Groucho-Marx glasses worn to conceal their identities. They also brought some spliffs and granola bars. Just in case.
Now ready, Andrew called a Lyft to the address. It wasn't too far. It was in a high-rise in the business district. The sign in the plaza read “Vantiqua Tower”. They entered the building and briskly walked towards the reception desk to navigate to the room. To their shock and horror the man at the front desk was slumped over with a gash on his head, either dead or unconscious. After several,minutes observing the concierge the man finally gave a heavy grunt that indicated that he was merely knocked out.
Mark and Andrew nearly let out a sigh of relief when from the entrance of the lobby they saw a man carrying what looked to be a Ninjato enter the lobby. The man tossed an empty cigarette pack into a trash can. The man had a shaved head and arms covered in swastika tattoos. Mark and Andrew stood perfectly still as though movement was what made them conspicuous and not the fact that they were standing in the middle of a post modern minimalist lobby wearing Groucho Marx mustaches and carrying sports equipment.
The sword wielding man didn't notice them until Mark whispered “Dude it’s a Nazi” a bit louder than he likely intended. With a grunt the man wordlessly charged towards Mark and Andrew with his sword held in a less than neutral manner. Mark braced for the attack with his bat up to defend, Andrew drew the pellet pistol and began shooting at the charging nazi. Some of the shots could be heard ricocheting around the expansive lobby when he missed, and some shots registered with thuds and the grunts of the charging man.
With only two shots left in his magazine Andrew had one of the two connect with the Nazis hand, causing him to wince and be distracted enough that Mark was able to leap forward and crack him across the face with his bat. The connection of skull on bat would sending an echo through the lobby that was applauded by the sound of the Nazi hitting the floor and his teeth skittering across the marble.
Mark grinned with pride at the events that just occurred but also was extremely confused at what was happening. He decided that they were committed at this point. He was about to ask Andrew if he felt like continuing, but Andrew was already reloading his pistol and had dropped the glove and baseball. With this silent affirmation that they were to continue this quest, Mark leaned the bat up against the wall and picked up the fallen Nazis Ninjato, admiring the way the light reflected off the blade.
Andrew made his way behind the concierge desk and began to try and find suite 4400. To their surprise, the room was not up the tower, but rather down, plunging deep into the earth. The two contemplated the implications this had for combat, and decided still to press on; their summer recreation depended upon it.
The two began rifling through their slain nationalist foes pockets where they discovered a handheld radio, some explosives, and several throwing stars.
“Huh, a Nazi Ninja” remarked Andrew in mutual parts astonishment and disgust. While he contemplated the irony of this phenomenon, he was interrupted by the crackle of the Nazis radio.
The voice said “We have the old man, tied up here but he won't tell us where the artifact is. Only that he switched it with two boys while at a convenience store on accident. We checked the home of the two individuals who matched the description he gave us but it wasn't there. Stay guard up there, over”.
And just like that all pieces lined up and made sense to Mark and Andrew. Not necessarily that they had any clue what was happening. That was still an enigma within their deeply fractured and distorted realities. However, they did understand this to mean that the Nazis likely had their stash. With this realization Mark and Andrew made their way to the elevator.
The elevator was dark and wood paneled, with a high-mirrored ceiling and floor that gave the illusion that it went on forever. It was incredibly disorienting for Mark and Andrew. The panel of buttons was expansive, and near the very bottom of panel was Floor 4000, the home of the much sought Suite 4400. . Next to the button for Floor 4000 was a button that had a key to prevent just anyone from opening it. Luckily, the key was left in the lock. Andrew pushed the button, the elevator doors closed, and they began their descent underground after what they held dear.
The elevator moved into the earth slowly and smoothly, which combined with meandering sound of the elevator music made it difficult for Mark and Andrew to decide how far they had gone. After what felt like and eternity they entered into a wide hallway lit by sterile white fluorescent bulbs. The type that have a low hum that drive mid-level marketing managers to blow their brains out in the garden shed while their kids are at school. The floor was marked with the dry flakey ooze that indicated freshly dried blood. The air in the hallway was cold, and had trapped feeling from needing to be pumped in this deep. The hallway echoed with sounds that come from big empty stone tunnels. The groans of the Earth.
Mark and Andrew tightened their grip on their weapons as they cautiously moved forward. Their bodies tense and sweaty. Partly from the adrenaline of the moment and partly from the shrooms that were still very active and still very much skewing their perception. Mark and Andrew heard footsteps and did their best to conceal themselves next to some crates stacked against one of the hallways walls. Just as they did this two more swastika adorned men emerged from around the corner. They were talking about a band they hoped to see. They walked down the hallway and made another turn and suddenly they were out of vision. Andrew pointed and it could be seen that the one Nazi had tracked blood down the hallway with his boot print. Mark and Andrew crouched and followed the bloodtrail.
The bloodtrail wove a path through the expansive underground complex. Andrew crumpled up rolling papers and left a trail of them as they went through the compound. The blood trail seemed alive in the way the crimson path twisted and traced through the complex growing thicker as they neared its source.
The blood led them to a metal door where yellow light streamed out from underneath. They entered and found the door let them into a small concrete room with a drain in the middle. The room was lit by only one hanging bulb which appeared to be stained with blood. In the far corner of the room there was a bloodied man tied to a chair with a bag on his head. The man bristled at the sound of Mark and Andrew's entrance. Andrew approached him and with a quick yank removed the sack. The man underneath was none other than the man from the convenience store that Mark and Andrew assumed to be the mysterious Red from the note.
Red looked at them confused but now less frightened.”You two were at the convenience store” said Red with recognition. “Yes” answered Mark and Andrew happy to find that something made relative sense compared to the last few hours. Mark walked across the room and freed Red and then made his way over to a table where the contents of his pockets were emptied. Also on the table was the black leather satchel that contained the stash that had brought Mark and Andrew so far.
Mark and Andrew fawned over the leather satchel full of mushrooms checking every cap and stem to be sure none of their hippie fuel had been damaged. After this inspection they returned their attention to Red, and Mark asked “So what's up with the Nazis man? “
Andrew added in, “ Yeah man, kinda unchill. “
Red just stared at them exasperated at the grand understatement of this assessment. Red's exasperation was broken by the creak of the door, and the entering of a man who Red promptly grabbed.
“Stab him” shouted Red with fury. Mark clutched the sword and hesitated. The man pinned down against the bloodstained concrete floor struggled and looked towards mark pleadingly. He then blinked and the man blinked.
It was a long slow blink, and when he re-opened his eyes his pupil and iris’ were gone and his eye was completely red. Startled by this, Mark dashed forward plunging the short sword into the heart of whatever was struggling on the floor.
The creature gave a low growl then lay still. Mark, Andrew, and Red stood silent as they all waited for the tension of the moment to pass. Andrew shattered the silence by lighting one of the spliffs and passing it around. Even Red joined them.
After the spliff had been passed they made their way back to the elevator following Andrew's trail of rolling papers. They were all tense and on edge while the elevator made it ascent back to the surface.
After a concerningly long ride up in the elevator they emerged back into the gorgeous Post-modern-minimalist lobby. The man at the reception desk was still knocked out, and the Nazi lay on the floor but his body moved a little as he gave ragged breaths.
Noticing this Red walked over to where he was standing above the Nazi breathing raggedly. Swiftly he then removed a wooden stake from his jacket pocket and plunged it down into the man's heart. The man's eyes burst open and he gave a growl much like the man down in the tunnel. Red then turned to face Mark and Andrew who were staring with casual interest.
“Grab him” instructed Red gesturing back towards the knocked out receptionist. Mark and Andrew carried the unconscious man between them. The men made their way out of the lobby and walked until they were at least a block away.
Satisfied with the distance Red gazed back towards the tower and removed a small radio transmitter from his pocket. He flicked open the safety cap and pressed a small red button. Making only a small beep the tower then erupted with fire and flames. The building spit fire and ash and then collapsed in on itself, falling with a heavy groan that indicated the tunnels deep beneath the earth were likely buried.
Mark and Andrew watched the swirl of smoke with awe as it continued to morph under the heat of the fire and the mushrooms influence.
Mark and Andrew leaned the receptionist against the wall of the building and they started to walk off in the direction of their apartment.
“Hey, wait” shouted Red after them. The boys turned. “Do you boys want a job?”
Immediately in response to this question, both boys began to protest pointing out that “They don't mess with the government, man”. This declaration was met by a look of amusement from Red. “Boys, the government wishes they were us”.
This mysterious interest broke through the influence of the mushrooms and piqued the boys interest. Looking at each other and nodding, Andrew responded for both of them answering, “Sure, we aren't busy”.