“Oh Ancient and Glorious One I call to thee. From the age before the heaven and the earth were lifted to their places. In the time before time you have reigned,” spoke the human male. The room was dark candle-lit and smoky with thick waves of incense. Whispers and sudden muted shrieks were heard from the invisible forces. The gate opened wide. “Before there was light when darkness stained existence,” he called out. He unsheathed the dagger and presented it skyward. “You have reigned. Before the Sun and the Moon,” he said, “before the holy mother dried and gave forth life, you have reigned.” The noises through the spiritual door grew stronger and louder. The dark magic brought forth cold and palpable presence. A stab of raw fear clutched the human’s yammering heart. His breath fogged thick in front of him. “I call out to thee, oh Ancient One who threatens from Without. The Lord of Darkness, the Master of Chaos, the Unborn and Most Beloved. Come to me,” he called still, “The Dog God, the Dragon God, the Sea Monster, the Master of Magicians. I implore thee. Hear my plea. I pledge to you my life. I give to you my will, oh Mighty One, if only you make your presence known,” the father said. He sliced open his muscled chest. Blood dripped onto the male child splayed helpless before him. “I offer up my only son’s precious soul. To be your slave, work your will. To do as you please. I give him to you, oh Morning Star, oh Lucifer. Be there blessings to me. I beseech thee, Lord. In return I pledge eternal obedience to you. All the power and all the glory shall be unto thee and so it must be. Until the most holy day when you ascend the Ladder of Lights and ride in triumph through the gates of the Sacred City,” he proclaimed loudly. He paused a moment to catch his breath. “I await your command,” he continued, “I seek only to serve your whim.” He pointed the dagger tip downward and held the sharp blade aloft. He looked down at the babe before him. The room was chilly and full. He could feel unseen creatures slithering around him. They were touching his naked skin and tickling his middle, “A servant or sacrifice!” the bloody, wriggling infant’s father called out. He raised the sharpened dagger as high as he could above his son. He held it tight with clenched hands. He waited to plunge it deep in his baby’s breast.
“Spare him,” a voice behind the human commanded. He lowered the blade, but he dared not turn around. He knew the devil was there right behind him. And although he worshipped the Fallen Angel with all his heart and mind he did not want to face him. The Diabolous stood eight feet tall. He rose up through the portal of the chalked pentagram on the floor and stood before his quaking servant. “He shall be mine.”
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Knick Knack Paddy Whack
Westphal awoke some time just after noon in his bed. He sat up, panicked because he could not recall what had happened. But a quick peak over to the side showed Chip nestled snug as a dead bug and Sammy he could hear singing to himself somewhere on the other side of the bedroom wall. Then he looked down and surprised the fuck out of himself, for he was wearing his hospital scrubs and he had no business doing that.
He climbed out of bed, noting the blood and dried filth and fluids, disgustingly ripping them off and tossing them to the ground. They were so bad; he might very well have to get rid of them.
It’s more complicated than that. You know you have to burn them, Westphal. Prison is a bad place to have to kick, bitch, bad dreams all up in my head, no lie…
To throw them away, at least, and he made a bee-line for the shower. Once inside the dirty stall, he doused himself with soap and shampoo, brushed the dog-fuck out of his teeth, making them bleed, rinsing with super strong peroxide, swishing and spitting foamy blood between his feet. And then finally trimmed all his nails, cleaned his ears, shaved until his skin bled, and then showered once the more. He still felt unclean, like something particularly bad had happened, but he didn’t know what. But there was nothing he could do about something he could not remember.
Westphal figured that he probably just woke up in the middle of his sleep, thought he had to go to work, got dressed in his scrubs, and then vomited on himself. It’s happened before, but he never felt like this. Westphal felt like he just jerked off in a confessional.
That’s because you knicked and knacked, and paddy-whacked. You sure as shit gave that dog your bone.
As he began towel drying himself, Westphal called out to Sammy to start the coffee pot, deciding to drop it and get the fuck on with his day.
The ghost made the best cup on the planet, and never complained doing the little things around the house to make Westphal’s life that much easier. He even cleaned up a bit, without asking, from time to time, but could not figure out how to use the fucking washing machine. That would have been a real boon.
“Got it goin’, Westie,” Sammy called out.
Westphal went through the ever-growing pile of dirty clothes, smelling each item to see which was the least offensive. He finally settled on some jeans, undershirt and a thick, warm flannel. He slipped on and tied the laces of a pair of well-worn hiking boots and sat at the adjoining desk.
Ask Sammy to do it, he won’t mind.
“Hey, Sammy,” Westphal called out, thinking, “Do me another favor, would ya?”
“Sure thing, whatcha need?”
“Looks like I puked on myself again and the scrubs are too far gone to salvage.”
“You want I should take ‘em down to the basement furnace and give ‘em the old heave-ho?” He asked as he came in.
Westphal looked up at him. “Appreciate it,” he told him.
Sammy scooped them up and dropped through the floor, ghosting his way, quick as you please, down to the basement.
Now you will be safe. Always listen to me, buttercup. Morbid is good and Morbid is wise. Dope now.
When Sammy left, Westphal pulled open the sliding top drawer of his desk and pulled out his plate of breakfast. He put it on the blotter in front of him, moving the computer keyboard a bit to the side and out of his way.
He mixed a little speed and a lot of cocaine together. Westphal turned the internet provider on while he chopped up the mixture, loving the ritual.
Sammy was back in a few short minutes, announcing his return from the kitchen. Moments later, he brought Westphal his perfect cup of coffee, saying the same thing he always did:
“I take my coffee the same way I like my women, Westie.”
“Peurto Rican,” Westphal finished; matching Sammy’s smile with his own. “Thanks, Dad.” Sammy pat him on the shoulder and left, singing about a girl from Nantuckett.
Westphal sipped at the cup. It was perfect. Then he bent down to suck up two fat lines, which were also perfect. He held his head back to let it soak in. He pinched shut his nose while he brought up his bank account. Westphal needed to see how much money he had available before he could ascertain how much and what kind of drugs he could get today from Steele.
This was always a little nerve-wracking for him. He had all his monthly bills on an auto-deduct, so he didn’t accidentally find his addict-ass homeless. This was a good thing. Mistakes are made a lot when you are stoned all the time and Westphal long ago accepted the necessity of this pragmatism.
The worrisome part came when he had to log-on to find out how much money was left for drugs. He was getting a little on the low side, especially the glass. It was going a lot faster lately and he couldn’t really put his finger on why. But he was stoned all the time, in one way or another, so he probably just did more than he realized.
Westphal looked at his bank’s page and almost choked. The account balance was huge. Okay, well not huge by the standards of most, but there was a lot more than normal for Westphal. He checked out the computer screen closely, making sure he was really seeing this and then it hit him.
“Fuck, yes!” he hissed, “Score!”
He sniffed his shit back severely and blinked his eyes. This means he can get everything he wants from Steele, not just fill in the cracks.
Westphal thought a minute, tapping his happy fingers on the desk, and going mentally over his wish list.
It was much more varied than his usual order and in larger quantity. He even added one extra item he normally never can afford, you know as a treat. Westphal felt like he was Christmas shopping for himself.
The extra money came from the double deposit he got this month for Sammy’s After Death Insurance and his third paycheck from work. He had forgotten all about it. They just happened to have both come in a few days apart and that meant money to spare!
Westphal scrolled down the paid side of his bank account, just to make sure none of it wasn’t going to get sucked up by bills. He smiled and pumped a fist skyward with delight, because nothing was due. He snorted up a little more dope and got Steele’s e-mail ready.
“Oh, baby, daddy’s gonna get stupid high,” Westphal told Chip.
“Good news, there, Westie?” Sammy asked.
“Hells, yeah, Dad,” he replied, “Both of my extra checks came in this week.”
“At the same time?”
“Well, good for you, buddy!” Sammy called back with enthusiasm. “And that reminds me of the time we mistakenly got our housing allowance when we were already under way, so we hit this port off da Horn and found this Black gal dat had da pinkest snatch this side of Heaven!”
Westphal tuned out Sammy’s latest tall tale and began his mental list. It didn’t take longer than two shakes, because he could see the sugarplums as they danced in his head. He decided to help himself to a nice sampling of just about everything Steele had in his arsenal.
Westphal pulled up his mail and started writing out his order to send to Steele. He wanted some percs, comas, a lot of bitch, a taste of boy (this was the extra, he’d never tried heroin before). He also wanted a half ounce of meth, some phens, T-3s, a couple dozen rolls and some more MDMA powder (Steele’s shit is so clean), a handful of zans and vans, and more morphine tablets if he’s got ‘em. And top it off with a fat sack of mean green. He was happy because this shit should last him a good long time.
This made Westphal securely and supremely happy. He had his rent and utilities paid, enough available on his gas card to scoot the popcan around The Harbor, fresh bone marrow for Chip and even a little left over for some food.
He figured he could stock up on drugs and then he wouldn’t have to go to the motherfucker’s big, old rambling house for a while. Westphal did this whenever he could, with the certainty of dread that all real dope fiends had of getting eventually popped by Johnny Law. That would seriously fuck up his employment options….