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More fiction July 7, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Writing.

An excerpt from a short story, meant to be a satire of sorts.

Ivory-Billed Murderers

The drive in was long. Headlights in the distance, like individual suns passing by in a blur. When they left it was cold, the air outside was warmer now. It helped but the drive was still long. They had been on the road for about seven hours.

“Now, go through this again, man, I just love this logic,” the man in the passenger seat said.

“The death will mean something. It will be unique.” The driver spoke with deliberate hand gestures. “Think about it dude. If it dies, in the middle of the forest and no one sees it, it’s meaningless. If we kill it, its unique, it has meaning.” He was serious. The passenger looked out at the roadside blazing by. He scribbled something in a small notebook. Thoughts raced but he laughed a bit. The last few days had been an alcohol fueled haze. But decisions were made. They were to be held to.

In the trunk, three weapons. Nothing special. Simple tools. Two shotguns and a shovel. One of those tri-fold, military entrenching shovels.

Memphis wasn’t too far ahead now. The horizon line glowed with the light of the city. Twenty miles, maybe thirty. There they would stop, eat, refuel, stretch a bit and then head straight over to I-40, the road to Little Rock.

They sat in silence the rest of the way to Memphis. Night had taken its toll. They needed the break.

The Denny’s parking lot was bright. The passenger squinted, yawned and got out as the car came to a stop. They both went in. The grand slams sucked, or at least the passenger thought so. The driver, Daimen, inhaled two of them in less than 10 minutes. Alone in Denny’s. It was near 2 a.m. They ordered more coffee. Outside, a truck pulled in. Its lights flashing over the restaurant windows. Coffee came. They drank. Copious amounts, for the long, hard night ahead.

The passenger looked up from his coffee. “You know what we are?” His cohort looked up. “Ivory billed murderers.” They both laughed.

“How does a murderer get an ivory bill?” Daimen said through his laughter.

Coffee refills. Weird looks from an old waitress. She left.

“I don’t know. A shovel.” The passenger laughed again.

Their laughter subsided. “What do you know about this place?” Daimen said.

“It’s big,” he sipped his coffee, “our chances of actually seeing one is pretty remote. And it’s not like there is only one of these things. The last sighting, before now was in the 40s, so there has to be a pretty significant breeding population.”

“If we’re persistent we can get ‘em all.” Daimen laughed again. “Anyway we don’t have to kill them all, just enough of them so that the ones that are left are forced to inbreed.” More laughter. “Then they’ll be too stupid to survive and we will have accomplished what we set out to do.”

The passenger smirked. More coffee, one last gulp. A motion to the old waitress. The check came and they paid. Back on the road, toward the Big Woods.

I-40 can be lonely late at night. Darkness surrounding. No other cars. The road, empty. It can get really quiet. The driver settled in. Silence. Only the hum of the car engine and the tires rolling over and over the road.

The outskirts of Brinkley. Not large. But the center of much media attention. Where ornithologists and enthusiasts alike congregated for their own searches, less deadly in intent. Thus far, they had yielded nothing.

They rolled slowly off the exit ramp and onto the main street. It passed through a postcard-esque Southern downtown. Shops along the street, a small diner at a corner across from a bank. The town slept, quietly, calmly and without a care. They didn’t know of the monsters that had entered Brinkley. They didn’t know what their plans were. They slept. Oblivious.

He pulled the car into a diagonal parking space in front of a small diner, the town’s only open business. They would have to wait until daybreak to begin their hunt. The diner, empty. They entered. Coffee again. Same as ever, shitty and stale. Old.

The passenger lit a cigarette. The waitress behind the counter looked at him. Said nothing. They sipped their mugs.

“You boys need anything else?”

The passenger shook his head, she walked away. He turned and looked out the windows behind him. The sun crept toward the horizon. Soon, daylight would rule once again.

They left the diner. Brinkley. It would serve as a home base of sorts. They planned to spend time between the river and Clarendon. The Big Woods were vast; if their plan was to work they would have to cover a lot of ground. Rivers would be their main focus. The surrounding swamps were the native habitat of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker. Cypress trees. Oxbow lakes. The few remaining acres of a wetland that once covered much of not only Arkansas but the Southeastern United States.


1. Matt - July 11, 2006

This is great stuff. Keep it up!

I admire your writing ethic. :-)

2. dr. gonzo - July 11, 2006

Thanks Matt. :) Now to publish . . .

3. yinn - July 11, 2006

I enjoyed it very much. First there was surprise, then a surreal feeling, then I got it!

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