of The Lambs"
Pulp fiction. A hard-boiled crime/action/suspense novel with a backdrop of human clones, most of whom are female, willing, and dumber than dirt. In other words, a story barely ahead of its time.
Forget the ageless rumor that oil-rich sheikhs have harems filled with blond slave-girls snatched from the streets of England and America, never to be heard from again. Something new: the Kingdoms of Crude are paying cash for the best that rogue American technology can offer. Human clones shipped from the Port of Panama City, Florida. Female human clones. Bred to be beautiful, whiter than the desert sand, factory fresh, and dumb.
And now, in batches of twenty: half-breed, shiny-dark, pubescent boys. All dangerously under-age. Greed and paranoia rule the clandestine clone lab. With all this money to be made, who can afford to wait for the illegal siblings to grow up?
Jack Rebman thinks the new racket is perfect for his fast, offshore power-boat, "Miss Chernobyl". Little does he know that SiblTek has its corporeal eye on his new girlfriend, Norma-G.
So fine! Flaming-red hair, blue veins showing through her peaches-and-cream, and freckles you can taste with your eyes closed. Beauty and brains for one, low price -- Norma-Gene....
On the urgent hike back down the beach to his boat, Miss Chernobyl, Jack considered swimming out to her and getting the can of Arid Extra Dry he kept in the cuddy cabin. The severed head, swinging by the hair in his right hand, would probably need a spray coat. It was going to need something! From the feel of the mid-day sun it could get warmer -- maybe over eighty -- hot for November on the northern Florida Gulf Coast. The deod-spray would at least keep the bugs off the thing but he doubted if it could stop rot from setting in.
When Jack got to the gear he'd left on the shore, he wiggled his toes in the hot sand and contemplated the cooler at his feet. Somehow he just couldn't see the chopped-off head, regardless how pretty, sharing the cooler with his remaining beer and the tasty, Ziploc'd liver-sausage sandwiches Norma had made just for him. Where was Norma G. anyway? Jack straightened up and looked ahead down the long, windward shoreline, and sucked in a deep load of the sweet, salty air. He wanted Norma to see what he had found while the prize was still in good shape, but his girlfriend was nowhere in sight.
The Marine Patrol he could deal with later. "Whaddya mean I should've called the cops? The island has pay-phones now?"
Maybe that's what Jack liked about his boat best of all -- after he'd traded his marriage for it. Getting out to these barrier islands. The ones without bridges to them. Solitude. Middle-aged Man and the Sea. Not to mention the considerable muff-factor that an offshore powerboat radiated -- and what the boat said about the owner. It took a certain breed of human to give up the relative security of dry land to deal with the planet and the sea one-on-one. No Seven-Eleven on the corner. No nine-eleven. No cops to protect you or your toys.... "Gee, officer," (looking down at the teenage junkie who'd just tried to rape your wife and was now spurting great gobs of blood through the bullet holes you punched through his scrawny chest), "Honest, how could I tell he was under eighteen!?"
Out here on the island you fed shitheads to the sharks.
Jack was holding the long-haired head away from the side of him so it couldn't touch his body. His arm was getting tired, though, holding it out like that, but he didn't want the grody stuff which was beginning to hang out of her neck to slap against his bare leg. A human head was so heavy!
He nudged up the lid of his cooler, and bent over for a cold one. Where to lay the head? Not in the sand again like he'd found it -- that wouldn't be right.... Maybe on top of the cooler if he could lay her down on the side of her face and let the neck-gorp sort of hang over. (The cooler was a brand-new Igloo and it still looked good). Still undecided, he let the hair slip a little through his fingers as he used both hands to twist the cap off his Michelob.
The beer was just the right temp! After a long swallow, Jack looked at Miss Chernobyl bobbing up-and-down out there in the four-foot sea. His bluewater, deep-vee-24 pride and joy. The wind was pointing her stern at him from the anchor line, with the outdrives on the twin three-fifties heaving in and out of the water. "Better than pussy," he said to his boat for the umpteenth time, and suddenly remembered with an adrenaline-burning crunch that he hadn't turned to check his back for at least five minutes. Jack instinctively leaned toward the kit-bag beside the cooler where his 9MM Walther P-38 was stashed, grabbed for the pistol, and turned on his heel -- dropping the girl's head onto the sand after all.
"It's me!" Norma yelled. Her pretty mouth formed a perfect "O" as Jack swung the gun up and away from her. She wasn't but ten feet away, her copious red hair billowing in the humid, ocean breeze.
Jack's eyes lingered on her hands as they clutched at the skimpy bikini top. "You think your hands can stop bullets? That was close, Baby. Don't sneak up on me like that! Damn!" He eased the safety down on the P-38 and winced when the hammer dropped with a "snap" -- the only thing he didn't like about the trusty, German, WW-II piece -- the de-cocking mechanism -- he'd never get used to it.... But a killing machine it was. Clip crammed with semi-jacketed, 124 grain Federal Hydra-Shocks....
"Big warrior man -- you're shaking all over. Hell, Jack, I followed you all the way up the beach and you never checked your back once. Ha! Men!"
"Yeah, well, if it wasn't for the surf I would've heard you and..."
"Yes, Jack, but there is a surf! Jeez!"
"And I'm shaky because I'm so horny. I'm ready to bust." Jack dropped the Walther back into his kit-bag and pulled her hands away. He buried his face in the goodies. "We need to do something about it, too, so I can enjoy the rest of the day."
"Aww, poor baby.... Needs Mama again." Norma planted a kiss on top of Jack's thinning hair. "Well, we're not going to do it in the boat again, unless you want to move into the bay where it's calm, and we're not going to do it right here on the sand, either."
"With that girl looking right at us?"
Jack pulled his head out of her tits and looked around.
"Her, silly!" Norma readjusted her bikini and pointed at the head, which had landed on its back and was looking right at them with half-open eyes. "You got my top all spitty. Mmmmm, her eyes are the same color as my bikini-top you got all lickety."
"That head! Isn't she great?" Jack bent over and carefully closed his hands around the victim's hair, gathering it all up in a bunch before lifting her from the sand. "I didn't mean to drop her. I thought somebody was behind me." He brushed off the sand from the girl's chin but decided that the stuff hanging out the neck looked better frosted.
"There was somebody behind you, Jack, really. You did too much dope when you were a kid." Norma sauntered up and gently grabbed the head by the ears, turning the face toward her.
Jack felt proud, despite Norma's cuts about his intelligence. "When you saw me with it, you didn't think.... You didn't wonder if I chopped some chick's head off myself and..."
"Oh, yeah, sure! You?"
"I was in Vietnam."
"Wow. Jack, I found that head before you did. How do you think it suddenly rolled off the cliff right in front of where you were walking?" Norma leaned forward and rubbed noses with the thing. "Jack, maybe you're too dumb for me." She puckered her lips but didn't go so far as to kiss it. "Lips are sandy."
"I thought somebody was up there."
"Right. I love your body, though, even if you are older and dumber than me."
"And you're sweet to me. And you want me all the time." Norma turned the head up higher and inspected the neck. She grimaced. "And I love your boat."
"We were talking about making love."
"God, Jack, let's get to the important stuff first, right? Okay, if you wade out to the boat and bring back a blanket, there's some neat woods back in there." Norma turned the head loose and pointed inland, and laughed when Jack almost dropped the girl back in the sand.
"Jack, give her to me. I'll hide her in a shady place. And bring back my .41 when you get the blanket. This head had a body. Not too long ago, either. It doesn't even smell. Well, I can smell her perfume...."
"I was going out to Churny, anyway. To get the deod."
"Cute. Good boy, Jack."
When he was out far enough where the sea was lapping at his trunks, Jack turned around to check the shoreline just in time to catch Norma lowering the head into the Igloo. Shit. Typical chick! But he was proud of Norma G. Not only was she dream material, she was a fellow gun freak. Saw life the way he did -- well, maybe not exactly -- and she wasn't afraid of anything!
But minutes later when he ducked out of the cuddy-cabin with the Arid Extra Dry and Norma's .41 magnum revolver safely wrapped in the blanket, Norma was gone.
He crouched in the stern and tried to maintain his balance while he scanned the shore. Despite the splash and dip of the outdrives in the heaving sea, the silence was ominous. He almost shouted out to her: Norma, I'm serious! If you're okay, holler!
The beach was bare, pure-white sand for about twenty feet to the cliffs which were covered with sea oats and shrubs. Jack unrolled Norma's Ruger Blackhawk from the blanket and splashed in, holding the huge revolver high and dry over his head. As he plowed toward the shore, fear pounded up in his chest when he spotted the obvious signs of a struggle. Prints of street shoes, and parallel lines dug into the sand -- Norma's bare heels -- the ugly trail heading straight for a low place in the cliffs. And his 9MM Walther was gone.
Jack dug in and sprinted for the cliff, tearing his way up with his feet and one free hand to the high ground just in time to see two fully-dressed men, about fifty yards away, dragging Norma Gene into a thick copse of gnarled sand-oaks. Jack skidded to a stop on his ass, steadied Norma's .41 with his elbows between his knees, and blasted a shot at the head of the man who was still pulling on Norma's arm. The creep dropped her and disappeared after his buddy.
Jack cocked the single-action and sent another round crashing into the woods behind his girlfriend. "Leave my gun!" he hollered, and the .41 bucked up into the air two more times.
"I got it!" Norma yelled back, scrambling for it off to the side on all fours and Jack watched her twist around with his P-38 in both hands as she dumped nine rounds into the thicket. Holding his position, Jack covered her while she got to her feet and ran toward him. As Norma flew by and disappeared down to the beach behind him he fired his last two rounds and rolled back off the cliff.
"I loved the way your tits bounced when you ran past me," he said, somewhat out of breath. "At least I saved a couple rounds until I saw you were clear."
"T and A, the important stuff." Norma was plowing through the kit-bag for another clip, and breathing heavily. "How was I to know -- that the famous P-38 -- holds only nine shots."
"It would be eight if the chamber wasn't loaded."
As soon as she had the new clip shoved into his automatic and a round chambered, Norma began to shiver. "Oh, Jack...." Looking over his shoulder, she kept her eyes trained on the cliffs while she gave him a quick hug. "Those people are bad, Jack. Bad! They slapped me and...and they laughed when I started crying." She shoved him away. "We need to get out of here. Quick! Trade guns!"
"Okay, but yours is empty." Jack handed her the revolver.
"One of them looked just like Saddam Hussein. Garlic breath. The whole nine yards."
"Nobody's ever been close enough to Saddam to choke on his breath."
"Jack! Can you keep your hands to yourself? We're in deep shit here! We have to split! Now!"
Jack bent over the cooler and lifted the lid. "Head's okay...."
"Hey! We're armed!"
"The ammo for my gun is still in the boat!" Norma backed away from him, her eyes on the cliff. "I'm gone! Cover me!"
Jack watched her splash into the first wave with the .41 high in her left hand. Then he turned away and scanned the shoreline and the cliffs.
"Okay! Come on!" Norma was yelling from the stern now, shouting above the surf. "I'm loaded up. Hurry!"
Jack looked down at the cooler, the kit-bag, the empty beer bottles. It would be a shame to leave the bottles behind. To litter....
"Jack! Fuck the bottles! Get real!"
He slung the kit-bag strap over his shoulder with a sigh. The chick could read minds....
Novel available in all eBook & mobi formats Available on Amazon Kindle
Copyright 2007 (screenplay), 2010,2011 (novel) John Aalborg
All rights reserved.
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