CURTIS OLSEN UNWILLINGLY awoke from slumber as a particularly piquant dream concerning himself, a perky Playmate, and the backseat of his ’68 Roadrunner, faded from existence. The scent of coconut oil assaulted his nostrils as he fought in vain to reclaim his fantasy. Instead, he lay in bed, shrouded by darkness.
A familiar, well-tuned, beefy engine revved deafeningly nearby as the acrid smell of exhaust replaced that of the coconut oil. Curt tried to sit up in bed, but couldn’t seem to move. His entire body moaned in agony when he tried to proceed in movement. So when he laboriously turned his head toward his alarm clock, his head exploded with fireworks of pain. He was just able to make out the time before not blacking out was no longer an option: 2:40 A.M.
Terrified, racked with pain, and on the verge of passing out, Curt lay in his bed panting, willing his body to work. Outside in the pre-dawn gloom, the engine roared again. It all hit Curt like a sock to the jaw: That was the engine of his beloved Roadrunner screaming in the darkness. Some asshole was jacking it! He tried to leap from his bed, but found he still couldn’t move. The searing pain was thankfully gone, but now he felt—restrained? In the shallow light provided by the streetlight outside, Curt was just able to make out the bungee cords wrapped tightly around his ankles and wrists, tethering him to his bed frame. Curt struggled feebly against his bonds; they held firm. He could not escape.
“Hey! What the hell’s going on here! Hey! HEY!” Curt yelled in the most commanding tone he could muster, being as scared as he was just then. The engine—his engine—revved even louder, drowning out his bellows of protest. He shouted a few of his favorite obscenities, but these vulgar screams were also too feeble to be heard above the engine’s deafening roar. Curt could scarcely believe his eyes as he took in the sight of thick, dark exhaust billowing in from the open window above his head. The noxious fumes were so intense, he began to choke and spit. If this continued, he’d suffocate for sure.
Suddenly the engine settled into a steady, rumbling idle. The exhaust mercifully dissipated, and Curt could breathe once more. He waited with baited breath to hear his beloved car pull away, the 528-Hemi Stroker he worked so hard to obtain fading, as it disappeared down . Curt took a deep breath and held it. Nothing happened. He exhaled like a deflated balloon, but again nothing. His car just sat there right outside his bedroom widow, idling in the dark. If my baby isn’t being jacked, then what the fuck is happening? Curt wondered nervously. And why the fuck am I all trussed up like a thanksgiving turkey?
Terror instantly gripped Curtis with clawed, icy fingers, chilling him to his very core.
“Hey!” Curt bellowed. “Is, is somebody there? Anybody?”
The engine cut-off and a car door opened, and then abruptly slammed shut. Curt listened so hard veins protruded around his neck and forehead. He heard odd sounds that he couldn’t quite place. Footsteps; the trunk being wrenched opened; some squeaking, scraping, and skittering. Clicking and tapping against the window pane above; a familiar, sinister laugh. Oh no! Curt thought. Oh shit!
“It’s when you’re sure I’m not around,
That I swiftly slip in to turn smiles to frowns.”
“Master—” Curt began to yell again, but stopped when the first of a legion of swear rats leapt through the open window to land with a thud on his bare chest. Curt caught a glimpse of its red-rimmed, beady black eyes. Panicking and confused, the rat began clawing wildly at his flesh. Now he was screaming in fear and pain, struggling at his bonds as the large, reeking rat shredded his pecks. It felt like a grip of tiny ragged razor blades carving a novel in flesh and blood, his flesh and blood. More fat, reeking rats poured through the open window to join their relative in mangling Curt’s exposed torso.
The pain was excruciating. Curt’s eyes flicked from left to right and back again, but all he could see was pitch black, flecked with hot white bursts of pain. Suddenly the rats were gone, every last stinking one, but the damage they inflicted was still grotesquely evident—searing pain pulsed with every breath. Screaming like a loon, Curt fought viciously against his bonds. Without warning, hint, or tip-off—BLAAAM—a gloved fist the size of a ham came from left field. Stars and an enormous flash of merciless pain enveloped Curt’s face, sending him into complete unconsciousness.
When Curt came to he was no longer tethered to his bed. He now rested uncomfortably in the passenger seat of his ’68 Roadrunner, tightly wrapped from calves to throat in colorful bungee cord. There was something coppery-tasting wedged inside his mouth, clenching his tongue with a vengeance. He looked down to discover a large, familiar, metal V-shaped vise protruding from between his cracked and bleeding lips. A red and black cord ran from the clamp, through the broken window and out of sight beneath the open hood. Curt had an idea of what was on the other end of that cord that made him want to vomit. Suddenly Boogeyman was planted in the driver’s seat staring at Curtis Olsen with fury burning in his inhuman yellow eyes.
“Greetings and salutations my insignificant dear; during our last palaver did I not make myself clear?” Boogeyman inquired in his guttural, sing-song voice.
“Ess, ess ooo id masther! (Yes, yes you did master!)” Curt frantically tried to reply around the vise.
“Then why boy am I here having to repeat my song and dance; instead of tormenting Joey-boy—making him piss his pants?” Boogeyman inquired unceremoniously, pointing out the fact that Curt had soiled himself.
Wet and terrified, Curt tried to reason a way out of this mess with all of his appendages still attached. He just couldn’t seem to make his brain work through the fear and pain, when finally an idea floated to the surface. He had to get the Boogeyman to remove the clamp biting his tongue off so he could at least try to fast-talk his way out of the frying pan. Gesturing, pleading with his eyes, Curt tried to convey this need.
“Oh-ho so you wish me to loosen your silver tongue? Measure your words carefully or I’ll feast on your lungs!” Boogeyman bellowed, wrenching the vise from Curt’s swollen, bloody gob.
“Th-thank you, master. Ya know what I’m sayin’?” Curt sputtered around his throbbing tongue. “It felt like that thin—”
“Save your gratitude you whelp-of-a-whore! Speak sense fool, or be silenced forevermore!” Boogeyman ordered his thrall.
“I’m doing what you told me to do, master. I’m toying with JJ; ya know what I’m sayin’? I’m playing cat and mouse with his ass, just like you ordered. I’m just trying to be subtle about it so I don’t tip him off to our game. Master,” Curt hastily added.
Boogeyman sat there, hulking with a glare on his hideous face that could curdle fresh milk, but made a ‘go on’ gesture with one clawed hand, indicating Curt should continue, nonetheless. So Curt laid on a spiel thicker then government peanut butter. He bad-mouthed JJ, stroked the ego of the monster before him, made outrageous promises, and begged for one last chance—the whole time not wanting to admit on any level to the guilt that was tearing him apart at betraying his best and oldest friend. At the end of his tirade, Curt was dry-mouthed, breathless, and thoroughly uncomfortable. The bungee cords that restrained him, dug painfully into his flesh.
Still, Boogeyman sat glowering at his trussed-up trick, staring a hole through him. The beast gave no hint as to what effect, if any, Curt’s words had on his centuries-old sensibilities. I’m so fucked, Curt thought. Boogeyman cracked a wicked smiled, nodding his head with a knowing look on his ugly two-toned face that said: Yes, yes you are. That’s when Curt lost control of his bowels.
“Rest easy sonny-Jim, cease soiling your pants. I grant your request of one last, final chance.” Boogeyman spoke with a grin. “Heed my words closely I’ll endure no more error. Lure our prey and his sweet infatuation, to my dwelling the domicile of terror. There you will find all the tools for your part stationed. Render our two fools completely unconscious; I shall step in and get naughty rambunctious. And when these two fucks are fuel for my pyre, you will have your rewards; your own heart’s desire.”
“Thank you, master. You won’t be disappointed. Ya know what I’m say—”
Curt’s words were abruptly cut-off when Boogeyman grasped Curt’s mandible in one huge, powerful hand. Frozen with fright, Curt sat there wishing he was anywhere but trapped in his car at the mercy of this devil. The feel of Boogeyman’s putrid flesh against his own tissues, made Curt want to jump out of his skin. What Boogeyman did next made Curt want to die.
Without any pretext or ceremony Boogeyman slammed his mouth against Curt’s, shoved his bifurcated tongue down his throat and commenced to feed from Curt’s essence. To Curt, it felt like a piece of his very soul was being sheared off and consumed; the wound left behind, never to heal. Curt’s instincts weren’t far from the truth, because essentially that’s what was happening. Slowly, Boogeyman extracted his tongue from Curt’s face. Inky-black ichor oozed from the corners of his mouth. Slowly, with one razor-sharp claw, Boogeyman meticulously snipped each taut cord, releasing Curt from his bungee bonds. The whole while humming what sounded to Curt like an old nursery rhyme.
Free at last, Curt went to step out of his beloved vehicle only to find himself miraculously perched on the edge of his bed. His chest was blessedly unharmed, but the welts striping his body told the tale of his bondage. That’s when Curt remembered Boogeyman’s Black Kiss and, barely avoiding a hot mess, vomited in the waste can next to his bed. Lifting his head from the receptacle, Curt looked out his window not wanting to see the can’s contents and almost tossed his cookies for the second time in two minutes, at what he saw.
Not bothering with footwear of any kind or the trouble of going through the house, Curt leapt from his open window, landing as silent as a ninja on the soft grass below. Slowly, he crept up upon the object in his driveway where his beloved ’68 Roadrunner was supposed to be parked. Not quite believing he was in the clear anymore, he stood over the “gifts” left for him by his master. Curt looked around and saw old Mrs. Witherbee scolding her shih-tzu, , as she just let the little rat crap on JJ’s lawn. With this, he knew he was in the really real world. Grudgingly, Curt retrieved the three objects that rested where his car used to be. First he read the note:
“Livers are red; I turn pink waffles blue,
I took your sweet ride so, ha-ha FUCK YOU!
You’ll get it back, after I’ve had my snack,
Unless I decide to eat you up too!”
With a trembling hand, Curt stuffed the note along with the second of the three objects— an ancient-looking straight-razor, into the right cheek pocket of his jeans. Slowly, deliberately, Curt uncurled his left fist and stared at the third object resting lightly on his palm. Climbing back into his room, a hot tear rolled down Curt’s cheek as he placed the replica 1968 Roadrunner Matchbox Car on his shabby little bookshelf full of comic books, car manuals, and nudie magazines. Wiping his face, Curt set to work making the preparations that would end his best friend’s existence.