HeavyLight: Chapter 8
You know, most of the time when you hit someone with a car, the result usually isn’t good. Believe me, I’ve hit a lot of people with a car, but this one time was probably the most important act of automobile near-homicide I have ever committed. But at the time I didn’t know it. It was just another Thursday for me as Jumbo Jim and I were driving to his Uncle’s house.
So part of our process of gathering resources for our next big heist was to get some guns. Originally, Angry Steve was supposed to supply us with our firearms, but Jumbo Jim claimed that his Uncle was willing to loan us some of his weapons instead. Dougman got a tip that one of his colleagues knew a guy who knew how to make explosives, so he and Roger took the windowless van and went over to his friend’s parent’s house. Angry Steve went out to buy some watches and burner phones. I gave him very specific instructions on what to purchase, but I’m pretty sure he’s going to mess it up somehow.
But that wasn’t an issue at the time. Jumbo Jim and I first stole a mail truck and painted it brown in our garage, making it officially ours by code of criminal ethics. We needed the truck because my car was now impounded because I left it at the scene of the crime Angry Steve and I committed at the Convenience Store. Now it is considered criminal evidence, but I bet they had it impounded as a trap. The second I go in to pay the fine and have it returned to me, I bet a Chris Hanson-lookalike is going to walk around the corner and say “sir, we have some questions we’d like to ask you, can you please sit down?” Then it would be like an episode of “To Catch a Predator” but with shoplifters.
So I’m not going to go pay the fine. I might have to steal it back though, which is typically my solution to these kinds of problems. Back to what I was talking about earlier, the other reason why we got a truck was because we needed a place to store all the weapons. We needed a vehicle with a big back for storing several objects in secret. So as you can see, we’ve thought this through pretty well. Jumbo Jim and I are sitting in the front, riding down this back-road through a deciduous forest. While he is at the driver’s wheel, I’m holding a hand mirror in one hand and trying to shave in the other. It’s pretty difficult actually. But while I’m running a blade against my lathered face, staring into a shaking pink mirror in my hand, I’m trying to strike up a conversation with Jumbo Jim.
“So, Jim, we don’t get to hang out much together, just you and me. This is a nice change of pace.” I said.
Jim kept his eyes focused on the road, which is safe driving edikit, but he did provide a feasible response. “You know, I offer to watch Soap operas with you all the time but you always say you’re too busy.” he said.
“Yeah, well, maybe some day pal. Like in the future when Soap Operas are actually cool and watching them with another male doesn’t feel homo-erotic at all. Anyway, so your Uncle is literally just going to give us these weapons for free?” I asked.
“Yep. He’s family, and family always supports each other. We just gotta make sure to bring them back in decent condition. He also said that if we get caught and tell the cops where we got the weapons, he’ll come to our jail cells late at night and steal our souls. His words, not mine.” Jumbo Jim explained.
“That’s good. I can’t wait to see what he’s got. If he’s hiding them all, then he’s probably got some really cool stuff like miniguns and 50. caliber sniper rifles. Can you imagine us walking into that bank, decked out with rocket launchers? At that point, the cops will lay down their arms and give us their wallets along with the other civilians. We’d be totally unstoppable!” I said.
“You do realize that if we had military grade firearms like that, the military would show up, right? And missile launchers are pretty heavy. I can probably carry one around for awhile, but I doubt Dougman and Steve will be able to hold one for more than a few seconds.” He explained. I ignored him though; I didn’t want his cynical skepticism to interfere with my day dreaming.
We soon came upon Jumbo Jim’s uncle’s compound. It’s a barn and a barnhouse built in a clearing in the middle of the woods. We park by a knocked-over tree and got out, walking towards the old wooden home that his uncle lived in. It was clear that he knew we were coming, because he opened the door and stepped out, swinging his cane wildly into the air. “Hey, if it ain’t my brother’s son! Welcome to this little patch of heaven below the real heaven.” he called out to us.
Now, this isn’t the Uncle from Nebraska we got our dynamite from. This was Jumbo Jim’s uncle Gumbo. Don’t ask me how this works out, but uncle Gumbo is a pitch black african american man from Louisiana and is supposedly the brother of Jumbo Jim’s dad, Mr. Moosemilker, who is as white as you can get without being confused with a mannequin. I know, I was confused when I first found out too. But it doesn’t seem to bother anybody in Jumbo Jim’s family. “Uncle Gumbo! How’s your left buttcheek?” Jumbo Jim asked.
My glance shot up at Jim’s face with the question “what kind of question is that?” fresh on my tongue. I was about to ask it too, but then Uncle Gumbo responded. “It’s doing just fine! Thanks for asking! Now, my elbow’s starting to bleed a bit at night but it ain’t no big deal.” He said with a hardy chuckle.
“You should dip it in owl piss, that’ll heal it right up!” Jumbo Jim saida. I decided to drop the question I was going to ask and just leave it up to “none of my business” in my mind.
Uncle Gumbo stepped down from the porch and proceeded to walk towards us, his black tap dancing shoes sinking slightly into the mucky ground with every step. “So, you boys here to buy a goat? Sorry to tell ya this, but my goat got stolen by Bigfoot again. The aliens offered to find him but so far there’s been no luck. I think he’s hanging out in the Bermuda Triangle again.” He said like it made total sense.
“Uh....actually...we came to borrow some of your guns from your cache of weapons.” I explained.
He smiled and slapped his hands together. “You planning on sticking it to them liberals out west?” he asked.
“Hmm...sure, let’s go with that.” I said.
He continued to smile and rub his hands together, staring at us through his black Stevie Wonder-glasses. Then he turned his head to the side and shouted. “Hugh! Bubba!”
The barn doors slowly opened up and two other country boys stepped out. They both looked vaguely like Jumbo Jim in the face but the one on the left was taller and more muscular and the other one was shorter and fatter. “Yes, uncle?” They both said.
“Grab the shovels and go dig by the dead tree!” He said. They both went back into the barn and got the shovels. Now, if you haven’t ascertained by now, these are Jumbo Jim’s brothers, Big Bubba and Heavy Hugh. They came out holding shovels and immediately began digging by this tree that’s been stripped of all it’s bark. They dug pretty fast actually, like criminals burying a body. I should know.
But it still wasn’t that fast so I was kinda locked in an awkward conversation between Jumbo Jim and his uncle. “So, how’s dad?” Jumbo Jim asked uncle Gumbo.
“Well, they found his shoes.” Uncle Gumbo explained.
There was a pause, and then he said “Were they his good shoes?” Jumbo Jim asked.
Uncle Gumbo smiled and shook his head. “Nope!” he said.
“Ah, he’s just toying with them now.” Jumbo Jim said.
I kinda wanted to know what they were talking about, but at the same time, I didn’t. Knowing Jumbo Jim’s dad, mean old mister Moosemilker, I knew that there were no good stories about him or will ever be. So I decided to change the subject. “Uh, so how good are these weapons?” I asked.
“Top of the line military grade arms that our family has gathered together from across America. You have no idea how expensive some of these arms are. Some of them you can’t find anywhere else. And they’re all here.” Gumbo explained.
“Good. Very good. We can only afford to have the best when we rob this bank.” I said.
“Oh, you’ll get the best alright. That’s why I hid them. Cause if the Government came and found them, they’d take em’ away! But it’s my right to own these clucking firearms! It’s also my right to skin a bear if he comes within 20 feet of my property! But you know them jam liberals up in the capital are trying to convert feet into kilometers! We ain’t no jam muslims! We aren’t using no metro system! I don’t even work in the big town!” Uncle Gumbo shouted.
“That’s...nice, Uncle Gumbo.” I said.
There was a sharp clink as Heavy Hugh pushed his shovel down into the ground and hit a metal surface buried beneath the soil. They’d already dug a 5 by 7 foot hole in the ground, about 6 feet down, so I was pretty surprised to see that it was buried that low. But I was glad they had managed to dig to it. “Alright! Uncover it now, boys!” Uncle Gumbo said. So the two keep digging and cleared out the rest of the soil until they were standing on top of a silvery metal surface at the bottom of the pit.
“Open it up! I want to see what we got!” I said, a surge of excitement pushing into my heart. As they got down and unlatched the hatch, I was rubbing my hands together and grinning like a maniac. I didn’t want to seem crazy, but I was sure that the cuckoos to my left and right wouldn’t notice if I did. But I was just picturing the fanciest, most deadliest stuff I could imagine. Guns I had only seen in games and movies would soon be mine.
But my entire perspective changed when they opened the hatch. It opened up to reveal a pile of very similar looking rifles inside the metal box. Big Bubba reached in, pulld one out, and tossed it to Jumbo Jim who caught it. “Check it out, brother!” he said. Jumbo Jim held it out for me to see. It was a really, really old fashion musket with a dark wood finish and a slightly rusted barrel. Heavy Hugh pulled out another one and tossed it to Uncle Gumbo who caught it too.
“Hold on a second...” I said, jumping down into the pit. I pushed Heavy Hugh and Big Bubba to the side and got down on my hands and knees, looking through the hatch. They were all muskets. I begin to dig into the pile, pulling more and more out and tossing them to the side. I wasn’t finding anything other than muskets. “Jim! These are all muskets, man!” I shouted.
“Yep. The Pride of the South and the arms of hercules.” Uncle Gumbo said.
As I’m digging through the pile, it hits me like a bar of soap in a sock. “These guns...are all useless!” I said outloud.
“What? You watch your tongue, boy! These are some of the finest arms money can buy!” Uncle Gumbo argued.
“Yeah, if this was still 1886! But we’re robbing a bank in the present day! You understand that nowadays, cops wear pants with cloth thick enough to stop a musket round, right? Not to mention the body armor and microfiber chainmail underneath. Not only that, their weapons don’t take 3 minutes to reload after one shot.” I explained.
I think my logic kinda got to Jumbo Jim, because he took a second to think it over. “Wait...hold on...yeah, Red’s kinda right.” Jumbo Jim noted.
Uncle Gumbo is one of those southern gentlemen that have a subtle kind of stubbornness. So he was pissed. He crossed his arms and glared down at me. “You taken them or not? Cause’ I ain’t got anything else.”
“What? Of course not! We’d be better off going in there with brooms and hatchets!” I shouted.
“You know what? That’s not a bad idea...” Heavy Hugh pointed out.
“Yep, I herd somewhere dat dem hindus am afraid of brooms...” Big Bubba said.
Having enough of their stupidity, I pushed past them and attempted to climb out of the pit. Jumbo Jim bent down to offer me his hand, which his doctor suggests against because he’s got a bit of a back problem, but Jim’s a bro so he helps a bro out no matter what. I successfully left the pit, brushed myself off, and looked at Gumbo. “...I think we’re done here.”
Jumbo Jim and I began to walk away. Uncle Gumbo still wasn’t sure what was going on. “Hold on, ain’t you two gonna help fill this hole back up?” He asked.
“Naw, we’re good.” I said. We got into the Truck and drove off, thus closing the deal on this official business. To be honest, I was disappointed. But in retrospect, maybe I should have expected it. Sometimes I forget that Jumbo Jim’s family may be full of criminals just like us, but it’s also filled with imbeciles. It’s weird because Jim himself is actually pretty smart, I mean he went to college, graduated with a bachelors in Computer science, and helped design the schematics for the downtown power grid voltage distribution system all when he was 27. Meanwhile, most of his nephews can’t count past 5.
Though I think Jim’s kinda humble about it; he likes to make himself believe that he’s stupider than he actually is. But I’m pretty sure he does know his ABCs, just not his Chinese ABCs, which are totally different. He won’t admit that though.
Anyway, we were driving back home, and the sun had now disappeared behind the mountains to the North, leaving it’s yellowy essence still staining the night sky. So in short, it was getting dark. Jumbo Jim flipped on the headlights and kept heading down the road through the forest. I was the first to speak. “You know what? That was just shaving cream. Total shaving cream. What the cluck were we doing wasting our clucking time with that jam maniac!? We would have been better off holding up the nearest gun store!” I said.
“Uncle Gumbo means well. He’s just...living in the past...” Jumbo Jim argued softly.
“Well, we’re going to be robbing a bank in the near future.” I pointed out.
“At least we have our hacker and a henchman.” Jim replied.
“But we still need another henchman to make six officially. We also need explosives, which we don’t have, and we need weapons which as it turns out, we also don’t have, okay!?” I explained. There was silence for awhile. I kinda felt like I had said too much so I decided to drop the talk and just distract myself with something else. So I opened up the glove box which, big surprise, had no gloves in it. But it did have some magazines.
I pulled one out and began reading through it. Now turns out, it was a pornographic magazine, but that’s okay because I only read the articles anyway. They have some pretty cool articles actually, like it’s amazing what some of these girls go through in their lifetimes. There was this story of one girl who had to survive for three days in the Alaskan wilderness because her husband abandoned her and she managed to make it all the way to town on foot in a blizzard and managed to recover and go back to college. This whole article was right next to a full page picture of her wearing a skimpy cheerleader outfit and straddling a desk. So it’s kind of an unusual setup.
I decided to try and break the awkward silence by changing the topic. So I decided to talk about something deep. “Hey, Jumbo Jim?” I said.
“Yeah?” He asked.
“Do you ever wonder if there’s like a parallel universe where it has the exact same history and people as this world, but everybody’s gender is switched, so like everyone who’s a boy in this world is a girl and vice versa, but in that universe, men are the one’s who don’t have as many right as women throughout history, and so it’s pretty much the same people being screwed over?"
He didn’t say anything for a moment. Then he said “...I actually don’t think about that...”
“Well...then what do you think about?” I asked.
He looked over at me, his center of vision fusing with my own. “Actually, sometimes I think about how our society is based solely around the concept of YOLO and that because we are so wrapped up in the idea that we only live once, we sometimes forget to actually live that life we only have one of. The thing is, we aren’t given a life so that we can be careless and throw it all away, we were given a life to help make this world a better place and it’s through having honor and accomplishing great, meaningful things that we begin to give value to the life that we only live once.” He said.
Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I could see a blur of bright, shining white lights that were getting closer, and I could hear the sound of loud motors buzzing. Jumbo Jim didn’t seem to notice; he just kept staring at me as he drove along. “And you know, the entire premise of YOLO is based on a concept that’s just willingly believed by everybody. There’s really no proof that you will actually die. Yeah, every human has so far, but that doesn’t mean you will fall the same fate, man. It’s simple logic. You just gotta...”
“Dude, watch the clucking road!” I shouted.
As the light became almost blinding and the roar of engines filled our ears, Jumbo Jim’s head shot around to see the light and slammed on the brakes. The truck shook and a spider web-like crack formed in the windshield as a solid mass collided with it. Jumbo Jim and I both let out of squeal of terror. More blurs rush past us on motorcycles, the roar of their engines popping in volume as they came so close we could taste the diesel and then disappeared behind us without a trace. Several more flew past, and the solid mass that collided with our windshield, which I quickly identify as a person, rolled off the hood of the truck, disappearing from view.
The sound of the motorcycles faded, and Jumbo Jim and I just sat there, staring out the cracked windshield, trying to piece together what just happened. We kinda slowly glanced over at each other, and then slowly back to the windshield. “Uh....I think...and I could be wrong...but I think...that we just hit someone with our car...” I said. Jumbo Jim opened his mouth to say something, but closed it and just nodded.
After a few moments, I decided that maybe we should step out and try and figure out exactly who we hit. We’re gonna drive away and leave their body anyway, but we can atleast give them the courtesy of having a moment of silence in their loss. So I opened up the car door and stepped out into the cold night air. Jumbo Jim did the same on his side, but with more hesitation. I could see that over off to the side there was a motorcycle with a completely devastated front wheel and a burning motor. I carefully tiptoed over to the front, preparing myself for what I might see.
I’m not a squeamish person, but I figured after that collision, who ever this was must have crushed their face in. So I was preparing myself to just see an open skull filled with a soup of unidentifiable red pieces of meat. But when I saw the body, for the most part, it seemed pretty undamaged. There were lacerations all along the arms and back, but no open head wound. First off, it was a woman, and oddly familiar to me for some reason. She wore a light leather jacket and no undershirt as well as tight black hot pants and thick boots with torn stockings. At first, I thought it was a hooker. But that’s just me.
Jumbo Jim kinda stood by her, staring down. “Uh...maybe...we should get a look at her face. Push her over so that she’s staring up at the sky. My ma’ always told me that people should be facing up in death...” He said. I didn’t disagree with him, so he grabbed a branch and poked the side of her stomach in an effort to flip her over. She suddenly hissed and I cringed, jumping back. A soft groan escaped her lips and her arms slowly reached up to cover her stomach. Jumbo Jim and I both wore the same expression, which was terror. Because two things had occurred to us at that instance; either she’s a zombie, and she’s gonna eat our faces for killing her, or she’s still alive, and I’m not sure which is worse.
She was just lying there, unconscious, bent over and covering her stomach. Jumbo Jim didn’t move a muscle. “Uh...she’s still breathing, man...”
“How...the cluck...is that possible? She must have hit our truck at 80 miles an hour! She should have freaking shattered like a watermelon against our hood!” I explained. I was trying to piece together why she seemed familiar to me, and how she could have survived that. Then, on top of the hysteria I was already feeling, I recognized her.
“Dude...this is No-Face Lacey...” I said.
“The Leader of the Blurs? That crazy biker gang? How can you tell? Nobody’s ever seen her face; she drives too fast.” Jumbo Jim said.
“Remember that night we got a visit from the EastSide Butterflies? That motorcycle gang that came and took them out? I saw her then. Her real face. And she’s here right now, right in front of us, still alive. When she wakes up, she’s gonna be pissed.” I said.
“Should we...leave her while we still can?” Jumbo Jim asked.
“Uh...probably not a good idea. I mean, she’ll figure it out eventually. She’s a real time criminal, meaning she probably knows a lot of good connections. Maybe she saw my face or your face before she collided with us. Maybe her buddies who took off without realizing she had crashed saw us too. Either way, we aren’t going to be able to leave her here and hope for the best.” I explained.
“...What do we do now?” Jumbo Jim asked. That was a good question, but in the end there wasn’t much we could do. It was either leave her here or...
“Let’s just take her back to the house. Dougman will think of something.” I said. Jumbo Jim seemed to be satisfied with that; it’s always better to throw complicated problems like that on someone else. So Jumbo Jim quickly ran around the corner and opened up the back of the truck. Then he came back around and helped me pick up Lacey. She groaned softly as we sweeped her up off of the cold asphalt. As we are carrying her to the back, her eyes are still closed, but she’s murmuring softly.
There was a collection of duffle bags we were going to use to contain the guns we got from Uncle Gumbo, had we not found out his guns were practically useless. So we just set No-Face Lacey down on the flat pile of bags like a makeshift bed and closed the door. The walk back to the front was kinda awkward, and as I got in the passenger seat and he got in the driver's seat, it was still awkward. There was a pause, and then Jumbo Jim turned the car back on and began to move down the road.
For the first couple of minutes, we didn’t say anything. Then I spoke.
“Alright...so anyway, what were you saying about living only once?”