... AND so it was written (and
thusly snickered at):
... That Reverend Calvin Dumble had a premonition
of the coming apocalypse and spent ten years underground in his backyard
bunker. That he believed that while he was bunkered downeating naught
but canned goods, astronaut meals and tabs of bad acidthe apocalypse
he had sensed came and went. That the world into which he re-emerged was
but a dusty wasteland populated by the lapdogs and whores of Satan. That
he spent his remaining days killing the wicked and recruiting the righteous.
That he was angry like a nut-struck prizefighter, like a junkyard Cerberus.
That he was several steaks short of a barbeque, and that his bad-acid
eating ways indelibly warped the parts of his brain that discriminated
between the real and the not.
... However, Lily Mudge said that it was
all true, except the part about the brain warping. If anything, it had
been re-warped into the correct configuration. She also said that Calvin
Dumble had Jesus in his ear and thunder in his voice and iron in his fists
and a spring in his step like a man a quarter century younger than he
was, and whos to say they were right and she was wrong? When Dumble
baptized Lily and proclaimed her not only saved, but also once again whole
and now fuelled by the righteous wrath of the divine, she became wet in
a way that had nothing to do with the waters into which shed been
dunked. Lily knew beyond a shadow of moral doubt that Calvin Dumble was
a prophet and a two-fisted do-gooder the likes of which this earth had
not seen since some guy in Jerusalem said itd be really groovy if
everybody just mellowed out some.
... How it all came to pass is a story of
note, but the details may be hazy and some events jumbled. What Lily recalled
with utmost certainty was the name of the bar (Billys House of Shimmy)
and the man who signed her checks (Billy).
... Billy was a former trucker who got mildly
cashed up running crystal meth all over the Southwest, cash which he invested
in perhaps the rankest titty bar you ever creeped your peepers at. Billy
was a man of dubious musical taste: a little bit country, a little bit
rock n roll, a whole lotta garbage. He liked his women lanky
and loose. He liked Wild Turkey by the rafter. He was as prone to violence
as he was to premature ejaculation. But in the two years Lily danced at
Billys House of Shimmy, distasteful as it was, she never had a check
bounce and she kept every red cent she made in tips.
... Lily didnt see Calvin Dumble pull
the big black 56 Cadillac Fleetwood hearse that had belonged to
his daddy into the lot of Billys House of Shimmy, as she was inside
with pasties on her nipples and a thong wedged up her ass. She later imagined,
however, that it arrived with the very grace and sunny disposition of
the vengeful Lord, as did Dumble himself when he stepped through the front
doors, the lovingly polished sawed-off held between his hands.
... Upon Dumbles entry, all members
of the Iceman Dans Heating and Plumbing bowling team immediately
rose and reached for the various sidearms each kept strapped to various
parts of their bodies. Everyone knew an Iceman Dan man rolled heavy everywhere
he went; their rivalry with Greasy Dick McGees Drywall extended
well beyond the scarred lanes down at Two Palms Bowl.
... Standing there in the open door, the
sun pouring in behind him, Dumble also knew that he and he alone in this
titty bar walked with the Lord. The few non-bowler patrons in Billys
fled to the fire exits, boners quickly deflating inside their sweatpants,
trampling over any poor girl in their way who was still frozen in mid-jiggy.
This included Ginny Gams, who had long pressed for the unionization of
strippers and, had she been successful, would have been compensated for
her paralysis instead of being forced to spend her remaining days turning
tricks for johns with a thing for female Murderballers.
... Anyhow, Lilylegs locked around
the main pole of the side stage, holding herself off the floor with one
handwatched as Dumble racked the sawed-off and heard his prayer:
... Forgive them, Lord, for they know
not who they fuck with.
... Back then, neither did Lily. She could
not recognize the satanic codes embedded in the fine stitching of those
white bowling shirts with the powder blue trim, bowling pins erect like
obscene phalluses on their backs. As Dumble did not yet know her, biblically
or otherwise, Lily had not yet learned the true evil of bowling and of
those who practice its dark art. You may scoff at such a notion, but staring
down Iceman Dans boys, guns held in their ball-fingering hands,
even the hardest man the desert ever birthed would agree with what Dumble
would tell you:
... Only the deservedly damned doth bowl.
... Dumble shaved three times a day, once
after each meal, and the only bearded man he trusted was a Jewish carpenter.
Iceman Dan was in a different trade entirely, and if his shaggy, wild
facial hair was not enough to further heighten tensions in Billys
House of Shimmy, just then his tongue jutted forth to lick at his thin
lips and the hair of his mustache, a tic that went back to his vocational
school days. Dumble saw that the tongue, aside from being peculiarly long,
was also forked. This may sound crazy, but Iceman Dans own self-proclaimed
predilection for cunnilingus was, after all, well known throughout several
counties. And several girls hed gone down on would swear that the
pink serpent in his mouth, when unfurled, rivaled the one in his Levis.