T.J. Washington In “Hoodoo, Hoodone, Hoodid” Pt. 1

 

I.

“Put the gun down, Sam. Ain’t going to do us no good.”

“Can’t hurt.”

“I’m not saying that you shouldn’t shoot him or that it isn’t the right move to do so or even that I don’t want to shoot him myself, just saying that it won’t help.”

Sam pulled the hammer back on his .45 and rolled his eyes at me. I covered my ears and waited while I rolled my eyes at everything.

People with .45s are different from people with .38s in the same way people with .38s are different from people with .32s. People with .32s are the same as people with .22s and don’t let anyone tell you different.

Sam’s gun barked twice and spat once. A stream of embalming fluid trickled from between the man’s eyes and then there were two holes in his chest all a sudden. The wall behind him now wore his hat and most of his skull, there were no brains.

Mummies don’t have brains. Most vital organs are removed during the mummification process. This is something every school child knows. The man dropped to the ground, missing huge chunks of himself and leaking pretty good.

Sam sure could pull a trigger when he had to and even when he didn’t have to but never when he couldn’t or shouldn’t.

When Momotepp stood back up was when Sam understood why I advocated against shooting him in the first place. Shooting him wasn’t going to kill him. Not killing him wasn’t going to help. We were going to have to kill him a different way if we wanted him dead.

“I’ll tell Youmotepp you said ‘no’,” he said while he dusted himself off and walked out of Sam’s bar like he hadn’t been shot twice in the chest and once in the middle of the head. The back of his head was even back in place. The stains on the wall were still there. That’s why they were stains.

“Tom, that is the worst intro to a story I’ve ever read.” Said Sam as he handed me back the stack of napkins I’d written last night’s dream on.

“It’s not a story, it’s a dream. A true dream.”

“That doesn’t change a thing. It’s terrible.”

True dreams are dreams that you knew were going to happen. Just about everyone dreams true from time to time. Takes a witch, wizard, shaman, hoodoo operator or similar weirdo with an exciting title to notice the difference between a true dream and a dream. Most people tend not to notice or offhandedly dismiss true dreaming, that’s a mistake. Others lean into it too much and get lost, which is also a mistake. It’s a delicate process and needs to be handled properly in order to avoid disaster or embarrassment.

“When does it happen?”

“About an hour from now. I made sure to look at my watch in the dream.”

“You still on Easy time when you dream?”

“Yeah,” I said, “I made the adjustments. Don’t worry.”

Sam was making sure the watch in my dream was on Philly time and not New Orleans time. I used to live in New Orleans or maybe I moved there in the future. I wasn’t sure yet. Things got weird with my personal timeline for a while and then my dream watch was set to New Orleans time. I’m still working out where I was when. When I’m not sure when I am, I try to hold still and just focus on making sure that my shoes are always tied right.

“Long as you made the adjustments and your shoes were tied right at the time,” Sam answered.

“They were.”

“You got the flamethrower then?”

“Sure did. Danny even gave me a coupon. We get five bucks off and a free grenade next time.”

Sam said, “About time, he’s been holding back on the coupons.”

“I know. Said he’s changing to a rewards point based system next quarter.”

“We’ve been talking to him about that for a while. Glad he’s listening. How’s Judy?”

“She’s doing well. We saw each other last night. We turned into cats and sat in a sunbeam for a while. Nothing fancy.”

“Thought you two would be knocking boots more, seeing as she’s a nymph and all.”

Sam said nothing about sunbeams at nighttime. He already knew all about them.

“First all, she’s a pixie, not a nymph. Shit’s different. Second, we’re going to kill a mummy in about forty-five minutes. Third, while I enjoy the fact that you care enough to ask inappropriate questions, please stop it. Fourth, still have that fire extinguisher?”

Sam didn’t concern himself much with politeness. That was a double-edged sword conversationally. Sometimes you just had to come right out and tell him that you’d rather not talk about what you do with your wang all night or else he’d ask all day.

“Don’t think I don’t know about dating pixies,” Sam said with a far off look in his voice.

“I know you know about dating everything that can be dated. Fire extinguisher. Where is it?”

“Right here, where it always is.” He said while gesturing to where the fire extinguisher always is. “You know I take the fire code seriously.”

“Fair enough. Fair enough. Flame thrower is in the back, I’ll go fetch it.”

“What does Youmoetepp want anyway? Did your dream tell you?” Sam half yelled as I went to the rear room to do what I told him I was going to do.

“Yup, he wants to hire me to ignore him.”

“Typical mummy – always hiring you to ignore them. Why not take the job?”

“It’s time to kill him. I’ve lived the past twelve years hating him too much to kill him and it hasn’t been going well. I’ve been working on that with Myrtle, my therapist, for a while now. Last week, I had a breakthrough and discovered I only hate him enough to kill him.”

“Still mad about Emily? Things are going good for you now. New town. New last name. Work’s cool. Dating a pixie. All good stuff. Why wallow in the past? Seems stupid.”

Emily was my fiance and Youmotepp ate her. Ever since we’ve been mortal enemies. It was that simple.

“Because there’s that twelve years of being constantly bothered and almost killed by a mummy. Plus, he ate someone, shouldn’t matter who it is. That’s just not something that sits right with me.”

“Good point. I see what you mean. Myrtle think this is OK?”

“Yeah, she agrees. Told you that.”

“OK then, wasn’t paying attention is all. Hard to argue with an official diagnosis.”

“It’s not a diagnosis. Just a shift in perspective brought about by guided introspection,” I said.

To which Sam replied, “You see the game last night?”

“Which one?”

“The one with the ball.”

“Most of it.”

“How long until Momotepp gets here?”

“A half hour or so give or take. How do you want to handle it?” I intoned as an inquiry.

“What do you mean by that? One of us sets him on fire and then we sit and watch him burn until the whole joint is going up.”

“You want to burn your bar down?”

“Sure do.”

“That makes things easier. We’ll just do that. How about a last beer? There’s time.”

“There’s always time for a last beer.”

Sam set me up with a pint glass of beer.

“So, hey Sam? Why do you want to burn down the bar?

“I have a double mumdeminity clause in my insurance policy, if my bar burns down due to mummy related activity, I get 5 million greenbacks for my troubles.”

“Two birds with one flame thrower. I’m going to pretend we never talked about this, for legal reasons and professional purposes.”

We had nine minutes left. We were thinking. Once we killed Momotepp and set the bar on fire, we were going to have to burn Youmotepp and Memotepp as soon as possible. Mummy problems, like all problems, are best dealt with swiftly.

Eight minutes.

Sam said, “Heard what you thought about the other two. Any thoughts on how to deal with them?”

“I have a plan. I’ll spill after we get this over with. For Momotepp, this is how it goes. He comes in. You lock the door with your cigar smoke. I light him up. Not caring about the bar really simplified things. Glad it works out for you.”

“Thanks, that’s a good plan but let’s do it this way for insurance purposes: He comes in. You lock the door with your tricks. I set him on fire.”

“That works fine too.”

Six minutes. Sam put on the flame thrower and got it ready. I had less than three sips of beer left to deal with.

Two minutes. I lit a cigarette and commented about how Sam took four whole minutes to strap on a flame thrower.

“One minute,” I said. Sam nodded.

Momotepp opened the door and I watched a sliver of sunlight spill onto the floor. It waxed and waned and it vanished. When it vanished, I locked the door with my mind. Not my brain, mind you, but my mind. Sam lit him on fire before he had the chance to open his mouth. I sat on my stool for a while and watched. It was a good show. When Momotepp stopped twitching Sam focused on making sure the bar would burn down.

We eventually made our way out the back door and waited for the police. Insurance reasons, mostly.

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