“I heard his old man used to give it to him up the poop chute.” Lucky proclaimed.
“That would explain a lot.” Seth Tucker sucked air through clinched teeth and rubbed his own bum. He had gotten up from the log he was using for a seat to animate his joke for the rest of the buddies. The small patch cleared out in the woods for their camp was filled with callow laughter, and he almost missed the log when he fell back down onto it. This just made himself, Lucky Thomas, Brewster Donaldson, and Harry Pfiltzer laugh even harder.
None of them heard the doves in one of the trees close by stir, and over their raucous laughter they didn’t notice as the birds flew off. Neither would they have noticed the sudden, eerie atmospheric change when something, or someone, approached the outer edge of their camp’s circumference. It stayed just far enough away to remain hidden inside the disguise of the darkness, which was held at bay by the light from their campfire.
Whatever had just rode in through the woods on the velvety curtain of night, unannounced and uninvited, brought with it a sudden rush of coolness in the air. One by one the chill made each of their voices soften, until they were all able to hear Lucky again who had been waving at them to quiet down.
“That’s funny and all but, that’s how the rumor goes anyway.” Lucky went on. “I mean, Seth, you’re right. It would explain how someone would get so goddamned pissed off enough to do what he’s done.”
“Must have been that, yeah.” Harry Donaldson said with a mouthful of corn chips. “Found his old man with his own prick between his teeth. I can’t say I blame the kid any.”
All of them winced with a look of disgust at what Harry had just told them. It was the same look that they had all had when Lucky had said what he had a few minutes ago. “Didn’t find Pumpkinface though.” Lucky added.
“Shit.” Seth interjected. “He’s probably halfway to Hell already by now. What’s it been, over twenty years since his last victim? I’m sure he’s checked in at the old folk’s home for washed up psychopaths by now.”
They all started to laugh again, but Lucky cut them off before they could this time. “No, guys. It sounds crazy, but it might be true.” He said. “That might be why no one ever found him.” Lucky noticed the doubtful look he was getting from them all. “Maybe Pumpkinface did just get too old and washed up. Got over everything and moved on past it all.” He went on. “Maybe he just got sick of living off the grid, and checked himself in to some looney bin somewhere. No I.D., no past, no food or protection.”
Lucky looked at them all, their expressions seeming to change now, and he could tell he was gaining ground and making sense to them with what he kept telling them. “How long, exactly, do you think someone like that could actually make it on their own without help?”
“A psychopath?” Brewster, who had been picking at the dirt between his feet with his folding knife, spoke up. “A molested, Hell-bent motherfucker set on exacting revenge on just about anyone he chose who made the mistake of crossing paths with him?” Brewster stabbed at the dirt with the sharp end of the knife now to drive home the point of what he wanted to say to his friends. “I doubt he’s anywhere sipping spring water to wash down his rainbow-colored mood pills while listening to Kid Rock on a portable CD player during recess, harkening back on all of the good ol’ killing days.”
“Well, genius,” Seth interrupted, “where could he be then? There hasn’t been a Pumpkinface killing in awhile now.”
“How the Hell should I know?” Brewster was wiping the dirt from his knife on his blue jeans. “I’m just saying that it’s ridiculous to think that Pumpkinface just quit it all. I know it’s been a while since he’s killed anyone around here. After all, he had his own signature style of killing and that set him apart from everyone else and, besides, everyone knew his identity. It wasn’t like he was just some stranger who rode into town one night and set the whole damn place on fire, and it sure as Hell isn’t like he just vanished without a trace either. If he turned up anywhere after the killings just stopped, I’m sure someone would have put two and two together and figured out that the guy that just showed up on their doorstep the other day might just be involved.” Brewster closed his knife and shoved it into his pocket, as if to proclaim a victorious debate between himself and his friends.
“If you all want to know where Pumpkinface is just ask me.” Harry looked at each one of his friends with an unmistakably severe look. “I know where he went.”
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