30 Jul Ten-Twenty
“Ten-Twenty”Written by Keith McDuffee Edited by N.M. Brown Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek Narrated by N/A
Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).
🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available
⏰ ESTIMATED READING TIME — 18 minutes
“Breaker one-nine, breaker one-nine.” BOOLEEP.
“Breaker one-nine. Anyone copy?” BOOLEEP.
Glen took a swipe at my hand as I attempted to key up the base station radio mic once more.
“Give it up,” he belched. “You lost another one, man.” He crumpled his empty can of MGD onto the table and left it to sit with the growing mountain of other fallen soldiers.
This was our Saturday night. This was just about every Saturday night for the entirety of our latter teen years. Nowhere to go. Nothing to do. No one else to talk to, really. Unless you counted Glen’s smart-ass twin sister, Marie, which I did not. And, of course, anyone listening on the CB airwaves.
Glen and I were the epitome of introversion. As much as we bellyached about wishing we knew of a party to crash every weekend, we’d inevitably find some excuse for why a night in Glen’s basement with a lukewarm case of beer was a much more preferable plan. Of course, a pair of pubescent boys with nothing but a CB radio and a pre-Internet computer at hand are going to use MacGyver-like ingenuity to turn that seemingly harmless circuitry to entertaining use. And for a couple of dumbass troublemakers like us, I’m not talking about pulling another Jobs and Woz.
Believe it or not, it was indeed possible to meet girls with a CB. Well, “meet” is not quite accurate. I can’t say what any of them looked like, mind you, but remember: We were horny teenagers with an absurd level of imagination when it came to visualizing women. And we weren’t alone. Any rare time a girl’s voice sounded in-channel, you had five, ten guys keying over each other to talk like unruly kids in a classroom. The key was finding the right time and place, then hope you had something cool enough to say to keep the conversation your own, usually taking it to a more private channel where the talk is less likely to get hijacked.
What did we talk about? The usual bullshit, I guess. It never got to sex talk, if that’s what you’re thinking. I’m sure we wished it had. Mostly we described what we looked like, each time with a growing amount of embellishment on both sides, I’m sure. What were our likes and dislikes; where we went to school. What we were up to at that moment, usually with lies like “working out” on our side.
Eventually, goodnights would be said, and radios would be silenced. It wasn’t often we’d hear from the same girl again. Likely they were bored one night and hopped on their dad’s radio for a laugh. For them, the airwaves was not a place to hang out. Not with the likes of losers like us.
We didn’t always troll the airwaves for girls. Sometimes we just wanted to shoot the shit with anyone. More times than I can count, we’d pull pranks. It was virtually anonymous, after all. Glen not only had the massive base station radio in his basement; he had one wired up in the family van. The antenna he’d installed was so goddamn tall we’d find ourselves removing it anytime we entered a parking garage.
Channel nineteen — or, as CB’ers call it, “one-nine” — was at least known in the day as the highway channel. For the most part, it was the go-to channel for truckers and the like, though people looking for road assistance would hop on there as well. It made sense: Their best chance for help might be a passing truck hearing their call. Channel nine was the one meant for emergencies, though it wasn’t quite teeming with emergency crews at the ready. This was before the abundance of cellphones, mind you. But every now and then, one of us commoners would hop on one-nine and at least initiate a conversation with someone, then carry it on to a different channel, else hear the onslaught of angry, tired trucker curses.
One-nine was where I’d first heard Jo-Jo Baby. That was her handle; I never got her real name. Probably Jody or something. She only knew me by mine: Blue Thunder. Glen and I — well, mostly I — talked with her well into the previous Saturday night. It was going well, or so I thought. We’d moved the talk over to channel seven. Tonight she wasn’t there. After a good couple of hours calling out on one-nine, it was clear she wasn’t there either.
I pushed the mic aside and drained the last dregs from my beer. Glen, ever ready with a reload, handed me another.
“Alright, so what now?” I said. “Maybe we should head out for once.”
“Can’t. Fucking Marie’s got the van tonight.”
As though to add insult to injury, the basement door flew open, and there she stood.
“Fork over the keys, Dumbo. Are you…? Oh my god, Dad is going to kill you if he knows you guys are down here drinking.”
“Uh. No. Who do you think bought it for us?” Glen pulled the van key from his pocket and tossed it to his sister.
Marie sighed. “Look at you two. Is that all you’re going to do all night? Sit there and talk to weirdos on the radio?”
“Not like we can go anywhere,” said Glen. “The van?”
“Like that would matter,” she said.
“Fine. I’ll tell you what. I can bring you and Sean to Sully’s party. I just need to pick up Jill.”
“Sully?” Glen said, irritated. He patted the half-empty case of beer. “He’s a dick. We’ve got a better party here, thanks.”
I gave him an incredulous look. “Dude, we-”
“Breaker one-nine, breaker one-nine,” the radio interrupted. “Sledgehammer for Dumbo. Dumbo, you copy? Over.”
Marie snickered. “Sheah, okay. Party hardy, ‘tardies.”
Glen threw an empty can in her direction. It clanged against the door as she left. “Wench.” He rolled his chair closer to the CB and pulled the mic close. “Hey, Sledge. Dumbo. I copy. Let’s take it to one-five.” BOOLEEP.
“Can’t you please turn that damned base-station ‘boo-leep’ shit off and say ‘over’ like the rest of us? Man. Alright, catch you on one-five. OVER.”
Sledgehammer was one of a few other guys we knew with a radio, better known to us off the air as Walt Bowden. He and Glen were known for monopolizing a channel for hours, ranting together about anything from girls uninterested in them to which was the superior antenna. Sometimes I’d chime in. But not this time. This time, I’d rather be at Sully’s party. I’d rather be talking to Jo-Jo. Instead, I half-listened to Glen and Walt as I proceeded to polish off the better half of that case.
Between about my seventh and eighth beer, and in the middle of my friends’ mind-numbing argument concerning radios using quartz crystals versus ICs: “Breaker one-five. Is that you, Dumbo? Over,” a female voice said.
“Oh, you don’t want to be speaking with that lame-o,” said Walt. “He’ll only talk your ears off over shitty nerd stuff all night while he’s drinking shittier beer. Over.”
“Sledgehammer only wishes he had beer at all. Who’s this?” BOOLEEP.
For about ten seconds, there was no response.
“See, you put her to sleep already,” came Walt’s voice. “I bet you even made Blue zonk out on your floor.”
I quickly shut my eyes and hung my tongue out of my mouth before Glen turned around to look. An empty can bounced close to my face. “Whoa! Hey!”
“Hey, Dumbo. This is Sassy Kitten. Over.” The music from an unidentifiable boy band poisoned the background as she spoke.
“Who the hell’s Sassy Kitten?” I asked, sitting up. Glen shook his head with a shrug as if to say, “Who gives a shit? It’s a girl, dumbass.”
“Hey there, Sassy. Where do I know you from?” BOOLEEP.
“Well, you know I can’t say my real name on here, but we go to school together. And…my girlfriend thinks you’re hot.”
I laughed. “She’s gotta be talking about the cartoon elephant!”
“Oh you…fuck off.”
“What are you doing right now? Over.”
“Uh, me and my buddy Blue Thunder are, y’know, lifting. Working out. Got us some beers. Uh, working out and drinking. Y’now.” BOOLEEP.
“Girl, you don’t have a chance,” Walt interrupted. “Those two geeks are a match made in heaven. Nothing comes between those lovers. You wanna hook up? Talk to the Sledgehammer. That’s me. Over.”
“Fucking Walt,” Glen muttered under his breath to the room.
“So, are you guys up for partying? Y’know, after your workout? You can hook up with my girlfriend and…I can hook up with Blue Thunder. Over.”
“Hell yes!” I said. “Tell her yes!”
“Um … no car?”
“Who gives a shit! We’ll figure something out. Just go! Tell her yes!”
“Yeah, we’re up for partying,” Glen said into the mic. “What’s your ten-twenty?” BOOLEEP.
Preceding a barrage of humiliating, seemingly incessant, girly laughter was the reply, now from a more familiar voice: “I’m…in your perverted dreams, Dum-BO!”
For several seconds, the channel was silent. Walt broke in laughing, mid-roar. “Dumbo! Burned!”
“Fuck-ing Marie!” Glen yelled to the room.
“Glen — I mean Dumbo — you really are dumb,” Glen’s sister said, all the while more boy band music played in the background, intermixed with another girl’s guffaws. “Seriously? Working out? Yeah, maybe your right hand!”
“You are so dead when you get home, Marie!” BOOLEEP.
“Yeah. Okay, What-ever. You and Blue Balls go and have fun ‘working out.’ Over and out!”
I fell back onto my ass, dropping my chin to my chest, not so much feeling defeated as I was humiliated. It served to remind me that more likely than not, people using CBs to meet people are impostors. Glen, Walt and I were no different. Marie just chose to be a lot more upfront about it. None of that seemed to stop me from clinging onto hope that there were genuinely honest people out there to talk to and perhaps even meet someday.
I managed to get over myself and left the room to hit the head. When I got back, Glen was no longer talking with Walt. Instead, he was slowly turning through the CB’s forty channels, coming up with not much more than static.
“Come on, dude, can we go do something else?” I said. “TV? Anything?”
Glen’s response was interrupted by a sound from the CB, once its dial hit upon channel fifteen.
“-five. Breaker one-five. Over.”
The signal was choppy, likely somewhat distant. The voice sounded abused: deep and tired, hoarse from likely too many cigarettes, too much booze, or both.
“Breaker one-five. Over,” came the voice again. No response.
A sinister smile then grew on Glen’s face before he cleared his throat and keyed the mic.
“Aw come on, man, don’t do it,” I said, knowing what he intended to do. “Not this guy.”
“Sorry, but y’know, Marie set me off, dude. And maybe I just wanna balance the scales with this poor slob since she’s not around.”
“Go ahead breaker,” BOOLEEP, he said, though not in his usual voice. This time, he did his best to sound like a woman, and damn it all if he wasn’t convincing. I’d heard him do this before, only it’d been to prank lonely, teenage boys, not some gruff trucker who’d sooner plug a steel toe in your ass than sulk the whole thing off.
“Hey there, darling. What’s your twenty? Over.”
“Oh, wouldn’t you like to know? What’s your handle, cutie?” BOOLEEP.
“This is Big Guy. Who are you, honey? Over.”
“Oooh, I like that! Big Guy. So…manly.” BOOLEEP. Glen let out a cackle and took a pull on his beer. I only shook my head and smirked. That was Glen being Glen. Or, rather, Glen not being Glen.
“Your handle? Over.”
“Tell him Jo-Jo Baby,” I said. What the hell, right?
“This is Jo-Jo Baby.” BOOLEEP.
Static. Glen and I exchanged looks.
“You there, Big Guy? Y’know, I could really use a good fuck tonight. You think you could help?” BOOLEEP.
Again, for a good, long minute, there was nothing. Glen shrugged. “Alright,” he said to the room. “I guess let’s see what’s on T-”
“You’re not Jo-Jo Baby.” His voice now was now a lot less friendly and much clearer.
Glen slid back over to the mic. “That’s what they call me, Big Guy.” BOOLEEP.
“What’s your twenty…Jo-Jo Baby? Over.”
“Oh, I don’t know if I’m ready for that, Big Guy. We just barely met. How about I come to you?” BOOLEEP.
“You. Who are you? Jo-Jo Baby? No. What…is your twenty? Over.”
Glen’s voice was shaky now. “Now behave, Big Guy, or I’ll have to leave. You wouldn’t want me to leave already, now, would you?” BOOLEEP.
The voice from the man known as Big Guy grew then from mild irritation to full-on, absolute and honest rage. “WHAT. IS. YOUR. TWENTY! WHERE ARE YOU? I WILL GUT YOU! I’LL GUT YOUR FAMILY! I’LL-”
I reached over and quickly turned the CB’s dial to a random channel, filling the room again with the sound of static.
“Jesus,” Glen said. “What the hell was that?”
My stomach churned. “You never know who you’re gonna meet on there, huh?”
“Hey, you okay? Don’t let ‘Big Guy’ get to you, man. It was just some creep. Or not. We’ll never know, right?”
He was right. We were all untraceable. Only found and seen if we wanted to be. If you don’t want to hear from someone, you change the channel. Or maybe you never turn the CB on again. Either way, you move on. Like I guessed the real Jo-Jo had done.
“Big Guy,” Glen continued. “Probably more like Tiny Dick. Turn on the TV. I guess let’s see what’s on.”
Best idea all night.
“Hello? Hello? Is anyone there?”
My eyes creaked open under eyelids like sandpaper. I pulled my arm out from under my cheek and checked my watch. About two-thirty. I had no idea how long I’d been out. Judging by the hangover already setting in, it’d been a while.
I sat up. Glen was splayed out on the floor, his hands embracing the empty case like a bedtime snuggy. He always was a lightweight. In front of me, a large digital number eighteen glowed from the face of the CB.
Shit. I fumbled for the mic.
“Y- yeah. Uh, this is Blue Thunder. I copy.” BOOLEEP.
Someone calling for help? This was…rare. You’d occasionally catch a stranded motorist calling out for a tow truck on channel nine, but this…this sounded dire.
“Oh, thank God! Please. Please, I need help.”
“Have you tried channel nine? Police are sometimes monitoring there.” BOOLEEP.
“Yes. But no one’s answering. Please, can you help me?”
Why were there no authorities monitoring channel nine? Saturday night. Most likely they had DUI’s to hand out and a multitude of parties to break up.
“Hello? Are you there?” came the woman’s voice again.
“I’m here.” BOOLEEP.
“Oh, my god! Thank you, thank you! You have to help me.”
“Glen!” I called out to the room. “Glen! Wake up! You gotta hear this!” Out cold. I swung the chair around and gave him a kick. A low, loud, irritated groan followed.
“Aw! What the fuck, man?!”
“Dude, listen! There’s some chick on here looking for help. This is nuts. Listen.”
“Are you still there?” I called into the mic. “What’s your handle?” BOOLEEP.
“My … my what? My name is Christine. Can you help me? Please!”
Glen kicked at my chair. “Oh, come on! Bull. Shit. She’s on channel eighteen! It’s gotta be Marie, fucking with us again, dude!”
“Does that sound like Marie? Or Jill? She says she came up empty on nine. What the hell, right? Let’s see how it plays out.”
Glen shrugged and sat up.
“What’s your twenty, Christine? I mean your 10-20. Your location.” BOOLEEP.
“I’m broken down off…I think Exit Seventeen somewhere. Off route 2A in Eastboro. I’m stopped near a sign for…Saint Ambrose-something.”
“Eastboro?” Glen said. “Shit, she’s probably stuck out in the middle of the state forest. That’s the cemetery.”
I asked, “Do you need us to call you a tow truck?” BOOLEEP.
“No, no. Please, I don’t have any money, and I just need somebody to come pick me up and take me home. Please, I’ll…I’ll do anything. I’m so scared.”
Glen and I exchanged looks with our eyebrows peaked. “Hold on, Christine.” BOOLEEP.
“What do you think?” I asked Glen. He rubbed his hand under his sorry excuse for a beard.
“Maybe it’s legit. Maybe it’s not. But it doesn’t matter, right? ‘Cuz we don’t have wheels.”
He was right about that. There wasn’t really anything we could do. Call the cops? I don’t think that ever occurred to us. Where was the heroism in that, after all? Even if we had the van, neither of us was in any condition to drive. We didn’t have many options.
“Oh! I know!” Glen was now on his feet. He gave me a shot on the arm. “Sledge- Walt! We can have him pick us up, and we can all go check it out.”
“It’s almost three in the morning. He still on?”
“Worth a try.”
“Christine? Hold on, okay? We’’ll be right back.” BOOLEEP.
“Okay. Please hurry.”
Glen took control of the radio, switching the channel to nineteen. “Breaker one-nine. Sledgehammer, you copy?” BOOLEEP.
“Yeah. What do you want, Dumbo? You still wanna argue your Realistic against my Cobra? Over.”
“No, man. You need to come pick us up. We need to go check something out.”
“Check what out?”
“Will you just come pick us up?”
“Not until you tell me what it is we’re checking out. Over.”
Glen looked at me, defeated. “Go to one-eight.” BOOLEEP.
Turning the radio back to eighteen, we caught Christine mid-sentence, sounding frantic.
“-ou there? Dumbo? Hello?”
“Yeah, I’m back. Sledge, you here?” BOOLEEP.
“I’m here. Who’re we talking to? Over.”
“This is Christine. I really need someone to come help me. I’m stuck in the middle of nowhere, and I’m scared.”
“Before you ask, Sledge, she doesn’t want cops or anything like that. She just wants someone to come pick her up. She’s over in Eastboro.” BOOLEEP.
“Well, I can do that. I’m only a few miles away. Over.”
I threw my head up and cursed at the ceiling.
Glen slammed his hand onto the mic’s transmit button. “Sledge, take it back to the last channel.” BOOLEEP.
Back on nineteen, Glen’s tone grew more clearly annoyed. “Sledge? You there? Sledge!” BOOLEEP.
“Yeah, I’m here. What the hell’s wrong with you? Over.”
“Come pick us up, man.” BOOLEEP.
“What? You’re, like, miles out of the way. Why would I go and do that?”
“Just come pick us up.” BOOLEEP.
Walt laughed. “What, you finally find a CB girlfriend, and you’re afraid I’ll steal her? Won’t…what’s her name? Jo-Jo Baby? Or Wildflower or Jade Kisses? Won’t they be jealous? Oh right, you two bozos scared ‘em away! You’re a sorry bunch, the two of you.”
The channel grew silent for a moment while we stewed on Walt’s words.
“This girl’s looking for help, and so I’m gonna go help her. I’m heading back to one-eight,” Walt said. “Over.”
Of course, we followed.
“Breaker one-eight. You there…Christine? Over.”
“No, this is Sledgehammer. I’m close, so I’m gonna come help you out. Can you give me your twenty? Over.”
“So…Dumbo’s not coming?”
“Nah, he’s too far out and doesn’t have a car. I’ll take you where you need to go. Over.”
Okay, um, I’m near a place called Saint Ambrose, off 2A. Um. Over.”
“I know where that is. I’ll be there in ten. Over.”
The following ten minutes felt more like twenty. Glen and I spent most of it within the white noise of CB radio static.
“I heard Wildflower maybe moved to California,” Glen mumbled, mostly to himself. “Jade was just…I dunno. Anyway, I barely talked to her.”
Walt’s voice broke in. “Christine? You copy? Over.”
“Yes, I’m here.”
“I’m passing the sign for Saint Ambrose. Where are you from here? Over.”
“Just a little further. I see your headlights.”
“Roger that. What the-”
For the next minute, there was nothing. Glen and I looked at each other, brows furrowed and jaws slack. Glen keyed the mic.
“Sledgehammer? You copy? What’s going on?” BOOLEEP.
“Uh. Yeah, I’m here,” Walt said, his voice sounding shaky. “Christine? You copy? Over.”
“Sledge, what’s going on?” BOOLEEP.
“There’s…a truck out here. Like a big rig. This chick driving truck? Where the hell is she?”
“No idea.” BOOLEEP.
“Okay. Guess I’ll go check it out. Be back on in five. Over.”
Five minutes passed. Then ten. Twenty. Static. Only static.
“Sledge? You copy?” BOOLEEP.
Nothing. Thirty minutes. The door to the room crashed open. I almost pissed myself. Into the room poured Glen’s sister, stinking of spent cigarettes and fruity liquor. Strawberry, maybe.
“Oh my god,” Marie slurred. “You two are still trying to get laid on that thing?”
“Fuck off, Marie,” Glen said.
“Whatever. Fine, I’m snacking then crashing.”
“Wait! Give me the van key.”
“The what? The hell you want the keys now for? Party’s way over.”
“Come on. Just give ‘em.”
After several failed jabs at her coat for a pocket, she managed to slip her hand in and pull the key out. It clattered to the floor at her feet.
“Have at it,” she said before stumbling up the stairs and sniggering like a stuffed-up wino. Glen got to his feet and snatched up the keys.
“Well?” he said. “Let’s go.”
The ride to Eastboro was a decent thirty minutes from Glen’s house. Walt was right in not going out of his way to get us if this girl Christine was really desperate for help. Throughout the entire ride, I took to using the van’s CB to reach out for Walt, Christine…anyone on channel eighteen. No response. Not a soul. Even our old haunt, channel nineteen, had no one.
Glen slammed his hand onto the steering wheel. “Fucking Walt! The asshole probably turned his radio off.”
“Why would he do that?”
“Who knows? It’s Walt! Selfish-fucking-Walt.”
Nothing was going on. I knew that. At least, I knew nothing was happening in the way Glen thought. If I was being completely honest with myself, I knew nothing ever could or would happen between a closed-up loser like me and another stranger of the opposite sex, meeting anonymously on a CB radio on a weekend night. Or any night. But it made me feel good, even if just for an hour or two, or maybe over a couple of nights. And so what if they essentially disappeared after that? We both had our fun. Or at least I did. Both pretending to be someone we’re not, someone we want to be or appear to be, at least when only a voice is to be heard, and a story with a questionable degree of truth is to be told. And all of us were the same sort of loser. Glen. Walt. Me. All those girls we talked to. We were all the same. In the days before the Internet, it wasn’t silent words upon a screen that gave you anonymity. For us, it was the airwaves, with only a voice to identify you by. That anonymity was at least something you could count on. What came from that voice was as believable as you wanted it to be.
At that hour on a Sunday morning, the roads were clear. An occasional delivery truck blew past, heading the other direction. Glen turned the van onto the Exit Seventeen offramp, passing by only a few houses before plunging into the darkened state forest road. The cemetery, I knew, was under a mile ahead.
I called into the mic. “Breaker one-eight. Christine? Sledgehammer? You copy? Over.”
Glen slowed the van as it passed by the closed gates of Saint Ambrose. Walt’s car was nowhere. No sign of his car, nor a truck. Beyond the ornate walls was complete blackness, but for the light from the windows of the chapel and mausoleum. A late night for visiting dead loved ones, I thought. Probably a priest preparing for visitors and mass later that morning.
“Drive a little further,” I said. “There’s a parking lot.”
“Sean, he’s not gonna be there. They took off.”
Stopped in the middle of the parking lot was Walt’s beat-up Monte. Exhaust still sputtered from its undercarriage as it idled, alone in the dark. Its driver-side door stood ajar, though the car’s interior light was off. Beyond it were empty parking spaces and the bordering woods. No sign of other vehicles. No sign of anyone. No sign of Walt.
Glen stopped the van twenty yards from Walt’s car. “Give him a shout. See if he’s still in there.”
“Sledge – Walt? You copy? This is Blue and Dumbo. We’re behind you.”
Outside, I could hear my own voice echo back to me in the distance. Walt’s radio was still on, with the volume turned up.
Glen rolled his window down and called out. “Walt! Stop fucking around, man! Where’s the girl?”
“Christine?” I said into the mic. “Christine, do you copy? What’s your twenty? Over.”
Glen stepped outside the van and slammed the door shut behind him with pissed-off force. “I’ve had enough of your know-it-all shit, Walt! Stop fucking around and come out!”
As Glen stormed away toward the idling car, Christine’s voice came over the CB.
“I’m here, Dumbo. But don’t worry. I’m okay.” She giggled. It was a feminine, girlish laugh, one of mischief and sex, and felt as though to go on for minutes. As she continued to transmit, her voice gradually deepened, as the giggle transformed to that of a laugh much more sinister and masculine. From the van’s CB; from Walt’s. It was everywhere.
“Who the hell is that?” Glen called back to the van, as he continued to make his way to Walt’s car. I threw my hands up and shrugged. The man on the CB continued transmitting, never stopping for our response.
“You boys are disgusting, you know that? Carrying on with poor ladies in distress. Arguing about who’s going to go and save the day because you think you…what, might get a piece of ass for doing so? Pssh. Pathetic.”
It was clear now who both voices belonged to: The man from channel fifteen, from earlier that night. The enraged lunatic who went by the handle of Big Guy.
“Glen!” I called out my open window. “It’s that crazy nutball from earlier!”
“That crazy dude: Big Guy. He’s fucking with us, man! He sent us out here for nothing!”
“The real way to get anything from these girls, fellas, is the way I go about it. They don’t want some stuffed-up nerds in their mommy’s basement drinking poppa’s beer, with barely enough hair on their balls to call themselves men. They want someone…like me. They might not know it right away, but they catch on fast. Missy. Jennifer. Oh, sorry: Wildflower and Jade…Kisses, was it? Yeah, that was it.”
Glen spun around. “What? Did he say something about Jade? What the hell?” He turned back to Walt’s car, picking up his pace. “Walt! Come on, Bowden! This is all bullshit!”
“Joanne was another story. She…well, she really did have a thing for limp-dicked geeks. Jo-Jo…yeah, that was her. Seems you were onto something with that one, Blue. Had to convince her I was you in order for her to come out and meet me. ‘Hi, Jo-Jo Baby! I think we should finally meet up. How about at the mall?’ How about that? Was I convincing? Whatever. Not my best work. But it was enough for her.”
I tried transmitting a reply. “Who is this? You are one sick fuck, you know that?” It was no use. He wasn’t going to hear me, and his transmission was overpowering anything mobile. Unusual, even for a trucker’s radio. This was base-station level. Big Guy had the comm, and he wasn’t letting up.
I watched as Glen reached Walt’s open door, then as he stumbled backward onto the pavement.
“You boys do pretty good impressions yourselves, you know. But you do a shitty Jo-Jo. She wasn’t quite the slut you were making her out to be. But I had to be sure. Maybe she’d made it out of that dumpster? No. I knew that. But if there’s one thing I hate more than loose ends, it’s people FUCKING WITH ME!”
Glen was on his feet now, sprinting back to the van. He held a hand to his mouth, though all it did was delay what came forth onto the ground as he slammed against the driver-side door.
“It – it’s Walt!” Glen said, catching his breath. “He’s fucking strangled by his mic cord in there! His face is all fucking blue and…and his tongue…holy shit! He’s dead, man!”
“Wh – what?! Are you sure?”
“You must be wondering where I am right now. You want to know my ten-twenty. Am I right? I was thinking the same thing about you, y’know. Trying to nail down just where in the hell you two pencil-necks were holed up. Your pally there…Sledgehammer, is it? He was kind enough to tell me. Kinda had it stuck in his throat for a bit, so to speak, so I helped get it out of him.”
Glen reached through the window and snatched the mic from my hand. “Fuck you! You sick fuck! You killed him! Why would you do that? You killed Walt! He’s just a fucking kid!”
“Glen! He’s still transmitting! He can’t hear you!”
He ignored me. “Is there anyone there? Breaker one-eight! Breaker one-eight!”
Glen let go of the mic, and Big Guy picked up mid-sentence. “-would gut your family? Well, gosh. I was just messing with you. But, y’now…I hear that a SASSY little KITTEN around here could maybe use some company…now that I’ve taken poppa cat outside.”
“Turn to channel nine!” I screamed. “We need to call the cops or something!”
“No. Wait. Sassy Kitten?” Glen said “Is that…is he…is he talking about…but he’s not -”
“I do want to thank you boys for reminding me that it’s time for me to relocate. I don’t need your godforsaken backwood towns. I sure as hell don’t want ‘em. It’s time I embraced the new and said goodbye to the old, you know? Get myself…I dunno, a computer. Fuck this CB horseshit, having to deal with you dumbass punks. Then I can be anywhere. Am I right? Can be…from…anywhere. Miles…miles away. A CB…well, it can only carry you so far. And any pervert can listen in on the whole thing. Like now, right? Just like I know where you are…right now, Mister Dumbo. Like I know…you know…MY TWENTY.”
🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None AvailableN.M. Brown Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek Narrated by N/A