Freddy Barnett's

And Then Things Got Weird….

Orion’s Belt ~~^~~ Shark Fin Soup ~~^~~


…yes, it had to be…heaven. It certainly wasn’t f’ing Iowa.

Then …“Whaaaaaaahhhhhhh…” Bernie wailed in agony.

She pulled the tunic closed when she heard the poor sap cry out. “Oh, no. What did I do? Are you hurting because of the…um, chastity belt? All men should wear one. Hey, moon pie, your cat Bomba says that you dream about Dauna every night and cry out in pain every fifteen minutes.”

Angry, Bernie turned to Bomba. “Bad kitty! You shouldn’t be telling a stranger these… Wait! My cat talked to you? Dammit! He won’t even listen to me!”

The goddess refastened Orion’s Belt around her waist and said, “Remember, I’m a goddess. Not some half-assed straaaaanger. Let’s go, Bomba. We know when we’re not appreciated.”

“Hey, that’s my cat! You can’t take my cat! Wait! I mean, ouch!”

“Yeah… It was nice, Bernie. Sorry about your sheets. Goodnight!”

“What? What about my sheets?” Bernie looked toward his feet. “Holy!” Sprinkled above the heated wine stains, ‘this hoity-toity Artemis person’ had left a cosmic trail of shimmering moon dust the length of his entire body. The air, smelled like a hundred gardenias.

“Don’t go!” Bernie let out the most pitiful wail that the world had heard since that god-forsaken day in 1942 when Bambi’s mom was shot.

Artemis, soft as the moonlight upon her fair skin, leaned over the suffering Bernie’s pillow. “Calm down, stupid Earthling. Breeeeeeathe.” She reached between her thighs and produced a golden flower. “Peace and love, Mr. Establishment!” Magically, she’d made him laugh. And so, so pretty. She twirled the alien blossom, beneath his nose.

Bernie’s brain flipped upside-down within his skull.

Bomba licked his paws as he stared out of the window, embarrassed for his damaged human. His new stripes were blushing pink. The cat tried to console Bernie. “I too tried to resist her too,” Bomba said with his eyes. “But then…the cheeeeeeseburgers…”

“The sun will be rising soon, Bernie.” Artemis patted Bernie’s exhausted little head. “It’s safe to sleep now, but from now on, you’ll have to do your sleeping at work like everyone else.”

Artemis petted the cat with her right hand while, once again she held Bernie’s arms in place beneath her well-toned and infinite thighs. Somehow, thanks to his sturdy pioneer upbringing, Bernie had managed to cup a mighty goddess ass cheek. He’d never felt anything so smooth. Though the pain rushed in like a tsunami, Bernie bravely refused to release his firm grip. He found out that it was foolish to challenge the gods, as Artemis slapped him so hard that he imagined his head unraveling as it spun over the bleachers at Wrigley Field. She’d made him pay dearly, for his indiscretion.

Bomba purred and pulsed with new blue stripes as he faded away. The cat’s smile was all that remained until the yellow sun peeked into Bernie’s room.

Artemis leaned her forever body back and away from Bernie. When he saw his dream melt into the morning light, away from his grasp, he let out the most pitiful wail that the world had ever heard…since, well, the preceding wail—you know, the Bambi one.

^^ö^^ Black Friday from ^^ö^^ Bats ^^ö^^

JPEG Final Tragic Mountain LARGE FLATTENED copy

So, here’s the ‘set up: Vlad ‘The Impaler’ Tepe’s castle (Once lovingly named ‘Damnalot’) has been turned into an amusement park (Tragic Mountain) by the Van Helsing Family and is now occupied by their Cheap mercenaries, Meine Runt-Pferde (My Tiny Horsies) — the cheapest guns-for-hire that the Van Helsings could buy. MRP used to be a German all-male dance troup. Vlad’s auntie, the witch Lupta Axe (Battle Axe) has set up a plan to take the castle back…

Black Friday

It was nearing midnight on Thursday, Nov. 28. What was left of the Meine Runt-Pferde (My Tiny Horsies) mercenaries were huddled inside the courtyard of Poenari, unsure of their fate. The drawbridge was up, so, for the moment they were all safe and snuggly wuggly. The commander, König, awoke to a loud knocking, below near the drawbridge. The castle’s two gargoyles, Wichtor and Wichtoria, had only been able to watch the occupation of castle by the Horsies in horror. They’d been gagged. 

“Who is it?” asked Commander König Buckel(King Hump) from the highest parapet. “Is it the Van Helsing boys?”

“It’s me, Kapitän Flitzer (Streaker)!”

“Let him in boys. Hurry! Come in,” said König.

“Ja, boss!”

Once inside, Kapitän Flitzer called up to his commander: “I think there is an army coming — Now! Through the forest.”

“Are you sure?” asked the commander. “Come up here now. I want you to look over the parapet, my eyes are not so good and…”

“Your eyes are lovely commander. Is my hair okay?”

“Oh, for god’s sake, Flitzer, you are not all that. Put on some pants. The gold ones are nice.”

Kapitän Flitzer looked over the top of the castle wall. In the moonlit forest and across the moat below, he saw a sea of ten thousand women. Lupta Axe’s new army of fans had surrounded the castle. The Black Friday shoppers had built a bridge; a human bridge fashioned from the bodies of sacrificed shoppers to reach across the moat to the drawbridge. The women who had the free samples of Outa-My-Way-Asshole! brand coffee were already tearing at the drawbridge with sharpened fingernails. Others beat at the twenty-foot wooden barrier with heavy handbags and stiletto heels.

“Commander!” Flitzer called down. “You have to see this!”

A woman’s voice called up to the frightened soldier, “Open up, Flitzer. It’s  your Aunt Elsa! Open up! It’s midnight!”

“Hi aunt Elsa!” waved Flitzer.

“That is correct, ma’am. It is midnight. What do you want?” asked commander König, who had joined Flitzer at the top of the wall. “I am the commander and you should all be home sleeping!”

There was a sudden calming in the fields below Poenari castle’s high walls. The moonlit crowd parted like the Red Sea. A woman built like a bulldozer approached the drawbridge swinging a purse loaded with dozens of heavy, greasy beignets. She stared up at König and ground her strong jaw.

“Go away, whoever you are!” said the frightened Commander. “The castle is and the park will open at 10 a.m.! Go home.”

“They call me Pauline! Open the drawbridge or I’ll soon be using your skinny neck for butt floss.”

There was more banging. More determined women’s voices.

“Open the drawbridge!” demanded Pauline with a grating roar akin to Godzilla.

“My cards are burning a hole in my wallet!” another woman screamed.

Flitzer watched their torches in their left hands pierce the darkness as they chanted, “Sale! Sale! Sale! Sale!” Purses in their right hands swung like spiked medieval flails. Pauline stood at the head of the crowd and spat acidic venom that began to burn a hole in the wooden barrier.

“What are you people? Go home!”

“We’re here to spend money! It is NOW Black Friday. We’re looking for shoes, clothes, and free stuff. And You are worms who will die if you get in our way!”

“Quick, Flurry Schamhaar (Flurry Pubes),” said König, “I want all of the Meine Runt-Pferde suitcases brought out here into the courtyard. All of them. I want them unpacked and the clothes folded neatly on the tables. Now!” König called out to the women at the moat, “Give us another minute!”

“All of our clothes, sir?” asked Flurry.

“Yes!” said König. “We all overpacked for this trip. Hurry!”

The women outside began to chant “Now! Now! Now!” Inside the courtyard the heavy wooden beams of the drawbridge began to splinter.

König ran down below.

“Sir!” said Flatternscheuen (Poser). “Things are about to get ugly! And 50% off!” He handed Commander König a flyer he’d picked up off the ground.

“Damn! Black Friday Sale!” said the commander.

Flatternscheuen turned the flyer over and read the back, “‘For the first two thousand of my loyal fans who storm Poenari Castle at midnight, all clothes modeled by the Meine Runt-Pferde will be 50% off!”

“Wait,” König said to Flatternscheuen. “Vlad’s witch is talking about giving away our clothes, sweetie.” Flatternscheuen continued reading aloud, “Stick around for a free Chanel gift certificate, and there will also be dozens of available men.”

Oh, really? thought König. He read aloud the rest of the flyer:

“…and lots of designer shoes. PLUS, I will send a copy of my new book—FREE!—to everyone who mails me back their flyer. Signed Infinity Upton-Downes.”

The commander glanced at the witch’s flyer. “Infinity Upton-Downes! I love her books. Especially her Riders of the Purple Sausage!” 

Little did König realize that his enemy, the witch Lupta Axe, and Infinity Upton-Downes, author of the Tragic Lust series, were one-in-the-same person 

König Buckel dropped his weapon belt, grabbed his Chanel bag and turned to his weary soldiers. “Girlfriends! I’ve only heard of them in legend. Beyond these walls are the Black Friday Shoppers. If they are who I think they are, they are unstoppable. So it’s goodbye, my comrades. Auf Wiedersehen! So long my little Frechen Säugen (Perky Suckle), my brave Mond Mich (Moon Me), my handsome-but-straight Brust Gucker (Breast Gazer),

CRACK!!! The drawbridge shattered. The women stormed the courtyard with fire in their eyes trampling over each other to get to the tables first. Others attacked König’s fashion conscious troops. “Sale! Sale!” the women were chanting.


Pauline led the charge dressed in a badass polka dot dress and matching hat. She met the commander eye to eye at the bottom of the staircase. She pushed him against the stone wall then swatted the punk with her wide brimmed hat. “Give me your boots,” she said to Commander König, who was shaking in his pair of Nudie Saddle Ups.

“I-I-I…these were a special gift. No! Besides, you look like you wear a size eleven and these are nines.” Pauline started to twirl her beignet laden purse slowly. “No! Stop! They’ll never carry these again at Nordstoms, you beast,” he said. Commander König slowly backed his way up the spiral stone staircase, while Pauline matched his every move. He lashed out with his own handbag and missed.

“What do you want for those boots?” Pauline asked as she swung at his head. König ducked, saving his skull from being cracked like an egg.

“They were a birthday present from Heinrich Van Helsing! I’ll never find these again. Nudie stopped producing this line in 1995.”

“Heinrich Van Helsing? Are we talking about the football player? The son of  Hansel and Gretel Van Helsing?”

“Please!” König screamed. “Oh, Heinrich! Heinrich!” Oh Lord! Where is my Heiny???

Pauline forced him further up the staircase. Her eyes were bulging wildly and her skin was turning red. König, nearing the top, threw his handbag at Pauline, breaking the fake pearl necklace that she’d paid over ten dollars for on Ebay.

Smoke billowed from Big Pauline’s nostrils as she charged like un toro. She chased the commander across the west tower. König had nowhere to go. Think! Think!

 König turned. “I have to ask you this, Pauline? Is your hat a Christine Moore?” he asked in desperation, as he backed toward the parapet. The wind caught Pauline’s prized hat and blew it over the wall.

“No!” Now Pauline was really pissed.

“Oh, No! Your hat! I am so sorry. It was to die for.” König was now leaning back upon the edge of the parapet.

“Yes it was,” Pauline said, approaching steadily. “So are your boots!” She grabbed the twerp by the ankles and dumped him out of his Nudie footwear into the mouth of a croc in the moat below. Pauline, triumphant, turned to the hordes of shoppers below, held up the prized footwear, and bellowed beneath the moon, “Look what I scored, ya stupid biatches!”

Tango Time 5-16-18 F. Barnett

The Secret Life of Eggs 5-15-18 F. Barnett


Prey-Lewd from BATS ^^ö^^ Updated


(Enemy Territory) 


Čachtice, Slovakia (Formerly Hungary)

Inside his immense melon head, the bus driver heard the menacing voice of Boris Karloff: “Even your buth is dead, Kimo.” What da kine hell is a buth(? ), thought the Tour driver with the name tag: ‘Aloha, My name is Big Kimo.’ Oh, my bus(!), he suddenly realized. Please! Anywhere but here. Not in front of creepy Čachtice Castle, 

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Kimo announced, “we may be here awhile, so you can exit the bus, walk around a little and stretch if you like.”

Bats and huge fanged moths — the kind that would happily eat your shorts—with you in them — were attracted to the lights within the bus and began pounding themselves against the windows. Anyone who was about to ‘go outside and stretch’ quickly gave up on the foolish idea.

“Look, driver!” Someone stood and pointed out of the right side of the bus. Big Kimo couldn’t see anything, at first.

“It’s a lady!” said a British woman in back.

Oh, boy…and she has dogs!” said her son. Four shadows trotted from the parked Bats Mobile and took their places behind the Countess. They held baskets in their mouths.

Sure enough, a tall beautiful woman was approaching the bus from the car. She was bathed in moonlight. She wore a bouffant hairdo and a checkered blue homemakers dress straight out of the 1950s. The lovely redhead waved at Kimo through the closed door. She held up a pitcher of an ice-cold beverage and a stack of Dixie Cups. He relaxed.

“Oh goody, goody!” a child in the front seat squealed. “The nice lady brought us Kool-Aid!”

What the tourists thought was rain, started to hit the windows. The drops were the plague tears that came from forgotten angels. The sound of the wind was a sickening wheeze of a dying rainforest.

“Let her in, driver! The poor woman’s blouse is soaked,” a woman from Ireland called out. All of the men, suddenly ‘concerned,’ stood up to get an eyeful. One elderly woman said, “It must be the lady of the house. Let her in.”

I hope it isn’t the lady of the house, thought Kimo. The Bloody Countess, Elizabeth Bathory once lived here. That was centuries ago. Still, it is Čachtice!

The canines stood guard in shadows behind their mistress. Kimo opened the glass door—Oh, what the hell—with a hiss. “The dogs will have to stay outside.” The tall beauty, a very well-put-together June Cleaverhe thought, stepped up into the bus taking a wide stance in front in of the passengers. The “nice lady,” wet, was a great deal “nicer” than most had expected. She captured everyone’s complete attention despite their age, sex, race, nationality, or even in the case of Mrs. Bernstein in the back, species.

“Hello, you nice people. I’m Mrs. June Cleaver!” Elizabeth Bathory, The Bloody Countess lied.

Kimo was taken back. Cleaver? Why don’t I like that name?

Her audience was riveted on the icy pitcher of swirling sky blue liquid that she displayed.

“I brought you some refreshments while you are waiting to be rescued,” said the beguiling housewife. “I’ve got dozens of our best local Batina’s cookies and something to quench your thirst. Here! Pass them back. Thank you. If it’s all right with Big Kimo, maybe I could teach you nice folks a little bit about our local cuisine.”

The tired driver nodded, stared out the bus window into the falling tears of regret and moaning thunder, and decided that he didn’t like the size of those dogs. They were very well behaved but they all wore white kerchiefs around their thick necks. No, those are bibs! Cleaver. Cleaver. The name still made him nervous.

“We’re proud of our Fritz Haarmann cutlery,” said the perky housewife. “Mr. Haarmann was originally a meat salesman from Germany, but now he makes and tests his fine cutlery products right here in Transylvania.” She smiled at the man sitting in front of her. “Are you from Germany, sir? Then you would certainly appreciate the craftsmanship. I mean, just look at this edge.” The big bald German didn’t understand one word. While he smiled up at the outline of her ‘chilled’ nipples above, she took aim on his shiny head. “Just feel this edge!” Her arm went above her head. 

Soon, Mrs. Cleaver/Elizabeth was doing the backstroke up and down the blood-filled center aisle of the bus as her good doggies dragged piles of tourist-flavored vittles into the Countess’ sob-flooded front yard. 

The Countess Elizabeth’s housekeeper, Penelope, disposed of the bus with an explosion fueled by Transylvania’s largest export, Premium Bat Guano (also an ingredient used in the country’s famous Raise the Dead Pöcs (dicks) Coffee.

All of this took five minutes. 

The flapping bats applauded. 

Elizabeth, curtsied, leapt into her muscle car, and floored the gas pedal five-hundred miles to Poenari.

“Call me. It’s Mel.” Shark Fin Soup ———- An Epic Adventure!

During a storm, Jesus appeared on a blue tarp upon the deck of The Vinnie Maru, demanding that agent Bernie Benedict find him a date. 

Shark Fin Soup

A tale of sharks, gods, cannibals, mad cows and endless love. 


Since bygone days, two ancient Pacific cannibal tribes have fought over which of their respective shark gods should rule the Seven Seas. Today, the 3000-year-old Melanesian war has reached the shores of the US.

‘Word on the street’ has it that the shark gods and their peckish followers are gearing up for a final, pay-per-view televised battle which will take place in Jamaica Bay, NY, on New Year’s Eve. 

Leading up to the match, Interpol agent Bernie ‘The God Whisperer’ Benedict and his paranormal crew are watching the body count stack up along US waterfronts.

(And Jesus still wants a date.)

Soon, our hero finds himself in dangerous waters as he becomes the ‘prize’ in an over-heated mating game between two powerful deities — the luscious, lustful, Fijian shark goddess, Dauna, and her friend, Artemis, the majestic,‘virgin’ goddess of the hunt and moon.

Join the merriment as our hero, Bernie, through divine whoopie, is transformed into Cupcaecius, a deified dead ringer for the debonair screen legend Cary Grant. 

“Tell me you’re proud of me, darling. You’re looking at the first new god on Olympus in over five-thousand years!” 

Introducing Bomba from Shark Fin Soup

Book cover : Shark Fin Cover

Five human babies had gone missing over the span of three months from the Santa Monica apartment building next door to where Bernie and his monstrous cat, Bomba, had made their temporary home. The disappearances didn’t get much press. Bernie’s noisy neighbors simply replaced each missing “bundle of joy” with a brand new screeching banshee from the deepest sewers of hell.

In the previous two cities that Bernie and Bomba had passed through, there were two missing male infants and four missing full-sized adults: two males and two females. A few days later, it was discovered that the two male adults, both eighteen, had eloped and were honeymooning in exotic El Segundo. 

Regarding the five missing babies, there was never a phone call or a ransom demand. No evidence of foul play or human remains were ever found. Hopefully, thought Bernie, Bomba, his cat, was not careless enough to leave his prey on the doorstep.

The story’s villain, Edwin MacHeath,  four cannibalistic, were-shark minions patiently  watched  Bernie Benedict’s rented cottage while guzzling salt water and smoking. They were waiting for the god-whispering Interpol agent to show his face. They were beginning to wonder if ‘Dauna’s cupcake,’ Bernie, ever slept at all.

Bernie lay in bed, wide awake and unaware of the danger outside. Why did Dauna insist on telling him, “I’ll be spending the night at home, alone, feeling the cool evening breeze ruffle my tail feathers?” Is she trying to make sure that I never sleep, again? 

Most mornings Bomba got up an hour earlier than Bernie and could be found slowly sucking the life’s breath out of him (just like Grandma used to say). Cats didn’t get much of anything worthwhile when it came to soul sucking humans. They just did it for kicks.

At night, neighborhood cats would get together on back fences and laugh at the sorry souls that they would cough up along with hairballs. In the morning, the cats would sun themselves, after they’d sent their soul-less humans out into the morning traffic. The musical memories of the humans became fuel for cat dances on new leather furniture. Soul was no substitute for Seafood Buffet. 

 Bomba the cat had returned home at 4 a.m. as the super moon descended.  He crawled into bed next to Bernie and waited for his human to stir. Bernie, already awake, felt the cat crawl softly onto his chest. Bombs seemed to be growing and smelled like… (Huh?)…a dazzling blend of homemade chili, tangy American cheese, fruity floral onions, crisp kosher pickles and magnificent beef accords, and wouldn’t budge. Bomba might soon awaken his “can opener,” Bernie, with a swipe of a lethal claw across his snorting schnoz. The human was not sleeping, however.

As much as Bernie loved Bomba, he worried, because Doctor David ‘Soylent’ Greene said there was still “someone or something ‘out there’ that had caused four ‘ear-piercing diaper dumpers’ to evaporate into Santa Monica’s thin air.

The big cat’s subtle purr began to transmit a few basic thoughts to Bernie.

“Ahem. Let’s get one thing straight, cupcake. I eat first. You don’t do anything else—first—except get your fat ass up and feed me. You don’t eat. You don’t poop. You don’t even breathe. So. You like it when she calls you ‘cupcake?’ Go ahead dream about her sleeping in her old t-shirt. You’ve got ten more minutes.”

Shakespeare couldn’t have said it better.

‘Pull My Finger’ a sample from’ my novel ^^ö^^ BATS on sale on Amazon!

8-18 pull finger

In our previous chapter, The Bloody Countess, Elizabeth Bathory had just escaped the captivity of her own castle’s tower (where she was rendered powerless) by the Two Van Helsing twins.

Elizabeth had been forced, as a last resort, to escape her captors by using the classic ‘Pull My Finger’ joke as suggested by her auntie, the witch, Lupta Axe.  

The volcanic release of gas destroyed the tower of Cactice, Elizabeth’s clothes and most of her dignity. She was in no mood for fart jokes when she slipped behind the wheel of her Challenger that had been waiting below in the courtyard, with her family, and pets. 


“That’s it!” Elizabeth pulled the Challenger over to the side of the road. “One more fart joke and I’m gonna get out of the car, break your old harpy head, dig a fuckin’ hole, and…and…then I’ll…I’ll…”

“I know! I know! You’ll telemarket me at dinnertime and ask me if I can complete a five-minute survey?” yelled Lupta.

“Devious idea, I must admit. Is that what you’d really like me to do, Aunty?”

“No,” said Lupta, sheepishly. “I’m so vewy sowwy.”

“Then watch it, buster!” snapped the Countess.

“Lighten up, Elizabeth,” said Vlad. “Ve’re just breakin’ your balls. It vas a visecrack. Let it go.”

“No, please don’t,” said Jonathan, trying to suppress a giggle.

Countess Elizabeth, emotionally overwrought, buried her face in her hands and began to bawl. Vlad turned his head toward the backseat. “Do you see vhat you kids have done to my Betty?”

“Betty?” asked Lupta. “Who the futen heaven is Betty?”

This the heaven is Betty! My Elizabeth!” screamed the exhausted vampire. “Do you see vhat you’ve all done to my little love-in liver?”

Elizabeth shot Vlad a venomous glance. “Little, huh? I could kick yourrrrrr leathery ass.”

“Listen, dearie,” Lupta said to Elizabeth. “How about a snack? Some leftover caliente casserole?”

Elizabeth steered the car back onto the pavement.

Vlad announced, “Lupta, let’s change the subject. Hey! Let’s sing some folk songs!”

Jonathan, who had begun napping, suddenly looked back toward Mina. “Pass over the guitar, Mina.”

Lupta shouted out, “Jonny, do you know ‘Blowin’ in the Wind?’”

The car jerked to a halt. “Motherfucker! That’s it! I’m gonna destroy that desiccated stick of jerky!” screamed Elizabeth.

“What’s ‘desiccated?’” asked Lupta.

“You! You wi-atch!” Two bolts of lightning shot from the Countess’ black pupils, bounced off the rearview mirror, and set Lupta’s dry haystack of hair on fire.

“Jonathan?” asked Vlad, “My son, vhen you perform music, do you ever take requests?”

“Of course I take requests, sir.”

“Then shut the FUTE up!” said Vlad.

Lupta cackled.

“Whoa!” shouted Vlad, pointing ahead.

“Watch out!” shouted Jonathan.

While the Countess raged, her car narrowly sideswiped a mummy enjoying a foot-dragging stroll near Astray Trail. 

Kharis, the mummy, loved his midnight shuffles, which usually culminated in vengeance upon British scientists and his one good hand squeezing the throat of the reincarnated Princess Ananka, who dared to reject him.

“Jackals! Mummy fuckers! Osiris damn you!” screamed the enraged Kharis. Startled, he had dropped his challis of tanna leaf tea. “Delincvenților minori! (Young punks!)” he cursed and pointed his amulet ring at the car as it passed. “Taco wagon!” Disgusted, the mummy tried to resume the slow, easy pace of his evening shuffle.

Dino the wolf howled toward the moon above. (“We saw a mummy, and we have had five hundred miles of open window!”)

Lupta leaned forward. “Countess! That walking first-aid kit back there just  called your ride a taco wagon!”

Elizabeth pulled a screeching donut in the middle of the highway at ninety miles per hour until she spotted the sluggish mummy crossing the highway. “Taco wagon, huh!” said Elizabeth as she slammed into old gauze-face and watched him unravel for over a quarter-mile along the double yellow line.


At 1 a.m. Sinatra’s “Summer Wind” began to play on the car radio—to the Countess’ obvious displeasure. “Change the station! Now!”

Elizabeth had had enough guano for one night. Her rage was suddenly broken, when above the loud music, a loud knocking came from the rear of the car.

“What in blessed heaven?” cursed the dozing Jonathan.

“Flat tire?” asked Lupta. 

“Oh, no. Not now!” said Mina.

“It’s your housekeeper,” said Vlad. “She might be lonely, stuffed back there. Maybe she’s hungry. You better pull over. Zombies are God’s monkey wrenches to be thrown into the machinery vhen things seem to be running smoothly. Full of surprises.”

Lupta blurted out, “Like a whoopie cushion?” Vlad shot her a glance and shook his head. “Ixnay on the artfay.”

Frankie Lane’s “They Called the Wind Mariah” blasted from the radio. Luckily, Elizabeth didn’t hear Lupta’s comment as she steered onto the shoulder and stopped. “Open the trunk, Jonny boy!”

She threw Jonathan the keys. He jumped out, and stood back as he flipped open the trunk. Elizabeth reached for her pistol from beneath the front seat and got out. The rest followed. The light from the trunk shone on Mina as she stood guard with a hammer, a machete, a wooden stake, and a small round hand mirror in case there was any funny business with the zombie.

“Son of a bitch!” said Jonathan. “Elizabeth! A gun? I thought the miserable woman was dead.”

“She is, kiddo,” said Elizabeth, firing three shots into Penelope’s wormy cadaver.

“Well, you just killed her again!” said Lupta.

Elizabeth took a breath, relaxed her shoulders, and lifted the pistol. “Like Vlad said, ‘It’s only murder if they stay dead!’ Right? Remember when we had to do this to Billie Bats?”

Jonathan grabbed her wrist. “Wait! Don’t shoot the face! She’s got a big date with Huthbert.”

“Let her rest in peace. She’s dead enough,” said Vlad. “Do you feel better now? Ve need to get back before sunup.”

Willowy Mina gently removed the gun from Elizabeth’s hand and took out a hand mirror. The radio was playing “Killing Me Softly” by Roberta Flack.

“Mina darling, can you still see your reflection?” asked Elizabeth who was trying to catch whatever she called breath.

“No. But I can see Penelope behind me.” Mina faced away from the trunk and held up the small mirror, took aim at Penelope, and continued to empty two more rounds into the dismal rotting thing.

“Nice shot, Mina!” said Jonathan. “You finally hit something that you were aiming at!”

“You should talk, Mr. I-Don’t-Need-To-Put-The-Seat-Up.” Mina handed the gun back to the Countess. “Zombies are like inflatable punching clowns. Let’s go kill something alive. I’m ready for fast moving targets. I need more points.”

Vlad sympathetically placed his filthy razor-sharp claws on Elizabeth’s shoulder as she walked around to the driver’s side. “Vould you like me to…drive?”

Without answering, the Countess pocketed the gun, climbed back into the driver’s seat  and paused to take another breath before turning the ignition key. “I’ll be okay! Besides, none of you ‘fiiiiiiine nobility’ know how to f’n drive!” Elizabeth said with a snark. “Just shut your fly traps. All of you.” She pulled the Challenger back onto the pavement. “Let’s get out of here.”

“Well, then,” said Lupta. “You’d better step on the—”

“Don’t say it!” Now, hurtling down Route 13, Elizabeth took the gun out of her pocket and pointed it back toward Lupta. “Not one word, muthafutensfiudecățeanemerniciard! I should never have plucked her from that Salem barbecue in 1692.” The little witch held her crooked hands up in mock defense.

This time, Vlad turned his head around 180 degrees, turned crimson, and roared within a torrent of bile. “You do not vant Elizabeth to stop the car…again, and have me come back there! I promise that all of you vill not be able to sit for a veek…Vhat the fute is that noise?”

Out of the trunk they heard a tortured moan.

“Oh, no,” said Mina.

“Moses fucking H. Christ! What does that dust magnet want NOW?!” hissed the exasperated Countess.

Another loud bang and “Wwharrrrrrrruuuuumnk!” came out of the trunk. (Zombish translation: “Are we almost there? I have to go pottyyyyy.”)

“I dunno. Zombies are kinda cool,” Jonathan said. “They just don’t give a dusty fart about anything. Oops, sorry, ma’am.”

Elizabeth gave him a look that could kill.

“Too late!” he winked back at her noticing that he could no longer see himself in the rear view mirror.

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