Excerpt from “Bats” by Fred Barnett (Coming soon!)
“Pull my finger!”
“One of the oldest, and most effective gags in the world.” ★★★★★ Slime Magazine
Featured in Auntie Lupta’s Grab Bag of Gags for Hags
and her Big Book of Cogent Curses for Crones
Time: Modern Day
Candy, the Dominance Pizza delivery person is driving the Bats Mobile full of Transylvanians (vampies, a witch, wolves, and bats) east, toward Čachtice Castle, to rescue the Bloody Countess Elizabeth from the even more evil Van Helsing Twins (Hansel and Gretel). Once she is free, Elizabeth (the only ‘person’ besides Candy who is allowed to drive) must take the entourage, plus her zombie housekeeper, Penelope (looking forward to a “hot” date), west, to save Vlad’s embattled home at Poenari. Candy joins Question Mark (“?”) and the bikers who follow…
Čachtice Castle: The Magic Tower
Gretel Van Helsing was bending down near the Countesses hand. “Her ring doesn’t fit, brother! It’s loose!”
“Just take it then!” said Hansel.
Elizabeth’s mind was still sharp. A devious message — a trick, from the witch Lupta Axe snuck in to her brain. She must be nearby! Thank you, Auntie! Thought Elizabeth.
Though her stomach ached from the Naga–Chili-Stuffed dinner earlier, Elizabeth managed to bare her fangs and challenge the twins.“If you think that you can take my father’s ring, I’d like to see you try!”
The Bat’s Mobile, Elizabeth’s 1970 Sapphire Hemi Dodge Challenger, pulled into the driveway of Elizabeth’s Čachtice Castle. The car’s inhabitants had already sung Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer five times, John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt four times and were now into the second verse of the maritime classic “Barnacle Balls the Sailor.”
‘What if you should get the chair? What if you should get the chair?
What if you should get the chair? Said the fair Young Maiden…’
“All together now!” said Candy, the pizza delivery driver at the wheel.
“I’ll lay a fart and blow it apart!” said Barnacle Balls the Sailorrrr….”
Everyone was singing. Hubba, the wolf, and his mate Hubba Hubba howled along cheerfully, alerting the imprisoned Countess in her tower above. Both wolves suddenly stopped singing. They sensed dread, apocalypse in the air. Their naughty sea shanty changed to doleful wails.
Meanwhile, upstairs …
Elizabeth’s ears perked up. They’re down stairs! Outside! Good doggies!
“Pull it!” said Gretel.
“What?” Hansel looked worried. Uneasy.
“I said, pull her finger! If you won’t, I …will!”
Hansel pulled. Elizabeth threw her head back in a howl of laughter.
“What’s so funny, fiend?” asked Gretel. “We’re going to take everything that you love away from you. Pull harder, brother!
The walls began to tremble and moan.
Elizabeth was on the cusp of a great release, her evil grin nearly orgasmic, as the dust from the walls shook loose.
“She’s fooled us!” said Hansel. “It’s the old ‘Pull My Finger’ trick …I should have …Duck!”
Amidst the roar, the walls made from hardened unicorn shit evaporated. The canopy of stars twisted as if empathizing with the stricken Countess. Newborn galaxies spun away from the chaos.
Hideo, the vulture, swept down and snatched the Van Helsing twins from the sky as they were blown hundreds of feet above the castle.
The Countess Elizabeth remained on the bare stone floor of the tower which now had no walls. Her nightgown was torn to ribbons. Her furniture and the marble chair were simply gone.
“Jesus! Who cut the cheese?!” said Mina, who was the first to appear at what used to be a doorway. She had literally flown up the stairs to the tower.
Vlad, landed right behind Mina, began to salivate at the sight of the shredded nightgown, and made the mistake of inhaling before he spoke, “Are you okay, Darl …? Unholy fuhhhque!” His mustache wilted.
Young Jonathan, who had heroically slithered up to the top of the tower to help, nearly lost his footing when he was pelted with hundreds of dead birds. He managed to slither back down to safety.
“Don’t!” The embarrassed Elizabeth raised her hand up in warning as she tried to catch her wind…I mean breath. “Don’t come in! I’m …I’m fine! I’ll get dressed and be right down.”
The Countess Elizabeth Bathory emerged from the main gate, showered and ready for action.
Transformed into a blithering blob of blood jello, Vlad said, “Mlop!” This happened whenever Elizabeth put on her “standard” combat attire: a black backless fishnet halter, tight red cigarette pants, lethal stiletto heels and a very short midnight blue skirt (with a wide array of handy pockets designed to hold zip ties, duct tape, and paper clips). Her red streaked hair was tied in a long braid (I know that you are interested). Vlad had to avert his eyes to restrain his untamed limbă.
The Journey Back to Poenari
Jonathan poured the remaining jugs of Gibor juice (blood and fixins) into the Bats Mobile’s tank. When he was done, he slid into the middle of the front seat next to the Countess, the only one who could drive. Vlad always took “shotgun.” The two bats Cherubino and Angioletto hung from the bars supporting the convertible top. The wolves, Hubba and Hubba Hubba, sat in the back seat with Lupta Axe.The willowy Mina sat in the middle of the back seat, as she might blow out of the car with sudden gust of wind or a …uh, never mind.
Elizabeth’s gloomy zombie housekeeper, Penelope, was humming “John Brown’s Body” as she, herself was a-mouldering in the car’s trunk.
The smell of sulphur still lingered in the air outside. The trees around Čachtice Castle continued to burn as Elizabeth and her passengers drove away.
Candy had joined “?” (The hunchback Question Mark) on his Segway and along with Vlad’s new army, the recently “bat indoctrinated” Hell’s Angles Architect and Motorcycle club, they would follow the Countess’ Bats Mobile five hundred miles back toward Poenari.
In the car, Jonathan clicked on the radio. Elizabeth’s daddy’s record “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” was playing. Every time the lyrics “Gas, gas, gas,” came on, the group in the back seat would sing and howl along.
“Cut that out you kids! Or do I have to stop the car!’ Elizabeth yelled.
“Sorry, Countess,” said Mina. “Are you mad?”
“Fuuuuuming!” said Vlad. (He couldn’t resist.)
“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 an old harpy’s head, dig a fuckin’ hole, and …and …then I’ll …I’ll…”
“You’ll call me up at dinner time 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, auntie?”
“No.” said Lupta, sheepishly.
“ Then watch it, buster!” yelled the Countess.
“Lighten up, Elizabeth,” said Vlad. “We’re just breakin’ your balls. C’mon let’s go.”
Countess Elizabeth emotionally overwrought, buried her face in her hands and began to bawl.”
Vlad turned his head toward the back seat. “Do you see what you’ve done to Liz?”
“Liz?” asked Lupta. “Who’s the heaven is Liz?”
“This the heaven is Liz! Do you see what you’ve all done to my little Elizabeth?”
Elizabeth shot Vlad a venomous glance.”Little, huh? I could kick yourrrrrr leathery ass.”
“Listen, dearie.” Lupta Axe said to Elizabeth.”How about a snack? Some leftover Caliente Casserole?”
Elizabeth steered the car back onto the pavement.
Vlad turned around. “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?
“I’ll show you desiccated!” Two bolts of lightning shot from the Countess’ black pupils, bounced off the rear view mirror, and set Lupta’s dry hay stack of hair on fire.
Lepta only cackled.
From the Land of the Pharoahs
“Whoa!” shouted Vlad.
“Watch out!” shouted Jonathan.
While the Countess raged, the car had narrowly side-swiped a Mummy enjoying a foot-dragging stroll near Astray Trail.
“Asshole”!!! (Fuckers!!!), said the enraged Kharis. Startled, he had dropped his chalis of tanna leaf tea. “Young Punks” (Young Punks!) He cursed and pointed his amulet at the car as it passed. Disgusted, the mummy tried to resume the slow easy peace of his evening shuffle. Kharis loved his midnight walks which usually culminated in vengeance upon British scientists and the throat of the reincarnated Princess Ananka, the woman who dared to reject him.
Hubba the wolf howled toward the moon above. “We saw a mummy, and we have had 500 miles of open window!”
God’s “Monkey Wrench”
At 1 a.m. Sinatra’s “Summer Wind” began to play on the car radio, to the Countesses 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? Said the dozing Jonathan.
“Flat tire?” said Lupta.
“Oh, no. Not now!” said Mina.
“That’s your housekeeper, Penelope,” 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 when things seem to be running smoothly. Full of surprises”
Lupta blurted out, “Like a whoopie cushion?”
Frankie Lane music blasted from the radio. Luckily, Elizabeth didn’t hear Lupta’s comment as she steered onto the shoulder.
Jonathan grabbed the keys, 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 and a wooden stake “in case there was any funny business” with the zombie.
“Sonofabitch!” 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, lifted the pistol again. “It’s only murder if she stays dead!”
Jonathan grabbed her wrist. “Stop! 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? We need to get back before sunup.”
Willowy Mina gently removed the gun from Elizabeth’s hand — took aim, and continued to empty two more rounds into the dismal rotting thing named Penelope. “Borrrring.” She handed the gun back to the Countess. “Zombies are like inflatable punching clowns.”
Vlad sympathetically placed his filthy razor-sharp claws on Elizabeth’s shoulder as she walked around to the driver’s side. “Would you like me to …drive?”
Without answering, the Countess pocketed the gun, climbed back into the Challenger and paused to take another breath before turning the ignition key. “I’ll be okay! Besides, none of you ‘fine nobility’ know how to f’n drive!” Elizabeth said with a snark. “Just be quiet. 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!” While hurtling down Route 13 at ninety-miles-per-hour, Elizabeth took the gun out of her pocket and pointed it back toward Lupta. “Not ONE word.” 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 want Elizabeth to stop the car … again, and have ME come back there! I PROMISE that BOTH of you WILL NOT be able to sit for a week …What’s that?”
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 “Wwharrrrrrrr Uuuuuumnk!” came out 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.