There were those who made a mess, those who cleaned it up, and the rest were only worth the loose change in their pockets. Is that how it was? Whatever Sam Spikone suffered from, it wasn't cold-hearted callousness. There was the fugitive kind -- those poor, forgotten folks that lived on the margins of society, like the church-shelter dwellers, without even a penny to their names. If Tammy wished for him to clean her ass after she took her big dump on the world, he would obediently accept the support function, but how was it supposed to end? If not in the loft, where then? Was he to fall in with some left wing lunatic fringers, get all worked up about the ascension of law and order culture, stalk some right leaning, charismatic leader? Maybe he was the self-proclaimed sober guy at the party who accused everyone else of being drunk -- the weird, uptight guy with the buzz cut that nobody else understood -- the confused, angst ridden kid that mistook his enemies for friends -- the kind of person who didn't comprehend why no one beside him realized the obvious solution was to kill the popular leader, to eradicate the world of the authoritarian menace -- as if it was the patriotic duty of every citizen, but that nobody besides him saw the situation so clearly.
An ice cream parlor, or coffee shop was as good a spot as any to ambush whoever they were. Maybe the victim was a freshman congressperson who met their constituents at a library without their full security detail. When the time came, would the person look at him and smile without the faintest notion he was about to kill'm? Would he run up behind them and put a cap in their cranium? Perhaps there would be a woman with a baby carriage who would get caught between them? There would be children at the terminals in the reading room. Maybe the upstart politician would hold a town hall at the mall. Sam could pick off adolescents as they ran from the multiplex. Would he duck into the basement of an exurb construction site afterwards to take cover from the police? Was it where he was intended to die, in a dirt hole in the ground, or was there another far less palatable fate in store for him?
The strong wind almost knocked him over the rail of the fire escape as he wrestled his unwieldy black bag out the window.
The first time he had the recurring nightmare it had not ended so neatly with his discovery that the severed head bore his features. Thereafter, the reason he awoke with such a start was because he couldn't stand to replay what happened next in the dream. In the fray, Dr. Edward Vincent had nicked him on the scalp with his motorized, surgical blade. The shock from the sharp blow had temporarily incapacitated him.
Cut up pornographic magazines with the sexual organs scissor-sliced from the pages (like the personal collection retrieved from the lair of some serial killer) littered every surface of the laboratory. A ragged, throwaway chair with torn upholstery was covered with blood. In the dream the head with the hole in it had a body. The transvestite doctor used pins and nails to affix the cut out portions from the dirty periodicals to the dead kid's chest. A dwarf clown knelt over the head. Like a puppeteer, the little person moved the lips of the mouth up and down with his fingers. "I don't feel so good," the ventriloquist clown manipulated the jaw, while the government scientist hosed the gore from the chest of the headless body next to it.
A perimeter had already been set up around the block. Sam hoisted himself and his laden canvas duffle up to the snow-covered roof. The wind gusted, icicles hung from the lower lips of the array of satellite dishes, microwave relays, and smashed, dormant solar panels. Apparently there wasn't going to be any meet-up with the progressive, anti-government outfit spearheaded by the decadent, ruined, intellectual aristocrat, no comradely introduction to a cabal of embattled revolutionary idealists whose ideas were as outdated as their methods were repulsive. He cleared a swath with the bottom of his knapsack, set it atop a rectangular vent, pulled out his guns, placed them side by side on the gritty tar paper. He wouldn't have to march up to someone he knew little or nothing about in the middle of the afternoon and gun them down for no better reason than that a questionable roundtable of characters he never met beforehand insisted the person they sent him after was the pure incarnation of everything truly morally objectionable and reprehensible in the world. The kid with the make up and dog collar picked out a long range rifle, mounted it with a sniper scope, and affixed it to a small tripod. No innocent bystanders were going to get in the way. Save for divine intervention, it was, one way or the other, going to end right there.
If that was the original Sam Spikone's body and head in the laboratory nightmare, who was he then? Was he related in some way to the other person, or was he someone else entirely without any affiliation with the deceased? Perhaps they had found him destitute on the streets, or in some hobo shanty ... and that in his former past he was not a middle class suburban kid who listened to hip-hop, liked street art, played video games all day long, and had a misplaced superiority complex; none of those memories had anything to do with him, and forces he knew not wherefrom had ordained he was to take the place of the sheltered, pampered kid with the Hispanic nanny -- assume the other person's name and past?
The dream made no sense. Why would anybody go through so much trouble to create a false persona for him then waste the effort on such a pointless, ignoble death? Through his range finder, the kid with the black lipstick and nail polish surveyed the amassed barricade of law enforcers. He imagined the crawling headline, "Lone Gunman Killed By Police -- Suspected Leader of Insurgent Militia Group Dies In Downtown Shootout With Government Authorities". In the scope, an officer unfolded an architectural plan of the building on the hood of a car and ran his finger over the page, presumably outlining a plan of attack for the troopers gathered around him. Slightly over to the side the kid paused. Katie Faye was in conference with a number of other government agents. Garry had survived the shootout with police after all. Tammy and he were among the agents behind the mobile command center.
Did the intelligence people know what Garry and Tammy were? Did they have any idea they were homicidal maniacs? Did they know about Katie? Did they know about her and Tammy? He could handle Garry as a rival, but not the government agent. Her power over his beloved was incredible. Together they were insufferable. They became like one person. The rest of the world didn't seem to matter to them. If they were practically impenetrable apart, together they were impossible to untangle, a two-headed hydra. When they spoke, they nearly used the same language as if they were of a single mind. He was tempted to shoot the black wig off Katie's head, but held off. After he started picking off troops, it wouldn't take the ground forces long to spot him, and the minute they called in air support he would be utterly exposed up there, defenseless, nowhere to take refuge, except in an old bird coop. If he could only ascertain who his fourth self in the nightmare was, maybe it would answer some of his questions, shed some light on who, if not Sam Spikone, he was, and why he was up on a roof about to go to war with an army of local, state, and federal police.
--Daniel Mendel-Black, copyright 2011