ROAD TRIP, YAY!

ROAD TRIP, YAY!

Posted on December 20, 2023 at 5:15 pm by Evan Ward

You would expect, with all the popularity of alternative diets and all the fuss over allergies and intolerances, everyone would be a lot more accepting of an individual’s dietary requirements. You’ve got the vegans, the gluten frees, the ketos and paleolithics, the low-carbs and the pure-proteins, all of which restaurants fall head over heels to cater to you. It’s all virtue signalling, they’re just doing it to score points with the woke libertarian fascist elites. Fact. How do we know this is a fact? Because of how they look down on you as if you’re scum and persecute you the moment you ask if they serve long pig. If you try ordering some caucasian rump or African thigh or Chinese ribs they reach straight for the phone and call the cops! Well, except the last one, that one was surprisingly common in all the restaurants which Ward had frequented on his quest, which made him a bit uncomfortable to be honest. He was all for eating human meat, but when everyone was so hypocritically racist about it that’s where he drew the line. What, it’s fine to eat a Chinese person but not an American? Though, they did always call them spare ribs, so maybe they were just legally obtained… It would explain their success in gymnastics at the Olympics.

Either way, Ward had such difficulties trying to find somewhere to try out proper, honest to god cannibalism without judgement or legal repercussions, he had turned his attention to the shadier side of the gourmet world. The sorts of establishments which handed out invites on cryptic cards to call a phone number with a riddle whose answer tells you which back alley basement it was located in. The kind of groups which are myths of rumours of which a friend of a friend overheard a dodgy geezer with one eye and half as many teeth boasting about visiting.

For the most part even that was a wash out, almost every one Ward had found turned out to be an orgy, sex dungeon or extreme porn studio. Even the one making snuff films were sickened by Ward’s purported appetite for the macabre. Ward was desperate to find somewhere to satiate that appetite. He needed to do it before ICONIC because he knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that eating human meat would bestow upon him the powers and strengths of the meal’s ancestors. Ward had seen it in a youtube documentary about long lost cannibalistic tribes, so it must be true. How else was he going to beat Townsend without getting a cannibalism derived power boost?

Just when he had given up all hope, a sudden ray of light beamed through the murk in the form of a pair of rough-as-hell-looking hillbillies at a random gas station in some shithole called Beaver County. Trent had convinced Ward it would be great to do a road trip down to Vegas from Salt Lake City, claiming it wasn’t too far, Nevada’s right next door to Utah he said, it’s less than two hours to the border! The big bald fuck totally missed out the vital point that Vegas was at the bottom of Nevada while Salt Lake City was at the top of Utah making it the equivalent distance of driving from Edinburgh down to London, though admittedly it was a quicker drive being just a fucking massive single road.

Anyway, Ward and Trent had pulled over at this gas station, right? After Trent’s initial disappointment over the fuel being delivered in liquid form, Ward had gone inside to pay up and buy some munchies for the road, leaving the big man to smoke a blunt in the van, safely tapping the hot ash out the window next to the petrol pumps. It gave him time to contemplate the nature of existence, his purpose in life as a contractually confined dogsbody, and why those blue pucks in urinals were called “cakes” but weren’t edible. He sighed. It was a loud sigh, such as they are when a giant of his stature sighed. Trent had tried to keep Ward in line on Chaos but what can you do when the guy is flying off the rails like that? Sure, you could pick them up and drop them on their head repeatedly until they sort their shit out, that is what Trent would normally do in those kinds of situations, but doing that to Evan would be a wholly different problem. That contract was so airtight lawyers would suffocate just reading it.

It sure was peaceful without Evan bitching and moaning, Trent thought (but with a few more expletives), even if it was just for twenty minutes while he went to pebble dash a toilet bowl. As he reclined in the driver’s seat he felt like could just drift off to sle-HOLY FUCKING SHIT WHAT THE BOLLOCKS WAS THAT?!?

Trent sat bolt upright as Evan hammered repeatedly on the van’s door. “Trentrentrentrent!” He said without leaving a space between Trents. “Come quick, you’ve gotta see this.”

“The fuck are you doing, dude?” Trent grouched as he swung the door open and stepped out the van. “You gave me a fucking heart attack! What’s so bloody important you need to fucking dent my motherfucking van?”

“Dude, just come inside.” Ward said as he bounced up and down like a child excited to get on a fairground ride. Trent stubbed his joint out on the gas pump abd groaned like a dad who didn’t want to go on it, but trudged after him into the run-of-the-mill gas station anyway. It wasn’t exactly the worse for wear, just a bit dusty and needing a good lick of paint but at least it was well stocked with munchies. A grizzled old… lady? Man? With the amount of folds on their face, bushy eyebrows and nasal hair it was difficult to guess their gender even without navigating the landmines of modern identity etiquette. The grizzled old person behind the counter was stoic, looking as if they had been standing there for decades and had no intention of abandoning. They took the concept of 24/7 service literally around here.

“So, dude, that’s Casey over there.” Ward said, pointing at the person whose name was as ambiguous as their looks. “They know all the shit which goes on around here, every regular and their business. You’d be amazed at what you can overhear in a gas station and they have nothing else to do but listen.”

“They’re a fucking nosey parker, so fucking what?” Trent was mostly ignoring Ward and more focussed on the massive bags of chips and chocolates on the shelves.

“Right, so Casey Parker… hang on, how’d you know their surname?” Ward was taken aback by Trent’s powers of observation but figured there was probably a sign or something. “Anyway, we got talking, as you do, and they wouldn’t shut up about those two hicks over there.” He gestured towards two gap-toothed, denim dungaree wearing, buzz cut mullet owning yokels loudly jaw jacking at each other and shoving each other around next to the booze aisle. “Turns out they run this illegal game hunting service out in the desert. Guess what they let you hunt?”

“Urgh, I’m fucking sure you’ll fucking tell me, won’t you?” Trent shook his head. He was having a tough time and didn’t have the brain space to deal with Ward’s nonsense. He just couldn’t decide whether to get a packet of Flaming Hot Doritos or a bag of Irrelevant Curry Sandwich of Doom flavor Townsend’s Tacos brand tortilla chips.

“Long-pig.” Ward grinned.

“Long-pig?” Trent raised a sceptical eyebrow.

“Long-pig.” Ward nodded, almost bouncing up and down with the excitement of a school girl about to meet their pop idol heartthrob. Who were they even into these days? Rick Astley? Justin Bieber? Ward was gazing at the two grubby men with starry eyes, literally salivating at the possibilities before him. “Casey says they set up the hunt, then for a little bit extra you get to butcher, cook and eat it.”

“Dude, you fucking sure you got the right fucking end of the shitty stick here?” Trent said with a hint of concern, but only a hint. “It wouldn’t be the first fucking time you got your fucking hopes up and ended up violently fucked over.”

“Hey, that only happened once. Steve apologised about the misunderstanding and gave me cream for my arsehole.” Ward suddenly was very defensive, but waved a hand to dismiss the notion. “Anyway, anyway, dude, it’s legit. Totally legit. Well, I mean, it’s shady as fuck and entirely illegal, but it’s legit! Casey went on a rant about how barbarous it is, how eating the long pig is an affront to god and an abomination of nature. That’s got to be it, right?”

“Eh, I fucking guess?” Trent shrugged and settled on buying the Doritos. And the Townsend’s Tacos chips. “Sounds kinda fuckin dodgy though. You sure you want to be fucking around in the shitty desert chasing after some fucking pig instead of, ya know, fucking preparing to get the shit beat outta you by Rhys at fucking Vegas?”

“What? No, it’s not really a pig, dude. It’s a euphemism for… Look, whatever. Training to beat that fucking arse twat cunt muffin is really important, sure. Dude’s like ten times my weight and if it weren’t for his curse he’d be waaaaaay the favourite at the bookies to win. I know I need to get my arse down to Vegas and make like Rocky with a training montage or some shit like that, but this could be like my only shot at this! I might never get another opportunity like this. The show isn’t until after Christmas, there’s plenty of time, tons of it, and this’ll just be one day.”

“Fuck montages, dude. When are you gonna fucking learn that just because you fucking film yourself doing 30 fucking seconds of a half fucking dozen exercises and smoosh them the fuck together to pretend like you fucking did months of fucking back breaking training. It don’t fucking work like that.” Trent swept a whole load of chocolate bars into his basket, avoiding any candy. You heard right, chocolate is not a candy. It is a whole separate branch of confectionary taxonomy and it is the biggest injustice of the gastronomical world for it to be lumped in with the likes of boiled sweets, lollies and gummies. That was a hill Trent was willing to throw his life down to defend to the bitter end and would talk your ear of for fucking hours if you dared question it. “This is like the fucking biggest match in your whole shitty fucking career, dude. There might not be any fucking title on the line but, fucking hell, take it a bit fucking seriously.”

“I am taking it seriously!” Evan protested firmly. You could tell he was very invested in the protest by the stomp of his foot and fold of his arms which accompanied it. “This… need, this hunger has been driving me insane for months, man. I can’t stop thinking about it. Every time I see an ear poking out anywhere I have to stop myself leaping on it and munching down. You really think I’m going to be able to give this match my all if my stomach is rumbling and my brain is thinking of filling it with rare man steak in a red wine jus instead of which move to use to counter what it predicts Townsend will throw next? This will clear my head, man, it’ll bring me the focus I need to murder that Welsh twat.” Ward looked down at the overflowing basket. “Dude, take it easy on the candy.”

“IT’S FUCKING CHOCOLATE YOU CUNT!” Trent yelled, visibly seething at the offensive slur. Everyone in the gas station stared at him, as if being an eyepatch wearing giant didn’t make him stand out enough.

“Anyway, dude, this is happening whether you like it or not, so come on.” Ward shoved past and headed to the booze section where the two men of interest were still fannying around.

Ward knew he couldn’t just walk up to them and straight up ask to go on a hunt like he was booking a safari tour at a wildlife park. He needed to be subtle. Casually. He needed to let the subject arise naturally as part of conversation, so he could build up a rapport with these guys and make them trust him. Evan knew that if he made it too obvious then they might think he’s a cop or have some nefarious alternative motives other than hunting and eating a living person. So he acted like he was studying the wine and picked up a nice looking bottle of red. “Hmm, I hear this goes well with long-”

“Oi you fucking redneck wankers, my bloody mate here wants to fucking hunt and eat one-er your fucking long pigs.” Trent waded in and was as subtle as a molotov in a fireworks factory. “That fucking cool with you?”

Ward froze up. The two locals looked at them with narrow eyes. He could tell they were insulted and were about to run out to their hilariously large pickup, grab their shotguns and pepper the place with buckshot. One squared up and looked Ward from head to toe and back up to stare him in the eye. He looked like a crazy psychopath who wouldn’t think twice about skinning him alive. It made a normal person like Evan Ward about paying them to take him on a human hunting expedition.

“Yeah I done do think dat we can do dat.” He said all calm and not at all angry or wanting to murder anyone, which was a bit of a surprise. “Wot you t’ink, Bobby-Bough?”

“We gots one’a that there them long pig back in t’barn, don’ we?” The other replied while he scratched his ass. “We cans do set up a hunt all tomorrow like. Yup, yup, I t’ink so Billy-Buck.”

Ward relaxed a little, they seemed much more reasonable than his first impression led him to believe. He guessed you should never judge a book by its cover, even if that cover looked like it would be right at home in the House of a Thousand Corpses.

“Oh, where’s my manners at, we ain’t done introduce arr-selves, ‘ave we?” The first sounded rather embarrassed at his lack of etiquette. He extended a hand which Evan took and the redneck shook voraciously, clasping the other hand over Ward’s. “I’m Billy-Buck and that them thar’s my twin brother Bobby-Bough. We done buildin’ a bizzer-ness umpire on them thar long-pigs.”

Billy-Buck offered out a business card. Ward studied the surprisingly high quality card. It wasn’t often you saw such brazenness of criminals having business cards for their manhunting business, complete with home address, phone number and fun facts about the duo. The detail in them was exquisite enough to make Patrick Bateman go murder someone.

“Don’t you fucking mean building a fucking business empire?” Trent suggested, though it wasn’t clear whether he was mocking or just trying to be helpful to verbally challenged brothers. It was hard to tell because it always sounded like Trent was taking the piss.

“Dat’s what I said, bizzer-ness umpire.” Billy-Buck replied, seemingly erring towards Trent being helpful.

“So how does this work?” Ward asked, putting the card in his wallet for safe keeping. “And how much does it cost?”

“Oh don’tcha worries about t’money.” Bobby-Bough replied with a comradely slap on the back. “You’s one-er them those wrasslers doin’ that show downs in Vegas soon, aintcha? Even Werd, right? We’s big fans o’your work. We’s loves wrasslin’, don’ we’s, Billy-Buck?”

“Damns straight, Billy-Bough.”

“You’s gets us some good tickets and we’s gonna do this fer free.” Billy-Bough looked Ward in the eye, suddenly looking very serious. “Do we’s gots us a deal?”

“Holy shit, really?” Ward was shocked, he was fully expecting to have to empty his bank account for this. “That’s awesome. I’ll get you ring side tickets, no problem!”

“Hells yeah, Billy-Bough!” Bobby-Buck exclaimed, punching the air. “We’s goin’ ta ICORNIC!”

“Yippee ki yay!” Billy-Bough joined in.

“Motherfucker!” Trent accidentally dropped some of his don’t-call-it-candy out the basket as he tried putting a second 6 pack of ale in it.

“So, Even, you’s just comes over to arr farm outs near Bunkerville t’morra noon and we’s gonna sets it all up fer yer. How’s dat soundin’?” Billy-Bough explained.

“Dat’s soundin’ greats!” Ward gave in to the impulse to imitate the locals and immediately regretted how absurdly stupid it sounded.

“Guess we’ll fucking see you tomorrow then, dudes.” Trent declared and started towards the checkout. “Get a fucking move on, ya little fucker.”

“Hey, wait up!” Ward called after Trent, then turned back to Bobby-Buck and Billy-Bough. “Thanks, dudes, I’ll get those tickets sorted for you!”

Ward caught up to Trent as Casey was grumpily scanning the absurd number of snacks he was purchasing. It was obvious they didn’t appreciate the refined art of Munch Shui. As efficient as they were, after what must have been decades of practice beeping small items through, it was still taking them quite some time.

“Dude, if we fucking end up locked in a fucking murder room I’ll fucking kill you myself.” Trent said flatly.

“Take it easy, dude, it’ll all be good, trust me.” Ward reassured Trent.

“Fuck that, I fucking trust you as fucking far as you can fucking throw me.” Trent was not reassured.

“Isn’t it the other way around?” Ward frowned.

“Fuck no, I could fucking throw you a fucking long way, dude.” Trent retorted. “You couldn’t fucking throw me a fucking inch.”

“Touche.”

“That’ll be two hundred and eighty seven dollars and fifty three cents.” Casey croaked in what was clearly the voice of an old lady.

Trent grabbed the beer and munchies and headed to the door. “You’ve fucking got this dude.”

“Who the fuck buys almost three hundred bloody dollars of candy?” Ward complained as he pulled out his wallet and fished a wad of cash out to give to Casey. “Keep the change, ma’am.”

Casey dropped the $290 in the cash register and slammed it shut, glaring at Ward as he disappeared out the door. “Fucking two dollar fifty tip. What a piece of shit.”