Chapter 6:



The medic patching up Jack’s injuries wasn’t very good at it—she was actually opening more wounds than she was closing—but she was pretty in an I haven’t slept in twenty-four hours kind of way, so he let it slide. The news networks had set up a medical tent at the centre of the grass square front of the Alamo to tend to those slashers who had been too injured to run but not too injured to die. The helicopters had all landed on the nearby rooftops, and the reporters and their camera operators were now walking around interviewing slashers.

‘So,’ said Jack to the medic, ‘come here often?’

She rolled her eyes, tightened the bandage around his right arm, making him wince, and walked away to tend to another slasher. Just as in pain as before but now wrapped in bandages, Jack got off the treatment table and limped outside.

Marilyn Fox and Billy the Cameraman had just started an interview with Sam Jacinto in front of a shopping cart full of guns. Even with a warzone as a backdrop, Marilyn was still beautiful; her skin was luminescent in the light of the moon. He decided to just stand and watch her for a while.

Marilyn held her microphone to her mouth. ‘Marilyn Fox here reporting from San Antonio, Texas. Shocking scenes outside the Alamo as civil war seemingly breaks out between around one thousand slashers from across America. Joining me now is Sam Jacinto, a local police private who heroically drove off the slashers with an arsenal of firearms. Sam, thanks for joining us.’

‘H-hello!’ said Sam, sweating.

‘Tell us what happened, Sam.’

‘Well, I was patrolling the Alamo with my squad like we do every night—’

‘That’s boring, Sam—where the hell did you learn to shoot?!’

‘Oh, uh, sorry! My family and I actually had to fight our way out of a region of Mexico controlled by the drug cartels to get to America…. I can still hear the screams in my nightmares.’ Tears started streaming down Sam’s face.

Marilyn gave the camera a thumbs up. ‘Girl power!’ She turned back to Sam. ‘So, what’s next now that you’re a big hero cop?’

Sam looked down at her shoes. ‘The commissioner just radioed me to tell me I’m fired. Apparently, I “can’t just go around shooting people willy-nilly”. They’re not going to prosecute me due to my “alleviating circumstances”, but I can’t stay on the force.’ She sniffled.

‘I see! A change of career then? Hollywood? The White House? Lad’s magazines?’ Marilyn leant on the smaller woman’s shoulder. ‘I do a little modelling myself. You ever kissed a girl?’

‘Huh?! No! I’m a Catholic!’

‘So was I before attending an All-Girls’ Catholic School.’ Marilyn winked at Sam.

A slasher with a Rubik’s Cube mask and a badly bandaged stomach stepped into the shot. ‘Yes, hello, excuse me, I’d like to say something, please.’

Marilyn pointed the microphone at him. ‘And your name is, sir?’

‘My name is Speedcuber. Thank you, Marilyn, long-time fan.’


‘You’re welcome. I’d just like to say that I am planning to sue both Ms Jacinto here as well as the United States News Network Association for the tremendous physical, mental, and perhaps even spiritual harm I have suffered. I was promised an honest battle to the death between slashers using slashing weapons and I do not appreciate having been ambushed by someone with guns—something I strongly suspect was prepared beforehand by the news networks to up their ratings tonight. I may be a serial killer, but I am also a working man, and I will not stand for this breach of contract.’

Marilyn laughed uncomfortably and grinned at the camera. ‘These slashers sure are crazy, aren’t they, folks? What is he talking about?’ She lowered her voice. ‘Billy, move the camera away for a second.’ Billy the Cameraman did as he was told. Marilyn snatched a revolver out of the shopping cart and shot Speedcuber in the head. Then she handed the revolver to Sam. ‘Oh! Would you look at that! She’s done it again! There wasn’t even a threat this time! No wonder you got let off the force, love; you’re a loose cannon! Get a close up of her guilty little face, Billy. Look at her guilty little face.’

Sam’s eyes and mouth were wide open.

‘See?’ said Marilyn. ‘Of course, he was a slasher, so you could easily argue it was self-defence in court if you had the right witnesses.’ She gestured to herself. ‘Here’s an idea for a career change: how’s about you join America News Network family as a runner? No union, but free dental, and we handle all legal fees. How’s about it? Huh, huh, huh?’ Marilyn poked Sam’s shoulder continuously.

‘Uh! Uh! Uuuh!’ Snot dribbled from Sam’s nose. ‘Okay!’

‘Wonderful! All’s well that ends well! Rubik's Cubes are annoying anyway.’

Billy the Camerman twirled his hand around.

‘Oh!’ said Marilyn. ‘Looks like it’s time for a commercial break! This has been Marilyn Fox reporting from San Antonio, Texas’—she put her arm around Sam’s shoulders—‘and the newest member of the America News Network family: Sam Jacinto! Smile and wave for the camera, Sam!’

Sam contorted her face into a smile and waved with a shaking hand.

Billy the Cameraman lowered the camera.

‘Right,’ said Marilyn to Sam as she stretched her arms up. ‘You can pop over to the café and get me a latte. Milk, two sugars, chocolate sprinkles if they have it. Chop chop, I’ve got another segment in five minutes.’

Sam was still for a moment. Then she ran past Jack. She looked like she was going to have a mental breakdown.

Marilyn noticed Jack, smiled, and walked over to him.

‘Hey! There’s my champion! How’re you feeling?’

‘Great!’ Jack’s bandages started bleeding.

‘Hmmm, not so great then. Not to worry. You put on a brilliant show. Our ratings are through the roof! Where are Puck and Mezu?’

‘They’re being operated on in the medical tent. I think they’re dying.’

‘Oh, they’ll get over it. Listen, I can tell you’re a little miffed about getting your arse kicked by Golden Bear and the Fifty Acre Wood, but don’t fret. I’m going to send you, Puck, and Mezu to Joint Base San Antonio to get some combat training. See if we can’t toughen you up a bit. Alright?’

‘Um, cool.’ Jack suddenly felt dizzy. Maybe he’d lost too much blood. ‘Hey, Marilyn, can I ask you something?’

‘Sure, what’s on your mind?’

‘I’m probably not the best judge of character with this kind of thing, so tell me if I’m way off base here, but…are you evil?’

Marilyn tilted her head to her side, bit her lip, and kissed him. Soft lips on his and the sweet scent of jasmine left him weak at the knees.

‘Am I evil…?’ said Marilyn.



Jack fell over into darkness.

Joe Gold
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