Corn Nuts and Promises

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One in a Million – Chapter 30

Corn Nuts and Promises

St. Anthony’s Hospital was busy with the weekend evening shenanigans, and no one was in the mood for foolishness. That made it relatively easy for Hazel to do what shen needed to do. She charmed her way down to the morgue, pushing every mind she came up against. It took all of her reserve strength, leaving her a ragged-looking mess when she finally opened the cold metal door and saw Jane on the cart, the steel shim still impaling her chest.

“W.W.R.D.” she said aloud. What Would Renfield Do. “I hope this works,” she said. Hazel threw one leg up onto the table, planted it in the middle of Jane’s gut, grabbed the steel with both hands, and pulled.

It came free with a dull pop, and Hazel went down, ass first, flinging black blood everywhere. “Gross!” she screamed.

“Nice to see you, too,” said Jane, weakly.

“I KNEW IT!” Hazel jumped up and hugged Jane, who winced and said, “Hey, not so hard, will you?”
“Dracula!” Hazel sang. “You don’t stab a vampire with a Bowie knife! Metal will incapacitate, but not kill!”

“Nicely done,” said Jane. “I’m starving. Is there anyone to eat?”

“The guard outside,” said Hazel. “Or…there’s me.”

“No, Haz, we talked about that,” Jane gasped. “Psychic shit, no problemo. Real blood, too dangerous.”

“But you need your strength!”

“I’ll take the guy outside,” she said. “I hope there’s a change of clothes in that big ugly purse of yours. After that, we need to talk, girlfriend.”

Hazel waited inside the morgue for Jane to finish. She used to love the feeding scenes in the movies, B.V. (before vampirism), but now that it was Jane sucking the life out of someone, there were suddenly complications and inferences that she didn’t want to observe or contemplate.

As it was, she started when Jane came back through the doors, dragging the guard.

“Did you kill him?” Hazel asked.

“No,” said Jane, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. “But he’ll have a hell of a headache tomorrow.”

“Here,” Hazel handed Jane a black t-shirt and a pair of jeans. “The emergency clothes.”

“No style,” said Jane. She changed outfits, sliding the leather jacket, thankfully undamaged in the accident, over her t-shirt. “Better,” she said.

She and Hazel then spent way longer than necessary arranging Jane’s clothes along with the metal shim so that it looked as if she merely disintegrated, leaving only tattered remnants behind. A touch theatrical, but Jane reasoned the hospital staff was already going to have to deal with a dead body disappearing. Might as well make it fun for them.

“Okay,” said Jane as they strutted through the hospital corridors like they owned the place. “First things first. New rule: apparently, only a wooden stake will finish me off.”

Hazel wrote on her Blackberry as they walked. “…only wooden stake will kill. Everything else just hurts. Got it.”

“Second,” said Jane. Hazel poised her stylus. Jane took a sudden detour into a janitor’s closet and shut the door behind them.

“What the eff, Jane?” said Hazel. “You nearly broke my shoulder.”

“Ooh, poor baby. Let me fix it.” Jane embraced Hazel and the whole room glowed bright pink. Hazel stepped out of the embrace, wobbling on awkward legs and reeling. “God DAMN,” she said. “What was that?”

Jane smiled. “I don’t know, and I don’t want to guess, and I don’t want to name it, and I really don’t think we should even discuss it yet…but I’ve got it. Whatever it is. Whatever we decide it’s going to be.”

“How?” was all Hazel could say.

Jane shrugged. “You know me: I suck. Apparently, I can do more than just life force. Who knew?”
“New Rule,” intoned Hazel, “Multiple suckage is possible.”

“Not how I would have phrased it, but close enough,” said Jane. She stepped out of the broom closet and Hazel followed. “And thing three…” Jane colored as she asked, “Is D.J. here?”

“I knew it!” Hazel shrieked. “You’re into him.”

“Oh Lordy, he’s neat,” Jane said.

“But how? Why? And How?” Hazel’s eyes fluttered like a slot machine. “Such a thing as this should not and cannot be. It’s non-Euclidian.”

“Don’t get all Lovecrafty on me, Haz, you didn’t see him up there!” Jane filled Hazel in on the battle that took place in Rhonda’s apartment. “He’s got a way about him, Haz. I don’t know what it is. But I…yeah, look, let’s just go find him, okay?”

With both women at their vampiric and administrative assistant peak, it took little effort to locate which floor the victims from the localized earthquake, as they were calling it, were on. Everyone went to emergency.

“Should’ve figured,” Hazel said.

They weren’t in amongst the rabble and scrum of people for a couple of minutes before Leslie spied Hazel and waved her over. They short-hugged, and then Leslie spied Jane. Her eyes filled with questions. “I got better,” said Jane. She gave Leslie the slightest of taps and Leslie nodded and moved on.

“Deej is okay,” she said. “They’ve got him on oxygen right now. But they won’t let me go see him.”
“Come on,” said Jane. “Walk with us.”

Sure enough, nurses who wouldn’t let Leslie by suddenly hugged the walls as the three of them strolled back into the open Emergency room. Everyone was partitioned off by sheets and rollers. D.J. was sitting on the side of his bed, his shirt off. He still had the oxygen plug in his nose and was breathing deeply, causing his fur-covered barrel chest to expand and contract like a Sasquatch balloon.

“My god,” said Hazel. “Is that an aerial view of a Velcro farm or what?”

“You should see his ass,” said Leslie.

“Okay, seriously,” Jane said, turning on Leslie. “What’s the deal? Friends, lovers, fuckbuddies, boyfriend/girlfriend, what? I need to know, Les.”

Leslie opened her mouth, closed it, and looked at D.J. He saw them and smiled and waved them over. “Okay, full disclosure: we briefly dated, but he liked someone else. We’ve been friends for longer than we dated, which says something for him. The other night, I was feeling needy, so I jumped him. And we did it. But it was not a love connection, because he likes someone else. I would love to give him another shot, but he really likes someone else. And I like D.J. enough that I wouldn’t get in the way of that. Because he really, really likes someone…”

“Yeah, I get it,” said Jane. “Who does he like?”



“No bullshit,” said Leslie. “Ever since MagicCon, when he stuck his foot in his mouth. You’re the honey, and he’s the King Bee.”

“Aces,” said Jane. “Okay, Les, here’s the dealie-o: I like you; you’re very cool. But will you please stop talking to me about my boyfriend’s cock and ass? At least let me get you drunk, first.”
Leslie smiled. “Promise.” She dropped the smile like it tasted bad and added, “And don’t you dare hurt him.”

“I promise,” said Jane. “Now, let’s go see Deej.” She walked off, leaving Hazel and Leslie alone. Hazel put her arm around Leslie’s shoulder and said, “So, how bi-curious are you, anyway?”


D.J. barely had time to register that he was surrounded by a trio of women who seemed genuinely interested in his well-being and general happiness before Larry and Holly found them. Everyone exchanged hugs and greetings and right about then, the nurse walked up and discharged D.J. because they needed the bed. On the way back to the waiting room, they found a nook full of vending machines and realized they were starving and attacked them with crinkled up dollar bills. D.J. spent two dollars and scored three bags of Corn Nuts. The last three, in fact. Sometimes, you manage to catch a break. He didn’t even mind that the drink machine was out of Pepsi.

As everyone walked back towards the waiting room, D.J. asked. “Hey, where’s Burt and Linda?”
Leslie, holding Hazel’s hand, said, “They went off to find Turk and Rhonda.”

“What, they weren’t back there with you?”

D.J. shook his head. “I saw Turk for a second and then they sent Rhonda somewhere else and Turk went with them.”

That news sobered the mood up considerably. “So, what do we do,” asked Larry.

“We wait, I guess,” answered D.J. He sat down in one of the vacant chairs in the waiting room and the others followed suit. They spoke little about what they had seen and done, due to the proximity of so many normal people. After a while, Jane stood up and stretched.

“Deej, your friends are nuts,” Jane said. “I mean that in a good way.” She leaned in and kissed him right there in front of everyone. “Thank you for the most memorable first date of my entire life. And that’s saying something.” She stood up. “Nice to meet you all, but I’ve got to bounce.” She looked at D.J. “Call me. Soon, okay? None of this ‘wait three days’ bullshit. I don’t like games.” She turned to Leslie. “We’ll have coffee soon, yes?” Her tone flattened. “I’m sure Hazel’s got your number.”

“Oh, she’s got it, all right,” laughed Leslie.

Jane fished her sunglasses out of her inside jacket pocket and popped a fresh stick of gum in her mouth. “Toodles,” she said, swishing off with Hazel right behind her.

When she was out of sight, everyone turned to D.J. to give him shit, but when they saw the grin on his face, the idea died. “Congrats, Dude,” said Larry.

“Yeah, man, way to slay the dragon,” said Leslie. “She’s into you, Deej.”

“Thanks to you,” he said. “I appreciate it, Les.”

She nodded and put her head back on Holly’s shoulder. “No problem,” she said as she stifled a yawn. “I just wish we knew what was going on.”

“Is this a private party, or can anyone butt in?”

Burt and Linda were standing beside them. They looked haggard and serious. Everyone jumped up and surrounded the pair with hugs and questions.

“All right, all right, hold on, Jesus,” said Burt. “Okay, here’s what we know. Turk is back in the ICU unit, but he’s fine. He could have come up here with us but he doesn’t want to see any of you.”

“What do you mean!” demanded D.J. “We did all of this for him!”

“And Rhonda,” said Leslie.

Linda teared up and turned away. Burt said, “Yeah, he knows, and that’s kinda why he doesn’t want to see you. He’s embarrassed. Mortified, really.”

“So we saw him naked, big deal,” said D.J.

“Poor choice of words, there, Deej,” said Holly, patting his shoulder.

“Anyway, he’s back there with Rhonda, and he’s—”

“Rhonda. How is she?” Asked Leslie.

Burt put his arm around Linda. “She’s alive. But she’s in a coma.”


About Author

Mark Finn is an award-winning author, playwright and essayist who is active in Robert E Howard studies. His biography, Blood & Thunder: the Life and Art of Robert E Howard was nominated for a World Fantasy award, and will be re-released in an updated second printing later this month. His comic books SCOUTS! Premeires in March from Ape Entertainment.

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