16 – Piss Stained Carpets at Tilted Kilt Bar & Grill

Goat Knuckle Inn,
Washington D.C.,
United States

Dasher checked the five of them in at a budget motel in downtown D.C. called The Goat Knuckle Inn. The room itself had been debated by Serone and Kibby, each of whom  maintained they should have separate rooms, but Dasher ultimately won out and booked a room with two twin beds and a half bath. They entered the room and Dasher went back to his endless well of insufferable dad humor. 

“Home sweet home,” said Dasher walking across the sticky carpeting towards a full ashtray and pile of old needles. “You guys could probably use a little shut-eye. I need a shower,” said Dasher.

The rest of them agreed; they were drained, but the sleeping arrangements seemed less than ideal. Terry curled up in one bed almost immediately, and not wanting to stir the kid, the other three climbed into the second twin bed and attempted to sleep like a bundle of number two pencils. 

“Sorry about this Stacy,” Kibby said, turning his head and awkwardly looking at her. 

“It’s alright. Duke just wants us all to be safe,” replied Stacy, her arms firmly at her sides, trying to make herself as small as humanly possible. The steam from Dasher’s shower poured into the tiny room, making it even damper than it already was. Unfortunately, Dasher had also decided to unload several days’ worth of berries and leaves he had been eating into the already brown water standing in the destitute toilet. The steam held this stench and carried it thoroughly throughout the room, creating a visible sweat on the lamp, television, and battered shades. The three lying in bed outside forced themselves into a restless slumber, seeking asylum from the oppressive stench.

Dasher stood in the shower contemplating all that had transpired over the past few days. He did not believe in soap, as it was made for Millennial vanity. Goddamn snowflakes and their hygiene, he thought as the freezing cold water poured over his body. Heated water was something else Dasher despised. It kneaded the soft, veal-like muscles of weak-minded snowflake cucks. He wondered if all of the hot water had been responsible for turning their once hardened skulls into pulverized oatmeal. They say that cold showers are reserved for psychopaths and serial killers, which Dasher respected more than either of the aforementioned variations of progressive youngsters. At least they stood for something. Though the shower was bitterly cold, Dasher’s body was on fire; both his rage against changing times and Russia, in addition to the allergic reaction to whatever the hell Serone’s mud concoction was, had his blood absolutely boiling. The freezing cold water hitting his skin made steam that quickly filled the entirety of the bathroom and poured out into the bedroom.

He instantly thought that the day had, without a doubt, cracked his top two hundred strangest days, but wasn’t sure where to place it. Maybe late hundreds, he thought, considering some of the other vile situations he had been forced to endure for the betterment of the country and mankind itself. He cherished the feeling of being needed again though, happy to have some purpose other than consumption. He wondered if he could ever adhere to the popular ideology of surviving to perpetuate an eternal advertisement of yourself. Could he exist solely to be lukewarm trough slop, fed to friends and family so they could avoid their own anxieties? Nibbling at morsels of feigned excitement and adventure until there was nothing left to give? Face tuning one last perfect Instagram picture before dying alone in your favorite easy chair in complete solitude? He finished his shower and dressed again; it was time to meet Popov and save the country. 

Dasher exited the bathroom quietly. The entire room was asleep, which was perfect. He did not want to involve them in the last leg of this mission. It was far too dangerous. Besides, he could not trust his idiot son, who only hours earlier had fumbled a perfect shot at a clone sprinting towards them at full speed. He had to do this one on his own, just like the good ol’ days. He preferred that Terry see his dad wearing the face of another man, but ultimately thought better of it, given everything that had happened in the forest. Duke spiraled into a rare and lengthy bout of deliberation. His feeble mind attempted to dissect the complexities that were not so complex. Terry had gotten his first taste of blood via a cheaply made Russian celebrity clone, but he seemed more standoffish than usual. Maybe the pressure had gotten to him or maybe he was too chicken shit to follow his dad’s example like any respectable son. 

On the other hand, maybe the little spineless coward was catching feelings as young people do nowadays. Duke was still somehow surprised that his son had not wanted to celebrate with a couple of root beer floats with his old man. He hoped that Terry was silently cherishing what he had done earlier. Turning it over in his mind repeatedly until he was completely numb – experiencing the numbness that Dasher’s father had and his father before that. One could always hope. Dasher glided across the carpeting towards the door. He looked back once more on his family and one-sided friends. This could be the last time he ever saw them. He was ready to do anything for his country and his God, even if it meant dying. He closed the doors and walked to the parking lot where he elbowed the window out of a conveniently placed Dodge Charger. Dasher thanked the Lord someone else at the motel was smart enough to be driving American. If there hadn’t been an American car, he would have been walking. He peeled out of the parking lot and headed towards the location that Hisan and Popov had discussed. 

Washington D.C.,
Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery,
United States

Vladimir Popov sat at the fast-casual franchise restaurant he had acquired in a high stakes Texas Hold Em’ tournament months earlier. The mercenaries should have been at the meeting place with the prized possession by now. He was growing nervous, but suffocated that feeling with several vodka mudslides and a few chicken Caesar wraps – two specialties at his coveted franchise. With Dasher or not, he had already gained enough leverage to get President Knudson’s buy-in. Knudson was desperate to gain back control of his country by whatever means necessary. Four mercenaries would have certainly mortally wounded Dasher at the minimum, and thus taken him out of the equation entirely. Not to mention, he had also activated the kill switch on a specific subset of clones and sent them as a precautionary reinforcement for the mercenaries. Dasher was either captured or dead, Popov was certain of that much. The vodka and wraps only functioned to make him that much more confident.

The President continued to perpetuate unsuccessful conspiracy theories via Twitter and the country was plunging even deeper into its already divided habits. Popov sat back and read the most recent string, chuckling to himself. He had this country right where he wanted it. The restaurant itself was fairly empty, save the heavy security Popov hired to patrol the premises and wear the traditional Tilted Kilt waitress garb, which he had grown quite fond of. The guards were all ex-Russian Military; some of the best soldiers in the world were here to usher in a new age for Russia and Communism. Once the United States fell to Communism, it stood without reason that the rest of the world would soon follow. Popov looked at the surveillance camera live streams in the parking lot waiting for the President to get there and conclude the deal they struck days earlier. His vision was slightly blurred, as he had been drinking since earlier that morning. He noted the feeling and promptly ordered a Red Bull vodka to perk himself back up. Though negotiating with the President required only a vague coherence, he wanted to make sure he was sober enough to remember something this legendary.  

He scrolled through the feed carelessly, taking several more sips from his cup and making a crude remark to the waitress passing by. She was used to this type of behavior from the brand of people that regularly graced Tilted Kilts across the country: a self-perceived alpha male, the kind of customer who would leave a ten percent tip and sexually harass the waitstaff after a couple dozen Michelob Ultras, the type of guy who woke up on third and thought he hit a triple.  He noticed something on one screen and rewound the video – a Dodge Charger sat in the parking lot of the restaurant. The presence of the Charger would not be that alarming for the same reason the vulgar comments did not bother the waitress; that type of automobile was to be expected at a restaurant like this. The timing was suspicious however. It was three in the morning and unless it was just some lonely loser looking to sleep one off or get a little frisky, this meant trouble. 

“Alexe, Andrei, go into the parking lot and give a look at that Dodge Charger. I want to make sure nothing is going on,” said Popov slurring heavily. 

The two men strapped on their AK47s and dutifully marched into the neglected parking lot of the restaurant. Popov looked on eagerly through the surveillance cameras, hoping the Dodge Charger was simply the benign transport for someone with an incredibly small penis. The men circled the car several times, looking above and below the vehicle.

“Sir, nothing out here,” said Alexe, in the traditional henchman fashion of not noticing the smashed window of the Charger. 

Right when he muttered those words, Popov noticed a shadow, but before he could say anything, he heard an agonizing wail through his Bluetooth headset. Both men had been decapitated and blood flowed through their headless bodies in the same whimsical nature as the fountain at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. Dasher stood with an enormous machete behind the two men, apathetic about the blood saturating his face. Popov noticed an overturned box with the word ‘fragile’ on it and a set of eyeholes crudely carved into the side and kicked himself for not finding it suspicious before. Absolutely nothing in this restaurant would qualify as remotely fragile. He wasn’t nervous yet though; Dasher would still have to get through several more armed guards before even coming close to getting to him. The President was also on his way. If push came to shove, could he convince Dasher to join them? Popov put the thought out of his mind. He had to trust his soldiers and they had been trained for this very scenario. Defending a fast-casual restaurant built for perverts from a man who saw himself as the son of God and who would stop at nothing to protect his country. 

In the main room, the men took to the windows, blindly firing their AK47s into the parking lot, hoping to get lucky on a stray bullet. On the roof of the facility, Dasher chuckled to himself at the bullets spraying into the neighboring businesses and houses. These soldiers did not stand a chance. Their Russian training wasn’t comparable to what he had gone through for the United States military. Dasher entered the facility’s air conditioning duct and began crawling. He just had to get to Popov before the President in order to execute the plan he had been preparing for his entire life. The air conditioning duct smelled heavily of lunchmeat soaked in spiced rum. A new, ill-conceived menu item Popov must have been working on. Dasher quietly lowered himself into a back room of the God-awful bar and grill that had somehow captured the heart of the country. He stalked into the main room where the guards had stopped firing and were looking outside aimlessly. This was going to be easy. He sprinted behind the first guard and punched through his back, cracking several ribs and breaching into his internal organs. The man died instantly without so much as a word, but the sickening sound of someone’s fist cracking ribs and penetrating organs had raised the alarm of the other guards. They began firing in that direction. Dasher instantly ducked under a table and turned it over, probing for momentary coverage from the fire. He kicked himself for choosing the machete as his only weapon; the several silenced firearms he left back at the hotel would have been handy in this circumstance, but he had prayed on the matter and God had advised him that the machete was the way to go. He had to remain confident in the advice he got from his God. The table, which was bulletproofed according to standard franchising rules of Tilted Kilts across America, absorbed the gunshots easily, but Dasher was in deep. He glanced over at the bar and had an idea that might just be crazy enough to work. 

Goat Knuckle Inn,
Washington D.C.,
United States

The rest of the group was just waking up in the motel room at the Goat Knuckle Inn. They had all slept deeply for several hours; the previous days had exhausted them tremendously. The room looked and smelled as it had the night before, which made all of their stomachs turn. The bathroom door was wide open though, and Duke was nowhere to be found. 

“Duke?” Kibby asked, pushing the bathroom door open slightly. Duke hadn’t flushed the toilet, but otherwise, he definitely was not in the bathroom. 

“Wonder if he went out for coffee?” asked Serone.

They all agreed that was probably the case, even though deep down they knew otherwise. Stacy turned on the television so Terry could watch his morning Veggie Tales. There was an air of tormenting anxiety in the room that bred with the objectionable smell emanating from the neglected motel room toilet.

“Wish Duke had flushed,” said Kibby longingly.

“He never does and he must have made something fierce in there, his bowels only move after murdering, he’s been corked up for the better part of this decade,” replied Stacy sadly. 

Kibby disregarded the comment and returned to the lumpy mattress to sit down and think. He scrolled through his Twitter timeline in an effort to see if anything peculiar was being tweeted about throughout the city. He came across one user,@barstoolguy69forever, who had taped a brief clip of Dasher climbing into a box labeled fragile with an enormous machete outside of a Tilted Kilt restaurant.  

Kibby looked at the video several times and expanded the conversation. People were speculating on whether it was actually Dasher or a deep fake. Kibby knew it was Dasher. He couldn’t tell why, but he just knew. He noticed an address in the background of the video and scribbled it down on a piece of soiled legal paper that was next to the bed stand beside a used condom. He called the other two over to watch the video. 

“Guys we need to go. What if Dasher needs our help?” asked Kibby. Stacy and Serone looked at each other. 

“If he wanted our help, he would have asked for it,” muttered Serone, who at this point desperately wanted out of the entire situation. 

“He saved all of our lives! We owe him that much. We need to do anything we can to help him!” shrieked Kibby. Stacy and Serone agreed; though Duke was likely relentlessly slaughtering an entire restaurant of people at this point, and they would probably only serve as obstacles in his end game. Yet, they still felt the unquenchable desire to go. 

“Terry, you hang back on this one bud. You’ve done quite enough today,” Serone said in an attempt to stop any suggestion of Terry joining them before it happened, but Stacy agreed. Terry would stay at the Goat Knuckle Inn. They armed him with his customary Desert Eagle 5.0, put on Veggie Tales, and left him with a bag of ranch Cheetos. The three ordered an Uber and typed in the address of the restaurant Kibby had noticed in the background of the Twitter video. 

 

Absurdist exploration into our agreeable descent to madness.

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