5 – Contraceptives Finally Used for Good

Route 66 to California,
United States

The four men looked at each other, knowing they just captured something more valuable than any religious artifact ever, and did it with relative ease for that matter. Joel Oscreen sat in the backseat in total silence once again. The other mercenaries suffered through the outcome of the intense standoff that manifested in his khaki pants. A cement snake was seemingly working its way through his intestines and producing more noxious gas than previously thought possible. Hisan had offered to pull over at a rest area for relief, but Oscreen declined immediately, claiming he and the snake within would never be separated. Everyone began calculating in their head how long it could have been since his last bowel movement. The car smelled like a sickly cat pissing blood into an onion volcano on a white-hot hibachi grill. Whatever Oscreen had eaten in the weeks prior had turned his intestines into dust.

The other three members fought to keep down the Arby’s Big Montana sandwiches they had treated themselves to at the last rest stop. The heaving fistfuls of meat were becoming difficult to digest in the stench of the car. They were not out of the clear yet though; they still had one of the most dangerous men in the world shoved in the trunk of a car that still had a long way to go to get to the interrogation location Popov had meticulously set: Los Angeles, California. A place Dasher had routinely dismantled in the comments section of Infowars.com and had publicly condemned during a rather peculiar speech given at a charity event for Mothers Against Drunk Driving several years prior to the kidnapping. Though the speech was barely relevant and filled to the brim with factual inaccuracies, he had received a standing ovation.

Los Angeles would be the perfect setting to destroy Dasher’s will.

Something about the situation was not sitting right for Hisan though and it wasn’t just the roast beef log from Arby’s. The 60/40 ground beef blend was waging trench warfare in every fold of his stomach lining. The gristle bayonets sticking and driving into his already deteriorating innards. Dasher was known for his preparedness. He was known for his ruthlessness. Many enemies knew him as God Hand, as his methods of careless destruction were comparable to the deity described in the Bible he carried everywhere. He had seemed vulnerable in this confrontation. Soft.

Given Dasher’s age and his time away from the military, maybe he had lost a step, thought Hisan. He had left himself completely vulnerable, but why? The poison from Addison Beach’s hands had successfully blinded him, but the thought of Dasher allowing someone to sneak up behind him perplexed Hisan. It was entirely possible that Dasher was as mediocre and dull as every other bootlicking loser in the cul de sac, who were in similarly sexless marriages with kids they resented. He turned around and eyed the trunk wearily, wishing he hadn’t left Dasher alone and unseen in the confines of a Honda Civic trunk.

Route 66 to California,
Honda Civic Trunk,
United States

Dasher lay calmly in the back of the piece of crap Honda Civic. “Reliability my ass,” thought Dasher, who ten years earlier had spit hot coffee in the face of a sales representative when he offered to put him in an affordable and reliable Honda model. Afterwards, Dasher had lamely offered an almost unintelligible apology. Though he would never intentionally hurt someone who was not an enemy of the country, he couldn’t be certain someone like this wasn’t. In Dasher’s mind, anyone willing to sell foreign cars certainly had the potential to turn on the country at a moment’s notice, and this salesperson was no different. He offered the man cash and did no negotiating for the car he drove now – a beautiful Chevy Silverado – the thought of which prompted Dasher to fantasize about the spacious trunk he knew and loved.

His plan had worked perfectly. There was no progress being made on the attacks happening across the country, and with no real leads about where they would strike next, Dasher knew by being the sacrificial lamb, he could put himself in the crosshairs of these lunatics, thus briefly saving the American public from additional attacks led by one of the men who kidnapped him. He could care less about his life; he only served his country, his family, and his God. All he longed for was a safe, pure, God-fearing existence for his loved ones, the abolition of the Democratic Party, and the eradication of all contraceptives. Was that so much to ask for in this world?
He did not anticipate being blinded by the mere hands of someone who grabbed him from behind, or the lengthy standoff with celebrity pastor Joel Oscreen, who seemed utterly unglued and was inexplicably wearing an extremely soiled Best Buy uniform. A pastor who spent decades preaching the good of God turning out to be some sick bastard was unheard of. Who had gotten to him? Why did he turn? What was his obsession with murdering Terry Dasher and more importantly, Best Buy? Duke was still uncertain what the endgame was, but he knew he had a hidden tactical advantage. Soon enough, they would all be blind. Dasher began slowly rolling his tongue – working something out of his stomach he assumed he would never have to use.

He thought the object buried underneath stomach acid, bile, and a lifetime of regret mixed with Eucharist wafers would never need to be unearthed. He could feel the tinge of the string coming from the back of his throat as his tongue continued punching forward, working on getting his final lifeline from the depths of his ulcer-ridden stomach. Finally, he caught the string in his teeth and spit what appeared to be a bloody phlegm sack onto the floor of the trunk.

The gelatinous abscess shined in the dog hair-covered trunk. A condom filled with what was described to him as the blood of Judas and the complimentary matchbook that had come with it. A decade ago, Dasher and his wife had visited the Vatican, a trip that narrowly topped their honeymoon at Universal Studios Orlando. He asked a gift shop employee where the real religious artifacts were, slyly palming the acne-covered burnout a crisp two-dollar bill with a wink and a smile. In any other circumstance, Dasher wouldn’t have engaged in something as unsavory as bribery, but this was the Vatican, and his thirst for a memorable souvenir was unstoppable. There was also the assumption that God would undeniably want him to be a protector of something that was considered sacred by a group of drooling geriatrics, who preached intolerance while flogging non-believers with solid gold shepherd’s staffs and climaxing into frankincense-drenched decorative hats while torturing churchgoers with brutally conceived jokes.

After several hours of badgering, the employee came back with what appeared to be a blood-filled condom and described it as having been extracted from Judas right before he died of auto-erotic-asphyxiation. The legend of Judas passing from AEA was widely disputed at varying Christian gatherings and summits. Dasher was always under the belief that was the only way a coward like that would go. Dasher seemed skeptical of the relic at first, but using a condom to transport precious material made sense given the fact that using it any other way was a sin. He picked up the slippery latex pouch and pondered it; though the relic was from someone considered evil by Christians, Dasher figured the strength and spirituality he wielded in his body would be the perfect residence for the vile liquid.

He had offered the gift shop employee one hundred dollars for the bulging sack that seemed like it could burst at any moment. The supposed relic from ancient times. The fact that the remnant was from the New Testament was unfortunate, but a tourist gift shop like this would never be selling something so coveted from the Old Testament, so Dasher settled. Stacy tugged on Dasher’s sleeve and quietly suggested there was a slight possibility that the blood was not as ancient and holy as advertised. Dasher listened carefully to Stacy and rubbed his chin, considering her warning. Ultimately, he put the money on the counter, his desire for belief smothering any rational thought. The gift shop employee seemed satisfied, albeit confused by the offer and the audible monologue from Dasher as he aggressively debated the purchase with himself. Stacy almost prevented the sale with her reasonable skepticism, but when the employee produced a soiled piece of loose-leaf paper with an official endorsement written in number two pencil from Pope John Paul IV, Dasher knew it was a genuine artifact. He spent the rest of the trip determining what to do with the newly acquired object before ultimately deciding to swallow it. Save it for a rainy day, he told his confused looking wife with a warm smile. Stacy smiled and nodded, but she wondered what rainy day activity could possibly warrant using this mysterious and questionable relic.

Dasher was not sure what he meant by the cryptic statement either; he just had an intuition that the holy item would come in handy someday, and that day was today. Though he would have preferred not to destroy something so sacred on something as frivolous as saving his own life, he knew the country needed him, so his coveted souvenir would meet the same fate as the person it was extracted from. He bit into the threadbare latex, immediately sensing the chemical metallic taste that accompanies ancient blood that has been sitting in a condom inside a stomach for several years. He sprayed the blood on every inch of the trunk he could.

Dasher thought back on his interaction with the souvenir shop salesmen who said the book of matches paired perfectly with the relic. At the time, it seemed strange. He wasn’t sure what to make of it but he knew the two items must never be separated. Now looking back, he fully believed that the gift shop employee had been a guardian angel sent by God himself, knowing that Dasher would find himself in this exact situation. He had been provided the blood of the ultimate betrayer, which legend has it, was so vile and evil, it was in fact flammable. A match was struck between his teeth and the trunk illuminated; Dasher’s smile exceeded the boundaries of his face, his eyes hypnotized by the flame.

Dasher thought about the irony of a contraceptive finally being used for good instead of evil -giving life instead of taking it away. Dasher was the happiest he had been in years.

Route 66 to California,
Honda Civic Trunk,
United States

Titus Rains immediately smelled the smoke in the back of the Honda Civic. As he turned around, he saw the trunk was fully engulfed in flames. Just as soon as he noticed the fire, a bald and horribly burned Dasher had birthed through the center console divider in the back of the Civic. Several hunks of charred skin toppled onto the floor of the Civic, like a carving station at Fogo de Chão. His eyes were ghostly white from the poison Addison Beach had administered during the confrontation several hours earlier.

Dasher’s mouth was covered in blood. Rains had no idea where it was from, but the gnashing teeth appeared eager for more human flesh and the insatiable taste of revenge. Several other passing cars on the highway looked on in terror; they would struggle to digest the moment for the rest of their lives. Decades of therapy would not pacify the brutal post-traumatic stress that accompanies watching a blind man chew off the hands of another man in a flaming Honda Civic. Dasher immediately felt the flesh in his teeth; his only concern was choking on the fingers as the bones snapped clean off. Fortunately, he swallowed the fingers with relative ease. This wasn’t the first time he had chewed a man’s fingers off, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last.

Hisan turned around to see Titus Rains holding up his severely mauled hand and screeching like a burlap sack full of rats being drowned to make a fresh batch of knuckle steaks for carnival night at a Ponderosa in Northern Indiana. Hisan had taken his eyes off the road, a mistake that would cost him dearly. The blood spraying from Rains’ hand also served to blind Hisan. By the time he turned back around, the Honda Civic was careening towards the shoulder of the road. The car launched off a cement barrier and into a barrel roll. It hit the ground, and once again, everything went black

Absurdist exploration into our agreeable descent to madness.

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