The big one.

His mind still hung around the thought of that holy fire, his face melting in the white light and radiation, and how he almost got one billionth of a nanosecond to scream in triumph of what he had done. He, Donald Merwin Elbert... had brought redemption into the city of Las Vegas, redemption not for Randall Flagg, but another, haunting and overhanging figure in the great mystery of all existance. In that moment when he almost got to scream, something occurred to him in that nanosecond before the hand of god released the missile. He realized he was not in his right mind, and that Flagg... Flagg had used him. Trashy could've gone to Boulder, where he would have been accepted. There was something off about Vegas and what he was doing and the Trashcan man had not relized until that moment that The Walkin Dude was pure evil. And then he knew the real reason why he had taken the nuke back. And then, God smiled upon him once again.

Then why was he in a place so dark?

It scared Trashcan man to an extent. A little bit of fire would actually help in this situation. You know, to ward off the growls coming from the black, and all. It was Todash darkness, Donald knew that somehow... but he could not explain why. When he was consumed in light... his life flashed through his mind. In that last bit of his life when he had first arrived in Vegas, his thoughts switched to an image- an image of a huge and dark, towering building ahead of him... with miles and miles of blood red roses, red and

(firey)

lushious flowers that made him feel at peace with the entire world. With that image, all of his past sadnesses were gone in an instant. Down to that last ten nanoseconds before he was gone from the world of Captian Trips, he saw a man in that field of roses... he looked fairly aged, and wise... with old leather cowboy boots and sharp, faded blue eyes. Two guns hung at his sides, and Trashcan man felt a magnetic attraction towards him, like he had first felt with the Dark Man. Then, he was sitting in the black, a pink aura around him. Did know where he was...somehow... but why? Couldn't he go up to that big place in the sky, like his mamma told him about when he was young?

Trashy let out a pathetic scream, only to hear it echo into the darkness. He could feel sweat on his brow. Todash. Scary word, scary place. And...

Trash...where are you, Trash? My life for you, remember?

It's him. He's down here, somehwere. The dark man... is searching for him and...

Come out, Lloyd. We had a deal; you're my righthand man...

"IM NOT HERE!" Trash screamed into the darkness. "NOPE, NOT ME! I'M DONALD MERWIN ELBERT! I DON'T WET THE BED, I DIDN'T LIGHT OLD LADY SEMPLE'S PENSION CHECK I SWEAR ON MY FUCKING LIFE I DIDN'T! I DIDN'T! I'M SORRY I FAILED YOU I'M SORRY IM NOT TRASHCAN ANYMORE IM DONALD IM- ..."

And then Randall Flagg was upon him, looking just as he had out in front of the MGM Grand. Dusty bootheels clocking across nothingness, first a walk and then turning into a run, towards the Trashcan Man.

There was work for you in the desert Trash.

"NO, NOT ME! NOT MEEEEEEEEEE!"

You have failed me, Trash. But its ok... its alright. You and me pal, lets start over. Do it right this time.

"GO AWAY! GO AWAY! I'M NOT TRASHCAN MAN ANYMORE NOT ME!"

My life for you.

"NOOOOOO!"

Say it, Trash.

"IM NOT THE TRASHCAN MAN! IM DONALD! DONALD MERWIN ELBERT!"

SAY IT!

"No." Trash whispered. There were silent tears running down his cheeks. Donald looked up. It was him. The dark man, looking thoughtfully down at him, his mouth curved into a wicked smile only the likes of him could produce.

"You don't have a choice this time, Trashy."

"That's not my name that's not my-..."

"SHUT UP!"

"You...don't...control... me... anymore." Trash said slowly. The pink aura around the Trashcan Man was slowly turning whiter by the second. A look of fear, then pure angry panic spread across Flagg's face. Then without another word, a ball of blue energy formed in his hand. Trashcan Man just smiled up at him. What did Donald Merwin Elbert have to fear anymore? God may know, the Trashcan Man did not. Flagg shoved the ball of energy into the Trashcan Man. Donald closed his eyes, but seconds later... found he was still breathing.

The first thing he saw was Flagg speaking, yelling actually, out into the nothingness. Trashy could not hear him, though. It looked like Flagg was saying... Sheem? Shimm? Shimmie?

Sheemie.

There it was again, the unseen force telling him. Donald just knew, all of a sudden. Trash tried to walk forward, but found himself blocked by an immovible, and apperantly invisible, object in front of him. Who had just saved him from his demise? God may know, Trashcan Man did not.