BennySpace

Disclaimer: Black Lagoon and its characters © Rei Hiroe

"There is no such thing as Paranoia. Even your Worst fears will come true if you chase them long enough. Beware, son. There is Trouble lurking out there in that darkness, sure as hell."

– Hunter S. Thompson

I

I look out the window. A red glow pulses on the window-pane, the neon lights from the buildings outside makes one thinks of hell. Better not tell Curtis, his neurons and synapses are junked to the nines.

"Dirty motherfuckers!" he curses, slumped in front of his console. "They can all eat shit and die."

Pisit slides him a blank look. One can hear the word he doesn't say. Farang. He doesn't understand the outrage – doesn't understand why the Westerner is still upset. A blow job from a boy is the same as a girl in the Soi Cowboy. Does it matter if the boys are prettier than the girls? If he hadn't been so wasted…

Not my thing. Phish is Fluffhead in my ears, the rhythm of the song keeps me from listening to the content-free spilling out his mouth.

I go back to the familiar green glow of the console, I take comfort in the clack of the keys. IBM makes the best keyboards, I open up a shell to get to the prompt – I like the simplicity over the angry fruit salad of X-Windows. I need to sort the data in the file, I use Awk. My fingers pound the buttons. The sooner I'm done, the sooner I'm on a plane back to Florida.

We've been stuck in the confines of this room now for too long. Hackers, and I mean hackers, the real thing – not the pimply faced script kids with their one program in Basic, thinking they can bogus out the teachers – can get aromatic in the worst way even without the heat of the tropics. This run down, seedy quarter of Bangkok with its open canals filled with septic waste and brothels redolent of semen and vomit only adds to our misery. What a long strange trip this has become. Why the hell am I here in this degenerate third world hellhole? I won't tell Pisit what I think of his homeland, he'd be offended. Thailand's the home of the pure, he'll tell me – the farang bring the pollution with them.

Buddha says peace out.

"I've got a bypass going," Curtis hisses loud enough to be heard over the guitar solo in Free. I look over and see a gleaming bead of sweat drip off his nose. As long as he's sweating on his equipment I don't give a crap. "I need those account numbers now before they get a trace on us. This is fucking crunch time – we get this transfer going and we're in Palm Beach with the plastic fantastic to unlimited. Fuck yeah."

"As your attorney, I advise you to take another hit," I say. The Enter key sends him the data across the strung out cables of our ad-hoc network.

Pisit gets up.

"Can you get me a soda?" I ask and dig out a crumpled dollar from my pocket.

"Need baht."

"It's all I got."

Pisit turns his back on flats of his sandals make the glitch noises straight from Mad Magazine as he walks across the slimy carpet and out the door. I should have noticed. He had some kind of sixth sense about what was going to go down. Last one out, turn off the lights – real crawling horror is coming. We're dead meat in the womb. The Blympalot's crashing hard.

#-#-#

Tarantino's still working at the video store in Manhattan Beach, Reservoir Dogs isn't on the horizon and Pulp Fictions way past the event. But Jules and Vincent clones have entered the building and I wish I could leave like Elvis. Fuck I'm scared and wish I wasn't so non-sequentially referential. I think I'm going to piss my pants.

Curtis has.

They're using pliers, dentistry without the anesethesia. Curtis howls. There's a new color pattern on his hawaiian shirt. The spreading hue is dark and speckled with fragment of teeth.

"Cyranova wants to have a talk with you," says the vaguely Italian looking one speaking his gangster shtick. He's safely out of range of the spew bubbling from Curtis. He talks without seemingly opening his lips, the smoldering cigarette stub stays put. His eyes are expressionless and stare through me. "He's pissed off. He didn't appreciate the Feds being sicked on him over that Metrobank job. If he can't enjoy sunny Florida, neither can you. You ain't going back, ever. No way you gonna be a witness. "

Shit. This doesn't even have anything to do with the now. This is old mistakes catching up. Now I know why two hitman in black slacks, black jackets and black ties straight from noir casting are here in Bangkok having face time with me and poor Curtis.

The Italian looking hitman walks over to my computer. The six million dollars of our illegal transfer, the worth of a bionic man, vanishes in an electronic fart as he picks up the computer and dashes it to the ground. The monitor topples off the makeshift desktop and goes blank.

"Finish it up Darnell," he says. They're not even hiding their faces or names. "Cyranova's waiting for us down at the docks."

Curtis is tied to the chair. I get one final glimpse of his bloodshot eyes begging for mercy as the second hitman uses a metal pipe to smash his head into hamburger. The sound is like a melon being dropped repeatedly from a rooftop on pavement.

No more of his crude hashish rants, his disjointed gibberish and screeching.

EOF Curtis. I puke.

Film at 11.