©Ernest Hogan 2014
"Honest guys," I said, feeling my face, there was stubble, and some swelling, "you'd think you'd never seen a banged-up face before." Then I felt some scarring. "Uh-oh!"
I looked up into the rearview mirror. I almost screamed. The puffiness would eventually go away, but those two railroad-track-looking scars making a big "X" across my face made me permanent low-budget horror movie material. I shed a couple of tears that flowed along the scars when they hit them.
"Too bad." Burnout shook his head. "You were such a cutie."
"You ain't gonna be able to pass for Anglo any more, blue eyes," said Obie as he touched the tiny "x's" scratched onto his cheekbones. "You make me look like a timid dilettante in scarification."
"I'm doomed," I whined. "Vampiko will hate this."
"Don't be so sure, Flash." Obie smirked. "Vampiko likes the spooky stuff." He then smiled in a way that made me want to punch him.
Burnout leaned back and looked me over. "It does give you a sort of ultra-butch appeal."
I groaned. "So what do we do now?"
"They still may be tracking us," said Burnout. "I can't tell with my electronics shut down."
Obie looked out over the steering wheel. "Well, I don't see any ambulatory saguaros or shark-faced missiles following us."
"They could still be watching us," Burnout said. "For all we know they have spy satellites."
Obie then made a screeching, controlled-drift left-turn.
"Who the hell are 'they?'" I asked once I got a grip on a panel full of cold hardware.
"Who knows?" Obie made a sudden stop for a red light. "Mayan revolutionaries? Televoodooists? The reptile conspiracy? You should see the messages my lady Califia has been sending from Nigeria. Maybe there's just been a heavy peyote-pollen count in Phoenix lately!"
The light turned green. Obie sent the van lurching ahead, and me tumbling backwards.
A huge lizard was clinging to the windows on the rear hatch. It's long tongue flicked out, then it lost its grip and fell away.
"Did you see that?" I asked.
"Hell, yes," said Obie, who made a few quick turns then brought us a screeching halt. "Let's get out of this thing -- pronto!"
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