A Wall of Jars
WHEN TERRENCE DISCOVERS THAT HE CAN CONTROL HIS TUMORS, HE STARTS A GROTESQUE COLLECTION...
America is under the control of a malignant religion while the rest of the world watches on in confusion. The misfit crew of the S.S. Chipmunk were the only ones capable of preventing Tumor Boy from taking over the country, but they've already screwed that up. Now it's all they can do to expose the conspiracy before any more damage is done.
WHEN HE DISCOVERS THOSE TUMORS CAN CONTROL PEOPLE, HIS COLLECTION GROWS...
From the desolate cornfields of Iowa to Washington D.C. to an isle of the elderly, this tale of good intentions versus evil is full of twists, turns and out-of-body experiences. Nothing is sacred - until you believe it is.
Read an excerpt below.
They could not park in Tumor Boy’s driveway because it and the front lawn were full of people. There were all types of people, but most of them were overweight, middle-aged women in pantsuits. Some people were singing, some were shouting, others were on their knees with their eyes closed, and many of them were arguing. The Captain stopped the car in the middle of the street and they all stared at the circus that had formed around the suburban home. The other houses on the street all had their blinds shut and their curtains drawn. It was clear to see that all these people were there for the express purpose of worshipping the boy. (That is, except for a small group of brightly dressed people across the street, denouncing the child as a daemon.) The Captain parked the car two blocks away to ensure none of the “weirdos” would steal it, and they returned on foot.
They walked onto the trampled lawn and passed an old woman in glasses who was literally wider than she was tall. She stuck her tongue out and made gurgling noises in the back of her throat. Next to her a small boy in a tuxedo, presumably the tongue wagging woman’s grandson, was doing some sort of shaking interpretive dance. His moves were all right, but it was clear that he would never be a professional.
Bob and the others drew close together and every time they passed a new crazy person they all shuddered at once. A man with short black hair and bulging eyes walked over to them and handed them pamphlets with a picture of Tumor Boy on the front.
“Praise Tumor Boy!” he shouted. “The chosen one and last remaining descendant of Pythagoras!”
“Blasphemy!” came a shout from nearby. It was a balding man in a badly out of date maroon polo shirt. He too had pamphlets, but his were purple. “Tumor Boy is no such offspring of your triangle lord! He is a tumor bearing angel born off the coast of India in the year our world passed through the violet solar winds and was once known as Ahumulahdi! His coming was predicted by the Mesopotamians centuries ago.” He shoved a bundle of his pamphlets at Nick, who was nearest him, but the young man only gave a shriek and slapped them away.
The two pamphleteers began to argue with each other, and the Captain edged the group closer to the house. But they were soon stopped by one of the overweight middle-aged women who jumped in front of them. She fell to her knees screaming, “Praise JESUS! Praise Tumor Boy! Best friends forever!” And then she screamed at the tops of her lungs and shook her head wildly back and forth.
“I think it’s best if we just make a run for it,” Nick shouted over the din.
“Good thinking,” the Captain yelled. “But be careful, and Amelia you get in the middle. I’ve got a suspicion that some of these freaks will try to impregnate you so they can name their firstborn after Tumor Boy.”
Amelia opened her mouth to protest, but after a second’s thought decided the Captain probably had a point. Once they had gotten into formation the Captain counted to three and then they all rushed headfirst at the house. They made it without being stopped, kept going, and smashed their way through the front door.
“Oh god, the crazies have broken in!”
Bob looked up from the floor onto which they had fallen. Standing above him was a man with a shock of black hair and a scraggly beard. He was dressed in pajama pants and a stained white shirt. He leveled a shotgun at them.
“You can’t have my son!” he shouted, shaking the barrel at them. “He’s not your messiah, or your…your alien princess hornet!” Spittle flew from his lips and Bob thought he might have seen a blood vessel burst in the man’s left eye.
“Uh oh,” Bob said.
The Captain jumped to his feet in a surprisingly nimble manner and pointed an accusing finger at the man. “You’re the one who’s crazy!”
“I swear, if you’re here to ask if Terrence wants some of your special candy one more time I’m going to shoot all of you!” He breathed heavily and shouted all this through clenched teeth.
Bob stood up, pushed the Captain unceremoniously aside, and held up his hands. “Don’t shoot us! We’re not crazies!”
“Oh I don’t know about that,” muttered the man. He stared slightly to the left of Bob, into empty space. “You look like a bunch of crazies to me.”
Bob sputtered a moment, then went quiet. He couldn’t think of a suitable reply. After all, he was at that very moment stepping on a large Scandinavian man’s hair, pinning him to the ground. Hiro reached up and moved Bob’s foot, then stood and put one of his massive hands around the barrel of the shotgun and took it away from him.
Amelia and Nick got off the ground last. Amelia brushed her suit and said, “Mr. Caville, we’re not crazy, I can assure you of that. We’d just like a word with your Terrence.”
Mr. Caville, who didn’t seem to notice he no longer had the shotgun, pointed his empty hands at Amelia and said, “…about what?”
Appearing quite unsure of herself, Amelia glanced at the Captain, then said, “Well, we believe there may be some sort of…of evil experiments going on, involving radiation or possibly nuclear weapons. And that could be the cause of your son’s unfortunate tumors.”
Caville continued to eye her. “You with the government? You want to perform some kind of sick experiment on my boy? I knew it, you and your fancy suit. Well you can’t have him!” he made a pumping motion with one of his hands and squeezed a nonexistent trigger. “Die! Die! Die!” he shouted. His body rocked back and forth with the force of each nonexistent blast.
The others looked anxiously at each other, not sure how to react. Nick suggested that if they pretended to die the man might leave them alone.
A boy stuck his head around the corner. “Dad? What are you doing?”
Mr. Caville continued to make shooting motions with his hands, now adding sound effects as well.
“Dad?” the boy said again.
Stopping finally, and blinking, Caville turned around. “Huh?”
“I think it’s all right, dad, they don’t seem crazy,” the boy said. He stepped into the entranceway and looked anxiously from his father to the small group of people standing in the busted doorway of his home.
Mr. Caville squinted at the intruders. “They don’t seem to die either, and that’s not normal.”
“I, uh, maybe you just missed.”
“Oh. I need to lie down,” said Mr. Caville. He let go of his imaginary gun, made a thump noise with his mouth as it hit the ground, and stalked off into another part of the house.
The boy offered a short wave. “Hi, I’m Terrence. You wanted to talk to me?” he asked. He looked to be about eleven years of age, wore his brown hair in a sort of bowl, and had round framed glasses.
“Yes we do,” said the Captain. He glanced in the direction the boy’s father had gone, wary that the man might return with another gun or a crossbow. Behind them some of the actual crazies had crowded around the door and were peering inside. “Maybe we could go somewhere private?”
Terrence took them upstairs to his room and closed the door behind them. His room was lined with shelves, and on the shelves, in neat rows, were jars containing all of his extracted tumors. Each was labeled with a number. Terrence took the one marked seventy-eight and showed it to them.
“Newest one,” he said, smiling brightly. He was obviously proud of it. “Though it’s not the last, of course, I’ve got another one coming here.” He touched his face. “But I won’t be able to let it grow for long. I wouldn’t want my face to swell up too much. Not good for pictures.”
After he had passed the jar around he set it carefully on the shelf again and asked, “What did you guys want to talk to me about?”
“Your tumors, boy,” said the Captain. “Do you know why you have so many?”
Terrence shrugged. “Not really.”
“So you’re not knowingly hanging around any sort of radiation, or eating a lot of Brazil nuts?”
The boy shook his head.
“Okay then, son, we’re going to need a list of all the places you hang around for extended periods of time. Can you do that?” asked the Captain. He reached into his back pocket and took out a well-worn notepad. Without being asked, Hiro produced a sharpened pencil and the Captain took it with thanks.
“Sure, but why?” Terrence asked.
“We have reason to believe you’re being exposed to Russian Disaster levels of radiation. Either the government of Iowa has been dumping their spare uranium rods in your backyard or someone is planning something nefarious.”
“Oh. Okay.” Terrence took the pad and pencil, jotted a short list, and returned it to the Captain. “Anything else?”
“No, but we’re going to have to check these places out. We’ll let you know if we find anything.”
Terrence nodded, and then as they started to leave said, “Oh and sorry about my dad. He’s just a little stressed out, with all the people out front all the time. He has to fend them off a lot during the day, and then they usually sing all night.”
“Why don’t you call the cops?” asked Nick.
“The whole force is out there too…I think they usually hold some sort of sermon in the tents about now.” He shrugged. “It’s all right, though.”
When they were downstairs they found that some of the crazies had wandered timidly into the house. One woman touched the coat rack with her finger tips and started crying hysterically. Others were mumbling prayers under their breath. An old man had fainted in the doorway.