There’s an old saying in the force: you can choose your like friends or whatever, but you don’t get to choose your uh partner.
The old saying crossed Detective Vance’s mind as he sat beside a renegade he hardly knew. Detective Badman had nearly been kicked off the force many times for being too awesome and drinking too much and having too much great sex. Of course, Vance had his own skeletons. Six dead cats in his closet, because he hated to bury them and he wore the same boots and thrift store MAKE SEVEN, UP YOURS cutoff t-shirt every day anyway, so who cares? But now people had been turning up so dead and there was also this occult stuff to it. Teeth marks of woodland creatures covered their bodies. EVIL EARTH, the newspapers said.
“What kind of animal does that to a lady?” Vance asked.
“Weren’t any animal,” Badman said.
They were on their way to investigate a candy factory that sold more than candy. Coconut LTD. The kind of place that used to be a family business, but started churning out more than chocolate covered treats if you get my drift, like they were maybe more invested in the ‘nut’ business than the coconut business as the years went by, like nut in the slang way for when a man climaxes sexually? Like meaning it was a sex brothel where candy was produced where you could now exchange money for goods and services including sex acts in addition to wholesale amounts of candy—they wouldn’t just sell like two Coco D-lights at a time, because, you know, they mostly sold to distributors, because it was a factory, not a retail store. A CI told them a man named Berbal knew all about the woodland creature murders. He also knew all about having a terrible name, Vance thought, and chuckled to himself.
“What’s so funny?”
“Nothing,” Vance said.
“You rookies think you seen it all. You think you got your feet wet when all you been doin’ is sucking on your momma’s titty. Well let me ask you something, Detective Vance—You ever look down the barrel of a sawed off shotgun on fucktooth mountain?” Detective Badman asked. He was such a cool guy. He had a big honkin’ mustache and you should have seen the bulge in the 501’s he was wearing.
“I know you had a lotta’ pain in your time.”
“Don’t talk to me about pain, Vance.”
They drove in silence and stared out the windows of Badman’s vintage Pontiac which he called The Montecristo. There were industrial stuffs all over the wastelandscape. Badman lit a cigarette and blew smoke bullets that were so badass.
“You mind if I put on some killer grooves?” Badman asked. He was asking about if it was okay to turn on music, but he asked it in such a cool way! So cool. Before Vance could reply, Badman pushed a cassette into the deck and Vance instantly recognized the song “Lost in Your Eyes” from Electric Youth by Debbie Gibson.
“You like to party?” Badman asked.
“Not when I’m on the clock,” Vance said.
“You’ll be on the something that rhymes with clock in no time,” Badman said. Then he clarified, “I find you attractive and mysterious, and I was referring to a slang expression for my penis.”
They pulled into the parking lot of Coconut LTD before any sex could happen.
“This must be the place,” Vance said as he exited The Montecristo.
Badman followed him and picked up a cigarette butt.
“If there’s one thing I hate more than the evil bad world, it’s litterers. Now it’s personal.”
The candy warehouse was full of men and women wearing like sex clothes, you know? The kind of sex clothes you wear when you are trying to arouse someone. Also, there were fresh Coco D-lights all over the place.
“If there’s another thing I hate more than evil and litterers, it’s tainted candy,” Detective Badman said. “You just made Badman a mad man!”
Before Vance could stop him, Badman punched a guy wearing leather pants in the face, and he pulled out his gun and shot twelve different sex workers in the foot with really good aiming.
“It’s a good thing you work lying down, or laying down, fuck, I always fuck that up. Shit,” Badman said.
“Berbal. Where is he?” Yelled Vance.
All of the semi-nude women scurried away.
“Tim Badman. Rick Vance. Welcome,” A voice said from the shadows. “I’ve been expecting you.”
“How does he know who we are?” Vance asked, and pointed his gun toward the shadows.
“Oh, okay,” Vance said and complied. He was always a sucker for authority. It’s why he joined the police. He liked giving orders, but he also liked taking them. That was a lot of what his job entailed!
Badman and Vance stood there, staring at one another, waiting for a man to emerge from the shadows. The warehouse was full of sweet, smoky air.
“We have some questions about the Woodland killings,” Vance said.
“Some questions don’t have answers,” The voice said from the shadows. “Like for example, why is the typical American work week still forty hours? That outdated idea came from the beginning of the Twentieth century. This isn’t an industrial, developing nation anymore. Why not like, twenty-five hours? There are a lot of things more important in life than earning money, you know? Like time with your family. Seeing the people you love. Pursuing your interests. Stuff like that? See? That’s a question that doesn’t have an answer.”
“Yes,” Badman said.
“And another thing, how come every six years I need to get my license renewed? Dumb. It’s stupid,” Berbal said.
“I have something to tell you,” Badman said to Vance. He pulled at a flap on his neck and removed what had been his face. He was actually a fox all along! One of the woodland murderers!
“Not you, Badman! I thought I could trust you!” Vance screamed. He tried to retrieve his gun, but Badman lunged at him and pinned him down on the warehouse floor.
“You see the energy comin’ up, coming on strong,” Badman whispered to him. “The future only belongs to the future itself. Zappin’ it to you, the pressure’s everywhere. Goin’ right through you. The fever’s in the air, oh, yeah, it’s there.”
Berbal emerged from the shadows, a human-sized squirrel with evil, red eyes.
“It’s true you can’t fight it, live by it. The next generation, it’s electric.”
They ate him so good.