Bryan started this. Chris escalated it. I wrote this because I cannot draw, and I am for TeamImpink for the SuperArtFight, and wanted to contribute in some small way. I played the Scala children’s cover of of Radiohead’s “Creep” while writing this. I suggest you do the same.

Warning: disturbing comic gore beyond cut:

The screaming continued as I ran up the fire escape and kicked out the window on the third floor. The scene I uncovered was worse than anything I had ever imagined. I was too late. Chris had won. Bryan was dead.

Standing over the bathtub, Chris was holding a bloody axe, breathing in and out like an asthmatic who was trapped in a room filled with open Sharpies. His beard was stained with pink foam as his gritted teeth hissed with each intake and exhale in a steady rhythm that could have easily been the hi-hat cymbal back beat at the Cotton Club.

“Chris…” I said gently.

“WHAT?” he roared. He did not make eye contact with me, and I followed his gaze to the mangled arm hanging off the edge of the tub. I saw no other limbs, but I did see a lot of bloody scrap metal and sheets of broken glass. No one could have lost that much blood and lived. It was everywhere: the tub, the walls, and several assorted pieces of gas-powered gardening equipment.

“Chris… it’s over. He’s dead. We have to go before the Baltimore Police–”

“THOSE WERE **MY** PRISMACOLORS!” he screamed.

“I know. I know they were yours. But–”

“THEY WERE SPECIAL COLORS. LIMITED EDITION. FROM HOLLAND AND SHIT!”

I knew he was beyond reason. I simply stood and listened to him fume, trying to think of something I could say to knock his temper from red to maybe yellow on the DHS color-coded webcomic threat system.

“You think he can just waltz…” Chris wiped bits of bone and gristle from his beard, “… waltz into my panel and just write on the whiteboard? With my Prismacolors? The whiteboard, Punkie! The mundane, common, bourgeois, pedestrian, businessman-on-sales-trip whiteboard?? Oh, Bryan is so special.. SO FUCKING SPECIAL!! I wish I was specialll… so very speciall…” Chris closed his eyes, and started to dance a small waltz to the tune of the Radiohead song, humming along, mumbling various lyrics randomly.

I felt my pocket vibrate repeatedly. It was Barb calling. I promised her I’d tell her if I had found him. But I couldn’t let her see him like this. She couldn’t know.

“Chris. Chris? Barb is calling…” I held out my iPhone with my extended arm which holding my head down, like I was trying to avoid getting bitten by a skittish horse. Sadly, the phone image did not have a flattering picture of Barb, to be honest. She was in mid-sneeze at Balticon when I took the shot. I thought I had deleted it, but for some reason I deleted the good one, and saved the one where she looked like she’s having a stroke while rehearsing for “King Richard III.” “What do I tell Barb, Chris?”

Chris did not look at the phone, but he dropped the axe to his side with a clatter. His Chuck Taylors were ruined. There were jellybeans all over the floor for some reason, too.

“It was ‘melon taupe,’ Punkie…” he sobbed. “My Prismacolor… you know?”

“Melon Taupe,” I repeated.

“They don’t just… MAKE melon taupe anymore. It’s not like I can call Prismacolor and say, ‘hey… can I have more of that melon taupe?’ No, Punkie. It’s gone. Limited edition! Limited… FUCKING … EDITION!!! I had a complete set, Punkie… oh, I was the envy of the Super Art Fight, Punkie. You should have seen me–”

“I did see you… we all saw you…”

“And Jamie Noguchi? Oh, for once… for once, HE LOOKED UP TO ME!!”

“Jamie has issues, Chris. Look at Puppycow–”

“Jamie said, ‘oh, look at all those Prismacolors. You must have like, 500 of them.’ I was paying attention to him, not Bryan. In my arrogance. I was prideful and… oh god… Bryan just grabbed a fist full of my markers… MY–markers–PUNKIE… and just… used them. Super Art Fight. Whiteboard. ON A WHITEBOARD LIKE COMMON FATTIES MARKERS!!”

“I know. I saw.”

“FATTIE FATTIE FATTIE!!” Chris growled between clenched teeth as he swung his arms in the dim light; fighting demons only he could see.

“We’re gonna get you help, Chris. Barb said we’re gonna get you help… and…”

“Tips… smashed. Crushed like a delicate flower under an iron, hobnailed boot…”

“Hobnailed boot,” I repeated. “We saw. The crowd was with you, Chris, but this… this? This is madness. You have to understand, we’re your friends.”

Chris laughed. He collapsed into a cross-legged position in front of a weed whacker still fresh with the smell of Bryan’s entrails. “You know… it was easy,” he said. “He just was all, ‘hey hey no no no…’ like some Fat Albert rendition of John Malkovich.”

I looked into the tub as I slowy approached Chris who was punching the splintered parquet flooring of this abandoned apartment complex. The gore I saw was brutal. It looked like a Taco Bell has exploded next a glass recycling plant. A distinct smell wafted into my nostrils.

“Wait… Chris… did you… PISS on his CORPSE?”

“You have to,” he said. “Defiles the corpse. That way he won’t rise up and become a vampire.”

“Brutal…” I said.

“Tell Barb…” he said, after a pause, “tell Barb… I won Super Art Fight.”

“Of course you did, Chris. We know, it’s going to be okay.”

“Did… did Jamie save the markers?”

“No, he stuck them up his ass, screaming, ‘Look at me, I’m Chris Impink! I am so in love with my Prismacolors I am going to kill Bryan Prindiville have anal sex with them afterwards!’ Childish, really. But the crowd loved it.”

“I am glad. Jamie’s good people.”

“Yeah…” I said, sitting next to Chris. “So are you, buddy.”

“He didn’t even put up a fight. His last words were… ‘my only regret is I was never as good as Chris Impink at anything, even sex.'”

I nodded and let Chris put his head in my lap.

“Did you know, he didn’t have organs like a human? He was stuffed with the kind of sawdust they put in Beanie Babies. When he skull popped off, I could see plastic and springs. Like a fucking Pez dispenser.”

“He did have good candy…” I agreed.

“Yeah. Good candy…” Chris said. He played with his hair as he stared directly into the only bulb in the room.

“He’s calming down,” I texted Barb. “Get his crate and toys. I am behind the Phoenix Shot Tower near the Inner Harbor in the abandoned burned apartments.”

“I did good. Super Art Fight…” Chris said, falling asleep. “Best comic artist in the world…”

“Yes, Chris. Yes, you are.”

I stared at the Roller Derby art painted all over the walls. They depicted Bryan dying in all kinds of ways at the hands of the angry goddesses in skates. The medium was crayon and blood on moldy burnt wallpaper. It was epic.

Chris really was the best artist ever.

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