What happens when you take the cringe out of typical Doug Funnie fan fiction? This!
“This Ain’t Funnie”
Doug pulled the trigger and waited. After 1.03 seconds he saw a splash of red and the sandman went down for good.
He’d been waiting in that godforsaken desert for 3 days for some glimpse of movement. The guy who he’d pegged had been one of the best Doug had seen. He’d taken down the entire squad from 400 yards away, one by one. First Davis. A day later Sanchez.
Pussies, Doug thought to himself. The only person he’d cared for from boot to the live shit was Chalky Studebaker. He’d gotten closer to Chalky over the years and forgiven him a long time ago for cheating off of his test that one time. The guy’s family put him under so much pressure. He could handle it, though. Chalky balanced school and sports and girls better than anyone Doug knew, and then when it was time to go to college he’d told his dad, “Fuck you, I’m not living by your rules anymore!” The next day he enlisted and shipped out soon after. Didn’t talk to his dad again.
If he’d known that he’d be dead in six months he might’ve made a different choice.
“Show me the ‘golden boot’ I heard so much about in Bluffington,” Chalky joked next to the ATV. It’d been a slow day with no sandies in sight, so it wasn’t rare for the guys to pull out the pigskin and toss it around.
“OK, but I don’t think you’re fast enough to field this one,” Doug said. He punted the ball as hard as he could into the open desert. Chalky darted off, as fast as Doug had ever seen another human run.
Chalky was looking up at the ball, hands held out and ready to catch it when he felt the mine with the tip of his boot. Before he could react the bomb went off underneath him, sending sand and chunks of meat flying in every direction. The explosion startled Doug and knocked him back a few feet and onto the ground. Something landed in his lap. He looked down to see a pair of hands loosely gripping the football. The hands were the only identifiable pieces of Chalky left.
After that day Doug made a promise to himself to not get close again. When the rest of his squad went down to sniper fire he didn’t flinch. He just waited for a few days and took the shot.
He walked over the dunes to the crumpled body and kicked it over. A blood soaked cowl covered the dead man’s face. Doug crouched down to pull the cowl off and gaze into the corpse’s eyes. Another one of you blue bastards, thought Doug as he stood up, dug the muzzle of his gun into the man’s forehead, and pulled the trigger one more time.
Back at the base Doug was met with cheers from the other Marines. Why are you cheering for me, he thought. I let my entire squad die. He walked into the Captain’s quarters and saluted the stout, well-decorated man in front of him.
“At ease,” the man said, “and take a seat.” Doug sat in uncomfortable wooden chair in front of him. The man offered him a cigarette and a piece of paper. Doug took both.
“Good news. You’re out,” the man said.
Doug’s blood went cold. “Out? What do you mean out?” Doug said, almost whispering.
The man arched his brow. “I mean out. You’re getting sent home, son,” he said. He noticed the puzzled look on Doug’s face and continued. “What’s the matter with you? There’s a barracks full of men in there who’d love to have a plane ticket home.”
Doug took a moment. “Well,” he began, “I joined the military to get away from home, sir. You know about the accident, right? I mean, I figured they gave you information on all of the recruits. Backgrounds and stuff…” he trailed off.
“I hadn’t heard of any such thing until right now,” the man said. “I imagine it had to be some fucked situation for you to want to choose this place to home.”
The memory stung Doug’s mind, pushing its way to the forefront after months of suppression. “It… there was a fire,” he said. “I need another cigarette.” The man handed him another and sat back in his chair, a curious frown on his face. “I was asleep in my room. It was about a week before graduation and I had been up late looking up colleges online with my dad. And applying for financial aid and all that. The last thing I remember is laying down on my bed to crash, and then waking up in the back of an ambulance. I had no clue what was going on. It wasn’t until later, at the hospital, that I finally found a nurse who would talk to me.”
“‘There was a fire,’ she told me. They don’t know what started it, but they were sure it came from next door. Mr. Dink, my neighbor’s house. I guess one of his gadgets went on the fritz or something, because apparently there was an explosion that took out half of their house. The burning debris rained down on top of my house. Big chunks of flaming wood crashed into the roof, falling through and killing my parents instantly. They found my dog Porkchoip on top of his igloo. He’d jumped out of the window in a panic and shattered every bone in his body, popped every organ. My parents and my dog were gone just like that. My sister Judy lived, but when the cops and firefighters broke down her door to get her out they found her alive and awake, coked out of her mind. The hipster bar she loved going to turned out to double as a coke bar. They found enough drugs in her room to put her away for life. I never even got to talk to her.” Doug put his cigarette out and motioned for another. “So I healed up in the hospital, got out, and joined up. I wanted to get out of that town. Away from those memories.”
The man gave Doug a third cigarette and leaned forward, resting his head on his fists with a look of horror burned onto his face. “Shit… I’ve been in this fucking desert for ten years and that story sure as hell blows anything I could tell out of the water.” He sat back up, straightening his face. “But I’m sorry, son. Orders are orders and I have to send you home. There’ll be mental and physical health services provided to you free of charge so I suggest you use them. A kid like you can get his life together and move on. God be with you.”
Doug sat in a dazed silence. He had to go home. “Captain,” he said. “Can I ask you a question?”
“Anything, son,” the man replied.
“Can I have another cigarette?”
Three weeks had passed for Doug but the time felt more like three years. The ghosts of his past in Bluffington were still there and stronger than ever. During the second week, and after his 10th trip to the shrink appointed to him, he was urged to confront some of the “demons” he’d been carrying. Reluctantly he took the short walk from his studio apartment to his old house.
He could smell the charred black remains. He stepped through the rubble, trying to piece together what had been what before the fire. That was the living room, this is where Porkchop pissed all over mom’s designer rug, he chuckled to himself, and right here. He stopped and looked up. Right here a foor up is where my desk and journal would be. Those were easier times. He could sit for hours writing, inventing super heroes, dreaming of a future with a beautiful wife and chldren. “Patti,” he said aloud to himself. She was the one. She was the one and he couldn’t even look her in the face when she came to tell him goodbye at the airport. “I’ll wait for you,” she’d said. If she waited, he thought, she sure as shit wouldn’t know the person who came back from that war. She wouldn’t even like him. Doug didn’t.
Still, it might be nice to see a familiar friendly face. And who knows? Maybe she can be there for him. He needed some kind of comforting right now. Maybe a blowjob, he thought. He regretted thinking it instantly. The corps had turned him into a machine and tried to kick the feeling out of him. Doug the kid, with the bright future and loving friends and family, was dead. Only this gruff, emotionless jarhead was all that was left.
Before leaving for Patti’s he took a moment to look at the half-house next door that used to belong to Mr. Dink. Before he’d shipped off he’d thought about going to the Dink funeral but decided against it. It was supposed to be extravagant, though. Very expensive. Mr. Dink would’ve been proud. But as much as Doug liked Mr. Dink he still felt a twinge of anger when he thought about it. That excentric son-of-a-bitch killed my family. Accidents happen, he would tell himself, but a house full of expensive electronic shit that didn’t work was bound to be trouble sooner or later for somebody.
He pushed the thought to the back of his mind and walked. It didn’t take long to make the two-block trip to Patti’s. Doug took twice as long deciding whether or not to ring the doorbell. But he eventually forced his hand to raise and push the red button. His heart pounded worse than it ever had in the heat of the desert.
The door opened and Doug saw a familiar face. He smiled at the main in the wheelchair.
“Hey, Mr. Mayonnaise,” he said, extending his hand.
“Doug? Doug Funnie? Wow, you’ve grown up son!” Mr. Mayonnaise said, giving Doug a quick salute instead of shaking his hand.
Doug retracted his hand in embarrassment and gave a salute back. Stupid, he thought. This man took a bullet to the spinal cord serving his country in Vietnam and I forgot to give him the respect he earned.
“At ease, Doug,” Mr. Mayonnaise laughed. “What brings you here?”
“Well, sir, I’m here to see…”
“Patti?” another familiar voice said, descending the stairs behind Mr. Mayonnaise’s wheelchair. The voice wasn’t Patti’s.
Roger Klotz bounded down the stairs with a smirky grin on his face. His fat face, Doug thought. Roger had gained at least 50 pounds since Doug had last seen him. It was disgusting.
“Oh, hush Roger,” a third voice said. Patti Mayonnaise waddled down the stairs behind Roger, a large belly protruding from under her polka dotted short. Doug’s eyes darted from one to the other. And then he felt sick.
“It’s good to see you, Doug!” Patti said, brushing Roger aside and giving Doug a hug. Her pregnant stomach pressed against him, making him queazy. “Are you back for good?”
“Uhh…” Doug couldn’t speak. He could only stare at the tan gut pouring out of the top of her pants. “I, uh… I have to go.” He turned around and started to jog away. He couldn’t let her see him puke. Just as he thought he was safe he felt a heavy hand plop onto his shoulder and turned to see Roger, the same shit-eating grin spread across his face.
“What’s wrong, Funnie?” Roger squealed. “I can see you’re feeling sick. Maybe you should go to the doctor! Maybe a shrink can help you.” Roger stopped and pulled Doug’s face close to his own. “Actually,” he whispered, “I think I know exactly what’s wrong with you.” Roger sneered. “You remember that nematoad? I found it. Inside your girlfriend every night.” Doug felt a burning rage build in his stomach but was too dazed to act. “Just thought I’d let you know,” he said, shoving Doug’s head away. As Doug staggered down the street and around the corner he heard a triumphant shout from behind. “Kaloo-cuckoo, motherfucker!”
A week later Doug sat behind the counter at work. The job he’d been given to accomodate the real-world skills he’d gained throughout highschool and after leaving Bluffington. “Two moo cows with no sneakers, comin’ right up,” the guy standing next to him said as a customer handed him money. “See, it’s easy!”
The guy was Willie White, ex-high school loser, current real-world loser. He’d ended up exactly where Doug thought he would. I never saw myself working in this shithole, Doug thought to himself. It was his first day on the job and he hadn’t even met the manager yet. An hour in and he was ready to go home and drown himself in vodka until this chapter of his life was over.
“Cheer up, Doug!” Willie said. “Only another year here and you’ll be making the big bucks like me. It’s not manager money but it’s not bad.” First Roger “Green Trash” Klotz insulted me, and now Willie White is giving me career advice? What the fuck happened to me, Doug thought.
“When do I get to meet this manager, anyway?” Doug asked in frustration.
They both turned around as they heard the creaking back door of the Honker Burger open. “Speak of the devil,” Willie said.
A man walked through the door and plopped a briefcase down on the floor before quickly walking around to the front of the counter. The man was reading a file on a clipboard and, without looking up, extended his hand. “So I hear we have a new employee. Haven’t had a chance to look over the file yet but I”m sure you’ll fit right in here at…” he looked up, his words instantly hung in his throat.
“Holy shit! Doug! I can’t believe it’s you! HONK HONK!” the man said.
“Hey… uh… Skeet,” Doug said, wearily shaking the blue hand. Of all the people, why him? Doug thought.
“When’d you get back? What are you doing working here? Have you seen Patti? How are you? Did ya hear about Roger and her? Say, why’re you turning red? HONK HONK!” Skeeter couldn’t help but notice Doug’s face, contorted into a teeth-gritted grimace. Before he could take his hand away Doug had grabbed it tightly and squeezed. The pain shot through his arm and he could hear the faint cracking of bones. He couldn’t get away.
In an instant Doug was over the counter, still clutching Skeeter’s hand, with his other hand balled into a fist. He shoved his big nose under Skeeter’s. “I learned a lot about your kind in the war,” Doug said. His hot breath burned Skeeter’s face. He couldn’t control himself. “Nothing but blueskinned motherfuckers as far as the eye can see over there. And you know what? I killed a lot of you bastards. If you ever, and I mean ever, so much as talk to me again I’ll add one more to the fucking list.” He gave Skeeter’s hand one last squeeze and threw it back at him. Skeeter fell to the floor, holding his hand, trying not to cry.
“M-My h-hand… My hand is broken,” Skeeter stammered. “Why w-why would.. did… Doug. You’re fired, Doug! Get the hell out of my restaurant before I call the cops! And you’ll be hearing from my lawyer.” Skeeter stood up. “I don’t know what the fuck happened to you over there but I’m glad it did. I felt bad for your family and what happened to you, but now I’m glad it happened. I wish it could happen again. Get out of my store, Doug, and go to Hell,” Skeeter propped the front door open for Doug to leave.
“I don’t need this shit anyway,” Doug said as he took off his Honker Burger employee shirt and tossed it into Skeeter’s face. He walked out the door. It was already dark and his apartment was a few miles away. It was a nice walk earlier in the day but after seeing Skeeter again the walk felt like forever. But the more he walked the worse he felt. The guilt came rushing in after only a few blocks. My best friend, Doug thought, and I just told him to fuck himself. Broke his hand. Scared the shit out of him. Should I go back? Apologize? No. It’s too late for that. It’s over…
“Hey sweetie,” a woman’s voice called from the alley next to him. “You lookin’ for a good time?” All he could see was a lit cigarette moving his way through the darkness of the alley. Then a silhouette. Then a tuft of red hair hanging in a purple face. “Hey… don’t I know you?” she said.
Beebe Bluff stepped out of the alley. Doug looked her over. He could see her ribs through her shirt. Tiny red holes riddled her arms and sores covered her legs.
“Ooh, it’s little Dougie!” she cooed. “I remember you. Do you remember me? Money got tight once daddy cut me off, but I showed him, Dougie. I’m making good money now,” She licked her crusted lips. “Where ya staying, Dougie?” She took a step forward, tripping a bit and softly crashing into him. “Got any cash? I can make you feel good. I know you’ve always wanted me.”
Doug grabbed Beebe’s arms to stand her up straight and took a long look at her. How could all of this have happened? Patti, Roger, Skeeter, Beebe, Chalky… All of my friends. And family. Gone. Nothing’s how it should be. Did the fire do this? Did it start some kind of fucked up chain reaction? Tears formed in Doug’s eyes. He looked down to hide them but Beebe had already noticed and put a thin hand on his face, wiping the tears away.
“Baby, it’s OK…” she said, grabbing his hand and pulling him back, into the alley. “I’m gonna make you forget.”
Doug followed Beebe, the two of them vanishing into the shadows. He didn’t believe her but the idea of her promise took hold. As they melded into the blackness of the alley a single whispered word escaped Doug’s lips, and then he and Beebe were gone.
Article by contributor Tink Edwards.
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