Original fan-fic about Josef, the Scandinavian real-estate broker
Dusk settled over a deserted alley in Nevada. Another eerie and dry evening of hunger, pain, and whiskey. Cheap whiskey in this case. Josef grunted as he rolled over in his home of newspapers. "It's been such a long time since I've slept in a bed I didn't vomit in first," Josef gumbled to himself. "Oh, don't be so down on yourself, Sweetie!""WHO WAS THAT?!" Josef sat bolt upright and glanced around the alley with blurry, unfocused eyes. He saw no one else in the alley. He strained to listen but could only hear the blood pulsing through his ears. Jumping to his feet Josef looked around. No one. He jerked his head back and forth, scanning the entrances to the alley for anything out of place. Shrugging off the voice, he looked at his mostly empty bottle of whiskey and leaned over to pick it up. As soon as the unmistakeable smell hit him, his stomach voided its contents. All was quiet in the alley on the corner of Wankberry and Pine, save for the sounds of Josef dry-heaving. "Quit be'in such a lily-livered dobber! Ya claim tae be a jakey an ya nae can take a nip of whiskey! Ya wee sook. What a sham..."
"WHO THE FUCK IS THAT?!!?" Silence screamed its response with nothing but dead air. "WHO'S HERE!?! ANSWER ME GODDAMMIT!" Josef threw his head over his shoulder to look and lost his balance. He scrambled to his feet and immediately doubled over for another retch and sunk to his knees again. "Just leave me alone, ya fuckin' loonies. LEAVE ME ALONE!" More retching followed. Josef stared at the puddle of yellow bile and alcohol-scented saliva that had pooled at his knees. "I have to get out of here before they come back..."
"MOVE IT SHIT HEAD!" A man in nondescript clothing shoved a vendor up the sidewalk. A serious looking person in a suit and tie followed behind them a few paces back. The steel of his semiautomatic reflected the dim streetlights into Josef's eyes. With his shotgun in one hand and a near-empty bottle in his other, he paused and surveyed what was going on.
"Best not get involved. It's bad enough," >BELCH< "bad enough having a hangover. Damn suited thugs… always armed and looking to fire." Josef slinked back into the shadows and waited. They were headed straight towards him and hadn't noticed his position.
"You owe the boss protection money. It seems like you forgot your obligations. Heh heh…" The dull man glanced at his suited partner. Shoving the vendor to the ground he chuckled again and withdrew a knife.
"Since cash is tricky to come by for dirty shmucks like you, we'll have to find some other compensation. Me and my buddy here think your blood would be a nice payment. Don't worry; we won't take all of it. Heh heh… but it can be tough to put it back in again when it's flowing out so quick." The vendor scrabbled to his feet and took off running down the sidewalk."HEY! HEY! GET THE FUCK BACK HERE!" The dull man looked at his partner expecting him to take aim at the target running away. The suited man just shrugged and pointed at the vendor booking it as fast as he could. The dull man muttered obscenities under his breath and chased after his mark.
"Sweetie! You have to help him! That's the vendor who gave you free hotdogs a few days back. He didn't even make you blow him afterwards. He's a good man. You know I got it in me to help out, baby."
"ShhhHHHhhhH!!!! Shut the fuck up! They'll hear you!" Josef looked over his shoulder again seeing nobody but the thick, deathly quiet alley behind him. "I don't give a shit about him… It's every man for himself out here. And I plan to keep quiet. And out of trouble." Josef checked his shotgun; one shell remaining. He couldn't take both of them out even if he wanted to.
"Best not to get involved…"
The vendor turned the corner and dived behind the dumpster nearest the entrance. He was hyperventilating and his eyes were darting around madly. Once his eyes adjusted to the darkness in the alley he saw Josef and motioned for him to come near. Josef stared at him, not moving a muscle. From the entrance the dull man appeared knife in hand and fury pouring from his face.
"You can take him, sweetie!"
"WHO'S THERE! >fuck it's dark< I HEARD YOU! IF I FIND YOU YOU'RE DEAD FUCKING MEAT!!" Dull man moved down the alley his fist clenching his knife. He headed straight towards Josef's direction, passing the vendor cowering behind the dumpster. The shadows hid Josef, but not for much longer.
"C'mon ya bampot! I'll skelp 'im good if he gets closer! JUMP 'IM YA DOBBER! Hit 'im in the geggy quick like! He'll give ya a chibbin if ya nae move it! C'mon ya tube! MURDER 'IM!"
Dull man stepped back uneasily, leveling his knife on the unseen voices. He squinted into the shadows trying to find the source. When his eyes adjusted to the darkness he saw a form moving towards him. Josef swung the butt of his shotgun, cracking the wood against the unsuspecting jaw of the intruder.
"AAAAAAaaaHHH! Sweetie! I'm hurtin' bad! I'm hurt. Baby, I'm hurt!" Josef grasped the barrel of his shotgun and swung it at the dull man, breaking teeth and splattering the ground with blood."Oh god, oh god! Baby, why would you—Unngh! It hurts so bad! Sweetie…" The alley was filled with sobbing for a tense few seconds. The vendor moved from his cover to see if Josef was okay. He motioned to Josef to come closer so he could take a look. The vendor looked over him and saw no wounds, only the blood of the fallen thug staining Josef's jacket and face. Grabbing Dull man's knife the vendor edged cautiously to the entrance of the alley and peered outside. Josef stepped quietly behind him, staying within the cover of the dumpster. The vendor looked up the street from the direction he had been pushed along. The suited man was waiting. He grabbed the vendor around the neck and forced the knife into the side of the vendor. Spinning the vendor around he took aim straight at Josef, using the vendor as a human shield. Josef let loose a blast from his shotgun. The alley flashed with brilliant amber light showing buck shot entering the face of the suited man. He slumped to the ground and released the vendor. The recoil jerked the shotgun out of Josef's hand. It clattered to the ground at the same time as the suited man's semiautomatic. All was silent again. The vendor let out a faint gurgling noise and twitched on the ground.
"Sweetie… will I be okay? I feel a lot of pain…" Josef examined his shotgun. The stock was splintered.
"That must have accounted for the extra recoil. I could of sworn that it was still attatched…"
"That was PURE DEAD BRILLIANT! Ya clobbered that bastirt right good! Ya done make me proud, me boy."
"OKAY. ENOUGH OF THIS SHIT. WHO ARE YOU?!??!"
"I cannae believe what I'm 'earing! Ya picked ME off the shelf, ya dafty ned!"
"Wait, what? You came from a shelf?" Josef's question was met with silence. He looked around and saw no one else in the alley with him and the vendor.
"The vendor!" Josef walked to the hunched over form of his friend. The vendor was bleeding intensely from a set of wounds in his head and from the torn flesh caused by the knife. He wasn't moving anymore. Josef kneeled and tried to find a pulse to no avail. The life had left him. Blood pooled around the suited man and the vendor. The alley only gave cold disinterest to what had happened within it. Josef furrowed his brow and looked out of the alley, seeing no one nearby. He cautiously moved out into the street and looked towards the direction the unfortunate three had come from. In the distance he saw an abandoned hot dog cart.
"Might as well get something to eat…"
“Run that audio feed again.” The agent peered at the monitor, watching the oscilloscope feedback. The dull light flickered in the office high in the tower of the industrial yard. “Something just doesn’t add up.”
The grunt manning the computer terminal looked up at his superior. “It sounds like there were six people in that alley, just before our field agent died. It was supposed to be a routine—“
“There were only four people in that alley.” The agent adjusted his red hued sunglasses.
“How do you figure, boss?” The grunt pointed to the monitor, “the readout shows four different voices, one belonging to our corporal, two men and a woman. Adding the agent who was shot and the scum they were shaking down, that’s six people.”
“Watch it again.” The grunt squinted at the monitor, trying to pick out what the agent had seen. “Boss I only see—“
“Are you blind?! Those last three voices! Pay attention to the frequency signatures. A terrible Scottish accent? A gruff urban accent with a hint of Scandinavian lilt? A damn woman raised on a southern plantation?! How does that add up?”
“It could be an organized resistance. It wouldn’t be the first time a rebellion cropped up in the slums.” The agent leered coldly at his subordinate. In one swift move he grabbed the grunt by the back of his headed and forced it up against the monitor. Wincing from pain and surprise the grunt was all ears.
“They’re all the same person. The readout shows similarities between the two men you thought you heard and the woman is just a falsetto of the previous two! Do you see it now?” He released the grunt and turned away.
“Yes? I see the three different, erm, the same voices.” The grunt rubbed his bruised forehead. The agent moved towards the window. Looking out at the desolate roofline of the city he furrowed his brow.
“Dispatch a team of three agents. Make sure one of them is at least a sergeant. Contact the quarter master. Make sure he assigns high-caliber pistols or submachine guns to the agents.” The agent pulled out his PDA and typed a quick message to the Soldat agent commanding his detachment.
“Doesn’t that seem a bit excessive? I mean, it’s just two guys and it sounds like only one of them is armed. That vendor probably only has a bottle of ketchup and our mystery guy has the shotgun.” The agent pulled out his sidearm. He looked his subordinate dead in the eyes and leveled the pistol at the grunt’s head. A flash of one single shot filled the room. The grunt opened his eyes and patted his chest and head, finding no wounds. The agent leaned in close enough to hear the grunts gasping breath.
“The next argument sends a bullet through your skull.” The agent walked out of the door. The grunt sighed with relief and looked back to the monitor. He saw a bullet hole in the wall to his left gouging the concrete just centimeters from where his head was.
Josef dug through the hot dog cart. He found just three cold, measly sausages and two stale buns. He scarfed down the first one and realized that his mouth was too dry to continue eating the dry bread. Looking at the dingy water that was home to the hotdogs he sighed. Scooping out the fetid fluid he slaked his thirst.
“Oh god, this isn’t going to sit well.” He squirted mustard on the next hotdog and took his time in devouring it. He looked to the bottle in his hand and took a swig.
“Oi ya numpty! Save some fer the rest of us!” Josef coughed a bit as the whiskey stung his throat. He looked at the bottle and saw it was nearing its end. Shaking his head he looked towards his shotgun. The stock was broken, but the action was still secure. The knock on the grunts jaw didn’t completely render the gun useless. Neither did the hard fall after he fired the round. Everything seemed to be in place and in working order. He looked back at the cart feeling a bit better with something in his stomach, no matter how vile it was. He belched, feeling the stomach acid crawl up his throat. He coughed again. Reaching for a napkin to wipe the grease from his chin and mouth he saw a lock box on the lower shelf of the cart.
The third time dropping the lock box from the fire escape in his alley finally broke it open, revealing few coins and a pitiful amount of paper money. Josef sneered at the miniscule amount of cash he had on hand. “No wonder that guy was running. This is barely enough to pay the toll on the bridge out of this hell hole.” He gathered up his scattered resources and walked down Wankberry Street towards the deep bowels of the slums. “I have to find some rounds for this baby. It’s not smart to go unarmed in this place.” He spied a building at the end of the block. The sign read in bright red letters, THE GEAR SHOP. “That’s a good enough place as any to start looking,” Josef breathed out a puff of air, optimism building.
“Aye, find us some good scran in there. G’wan an tan ther windaes.”
“No way. I gotta play nice here. And besides, it’s a damn gun shop. I’d be killed with what’s for sale if I act like a burglar.”
“Dae talk mince! Ya took one swatch at dat box and smashed it right up. How does that nae make ye a thief?”
“Shut up, dumbass!” Josef turned around, anger heating his face. No one else shared the street that night. He squinted off into the distance seeing nothing but still urban backdrop. He shook his head vigorously. “I can’t believe what I’m hearing. I’m not crazy. This is nuts.”
He approached the gear shop and leaned against the door. It didn’t budge. “What the hell?” Josef looked at the store hours displayed in the window out front. They were still open. He looked inside and saw a bored man reading a magazine behind the counter. He pushed the door again harder. “Goddammit!” He threw his weight against the immovable steel reinforced glass door to the Gear Shop. He grimaced at the door in frustration and kicked the frame. He took a few steps back and the door swung open effortlessly. The bored man was at the entrance and holding the door open for Josef.
“Pull, not push,” the bored man stated without a hint of emotion. He turned and walked back to the counter. Josef coughed, adjusted his knit cap, and entered after him.
The shop was dingy and unwashed. A black film covered the countertop and a layer of dust laid peacefully on every surface. The shopkeeper sniffled and rubbed his nose, disinterested in his customer. Josef looked at the hardware lining the walls. Brand new rifles and shotguns hung on the racks behind the counter. They were covered with dust as well, but at least they looked like they were in good operating condition. Josef looked through dirt encrusted glass on the counter and found the correct size buck shot for his weapon.
"Hey. I want that." The shopkeeper looked at him and silently turned back to his magazine. Josef sighed and pulled out his newly acquired wad of bills and change. He slammed the cash on the counter, sneering at the shopkeeper. "I want THAT." Josef poked his finger on the counter above the box of shells. The shop keeper looked at the small amount of money on the counter and said, "That's not enough."
"Bullshit! I have two dollars more than what's on the price tag!"
"You need them don't you?"
"Fuck you I'll go somewhere else."
"I know a few things when you walked in the door. One, this is all the money you have. Look at you! You even smell like you're homeless. Two, you wouldn't have come here if you didn't need the ammo. And three, you're not very smart so I can charge you whatever the hell I feel like." Josef felt his blood boiling. He sneered at the shopkeeper keeping his tongue in check. “And one more thing, gorgeous. This is the only shop for 10 blocks. You really wanna walk that far with no way to defend yourself?”
"Am ur make you a keeker right sure! Bust ye nose up good, ya knobjockey! Thinkin' ye all smart! Get off it, ya skint! All talking oot yer fanny flaps o'er a box o' shot!"
"Can it ye tink! A cheat's a cheat an am'no lettin it pass. Am ur gonna bust 'is snib right up!"
"SHUT UP YOU IDIOT!" The shopkeeper put down the magazine and leaned up against the counter.
"Baby... I feel all woozy and empty. I love ya sugah, but I can't go on like this for long..."
Josef shut his eyes tightly trying to force the voices out of his head. The shopkeeper reached his hand under the counter.
"I'll take the damn shells then." He snatched the box of ammo off the counter angrily. The shopkeeper lifted a Colt pistol and leveled it at Josef's head.
"Get out of my store. If you come near here again, I'll shoot on sight." Josef raised his hands to show surrender. It was difficult since he had his shotgun in one hand and his ammo and a near empty bottle of cheap whiskey in the other. Once out on the street Josef shoved the shells in his pocket and walked down the block.
"How do we know when we've found the right bum? There's thousands and thousands in this neighborhood." "Don't be stupid. We can just shoot every one of them carrying a shotgun. That will definitely make our job easier." The agent in the front passenger seat checked his Desert Eagle again. A bullet was chambered and the safety was off. A weapon ready to kill.
"It seems like you feel sorry for the poor bastard!" The agent in the back seat of the luxury sedan laughed at the driver.
"Shut up dumbass. If I had a gun capable of piercing body armor, you'd have a lead injection in your lung." The backseat agent laughed again. "You wouldn't have the balls!"
"Will you quit your fucking arguing? We're on assignment here. If you weren't idiots we might have been promoted to Soldats." The sedan cruised quietly down the empty streets. Silence filled the car as they focused on finding the homeless man armed with a shotgun.
"Sweetie, am I still messed up? I ache so bad…"
"I'm so sorry..." Josef stopped in his tracks and shook his head. “Ya know you're crazy when you start answering the voices in your head.”
"Aye, ye makin' some sense now me wee wallaper."
"Shut up Johnny..." Josef grumbled under his breathe. "Wait, Johnny? Who's Johnny?"
"Dat'd be me ya tube."
"So the voice in my head is named Johnny... This is fucking great."
"Am'no in ye head, me daft lit'el babbie. Is naw surprise ya ken me name. We bin friends since ya got booted to the street!"
"Sure thing, Johnny."
“I am really going insane now.” Josef sighed under his breath. After walking a few blocks he finally reached his alley and looked over his dark and dirty domain.
"Fine, if ye don think am real I'll just shut up an make ye wish I was back." Josef put the bottle to mouth and poured its remains down his throat. "Jesus, anything to shut out the crazy." He coughed a bit as the taste of whiskey and old saliva rolled over his tongue. He slumped down in his newspaper bed and pulled out the box of shotgun shells. He loaded them into his shotgun one by one. "Five shots. I hope I won't need all of them anytime soon." He put the shotgun down next to him and noticed a black luxury sedan parked across the street.