The Devil With My Face

Brown Jenkin by John Donald CarlucciBrown Jenkins is intended to be a serial, with each episode accompanied by music to be played while the story is read.

Each episode will consist of a short story or vignette in tune with the major theme. The episodes will post every Sunday night until the tale is complete.

Once all is said and done, a book/cd package will be put together,with a few extra goodies. The cover will feature the artwork at left, by John Donald Carlucci.

Ready? Here we go—

Today’s adventure is called The Devil With My Face

Soundtrack:The Devil With My Face


The doorbell rang. It wasn’t the first nor the last time that day. Nat answered.
It was his neighbor.
“Morning, Nate,” he said. “I hate to bother you, but have you seen my cat? He’s been gone for a couple of days. I’m worried about him.
“Did you hear the raccoons in the dumpster last night? Big ones–I could have sworn I heard them TALKING…”
“Seriously?” Nat hadn’t heard them. He wouldn’t have heard Disaster Area at full volume. He had been drinking to forget his problem.
“Really. They threw half of the dumpster out onto the Sawyers’ lawn.”
Nat rolled his eyes. “Did Art Sawyer try to shoot them?”
“He did. Caught sight of one, too. Said it laughed at him, scaled the tree, and was gone. Funny thing-he said the one that laughed wasn’t a ringtail.”
“Socrates died eventually,” mused Nat.
“Come again?”
“Never mind. I was just woolgathering. I’ll keep an eye out for Marmalade.”
The perp was sitting on the couch eating cheetos and wiping his paws on the fabric.
“Jenkin,” Nat said. “We have a problem.”
The beast looked up slowly, deliberately. “Excuse me?” It said.
“We have a problem,” Nat repeated. “You need to stop eating the neighbor’s pets.”
“You have a problem,” came the answer. “I only promised not to eat your pet. Well, sort of. You told me not to eat him, as you wanted some ay in things.”
“You’re looking more and more like ALF to me.”
Jenkin pulled at his nose, scrabbled at the top of his head, pulled. His proboscis got longer, he developed a topknot. “Take it easy, Willy,” he said, and remolded his face.
Nat blinked at his twin.
“That isn’t funny.”
“Isn’t meant to be. I can be anyone I like. What you see is only three dimensions of me. I have others.”
“Do you smell any better in those other dimensions?” Jenkin had put his normal face back on. “Really. You smell like ass dipped in dumpster.”
“So, what? You have buyer’s remorse now? You want to renege?”
“I’m past that. I’ve been reading up on you. Google is my friend.”
“The only one,” came the reply from Jenkin, who bared his teeth. “So what did the old spiderweb have to say about me?”
“You don’t look much like a mongoose. Was your name Gef at some point?”
“Pure fiction. Nor do I know anyone named Gilman.”
“How do you feel about redheads?”
“Love them, properly cooked.” He clapped his paws. “Keziah was real. She’s been banished though. Mazurewicz too.”
“Tell me more.”
“Sorry, you’ll have to wait for my memoirs. I tuned your acoustic.”
Nat went into the bathroom, turned on the tub tap.
Jenkin was gone by the time he got back to the living room.
Nat filled the washtub, left it in the middle of the kitchen.
He took the acoustic guitar from its stand and played for a while.
“Rat King,” he said. “Extra dimensions. Hmm. I need to go to the library.
“How much of what he says can be believed?”
“None of it,” said Jenkin, sitting on the kitchen windowsill. “And all of it.”
“You’re not helping.”
I’m not supposed to. I’m your guitar tech, and that’s it. The man in black gave me my assignment.”
“Who’s the man in black?”
“Johnny Cash.”
“He’s dead,” Nat said reasonably. “And the Elder Gods, the Great Old Ones, they’re not real. They’re just fiction, dreamed up by a lonely guy with too many brains and too much time on his hands.”
“Maybe. And maybe only in this dimension. You know so little.”
“And you know everything, right?” Nat grinned.
Jenkin had another bag of Cheetos and had turned on the tv. He was watching wrestling.
“I suppose that’s not fixed in some dimensions,” Nat said. Jenkin ignored him, wiping his paws on the fabric. Nat got a little closer.
Jenkin, rapt in the drama, didn’t seem to notice. Nat crept a step closer.
“Don’t put your hands on me,” said Jenkin. “You’ll regret it. And you won’t be able to play with stumps.”
Nat ignored this, grabbed the creature, and heaved him toward the washbasin in one continuous motion.
Within seconds, the apartment was filled with steam, and there were shreds of aluminum everywhere.
“Watch out for shrapnel,” called Jenkin. He threw a plate at Nat’s head.
Nat ducked, and the plate buried itself in the ceiling.
Jenkin was dripping wet. The water ran from his fur and puddled on the floor. Steam rose from his fur as well, and the vapor drifted out the kitchen window,
“You smell much better,” Nat said, throwing him the mop. “And you’re learning.”
He ducked as the mop became a spear.
“I’m going out,” he said. “Clean up your mess.”



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