—the following is an excerpt from Archmotherfucker: A Portrait of an Asshole as a Young Man
When the end came for Dan Heusen, I was there as it blew its load over his face at the Sleep-Over Inn on Highway 81 on the outskirts of Leesville, Fla.
The motel was the kind of meth-lab motor lodge where even the cockroaches avoided the bed-sheet cum stains. The kind of place where the rats drown themselves in the toilet just to escape the smell. The kind of place where mothers suffocate their newborn babies. The kind of place where Craigslist killers strangle their meat-market prey with dental floss. The kind of place where evil is conceived and sinners die and every breath is a physician-assisted suicide.
Every town has a place like that. Some are visible from the interstate. Others are a block or two off of Main. No one goes there. Ever. Especially not Dan Heusen. Or so he told his kids as they drove by it each Sunday on the way to church. But there he was, the day’s grime under his fingernails, the sweat of the day under his armpits. He pulled off a threadbare Unwashed Masses T-shirt, slipped into a white, satin robe, and adjusted his balls. He then brought his hand up and sniffed. It was sour. Castle smiled and pulled the robe back down. He tried to ignore the fact that one nut had seemingly calcified.
At six o’clock, approximately six minutes into the Channel 6 nightly newscasts — 24 minutes before Dan’s escort service paramour arrived to give him an ample blast of fresh-off-the-boat fellatio and slave-traffick anal — solemnly staid Six Squad news anchor Chuck Charles interrupted his craftily compassionate co-host Trisha Angle, who was talking about a fundraiser for a local leukemia victim and began to recite the final lines of Robert E. Lee’s farewell address. And then he did it again and again and again, each time adding a new word in pig Latin. Ms. Angle was horrified. The feed was cut and replaced. The image of a single sheep appeared. It looked at the camera and said, “Dan Heusen. We are coming for ewe.” Dan was sure the sheep said, “ewe,” and not “you.” After all, the words had drifted out of the TV and across the room. Suddenly, the commercial ended and Chuck Charles and Trisha Angle returned. Both anchors acted as if nothing had happened. In fact, Angle was delivering the exact same report that she had been delivering when Charles had interrupted her. This time nothing had happened. But Dan Heusen knew what had happened. Or at least he thought that he had.
He reached into his gym bag and moved the white hood and the cat-o’-nine-tails, and then he pulled out the bottle of dick-fix pills he’d ordered from the internet, the ones that he’d been getting emails about for months. He shook the bottle. The pills rattled. Trisha Angle continued her report and Chuck Charles sat there stoically listening to it. Dan Heusen opened the bottle and looked inside. It was black. The deepest, darkest black of all, and at the bottom of it, he saw his past. He put the top back on the bottle.
It was then that he felt the mud on his knees and the grass in his hands and the sound of “Uncle Tom’s Band” playing in the distance. And then the memory was gone.
He turned around and noticed a strange glow creeping through the motel room curtains. And then his cell phone rang. It was Chuck Charles and he had an important message for Dan. Although Heusen couldn’t exactly make out what it was, he knew that something very important had been said. He knew that his life was in danger. And it wasn’t just the pills, if it even was the pills. Something bigger than an online retailer was at work. Something sinister and unholy.
And then he heard Chuck Charles die. There was no doubt of that. The anchor screamed. He cried. He dropped the phone. And over it Dan Heusen could hear the snap of tendons, the soft crunch of bone, the wet rag-tearing and flapping of flesh. And on the wind was the smell of wet wool.
Dan rushed to the door and opened it. It was a flock of sheep, and they were hungry. “We want you ewe to sleep,” they baaed. “We want ewe to sleep.” There was no escape.
Three days later, a demolition crew found what was left of Dan Heusen leaning against a door in an abandoned building that had once been a Sambo’s. He was wearing a pair of fishnets, and nothing else. His family didn’t know why, but they had their suspicions.
They were all wrong.