Saturday, June 13, 2015

Mr. Barstock Explores Online Dating.

Everyone knew that Norton Barstock was a man not to be trifled with. He killed two men with his bare hands on the eve of his brother's wedding six years ago. No charges were ever filed because the incident was deemed a case of self defense. Those two hellions jumped Norton coming out of a bar. While those men had it coming to them, there was still cause for concern when in Norton's company.

You see, Norton was never the same after that night. He had a tendency to get real angry. Televisions and chairs were common targets of abuse. His rage even left a giant hole in his front door one morning. Norton heaved a fire extinguisher through it after locking himself out. Don't ask how he put his hands on a fire extinguisher so quickly.

Norton was dangerous, to say the least.

While certainly one with a penchant for collateral damage, Mr. Barstock was not a solitary man. He definitely enjoyed the company of a lady. Unfortunately, his pool of potential dating candidates had gradually shrunk to nothing in the years since the deaths of those two men. In a moment of desperation, Norton Barstock did what any irritable, lonely man would do.

He set up an online dating profile.

After spending six weeks getting a near endless stream of rejections, Norton finally found a match in one Maureen Turtlebaum. She was a brunette, 5' 5" and worked as a mortuary assistant about an hour away. After going to dentistry school for a year, she dropped out to pursue other career opportunities. Her dating profile said that she liked cats, enjoyed classic horror movies and had four tattoos. A real treat of a lady, at least by modern standards. Oh, and not to be overlooked -- Maureen drove a fully restored hot pink 1973 AMC Gremlin. What a catch!

The initial meeting between Maureen and Norton was awkward. They exchanged pleasantries over a cup of coffee, then proceeded to play a few rounds of billiards at a local dive. Maureen was a surprisingly good shot and much more skillful than Norton. His patience was not made for games such as pool, but he kept a lid on the temper as best as he could.

After being beaten twice in a row, Norton tossed in the towel and gave up.

"Have another beer?"

Maureen slid the black, thick-framed glasses off her face for a moment, wiped them clean, then returned them to their previous position.

"Do wasps have wings?"

The cavalier debutante carefully slipped into a booth, as to not rip her skirt. When Norton returned with two drinks in hand, she gracefully accepted her brew. Before Norton had taken a seat, she'd already gulped a third of it down.

"So tell me, Mr. Barstock... what lead you to online dating?"

The words in Norton's mouth seemed to churn like thick butter. He fumbled for a quick excuse, trying to avoid his past.

"My boss said I should try it. Been on a bit of a dry spell."

A sly grin arose on Maureen's face, though she wasn't quite ready to show her hand.

"Come now, Norty. You can tell me! My best friends are dead people. I've heard all kinds of ridiculous crap."

Did she talk to dead people? Norton glossed over the idea. And just who was she calling Norty?

Before he could spill another excuse out of his mouth, Norton and Maureen were abruptly approached by two rather unpleasantly dressed men. They both stank of stale beer and cheap cologne. The immensely taller one bent over the edge of the couple's table and spoke, letting droplets of spittle fly.

"If I didn't know any better, I'd say I could smell a piper!"

A piper? Norton racked his brain, unsure of what this cretin even meant.

"Look here jobber, are you sure you want to do this now?"

Maureen added some extra emphasis to the word jobber, as to let the punks know how she really felt. It wasn't necessary, honestly. Norton had already slugged the guy with every ounce of his being. His fist made a thunderous impact, which returned with a few teeth stuck in the knuckles. The low-brow lumberjack took to the floor instantly. His friend, a portly fellow with a few chins too many, grabbed a pool stick.

Yeah... that would only succeed in pissing Norton off. A stick... really?

With the first blow to the shoulder, Norton sunk an arm-bar through the pool cue, snapping it in half. Delivering a swift uppercut and a broken stick in the abdomen, the swine-like goon was quickly coughing up blood. Preparing to drop his legs through the schmuck's throat, Norton failed to notice the other ruffian get to his feet. As he was about to be pelted with three billiard balls, something miraculous happened. A tune that could only be described as haunting filled the room. The two ruffians seemed to freeze in place, giving Norton and Maureen a moment to look at each other. Maureen had a strange-looking flute held against her lips. She was the one playing the tune, it seemed. As Maureen blew ever so carefully into the iridescent cylinder, it seemed to glow like a ripe, full moon. Norton had no words.

"Look here, Norty. I know what happened to you all those years ago. I've done my research. You didn't tell the cops everything about that night, did you?"

He didn't. What did Norton fail to mention about those two men he killed? Well, they didn't look like men when they attacked them. They were... not human.

"In about thirty seconds, these two clowns are gonna morph into something ugly. Shove this into that fat one's forehead after he changes."

She flipped a large, silver dagger into Norton's hands. Instinctively, he caught the light, nimble blade. Something about it just felt right.

"Norton, make sure you scramble his brains. It's the only way to put that pig down for good."

Grumbles from the two would-be attackers could be heard as Norton and Maureen readied their plan. What once was human... suddenly wasn't.

Maureen readied her own dagger. A witty smile spread across her face.

"It's going to be okay Norty. The couple that slays together, stays together. Ready, set..."

Norton gulped.


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