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I live with the Osterdorfs in downtown Portland, toward the south side where the new high-rises have been built. Mr. Osterdorf owns one–building, that is. The Ratterlies must have scammed their way into the building and stolen the elevator access …...

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Mad scientist holding up a test tube

Filed Under , , on March 23rd, 2019

Ammo Arms (part two)

By Seth Kabala

I live with the Osterdorfs in downtown Portland, toward the south side where the new high-rises have been built. Mr. Osterdorf owns one–building, that is. The Ratterlies must have scammed their way into the building and stolen the elevator access keys from the guards, because we got no warning until they were at our door.

Poor Helga, our maid. She and I were the only ones home. I was listening to tunes in my room and had my headphones on. They shot Helga in the face the second she opened the door. All I heard was a muffled whump in the other room and didn’t think anything of it. Helga had good German hips built for hip-checking furniture that blocked her path. I figured our pool table had crossed her and gotten what it deserved.

I was sitting on my bed, and the next thing I knew, I felt a bee sting on the left side of my neck. The Ratterlies had gotten the drop on me, injected me with a syringe of something, and my Ammo Arms didn’t have a chance to emerge. The apartment slid by in a shape-shifting, up-and-down blur as they dragged me toward the front door. That’s when I saw Helga’s ruined face. My last thought before blacking out was, I hope she’s hip-checking warriors in Valhalla.

I awoke a short time later, lying on the cold, exposed metal in the back of the Ratterlies’ van. They hadn’t bothered to tie me up. Must have thought the drug would do the trick. They didn’t know about my healing abilities. Those abilities extended to clearing impurities from my body. What they’d injected into me must have been stronger than vodka, but not too much stronger, because I was raring to go, and so were my Ammo Arms.

Once, on a dare, I’d downed an entire fifth of vodka in less than 10 seconds–at age 6. I then belched in the face of Igor, a local crime boss who thought he could take over the territory near the Osterdorf’s tower. When I belched, fire came out and burned all the hair off his face. He’d been wearing a beanie, and only the top of the beanie got scorched, leaving him looking like he was a monk with headgear to match his bald pate. Did I forget to mention the fire-breathing? Sorry. I don’t make a habit of drinking with Russian mobsters. Only when they threaten my friends. Igor and his buddies now call me Drakon Devushka, which means “dragon girl” in Russian.

The Ratterlies needed to improve their pre-crime planning. They’d kidnapped me on the starting day of the downtown blues festival. Tens of thousands of people more than normal were streaming about sun-shiny downtown. All the freeways were blocked. Traffic was gridlocked. When I awoke, they were just turning onto the Morrison Bridge. Adding to the Ratterlies’ bad luck, the Morrison was just raising its drawbridge spans, so the Ratterlies were stuck, but my Ammo Arms had just broken free.

Like trees erupting from the ground fully grown within seconds of germination, my Ammo Arms took over my body and the situation. They must have sensed the danger, because this was the biggest I had ever seen them, fully the size of 55-gallon drums, pulsing with blood and sinew that came from? I have no idea where. They jack-hammered up and punched holes in the van’s ceiling, tearing through it like it was made of aluminum foil. Then they reversed motion, flattened two huge palms on the van’s floor, bottoming out the suspension, coiling the shoulders and elbows and wrists into a tight collection of springs, and catapulted upward, taking me through the roof and at least 30 feet in the air.

I saw people eating in the bistro on the third floor of a bank building, food dropping out their mouths as they saw me accompanied by–attached to?–monstrous slabs of meat for arms. On impulse, I nodded at them, and Ammo Arms waved, looking like a construction worker waving a stop sign that had been grafted with his wrist.

Then we fell.

Sun-baked pavement rushed at my face.

* * *

Next week we finish this. Promise. You’re loving it. You can admit it.

Hey, at least we’re now armed for landing this beast of a story.



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Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, and musician. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

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