Sucker Punch of the Gods

Two of the best ways to get in the Gutter? Have characters named after our editors (except that one dude who said he was going to kill me; that was a little creepy), and litter your story with pop culture references from the coolest movies.

Check. Check. Welcome back to hell, Mr. Viharo. Heres your fedora and Rat Pack 8-track. We’ve been expecting you.

Sucker Punch of the Gods by Will Viharo

“God damn, this heat sucks harder than a toothless whore with asthma,” Joe said as they walked down University Way, eyeballing the co-eds from UDub.

“It’ll be over soon,” Tom said, subtlety adjusting his jeans so his boner wasn’t as obvious as an open switchblade on a passenger plane. “This is Seattle. Me, I love the sun. But I can’t get used to it. Just when I start to enjoy it, it’ll be over. Like a half hour massage. Without a happy ending.”

“I came to Seattle to get away from this shit,” Joe said. “And it followed me. This is fucking tiki drink weather. Tiki drinks are for sissies.”

“That’s how the past is,” Tom said. “You can’t outrun your own past. It always catches up. Like a fast zombie. God, I hate fuckin’ fast zombies. Makes no fuckin’ sense. I mean, they’re corpses, so how the hell can they run? Like Romero himself said, their ankles would break from the riga mortis.”

“Rigor mortis.”


“I’m not having this stupid conversation again,” Joe said.

“You’re just dodging my colorful metaphor because it contains bullets of truth, my pussy-ass friend.”

“Fuck slow-ass zombies, and fuck the past,” Joe said. “I’m just talking about the weather.”

“You’re talking about California, man. I know exactly what you’re talkin’ about, even if you don’t. Or just deny it. Hey, look at those titties! Bobbin’ around like apples in a barrel! I just wanna take a quick bite, think she’d mind?”

“Dude, keep your voice down. Jesus.”

“I’m not raping them, man, chill out. Not even mentally. Just checking out the local merch. Like in a grocery store. Comparing items. Everything seems to be out of my price range, though. Maybe it’s time to shop someplace else.”

“You are a serious misogynist.”

“I resent that. There’s nothing serious about me.”

“I’m as lonely and horny as you, man, but I don’t wear my cock on my sleeve.”

Tom flailed his right arm about. “I’m wearing a T-shirt, idiot. That’s my arm, not my dick. Though I can understand the confusion.”

Joe and Tom turned down 45th Street and ducked into a comic book shop to cool off.

“Didn’t Bogart complain about that in Casablanca”? Tom asked Joe, who was idly leafing through an issue of Batman.

“Complain about what? His pussy problems? Dude got laid, man. And I don’t mean the French dude. I mean that fine Swedish piece of ass. What’s her name again?”

“No, I mean, didn’t he say something about coming to Casablanca for health reasons, for the water, but he was misinformed, since he was actually in a desert?”

“Yea, so?”

“Well, that’s you.”

“I remind you of Bogey? Thanks. Maybe this is the end of a beautiful friendship. . .”

“Just that one line. The rest, no way. Like you said, that dude got laid.”

Joe and Tom left the comic book store, the Batman comic book rolled up and tucked in Joe’s back pocket.

“Hey, you didn’t pay for that,” Tom said.

“Only suckers pay for comic books,” Joe said. “I’ve been stealing them since I was a kid.”

“I didn’t know they had comic books back then.”

“Ha fuckin’ ha.”

Joe and Tom turned right on Roosevelt and finally walked into Scarecrow Video.

“God fuckin’ hates me,” Joe said.

“I don’t think He knows you even exist,” Tom said.

“But He made me,” Joe said.

“Face it: He shat you out in this toilet called Earth, but didn’t even bother to check His stool before he flushed.”

“Wow. You are one cynical bastard.”

“Only on the surface. Beneath this dry, cracked faรงade I’m just another forgotten soft turd. Like you. C’mon, it’s showtime.”

Joe and Tom reached into their crotches and pulled out their ski masks, which they’d purchased at a sporting goods store in University Village, and put them on while hiding behind one of the fully stocked shelves of DVDs.

Then they reached into their ass cracks and pulled out their snub nose handguns.

“Everybody freeze, this is a robbery!” Tom yelled.

Joe added, “Just hand over the cash, geeks!”

The fifty-something gray-haired hippie male clerk and the twenty-something pink-haired punker chick clerk just stared back, nonplussed.

“We mean it, dorks, do it!” Tom yelled. “Or you’ll be fuckin’ dead, but not fuckin’ grateful!”

“Is Tarantino behind this gag?” asked the male clerk.

“Shut the fuck up and hand it over!” Tom yelled, only somewhat disguising his voice. “We know this place is famous, you gotta be loaded, let’s have it or I’ll shove a late fee right up your fat ass!”

“Yeah!” Joe added, just to remind everyone of his presence.

The few customers in the store had already quietly left. The Japanese girl behind the coffee counter was ducking out of sight.

Finally, the rather unfazed punk chick clerk popped open all the registers, removed the cash and coins, and put it all in the sack Tom handed her.

Then Joe and Tom ran out and up Roosevelt, running hard, stopping somewhere off the Burke-Gilman trail.

Sitting against trees while they caught their collective breath, Tom counted the money while Joe closed his eyes and dreamed of rain.

“Fuck!” Tom spat. “Son of a bitch!”

“What now?” Joe asked wearily, without even opening his eyes, lost in dark, fanciful clouds.

“There’s like two hundred fucking dollars here!”

“What did you expect? It’s a fucking video store, man. Might as well have robbed that comic book shop.”

“But it’s the most famous video store in the country, man. Roger Ebert said so!”

Joe shrugged and said simply, “Netflix.”

Tom began to sob. “But this place was supposed to be special.”

“I guess you were misinformed,” Joe said, eyes still closed. “Welcome to the club.”

Will Viharo is the author of several novels including A Mermaid Drowns in the Midnight Lounge, Freaks That Carry Your Luggage up to the Room, Chumpy Walnut, Lavender Blonde, Down a Dark Alley, It Came from Hangar 18 (with Scott Fulks), and the “Vic Valentine, Private Eye” series, the first of which, Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me, is in development as a film by Christian Slater and was recently reissued by Gutter Books.