“Zero F*cks Given” (Scene 5)

This is from the beginning of Dave Lundy’s new novel (still in development) called “Zero F*cks Given”, a prequel to the best-selling comedy “Squish the Fish: A Tale of Dating and Debauchery”.

Zabka pressed his foot between the naked trespasser’s shoulder-blades, keeping him down on the floor. Bob and Magnum stood nearby, scratching their heads.

“Where the hell is Satan?!” Zabka yelled. “I want to know who this fucktard is!” He pushed his foot down harder. “Where in-the-fuck did you come from?!”

The deviant wriggled — his angry screams muffled by the soiled sock in his mouth.

“Goddamnit! Shut-the-fuck-up when I’m asking you a question!” Zabka kicked the guy in the spleen.

Magnum raised his hand. “I gotta question. Does this plastic-sex-doll-thing count as a woman in the house? It does, right? And like, shouldn’t we write this down somewhere official? For record-keeping purposes?”

Bob massaged his chin. “Yeaaah, so it sounds like we need to lay down some contest ground-rules.” He leaned against the door entry. “The first rule — and probably the most important — is that the woman must have a pulse. Sound reasonable?” He waited for them to nod in agreement. “The second rule is that someone else must be here to confirm it. I don’t trust any of you fuckers to…”

Two arms wrapped around Bob’s neck from behind. Panic shot from his eyes and a gargling scream rang from his throat. He buckled forward, twisting 180 degrees, and fell backward, squashing the person choking him into Zabka’s prisoner.

Bob rolled over and saw that his assailant was short and, best guess, was from Thailand. As he tried unsuccessfully to identify the Thai person’s gender, he or she laid there wheezing and sucking air — the wind clearly knocked out of them.

Magnum was on full-alert, bouncing around in circles like Bluto Blutarsky before they took Neidermeyer’s horse into Dean Wormer’s office. “Who’s next?! Bring it!”

Zabka pulled Bob up from the ground and yelled at the newest intruder, “How many more of you maniacs are there?!” He used his foot to keep both of the strangers down.

The gender-neutral Thai yelled, “You fucka! You no belong!”

Bob shook his head. “What a fuckin’ debacle. Are we sure we’re even in the right house? This is messed up.”

A faint noise came from above — like someone strumming an acoustic guitar. Instinctively, they looked up and followed the sound through the walls while it made its way down the rickety stairs. Slowly, as it got louder, they recognized the riff from “Locomotive Breath” — gin gin gin gin, gin, gin — being repeated over and over again.

Magnum had his dukes up, anticipating a rumble.

Bob thought to himself, This imbecile ain’t sneaking-up on us. He grabbed the nearest thing he could use as a weapon — the naked guy’s boombox — and got ready to hurl it if needed.

Zabka applied additional pressure to the Thai’s sternum while making the shhh-signal.

Quietly, they waited…

Then it came into the room — a guy dressed only in boxers, his eyes as red as the devil’s. He saw the ambush awaiting him and, after a noticeably delayed reaction, ceased playing the riff.

Zabka, Bob, and Magnum lowered their guard.

Bob said, “What the fuck, Satan?! Who are these guys?! And why are they in our house?!”

Satan laughed like a snake, “Sss, sss, sss,” if it were possible for a snake to get stoned and laugh. “These are our roommates for the summer.” He pointed at the genderless Asian. “That’s Narong.” He then pointed at the naked guy underneath Narong. “And the dude you tied up — very creatively I might add — is Mike.”

Magnum asked, “And when exactly were you planning to share this information with us?”

“When the time was right… which I guess was just then.”

Zabka took his foot off of the captives and Narong sprung to his feet. “These fuckers are damn lucky I didn’t send ’em to the emergency room.”

Bob points his chin at Narong. “Is this one a dude or a chick… or a combo? I don’t even know what’s going on here. Can someone please explain?”

Narong got on his toes and tried to get in Bob’s face. “I man! What you, fucka?!” He then spat a loogie and nailed Bob between the eyes.

After a brief moment of shock, Bob wiped off the sticky saliva and punched Narong in the mouth, scuffing his knuckles in the process. He shook his hand in pain as it began to bleed.

Magnum looked at Satan and asked, “So what are you doing with the rent you’re collecting? I assume you are collecting rent, right? We’ve all been paying our share this summer even though we’re not up here.”

Satan took off his acoustic guitar and set it down. “Don’t worry, fellas. I’ve been putting Mike’s money into an account that I’ll use for our utilities until it runs out. That work?”

“Why only Mike’s?” Magnum asked. “Why not Narong’s?”

“Because Narong is one of our roommates.” Satan laughed again like a stoned snake.

Bob stood tall. “Wait a minute, I got some issues with that. I knew you had someone lined up, but this guy?”

“Either he’s our roommate or you can pay double in rent. What’ll it be?”

“No, I can’t do that,” Bob conceded. “But he better not ever jump on me again.”

Satan shrugged as though to say he couldn’t make any guarantees. He then got back to his original question. “So, are you guys good with using Mike’s rent money toward utilities?”

His official roommates nodded in agreement.

Zabka said, “As long as, in essence, we’re getting paid outta this, I’m good.”

“Yeah, I look at it as beer-money,” Bob added.

Zabka took the sock out of Mike’s mouth and pounded his hand on the bed. “This is my mattress… I best not find any jizz on it.”

Mike, still hogtied, lifted his chin off the floor and looked up. “No, no, you won’t. There’s none.” He worked a few sock fibers to the tip of his tongue and blew them out. “Now can you please untie me?”

“I’m sicka lookin’ at ya — so yeah, I can do that. And then you’re gonna take all your shit outta here and move into Jimmy the Italian’s room. You understand me?”

“Loud and clear.”

“Good.” Zabka grabbed Mike’s bound wrists and ankles, and freed him.

Bob pulled Magnum outside the room and said to him, “Hey, all that shit was crazy, but I really need to talk to you about something — in private. It’s kinda important.” The two of them became good friends in high school when they played on the baseball team together.

“Sure, yeah,” Magnum replied. “Let’s go to the living room.” They walked into the front room and sat down on a couch that was older than they were.

Bob took a deep breath and blew out, fluttering his lips. “As you already know, the last few years have been pretty shitty for me. After my parent’s divorce and having to leave Colgate because of money issues related to that. Then transferring here… well, I’ve pretty much been on my own. Paying for tuition, rent, my car — basically everything with loans and crappy jobs here and there.”

“I’m sorry, buddy. I didn’t realize that.”

“Thanks. Yeah, I haven’t told anyone.” Bob hung his head. “Sorry to drop all this on you, but I just need… I hate to ask this…” He looked up. “I just need a little help with rent for the first couple of months until the loans come in. Could you…”

“Done,” Magnum replied before he finished asking. “I got you covered.”

“Thank you. I really appreciate it.”

“Don’t think anything of it. Okay, let’s go put our bags away and set up our rooms.”

At the end of the previous school year, they moved all of their belongings from their old house on West Northrup to this house and used their bedrooms as storage units, which they never bothered to arrange.

Bob asked, “You really want the room up in the attic?”

“Yeah, I kinda like it up there — I can escape from the shenanigans.”

Bob laughed. “Yeah, good luck getting away!”

They both walked up to the second level where there were four bedrooms and a bathroom off of a square, central, hallway-type room. Magnum had left his luggage there when they heard the commotion coming from Zabka’s room. He grabbed it and continued up the stairs to the attic.

When he got to the top, there were two doors, both shut. One went to his bedroom, and the other had a padlock on it. The locked room also had a sign taped to it with the following written in green crayon, “Darkroom. Entry prohibited! Photography development.”

Magnum noticed a bright light coming out from under the door and lowered himself to the floor. He tilted his head and peered through the crack. Befuddled, he stood back up and yelled, “Satan!”

Scene 4 | Scene 5

zerofucksgiven