I met up with Johnny Pain last night to see what he has been up to, in the months since he went into hiding, after using a Stoner radio show to accidentally take over the world. Rumor had it that he was reinforcing his already formidable defense system around the two acre lot that housed his small domicile, and a garage -- the roofs of both of which were barely visible over the high fence around his house. Hand-painted on the white fence are variously worded warnings that the owner will shoot to kill anyone who enters his property. I personally had seen the effects of the landmines scattered throughout his yard one day when an unfortunate squirrel tried to run across his lawns. I guess this happens a few times a week, though of course his neighbors are too afraid of him to call the cops, who would only laugh anyways and ask for the films... Johnny hides cameras everywhere around his neighborhood, and his cautionary lifestyle has saved his ass more than once from various factions he is to this day vaguely waging war with... I cannot go into any that, of course, of he would kill me.
A lot of people credit Pain with getting Obama selected president, since his underground army was under strict orders to vote for him, and to do anything in their power to silence the Neo-con chatter.... up to and including, it is rumoured, selective assassination. A lot of conspiracies are afloat that Pain had something to do with the mysterious heart attack of Jerry Fallwell, who had insulted on of Pain's best friends, Jesus Christ. Christ and Pain go way back, and as the second coming was just beginning to be acknowledged, coming to the aide of the fledgling prophet put him on the good side of the Deity.
Arriving at Pain's house, you first push a buzzer at his outer gate. A large camera is trained on you, as well as suspicious red dots that hover over your forehead and heart. He recognized me from the screen in his monitoring room, ran a quick facial recognition code, then buzzed me in.
I knew the routine, had seem him do the same dozens of times since deciding to write a book about his life. A privilege that Pain, after getting me whisky drunk, made me commit to by cutting off two of my fingers and telling me he would freeze them, and then get them back to be sewn on after he okays the interview. As you can imagine, few people interview this man.
That's why they pay us investigative reporters the big bucks, I guess.
Pain's living room is all black. Walls, furniture, tv, chairs, candles, even the cats sneaking about in the shadows. The windows are covered in black plastic. A security detail that Pain had lived by since childhood. A nineteenth generation serial killer, the Pain family has been associated with a myriad of historical assassinations and wars over the centuries, and are said to work for a secret society of mystics and wizards, an off-shoot of a radical Catholic church that predated the known church, and believed themselves the only true church of Christ...... they were the same organization that traced the path of the soul of Christ as he reincarnated from life to life. They learned the trick from Eastern monks, and spent their lives finding the miraculous incarnations... God meant for them to be found, showed them to the initiated by giving wings to a child. In this way God kept the true church alive no matter what vagaries of belief cropped up into the minds of mind.
Pain's family had from time to time been called in to protect the Christ incarnations. So that is the lore.
In fact, when Pain ended up in Charge of the world, it was all Jesus doing, because the deity is not supposed to get too involved in politics, but he wanted mankind to revolt against the neocons and take the world in a direction that is not going to destroy the planet, and all other species...
After being buzzed in through the gates, I looked across the deceptively flower and plant covered yard -- he couldn't mow with the landmines, so he made everything look like an inviting garden... The smell of weed fills the air, tall plants are everywhere, lined up in a kind of second wall between the gate and the house. There is a small path. Looking through, I see Johnny Pain standing on his porch, his red Siberian husky by his side. He has an M-16 aimed at me, though he knows me damn well, actually. This is just target practice to him, keeping himself battle ready for the next wave of attackers to wage a frontal assault on his house.
From a metal shed on the edge of the weed field, Moon Bong Haze comes out to see who has 'breached the perimeter.' He looks like he usually does, long, unkempt hair down just below his ass, jeans with torn knees, eyes perpetually red, expression almost always somewhat puzzled or amused. I had heard he fell on hard times after the radio show we worked on together fell apart. He was living in the tiny, rusty shed, since being hired as the night watch men for Johnny's crop. Though I suspect something Pain told me could be just as true, "I am going to kill that fucking hippy one of these days, when my mood needs a boost or something, and this is easier than trying to hunt him down." And when he had the chance, after Moonbong struck it rich and had dogs surgically and genetically altered to have Paris Hilton heads, Johnny had ordered him tortured for a month (he also kept one of the dogs, who are specially designed for giving pleasure, though Johnny claims that his has been rehabilitated).
Johnny has a huge joint in the edge of his mouth as he waves me in. He has a short beard, gray in the front, brown like his shoulder length hair on the sides. He has always been considered handsome by the women, though he is obviously unkempt, and the only fashion statement he had ever tried to make was wearing only black, which he did to keep from having to think about matching colors, and camouflage purposes. The good looks that run through his family helped give them the kind of high kills that serial killer fame requires in this day and age. It doesn't hurt that your family existed in the intelligence community, where their skills were put to patriotic uses. What did the CIA care if their best soldiers occasionally went on a serial killing spree over getting cold soup at some Denny's?
Johnny's first memories were of family gathering, which almost always ending in gunfire. I asked him why his family still had them, if at least three of four of them were going to get killed at any given reunion, and he looked at me like I would never understand anything about life, "Now what the hell would be the fun in that? Think of everything your relatives have done to you throughout your life, man. A lot of people would love to get to kill some relative they hate. Hell, we all look forward to the reunions. Separates the men from the will's, you know? Sisters love that shit. Besides, Mom, she is the head of the family... and that old bitch will order a hit on anyone who misses a reunion. No one has dared do it since... well, forty years, I guess. We just call off the damn reunion and hunt them down. That's fun, too.... everybody all drugged up and drunk driving Rv's down the road. Using passing cars for target practice and shit. Hell, we don't exist, you know... whatever my family does, gets blamed on someone else. I didn't invent the system, man."
Johnny brings me out a cold Budweiser and a bong with fresh water. "You know, if this interview pisses me off, in any way, it is going to cost you those typing fingers that I have in the freezer?"
"Johnny, come on..."
"IF we weren't old friends, those would be your balls in that freezer."
"Oh, come on..."
"Remember that interview I gave with national enquirer?"
"I wondered why the hell you did that? All he asked about was your dog, and if you were single."
"I still got his balls. Want to see them? I am going to give them back to him, by the way. Just waiting a couple weeks longer than our agreement, to instill a little more fear of me in the press. You never can have those fuckers too afraid of you."
"Uh, yea." I forget sometimes that in Johnny's world, his secrecy as a double agent is barely held in place. He is hardly discrete about his occasional killing sprees. Most people in the Chicago area have just come to accept that this is the world they live in. The newspapers know better than to touch the story, after all the heads of all those journalists started showing up downtown on the posts of the Michigan Avenue Bridge, during rush hour. Johnny put them up himself, making a show of letting anyone who wanted to see who had done the ghastly deed. The point was well taken.
Under these kind of circumstances, you must be asking yourself why I would even go near this guy, right? Well, Johnny is also loyal. Once he is sure that you are going to be fair with him, and are not neo-cons or pacifists, he is a pretty good friend. He is oddly enough the first guy to send flowers to the hospital, but most of all he could get anything done in Chicago, because of his extensive connections, and he was always getting his weed buddies out of some jam. Once I was busted for a small bag and he simply walked into the jail, took the keys off the walls, waved to his cop buddies and said, "I'll vouch for this guy." After that, they seemed to know me. Chicago cops have extensive lists, Johnny explained to me once, monitoring who gets radical magazines, who might be a protester, lead leftists protests, etc... and who was evidently on their side. I knew they gave out shields to put on relatives cars, and that this means a lot to Chicago cops, but evidently, as always, there is a deeper, slightly darker truth.
Johnny and I sit on matching black leather chairs, between us a coffee table adorned with various stuffed fetuses on small pedestals. At first I mistake them for some bizarre form of art, but when I ask about them, I hear, "OH, the fucking fetuses. Yea, I got that stone ass Moon Bong dumper diving for them out back of the abortion clinic. I took up taxidermy, you remember... "
"I used to bring you my road kill."
"Yea, well I sell these to fundamentalist Christians, who flash them at pregnant women outside of abortion clinics. I'm pro-abortion myself. Not just because I make a lot of money off of this. By the way, you want to see that raccoon you ran over? "
He leads me to a room in the back of the house with the tools of a taxidermist. On the bench is the smashed raccoon I had brought him. It looked much worse now, pink, shiny entrails hanging out... he had stuffed it to look freshly run over.
"I thought it would be posing ... or something. Is there a market for this kind of thing?"
"Sometimes you just got to follow your heart, boy. I'm against road kill personally. So I advertised in this leftest rag at the Heartland Cafe for radicals willing to save wild animals, convinced them showing road kill up close to people would convince people to, as their motto said on their t-shirts, SWERVE NEXT TIME."
"Sounds a little cynical of you."
"What do I care? As long as there is a market for Road Kill Creations, I'm making them. They also go over great at frat parties, as pranks... Hell, I think they make great conversation pieces, and you can even get a can of this death oil, as I call it, and sprinkle a little on the dead animal for a full sensory experience."
"Who buys this stuff?"
"Depends. If they are kids, they are more likely budding serial killers. In fact I give their names to my buddies in the FBI, and they give most of them cancer and shit, before they even become a problem. Like they did with Autism, to keep the middle classes too preoccupied to revolt and shit. Aids to stop the drugs and homosexuality they thought was destroying the moral fiber of our country, etc... It's all about being pro-active in the intelligence agencies anymore. They engineer people through social planning, and anyone who questions the status quo is a problem they would rather not have. Myself? I questioned a lot under bush, and took out my fair share of neo-cons and cash register ministers... hell, I felt I had to do my part, since I was, despite all else, raised a working class hero, so to speak. I like the unions, collective bargaining, using the great wealth of our country to enrich everyone, not just a chosen few -- or especially, a dishonest few. My family may be full of killers, but that also makes us take our vows very seriously. Killing is something we do only for causes, or accidentally, you know...or drunken,kind of stoned fun."
"Just like 007, you have a license to kill."
"More people do than you would believe."
"A lot of them are pussies about it, but yea... they are fairly easy to come by in the states. I mean, all you have to do is become a CIA operative? Been there and done that, in a loose sense. I have no beefs with them, and try to help them catch terrorists, or just shoot them myself.. they flew me into Iraq for awhile, just before the surge, to show the troops how to fight really dirty, I guess. Nothing that I can talk about, but believe me... they owe me one or more. I took my own private army over there, and they do not lose. All the damn money I spend keeping them on that island brain washed and drugged up and steroided out, they better be the best damn fighting force my poppy farms in Afghanistan can buy."
Moonbong comes into the living room where we are talking. "What's up? Can I hit that bong, man... my stash... I think someone ripped me off."
Johnny's hand goes down to the pistol on his belt, and he unsnaps the holster strap. "I told you Moonbong, you live in a weed field, and you can pluck any damn bud you want." Johnny turns to me as his hand pulls out the gun and takes aim at moonbong's chest. "I've had to tell him that every fucking time he runs out of weed for the last month. He sees his empty tray and starts looking for bags. He grew up with the Haze weed business all around him, but they never grew the stuff. I think it's because they'd get wasted and eat the plants while they were still little sprounts. That's at least what happened this one time. And the fucking gerbils ate them, too. They kept everything in Burlap bags. In fact the kids slept in the burlap bags,witht he buds around them for warmth until they were in their teens, and started getting a stink about them that no one would want on their weed. I didn't know back then he was a bed wetter or I never would have smoked any of that damn weed."
Moonbong packs the small silver bowl, leans his mouth over the end of the bong, lights up and inhales. "Whooo... thanks. Hey, Fritz, man, you want to buy some LSD enemas that I got?"
I tell him that no, I do not wish to buy any sort of enemy at all, then ask, "Why did someone put acid in an enema?"
"Rapid delivery, man. It goes straight into your brain."
"From your ass?"
"Best way, man.... I'm getting a company together to market, em, man. This way, people can get a buzz, and clean out their colons, too... man, that is really big right bow. The time of the enema has arrived, and what better feeling than having a purple haze in your ass, right?"
Johnny has not yet stopped aiming at Moonbongs head. His finger has visibly tightened on the trigger. Then he shifts aim and fires two bullets into Moon's sandal ed feet. Two of his toes go flying off in different directions. He looks first at his left toe, which has landed on a coffee table, then his right, which a black cat is just then batting out from under my chair.
"Dude, that would really hurt.... you know, if I was straight enough to feel shit like that. People ask me, like, Moon, why take hand fulls of vicodens all day, and I say... you'll see, man... and here we are, man, in exactly the kind of situation where, like, it pays to take vicodens. People are such fools, man." He picks up his toes and ambles out of the room muttering about putting his toes on ice again. "What won't that fucker shoot your toes off for? Shit, I gotta move."
With Moonbong gone, leaving a trail of blood on the hardwood floor that the cats immediately run out and start lapping. "Johnny, under the Bush regime, you had plenty of targets in government, and a president who while you worked with him, could not have been further away from your politics. Good reasons for anyone like you to kill, of course. Now that Obama, a candidate you backed up with guns when necessary..."
"None of that was proven, and at this point nothing like that officially exists... etc... don't make me kill you."
"Uh, okay.... I was trying to ask how your MO has changed since Obama was elected?"
"Well.... to be honest with... it is a little depressing. Part of why I have been staying in the house these last few months. Hell, I call out for food, drugs, and whores.... what the hell else does a man need to relax? Take your fucking grand canyon, give me a couple boulders of rock and a vat of liquid morphine. Well, that and coloring books. Bush got us all started on coloring books, because at one point in his presidency that was the only way he could communicate with anyone, and since I was taking over the world, I had to have some contact with him. You have to have some pretty damn good drugs to love coloring like Bush does, and he turned me on to this great mix he keeps in a hidden IV under his jacket. Never liked him personally, but what could I do? He had great drugs. I can forgive a lot in people who show up at the party with a barrel of dried Peyote, etc... Man knew how to get visiting dignitaries from all over the world coloring in his back yard with that stuff. Fucking weirds site. All these Arab sheiks on peyote and heroin and these new LSD variations he has the cia coming up with all the time for his coloring parities... between making him drugs and masturbatory devices, it's no wonder they couldn't afford proper armor for the soldiers at the start of the Iraq war."
TO BE CONTINUED
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