Eirik Gumeny is the author of the Exponential Apocalypse series. His short fiction can be found all over the internet and in various anthologies,...read more and he has contributed to Cracked and The New York Times. He is an avid fan of both Shakespeare and fart jokes.
Eirik was born with cystic fibrosis and was kind of disgusting to be around for a while. In 2014, he received a double lung transplant and may have briefly died. He got better.
Born in the suburban sprawl of northeastern New Jersey, he currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he regularly has to fight giant atomic ants with a flamethrower.
The marijuana is high-grade, expensive shit. Canadian. And it’s so far up my ass, if I sneezed you’d probably get stoned. Or, you know, the flu. I've been sneezing more than I probably should be. Even before I had the half-brick of Maple Daydream shoved up my tailpipe by a large, ungentle Samoan woman with hands of ice and absolutely no sense of humor.
I was going to go to the doctor last week actually, but, before I could, my buddy Steve called and said he had a job for me. Steve’s good like that. I mean, yeah, sure, the last job ended up being gay porn, but it paid well. And it’s not like he lied about it or anything, he just left off an adjective or two.
Anyway, like I was saying, Steve called and said his regular mule was no longer with us. Dude was beaten to death by an entire playground full of kids; bludgeoned like a piñata actually.
Yeah, no, it was brutal. Apparently the guy had told them he had a “bellyful of the sweet stuff.” I mean, that’s what Steve said, anyway, I don’t know if it was true or not. I mean, probably. Kids are terrible, right? Either way, he still needed me to make a run.
Now, normally this isn't my thing, and I told him that – and I’m telling you that too, because I don’t want you to think any less of me than you’re probably already going to – but he swore up and down that it'd be all right, that it's only Canada and, hey, it's bound to be less invasive than that Essential Fluids shoot. Plus he said he'd split the profits with me, 30/60, which, you know, wasn’t great, but I needed the cash, so I said, OK, sure, and then I asked him about the other ten, and he said “That's for the cat,” and I said, “The cat?” and he said “Yeah, the cat.”
No, the cat’s not some code for his dealers, I thought that too at first. The cat’s just a cat. Steve’s weird like that.
But, yeah, like I was saying, I agreed and Steve had me on a red-eye to Vancouver the very next day. Only we never actually made it ‘cause the fucking engines failed. All of ‘em. Somehow, thank the jumping baby Jesus, the pilot managed to get the plane under control and glide us into a bumpy as fuck landing in the middle of a clearing in the God damned backwoods of Canada. I mean, it was nuts, we were bouncing up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down, trees and moose and then more trees and more moose just speeding past the windows.
Eventually we stopped sliding, the plane’s barely a plane anymore at this point, and the handful of us that survived climbed out of the wreckage to find ourselves in the middle of absolutely frigging nowhere. We have to hike our asses across, I don’t know, at least twenty miles of the Canadian wilderness just to get a damn cell signal. And as soon as we do, I swear to whatever God you want, the second someone says “I’ve got two bars!” we’re attacked by wolves.
No. No shit. Motherfucking wolves.
Everybody panics and runs, in, like, thirteen different directions. So then, of course, the wolves start scattering too, chasing people down and knocking them to the ground and tearing off their arms and biting and snarling and shaking body parts around like a dingo with a baby. I start running, but then I trip over this stupid fucking log, right, and fall square onto my face in a pool of stagnant mud. I’m trying to pull myself up, but then I feel this weight on my back and I’m like, oh, shit, this is it, but then I hear some dude screaming and I’m like, oh, thank Christ. Turns out what was on my back was the pilot from the plane, and the wolf was eating him. So I just laid there in the mud, waiting for the wolf to get full – I mean, the pilot was not a small man – and eventually it does and then I scramble back to my feet and get the shit out of the woods before any of the wolves decide they want seconds.
Anyway, eventually I end up in Sasquatchaketchawanaka or something with a nineteen-year-old poet and her whiny-ass musician boyfriend. You know the types: young, bored, come from money, still believe in the world for some reason. Fucking assholes.
Anyway, the girl’s lost her phone along the way, my battery’s dead, and the douchebag boyfriend doesn’t have one to begin with because he “doesn’t believe in them,” so we start walking along a highway, trying to hitchhike our way somewhere, anywhere. Eventually we flag down a semi hauling pigs to a slaughterhouse, got tons of room in the cab, but the musician is all up in arms about cruelty to animals or some shit, so I just fucking decked him, knocked him right the hell out, and then I sold him to the truck-driver for sixty Canadian dollars and a ride to the nearest town which was, like, a day’s drive away.
Yeah, she argued, but not, you know, a lot.
So, yeah, we get to this backwater “town,” which ends up being just a truck stop somewhere in some other part of Canada I can’t pronounce, but it’s something, so I buy a charger and we eat some waffles while we wait, and then I call Steve and I tell him, “Dude, I’m out, I can’t do this.” And he’s like, “What? No! You can’t give up, think about the cat.” And I’m like, “I’ve never even seen this damn cat, fuck you.” So he sends me a picture of the cat on my phone and the thing’s adorable. Seriously, criminally adorable. Here, take a look.
I know, right?
But, yeah, Steve’s persuasive like that, so me and the poet grab some more waffles and then get back on the highway and hitchhike our way to just outside of Vancouver, where we bum a ride with some X-Files sightseeing tour and, after talking a bunch of photos for people, we finally get within walking distance of where I’m supposed to meet up with my contact, Gertrude.
No, Gertrude’s a dude.
I don’t know.
Gertrude’s super chill, takes us out to dinner and a Canucks game, we all have a pretty good time, and then he just throws me in the back of his car like I was some old paint cans he really resented having to drive to the recycling center or something.
Who, the poet? Yeah, she got to ride shotgun. I think they stopped for ice cream, too.
Anyway, he takes us to meet the angry Samoan and, within, like, a minute, I’ve got my pants around my ankles. Now, like I said, I’d never done this before, so I’m trying to make light of the situation, you know, cracking a couple jokes while I’m bent over this back room table, but this lady isn’t having it. It’s just another day on the job for her. She just wants to get the pot up my pooper and go home. And, look, I don’t want to tell her how to do her job, but I’ve got to imagine that if her hands weren’t as cold as a snowman’s taint it’d make her job a lot easier. I mean, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to relax your butthole while Frosty’s pawing at your cheeks, but it’s not easy. You just instinctually start clenching.
Right? So you get it. I’m not crazy.
Anyway, after my visit with the angry Samoan, me and the poet, we’re both still a little traumatized from the last plane ride, so we decided we’re going to take a bus back to the States. Of course, we don’t have much in the way of cash yet, so we’re practically sitting on top of each other on one of those human rights-violating Chinatown busses, but we’re hitting it off pretty well, everything’s going pretty good, we’re finally starting to feel OK about the whole situation, and then we get to the border. Customs decides to board our damn bus and, sure enough, the dog they got comes right over to me.
I start panicking, thinking this animal has somehow sniffed out my guts, and, honestly, I’m a little worried I’m going to shit myself right there and get found out for good, but it turns out it’s not me but the poet that the dog’s after. She’s been carrying around three kilos of hashish in her satchel this whole time. I start breathing again, but then the bitch sells me out and we both get hauled in.
So there we were, handcuffed to each other in some ramshackle United States customs office in a Podunk border town no one’s ever heard of and they’re going on and on about how terrible we are and this is a big fucking deal and there is a war on drugs, God damn it, and all this other nonsense. The girl’s falling for it, shaking where she’s sitting, tears welling up, she keeps saying, “Don’t call my mom, don’t call my mom,” and meanwhile I’m sitting there thinking, yeah, all right, I’ll cover for Steve if it comes to it, but, man, fuck Gertrude and that Samoan and her icy God damned hands. I’m getting all set to rat them out and cover my own ass, maybe see if I can get another bus ticket out of it, but then it turns out I don’t have to.
Not only did that poet chick have three kilos of hashish on her, she had a couple condoms full of PCP in her.
Yeah, fucking angel dust. Right up her cooter.
But because of all the shit that went down and the delays and the bus instead of the flight back home, the condom dissolved or shifted or something and the girl, holy shit, she just snapped. Came completely fucking unhinged. She starts screaming at the top of her lungs about butterflies and unicorns trying to chew off her face. She’s thrashing around and I’m thrashing around with her and she’s jumping up and down and I’m trying to hide but it’s not working and then she manages to slide her hand out of the cuffs and starts throwing chairs and shit, scratching dudes’ faces, and I don’t even know, I just took advantage of the commotion and made a break for the door. And then I ran.
After a day of non-stop running, I realize my sense of direction is totally fucked and turn around. I’m running and running and eventually the wilds of Canada finally became the wilds of the Northwestern United States, although, honestly, it’s hard to tell the difference. Anyway, at that point, I’m like, fuck Steve and fuck his stupid cat. I’m lost in the woods, with nothing but Canadian Monopoly money in my pocket and a brick of marijuana in my colon, I’m hungry, I’m tired, I’m confused and a little worried about the poet and even more worried about what might happen to my insides and, not for nothing, but I need to take what I can only assume is going to be the single most massive shit ever recorded by man. I have been holding it for days. Seriously, I would’ve sold Steve’s ass out to whoever whenever wherever if they promised me a sandwich, a toilet, a bed, I didn’t care, all of which I explained to three hikers; a surprisingly understanding, if unhelpful, state trooper; and, like, thirteen truck drivers before this one grizzly motherfucker finally offered to give me a ride to Seattle in exchange for half of what I’m carrying up my pooper.
And that, my dear, sweet, very pretty Taco Bell employee, is why I would like seventeen burritos and a plunger.