Rainey struggles trying to get the corpse out of the trunk. I mean, I get it – it’s a big corpse stuffed into a tiny trunk. No leg room whatsoever. It took us a good twenty minutes just to get the fucker in there. Hell, I’m no engineer. Rainey can’t even spell engineer. But still, it’s a dead body. How hard can it be?
“You want some help, man?”
Rainey grunts and slips and gets the thing halfway out. He goes for the torso first so the corpse’s right arm is hanging real languid-like out of the open trunk.
“Naw, bro,” Rainey says. “I got this. Been watching a bunch of Breaking Bad, lately.”
I shrug and smoke the rest of my cigarette and look up to the big MOTEL sign above us.
The sign says the joint was established in 1940 and fuck me proper if it made it to 41’. The motel is deserted, and no wonder, out here in the fucking desert – no shit nobody wants to stay out here. Might as well advertise directly to serial killers and drifter vampires.
Kill someone? Come on down! Free HBO!
The sign looks good though. Very classy. Pretty clean and not missing any letters or anything. Like they hired a drunken caretaker who said fuck it to the motel buildings but took great pride in his sign. Dude probably would sit under the sign and drink whiskey and mutter things like, “A man can only do so much.”
But why here? Why the sign? Fuck me if I know. This is all Rainey’s idea.
See, Rainey has been part of The Family much longer than I have. I’m still a newbie when it comes to disposing of bodies; in fact, this is my first trip out to the desert. Big Don Martino, the big shit of the big shits, even gave me a crucifix to celebrate the moment.
“Hold to it tight, Niño,” he said, laying the cross delicately in my hand. “Do not let it go. No matter what.”
When Don Martino speaks, you best listen, so I fingered the cross all the way out to the desert as Rainey listened to his self-help tapes, that shit bumping in the little Nissan with fake New Mexico plates.
You are worth something. Now, say it with me. You are worth something.
Fucking Rainey, playing along, mouthing that he’s “worth something.”
It’s starting to get dark by the time homeboy gets the body out of the trunk.
“Yo!” he shouts at me. “Get the flashlight out of the glove compartment. And the boombox. Get the boombox out the backseat.”
I do as I’m told. The boombox looks about as old and useless as the motel buildings surrounding their precious sign.
“What the fuck are we doing with this boombox?” I ask for not the first time. “Seriously, what’s with all the mystery?”
The mystery is why Rainey, of all fucking people, is the designated disposer of bodies. As it goes, The Family is the type of family that often has to dispose of corpses. Heavy lies the crown sort of thing. And the Don? Well, El Jefe has decided that Rainey is the man to handle this rather important job. Personally, I think it’s a bit much for a guy who takes things for granite (“Solid like stone”), but that’s why I’m here…Rise and rise and rise. A soldier’s gotta find his spot in this world and The Don has made it clear that this is an important job.
“Don’t ask so many fucking questions,” Rainey says.
He picks up the corpse, throws it over his shoulder, and starts trudging into the darkness. We pass the vacated buildings of the motel as we make our way into the desert, Rainey slightly in front, me holding the boombox on my shoulder awkwardly and pointing the flashlight forward.
And we walk. And walk. And, fuck me, we walk.
Seems like hours before the flashlight beam hits the first tombstone.
“A fucking graveyard!” I shout. “You dope motherfucker. It’s brilliant!”
“Shut up,” Rainey whispers.
The graveyard isn’t really a graveyard, there’s no fence or anything - just a collection of tombstones in the desert.
Rainey walks to the middle of the cluster of graves and drops the body before hurrying back toward me. For a big dude, he steps lightly and I shine the flashlight at him to fuck with him.
“Turn that fucking shit off,” he hisses.
A serious Rainey makes me nervous. I turn the flashlight off.
“For what happens next,” he says, “I need you to be cool.”
His voice in the darkness is displaced and disconnected. I can hear him messing with the boombox on the ground at my feet.
“And do not turn on that flashlight until I say so. Understand?”
“Hey, I said…”
“I got it,” I say.
There’s a moment of silence as I feel him stand up from the boombox. My heart rate is jacked. I hear a dull hum from the speakers at my feet.
And then there’s music. Very, very loud music. Very, very loud rap music.
Kanye West is shouting Yeezus into the desert.
What the fuck?
The bass bumps so hard I don’t notice Rainey yelling until he grabs my arms, scares the shit out of me, and snatches the flashlight from me. Right before he flicks the beam on, I realize he’s been screaming “Now!”
What I see are hands coming out of the ground, out of the graves, grasping at air. What I see are human heads buried beneath the earth, escaping. What I see are fucking zombies coming out of graves.
It’s gotta be the noise.
Rainey is screaming, “Run!”
He takes off and I follow the flashlight in his hand as its beam dips and jumps across the desert floor, toward the Nissan and our escape.
On the horizon, the MOTEL sign lights up the darkness.
I have questions. You would have questions. I’m sure fucking Rainey has questions.
But what comes out, hastily escaping from my mouth as I run from zombies in the desert, is “Why?”
Why all this? Why not chop the bodies up and feed them to the pigs? Why, Rainey? Why?
“Because they said so,” Rainey gasps. “Who gives a fuck about why?”
Written By: Logan Theissen
Photograph By: Daniel Vidal