Zombos Says: WTF?
I grabbed Glenor Glenda's elbow as her foot slipped on the ice water puddling across the Mongolian teak wood floor of Zombos' study. She composed herself, slid the steaming hot mug of Satan's Balls back to the center of her serving tray, and properly presented Chef Machiavelli's frothy and zesty spiced rum-cocoa concoction—splashed with peach-ginger--to our shivering and quite unexpected guest. Our housekeeper waited expectantly as he took a sip and neatified her uniform with much suspicious intent.
"May I get you a blanket...Mister...? Glenor asked.
"Lucifer. Oh, hell, let's not stand on formality, just call me Luc, okay? You're a darling, but I doubt a blanket would help."
Lucifer's long red tail waved excitedly as he sipped his drink.
"By Tartarus! This drink is wicked bad! And you say your Chef doesn't use any black arts? Amazing! My three-eyed cook couldn't find her way round a souffle, even with her two heads. Damn creature burns everything. Ah, this sinful beverage is heating up my rump. In spite of all the fur in my nether region I was going numb down there, you know."
He winked at our usually flirtatious housekeeper. Glenor giggled.
I cleared my throat. She stopped giggling.
"Oh, jealous are we? You needn't be." He winked at me and flicked his tongue in a devilish manner. Glenor clapped her hand to her mouth stifling another giggle. My withering glance at her helped keep it at bay.
I was desperate. "Zombos! Any luck?"
Zombos was standing behind his Carlton House desk, holding the phone in one hand and a thick legal document in the other. Every now and then a few more sheets of paper slipped from the document and fluttered to the floor. He shrugged. "Sosumi is looking into it. He does not know how this could have happened."
Sosumi 'Jimmy' Jango was Zombos' crackerjack estate lawyer.
Lucifer finished his drink and smacked his lips. I motioned to Glenor to bring another one for our frisky guest. It looked like evening vespers would be well over by the time Zombos found the document we needed.
"What is that Jimmy?" said Zombos into the phone. "It is in Attachment 66? Okay. Okay, I will look for it." Zombos hung up the phone. "He is almost here. He said to look for—"
"Attachment 66, yes, I heard," I said.
"Ouch! Oh, you devil!" gasped Glenor with delight.
I looked at Glenor.
"He pinched me," she said giggling as she hastily left the room.
I looked at Lucifer; he shrugged, smiled, and winked again. I looked back at Zombos imploringly. "Let's find that attachment pronto, shall we? Did you check the Wooten? You tend to bury things in there pretty well."
"Of course!" Zombos turned around and quickly opened the doors of his Wooten desk. The two places Zombos relies on to hide, store, or forget things are his closet and his cherished Wooten desk. Since the Wooten desk is smaller than his closet, I figured it would be easier to search first.
"Well, I'll be," said Zombos.
"You found Attachment 66?" I asked.
"What? Oh that, no. I found my set of Brasher Doubloons. I was wondering what happened to them.”
"Great, I'll let Philip Marlowe know. What about the legal document?" My spirits were sinking fast.
"No, I do not see--wait a minute."
"I found it!" Zombos said triumphantly.
"Thank god," I sighed. Lucifer cleared his throat. "Sorry," I said, shooting a glance his way.
When I looked back to Zombos he was doing the walk the dog move with his gold-trimmed Duncan YoYo. That’s what he had found. I sighed again. There but for the grace of God I thought. Lucifer cleared his throat more loudly and gave me a smoldering stare.
"We really need that legal document...now!"
"Oh, yes, yes. Let me see." He put the YoYo back and opened another draw. "Here it is." He held up Attachment 66. "Let me see, now. Jimmy said to check the waiver at the bottom of page 13. Hmm...hmm...not good. Here, you better read it."
I walked over to Zombos and he handed the document to me. I mentally translated the waiver's legalese as I read it. Hidden in all the mumbo-jumbo was the stipulation that if the New York Times ever printed a movie review that was favorable toward a movie that I, acting as Zombos' agent, reviewed negatively, hell would most certainly freeze over. I glanced over at Lucifer sitting uncomfortably on the large block of ice. So that’s why both of them suddenly popped up around midnight.
"But this is impossible," I said. The New York Times has never given a favorable review to any horror movie I disliked. It's always the opposite. They never give favorable reviews to horror movies I like, either."
Glenor Glenda ushered an excited Sosumi Jango into the room. He furiously waved a copy of the New York Times.
"I found it!" he declared. "It's Jeannette Catsoulis's review of Tokyo Gore Police." He unfolded the paper and read the review out loud. “Propelled by geysers of blood and tidal waves of neuroses, Tokyo Gore Police plumbs wounds both cultural and physical to deliver splatterific social satire."
I was dumbfounded. Had she seen the same movie I had?
"Ouch! He pinched me," said Jimmy, pointing at Lucifer.
"What?" shrugged Lucifer. "I can't help it. I like lawyers."
"It just doesn't make any sense. This movie is simply not worth all this bother," I was bewildered.
"Let me see your review for the movie," suggested Jimmy, rubbing his behind as he stepped to a safer distance. "I can't give you any reasonable council until I see it."
Lucifer laughed. "I've not had this much nuisance since Daniel Webster stirred up a dickens' worth of trouble and kicked me out of New Hampshire. Thank the fallen there are forty-nine more states, I can tell you that. And the lord knows I love congress. Wouldn’t be any fun without them."
“Hold that thought,” I said and ran up to my attic office to retrieve my laptop. Still huffing and puffing after running back down, I showed Jimmy my review. As he read it out loud, Lucifer was enjoying another mug of warm comfort while Glenor made sure to stay within pinching distance. The woman is incorrigible.
Here’s what Jimmy read:
“Within the first half-hour of watching Tokyo Gore Police I realized it was going to be a transgressive tour through the cineburbia of outrageous gore and absurd social commentary, far away from movie Main Street. Surprisingly, it works for about the first half-hour, but begins to take questionable—albeit scenic—detours through RoboCop-styled commercials lampooning Japanese consumerism, Japunk-technorumble filled with bed wetting-inducing Rob Bottin-styled monstrosities comprised of squishy-gooey latex body parts glistening with stringy mucus highlights; and hacked limbs spouting endless geysers of blood saturating everything, including the camera lens. A chewed limp penis, one monstrous erect penis, chip and dip ankle drilling, a golden showering chair with vagina, and pretty women turned into grotesque objects of perverse desire, meld non-stop into arthouse incoherence. This Pachinko parlor's worth of bright colors and frenzy left me wondering when exactly director Yoshihiro Nishimura let the special effects department direct his movie.”
Jimmy stopped reading and looked at me. "What's this mean in English?"
"Just read on," I said. He continued:
“The Scooby-Doo-simple story centers on Ruka (Eihi Shiina), a grown up, silent, and self-mutilating daughter traumatized after she sees her police officer father assassinated. She now works for the police as a special agent. She has issues. Ruka repeatedly slices into her wrists with a razor before going after a cannibalistic Engineer who is dining on his latest victim like a heaping serving of human sushi. Engineers are serial-killing criminals who can morph their wounds into weapons. Using a bazooka, Ruka blasts herself into action as her fellow officers, questionable members of the privatized Tokyo Police Force, are cut to pieces by the Engineer's newly acquired chainsaw appendage. These opening moments are fun to watch because everything is so seriously over the top and Ruka wields a mean cleavage—with her Samurai sword.
“After Ruka does some ice-sculpting with the Engineer's own chainsaw—using him instead of ice—the remains are brought back to the dirty and dreary police morgue. The hunchbacked, one-eyed coroner with a spring in his step and clothing like one of Hostel's housekeeping staff”—
"I love Hostel," said Lucifer. "I almost died laughing it was so funny."
—“searches for and finds the key-shaped growth found in every Engineer, which gives them their ability to mold tissue into lethal weapons. Someone known as the Key Man is responsible for mutating people into maniacal killing machines.
“That is as much story as you will get jammed between the dolled-up, blond-haired police dispatcher with her bubble-gum explanations and lively commercials extolling stylish self-mutilating box cutters, in assorted colors, and remote torture family fun for society's deviants. Prolonged blood-fountain fanboy-favorite gore shocks provide the sticky action and, apparently, the main appeal this movie has for many reviewers and horror fans.
“The piece de resistance is the fetish club an off-duty police officer visits. It defies conventional or even tasteful description (not that many real fetish clubs could be described conventionally or tastefully). Women, grotesquely mutilated, are displayed as sexual objects to satisfy the appetites of the club's vinyl-clad patrons. The officer loses his head over one woman (guess which head, I dare you), but winds up with a much bigger one. Under the control of the Key Man, he returns to the precinct to show it off to his fellow officers with lethally envious results.”
Jimmy stopped reading. "Does this get any better?" he asked.
"No, the movie doesn't," I said.
"I meant your review."
"Just keep reading," I said.
“Ruka eventually confronts the Key Man, who tells her the truth about her father's murder, and reveals those responsible. As she goes after her father's killers, the Tokyo Police Force goes crazy and begins attacking citizens.
“Not sure why. Not sure the director knew why, either.
“One person is drawn and quartered while others are shot, stabbed, hacked, and (insert your own favorite gore gag or body disassembly gimmick here).
“With little said and much mayhem done, Tokyo Gore Police will undoubtedly become a favored cult classic for some and a Pepto-Bizmol moment for others mostly due to its zeal for incomprehensible distastefulness.”
Jimmy closed the laptop's cover, tapping it again and again while he weighed his thoughts, then stopped. "I got nothing."
I slumped into the Regency sofa. Zombos practiced his Double Gerbil move on his Duncan YoYo, and Glenor Glenda busied herself by doing nothing.
"Wait, I have it!" announced Jimmy after a few moments reviewing the documents on Zombos’ desk. "It's here on page 777, under Rider to Attachment 66, 'herein to be known as Clause 3, otherwise referred to as the Two-Thirds Clause. If both parties agree to unbinding arbitration, dissolution of prior binding agreements, notwithstanding mutually agreed upon settlements of pre-existing or ongoing issues, will supersede, preclude, and nullify Attachment 66. Whereby the second party, hereafter referred to as Lucifer (also known as, but not solely restricted to, Mephistopheles, Asmodai, Beelzebub, Satan, Belial, Abbadon, and Mr. Scratch)—' "
"That's my favorite," Lucifer interrupted. "Has a nice inviting and unassuming ring to it, doesn't it?"
" 'Mr. Scratch,' " continued Jimmy, " 'and the first party, hereafter known as Godfrey Daniel Zombos and his dutifully bound executor, Iloz Mordecai Zoc, representing his living and or dead or quantum situated estate, including but not limited to chattel, codicils, bequests and residues and residuals wherever presumptive and inclusive, may reach mutually satisfactory resolution by invoking the Two-Thirds Clause.' "
Jimmy read the rest in silence, then said "All right, then. Now we just need to find out what this clause is." He looked through the papers in his hands. Not finding it, he turned to the papers scattered on and around Zombos' desk. Soon he was on his hands and knees examining each sheet on the floor and under the desk.
"Damn your souls to Hades with all this nonsense,” rumbled Lucifer. “It's like waiting for a miracle. Enough of this! Time for the Four Horsemen!"
Lucifer reached into his Loculus.
Glenor Glenda dropped her serving tray and turned pale. I felt my heart suddenly pound against my chest. Jimmy banged his head against the desk in his haste to stand, absently crumpling sheets of paper in his fists as he stared at Lucifer in desperation. Zombos continued to practice his Buddha's Revenge with his YoYo, oblivious to the impending doom about to embrace us all.
He almost had it, though.
"Don't do it!" yelled Jimmy. "We can work this—"
Lucifer pulled out a bright red iPod classic. "What's that you say?" he asked, pushing the earbuds into his pointed ears.
"Nevermind," said Jimmy, exhaling. He looked at his balled fists and loosened their death grip on the crumpled sheets.
"The Four Horsemen's 666 song is my favorite," said Lucifer. "I like to crank up the volume on that one. Then again, I like to crank up the volume on everything."
"Hey, here it is!" Jimmy triumphantly held up a crumpled sheet of paper in his right hand. He uncrumpled it, reading it as he did so. " 'The Two-Thirds Clause is described herewith. Should the party of the first part and the party of the second part mutually agree to arbitration by a party of the third part, satisfaction of encumbrance will render null and void all prior commitments, restrictions, and privileges pursuant to Attachment 66. Third party arbitration may be satisfied by agent or agency not associated with, bound to, or administered by either party. Third party agent or agency must show no prior agreement with either party of the first part or their executing authorities, dependents, and antecedents."
We anxiously waited for the translation.
"It says that if we find someone else who always disagrees with your reviews Zoc, but who would, for this one time, agree with your review of Tokyo Gore Police, Attachment 66 would no longer apply. Of course, it would need to be someone not associated with you, and who has, up until now, always showed the opposite of your opinions and tastes in horror movies."
"What the devil," I stammered.
"Yes?" asked Lucifer, removing an earbud.
"No, not you.”
Lucifer popped the bud back into his ear.
“This is impossible. Who are we going to get who has always shown the exact opposite in their cimema taste to mine and whom would suddenly agree with me? It would take a mira—"
"So what's all this?" asked Paul Hollstenwall entering the room. "I kept ringing the front doorbell. Chef Machiavelli finally let me in.”
Paul waved hello to Lucifer. "Dude, that's some serious Face Off makeup you got going there. Hexcellent! What are you guys doing? Hey, am I being punked? That would be so awesome." He looked around the room for a hidden camera.
"Paul, now's not a good time," I said.
"Wait a minute. Now I get it. You and Mr. Z are Larpers! Man, how cool is that! Looks like you got some weird sh*t going on. I bet the devil's in the details , right? Anyway, I was passing by on my way to Jersey to catch Vampire Breakfast Club. I tried to Twitter you but I kept getting that stupid ass whale. Wanted to tell you to forget my tweet on Tokyo Gore Police. Saw it last night. Lame with a capital LAME. I was so disappointed it cooled my beans to zero. Now Drag Me to Hell was awesome."
A car horn sounded.
"Gotta go before my date gets pissed at me again. Later."
Paul flew out of the room. A moment of silence followed.
Jimmy looked at me. Zombos looked at his fingers tangled in his Cat's Cradle. I looked at Lucifer. He removed his earbuds and nodded.
"Agreed! Most certainly, agreed." He stood up.
Thunder shook the room and the ice block Lucifer was bound to split with a sharp crack, then shattered, sending glistening shards into oblivion. His massive hooves clattered on the floor as he stretched to his full height, dwarfing us in his spreading shadow floating across the floor.
"The last time I heard a sound so sweetly soothing was when I teased Moses into breaking those two little tablets of stone." His voice, now unfettered, rebounded off the walls like the echos in a sepulcher. His eyes glowed brighter than red hot iron.
"Be seeing you," he said with a nod to me.
His arms and legs erupted into plumes of red smoke as his torso disappeared behind a shower of white sparks. His face lingered for an instant, alone in the air with a chesire-cat’s grin lingering behind. With a wink of an eye and a devilish grin, he vanished in a flash of crimson fire.
Now what did he mean he’ll be seeing me? I thought.