Read Skullcrack City Online

Authors: Jeremy Robert Johnson

Skullcrack City

 

“A nightmarish yet hilarious journey that begins in the ugly world of toxic mortgages and progresses to the slightly uglier world of brain-eating monsters lurking in dark alleys. You’re in for an entirely unpredictable ride, the tale spinning ludicrously out of control as the hero uncovers layer after grotesque layer of a vast macabre conspiracy.
Skullcrack City
is original, utterly insane, and a shitload of fun.”


DAVID WONG
, author of
John Dies at the End

 


Skullcrack City
messes with your mind the way William Burroughs or a bellyful of hallucinogens will do. I’m a longtime fan of Johnson. A master of derangement, he’s been bringing it for years. This time, though, it’s different. He’s burst into the clear and is taking seven-league-strides across the literary landscape.”


LAIRD BARRON
, author of
The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All

 

“A dazzling writer.”


CHUCK PALAHNIUK
,

NY Times
Bestselling author of
Fight Club

 

“Jeremy Robert Johnson is dancing to a way different drummer. He loves language, he loves the edge, and he loves us people.
This
is entertainment...and literature.”


JACK KETCHUM
, author of
The Girl Next Door

 

“I don’t know if Mr. Johnson sold his soul to the devil to give him this gift for nightmare imagery, but by god, this guy can write. Johnson excels at pathology and perversity. A confirmed weirdo and authentic writer of uncommon emotional depth who deserves to be watched.”


CEMETERY DANCE

 

“What makes JRJ’s work stand out from his contemporaries’ is the strange sense of empathy—in that regard he is not unlike David Foster Wallace’s wicked and perhaps deranged younger brother. Sometimes the horror is so understated that it’s deadly. JRJ has the ability to balance sheer humanity with sheer grotesquerie.”


21C MAGAZINE

 

“The guy’s a genius. Reminds me of William Gibson—the dark interest in altered states of consciousness, the unrelentingly furious forward movement, and the same kind of unlimited imagination.”


BEN LOORY
, author of
Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day

 

“Waaaay out at the deep end of the collective unconscious—where even the bravest of brain cells fear to tread—Jeremy Robert Johnson performs stand-up comedy for the gods. And their laughter is a marvelous, terrible thing. He’s the kind of post-Lovecraftian genius berserker who makes the Great Old Ones new again. As with Clive Barker, there is no glorious mutational eruption that Johnson can’t nail directly through your gawping mind’s eye.”


JOHN SKIPP
,
NY Times
Bestselling author of
Spore
(w/ Cody Goodfellow) and
The Bridge
(w/Craig Spector)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lazy Fascist Press

PO Box 10065

Portland, OR 97296

 

www.lazyfascistpress.com

 

ISBN: 978-1-62105-171-8

 

Copyright © 2015 by Jeremy Robert Johnson

 

Cover Copyright © 2015 by Jeff Soto

 

Cover and interior design by Cameron Pierce

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written consent of the publisher, except where permitted by law.

 

All persons in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance that may seem to exist to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental. This is a work of fiction.

 

Printed in the USA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Jessica,

for your wisdom, courage, love,

and occasional total restructuring of reality into a new, more beautiful form.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It is pretty obvious that the debasement of the human mind…is no trivial thing. There is more than one way to conquer a country.”


Raymond Chandler

 

“The human mind will not be confined to any limits.”


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

“It’s a lovely day to go Blitzkrieg, isn’t it?”


El-P

 

Yes, that is your body on the ground. On behalf of everyone involved in your murder, we’d like to apologize.

If you need a moment to mourn, we totally understand. But global revolutions don’t really allow down time. Will it help you move on if you realize you’re not really dead?

It’s confusing at first. We know. Because the person you thought you were is right there on the floor, a body growing cold. This place is tidy so the blowflies won’t get a shot at you, but the bacteria and mites have already heard the dinner bell. The You Buffet is wide open.

And, yeah, within 48 hours the net will be flooded with obit’s and R.I.P.’s. grieving the loss of a great scientific mind. “Nobel-Winning Physicist Henry Trasp Dead at 91.” Book sales for
Our Galaxy, Our Mind
will soar. Old
Charlie Rose
interviews will resurface on public media. Colleagues will post heartfelt essays about how you changed everything, forever. You know the drill.

If it’s any consolation, you barely felt a thing. A pin prick, the flutter-panic of a heart shutting down under just the right dose of remifentanil.
Maybe
the surface vibration of the drills and saws as we created the bone flap.

We wish that we’d been so lucky. This trauma was some low hum lullaby next to what happened to us.

Hell, we even sutured your dura and scalp back into place. Your relatives won’t be shocked. It’s not like one of those gorilla-jawed skullcrackers got hold of you. Goddamn do they make a mess of the human head….

Sorry, Henry. That’s not the point. We can’t worry about them at present.

The more important fact is that you’re free now. No more wheelchair. No more retina-twitch typing rendered as robo-speech. Think of this in hermit crab terms: you’ve shed a too-small shell and upgraded to a conch condo. But your consciousness is a little soft in here. Too used to human limitations. We’ll help you grow.

It’s a delicate process. We lost a few minds before yours, but you’ll be integrated slowly. No blowouts. The last thing we need is one more charred genius.

We’ll be working in the background, Henry, uploading You. Your theories. The precise interlocking memories which led you to believe you existed. Once you’re in here the corridors of our knowledge will be open to you. But travel lightly. There are atrocities inside us. War criminals have
very
vivid memories. Not all scientists worked with theory. Some worked with flesh.

Enough. His ego still desires. He needs purpose.

You’re right. Henry deserves to know why he’s here.

The truth, Henry, is this: humankind is on its way out and our world is coming to an end.

We’d like to speed up that process, and we need your help. It’s a symbiotic set-up and if you do your job properly, there’s a reward beyond even your imagining.

We’ve got a two state drive to the next acquisition. Does that euphemism make you more comfortable? You’re still thinking of murder as a crime.

It’s not. Not anymore. Not in this new world.

You’ll understand once you’ve heard our story.

Before there was an Us, before the skullcrackers roamed the city, long before we had this machine attached to our back, and way, way before we realized it was a really great idea to murder you, there was just Me.

My name was S.P. Doyle, and I was a subhuman parasite buried deep in the flesh of a dark god.

Hey, you guessed it.

I was a banker.

Please forgive me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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