Get Doc Quick Intro. & Index

Get Doc QuickWhen everything’s come out sideways, there ain’t nothing but to take what’s left and get clear. But when a man ain’t got nothing left, what then?

Get Doc Quick–Mad Max in a Model T.

First, an introduction.

Hidely-ho, reader. I’m the writer best known as David Mark Brown and the infamous RedneckGranola. You may know me from such websites as www.thegreenporch.com or www.onetruepants. But currently you have stumbled upon my greatest achievement.

Reeferpunk is my self-created genre description (a sort of weird-Western, alternate history, 1920′s, humorous adventure thriller thing). Go here for more on that. These short stories take place in the same alternative history as the novels and sometimes involve major and/or minor characters. They are supplementary (but not necessary) to reading the novels and vice versa.

Join the Revolution!

No longer do good stories have to comply to the button-down world of publishing! You won’t find these bad boys behaving themselves under YA Paranormal or Mystery/Thrillers. Reeferpunk stories are written to blast apart retrictive confines of convention while still adhering to the classic elements of story-telling, the tried and true practices that carry us to the edge of of our seats, make us laugh and make us cry. I’m particularly fond of the characters that you will get to know and love over the next decade’s worth* of Reeferpunk.

*The first book will be cataclysmically good. The next three will be somehow even better. I’ll grow fat on my wealth of penny rolls (I like my money in shiny form) leading to a blase fifth book, then rebound for the sixth, seventh and eighth. The ninth will be a terrible attempt to take the characters into space on a diesel-powered locomotive (only read it if intoxicated). And blah, blah, blah.

Reading Get Doc Quick

Doctor Quincy Quick is a Company doctor helpless to stop a raging plague known as the Twitch from consuming the mining town of Thurber, Texas during the winter of 1920. The only thing left to do is to escape along with his wife and young daughter. Get Doc Quick is a heart-thumping Model T chase scene wrapped around a juicy center of redemption and second chances, revenge and moral duty. It’s Mad Max in a Model T! I pity the fool! (Oh wait, wrong T.)

Divided into 10 scenes bursting with thrills, spills and chills, Get Doc Quick separates the quick from the dead. So get your hands where I can see ‘em, and enjoy the show!

Follow these links for more on ReeferPunk or Fistful of Reefer, the first novel in the series.

Get Doc Quick: p.10

Immediately after my shoulder collides with the frozen ground, the stone house detonates. I crumple and skid before being tossed like a ragdoll in the shockwave pursuing me out the window. Fragments of the tattering roof whistle overhead and disappear. And then I hear nothing but ringing.

Billowing smoke and dust settles over me as I struggle to lift my battered body. Seconds later the heavier pieces of roof collide with the tops of the trees on their way back to earth. Dragging myself away from the house, I pick glass out of my arms until I reach the clearing where I parked.

Luckily the idiots ignored my auto, choosing to head straight for the stone house. Sliding through the gaping hole on the passenger side, I crank it over and gun the engine. After tearing a donut in the grass I shoot back out the way I came.

Everything goes blood red with thoughts of revenge, as the memories of my dying Dot and my murdered Liz are joined by the rotgut feeling of holding Abby’s blood-stained shoe in my hand. God dammit! Even Job had been allowed to start over!

Swinging wide around a tight corner, my watch floats across my field of vision. The frozen hands mock me. The time’s come, but I’m not going alone. There’s only one thing to do first, and it so happens it’ll fit nicely into the plan. I let up slightly on the gas, allow my racing heart to slow along with the auto.

Finally I see lights in the rearview mirror. Nodding my head in approval, I continue toward the only fitting place for it all to end. Thirty minutes later I bounce onto a dirt road, less than a mile ahead of Vezzoni and his men. I intentionally shoot gravel in an arcing rooster tail, tearing up the ground worse than a deer in rut so Vezzoni won’t lose me.

I speed up to give myself time, whipping past mesquite branches that cramp the little-used dirt road. Skidding to a stop under the giant cedar elm, I rifle thought my satchel for the bundle of letters tied off with string. It’s you and me, Dot.

Gimping toward the tree, I collapse near the rock at its base. With a grunt I tip it over and brush off the metal box I’ve kept underneath it for over 40 years. Tears are flowing freely down my grizzled cheeks, lightly slapping the slick surface. Guilt, regrets, grief, anger, loss, all colliding in the moment. A locket, a photograph, now a bundle of letters—and J.T.’s wedding ring. Just a few years ago, he’d returned, taken it off and buried it with the rest.

When he doesn’t hear from me, he’ll know. He’ll come here first. And he’ll finish the job. Hell’s gonna get crowded.

With the rock back in place, nothing’s left but to blow out the candle. And I got the perfect method in mind. Somewhere distant, cloaked by night I hear the company cars closing in. They smell blood.

My carbide lanterns were crushed on Ranger Hill, but the carbide reservoir is over three quarters full. I’ve already picked the spot—the wash. Thirty yards back, the dirt road turns sharply and crosses a dry wash before creeping steadily uphill to the edge of the bluff shaded by the giant cedar elm.

Quickly I use the camp shovel to load the trunk with a couple inches worth of gravel. Then, unraveling several feet of fuse, I rip up the cushion behind the seat and feed two feet of the wick into the reservoir welded to the bottom of the Model T. Using my forearm I measure the length of the fuse left, run the numbers through what’s left of my mind and come out with 18 seconds. Eighteen seconds.

Headlights dance through the skeletal mesquite trees and live oaks still clinging to life. I estimate the distance to the bottom of the wash. I wanna make sure I surprise the bastard, get close enough to see the piss soaking through the crotch of his pants.

With the fuse coiled on the roof, I scamper around front and start pushing the auto backwards until its rolling slowly of its own volition. Vezzoni’ll be in the lead car now that he thinks I’ve curled up under a tree to die. He’ll want to finish me himself. Headlights shine into the opening just on the other side of the wash.

I climb onto the hood, strike a match and hold it to the tip of the fuse. It sparks to life, sizzling quickly. With one last grunt I hoist myself onto the roof of the Model T on hands and knees. Vezzoni’s car slows to make the sharp turn and angle down into the wash. His cabin lights are on. The fuse burns past the edge of the roof and drops inside the auto. As I stand, stretching out to my full height, I see the man’s eyes following the road across the bottom of the wash and slowly up the other side until he finally sees me.

At first his face reveals nothing but a gloating arrogance, his work-a-day expression. But then something switches. Fear and anger crease his brow as he hits the brakes, stopping dead center in the wash. Rolling toward him at a fast run, I simply smile and nod as the flickering tail of fuse drops through the floor and into the tank.

END

Get Doc Quick: p.9

For a brief moment I hear nothing. Nothing at all—my mind and my senses blank, and it’s the most peaceful I remember feeling for the last thirty years. Through the corner of my eye I spot my satchel riding on the seat beside me. The burdens of the moment flood back in as I return the bag to the floorboard.

Straightening up, I grip the wheel with both hands, finally realizing the engine isn’t running. I take a deep breath and crane my neck to look back up the hill. With no signs of pursuit I turn the key. The baby starts right up, never skipping a beat.

After a blessedly uneventful couple hours, I arrive at Fort Belknap. Abandoned since shortly after the Civil War, not much of the place remains, but it makes for a meeting place I can control. Driving past the crumbling stone pillars of the entrance, my mind replays the same thoughts it’s been brooding on for the last hundred and twenty minutes—whether Isabella and Abby were able to make it. Whether they were safe. And healthy.

I hadn’t seen any signs of the plague since Breckenridge, where a sign had been posted more or less telling people to stay the hell out. I roll past the stone building that served as the magazine and park behind it. Three times I tap my dead watch, hanging again from the mirror. Turning off the engine, I step out onto the frozen ground with effort—my old body stiff, frozen and bruised. The groin pull forces me to drag my left leg like a cripple, leaving a trail through the light powdering of snow.

I duck under low-hanging live oak branches until I reach the mostly intact remains of a small stone house. In the past it might have been an officer’s. At the moment, it’s wrong. I told Isabella to light a lamp. A shiver ripples through my aching body. They didn’t make it.

I limp up to the front door. Lifting my hand to push it open, I hesitate with my fingers resting on the rough wooden grain. The clouds break, pierced by moonlight for the first time that night. Something’s not right. I glance at my feet where tracks lead to the door. It takes me a moment. A heavy boot print sunk a quarter inch into the spongy ground couldn’t be Isabella’s, and I know it ain’t mine.

A branch snaps in the trees behind me. Putting my shoulder down I burst through the door and three strides inside the single-room building before slipping in a puddle. Re-pulling my groin, I dip awkwardly to one knee and barely catch myself before tumbling into the far wall.

A skittering object comes to rest in the far corner, swept there by the door. Men’s voices drift inside, barking gruff orders and getting closer. My mind is afire with anger and fear. This isn’t the plan. Why won’t they leave us alone? Why couldn’t God honor one solitary man’s plan to protect his family?

I scuttle toward the far corner, groping for the mystery object, groping for a scrap of hope, anything. What I find is little Abby’s shoe—pink with a white buckle, her favorite. My fingers stick to it, the shiny surface smudged with blood. My whole hand and my foot are dripping with coagulating blood.

My mind screams, then my lungs, my throat, giving voice to the rage, the grief. The darkness that had been hibernating within my soul, licks the insides of the stone walls like tongues of fire, like dynamite tearing at the surface of the earth bursting through a hidden seam and into the light of day.

“Go in and get him!” The voice is Vezzoni’s. And if there is a hell, I know in that moment that it’s my new mission to put him there. Even if I have to introduce him to the devil personally. Ignoring the signals sent from my exhausted muscles, I pick myself off the floor and lunge for the back window and the trip wire set to spark off 35 pounds of TNT.

Part 10

Get Doc Quick: p.8

I glance down at the icy surface of the road where the passenger door used to be and fend off a bout of dizziness. Up it is. Stiffly, I unfurl my legs. Standing on the frame of the car I push the driver’s side door all the way open, still clutching the Auto-5 through the hole I’d cut for it. Snowflakes rush past, stars against a canvas of black.

Gauging both the spin of the car and the direction of the incoming fire, I hold my breath until the right moment and pull the trigger. The cabin of the Model T reverberates as the sounds of gnarled metal and exploding glass fills the cramped space. The scent of sparking gunpowder wafts through the opening above me. Eventually the spotlight shatters, extinguishing the snowflakes with it. After expending all five shells and spinning slowly to a stop, I gather that all of the company cars have been disabled, but not all the company goons.

It’s dark and no one is shooting, so I climb out the door and onto the side of the car for a better view. Fifty yards on the other side of the blockade, a guard faces away from me. He gestures furiously toward the darkness enshrouding the road while the car I’d assumed was stuck crests the hill at a creep. Failing to climb in reverse, they had tried low and made it, but starved of gas.

After a few more frantic words from the guard the car accelerates slowly but steadily in my direction, the lug nuts intending to push the pile into me. I jump down and try desperately to spin the Model T so that the inevitable collision might rock it back onto its tires. But the water created by the friction of the spin has frozen it in position.

Finally there’s nothing to do but run or jump back inside and pray for the best. While not a praying man, I still choose the latter. The guard, approaching on foot, takes a couple of pot shots in the dark—enough to make my cheeks pucker as I lower myself back into the T and pull the driver-side door shut with a loud clang.

A second later the jumbled roadblock of company cars impacts mine, pushed from the other side. The jolt unsticks me from the ice, but nothing so fortunate as flip me back onto my tires. Swearing, I reach for the glove box, and the .38 caliber pistol I keep there. Soon the functional car will clear the gap and pin me in. Briefly I think of Isabella and Abby waiting for me until sunrise before retuning to Palo Pinto fraught with worry.

I swear again before realizing that I’m still moving. The icy surface of the road visibly picks up speed below the passenger door opening. Tobogganing isn’t driving, but it’s movement, and in the right direction. The slide increases to a slow jogging pace and it strikes me that I’ve got no control—over speed or direction.

Dry-mouthed and clenching my jaw, I fumble around in my britches pocket for a new peppermint Chiclet—the one damn thing I still control. Sliding faster than a healthy man can run, I shove the remainder of the box back in my pocket, and before I can wonder about the first turn in the road, the Model T strikes a rock and starts to tip—tits up.

Off balance, I bellyflop onto the ceiling. Then like a pinball against the flippers, the car strikes the guard rail and spins back into the road, skidding even faster now on nothing but the two Brownings I welded to the roof like skis. At least now I can see out the shattered windshield.

But the limited scenery revealed by the headlights keeps shifting from road to ditch to road to ditch so fast I feel like a kid spinning around a bat. Rattling around on the ceiling, what I think at first is the teeth in my head, turns out to be my pocket watch. Clutching it, I focus on the busted surface, the frozen hands.

It ain’t time yet to die. I shove it in my pocket, close my eyes, clench my jaw and prepare for the impact I know’s gotta be closer than a snake bite. But rather than a sudden jolt, the car slows gradually, the sound of skidding on ice replaced by slick asphalt, then gravel. When the car finally hits, the momentum throws me against the driver-side door before slowly rolling one more time, and with a final crunch lands back on all four tires.

I open the left eye first, then the right. My butt’s back in its seat. My eyes are looking straight out the opening that used to be my windshield, the Model T planted square in the ditch at the bottom of Ranger Hill.

Part 9

Get Doc Quick: p.7

Heading southwest on Highway 1, I slow before reaching the pull-out for Ranger Hill. Just recently paved, the asphalt’s still bubbling with oil. Even cold, the moisture has made it slicker than snot on a skillet. And near the top I’m betting it’s frozen.

Sliding to a stop, I grind the gears before shifting into reverse and whipping around to face the way I’d just come. Multiple sets of headlights grow larger—bear’s eyes emerging from the back of a cave.

Like dancing on a banana peal, I back up the steep hill at full throttle, using gravity to keep gas and oil in the engine and ground up pecan shells to keep me on the road. Ranger Hill has bested stout vehicles and skilled drivers during good weather. Never me mind you, but I’ve never tried it in the snow.

After the first thirty yards it’s slow going, but I’m still going. The lead company car hits the base of the hill at full speed, trying to use its momentum to reach me. It damn near works, but as soon as a bullet spiderwebs my windshield I pull the chains dangling from the roof. With a bark, muffled by the accumulating snow, the shotguns shatter the company car’s windshield and spew an oily steam from the block, scalding both men instantly. The car careens off the road, smashing into a clump of trees.

The two cars remaining have already started up the hill in reverse, taking the slow but steady pursuit. I switch my left foot over to the gas pedal and try to lift my right to kick out the splintered glass, but the movement reminds me of my pulled groin.

Suddenly a spotlight ignites the air around me and I decide to worry more about what’s waiting for me at the top of the hill. Holding the wheel steady, I continue my slow ascent while racking my mind on how to deal with the surprise check point. As I near the crest of the hill one car has fallen away, apparently stuck, but the other is keeping pace.

The guard booth sits on the south side of the road. A couple of company Model Ts block the road, parked grill to grill. I picture little Abby waiting for me in the cold, depending on me, and my paternal instincts clutch my guts. In a flash of orneriness, I decide the least likely approach seems the best. So I gun the engine, still in reverse, and head straight for the roadblock.

Bullets perforate the back of the cabin and the door, shattering the glass. While spinning on the ice and trying to correct, I lean across and open the passenger-side door, equipped with a fully-loaded Browning. Aiming with the door itself, I start pulling the trigger.

As long as I’m part of this gunpowder ballet, I might as well keep calling the shots. The guard booth splinters, papers exploding from the desk like geese from a pond. “Hyaw!” All five shells spent, I flop back in my seat, leaving the door open.

Without time to think I direct the T toward the guard rail on the north side of the road. There’s a tiny gap between the parked cars and the rail. Not enough to fit through, but…

The back of the car collides with the tapered end of the rail, bucking up and over the top of it. One wheel off the ground, I keep backing up the railing, clipping the passenger-side door against the parked car and tearing it off. But with two wheels off the ground and the other two slipping on the ice, the car sticks fast.

Before I can cuss I catch a flash of movement through my spidered windshield. The fool company goons in the only remaining Model T had intended on following my lead. The brakes locked and still sliding on the ice, they smash into me.

The sudden jolt squirts me through the roadblock, popping my spent Chiclet from my mouth and onto the dash. Wobbling on two wheels and watching the hard lump of gum tumble toward the missing passenger-side door, I hold my breath. Find your feet, girl.

But the T gasps and collapses to its side just behind the pile-up, spinning slowly on the frozen surface of the road. Gunfire whizzes overhead and pings off the undercarriage, coming dangerously close to puncturing the carbide reservoir I welded there—the effects of which I don’t care to explore.

Part 8

Get Doc Quick: p.6

Snowflakes crystallize on the windshield, giving me an idea. With my left foot I work the pedal added for operating the wipers and distributing lab alcohol over the glass at the same time. If it’s freezing here, it’ll be even colder at the top of Ranger Hill. Despite the snow stealing my speed advantage, my special tires might turn the tables yet. Just last week, after word of the forecast, I embedded the rubber with pecan shells.

I switch off the electric lights and cut the gas to the carbide lamps, bouncing back toward Highway 1 on nothing but touch and memory. Closing within fifty feet, I see the lead driver startle as I appear out of thin air like an apparition. He gesticulates wildly to the goon holding a rifle in the passenger seat as I pass them by.

The element of surprise gone, I veer back into the road and pull the chains to the Auto-5s, lodging a shot in the engine block of the trailing Model T. Fishtailing, I bounce across the road in front of it and gun the engine to pass them on the passenger side. Simultaneously, both goons riding shotgun find their triggers, perforating the side and trunk of my Model T.

While accelerating toward the paved surface of Highway 1, their second shots miss. My jaw pops as I unclench my teeth. A flat tire or a hole in my gas tank and the night ends sooner than later, and I still have several miles to go—several miles between me and my second chance.

 

December 15th, 1919

Dearest Dot,

John McCutchen showed up this morning. J.T. brought the old man in over his shoulder, asking for me by name. He flashed his irons, and the company chose to send for me rather than shoot it out in the lobby. But they warned me that they would reconsider if I tried anything funny. Funny? What the hell could I find funny about any of this?

It broke my heart, Dot. John was almost gone already. J.T. had done what he could to comfort the old man. Crossed a couple of check points to get him to the hospital, which must have been no small deed. Damn if every time I see the boy I don’t experience the grief of our Elizabeth’s murder all over. I can see it in his eyes too. After sixteen years as a Ranger I know he’s got other ghosts to haunt him, but Liz was the first. Like you were for me.

That first one’s different. I never could say goodbye to you, Dorothy. Maybe it’s punishment for the guilt. Maybe I still need your ghost to keep me alive. All I know is after today, J.T.’s got one more to add to his collection. But this one’s gonna demand blood recompense.

Dammit, Dot. There’s just certain things a man should never be asked to do. Putting a bullet in the head of his crazed old man is one of them. I tried to tell J.T. there was nothing to be done, that the twitch was a one-way road to hell, but he pleaded with me. And John had been the one to pull me out of the gutter after Elizabeth.

I really wished there was something I could do. I took my stethoscope and played the role, Doc Quick on call. But I got too close. The old man looked nearly dead, and I couldn’t picture John hurting a flea. But when the cold metal touched his chest, his eyes lit up. He seized my collarbone in his jaw, gnawing on it like a junk yard dog.

Before old John could snap the bone in two, the lobby echoed with a single shot. Just like I done thunked his knee with my hammer, J.T. dropped him on reflex alone. Not until I cradled his dead papa in my blood-stained smock did the emotion settle into his eyes—the realization of what he’d just done. And a hell of a thing at that.

It’s a shit world, Dot, and everything’s come out sideways. There ain’t nothing but to take what’s left and get clear. But when a man ain’t got nothing left, what then? You and I both know I’ve been there, and that the devil knows me by name. Well, J.T.’s there now, and poke me in the eye if I’m lying, but I fear for the devil.

Quincy

Part 7

Get Doc Quick: p.5

Taking a quick glance back toward the lights approaching in the distance, I open the door and step onto the uneven surface of the road. After a few steps around to the front bumper I freeze. Good God.

Bodies. Cold as the grave and collecting snow, a whole slew of ‘em. Just plopped down and left in the road like rotten fruit fallen from a tree. They cover the whole road beyond the straining electric lights.

A rustling in the dark sends a sizzle of electricity jumping through my body. A faint growl encourages me back inside the T. I gun the engine. Bouncing along a road paved by the dead and dying, I notice lights from up ahead, jolting their way toward me while the lights from behind are gaining.

Finally I jerk the wheel onto the rutted wagon trail leading south to the overlook. Ghostly hallucinations dance in my peripheral vision. Mirages of former humans, the twitch infected, are piled in clumps along the side of the road. Tattered clothing flutters from mesquite branches. Ghastly faces, blurred with fury, loom out of the shadows. The countryside burns alive, flooded with spectral images—black flames of plague. And I can’t stop it. Until eventually it’s burning me.

I slam on the brakes and skid sideways, stopping short of the bluff by less than a foot. “Get a grip, you mindless ninny.” I slap myself and take a look about. Perfect. The approach to Antelope Overlook is shielded by a mound high enough to hide the cars parked there. Over the years the road has carved a notch though it like the sight on a rifle, with room for only one car to pass through at a time. Tonight I’m betting that car’s gonna be mine.

Facing out the way I came, I flick the fuel line open to the carbide lights, but wait to hit the electric ignition. I spit the spent lump of gum onto the floor and replace it. Untangling the pull chains that dangle from the two Browning A-5s welded to the roof, I give in to a maniacal smile. Two sets of beams flicker into view, energizing the steadily falling flakes of snow.

I drop the pedal to the cold metal floor, tires digging into the softening earth. The engine roars, overwhelming the duel mufflers momentarily before surging with the power reaped from a billion tiny explosions, harnessed and funneled into moving parts. Exhilarating, the feeling focuses me as well. At the crest of the notch I hit the igniter for the carbide headlights. Primed and ready, they burst into blinding stars.

Bearing down at full-throttle, the company cars falter. I clutch the pull chains and yank. Gunpowder flashes from the tips of the muzzles peeking over the lip of the roof. The windshield of the lead car explodes as the shotguns thunder their fury. Time slips into slow motion, everything happening at once.

The company car jerks wildly off the road, climbing the steep slope of the notch. I slack my grip on the pull chains. The Browning Autos kick out spent shells, loading fresh ones in the same motion. My engine growls, reaching a higher level of performance on level ground. Through all of it a smile curls my lips.

In the span of seconds, I tighten my grip on the pull chains again. Duel flares emerge. Sparking gunpowder hurdles buckshot indiscriminately through metal, flesh, bone—ripping apart the second Model T like an unopened can of beans left in the fire.

Clinging to the hill above me, the first car reaches gravity’s limit and topples over backwards. Barely missing, it smashes into the road behind me. Simultaneously the car in front snaps sideways like a horse’s ankle in a rabbit hole. Losing its purchase, it rolls. Shattering glass mingles with the snow swirling in the headlights as they illuminate the side of the notch.

Closing the gap too fast and no where to go, I choose gas over brakes. Focusing on the tumbling cars’ lights, I beg my T to climb the side of the notch. Almost too late I remember the rubber bulb added for just this occasion. Filled with extra gas for climbing uphill, I give the bulb two quick pulses. Spinning in the dryer dirt while climbing, I turn my head to follow the shattered shell of the company T, dodging it with less than a foot to spare. The wrecked auto’s electric lights finally go dead as I pass.

Letting off the gas for the first time, I pull back onto the rutted path and focus on the two company cars still in the distance. My watch swings subtly from its chain.

Part 6