Chapter 7: Dancing in the Streets

Around sunrise, vagrants all down the alley could hear the sweet sounds of the Rolling Stone’s ‘Shine a Light’ coming from the traveler’s temporary dumpster abode. This was Axel and Levon’s customized alarm tone, which they slept through numerous times thanks to the lavish comforts within their big ol trash rectangle. It was only once a trash-rifling bum fell onto them, while searching for cans and food scraps, that they awoke.

Dude, what the Fuck? You can’t just land on a couple of dudes catching some Zs in a dumpster! Is that how you were raised!?” Levon says, groggy and agitated.

Sorry about that fellas, I was just lookin’ for some food I dropped off here last night. They were a couple of snack wraps, but they were just too damn hot at the time so I had to let them cool down over-night. You guys seen ’em? There was a honey mustard, and an all American ranch.” The bum explains.

Nope, definitely ain’t seen nothing like that.” Axel responds.

Ya sure? I see the wrappers right over there.” The bum points out.

Oh… Yea, you know what, there was this other guy here.” Levon explains, uncertainly.

Yeah, a fat guy!” Axel chimes in, while searching for the right words.

Yeah, yeah! He was wearing this greasy wolf tee and was bald on top with a pony-tail, like that guy from the food network.” Levon continues, also fumbling to take the suspicion off of them.

Yeah, yeah, and he carried around a cane even though he didn’t need it, and not for nothing…was totally an anti-Semite.” Axel tells the bum.

Oh yeah, big time! He had this ‘I heart Hitler’ tattoo on his bicep, and I don’t even mean like it was Hilter’s name inside of a heart. It was literally just spelled out like that. It was offensive.” Levon goes on about the fictional scapegoat, who is becoming more obviously imaginary.

You should leave now and find that guy.” Axel says.

There was an awkward long pause. “You guys ate them. Real big of you guys to eat a homeless man’s dinner.” The bum shames them, as he hangs his head and walked off.

Well, now that’s over with. Lets check out that loot.”Levon says, rubbing his grubby little hands together.

They close the dumpster lid and dump out their sacks of stolen chachkies and knickknacks on top of it. Now spread out before them, it’s plain to see that they snagged some good shit.

Axel’s quick to grab the shiniest item from off the trash lid. It’s a metallic cylinder that contains a rolled piece of paper that Axel doesn’t have the patience to read at the moment.

What’s that dude?” Some kind of cylinder?” Levon asks.

I don’t know, but I do know it’s shiny and I stole it.” Axel replies.

They high five.

Something of a different caliber catches Levon’s eye. He rifles through the pile of priceless treasures and pulls out a very weathered pair of late 1990’s Nike Jordans. Levon slips off his very comfortable patent leather Steve Madden boots, via the side zipper, and pops on the stank-ass, pre-worn sneakers.

As he begins to jump up and down in place, he turns to Axel and asks, “How’s my vertical leap looking? Better? They say these things are great for that.”

Shaking his head Axel responds, “You look weighed down dude. Also that get-up you got going on makes you look like a pirate with clown feet trying to play a pick-up game of basketball. It’s not working.”

Whatever dude, you’re just jealous cause I snagged them first.” He says, as he slips his designer pair of sweet ass Steven Maddens back on and zips them up, via the side zipper.

They sort through the rest of the treasures, but knowing they have limited storage space (due to a certain family size pack of pizzeria combos they’ve been holding onto for a rainy day) they only grab a few more precious gems. They figure at least with the gems, they can fashion a couple pairs of matching cufflinks at a later date.

Axel notices Levon fiddling with a small package as they begin to head-out.

Whatcha got there man? Looks neat.” Axel says.

Yeah, gosh. It’s a pack of gushers I found in our stealings. You know I haven’t seen em in years. It’s kind of nostalgic looting at them. I swear they stopped making them when I was a boy.” Levon says, all nostalgic and shit.

Man, I fucking love gushers.” Axel says, longingly.

Well, take them man. I never enjoyed them all that much. Just wanted to fiddle with the bag a bit.” Levon tosses them to Axel, and he examines them closely to make sure they aren’t already gushed.

These are top-self, I’m going to hang onto these for a special occasion.” Axels says, as he sticks the pack into a small section of his ruck-sack.

Why don’t you finish cutting out the rest of the dead weight, and lets get to getting.” Levon suggests.

Yeah, I just want to leave everything in an organized pile for the next homeless drifter to come through, probably someone named Duncan or something.” Axel says.

Yeah whatever man, LETS RIDE!” Levon he rears back on his raptor.

Axel pops on his raptor, cowboy style, and heads off to the fancy skyscraper district. Shortly into the trip, the streets beginning to bustle and they notice a sharp influx in the amount of bagel shops, always a tell tale sign that you’re nearing the heart of any city.

Man, this place is a DUMP! It looked so cool from the street view on Google maps, but this… this is a dirty slum.” Levon says.

I reckon you right pilgrim. Looks like a whole lot of riff-raff is congregating over at that government style building over there. Lets go check it out, partner.” Axel says.

The two heroes, glistening in sweat under the setting sun, begin to clip-clop straight towards the growing hoard on their raptors.

They approach the crowd and try to get a feel of what’s going down, secretly hoping they’re surrounded by a group of ultra-fly break dancers.

What do you see with that 20/20 vision of yours?” Axel calls out over the grumbling of the crowd below, as he adjust his Tommy Hilfiger prescription sunglasses closer to his face.

First of all, it’s better than 20/20. I could be a damn fighter jet pilot if I wanted to. The optometrist told me so, and no, I haven’t figured out shit yet. It’s too fuckin dark here, it’s been dark since we got here. I hate it!”

I think it must be all the shit in the air.” Axel says, confidently.

Levon throws him a puzzled glance, “Shit in the air..?”

Suddenly, a crazy-old prospector like voice cuts through the white noise of the ever growing crowd, directed at them. “Hey! Hey! What are you boys doing up there?”

Uh, excuse me?” Levon says, audibly searching for the man who possessed the wacky, looney-tunes like voice.

They see a dirty old bum start to come closer to them. One look at him, and anyone could guess that his voice sounded the way it did. He was dressed in a shabby old tunic that looked like it was made from a bunch of old, soiled dish rags clippings. His loose fitting shorts were clearly fashioned from a burlap potato sack, evident with the fact that there were still potatoes falling out of them as he was walking over to them. The whole ensemble was tied together by a bright green, brand-spanking new pair of crocs.

Axel leans in close to Levon and whispers, “Dude, he’s wearing crocs.”

Levon shakes his head, “So tacky.”

Are you boys nuts?!? You got to get off them raptors, now! Hurry!” The gold miner-like man yells out.

“Man, shut the fuck up you dirty bum! Fuck off!” Levon curtly replies.

“No, I’m serious! You can’t be riding them things around here!” The man points to their beautiful show raptors (with papers). “They ain’t street legal! If the authorities see that, they’ll come out here and crack all our damn heads wide open, and close down the welfare line!”

They heed the smelly man’s toothless warning, and gracefully dismount the proud beasts. “Good looking out, old-man.” Axel says to the bum. “Sorry about my friend’s temper, he pops off like that.” Axel snaps his fingers.

“Oh, so that’s the line for welfare? Damn. My partner and I kind of thought something cool was going down, like a couple of dance-crews going at it or something.” Levon says, disapointed.

“Ohhh, no no no… I wish! There hasn’t been a dance-off here since they locked up that sprightly, dirty blonde young fella… I think his name was Bacon, or something or another.” The man said, whilst stroking his scruffy, uneven beard. “That there is the welfare line! Folks ’round here who are hard-up on their luck come down every week to cash in their stamps.”

“Oh wow, how great that the Capital City has an economy built on an infrastructure to support the working lower class by supporting them, and all the while creating new consumers to reinvest in what seems like a strong system of faith-based funding! The big wigs here in the city come off like a-holes, but this really is a nice service.” Axel peters off on the subject. “So, if you don’t mind me inquiring, how do they decide the payment restitution for everyone?”

“Oh, it’s great. You come down here the first of every month and wait in a loosely formed line, for oh I don’t know… about five or six hours? Once you get in though, you get to walk outta there with as many cigarettes as you can grab with your hand! Why just last week, our buddy Johnny grabbed twenty-five at once! We call him Twenty-Five now!” The old-man explains.

Wow, well that’s an incredibly unimaginative nickname.” Levon responds.

What do you mean cigarettes? You can live on cigarettes?” Axel seems utterly confused about the whole situation.

I got no problem eating them!” the burlap adorned man says, as he sticks a damp bust-down of a cigarette into his toothless face-hole.

You are truly a disgusting man.” Levon assures him.

This is insane. I’ve always heard stories about how magical the Capital City was!” Axel yells out, still utterly confused and now a bit disappointed.

If you’re talking about magical, then you must be thinking of that mystical fortress we got up there in the mountains.” He points his crooked finger above the city skyline, to what looks like a spire. “But nobody has been seen entering or leaving there in years, since the war even.”

“Okay thanks for the information man, you reek of liquor, good bye.” Levon shoves the hillbilly away.

Axel turns to Levon and says, “Shit man, that’s a floating ice fortress. If that’s not obviously where we need to go then I just don’t know… But how?”

Yeah, yeah, shit man. Everything you just said, but, maybe we should track down a bar, you know, to get our barrings and level off real quick.” Levon attempts to persuade Axel.

Axel takes a look over at Levon, “You’re looking a little shaky man. You alright?”

Yeah, no, don’t worry about me. There’s got to be a bar around here.” Levon says, as he takes off down the street with his eyes darting back and forth between different neon signs.

A ways down the road they start to pick up on a foreboding trend. Nearly all the people they pass are grilling the shit out of them. It’s not until they pass by a large, completely lit-up, bulletin board that they realize why.

Hey man, you’re going to want to check this out.” Axel says.

Everyone around here got a problem or something, staring at us and shit.” Levon thinks out loud, while continuing to mutter about a bar under his breath.

Take a look.” Axel says, tapping on the largest and most colorful piece of paper posted on the board.

***WANTED POSTER***

This is fucking bullshit!” Levon belts out

We’re not child molesters! Levon?! Right?!” Axel half asks/states with confidence.

Of course not, but who cares about that! Look at that embarrassing photo of me they put on there! I don’t even know where that came from, when is that even from? My junior prom?! Where the fuck did they get that?!” Levon asks, knowing it must have been from his old Myspace account.

Shit dude, I don’t know if we should be out on the street right now…” Axel says as he turns to where Levon had was standing, not seeing Levon but a door to a bar slowly closing in his wake. Axel shoots for the door, grabbing it before it fully closes and breaches into the the dimly-lit wine bar. His eyes adjust in half a second, and he notices Levon sitting at the bar with two empty drinks and two new friends.

And then I told that bitch, I sleep in a BUNK-BED!” Levon shouts the tail-end of that line, while aggressively beating the front of his chest.

Axel rolls his eyes. “For fucks sake.” He murmurs to himself, as he has heard this classic Levon story a hundred times and always found it more embarrassing than entertaining.

“Axel! Axel! Dude, you made it! C’mon over here and meet my new friends!” Levon shouts out, while waving him over, all at an inappropriately loud level for the classy uptight surroundings.

Axel reluctantly begins to approach “Dude, you’ve only been here three and a half seconds longer than I have… how did you already get and finish two drinks?”

“Aaahhh, don’t worry about that.” Levon cuts Axel off, “I want you to meet these two kick-ass dudes I’ve been chatting with.” He directs Axel’s attention over to the incredibly rad looking gentlemen seated next to him at the bar. “Axel, this is Kurt Russel and Bruce Campbell.”

Axel drinks in all the facial features and undoubtedly cool aesthetic of both men. Kurt had dirty blonde hair, which was done in a highly stylized, feathered, 80s style action-mullet. Everything about him screamed “free man.” From his tattered eye-patch, to his cut-off work out tank-top that boasted a tasteful imagine of a half-naked chick on it.

Bruce came off as a more down to earth, grounded kind of man, still wearing the smock from his day job at the local box grocery store. His strong jaw line alone is evidence enough that he’s not afraid to interrupt anyone to put his two cents in. His sweaty, jet-black hair accented his tasteful AND functional chainsaw arm in a way that fashion from the 80s always made a statement about individualism.

Axel approves.

“Hey fellas, the name is Axel.” Levon leans closer to open a side bar with Axel “Dude, these guys are pretty fuckin’ cool. You know they’re on the same mission as us? And get this… they’re writing a book!” Levon can barely contain his school-girl like giddiness.

Now, neither can Axel.

“Get the fuck out of here! That’s awesome!”

“Get the fuck out of here, I know!” Levon echos.

“Jeez, you know… I’m looking at these guys and it’s like looking in a fucking mirror!” Axel says, while starring right at the action hero duo, plausibly making them a little uneasy. After a few uncomfortable seconds, Kurt breaks the silence “Let’s get some drinks!” he shouts, as he calls over the bar tender.

She walks over to the rowdy crew, and slings a bar-rag over her shoulder. “What’ll it be?” she asks.

“Ummm… what do you have for whiskeys?” Axel asks, already knowing full damn well he’s going to order Jack Daniels.

“Well now, this is a wine bar so the selection is pretty limited to your basic, big name options.” she replies, in a sassy tone.

“Well a cup of that’ll do.” Axel then turns his attention elsewhere, figuring (incorrectly) he has made his order clear.

“Uh, I don’t believe we do entire CUPS of whiskey sir…” The bartender says, totally perplexed and definitely disgusted.

Before she can get a proper response in or even finish her thought, Bruce cuts in “You heard the man, four cups of whiskey!! I don’t have time to explain you’re job to you sugar tits, just get it done!” he then turns back over to the fellas. “This round is on me!”

So began the most radical, bitchin’ drinking montage you could ever possibly imagine, except you could never imagine it. It was that cool.

After several hours of increasingly sloppy and drunken rowdiness, the fun come to an abrupt halt when a tall man with a tie approaches them.

“That’s it! You boys are outta here! Especially you two!” he points directly to a very drunk Axel and Levon. “You guys got to go!”

“Fine!” Levon shouts back. “This place is an up-tight shit-hole anyways!” He stammers, as he tires 3-times to get up from his bar stool.

“What do you say we head out to the back alley-way for a good ol fashion dumpster-dent contest?” Kurt suggests. “They got a real nice one back there that could use a little chin-music.” The phrase chin-music was accompanied by a pantomimed upper-cut.

“Fuckin’, fuck yeah we wanna do that!” Axel and Levon say, while attempting to drunkenly high-five each other. “We know a thing or two about dumpsters.” Axel says, because they spent the previous night in a dumpster, filled with garbage.

They head into the back alleyway, to see who can leave the biggest dent in the side of the dumpster. The rules were simple: First round punching, second round kicking, third round drop-kicking. After a few good hours of some serious dumpster denting action, they all agree that the competition was a solid draw. Kurt and Bruce head off early, probably due to the fact that they seem to be a little more focused on their mission.

Now alone in the alleyway, Axel and Levon get into a very loud altercation as to whether the Indiana Jones franchise is quality cinema or not.

“They’re poorly filmed Steven Spielberg cash grabs that have ill-conceived story arks and nothing to do with archaeology!” Axel blurts out.

“You know what man? I’m getting sick of your shit.” Levon rebuttals, will clenching his fists tightly. The loud, pointless argument comes to an abrupt end when they hear the rhythmic cadence of cheap combat boots on cobble stone closing in. Instead of immediately being alarmed, knowing full well they are wanted men, they instead notice that the marching was in the same tempo as the famed Beastie Boys barn-burner “The New Style”. A song off their classic 1986 album, ‘Licensed to Ill’. Instinctively, they start harmonizing the familiar lyrics.

Axel spits the first verse: “A lot of beer, a lot of girls, and a lot of cursin’!”

Levon answers the call: “twenty-two automatic on my person!”

The back and forth continues: “Got my hand in my pocket and my fingers on the trigger, my posses getting’ BIG and my posses getting’… oh dear…” The nostalgic sing-a-long is put to an end mid-rhyme, once Axel looks up to notice that they have been cornered by a 1000 man regiment of Cultivist troopers.

Being far too inebriated and totally exhausted from a very heated debate over the artistic integrity of the original Indiana Jones trilogy, Axel and Levon could not even entertain the idea of engaging in another over-the-top, action-packed, hair-raising, edge of your seat battle of epic proportions with the familiar foes.

Well, I guess that’s the end of the line for us, we’re fucked.” Axel says, in a very somber tone.

Levon pauses for a second, seemingly deep in drunken thought.

Just as the troops start to slowly close in, in tight formation, Levon leans close to Axel.

Wait… dude. I got an idea.”

Levon begins to open his ruck-sack and paw through it, in the most unsubtle way.

The troop leader yells out “C’mon man, stop rifling through your sack. Look at us, We got guns and shit. Get real!”

Don’t count us out yet!” Levon yells triumphantly, as he pulls out his musty, tattered old pair of Jordan’s.

Man, with the sneakers. Again?!” Axel sighs, shaking his head.

Don’t worry dude, I got this.” Levon reassures him, as he falls over trying to remove his 100% genuine patent leather Steven Madden boots, via the side zipper.

I’m just going to pop these suckas on, then pop over that wall back there. In a single bound!”

Levon continues to struggle with both removing his boots, and equipping the sweaty, broken-in athletic footwear. At this point he is fully on the ground, flopping around like a baby seal. Axel lets out a yet louder, very audible sigh, letting everyone know he is also embarrassed by Levon’s feeble attempt at escape.

Stop that. Just, stop. Let’s go about this with some dignity here, alright? Just, stay still for a second at least.” The leader shouted again.

Just then, Levon gets up.

Hope you boys got enough fire power to blow through a brick wall!”

He bounds towards the wall behind him, with the grace and dexterity of a six month old golden retriever puppy. Upon nearing the wall, he bends downward and attempts a vertical leap. His feet barely make it off the ground, and he does not stick the landing.

Several attempts later, he quickly runs out of breath, ends up back on the ground, and slowly crawls his way back to Axel.

Axel begins to speak with a McConaughey inspired accent. “How bout one last high-five, before we embark on the wildest journey of all.” He says in a mellow tone, as he points a finger up at the sky.

The heroes raise their hands up to silhouette against the full moon, as the guards press the butts of their rifles into their shoulders. The high-five is now in full swing, whilst the eyes of the Cultivists align with the iron sights fixed on Axel and Levon. A pulled trigger clicks and a hammer smacks, as palms collide in the most perfect high-five man has ever executed or seen.

This poetic scene is followed by a deafening sonic assault of multiple explosions, all melding into one massive, disorienting eruption.

The dust clears, and reveals a surprising scene… Our heroes still stand. They gaze upon a gruesome scene of mangled bodies and wounded troopers, screaming and grasping at their feet.

Seizing the moment, as puzzling as it was, they trample those dick heads and start booking it down the street. Going out of their way to step on faces and ball-sacks, just for the hell of it.

Once a safe distance away, Levon signals to Axel that he needs to stop off and slow down for his ritual “Sprinting away from trouble at a bar” cigarette.

He perches the Turkish Gold in his mouth, and lights that shit up.

So, that was fuckin’ weird huh?” Levon says, while exhaling his first drag.

Fuck yeah. What kind of trick were you hiding up your sleeve to get us out of that mess?” Axel inquires.

Me? I didn’t do shit. I can barely see! I’m probably not even going to remember this tomorrow.”

Wait, dude. Your bracelet… it’s glowing.” Axel’s eyes widen with amazement.

Bracelet? What brace-… oh. Is that why my wrist is so warm? I forgot that Webb gave us these things.”

Axel leans down and picks something off of his boot. It’s a big toe.

The toe stubbing bracelets…” Axel says as he examines the big toe, and gives it a taste to make sure it’s the real deal.

Off to the side of the road, from a thick metal sewer grate, a voice cuts through the night with a whisper.

Follow me.”

They are so down for that.