MANTULA Part Thirty-Two: The Cussing Quail

Doug has a potty mouth on his hands.

“Mother f@#ker!”

My eight eyes fluttered open. I wasn’t prepared for telepathic shouting in my head so early in the morning.

“God f@#king Sh#t!”

I stretched out on the couch and looked around for my dead-but-not-anymore friend. I could hear him, but with our mental link, it was hard to hone in on his location. His cussing, on the other hand, had found that sensitive part of my brain and stomped on it. I wished the bird would lower his voice.

“F@#king f@#k!”

“Everything okay, buddy?” I called out. Things didn’t sound okay, but I’ve never been dead as far as I know. I’d been turned into a tarantula, one that was growing larger thanks to the weakening curse, but I don’t think I’d been killed when my body went from human to arachnid. For ManQuail, Glenn, being dead might have had some off effects. For all I know it might have been the meth talking too, though I was pretty sure Saint Dymphna cleared all that out of his system.

“Sh#@t,” he replied. He might have been talking to himself, however, and not replying. I sprang off the couch, now fully awake, and went in search of my roommate.

He wasn’t in the living room, nor kitchen or bathroom, but I finally found him in his room. He leaped and fluttered around the space like a bird gone insane. Feathers floated everywhere. Glenn launched himself straight up from the floor as I walked in. He bounced from the ceiling and splatted once more to the carpet.

“Sh#t sh#t sh#t!”

There was something else about my friend as well. He’d grown larger. Like me, he was at least three times bigger than when I saw him last night. The vinegar worked well it seemed, or maybe it was Dymhna’s dainty touch, but we were changing and changing quickly. It still wasn’t fast enough for me (I wanted to man up again now), but any change is better than nothing I figured.

I approached the quail as he lay in the middle of the spartan bedroom. Being the room was no longer used much, I wasn’t worried about him hitting any furniture other than the bed. Before all this happened to me I cleared most of my belongings out, given them to Goodwill and other local thrift stores, and had very little left, save a few clothes and stuff, to call my own.

“A$$h@le!” Glenn flapped his wings on the floor. Feathers and down rose up like a mist around him.

“Are you calling me that or what?” I put my leg on his shoulder and exerted a bit of pressure to stabilize him a bit. Having my human-sized strength made it easy to keep him down. He panted a little, huffed and puffed, cussed a lot more, but he seemed to be calming. I kept up the pressure, hoping I wouldn’t be keeping the quail in check all day. It was weird, being that I’m an ugly tarantula, but I had a massive craving for coffee. I know I had some in the cupboards and I was resolved to make a little for myself. I wouldn’t need much, considering my size, but I really wanted some.

I let up the pressure just a bit. “C@#ks&cker bastard sh#th%ad.” He mumbled now, but it still came off pretty filthy-sounding. I was thankful he’d lowered his voice a few notches.

I reassured the bird as best I could. He stared at me as he always did and didn’t seem terrified that a large spider had a leg-hold on him. I was pretty sure he knew me, that he hadn’t lost his memory, but for some reason his recovery came with a crap-ton of cussing.


ManQuail meme!

Trying to sound light, yet comforting at the same time, I mentioned how much I wanted to brew a pot of coffee and get the day started off right. It had already started off wrong, mind you, but I didn’t want him to think that. Kolbe told me to be supportive and take care of him. I suppose if that meant holding the bird down all day then so be it. “Maybe you could go for a bit of coffee too. We could make a pot and sit on the table checking email. How does that sound?”

ManQuail nodded, seeming to understand, and began cussing up a storm once again. Only this time he didn’t flap around like a damn maniac. His cursing came off softly now, conversational really, but I had no idea what the topic of the conversation could be besides sleeping with my mother. I wondered if the two Catholic saints had any idea this would be the result of Glenn’s resurrection. He wasn’t cussing last night. He only sounded drunk. Today all he could speak were curse words. It was a little weird, and would probably crack my son up if he were here watching my predicament. I’d think it was pretty funny myself if it wasn’t so messed up. Not only were we suffering from a curse, but we’d dealt with a lot in recent days, and it appeared we had more to deal with on the horizon. On top of that I had a quail for a friend that only knew how to cuss.

Glenn followed me back into the living room and made himself comfortable on the kitchen table while I set to work making coffee. I could hear him typing on the keyboard at the computer while I filled the carafe and dug a helping of coffee grounds out of the can. The coffee had been there for a while, but I didn’t care. It still smelled like coffee and that was all that mattered. I dumped the grounds into the reusable filter and poured in the water like a mad scientist, excited for my caffeinated creation to be born. I hit the start button and stepped back, listening excitedly for the bubbling gurgle to begin. It sounded heavenly when it did. While it percolated, I join Glenn at the kitchen table. I could see he’d opened a document and written something. Glenn nodded toward the screen, urging me to take a look and said, “F@#k.”

I scanned the computer screen quickly and felt the blood rush from my body.

“I can’t seem to talk at the moment. But I want to tell you something. I saw your son, Doug. I saw him in heaven,” Glenn wrote.

MANTULA will return.

Published by patrickwhitehurst

Patrick Whitehurst is a fiction and non-fiction author who's written for a number of northern Arizona newspapers over the years, covering everything from the death of the nineteen Granite Mountain Hotshots to Barack Obama's visit to Grand Canyon. In his spare time he enjoys painting, blogging, the open water, and reading everything he can get his hands on. Whitehurst is a graduate of Northern Arizona University and currently lives in Tucson, Arizona.

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