Little Willie sat down on the park bench. He'd found an empty spot by Spreckels Lake in Golden Gate Park, away from the kids piloting state of the art RC boats and in the opposite direction of an elderly Asian couple walking methodically around the lake. He pulled some bread out of a paper bag and slowly tore a few pieces off, throwing them to the ducks that had immediately flocked in his direction.
“You weren’t followed, I trust.” Who’s Your Daddy slouched beside him, smelling of Pliny the Elder and Clif gels. His headband, new running shoes, iPod arm band and carefully coordinated tracksuit screamed recreational jogger. None of his friends would have recognized him.
Little Willie sniffed. “This is the last time, Who’s Your Daddy. Consider my debt paid after this.”
“After the job is done. The last day of August. 7:15 PM sharp.” The ducks looked at his hands hopefully. Who’s Your Daddy pulled a tattered map out of his pocket.
“No.” Little Willie looked across the lake. “We do this my way. My trail.”
“The distraction has to be perfectly timed.” Who’s Your Daddy cautioned. “The extraction will be impossible otherwise. The code word is ‘orange.’”
“I’ll do my part,” replied Little Willie. “Will your team do theirs?” He stood and walked away stiffly. Pursing his lips, Who’s Your Daddy took a swig out of his hip flask and jogged away a minute later.
The quiet rumble of a Jaguar C-X75 broke the silence that had settled in the park. Whorifist peeled the mask from his face, donned a pair of Oakleys and pulled smoothly onto Fulton Street. Seconds later, having cast aside a grey wig, Primal Vagina threw her leg over her BMW R1200C and screeched away in the opposite direction, leaving a skid mark in her wake.
Neither was carrying the cane that had moments before supported them on their walk together.
An RC boat bobbed dolefully alone in the middle of the lake. It began to rain.
He exchanged a glance with Bitch’s Bitch, who nodded and slunk towards the cover of the wall to retrieve the group before they could be spotted. Little Willie took a moment to gather himself before walking over to Hand Pump.
“There’s been a bit of a delay.” These were not the words that Little Willie wanted to hear from a man he considered a mentor.
“We’re cutting it close as it is,” Little Willie groaned. “What is it now?”
“That’s on a need to know basis,” muttered Hand Pump. “We’ll hold them back a few extra minutes to compensate.”
“Yes, but what if they get lost? Do you trust them to do the job well?”
Hand Pump gazed over the crowd. Most of them looked hung over. Good Shit Lollicock belched, and Cock Taser, directly in the line of fire, nearly passed out. Dick Simmons had three virgins on his two hands with only one idea on his mind. Miss Delivery had both of his arms in his shirt. Selfie Stick was trying to cut Do Her Well’s imaginary pigtails.
“No. You’ll have to go with them.”
Little Willie sucked in his breath sharply. “That’s unheard of. Against every protocol—”
“Ever written. And I know. I wrote them.” Hand Pump walked away.
Little Willie shook his head, paused, then winced as Just Doesn’t Get It blew his whistle right in his ear. With that the pack was off, ahead of schedule, and he had to hope they would get hopelessly off trail at some point.
Weiner I Am sprinted away, crashing through a family picnic and into some bushes. The rest of the pack veered off to the side, running through a fence and dashing through the road in front of several cars. Confusion ran rampant. Udder Moron sprinted through the woods, and the pack followed. A branch snapped underfoot, and Crabs dove into the ditch, Gloryhole diving in after him. They looked at each other, scanned the scene for enemy fire, and hauled themselves back out and after the pack.
Meanwhile, the pack had become flummoxed by a check and milled around anxiously. Dick Simmons leaned over the window of a 1975 Beetle, coifing his hair in the spotless reflection. He glanced at the passenger mirror. A light flashed three times, and he nodded with satisfaction. “On on!” he shouted, leading the pack forward.
They ran through a playground, and Little Willie looked at his watch, a Hamilton Khaki X-Wind that had been synchronized with the atomic clock the last time he was at the US Naval Observatory. Barely eight minutes to spare. He strode forth, watching as a few hashers instinctually followed him. They arrived at a check, and he subtly moved up the trail.
“On on!” Just Joel leapt ahead, guiding them further up the hill. But wait! Little Willie cringed—where were they going? He strode after the FRBs, and looked at the large letters on the ground. RC… RC… Rogue Cow!
Little Willie felt a twinge of terror travel down his spine. Rogue Cow—he had not been seen in months—yet he was making his dreadful presence felt. Little Willie should have known that enemies lurked ever in the darkness. Marking a true trail arrow on the ground, he shook off his growing sense of foreboding. It could be a coincidence, an innocent group of runners using simple initials to lead their crew.
Despite these reassurances, despite these rationalizations, he knew the chances of failure were high. But he had only to do the job, as best he was able.
The pack faltered again and again, half of them finally making their way onto the golf course. A man in a golf cart drunkenly shook his club at them, but the group ran unabated along the path. “FORE!” screamed someone in the distance.
Little Willie looked down and bent to tie his shoe. He palmed a tee from the ground. As he bent up and stepped forward, he stumbled over a golf ball. It rolled towards Slug, who was also adjusting her laces. Recovering his balance, he sprinted off towards the crowd.
Little Willie ran as he had never run in his life, chasing after the Eagles with his fists tightly clenched. He jumped over logs and bounded up the steps of the trail as the sun set. At the top, a figure stepped forward from the shadows. A small revolver gleamed in his hand.
“F.U.C.K.E.R.” gasped Little Willie with the last of his breath. They were alone, the pack disappearing in the distance.
“Hand it over, Little Willie. The jig, as they say, is up.” F.U.C.K.E.R. allowed a small smile to dance on his lips. “I know Specimen 5689 is in your palm.”
Little Willie studied the gun for a long second, then slowly opened his hand. The golf tee, dingy from soil and sweat, lay under their gazes. Watching him closely, F.U.C.K.E.R. reached slowly and took it from his trembling palm. “Thank you very much,” he said. “Your efforts are appreciated.” With a skillful hand, he twisted the tee slightly so the top swiveled. With a pneumatic pop, it expanded so that a miniscule compartment was revealed.
“Ah, the specimen itself,” F.U.C.K.E.R. remarked, and snapped the halves back together. “Budweiser is going to pay a pretty penny for this yeast.”
“Always out for the profit,” Little Willie sneered, trying desperately to buy time.
“A profit. Of course, a profit! This will pay for the island I’ve been eyeing.” F.U.C.K.E.R. paused. “Oh, don’t look so disappointed Willie. You may have the luxury of labels, of dividing the world into Good and Evil, but what is your side going to do with it?”
“There are children starving in Africa, F.U.C.K.E.R. Think of all the people this strain can feed. It can grow in the harshest of conditions.”
“Greed always gets in the way, Willie. Your children in Africa will always be starving, no matter what you do. But a brewery as shitty as Budweiser needs this strain, and they’ll know how to use it… or at least their accountants will.”
“You’re not the man I once knew.” Little Willie looked up as the sound of helicopter blades whirring grew louder and louder. Past the overlook F.U.C.K.E.R.'s getaway vehicle hovered, a rope dangling from the side.
“Who is?” retorted F.U.C.K.E.R., and he sprinted to the edge of the path and took a flying leap to grab the rope. “Goodbye, Little Willie,” he called as the rope was dragged up and he climbed into the chopper.
Little Willie didn’t move until they had flown out of sight, and then he flew into the woods at a reckless pace, taking every shortcut he knew as he ran downwards towards Hand Pump’s van. The pack was already walking back to the start when he arrived.
“Do Her Well!” Little Willie called. “It’s Gloryhole’s birthday. I have a special present. From Africa.”
“Yeah, sure, whatever. You can give it to him in circle.” Do Her Well turned back to Sir Menage A Lot. “99% of my job could be performed by a robot. And not even a smart one.”
Little Willie left them, heading towards the crowd milling around the keg behind the shed. He merely had to retrieve the real package before he could hand it over to Gloryhole. “Slug!” He waved at her. “I’d like to ask your opinion on traveling to Cuba…”
“My bag isn’t in the van,” she told him flatly.
“My. Bag. Isn’t. In. The. Van.” She repeated more forcefully.
Little Willie gulped. “Why—“ he broke off. “I thought my instructions were clear,” he hissed.
“I thought it was less conspicuous. Look, I’m sure it’s just a mistake, Bitch Pimp is helping me look…”
“Can she be trusted?” He gripped Slug’s arm.
“Of course, don’t be paranoid. Don’t worry. It will all be fine. Go act natural.” She peered at him. “Or at least a tad less constipated.”
Little Willie forced himself to separate from her. Walking blindly around, he brushed past Muff Daddy. “Orange food?” Muff Daddy offered.
Grabbing him by his jacket, Little Willie pulled Muff Daddy around to the opposite side of the shed. “What do you know?” he demanded.
“Noth..nothing,” stammered Muff Daddy. “It’s just a snack, I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were dieting.”
Cockagami and Cockamole, attention drawn by the scuffle, stared at them. Cockagami sipped a bit of beer, which he had Raspukined from the keg, out of his new Camelbak.
Little Willie released Muff Daddy. “Sorry. Nerves, you know. Haring gets to you sometimes.” They watched him quizzically as he stumbled away.
“Willie!” Slug grabbed him. “The Bitch’ll Find You found it, it was in the van the whole time. Here.” She passed him a golf ball. He turned it into the light. The number 69 was etched on the face of the ball.
“Circle up!” yelled the RAs in unison. Slug melted back into the darkness.
Little Willie rolled the ball in his hand, pretending to listen to circle while he let relief wash over him. One more task, just one, and his job would be complete.
Meanwhile visitors The Bitch’ll Find You and Not Too Sharpie entertained the crowd, while four virgins, all women, moistened the group's loins. Just Eric, Cox Box, and Cox Box’s friend came forward as returners. The words “South Sudan” floated through Little Willie’s mind. He glanced upwards sharply, noticing Cox Box’s smug glance at his small ball.
“Birthdays!” shouted Do Her Well. “Gloryhole, Hand Pump!” Hand Pump stepped forward, but Gloryhole was nowhere to be seen.
“What have you done with him?” Little Willie placed himself squarely behind Cox Box.
“Give it to me, and he’ll be home safe before midnight.”
Little Willie held back the words leaping to his lips. “How can I be reassured?” he asked instead.
“I have a phone in my pocket. Call the last number that was dialed.” She waited until she heard a faint ring. “Go ahead, talk to your friend.”
“Gloryhole?” Little Willie tried not to let any emotion sneak into his voice. “Are you ok?”
“I’m alone, Little Willie, but I’m locked in. There’s a padlock on the door with a numerical keypad.”
“When the ball is in my hand, you get the code. When he opens the door, we both leave. If I don’t contact my team in ten minutes, they will come after him. You’ll be gambling with your friend’s life if you double cross me.”
Little Willie paused to weigh his options and looked around. Hand Pump was ensconced by the crowd. Crabs was comparing war stories with Mary Tyler Whore. Without some sort of a Hail Mary, the specimen would be lost for good. But what choice would he have, with Gloryhole’s life on the line?
“If you double cross me, you’re gambling with your own,” he told her, placing the ball in her hand and gripping it tight.
“58008.” She said, loud enough that it could be heard over the phone. The lock beeped and clicked open.
“Good,” said Glory Hole and hung up. Little Willie let her hand slip from his. Doubt raged in his mind—could he risk taking her on? Could he risk letting her go?
She walked slowly, casually away from him, her hand gracefully dropping towards her pocket.
A flying figure leapt from the darkness and dove at Cox Box, tackling her at the knees. Her arms flew over her head, the ball flying from her grip.
“Sean Connery!” yelled Just Joel.
“Buck Fucka!” cursed Sean Connery.
“Buck Fucka!” chorused the crowd.
The ball crashed onto the pavement, shattering in a thousand pieces. The park police pulled up directly over its remains. The newly christened Buck Fucka went over to talk to them immediately, while everyone else scattered.
From the bushes, Little Willie watched mournfully as the squad car pulled away. “Do you think there’s any chance…” he asked flatly, as Hand Pump drew near.
“It’s gone. Floating on the wind.” Hand Pump muttered. As if to prove his point, a slight breeze spun up the dusty remnants from the ground.
“There was so much we could have done.”
“I thought it was just a job to you, Little Willie.”
“A job I believed in.”
Hand Pump sighed. “Well, that was your problem then.” He walked away.
Little Willie stared up at the waning moon and shrugged. He walked past a small group of hashers towards his car, mind on returning to his wife and child.
“Hey, can anyone give me a ride to Caltrain?” asked The Bitch’ll Find You.
“I’m going that way,” responded Fuck Buddy.
A car pulled up to a driveway in Glen Park. Who’s Your Daddy stood waiting as Fuck Buddy and The Bitch’ll Find You got their belongings from the trunk. They walked up the driveway towards him. He pulled out an envelope, and The Bitch’ll Find You rummaged in her sports bra. She handed over a slightly moist but still intact golf ball.
“You’ll find your way?” he asked.
An Aston Martin DB10 pulled up. “My Uber is here,” she replied, nodding to them both. “Good evening.” They watched as the car drove away.
“Good trail?” asked Who’s Your Daddy.
“Good trail,” affirmed Fuck Buddy. “It should be a wonderful weekend for heading to Russian River.”
“The forecast is fantastic,” replied Who’s Your Daddy, as they went inside.
The tee actually did contain a decoy strain of yeast, one with a characteristic flavor strongly resembling piss. F.U.C.K.E.R. sold it to Budweiser anyway, bought the Isle of Man, and even had some to spare for a Bugatti Veyron (used).
F.U.C.K.E.R., by the way, stands for “Flagrantly Unscrupulous, Connivingly Knowledgable, Elegantly Rich” to 0.0000000145% of the population and “Fucker” to the rest of us.
All characters appearing in this work are fictional. Any resemblance to any persons, living, dead, or otherwise is entirely an unintentional coincidence.
Any resemblance to events taking place on the night of August 31st, 2015, especially those involving the Hash House Harriers, San Francisco Chapter, is serendipitous in nature, because all events depicted herein are fictitious, untrue, and unfounded.
The Hash House Harriers are fictional.
Budweiser is fictional (or should be).
Sean Connery is real, but if Sean Connery dives through the bush and no one is there to hear him, does he make a sound?
Any damages from reading this work are your own damn fault.