Drum continued along the deck. He glanced around a corner and saw two pirates leaning against a shipping container, smoking a joint. They were Fluorescent Android’s percussionist, Ziggy Krisp, and keytarist, Ramesh Cohen. Drum climbed up onto the container and moved with ninja stealth out above them. He took a small woodpecker from his sock, cradling it in his hands, and then brought it up to his lips.
“I need your help, little buddy,” he whispered.
He dropped down and knocked Krisp to the ground. Cohen lunged with a dagger, but Drum slipped it and moved in. He grabbed Cohen by the hair, pushing his head back, and then, grasping the woodpecker in his other hand, stabbed the bird’s beak like a jackhammer into Cohen’s face and neck, thirty-eight times in all. As Cohen dropped to the ground, a thick, hairy arm clamped around Drum’s throat and dragged him back. Drum tried to free himself, but a Ziggy Krisp choke hold was harder to break than addiction. Back and back he dragged him; Drum writhed and kicked all the way. With his strength fading, he made one last escape attempt: he slammed his bird-filled fist down into Krisp’s leg, stabbing him in the knee. It worked. Krisp released his death-grip and fell back holding his leg.
“Kickstart My Heart” faded out; Drum desperately sucked in the oxygen he swore he would never again take for granted; Krisp lay on the deck, moaning in agony. Drum recovered enough to drag himself over to Krisp and force the woodpecker into the wounded percussionist’s mouth. An awful struggle ensued, to the tune of The Wiggles’ “Corroboree Frog” (a track from Daz’s “Kids” playlist). Mildly educational and irritatingly repetitive, it added an awkwardness to an already unpleasant situation. Drum leaned his whole weight on Krisp and watched his bulging eyes pop almost out of his beetroot red face. Drum could not help but sing along as Krisp’s flailing arms finally went limp, and he succumbed to the feathery mass in his windpipe. Drum, ragged and weary, heaved himself up and brushed himself off. He picked up Cohen’s dagger and looked upon his latest victims. “Two stoners with one bird,” he said.
Back on the bridge, things had deteriorated: Cam, Daz and Andy had Miles surrounded, and were poking him with sharpened sticks. He scurried side to side on all fours, hissing like a cornered rat.
© 2019 MILES VENISON ALL RIGHTS RESERVED