The Angel of Zero City: Part 6

The Angel of Zero City: Part 6

A Story by Andrew Colunga

An urban-fantasy novella. It is an untold story between the chapters of its parent book: The Gauntlet of Maltese.





Cavan shoved against the table and heard his back crack. For the past twenty minutes, he had been pushing a table through the sunken entrance to the basement apartment that he rented. “You gonna give me a hand Socrates or just keep reading?”

A tall black man in a leather jacket, wearing a beanie and reading glasses, stood in the doorway to the neighbor building. In his hand, Socrates held a small black book which he periodically jotted into with a snapped pencil. “Your problem isn’t brute force, but an incorrect angle, Cavan.”

“You’re funny, you know that? Maybe you should write my jokes, and I’ll write your poetry.” Cavan gave a mighty heave, and the door frame buckled. The table shot inside and he fell through with it. Somewhere a cat yelped.

“Then again, any problem can have multiple solutions.” Socrates jotted into his book and looked at the cloudy sky. Cavan strutted outside, his hands placed confidently on his hips, and started taking in the chairs.

Socrates held up his book and began to read out loud,

“Dawn sun’s rain drips novocaine

On a city with no shame

Too crazy to tame

Old and new yet still the same


“The foolish man walks while the wise one waits

For the lights to change

But then debates

Are the sins really what he hates?

Or the parts of him they take?

It’s what’s at stake

When the city shakes

And the red lightening’s thunder quakes


“A silent killer

The villain of a thriller

For now the light turns red

And the wise man is dead

He waited too long

To hear the song

Of footsteps on pavement

By wondering what they meant

While never really learning

To listen.”


Cavan shut the door to the outside. The landlord had given him the run of the basement, so that in the winter there would always be someone to adjust the heating. He rolled the table past shelves of maintenance supplies, and toward the back of the room near two brick pillars. From a spool of keys, he chose an ancient iron one and unlocked a discreet door. The table rolled into the darkness, and Cavan went back for the chairs.

“I’m home, audience,” he said, closing the discreet door behind him. Soft dim lights came on, and Cavan was standing on a homemade wooden stage, with red curtains drawn back to expose the brick wall behind them. He rolled his prized table past a microphone stand and set it at the edge of the darkness. He then set the chairs behind it, and allowed himself a moment of satisfaction.

Cavan then heard a quiet, familiar moaning. He flipped a switch and harsh fluorescents illuminated the back room. A woman and two men were shackled to toilets, with their heads and hands trapped by wooden pillories. All of them were blindfolded and naked, with ball gags in their mouths, and manacles on their ankles and around the toilets. Surrounding Cavan’s captive audience were a jumble of contraptions, one was a pedal so that each audience member could flush their toilet, and the others were devices made to inflict pain with hammers, sledgehammers, fire-starters, switches, pistons, cattle prods, pendulums, or with rust strippers attached to power drills. The nightmare of pulleys, hinges, and pipework were all controlled by motors, wired to a customized sound board by the stage.

“Who made the noise?” Cavan asked.

The girl at the end weakly nodded her head. Cavan approached and asked, “What’s the matter? Thirsty? Cold? Hungry? One, two, or three.” The girl nodded her head once, and Cavan went for a large bottle of green Gatorade, lifted her gag, and let her drink from a straw.

“Good?” Cavan asked. She nodded, and he returned her gag. “Let’s see how these are doing.” Cavan delicately lifted a gory pad on her back, and he inspected a sunken circle of shredded flesh, packed with bloody cotton balls where the rust stripper had burrowed into her back. She shuddered, but Cavan put a hand on her shoulder and cooed. He had named her Sigma, and the boys: Alpha and Beta. Alpha had two broken legs which were held together by crude splints, and Beta hadn’t woken up since last night. Black spider webs shot across his back where the cattle prod made contact, and his arm hair and eyelashes were burnt away.

“I don’t know about Beta, Sigma,” Cavan said as he repacked Sigma’s wound, “but we must remember why we’re here. All my life I’ve suspected one great truth. On June 3rd 1989 I fell down a flight of stairs, broke my femur, and laughed for three hours straight before finding my mother. Bicycle accident, 91’, broke my arm, and laughed for five hours. Dentist visit, every year, I laugh so hard they have to knock me out.

“You know what’s the funny thing about funny bones? When you hurt them they make you laugh, and I’ve always admired, that we all have a little funny bone inside of us, something that in the presence of pain causes the wild urge to laugh, but why is that? Do we laugh because of how stupid it is we hurt ourselves, or is it because we like the pain? And I’ve always wondered what would happen if you broke a funny bone?

“What’s left? Funny splinters? Funny pieces? Funny pieces of bone? Are things still funny, when they’re all broken? The basis of all humor is pain, and if I can unlock that truth then maybe we’ll discover the mother of all jokes.”

Cavan caressed Alpha and Sigma’s cheeks. “That’s why you three are my captive audience. These questions must be answered for the good of all mankind, and my job is to administer the experiments. So don’t worry Sigma, Professor Weirdass is here. Curtain call’s at dusk.”

© 2014 Andrew Colunga

Author's Note

Andrew Colunga
This is a 19 part story. All of which are completed and are expected to be posted.

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Added on May 1, 2014
Last Updated on May 1, 2014
Tags: urban, fantasy, urban-fantasy


Andrew Colunga
Andrew Colunga

Los Angeles, CA

Artist and Writer from LA. more..