Homunculize: Smitty Pt. 2

  • Bones cracked as the creatures hit the ground, and the four beasts fell into a pile in the middle of the floor. They rose quickly, limbs flailing as they approached the ghoul. Smitty stood his ground upon the stage, his pistol firing rapidly. Despite the ringing in his ears, he continued firing in the close quarters. The feral ghouls dropped one by one, each no closer than five yards. Despite their terrifying appearance, ghouls shared one thing with the other monsters of the wasteland--they were susceptible to headshots.

    Smitty stood relieved, reloading his pistol, but the creaking didn’t stop. Heavy stomps could be heard through the hole in the ceiling, and a low moan accompanied it. The ghoul worried--what could be heavier than four ghouls?--and pulled his pistol up with haste.

    Despite his anticipation, he was still surprised when the monster fell through the floor. Shards of green crystal shot from the creature when it impacted the floor--growths of pure radiation had spouted off of the ghoul’s back and shoulders.

    Smitty began firing immediately, but the bullets seemed to do nothing. When they didn’t ricochet off of a crystal, they merely chipped away at the unique feral’s thick skin. The beast approached Smitty slowly, lumbering and recoiling at every shot that hit its body.

    Springing its legs back, it bent over like a broad jumper, and then lunged at the ghoul who fired at it. Smitty let out the final shots from his pistol, but it was not enough, and barely slowed the Glowing One. The feral beast tackled the ghoul, slamming into the wall behind him and tipping over the paper backdrop. It snarled as it lay on Smitty’s stomach, the ghoul groaning under the weight of the monster. The feral floundered, its arms so wounded that it couldn’t grip its adversary’s back. The ghoul under the Glowing One reached for his pistol, but was met only with an empty click as he raised it to the beast’s head. The thing scratched at Smitty, opening up the ghoul’s rotten skin. However, the radiation emitting from the crystals that grew along the Glowing One seemed to close his wounds.

    Tired, Smitty tried to end it, and closed his grip on the feral’s throat. Tighter and tighter, he squeezed the sickly, shifting skin, ignoring the pain in his knuckles from the tight grip. He seemed to be winning, and the feral above him was losing its will. Finally, he closed his grip once more, and the rasping above him stopped. He threw the thing off of him.

    Flicking glowing green blood from his coat, he took the suit and gun from their stands, and left for Goodneighbor.


    With the suit over his back and the gun in his hand, Smitty returned to Goodneighbor. His first stop was K-L-E-O’s shop, and he laid the submachine gun on the counter. The robot took it without question, nodding her head as far as was possible, despite the metallic grinding that came from her neck joints.

    “This thing’s a replica,” Smitty said, “I need it, uh, de-replica-ized. Can that be done?”

    “It’ll be back and ready within the day,” the vendor replied.


    Smitty opened the door to his apartment, a third floor single-room on the edge of town. From the vantage of the window he could see the whole town, the guards patrolling the dank alleys, mendicants and ghouls mingling. He hung the suit on a flimsy old hanger, and planned to go to sleep.

    He often fell asleep to the tune of his scratchy old radio playing reruns of the Shroud, and that night was no different. He listened intently as the Shroud began his speech; this episode was one of his favorites.

    The episode, entitled Doomsday Daiquiris in Dubai, was a bit of a spinoff from the regular crime-stopping of the series. Set in the city the episode was named for, it began with the Shroud’s contraction by a rich Arab prince to rescue the prince’s kidnapped daughter. Things really got interesting, however, when the tables were suddenly turned. When the Shroud approached the “kidnapper”, it was revealed that the kidnapper was the daughter’s real father, and the Prince, who ran an alcohol monopoly in Lower Arabia, intended to kidnap her, not the other way around. The episode, sponsored by Nuka-Cola (“Nuka-Cola--our executives won’t kidnap Arabian princesses” was the final line of the episode), ended with a marvelous speech by Silver Shroud to the already-cuffed prince. As Smitty laid down to sleep, the speech began:

    “You filthy fallacious flounder of an executive,” the Shroud began, “Your moiety of mercy is matched only by your paucity of piety, you putrid and pernicious pariah, vicious and vile vagrant. Vilification is not enough, nor is alacritous allocation of anti-alibi attorneys, who’ll root out your cause like a drug-sniffer to dope,” the hero finished frivolously, then, finally, “Rot in hell, Prince Pfeiffer.”

    Such speech almost aroused the old ghoul, and gave him visions of the sweet old world, of life before the bombs. Instead of dozing off on his cot, he stood up, and walked over to his closet, the radio echoing the episode’s credits into the thin air of the night. Opening the closet door, he was rewarded with a glimpse of the suit. He laid it on his bed, then proceeded to strip out of his night clothes.

    He pulled on the Shroud’s suit, fitted the hat tightly over his head--he would need a tailor for it all--and proceeded down the apartment steps. Stepping out the door, he walked across the street to the other apartment block, and buzzed the door. Kent replied instantly, despite the late hour, and his voice came over the crackling speaker, “Yeah, who?” he said simply.

    In a rough attempt to hide his voice, Smitty replied, “Names are worth shit-all. Let me in,” he said, “I’ve got a proposition.”

    “Yeah, yeah,” Connelly said, and the door buzzed open.


    The room smelled of freshly cut cigars, and several of the smell originators lay on a coffee table. The couch behind it, velvety red and stained, was where Kent sat, a Gwinnett in his hand. Smitty was about to make an offhanded comment about it, something sharp and witty, but then his silver scarf scratched his face, and he remembered who he was.

    “Cigars past six?” he asked slyly, burnt eyes glancing from under his fedora’s brim.

    “That you?” Kent asked, initially failing to notice Smitty’s attire, “What’re you doin slinkin’ around town this late?”

    The ghoul in the doorway coughed a thin cough, then replied, “You haven’t seen me before, Connelly. But you’ll see me around.”

    “Smitty,” Kent replied, noticing the ghoul’s signature clothing, “Whatta hell are you doing in that stuff? And where did you get it?”

    “This is my attire,” Smitty replied, “It’s what I use to get the job done.”

    “Smitty, come on, get real with me. Did you go down to the Comics Shop? You really did huh? Well I’ll be damned,” Connelly said with disbelief, “Well listen, I know that’s a good souvenir and all, but you really should change outta that shit. Not good for the psyche, I believe.”

    Smitty ignored his friend’s words, and leaned against the doorpost, saying, “I think I’m correct in believing that you run the radio down there. I know you know about this town, about the dope fiends and the murderers. I can help!” he said with a hint of exasperation--the real Smitty, the one that truly wanted to help the world improve, peeked from under the facade.

    “Hell, Smitty, do what you want,” Kent replied apathetically, leaning back against the rotten plush of the sofa.

    “The thing is, Connelly,” Smitty told him as Kent winced--Smitty had never used the ghoul’s last name before this, “I don’t know this dirt trap like you do. I need you to point me the right way.”

    “Fine, Smitty,” Kent said defiantly, “There’s a man who’s supposed to be some kinda serial killer. He hangs out by the Third Street dumpsters. See if you can handle him.”

    The ghoul fought against his smiling instincts, and kept his face glaring around the room, mouth still. Succumbing to his own pressure, he let out a smirk, and replied with a wink, “You’ve been great, Connelly.” Then he left the apartments and went to K-L-E-O’s shop. He just couldn’t wait to see how the gun shot.


    Well past midnight, and closer to dawn than dusk, and Smitty walked down the alley Kent had told him about. Straight off Third Street, it was hard to miss, even in its barely illuminated state. Walking over trash and debris, he made his way slowly to the back of the alleyway, the gun propped on his elbow, barrel in the cool air. As he turned the corner, he spotted a scruffy looking old man propped against a dumpster. The man’s arms, exposed to the sky from his ripped vest, were heavily scarred. He held a knife in his left hand, but it was dull, apparently from use.

    The man stood and pointed the blade at Smitty menacingly. The ghoul replied with a tip of his fedora, “Drop it.” and the man did. Smitty looked down at the gun in his hands, then up at the criminal. He had heard of the man before...Pickman Jr., they called him. He was vicious, and the ghoul had no plans for mercy. Sighing, the Shroud began:

    “You might’ve been able to tell by now, in the moonlight and such, that I’m a relic. A relic of another world. Let me tell you about this world. It was a kind place, but it had a kind of way of doing things. It worked like this: you never quite got what you wanted. I wanted a family that cared, for Chrissake. I didn’t quite get it. My mother almost loved me, I think, when she wasn’t out fucking the neighbors. My father, though. He didn’t love me. He did the farthest goddam thing from loving me--he hated me. He made me want to die, and this was when I was eight, mind you. Eight! What an age to be hated, you know?

    But my father did something strange. He was devout, you know, and so after every batch of insults and curses, he would follow up with a verse from the old book. His favorite one was this...and oh boy is it a killer:"

    Why do the nations conspire

    and the peoples plot in vain?

    The kings of the earth rise up

    and the rulers band together

    against the Lord and against his anointed, saying

    “Let us break their chains

    and throw off their shackles.”

    The One enthroned in heaven laughs;

    the Lord scoffs at them.

    He rebukes them in his anger

    and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,

    “I have installed my king

    on Zion, my holy mountain.”

    As he finished the verse, he cocked back his gun. Aiming it squarely at the chest of the murderer, he fired off his whole clip into the man, the shots echoing into the early morning.

    Setting the stock back in the crook of his elbow, he turned around, jubilant. In his eyes, he could finally become the hero the wasteland needed.


  • The Wing
    The Wing   ·  April 15, 2016
    Hey don't tease me man. 
  • ProbsCoolerThanYou
    ProbsCoolerThanYou   ·  April 15, 2016
    If you think he's a badass now, just wait until you meet adult Aldous.
  • The Wing
    The Wing   ·  April 15, 2016
    Don't thank me, dude - it's my pleasure. Your writing is great. I look forward to the next chapters and the return of Aldous (man that kid is badarse).
  • ProbsCoolerThanYou
    ProbsCoolerThanYou   ·  April 15, 2016
    No he is not. Thanks again for reading all this Rancid. It might be awhile till I'm set to release the next chapters, but they're gonna be great when they're out.
  • The Wing
    The Wing   ·  April 15, 2016
    Wow, Smitty the Silver Shroud is not someone I would like to meet in a dark alley. :E