The fading light of the setting sun barely illuminated the filthy little motel room on the outskirts of town. Occasionally, the throbbing orange light from the annoying neon sign in the parking lot would lend a intermittent splash of fiery glow on the dingy bedclothes. The old, tarnished doorknob rattled and turned with difficulty until the door finally forced open. A trio of rural south Georgia cockroaches fled the harsh yellow rays of the naked 75 watt bulb as a hairy, simian hand flicked the switch by the door.
Possum and Fish-head walked in with the monstrous sack of greenbacks of varying denomination, and spilled them out on the lopsided queen bed before closing the door behind them. They both stared at their stolen booty with great satisfaction. Possum was the mastermind of the plot to knock off the ol’ widow Jenkins and take her hoard of cash. It was actually quite easy, though, since the old woman had no living relatives or any close neighbors; just the 25 cats that made her house smell like the world’s biggest litter box.
“Lock th’ damn door, ya dipshit!” Possum yelled to Fish-head, “Jesus Christ, do I have to think of everything?” Clearly, Possum was the brains of the outfit, with his six-foot-eleven, three-hundred pound, mildly retarded younger brother Fish-head doing the muscle-work during their almost lifelong career in petty crime. After a few successful armed robberies, they gained enough confidence to pull their biggest job yet.
Possum had been casing the old Jenkins house which set secluded in the sticks of Terrell county. The widow Jenkins was as mean as a copperhead, and right quick with the 12 gauge Winchester double-barrel that never left her side. The old lady didn’t have much of a routine; mostly laying in her bed all day except to feed her mob of cats. Every Wednesday, however, she’d venture into town to run her weekly errands at 3:30 like clockwork. It was this quirk that Possum capitalized on to pull this job off.
They broke in while she was gone that afternoon. When she returned with a bag of groceries in her left arm and her shotgun in her right hand, Possum walked out of the kitchen, making sure the old woman saw him right away. As Mrs. Jenkins dropped her groceries and drew a bead on him, Fish-head did his part by emerging from behind the heavy red-velvet claw-marked curtains on the front windows, and did her in with a blow to her fragile skull with one of her heavy ceramic lamps.
After that split second act of violence, Possum spent the next two hours searching every place they could think of for her hoarded cash while his big, torpid brother stood watch at the front door over the widow’s bleeding corpse. They had stuffed an old burlap potato sack full of bills, and then set out to their seedy motor lodge hideout. After a good night sleep, they would head to Mexico and live like kings on all that cash. Fish-head slowly moved a huge hairy hand toward the loot, only to have it smacked away smartly with a revolver butt.
“Don’t touch the money, you friggin’ retard! You don’t even know how to count anyway, so what the hell YOU so interested in it fer?”
“Uhh, I jus’ wanna t’ feel it, Possum,” mumbled the big, pie-faced, carp-mouthed goon.
“Well, wait ’till it’s split up, ya moron,” snapped his big little brother, “I gotta do ALL th’ thinkin’ for us, don’t I?”
“Err, Ah reckon ya do, Poss,” Fish-head replied.
“Well, that’s ’cause I got a bigger, smarter brain than you’ll ever have, ya dumbass!” Fish-head had no idea that his brother had some morbid, gruesome plans for his sibling henchman. Now that the big heist had finally been pulled off, he was aimin’ to off his big dopey brother at the Texas/Louisiana line before disappearing into Matamoros for good. Yep, he had outlived his usefulness to his older brother, and his disposal was imminent.
“What NOW, retard?”
“If me had yer brain, me be smart, too, yeah?”
“Well, you ain’t GOT my brain, do ya? You got your own stupid, peanut brain, doncha, you mental case? You ain’t smart enough to wipe yer own ass, let alone make it through this world without me. You hear me? Yer actually better off dead, you big, dumb monkey!” With that, ol’ Fish-head slowly turned and walked off to the corner with his head hung in shame. He couldn’t help it if he was stupid, but he was bound and determined to be as smart as his brother, if he could just figure out how.
Possum pulled a chair up to the bed and began counting his money. A sick, silly little smile spread across his greasy rodent-like face as he organized the denominations into their respective piles. In spite of what he promised Fish-head, he had no intention of giving him a cut of their heist; after all, what would be the point of that if he was only going to feed him to the gators in the bayou anyway?
Possum was oblivious to everything around him; his entire world reduced to him and the growing stacks of bills on the bed. That’s more than likely why he didn’t even see the pearl handle of the Smith and Wesson Security Six coming at his nappy head.
The next morning, the long shadow of the motel was shrinking towards the front of the motel in sync with the rising southern sun. As the morning light filled the dingy room, it slowly spread over the huge puddle of blood surrounding Possum’s corpse, which had been propped in a sitting position against the wall. His eyes were still open, but had rolled backwards into their sockets. The top of his head had been smashed like a soft-boiled egg, the hide pulled backwards towards the nape of his neck. As the sun continued to rise, the steadily brightening light filled the empty cavity in his skull.
On the bed near the pile of money sat Fish-head, his shirt soaked in the blood of his older brother. But there was something else on that shirt of his; little dried pieces of some strange matter, little bloody chunks of something stuck to his formerly white T-shirt. He picked one off with his fat, sausage-like fingers, dried blood underneath his nails and around his cuticles. He just sat there, staring at the wall, his brother’s dried blood caked up on his chin, and around the corners of his mouth.
Poor ol’ Fish-head! He so badly wanted to be smart like his big brother. His limited powers of reason arrived at the logical conclusion that since Popeye ate spinach to get stronger, then eating a brain would make him smarter, especially a really, really smart brain. He continued to sit motionless, not even blinking as the flashing red-and-blue of the gumball machines atop the cruisers swarming the motel parking lot streaked across his bloody face.
“Urrr, me no feel any smarter,” he gurgled.