Bel Air, high fucking noon. The manse at 773 Stradella Road had seen better days. Sabbath practically destroyed the place in a blizzard of cocaine and vodka back in ’72, but that’s not where its current sorry state derived from. Several years after Sabbath cleared out, TV miniseries queen and former Charlie’s Angel star Jaclyn Smith bought the joint and installed a heart-shaped swimming pool allegedly modeled after the curve of her own ass. After becoming even more insanely wealthy thanks to her gaudy women’s apparel and home furnishings empires, she upped sticks and sold the pad to a shadowy investment group called ULTRA, LLC.
Curtis Merriweather had yet to determine who was behind ULTRA. But they had let the place go to seed: Broken windows, bricks stacked in the front yard, about three years’ worth of leaves clogging the drains of Jackie’s ass-shaped pool. Curtis peered through a broken window and saw the usual detritus: broken furniture, drop-cloths, spider webs galore. The chances of Tony Iommi’s missing leather fingertips being somewhere inside 40 years after the fact? Curtis figured them at about zero. But the Boys seemed pretty sure of themselves. And they were paying the tab for this goose chase.
Curtis was just about to B&E the place when he heard a voice behind him.
“What do you think you’re doing, guy?”
Curtis fingered the grip of the .38 snubnose tucked into his belt.
Curtis turned slowly and found himself staring down the barrel of a sawed-off. Behind it was an incredibly obese man with a Hitler mustache, a bowler hat, and a shit-eating grin. He must’ve weighed 400 pounds, easy.
Curtis smiled sheepishly. “I’m with the alarm company. Must’ve been a rat that tripped the wires or something. You haven’t seen anyone else up here today, have you?”
“Don’t fuck with me,” the fat man snapped. “I can smell a lie like I can smell the dog shit on your shoe.”
Curtis looked down. He had totally stepped in dog shit.
“Let’s try again,” the fat man said. “Next wrong answer costs you a kneecap. What are you doing here?”
“Okay, you got me.” Curtis shot him another patently disingenuous smile, ten times worse than Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange. “A friend of mine left something in this house a while back. He sent me up here to see if I could find it.”
“And what might that be?”
“A desk clock. Some kind of family heirloom. You seen anything like that inside?”
“Get dorked, guy. Put your hands over your head, stroll out of here real slow, and I’ll pretend this didn’t happen. But if I see you or smell your dog shit shoes up here again, I’ll shoot your dick off and feed it to the coyotes.”
Curtis followed the fat man’s instructions. As he passed within kicking distance of that sprawling front-bum, Curtis had the urge to spin around and pistol-whip his oppressor right in the stupid mustache. He could almost see the instantly cleft lip, the smashed teeth, and all that righteous blood. But he figured—correctly—that he probably wasn’t fast enough to pull off that kind of maneuver without taking a load of birdshot to the face.
Curtis knew he’d have to hatch a plan. He climbed back into his rental, goosed the engine, and waved. Fatso lowered the sawed-off and flipped Curtis the bird.
He knew the Boys would expect a status update soon. He wasn’t sure what he’d tell them—about the house, about Iommi’s fingertips, about any of it. But he knew this: The fat man worked for ULTRA.
This bullshit originally appeared in the October 2012 issue of Decibel magazine.