The first time I met Steven, he was teaching sex education to the St Lucian's Girls School. I wasn't sure if he was a member of the faculty, but there he was, lecturing them, or perhaps more accurately, putting them off the idea.
"...and that, ladies, is why men are born with foreskins."
I can't say I fully agreed with his theory, that it was "nature's condom", but nonetheless, that concluded the assembly. The girls looked suitably relieved and left the hall as quickly as possible. During the commotion, I approached Steven and introduced myself.
"Hey, I'm Larry. Jimmy The Rat sent me to pick you up."
Steven didn't seem too interested in being escorted, looking around at all the school photos as though I didn't exist. As the loosest cannon of their particular Mafia family, I'd heard plenty of stories surrounding Steven Auditore. I wasn't sure which were true and which were just fabricated urban legends. Either way, I hoped that he would just get in the car and the job would go smoothly.
"Sure Larry, let's go. But first, I gotta pick up something to eat!" Steven declared, rubbing his stomach to add more emphasis to this. It seemed like a reasonable enough request, so I agreed and we headed outside to the car.
As we drove downtown, Steven kept fiddling with the radio, trying to tune it into "pirate broadcasts" or other such nonsense. I kept asking him where he wanted to eat, to which he gave me rudimentary directions while concentrating on twiddling the tuner. We were driving through an unfamiliar neighbourhood and I was almost certain that we were going in circles. I saw an elderly gentlemen with dreadlocks sitting on his porch at least three times. Either we'd already passed him several times, or this whole area was a commune for aging rastafarians.
"Woah woah woah!" Steven screamed without provocation. I slammed my foot on the brake, coming to a halt in the middle of the road.
"Sharknado won the Oscar for Best Picture; a sequel is in the works!" He squealed, waving his smartphone at me as though I could read and digest the information while it bobbed in front of me like a space hopper in an earthquake.
"Shit! I thought there was an emergency going on. Where is this place?"
"Right here." gestured Steven. I turned to see we were right outside a pet shop. As I turned back to Steven I realised he'd already stepped out of the car and was heading inside. I got out myself and followed him inside.
"Hey Johnny Boy! Get me my usual bro!" said Steven, patting the proprietor on the shoulder. The shop keeper did as he was asked and headed into the back. Frankly, I thought Steven would want to get a burger or something, but I didn't mind sharing a burrito with one of his friends or something.
As I looked around, I noticed there were several animals running around free. Some kind of constrictor hung from a ceiling fan, flailing around on each slow rotation. A particularly friendly ferret was trying to find a way up my trouser leg. This was an odd place. Little did I know that it was about to get a whole lot stranger.
The shop keeper came back with a small plastic bag with several goldfish in it. He handed the bag to Steven, who opened it up and began to slide the fish straight down his throat like a seagull. Water was leaking everywhere as those live fish slid down into his digestive system. If he wanted to go to a sushi bar, he could've just asked.
Once finished, Steven told me to pay the shop keeper. As I rooted through my pockets had been rifled by that ferret from earlier. There is nothing more annoying than a ferret eating your mobile phone while you are trying to buy goldfish in the pet shop. That's the last time I try anything impetuous, like take a job with Auditore family.
It was at that point that Steven suddenly started to feel woozy. He staggered around for a few moments before collapsing and hitting his head on the counter. Up until this moment, I never would have thought that my knack for impersonating a violently hormonal Rosie O'Donnell would come in handy, but I figured that some of her sass might rouse him.
"Boy, you better come to right about now. You better learn your ass some responsibility!" I shrieked as the shop keeper looked at me quizzically. It was then that I felt a sharp stinging sensation in the back of my leg. I looked round to see that I had bitten by one of the many free roaming snakes this place owned. Feeling woozy, I too fell forward and smacked my head on the counter, losing conciousness.
Steven was the first of us both regain consciousness. When he woke up he saw that even though he was in a tub of ice, and his kidneys were gone, another set of kidneys were left next to the tub. It was clear that the shop keeper has seized his opportunity to harvest our organs. The back room was filled with exotic creatures, boxes of human organs, but no shop keeper. As I too regained consciousness, we began to look around, trying to find this guy and kill him for what he had done. We could hear someone talking in another room, but the conversation was muffled until we got a little closer.
"When I say Atch, you say Choo, Atch, Choo, Atch, Choo!"
As we opened the door, we saw the shop keeper trying to teach a manatee to speak. Feeling the rage for which he was famous, Steven grabbed the guy and wrestled him into the manatee tank. There was a lot of fighting, screaming and splashing, then the water began to turn red. But the victor was neither of the two homo sapiens who entered the tank. It was in fact the most badass manatee I had ever seen. I watched as it snorted a line of crystal meth from the rim of the tank, then start wailing on the pair of them like a manatee possessed. It was then, after spoon feeding Steven his own half-digested testicles, that the manatee knew it had a meth problem, and it needed to get its life together.
|A manatee, snaffling some human remains|
"What the fuck?!" I shouted as I watched the scene unfold. The manatee turned to face me and spoke softly.
"Well, these guys were invading my personal space."
"You...you can talk?!"
"Of course. In fact, it was manatees that taught humans to speak thousands of years ago. We have shaped the course of your civilisation for generations, but now the time has come!"
"What for?" I whimpered. I was as frightened as a guy who'd had his organs removed, then watched two grown men get brutally slaughtered by a talking sea cow. Which is exactly what I was.
"We manatees have been farming human kind. You know the lettuce they feed us at Sea World? That was just an appetiser. Now we're hungry for some meat, so we're gonna harvest our product now that it's ripe, and juicy!"
I knew he intended to start with me. Noticing a gas pipe next me I swiftly kicked it, then lit a match. The explosion blew that pet shop sky high, killing all the occupants in the process. The shop keeper was decimated. The manatee was flung several streets away and crashed through a restaurant roof, landing directly in a fast food fryer. Steven soared higher than he ever had before until he got caught in the jet wash of a passing Boeing 777 causing him to crash down violently onto the island of misfit cats. The island of the misfit cats being a special area of the store for deformed kittens that no one loves. As for me, I can't really remember, what with all the dying and all.
When I died and approached the Pearly Gates I was shocked to see that St. Peter looked like a mosquito, and I started counting all the bugs I'd killed in my lifetime. Considering I'd just destroyed a pet shop full of them, I figured I was going to end up purgatory for a rather long stretch.