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Genre - Western / Gothic Horror
Rating - PG13
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Page 99 of Blood and Whiskey is the calm before the storm, heavy with a slowly building sense of dread and plumbing the depths of a friendship tested to the limits.
Tucker, the main character, and his best friend Lenny have just driven all night from Portland, Oregon, to the tiny remote town of Plush where they think Lenny’s kidnapped niece is being held at a meat packing plant, to what end they can only speculate. Tucker is missing Lizzie, his pregnant vampire girlfriend and love of his life; Lenny is strung out on military grade uppers, recently stabbed a man and is now worried sick about the fate of his niece.
It’s a simple scene with two long-time friends, both men of the modern west, quietly preparing themselves for their possible, probable, death. They take a few hours to rest and enjoy one last truck stop meal before things get completely out of hand. On page 99, they pull up outside the meat packing plant to make a plan of attack:
[“Lenny, we go in there now in broad daylight, with maybe fifty people working, we’re done for. I’ll follow your lead if that’s what you have to do, but if you wait until] dark, we’ll at least have a fighting chance.”
“Rose is in there.”
“If they wanted to kill her, they could’ve just done it in Portland.”
Lenny tensed, wavering, and then relaxed. “I guess you could be right.”
“I could sure use a few hours sleep, and maybe a hot meal. Then we’ll take the sons of bitches apart come sun-down.” Tucker looked up at the sky. “Days are short, so we won’t have long to wait.”
Lenny nodded, stuck the rifle back in the bag and they walked back to the car. It was well-hidden from the road, so they shook out their sleeping bags and tilted the car seats back and slept. Tucker groaned when he put his head down, his eyes gritty and tired.
Two hours later, Lenny shook him awake. “It’s getting dark. Let’s go get something to eat and some coffee. Our last meal. Then we’ll do this thing.”
They drove slowly back to the gas station and took a table in the diner. The gas station attendant — an old man with a rowdy white beard and a grimy John Deere baseball cap — was also the waiter and the cook. Tucker and Lenny ordered two steaks with baked potatoes, home-canned green beans and coffee.
“You get your meat from the feedlot up the way?” Tucker asked as he handed the old man the menu.
“Yep. Don’t get much fresher.”
“Me and my buddy here are thinking about applying for work up there. What do you know about it?”
He pushed his hat back on his head and scratched at his temple. “It’s been here for long as I can remember and I [can remember back more than fifty years,” he said. “They run a real nice place.”]
Of course, they don’t run a real nice place. They run a horror show, and Rose is trapped in the middle of it. The things Tucker and Lenny see drive a wedge between them. They won’t find that out for an hour or so and in the meantime, they are content to eat their steaks and which taste just a little too fresh and a little sweeter than beef.