Chapter 13 - Sharp Weapons

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Chump stomps into his room, and I rush to catch up, not wanting to piss him off. He's the sort of guy who can teach me how to fight and later cover my back.

His unmade bed is straight ahead in a tight corner. Off to the right, the square footage is twice that of Nassar's room for a good reason. Two racks against opposite walls hold at least fifty medieval weapons including axes, spears, swords, and other sharp objects. Daggers of varying sizes with ornate handles also hang neatly on the walls. I'm in awe of the assortment of he weapons that appear antique but well maintained. If Chump gave me a pop quiz on their names and proper uses, I'd fail.

A couple plastic fold out tables sit in the center of the room. On one, tall stacks of leases we need to stuff in the adjacent stack of manila envelopes. On the other, a metal file, a grey stone, and fine sandpaper he must have used earlier to sharpen the weapons. Personally, I feel safer with the leases and envelopes, preferring a paper cut to the deep laceration the sharp blades would inflict.

Also nearby, three pizza boxes fill the room with sausage, mushroom and other tempting aromas. I opt for take a few more swigs of gin instead of another slice.

Chump leans over and picks up a couple of fifty pound barbells. While he curls, his biceps stretch the sleeves on his t-shirt. He walks to the door and calls out into the hallway. "Javier. My room. Now."

Seconds later a short Mexican guy jogs into the room, his double chin and fat belly bouncing. He leans over, putting his hands on his knees to catch his breath. When he sees the pizza, he says, "There better be extra cheese."

"Quit your whining," Chump says.

Javier takes two pieces and makes a sandwich, then proves he can eat at record speed.

"Hi," I say. "I'm Barry."

"I know who you are," he says with his mouth full.

"Don't be an asshole." Chump grunts as he continues to work his biceps. "You two think you can stuff envelopes without getting grease all over the paper? I'm not doing it."

Javier walks over to the stacks. "I don't know why we have to do this. Seems like a waste of time."

"That's what I said." Chump says.

While I listen to the men talk, I walk along the racks, fascinated and hopeful that Chump will teach me how to use them. At the very least, he can show me how to wield the sword that weakens my father.

"Where's Roz and her minions?" Javier asks.

"The pub." Chump says. "They're watching demons to see if any have defected to Azael's side."

"What?" Javier swallows hard, and his thick neck quivers. "How'd we get stuck here doing a job they should do?"

"Nassar's being a dick." Chump pokes his chest and adds, "I'm the one who should be out finding defectors. I'm the one who puts demons to rest."

"You don't put demons to rest, you slaughter their slimy asses," Javier says. "That's probably why he doesn't want you at the pub. He wants information, not body parts."

"I thought demon couldn't be killed," I say, feeling awkward about butting into the conversation. I hope they don't turn their anger on me, the guy whose father is causing all the trouble.

"You're right. You can't kill them," Chump says. "What I do is dismember their bodies and bury the pieces in separate holes across the San Isabel mountain range." He pauses to get up close, like he's trying to shock or intimidate me. "Ulla makes a powder I sprinkle in each of the holes to stun the parts. It keeps them from calling to the other parts."

I cock my head and frown. "Their body parts talk?"

"Not with words," he says. "It's a psychic thing. Sometimes a hand digs its way out and feels for the other hacked-up parts. It'll crawl any distance to meld the body back together."

I nod. "I'll remember that for when I take out Margery."

"He thinks he's a tough guy," Javier says.

They both laugh.

My face turns red and I change the subject. "This place is crazy. Where'd you get all these weapons?"

"I've collected them over the years." Chump puts down the barbells.

Javier butts in, "Let's just say that Chump brings the term 'old bastard' to a new level."

"Yeah, I'm old, so what?" Chump glares at his friend.

"He's a real-life Viking," Javier says. "One of the first to land in North America."

"You're a Viking?" My eyes widen. Makes me want him as a teacher even more.

"I mutilate demons, that's all," he says. "It's been a thousand years since I've plundered with Vikings."

"He doesn't like to talk about it because his people left him behind to fend for himself. That's when he met Margery and sold his soul to Satan for food."

Chump jumps at Javier. "Enough already."

"Will you teach me how to use this?" I pull a lethal curved blade with a six-foot-long handle off the rack while taking a few more swigs of gin. "Looks about right to chop off Margery's head. What is this?"

"It's a Bardiche." Chump snatches it from me. "And I prefer you not touch a blade this large while you're all liquored up."

I throw up my hands. "Fine."

"Let's sneak out and join Roz and the guys at the pub," Javier says. "Maybe we'll find Margery, and the tough guy can take her out with one of your daggers. We can get it all done before Pete gets back."

"Margery never goes to the pub."

"If not Margery, there'll be some other demon sap we can carve up."

"What about Nassar?" I say, looking for an excuse not to spend the evening dismembering a demon. "He seems set on us stuffing those envelopes."

"He's got booze and pizza," Chump says. "Give him thirty minute. He'll pass out until morning."

I hesitate to agree. "You sure we can do this before Pete gets here? He's pretty pissed with me." Then again, I'm at the top of his shit list. How could it get any worse?

Javier looks at Chump. "I don't know. He's startin' to sound like a chicken. Baak, baak."

"I'm your babysitter, and I say we're going on a field trip." Chump pulls a dagger with a leather grip off the wall. "It'll be good for you to practice stabbing demons before you have to drive a sword into your father."

Ishiver at the thought, and at the same time trip over my feet while the twodrag me out of the room.

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