"The Raspberry Brute" by Richard F. Yates
The Raspberry Brute was eight feet tall and four feet across at the shoulders, with fists the size of vintage, metal lunchboxes. In the fall of 1981, something happened in one or the other of the two brains in his gargantuan skull, or perhaps in BOTH brains, and the Brute went BAD.
On October 6th, at the flower shop where he’d worked for seventeen years, the Raspberry Brute snapped and strangled all of the roses and petunias to death. Next, he flooded the bathrooms on the first and second floors of the building by stuffing the sinks with old socks and turning the water faucets on full blast. Police investigators believe his rampage began at approximately 2:00 P.M., although there was no one else in the shop to see its inception. By 6:30 P.M., however, the lives of everyone in Stencil, Washington, had been forever changed.
After ruining Borko’s Flowers, the Raspberry Brute took to the streets. He threw motorcycles through store windows; he peed in a mail box and stole the legs from a young nun. He ate an entire display full of donuts from Chippy Chad’s, then forced Chad to cook his own eyebrows. He folded a swimming pool in half (it HAD been an in-ground pool), made fun of a schoolgirl’s haircut, and committed countless other atrocities. By the time he’d headed out of town on a stolen moped, the Brute had injured, maimed, or murdered more than 70 humans, caused 12 chickens to cry, and shaved a goat completely bald.
Driving west on highway 4.666, the Brute stopped in Chuckanoogie and drank the entire State Patrol Office. He then threw boiled eggs at an Orthodox Church of Dim Temple, painted a mustache on a stop-sign, and hid a five mile stretch of highway in a middle school gymnasium. Luckily, when he stopped at a local Petrol Pit to refuel his moped and steal a pound of jerky, his picture was taken by a hidden camera. This image was quickly shared with hundreds of law enforcement agencies, bounty hunters, and Squirrel Scout troops throughout Washington and Oregon.
When the Brute reached Splorch, Washington, where the toll-bridge over the Columbia River connects with Broken Ankle Point, Oregon, a roadblock had been established, and hundreds of humans were prepared to stop the rampaging ne’er-do-well in his tracks. With the majority of southern Washington on fire, thanks to the Brute’s shenanigans, he was fairly easy to spot against the orange blaze as he cruised toward the angry militia. It was almost midnight by then.
The Brute, smiling a smile that caused half of the citizens manning the roadblock to piss themselves (and the other half to go blind,) picked his nose with his pinky, then launched himself into the crowd. He snapped necks, tossed bodies off the bridge into the river, and occasionally tore an arm or a leg off a victim and popped it into his mouth. (He didn’t actually like the taste of human, too fatty, but he enjoyed the looks on the faces of those around him when they saw those fingers disappear between his lips.) Helicopters flew overhead. Squirrel Scouts shot slingshots and threw water balloons, and the few state troopers and sheriff’s deputies that hadn’t expired of fright fired rifles, bazookas, and pellet guns at the Brute, but he just kept coming.
The Brute fought through hundreds of people and was about half way across the bridge when a helicopter pilot, in a panic, accidentally pressed a button on his dashboard that switched the music he’d been listening to in the cockpit to the external speakers on the chopper. When the Brute heard the music, the pilot had been listening to the collection, “Greatest Elevator Disco Classics of ’79,” he fell to his knees, obviously in excruciating pain. The crowds saw what was happening and began singing along to “I Want to Have Sex with You on the Dance Floor,” in ridiculous falsetto voices. The Brute screamed and covered his ear, but the crowds sang louder. As a last resort, the Brute dashed for the side of the bridge and threw himself over the edge, falling hundreds of feet into the river.
Although most of the people present assumed that this was the end of the Raspberry Brute, he managed to survive the fall and swam on to Oregon. Once on shore, he was able to sneak into the back of a laundry truck where he fell asleep. The next morning, the driver of the truck left Broken Ankle Point with a stowaway on board.
The Brute’s wave of mayhem was finally brought to an end when he was pummeled to death outside of a waffle shop in New Drainage, Oregon, by an elderly woman who believed he was her long deceased first husband.* The woman, Eleanor “Crane Fist” Westingberger, was arrested in the act of beating the Brute to a pulp with her purse full of costume jewelry, but she was later released when her victim was identified as the perpetrator of the crime spree from the night before. (She was also given a stern talking to about hitting people with her purse by the sheriff of New Drainage before being released. She’d managed to break the noses of three of the arresting officers before being restrained and handcuffed.) With the reward money she received for stopping the Raspberry Brute, Mrs. Westingberger bought all new needles for her friends in her knitting circle and had enough money left over to pay a monster $10,000 to bite Vice President Gorge Shrubbery’s face off.
[*Mrs. Westingberger’s first husband, Bernard “Sparky” Sparkowitz, died under mysterious circumstances in 1961 while on a tour of the Bindlepoke Marshmallow Factory. Although never officially charged with causing his death, Mrs. Westingberger was heard on several occasions to murmur, “That son of a bitch got what he deserved.” Although Westingberger was married fourteen different times, and “outlived” each husband, she never had children.]
—Richard F. Yates
(Apr. 2015) - Art pieces were paper collage, photographed, with digital embellishment.
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