Dead Dogs Don't Roll Over
Written by: Alex Sandell

Chapter 35
I Wonder What's Under There

"Get your ass in the fucking room, cocksucker!" I guess "tequila" wasn't going to be the last word, after-all. The two security guards have already pushed and prodded me through the long basement hallways and are now pulling me through the "Security Personnel Only" doorway.

I enter the dimly lit room and listen to one of the rent-a-cops try to disguise a fart by making a lot of noise while slamming shut the door. I am pushed down into a chair, if I would of hit any harder, the impact would have caused the seat to crack in two and slide up my buttocks.

A man all in black, and wearing a ski mask to cover his face, sits down in front of me. He is smoking a cigarette, obviously not aware of the "This Room Contains Oxygen: No Smoking" sign that is taped above him. He cracks his knuckles a few times and clears his throat before speaking.

"I heard you went a little bit crazy up there," he says while exhaling his smoke, "insanity isn't a virtue we particularly look for in a `Broken Arrow' employee." I remain silent, amazed at how calm I am. Only two interrogations and I'm already a pro. Once again, an uncomfortable silence sends out a signal that tells me it's my turn to speak. I choose to ignore the signal and remain silent.

"Well, Mr. Ziekel, may I ask what happened - Oh FUCK!" The man in black takes me by surprise when he interrupts himself and starts swearing. "Alright, who the hell shit?" The room goes silent. Everyone looks guiltily at one another. I cringe as the rancid aroma fills up my nostrils. I stare at the security guard that I caught emitting the foul odor. He looks to me in genuine fear, his eyes screaming for mercy, just begging me not to tell it was him. I decide to give the mercy his eyes are screaming for, and the farting security guard gives me a magic kind of look that says, "I’ll be your friend forever."

The interrogating ski mask man adapts to the smell and starts in without skipping a beat. " . . . up their?" I tilt my head like a confused puppy (although, after my rotting Dalmatian experience, dog metaphors are not nearly as fun as they once were) and ask what Mr. Ski Mask is talking about. "Since you have such a limited memory, let me throw the question back out in its entirety." The man in black rolls his eyes before repeating the question in the most patronizing way he can manage. "As I said once before, what happened up there?" Before answering, I look around and notice that security guards must be crawling out of the woodwork, because there is now about thirteen of them in the room with me.

I struggle to find the best answer I can. I scan through twenty-three years of lies and excuses, just trying to seek out the best one. Finally, after delaying my answer for nearly two minutes, I wind up with an, "I don't know." Every jaw in the room drops to the floor, except for maybe the man in black's, his ski mask holds his jaw back from dropping.

"You don't know, Mr. Ziekel? What does that mean, `I don't know?'" Trying to avoid the question, I begin sniffing around, "Oh, man," I declare, trying to sound repulsed, "somebody farted again!" Everyone looks at me; I duck my head down, realizing that no one fell for this gas-related excuse.

"Well, Mr. - what's your name anyway?" I manage to prolong my answering for a couple more seconds, by asking the man in black a question of my own. "My name is unimportant, Wayne. Now quit stalling." "Well, I'm not stalling, it's just that I'd have an easier time talking to you if I could see your face." "Mr. Ziekel, if you keep prolonging my questioning, you will make me very angry. When someone gets me angry, I make one-hundred percent sure that they WILL regret it." I decide to fight it no longer and just answer the question the best that I can.

"I don't know just means `I don't know,' Mr. Invisible Man." I can feel every person in the room tensing up as I watch the ski mask man's eyes glaze over in a purplish-red hue, I realize my "Mr. Invisible" comment may have been a little carried away. I wait for the inevitable screaming, but none comes. The man in the black maintains a sickeningly evil silence.

"And," after a minute of this dreadful silence, I decide to continue the conversation, "I really don't know what happened up there. I've just been under so much pressure today. What, with the wind-factor, and all. I mean, shit, it's so strong it could blow someone away." Even the man in the black can’t resist the tempation of small talk. "It would have to be a lot stronger than this to blow someone away." I slap my hands over my eyes, how can this obvious exaggeration keep going over people's heads?

The man in the black stands straight up and begins yelling. "Enough of this chit-chat. I want a fucking answer and I want it NOW. And this time, it had better be real." I begin to panic. At this point, I feel like one big nerve-end, a nerve-end that's being doused in a pool of salt and vinegar. I can't even make up an answer, much less give a "real" one. I decide that it's time to change the subject.

"If you don't mind my asking, why am I down here anyway?" I can't believe I just said "if you don't mind my asking," I'm getting nerdier by the second. I'm also not getting an answer. "I mean, are any of us getting anything out of this? So I started singing an Elvis song . . ." The man in the black's screaming cuts my sentence short. "It's not even the fucking song that matters!!! That was just an excuse to drag your sorry ass down here, you’re down here because of what you know. You’re remaining down here because of what you told. You revealed the co-owner of this building to another employee." The ski mask man looks toward one of the many security guards, "Charlie, hit the tape, would ya?"

Charlie, a burly man with a bald head, nods in compliance and presses play on what looks like a reel to reel tape. I hear floor manager Debbie declaring, "Elvis is dead." I then hear myself come back with, "that's what you think."

What bothers me more than this tape's incriminating evidence, is the sound of my voice. "Is that really what my voice sounds like?" I ask. Every person in the room simultaneously responds with a painful, "YES." "Really? I can’t believe that’s really my voice, I don’t ever sound like that in my head." Everyone just looks at me. Some of them seem to show a bit of sympathy in their faces. With a voice like mine, how could they not?

The man in black begins speaking in his deep, calm, and cooooool tone. I wish I had a voice like his. "You muttered those words exactly eighteen minutes ago. It seems you can't keep your mouth shut when it comes to Elvis." "Elvis is everywhere," I return, stepping out of line, once again. As usual, the ski mask man is not amused. "No, Wayne, Elvis is not everywhere. Elvis is in this casino. Period. What you don't seem to understand is, up until you started spouting off, this was our little secret." The man in the black pulls an eyelash from his eye and runs out of words to say.

"I'm sorry, Sir," I try to get more of that "dorky-voice" sympathy from the crowd, "I'm a little confused. I thought that I was just making up a nice little story for a casino patron. I had no idea that I was telling the truth." "Bullshit," the man in the black returns. I ignore his comment and continue. "With Debbie, I just let it slip. It was an accident. Think about it, I just got done being interrogated by Larry Hunt, who I thought, up until today, was the owner of this casino, and that alone would intimidate nearly anybody." I look around proudly, feeling that my little sympathy-speech is actually winning over the audience. I decide to lay it on even thicker. "Then, Mr. Hunt starts telling me Elvis is still alive and runs the very casino I work for. It was all I could do to hold back my tears. Elvis lives! I thought to myself, trying not to pass out in joy. I bet you didn't know that I'm the world's biggest Elvis fan?"

I think this Elvis worship may be taking it a little too far, especially when I don‘t even care for the guy, but now I'm out of control and lies are just foaming at my lips. "Really, I worship Elvis. He means the world to me. This is why I went out of control on the floor. I was singing `Don't be Cruel' as an ode to joy. I am being sincere about all of this. See, the rebirth of my hero caused me to momentarily lose control of my senses. That's why I sang the song, and, what's more important, that's why I gave away our little secret to Debbie." I end my speech and let it all sink in.

Mr. Masked Man doesn't need much time to let it sink, within a few seconds he begins his rebuttal. "Mr. Ziekel, there's nothing little about this secret. If word got out that Elvis was co-owner of this establishment, we'd be shut down in a minute. This is Minnesota, Wayne - you know the laws. Indians must own a Minnesota casino, not a dead rock n' roll star. And, to answer a question you asked earlier, you're down here to learn how to keep your mouth shut. I'm going to do all the teaching."

I take in a deep breath as I watch the man in black remove the leather belt from around his waist. I nearly start crying as I realize, I am about to be spanked.

Go to: Chapter 36

1997 Alex Sandell but, if you're a book publisher and, you wanna get this puppy out, please get in touch with me, hand me a nice, big contract and, of course, a 12 pack of Grape Soda and maybe we can do lunch.

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