Chapter 10:“En Guard”
Hell City is our weekly comic book type superhero detective noir thing
by our good friend in LA, Tim!
Crooks, pimps, sadsacks, winos, vagrants, thugs, hookers, ghosts, pirates, jerks, bad drivers. These are the type of people that inhabit Hell City. But not everyone that lives here is a depressed piece of shit. Take for example Edward Humpinger. Edward or ‘Happy Ed’ as his friends call him, is a prison guard at Hell City’s Department of Corrections. To say that Happy Ed was always happy would be an understatement. He’s an honest, hardworking, excitable fellow who loves his job and his precocious wife.
One of the first things you’d notice about Happy Ed is that he’s always smiling. You’d think it’d be because he has a constant hilarious joke running through his head but in fact that reason for his upside down frown stems from a rare genetic disease that he contracted since birth. The sickness is called hyperhappitomia.
Hyperhappitomia is a disease that contracts and hardens the facial muscles causing the lips to curve upward. Now some people might find a disease that causes you to constantly be smiling to be a bad thing but not old Happy Ed. When asked about how he felt about having hyperhappitomia he’d just replay, “Well shoot, I think I’m lucky. Most people gotta find a reason to smile. Not me though, I’m forced to because of this here disorder.” Truth be told Ed would probably be smiling most of the time anyway with or without the disease.
Ed started going to the prison when he was sixteen years old. He started a program called ‘Smiles For Shivs’ where himself and several other young boys would smile at prisoners as long as they were willing to give them any shivs they had made.
The program was a disaster and almost every young boy was killed or at least brutally stabbed many times. Ed didn’t let that stop him from wanting to reach out to the incarcerated gentlemen. When he was eighteen he said goodbye to his parents forever and got a job at the prison.
At first the inmates gave Ed a hard time. They’d say things like, “hey what you smiling at?” or “I’ll give you something to smile about” and once even “you wouldn’t smile like that if you had a potato up your butt my friend.” But Ed would just shrug it off and do a little dance until the prisoners started laughing and they’d say, “alright, alright, you’re cool.” He quickly became known for his heartwarming antics and home baked goods that he’d bring to everyone on death row. Everyone grew to love Happy Ed. At one point there was even talk of throwing him a surprise party but was quickly dashed because as well all know… prisoners can not keep secrets!
Ed liked his life. Probably a lot more than you like yours. He had a great job. A wife who was currently pregnant with octuplets. If he saw a cloud in the sky he’d just think to himself, this will just make me appreciate the sun a lot more when it comes out. Ed assumed that this Saturday would be just another day at his job and for the most part it was. Until at 4:05 PM, when Lil Dipper and his gang the Knuckleheads burst into his security station and repeatedly stabbed him with a shiv that was made out of the sharpened edge of a cafeteria lunch tray.
Each stab went into Ed like a butter knife into butter. It’s almost as if his body was specifically made to be stabbed.
His blood rapidly escaped his body much like these prisoners were trying to escape their own confinement. His limp body slumped to the floor and once it was drained of it’s precious essence it’s muscles slackened and his once permanent smile now drooped into a frown that had been hidden for the past thirty-six years.
Lil Dipper threw the body towards Frank.
“Alright. Now cut off his skin and put it on. Then get us outta here.”