This scene appeared in the first draft of The Genesis Protocol as part of the novel’s epilogue.
Readers of The Last World War and especially Counterstrike: The Last World War, Book II will almost certainly recognize significant portions of the scene – especially considering that it begins all-but identically to a chapter I wrote for the first book. Given that the scene in TLWW was intended as an homage to the Kevin Smith film Clerks, I thought it’d be fun to extend the gag into a different book, using the same basic setup and then going forward as the needs of the newer story dictated. You’ll notice that the dialogue changes and certain parts of the description differ from the earlier version as the scene unfolds, and then things go completely askew.
Hey, I thought it was a nifty idea at the time, and in fact a good bit of this scene appears in Counterstrike, though obviously modified for that book.
Anyway – for what it’s worth: The Genesis Protocol: The Deleted Scene
Looking at the clock on the convenience store’s far wall, Brian sighed in mounting frustration. At this rate, there was no way he was going to last until six o’clock without choking the shit out of Jeff.
I’m not even supposed to be here tonight, he scolded himself. Why the hell didn’t I fake sick when I had the chance?
“Come on,” Jeff said from where he stood in front of the coffee machines, wiping down the counter with a sponge, “you know it makes perfect sense.”
Leaning on the counter next to the cash register, Brian shook his head. “Bigfoot was created by environmentalists to combat logging companies?”
“Not just one, but a whole colony of them,” Jeff said as he finished with the coffeepots and moved to clean the soft drink fountains. “Think about it. They get genetic scientists to create these things, drop them into places like the Pacific Northwest where the tree-huggers and the developers are always going at each other.
“Get enough people to report sightings, footprints, all that shit, then they go to the government and whine and complain that these creatures are scientific oddities that have to be protected for study. The only way to do that, of course, is to declare its natural habitats preservation areas, which means, among other things, no logging. No new housing developments or strip malls, either, which isn’t such a bad thing. I mean, how many tanning salons and yoga dens and take-out Chinese joints does one planet need, anyway?”
“That’s the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever heard, and that’s saying something considering the shit you keep coming up with,” Brian said, dismissing his coworker’s theory with a wave. Though Jeff had started working here less than a month ago, it had taken him substantially less time to become annoying as hell.
Before Jeff’s arrival, Brian had enjoyed the quiet and mostly mundane atmosphere of the overnight shift at the twenty-four-hour convenience store without a partner, but a series of holdups and robberies at other establishments along this stretch of Interstate 80 in recent weeks had prompted this shop’s owner to assign a second employee to the graveyard shift.
While Brian worked the main counter and handled most of the store’s customers, including overseeing the gas pumps and selling lottery tickets, Jeff took care of the store’s small deli and video rental departments, which went all but ignored during the overnight hours. In this capacity he dispensed movies along with hot dogs and pizza slices, all packaged with his own peculiar and oftentimes irritating viewpoint on whatever topic tickled his fancy on a given night.
The conspiracy theories had started out simple and even amusing at first, with the usual topics that Brian had already heard about, such as the JFK assassinations or the Moon landings being faked or some other such crap. If nothing else, the lively conversations that often ensued when Jeff revealed one of his theories helped to while away the early morning hours.
The fun had faded quickly as Jeff’s outlandish speculations branched out to include everything from the government kidnapping innocent people they suspected of being terrorists to aliens trying to control the populace by masking hypnotic messages in the soundtracks of pornographic movies.
“Of course, the reason that hasn’t worked is because the aliens don’t realize that everybody fast forwards through most pornos,” Jeff proclaimed one memorable Saturday night.
Having finished cleaning up the store’s self-service beverage area, Jeff moved toward the line of coolers along the store’s far wall, stopping long enough to retrieve a pint-sized container of chocolate milk.
“I thought Bigfoot was a robot created by aliens to keep hikers away from where they were hiding in the mountains or something.”
Offering a disgusted frown, Jeff shook his head. “You watch too much television, dude,” he said as he twisted the cap from the plastic milk bottle. Moving back behind the counter, he paused at the magazine racks and helped himself to one of the new issues of Hustler that had arrived earlier in the day.
“Think about it,” he continued. “All the stories you heard about Bigfoot in the 1920s and 30s are bullshit, but there’s enough there for the Sierra Club or some other group to take and use as the foundation for a massive disinformation campaign. The whole thing takes years to put together and execute. They’re the ones who provide the pictures and movie footage we’ve seen. Remember that film the guy shot in the 60s? You know, the one with Bigfoot walking away from the camera? That was them.”
Rubbing his temples with his fingers, Brian said, “That was a hoax, dumbass. The guy who did the make-up for the original Planet of the Apes movie was behind that. I read it in the paper years ago.”
“Ah, you’ve fallen for the clever ruse, just like thousands before you,” Jeff countered as he made his way back to the front of the store. “They put out that hoax rumor to throw people off the track of the real proof that Bigfoot is all their baby.”
“Where do you get this shit?”
“The Internet, mostly,” Jeff said without looking up from the centerfold of Hustler‘s Honey of the Month. “The truth is out there, dude. It’s amazing what you can find if you know where to look.”
Ignoring Jeff’s reply, Brian rolled his eyes as he moved from behind the counter. He needed a cigarette, he decided. Patting his pockets, he remembered that he had already smoked his last one an hour or so earlier.
He grabbed a pack of Marlboros from the dispenser over the cash register, making a mental note to pay for the cigarettes later. “I’ll be out back if you need me,” he called over his shoulder as he headed for the back door.
Waiting for him were two garbage bags, situated in the narrow hallway and blocking his path. One of the bags had torn and allowed a vile brown liquid to leak onto the floor.
“Jeff!” he shouted back into the store, hoping against hope that some of his damn Bigfoot buddies would show up and pound him into a meatball. “Get a mop and clean this shit up, huh?”
Grabbing a bag in each hand, Brian kicked at the door and let it swing open. He stepped outside into the predawn darkness, leaving a nasty brown trail behind him as he crossed the gravel and dirt parking lot to where the garbage dumpster sat, protected from the whims of evil garbage thieves and illegal dumpers by a perimeter of less than formidable chain-link fence.
Rather than unlock the fence’s gate to give him access to the dumpster, Brian tossed first one bag and then the other over the six-foot barrier, foul dark liquid arcing across the pavement and splashing across the fence. Some of it spattered the legs of his khaki cargo pants, eliciting yet another stream of profanity.
Shaking his head in disgust, Brian reached into his pockets to extract his lighter and the recently-acquired pack of cigarettes. Firing up a Marlboro, he drew the initial drag of smoke deep into his lungs, savoring the taste of the nicotine-laden tobacco. Of course he knew the cigarettes were bad for him and he had tried to cut down. He could honestly say that he only smoked during work these days, which he chalked up to being nothing more than a defense mechanism against beating Jeff with a baseball bat.
Pray I never quit, asshole.
Brian was taking another drag when something moved out in the open field behind the store. He figured it was a stray dog or perhaps a coyote, wandering the night desert in search of some luckless animal that might serve as dinner. Its eyes glowed a pale orange thanks to the feeble illumination offered by the lone streetlamp near the edge of the parking lot.
Whatever it was, it was moving toward him.
Copyright © Dayton Ward. All Rights Reserved.