Plissken and Hellman: A Minor Episode


A Story By Kirk Howard Hazen
Based on characters created by John Carpenter and Nick Castle


His gun. He had forgotten his damn gun.

Snake Plissken rarely drank, but tonight was special. He and Harold Hellman had just pulled off a somewhat lucrative bank job in Ohio and now it was time to celebrate. Break out the booze. Tie one on. They had started a few hours earlier and Snake, always the paragon of moderation, slowly let the tequila work it's magic while Hellman proceeded to get sloshed eight ways to Wednesday. Hellman wasn't just half in the bag, he was all the way in the bag, standing there swaying and sputtering, holding forth on political topics while Snake just stood there, slowly sipping the liquid fire. He didn't begrudge Hellman's loss of control; the man probably needed it. Hellman had seemed stressed out lately, especially with the Kansas City job coming up, most of which was being funded by the proceeds from their latest affront to good old Uncle-fucking-Sam.

No, Hellman needed to do this, get it out of his system. Because once they got to Kansas City, it would be all business.

"I'll tell ya, the whole damned country is falling apart, all this shit about the new world order, fuckin' everythings being flushed down the toilet."

Hellman was definitely on a rant. Problem was, Snake had heard it all before.

"Tell me something I don't know, Harold."

Hellman paused and narrowed his eyes, no doubt thinking of something that maybe Snake hadn't heard of before.

And that was right around the time the two Blackbellies stepped out of the woods and into the clearing.

Hellman stopped and just stared, his mouth hanging open in shock.

"Snake..." He looked like he was going have a coronary.

"Quiet up. They could just be on patrol." Snake knew in his gut that was probably not the case.

The Blackbellies walked closer, their rifles held waist high. Moonlight glinted off their forms, giving them substance as they faded out of the shadows, but they were still black, the government issue riot helmets and face shields giving them  the appearance of robots rather than human beings.

Snake gripped the neck of the tequila bottle and wondered again why he hadn't brought his fucking gun with him. It was in the car, but the car was parked up over the hillside. Fat lot of fucking good it was doing them now.

"Snake Plissken." One of them said, moving in close, priming his rifle with a clacking sound.

Of course they knew who Snake was. Who didn't? The long hair. The eye patch. The tight faced glare. Snake had the recognition factor of a rock star, which was par for the course when you were the United States Police Force's most wanted criminal. It was like being Elvis.

Snake didn't like it one bit. His fifteen minutes of infamy was beginning to turn into a life sentence.

"Snake, what do you want to..." Hellman was visibly shaking now.

"Zip it." Snake glared at him with his good eye. He couldn't count on Hellman to bullshit his way out of this one, that was for sure. They were on the spot, and Hellmans skill at weaseling out of trouble would do them no good now.

The Blackbellies were upon them.

"Call in to HQ." The Blackbelly said, loud and clear, a note of triumph in his voice. "Tell 'em we got mister Snake Plissken himself here."

The other one moved off, his rifle still trained on them, and pulled out a walkie-talkie. The Blackbelly next to Snake leaned in and chuckled.

"So, Snakey-boy, how are you gonna slither out of this one?" He pressed the rifle barrel under Snake's chin. It felt like an icy finger.

Snake couldn't see the mans face, not that it mattered. The voice was what counted. The man sounded very pleased. He would no doubt be something of a celebrity himself now that he had brought down Snake Plissken.

Snakes lips tightened in a grimace.

"Maybe I'll show you..." He growled.

And the Snake struck.

With Adder-like speed, Snake swiped at the barrel of the rifle with his left hand, pushing it away from his chin, and with his right, he smashed the tequila bottle into the side of the Blackbelly's helmet. It shattered in a spray of gold. Then Snake  jammed the jagged end of the bottle up and under the helmet. He felt the glass sink in, giving it a good twist, and a warm flood of blood pour over his hand. The Blackbelly convulsively pulled on the trigger, the rifle fire cutting into the night sky.

As all of this transpired, other Blackbelly had dropped his walkie-talkie and was fumbling with his rifle. Hellman was screaming.

Snake, letting go of the bottle, tore the rifle from the hands of the dying Blackbelly and trained it on the other one. They all froze.

The Blackbelly Snake had planted the bottle into lay squirming on the ground, spraying blood from his carotid. The other one stood there, his rifle inconveniently pointed into the dirt. Snake could tell he was itching to raise it.

They stood there, at an impasse. Hellman was trembling, looking back and forth between them.

"Ah, Fuck it." Snake pulled the trigger, sending a volley of lead - airmail - into the Blackbelly. He danced a jig, the bullets ripping into him, and then he fell down, dead.

Snake slowly lowered the rifle and looked at Hellman.

"Shit, Snake." Hellman wiped sweat from his nose. "That was close."

"Yeah." Snake stared at the Blackbelly with the bottle in his throat.

"We almost didn't make it out of that one." Hellman took another swig out of his bottle.

Snake narrowed his eye and smiled slightly.

"What's this we shit, Harold?"

"Well, you know what I mean." Hellman wiped at his mouth.

"No, I don't know." Snake pulled out a smoke and lit it, all the while keeping his gaze on Hellman.

He took a long drag and flicked the ash onto the now very dead Blackbelly at his feet. The other one lay twitching, his walkie-talkie squawking, the voices on the other end chattering excitedly.

"We better go."

Snake turned and walked toward the road, to the car. He wondered to himself if working with Hellman was such a bright idea. The man wasn't exactly an ace under pressure.

For now, they had to get moving. Fresno Bob was waiting for them in Akron, and it was going to be a very long drive.

There was work to be done in Kansas City.

Copyright 1995-1998 Kirk Howard Hazen

The End