A tease from my upcoming book Popped Culture, Kickstarter coming this June/July.
Enjoy the story and art of Bert and Ernest's wild ride through The Streets.
Chapter I: A Long Way From Home
The blast was louder than Ernest had expected, however the blow-back affected him even more. The heavy gun weighted down his tiny orange hands, but he firmly gripped the cannon, amidst the nervous twitch.
Ernest stood before his first victim, a day he'd never imagined to had happen. He was always unsure what he wanted to be in life, but a killer was never an option.
“What the hell, Ernest?!” yelled Bert, as he grabbed the pistol from his still shell-shocked brother.
“He was going to kill you, Bert...” Ernest said, his wet eyes still glued onto the victim. “I was trying to protect you, Bert.”
Bert shook his head, placing his pistol back into the holster. Bert made his way to the couch, removing the trash from it and proceeding to tear off the crumb-ridden sheets. “You made this mess, so now you're going to clean it up.”
“I don't think any bath can clean this mess, Bert.” Ernest muttered under his breath, an old brotherly joke, now sadly forgotten and replaced with despair.
“Well figure it the hell out.” Bert said, throwing the sheets at his brother. Ernest grabbed the sheets and made his way over to the fallen body. He looked down at his victim, staring into the eyes of yet another killer, one far more veteran than himself. His mind began to skip, until Bert slapped him in the head, knocking sense back into his tiny body.
“Ernest! Get it together. Clean this up while I figure out what to do now.”
Ernest leaned down, trying to lift the heavy body and place him in the sheets. The blood leaked from the wound, which was located between the victim's right eye and cheek. Ernest watched as it continued to pump a thick, dark red stream over the neon-lit carpet. “What are we going to do, Bert?” Ernest asked, nervously pushing his greased-black hair aside.
“We gotta figure out an alibi for The Bird. He's gonna wonder why this guy disappeared and when he finds out that we did it? You and I are gone. For good.” Bert exhaled.
I was only trying to help, the frantic Ernest yelled in his mind. All those years he had grown next to Bert, wanting to follow in his footsteps—wanting to impress his older brother—only for this to happen? But that was the very problem, Ernest had difficulties even finding the footsteps to begin with. He was never a leader, only a follower, needing a hand to guide him through challenges most would figure out on their own through simply...
...Growing up. Ernest thought, something he had heard once too many times before.
Bert tried to conjure a plan in the meantime, but his past kept coming back to haunt him. Over the years, friends and family told Bert behind his brother's back to move on. Leave the kid, and focus on your life. You have goals, he doesn't, they would say. Become something and lead by example they would remind him. Bert never left Ernest's side though, continuously putting his life on hold to help Ernest further his own.
Because that was the promise Bert made to Ernest before he left. He gave his word that he would never leave his side, and that he would always be his protector. But now, once again, Bert was forced to figure out a way to solve yet another one of his brother's foils.
Bert grabbed Ernest's shoulder, knowing and understanding what he must be going through. “It's a lot to take in. I've been there, many times, in your exact spot. The gun feels heavy, but you almost enjoy it.” Bert sayid, as Ernest looks up at him. “You then one day require it.” he finishes.
“Are...are we in trouble Bert?” he asked in his tiny, innocent voice—his hands still shaking.
The body below them began to twitch, a second breath of life entering his lungs. Bert and Ernest watched as he struggled to rise, the gurgles slowly weeping from his mouth as his large eyes darted around the room. Bert retrieved his .45 Caliber back from his holster, and aimed it at the victim's forehead.
Bert sighed. “Yes, we're in trouble, Ernest," pulling the trigger and landing a .45 caliber round into the head of The Cook, one of The Street's most notorious Cookie Dealers. A decision that would soon assure them both a home six feet under.