Mort Castle is an author and teacher who has published over 500 short stories. His most recent accomplishments include winning the 2012 Bram Stoker Awards® for Superior Achievement in an Anthology for Shadow Show: All New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury, (along with co-editor Sam Weller) and Superior Achievement in Fiction Collection for New Moon on the Water. Shadow Show was also a nominees for the Shirley Jackson Awards for Edited Anthology. Castle edited On Writing Horror, the primary reference work for dark fiction authors.
Hey, Sarge and Regis Toomey
A man got on a city bus and said, “Regis Toomey.” The bus was not crowded and was a nice bus, not one of those articulated freight haulers.
“Regis Toomey,” the man said. He said it conversationally. He did not say it like a bus babbler who talks about Kuppenheimer shirts with single needle stitching or window putty or the Secret Crimes of Mormons.
When he said it again, an alert off-duty policeman across the aisle pricked up his ears. There were not that many people on the bus and none of them pointed at him yelling, “Ear prick!” or any such a thing. The off-duty policeman’s name was Sarge, which led to many of his brother officers calling him, “Hey, Sarge.” There were no other police officers on the bus. Policemen in general prefer the articulated freight haulers, so we might as well call him Hey, Sarge, too.
Hey, Sarge had been recently given training in terror identification and anti-terrorist action. He had taken this course rather than the course in upholstery because in his line of work he did not encounter that many criminal upholsterers.
"What’s that?” demanded Hey, Sarge, the off-duty police officer. He rose and bulked himself up to take a firm anti-terrorist stance by the man who’d said “Regis Toomey.” Hey, Sarge was into the Yellow Zone. It’s a good place to be to survive but not a whole hell of a lot of fun, you know.
“Regis Toomey,” the man said. He didn’t reach for anything and so there was no need to subdue him. “Regis Toomey,” he said and said.
“Well, I don’t know about that,” said Hey, Sarge.
The man said “Regis Toomey” like he did know. He did not hesitate in the saying. If you had to make a judgment call, you’d give the guy credibility, okay?
Hey, Sarge wished he had his Taser.
“Regis Toomey!?!” All right!
Eat hot volts, Regis Toomey. Ill Regis Your Toomey. I’ll Regis Your Philbin. I’ll flap your doodle. I’ll Wonka your Willie! How you like them apples?!? How you like maybe use a blowfish for a suppository, huh? How you like ...
“Regis Toomey,” said the man on the bus.
Hey, Sarge wished the man were a girl, a college girl with hair pulled back and no jewelry in her lip and all her tattoos hidden where no one had to see them. He’d give her a damn good spanking, you bet. Regis whap Toomey whap whap whap whap.
But he had no taser and this man was not a college girl and so Hey, Sarge used psychology.
“Regis Toomey?” he asked.
“Darned good actor,” said the man, and then, because it was his stop, he got off the bus.