So, away we rambled, makin’ a juggernaut now from which everyone in their proper minds scattered. This was not just a couple of mad-eyed boys but the genuine article--a storm front, a jaw line with teeth, a bungle. We swept the sidewalks, veered the streets, dared the cars, muscled a few strollers, tumbled a bunch, an’ every scream an’ scuttle made us stronger an’ more bully. We descended the stairs an’ ramps that lead down to the lower levels where the subtrains first rolled out into daylight on their way to upper level stations, where the PatchyPete teams rolled around in their electric carts on repair runs, where the vagabouts curled up in steam tunnels for warmth, an’ where the Crazy Christos and the other GoddieOddies an’ brain blasted types lurked. A scabby, lousy place full of soci cankers, if ever there was one! At that moment in my life, I couldn’t fathom the Christos an’ the other niddle twits who insisted on believin’ in some warpy, spook-it-all invisible HooDah. Can’t see ‘im, can’t touch ‘im, can’t taste ‘im, can’t smell ‘im, can’t actually hear ‘im, an’ yet, He, She? It? Who knows? talks to ‘em, directs ‘em--fills ‘em up, whatever that means. One of me mates told me they ask for the HooDah to take possession of ‘em, “roust out the real me an’ take over me body.” Stupoposterously gross! It’s no wonder that such goofiness was declared mental illness long ago. Anyone believin’ in a non-vizzy person who’s all powerful an’ takes over your bein’ had to be nuts, an’ dangerous. Back in the millennia, when those types had all the pow, they killed an’ tortured those that didn’t believe in the same invizzy monsterosity as them--jailed ‘em, put ‘em in prison, fought actual wars tryin’ to exterminax one another. Now, here in this far distant future time, we still had a poxy bunch of folks with brain bubbles or whatnot who believed in such a bucket a gobbers. If the bullyboys pick ‘em up, they’re shipped off to the hospitals what has rooms with stretchy walls, where they gets a few lines of smokin’ sparks run through their brains; then, once they’ve had a full cycle of sparkities in the gray jelly, they get their minds wiped with a spankin’ stiff purge of chems that pretty much takes out everything ‘cept the autonomics. Then, if they make it that far, they start bein’ re-eddied--months or years plugged into sensory developmental machines. Sad! But it don’t always take. Lots of ‘em died; some of ‘em wound up like steamed broccoli. I saw one or two livin’ outside on government pensions, doddery, frail little twitchets scared of their own shadows, workin’ government appointed jobs no more than a dillydally to keep ‘em occupied. Too bad for them, but, on the other hand, real good for the rest of us. I thought, who knows what those spook worshipers might do down in those tunnels. They might pack the tunnels with explosives an’ blow us all to bloody gobbets, decide to hurry on some judgment day catastrophe on all us unbelievers. The whole business was creepy to me, but, I hadta confess, I was kinda hopin’ to see one or two rather than just regular old vagabouts bombuzzled from drugs an’ hootch. I mean, at least, if someone’s gonna get beaned with a rock, let it be somebody dangerous rather than merely dismal. We went ragin’ along a tramp ramp, where lotsa bums curl up in warehouse doors to sleep. From there we could look down on to ground level at the steam tunnel entrances. As we swarmed along, we collected chunkits--things like bottles, cans, nuggets of concrete, pieces of brick, whatever had heft enough to throw. A few baggy folks had shown themselves thinkin’, I guess, they might cadge some coins, but they got driven back fast by hot barrages from the bungle. One old grizzle got clunked right in the forehead by a brick chip an’ it popped blood in a large bright gout. He went down but his companions dragged him away into a deep crevice. We couldn’t get to ‘em any more, but the guys had fun shellackin’ the place from time to time to keep ‘em nervous. Most of us had burned up whatever energy had set us off, an’ were ready to leave, but Scatty had a huge woggy of a rage goin’. He pelted along the ramp screamin’. I mean, no words, just scream, ‘cause he had such a blast of anger workin’. It was like there wasn’t no person inside ‘im at all, somethin’ else way worse an meaner shinin’ outta his eyes. Then, just about the time I had Bombsie convinced to cut away an’ find some simpler an’ gentler way of spendin’ time, we heard Scatty’s screams turn to language. “Book Hag!” he’s shoutin’.“BOOK HAG” So, everybody hung over the railin’ an’ sure enough, an old lady wrapped an’ mufflered with a watch cap pulled down had clumbstumbled out of a steam tunnel, been down there doin’ a worship or somesuch, I reckon. She had her arms an’ her gloved hands wrapped around a big, black book--Bibles, they called ‘em--full of wicked, anti social philosophies. They’re against the law. You can’t even find ‘em in libraries, but some of them had ‘em that are ages old, an’ others had created their own versions on home printers. The Book Hag was standin’ there, confused. Even at a distance, I could see her tremble. She didn’t know which way to go an’ took a step or two one way an’ then stopped, backed up, turned, made a dash in the other direction but drew back as somebody zipped a bottle at her that smithereened against the bricks near by. Then, she scuttled back toward the steam tunnel entrance an’, as she bent low to enter, Garf nailed her in the lower back with another bottle, which straightened her up in pain, bangin’ her head against the tunnel top. That swung her around in a graceless arc so that she’s facin’ us, an’ all I can remember was her huge eyes panicked, an’ her dark, open mouth screamin’. Three horrified holes in a blank white face! An’ then Scatty hurled a half a brick that flew true an’ smashed into the middle of her face. What a sound! I heard the flesh burst an’ the teeth grate SHE keeled backwards, half in, half out of the tunnel. I watched the bombardment of missiles from the bungle batterin’ her legs an’ feet until, at last, unseen hands dragged her back into shelter. I registered one last image of a long arm, a shoulder an’ the back of someone’s head as they reached out to salvage the black book, takin’ a bone breaker smash or two in the process. Well, in spite of the fact that I knew better than to feel sorry for such a loonabort, I did; on the other hand, Scatty an’ Garf seemed all aglow with satisfaction, so it didn’t take too much convincin’ to persuade them to hike it off to celebrate at the Fat Hen Mall. Even Bombsie’s showed a bit of a gloat. Why that bothered me, I really didn’t know, but it did, so much so that when Garf offered me a Black Bomber, I took it without question ‘cause I didn’t wanna think about nothin’ no more. Just wanted ta have some fun.