Clinton Mills

by Ryan Dilbert

Clinton Mill is the millionaire Florida senator who called for the slaughter of thousands of the state's centaur population.

Clinton Mills is a mechanic who looks a lot like Bruce Springsteen.

Two hatchet men, Francis and his twin brother, TJ, kidnapped the wrong one. Rarely has a singular 'S' been so critical.

Clinton Mill is spooning his wife, with his beagle, Spankings, sleeping at his feet.

Clinton Mills is being dragged down a flight of stairs and thrown on the basement floor. Francis kicks him in the collarbone before he ties him to a chair. Clinton has a potato sack over his head. It scratches against his sweating face. He cannot see Francis' gaunt and freckled face or the dice in his eye sockets, two black dots serving as pupils. Francis had his real eyes shot out during a card game.

Clinton Mill awakens to his phone ringing.

"We've kidnapped Clinton. Five million to bring him home again," a husky voice said.

"I'm Clinton Mill. Who the hell is this?"

They hang up. Clinton suddenly finds the dark unnerving.

In the basement, Gordyl, a burly centaur with yellow-tinted glasses tears the sack off Clinton Mills' head. He curses in his ancient, native tongue. TJ asks his bro what their boss is saying.

"Does it matter?"

Gordyl grabs Francis by the neck and holds him in the air.

"I gave you his address. How did this happen?"

Francis' head is suddenly full of childhood stories of centaurs ripping humans apart and picking out bits to eat. He stutters how he and TJ lost the dossier at a titty bar and decided to just look him up in the phone book. Gordyl slams Francis into the dryer. He loads his crossbow and screams that he'll get Mill himself.

Clinton Mill is against human augmentation. He recently proposed a bill to outlaw the insertion of gems under fingernails. He made an impassioned speech regarding the issue at Congress that was met with glorious applause.

Clinton Mills once spent several months' paychecks on a girlfriend's mechanical wing implants. When she broke up with him, she flew out of his window and pretended not to hear Clinton spitting her name.

Clinton Mill is a tyrant and a sleaze ball. Funded by big oil and the organ black market, he is planning a run for president in the next ten years.

Clinton Mills is a dick. He loves to slip opened condom wrappers in men's cars and imagines the hell they'll catch for it while chuckling madly.

Clinton Mill rushes to his office where the speaking door sleeps. He taps on it and its one metal eye flutters open. The door's mouth turns a murky red as it says, "What is it, Mill?"

Clinton asks him if he should be concerned with this kidnapping incident.

"The centaur who arranged it is riding to your house as we speak."

Clinton bows to the door. He calls the Miami police and they soon rush to protect him.

TJ whispers to his brother that he should just scrape out Clinton's eyes and trade them for his own dice eyes. Francis tells TJ to run and get him an ice cream scoop.

Clinton Mill waits on his roof with a shotgun, smoking a joint to calm his erratic heart. He hates all magical creatures, but something about the centaur especially disgusts him. They disrupt his Bible-centered view of the world. He sees Gordyl charging on his lawn and he grins. Nothing thrills Clinton like wetting the ground with centaur blood.

Clinton Mills tries to wriggle free from the ropes around his wrists. Francis stands in front of him, arms crossed, eyeing his captor's deep-set brown eyes.

"Why don't you let me go? I'm not the guy you want."

Clinton knew that if this dice-eyed man knew him, he'd answer that Clinton deserved a little pain. Every car he had keyed, every tab he walked out on, every drunk girl he slipped into sits now in his head like a jury of ghosts.

Gordyl pulls up several yards away from Clinton's house. There are several squad cars parked on the grass. Police aim their guns at him. Clinton Mill taunts him from the roof, grabbing at his nuts before cocking the shotgun. Gordyl comes from a long line of warriors, but he knows the difference between courage and suicide. There is no way he can come out of this victorious. The sight of Clinton sticking his tongue out and aiming his shotgun makes him weak with sadness. He knows that Mill will continue to live, while his people slowly die. He wants to be a hero, but instead has to settle for slinking away back into the forest.

Clinton Mills manages to slip out just as TJ walks in with the ice cream scoop. Clinton isn't a big man. His shoulders are narrow and his wrists are skinny, but fearful of dying, he is strong enough to break the chair over TJ's head. Francis grabs him from behind and chokes him with his forearm. TJ, half-blind with blood, piles on and pummels Clinton's jaw with his work boots.

Clinton Mill thanks the police with a taste of his wife's strawberry pie and coffee he bought while down in Costa Rica. He then makes frenzied love to his wife before passing out next to her.

Clinton Mills fights the men off with his nails and his elbows and his teeth until his body no longer listens to him. He spits up something pink before blacking out.

Clinton Mill dreams of sawing off mechanical wings off heroin addicts, of racing in aluminum cars, of grabbing a bear by the mouth and shaking him. He drifts off until his alarm sounds the next morning.

Clinton Mills' eyes are removed and the two twins throw his body into the river without ceremony. He floats face first, drifting among algae and gasoline residue until the sun rises in the morning.

BIO: Ryan Dilbert is the editor of Shelf Life and a senior contributor to The Footnote. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming in Byline, Red Fez, Flashquake, FRiGG and NANO. He teaches writing at Cheng Gong College in Gong Yi, China.