Horror Fiction Funny

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

Warning: Contains strong language and some scenes of gore.

On Set

By Stephen Patmore

Over one hundred extras, with all sorts of bits hanging off or missing, wait for their cue. Danny looks at me over this one Creeper sipping a cappuccino from the top of an unlidded Starbucks cup, foamy blood oozing through the stringy hole in his cheek, and he says “Dude, it’s busy as hell today.”

And I say, “Yeah, Jared’s big hero moment, init.” Nodding to the black spray-painted school bus kitted out with mesh grills over the windows and a makeshift Lazy Boy gunner seat perched on the roof, ‘KILL BUS’ sprayed in red along the side. The letters running like bloody tears.

And Danny goes, “Shit, man.” He says, “Some dudes get all the luck.” And he grabs a script from an empty chair. 

“Look at this, dude.” He points at the green highlighted section of Scene 12, and says, “The girl, the guns, all the best kills, man.” Jabbing a finger into the page until it folds over his black grease smeared hand. “What makes this Bon Jovi wannabe so special, dude?” he says.

“The Hair,” I say, “there’s power in The Coif.” I say, “Besides, you’ve seen the dude, right? The man looks like a god chiselled by lesser gods.”

Danny sighs and throws the script back down.

“BAD BOY COPPERS TO SET.” Booms the AD. And Danny says, “Here we go, Chris.” he says, “Our big showbiz moment, dude.” And snatches up his assault rifle from the props table and starts filtering his way through the sea of chained up dead people all going URGH! Dead talk for whatever vapid goings on took part in the Love Island Villa last night. I don’t give a shit if Jay - that greased up lump of gorgeous - sucked the tongue right out of Amber's mouth - that two faced bitch. So, I grab my assault rifle and follow the path he carved, trying to block out the noise and avoid getting any more gore on me, that’ll only have makeup stamping their feet over continuity.  

Grant. He’s the director of this sloppy piece of shit. He’s this proper creepy short, guy. His bowling ball gut stretches over his cheap pleather belt and hangs below his grimy collared Hilfiger shirt with a teardrop of faded mustard over his flabby left pec. The buttons pushed to the max, the cotton rippled with unbearable tension. His dimpled gut skin looks slick and clammy. I bet his belly button’s a fucking swimming pool for bacteria, man. Looking at it makes me feel ill.

On his mark he’s gonna let the horde loose, and that’s when he wants me and Danny to blaze a trail of bullets through it, and hold up the Kill Bus. That’s Jared’s cue. The bouffant's big moment to shine.

Grant raises his stubby, fat, blanket-thick hairy arms into the air and jerks them about like a kid playing that John McClane guy in Die Hard. Yipiee Ki-Yay motherfucker. 

“Like this,” he says. 

I’ve had weapons training, man. Three whole months. But can I tell this guy that he’s got us doing it wrong? Can I tell him that if I use an assault rifle in that way, the only things I’ll be taking out are my own front teeth? 

Sandy’s due in less than a month. I need this job, man. The roads spell death for the under-prepared, and we’ve still gotta buy that fully kitted out pram, a collapsible cot, everything for two ‘Go’ bags, and a papoose with a gun holster. Maybe we should organise one of them shower things I told Sandy’s sister to forget about when she mentioned it last month... But… Extras, man. I’m around them all day. Can I really stretch to being around them in my private time, too? Hmmm…Freebies Chris, fucking freebies, man. Just think about the freebies.

Danny rolls his eyes at me. 

He’s thinking the same: this fat little dwarf knows fuck all. 

I smile, but all I can think about is that snazzy pram Sandy wants. The one with the detachable sleeping basket, concealed shotgun sling, and thick rubber off-roader wheels. Not to mention the price tag aimed at Elton Fucking John, man. 

I say, “Yeah, I can do that,” I say, “Yeah, no problem.” I might as well be telling the guy to bend over and drop trou’, so that I can give his sweaty arsehole a good cleaning with my tongue. Danny rolls his eyes again. He’s watching me practice everything we were told not to do. Watching Grant’s stupid dumb face glowing with excitement, and watching my shit-eating grin as I crunch down on a piece of sweetcorn and ask for more please, Sir. I love you Danny, but up yours man, I need this job. My kid needs his damn 4x4.

They move the Kill Bus into position. ‘Jared’ wanders over from his double-wide trailer. They’ve coiffed his golden mane perfectly for his close up. I can’t help but laugh when I see how his Uzi is slung the wrong way over his shoulder. Danny spots it too and says, “Dude’s gonna shoot his own arse off.” He says, “you think he’s ever had to fire a single bullet during these last eight years?”

“Doubt it, man.”

“What’s that, boys?” Grant’s director's chair sags under his weight. He picks up the loud hailer.  

 “Oh, nothing, Grant.” I say. “Just going over the lines.”

And he says, through the loud hailer so that everyone can hear, of course. “You have two fucking lines. If you can’t remember two fucking lines, then what the fuck are you doing on my fucking set?” Then he says, “I got an entire cast of dead people who only go URGH all fucking day who could do a better job.”

The AD whispers something into his ear. Grant leans back, the chair is holding on for dear life, and then back through the loud hailer, he says, “Get your shit together.” He says, “Two minutes before we roll.” Then he turns and shouts at no one specific . “Who do I have to fuck around here to get a damn drink? I got dead guys supping on fucking frappuccinos and I don’t even have a bottle of tepid fucking water.”  

Pram, it’s all about that pram. The pram is all that matters, Chris. Earn your money and this dead hell is in your rear-view for good.

I find my mark.

Quickly, go over what Grant wants me to do. 

Man, I hope I don’t brain myself.

The Extras Wrangler unchains his horde. Have you ever seen a spiders egg sack hatch? When the thousands of red dots all spread out? That’s what these extras look like, man. And I don’t think the wrangler kid’s been doing his job all that long. His chin carries the acne clusters of a fifteen-year-old. I can almost taste the fear oozing from his pores. His rapid arm movements are liable to get him eaten if he ain’t careful. Don’t he know not to rile a sedate horde. 

But at least the studio supplied us actors with decent weaponry this time, even if they want us to use them like fucking amatures. This poor dolt’s only got his wits and a fucking cattle prod. And if a feral rush does kick off, neither one’s gonna help save him from becoming the running buffet, man.

Danny says ““Fucking ‘ell”, when one of the extras gnashes his teeth close to Wrangler kid's left arm. He says, “You see that, Chris?” He says, “I got a ten on that kid not seeing the end of the day.” 

And I say, “Make it twenty.”

The horde is becoming more restless the more Wrangler kid tries to herd them, waving around those spaghetti arms like that is like shoving a T-Bone under the nose of a rottweiler, and saying coochie-fucking-coo. This kid’s a moron, man. 

‘Jared’ climbs up onto the Kill Bus. His denim vest shows off his tanned biceps, but they’re just gym muscles, they won’t save him if this lot turns. He shouts over to Grant, who’s ramming a cocaine dusted doughnut into his mouth. Thick jam oozes out and all I can think is, us and them extras ain’t all that different man. “Yo, Boss Man. We all safe and stuff?”  

Grant waves an unconcerned hand at him as his tongue searches for the glob of jam sitting in the corner of his mouth. He gives up, takes a greedy gulp of the tepid fucking water someone finally rushed over to him, and says, “Quiet on set.” His words are barely comprehendible. “Bad Boy Coppers ready on your mark?” he mumbles.

“Ready,” I say.

Danny salutes.

I check my weapon—fully loaded—and get into position.

“Kill Bus. You ready?” 

‘Jared’ hangs out from the back of the bus on one arm. “Ready and waiting.” He says, and Danny rolls his eyes. He thinks he would play a better Jared, but everyone here, including Danny, knows he’s way too scrawny and short. A six foot four brick shithouse is proper hero size, and Danny’s growth spurt ended at five foot nine, thirty years ago.

“Ready with the hord, Kevin?”

Kevin don’t look ready. His extras are slowly swarming in around him. Their groans, getting louder. They’re doing that thing they do just before they switch. The kid’s in trouble. Real trouble.

I glance around the set. No one’s paying any attention. Camera men are fucking around with equipment. The lighting guy’s having trouble getting the third leg of a tripod to level out. Grant’s shovelling another doughnut into his gob - this time chocolate instead of jam rings his greasy lips. The man looks like he’s just finished giving the AD a rim job. The AD is looking at his phone, with an inane smile like Grant has just finished eating out his arsehole. No one’s doing a damn thing to help. 

Just before a horde turns feral, the air becomes thick, like a storm brewing. I know Danny can sense it too, because the safety on his rifle has gone from red to black. His finger has moved from guard to trigger. I do the same and raise my rifle. Grant says, “What the fuck?” He says, “Did I say action?”

“The herd’s swelling,” I say, “Get everyone back.” I say. “We need to get that kid outta there.”

“The herd’s supposed to fucking swell. They’re a herd. The primary objective of extras in a zombie flick is to be fucking zombies, you dumb shit.” He says. “Now lower that weapon until I shout action.”

Danny shouts over to Wrangler kid, “You alright, kid?” 

And the kid goes, “Not really,” his voice is, shaky. He says, “I was on coffee runs until this morning. I just want to go home.” 

I say to Grant, “No can do, Grant.” And Grant says, “Then you can pack your shit and leave my fucking set without collecting your pay slip.” 

Pram, pram, pram.

You’re fired.”


An extra lunges. He has no lips covering the teeth now bearing down on Wrangler Kid's arm. Flesh tears off in strings. It looks like a chicken thigh smeared in ketchup. Wrangler Kid screams so loud his voice breaks into a whisper. 

I fire. 

The back of Wrangler Kid’s head expels his brains in a fan of red mist. It’s the kindest thing I can do. Ain’t no coming back from a bite like that, man. 

The extra chewing on Wrangler Kid flips his head to one side. His murky cataract looking eyes stare directly at me. He’s full on feral now. His bones snap into action.

I fire and miss.

Danny lets one go and misses, too.

“Fuck me, this one’s quick.” He says.

I trace his movements as he sweeps his way through the crowd. It’s like everyone he touches gets turned feral. I flip my gun from single fire to rapid and let rip. Heads explode. Brains, black with rot, spit clouds up into the air. I can hear Danny’s gun going off like a jackhammer. Extras fall, get stomped, bones crunch like dried up drift wood. 

This one extra with a missing arm and a torn stomach showing her intestines like a coiled string of sausages, runs towards the Kill Bus, her bloody gouged tits flapping about like burst water balloons. She grabs the ankle of ‘Jared’s’ knee-high leather boot. He squeals like a child and kicks her in the head. She stumbles backwards and pulls him from the Kill Bus’ rail. Extras swarm in on the fresh meat. One of them peels back his scalp and sucks gore from the underside of his money making mane. Me and Danny open fire but their nails and teeth work faster than our bullets. ‘Jared’s’ screams don’t last long. 

Above the sewing machine string of gun fire, I hear Grant's voice. He’s shouting CUT over and over like this is a fucking take. His main star’s just been de-coiffed, and he’s still playing Director, man. 

Danny turns his gun on Grant.

He winks at me and fire erupts from the barrel, expelling a single round through the air. It just misses an extra hooking out the marrow from one of ‘Jared’s’ bones and sucking it from a filthy ragged nail. It swishes past a second and a third. It flies between a cameraman and the AD to drill straight through the centre of Grant's skull and out the back. I hear it ding off of his nice, fancy executive trailer. A juicy red spot ruins the perfect white paint. Grant’s body hits the deck in a puff of dust. A cocaine sprinkled doughnut rolls from his pudgy fingers. Someone from makeup squeezes out the jam with a pastel green wedge as she runs past screaming. An extra is close on her tail, reaching out a hand to grab her long auburn hair.     

I say, “Thanks, dude.” I say, “That prick had it coming.” 

And Danny goes, “Welcome, dude.” 

Together, we go to work clearing the set. 

When the extras are nothing but a pile of twitching limbs, Danny says, “Sorry we ain’t getting paid, dude.” He says, “I know you needed the dough for Sandy and the little one.” 

I shrug. “Shit happens, man.” I say, “Fancy having a rummage inside that cunt’s trailer before we leave?” I say, “See what we can salvage from this shit show.”

And Danny goes, “I thought you would never ask, man.”

We walk past a bunch of screaming crew members. Most have parts of a colleague or two sprayed across them. 

Danny boots the door in. We rest our rifles against the chrome kitchen cabinets and go straight to the fridge. 

The beer is ice cold. It goes down too easy. We grab a second one and sit in front of the seventy-inch screen in leather recliners, pop the footrests up and lean back. I see something under the cocaine smeared coffee table and say, “hey, dude, what’s that?”

Danny pulls out a gym bag. “Sweaty gym pants?” he says, “That fat fuck?”

I laugh, put my bottle down next to a miniature coke version of Everest and watch as Danny unzips the bag.

 Inside are bundles of crisp cash thicker than the phonebook, man. All fifties by the look of it. 

Danny looks up at me, sniffing a fistful, and says, “Get fired by the prick one second, find his cut of the fucking jackpot the next.”

He chucks me the cash. I take a deep sniff for myself. Sandy’s gonna be over the moon, man.

“Swings and roundabouts,” I say. “Swings and fucking roundabouts, man.” 

That second beer is the best beer I’ve ever tasted.

The end

July 19, 2022 10:50

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Pete Snow
12:37 Jul 25, 2022

You've certainly got the hang of this genre, Steve. I think you'll need a new cast for the sequel.


Stephen Patmore
13:06 Jul 25, 2022

Thanks, Pete. A sequel? Even more people to kill off. I’m in.


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Darren Stock
19:54 Jul 25, 2022

Loving Chris and Danny, they are my kind of charaters. Would love to read a whole book based around these 'Bad Boy Coppers'.


Stephen Patmore
11:36 Jul 26, 2022

Glad you enjoyed. Both Chris and Danny were a lot of fun to write. Maybe a book isn’t too bad an idea.


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Jack Hannah
14:27 Jul 25, 2022

Love this. Gore and comedy, what's not to like?


Stephen Patmore
11:36 Jul 26, 2022

Glad you had fun reading this silly little story.


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Terri Hannah
13:21 Jul 25, 2022

Brilliant. Look forward to reading more from this writer.


Stephen Patmore
11:36 Jul 26, 2022

Thank you.


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Robbyn Snow
19:02 Jul 24, 2022

More of this, please. Look forward to reading what comes next from this writer.


Stephen Patmore
11:37 Jul 26, 2022

Thank you.


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