Did you buy the Woot 2012 Calendar? If you did, you probably noticed that there's a QR code on every page. Scan the QR code at the beginning of each month for the latest chapter in The Secret of El Arenque Rojo. To recap, in Chapter 1, video store owner Roy Odom found a box of mysterious VHS tapes. In Chapter 2, he started to notice some odd coincidences and symbols in the movies on the tapes. He sought the help of an unusual film professor in Chapter 3; discovered that the implications were bigger than he'd ever imagined in Chapter 4; and had a disquieting dream before being betrayed by a confederate in Chapter 5. The turncoat had a change of heart in Chapter 6... but learned in Chapter 7 that even considering betrayal has its price. Chapter 8 introduced us to a shady new character determined to destroy all evidence while Chapter 9 saw a massive betrayal… and a revelation. And now, Roy Odom is on the run from a global conspiracy… and a stranger might be his only hope.
Roy Odom had never hitchhiked before, but there was a first for everything. He tried to remember how Johannes Verona had done it in La novia vestía pantalón de color café (The Bride Wore Brown Trousers). After all this searching, he couldn't just let these tapes be lost.
It was a lucky break for him that the stranger with the gun had just fallen to the ground after shooting Evelyn and Duke. Roy had searched the body, of course, finding only ammo, a Hit Man union card, and a pocket full of gas station meat snacks. Roy guessed the guy's heart just gave out due to poor diet and lack of exercise. It was bound to happen, probably. Just pure luck it happened before he got to Roy.
There was a dusty, fast-moving cloud in the distance. Roy went over the steps in his head. Hold out the arm, stick out the thumb, walk backwards. Try to look like you've got a destination. Try to look like a man with a promising future to whom any driver would be a fool not to be indebted with. Indebted to. Indebted to? Roy wished he was back in his shop where he could simply look up the answer on the internet. But out here, in the desert, grammar rules were as wild as the rattlesnake lying on the hot asphalt of the road.
The car was closer now. It was a dull champagne and the license plate seemed to read "BOTTOM" which was really odd, so Roy assumed it was just a mirage. He clutched the box of tapes under his left arm and full extended his right. If not this car, then the next one, or the one after that. It wasn't just about him anymore. If he didn't get these tapes into some air conditioning soon, they might not survive. And then, what was this all for?
The champagne car, license place 8O7-T0M, came to a stop just in front of Roy. The electric window rolled down.
"Get in, buddy!" said the man behind the wheel. "Name's Drake. I'm goin' where you're goin'.
"I might be going a long way," said Roy as he closed the door behind him. Drake smiled and locked the car.
"Ain't so far." said Drake. "Just a little screening room right across the border. Figure we'd have us a TV party tonight. Just me, you, those tapes, and a dear friend."
Roy was too exhausted to fight any more. All he could do was nod and set the tapes on the floor. Drake laughed and slapped Roy on the arm.
"Cheer up, buddy! This is almost over! And when you get back to your video store, at least you'll have a story to tell!"
Roy sighed as the car began to move. Some stories, he thought, were harder to tell than others.
Hi, I'm one of the writers. My powers are limited but I'll do what I can.