Disclaimer: I own nothing. All Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters and Li’l Abner characters are the property of their original owners.
Walking down the dirt and gravel (but mostly dirt) road somewhere way back in the Ozark hills, Spike sneered contemptuously at the valley and its slovenly village laid out in the darkness before him a mile on and several hundred feet lower in elevation. It was bad enough he’d wound up totally lost tonight, but the assortment of shabby cabins, tumble-down shacks, and other pathetic structures seen at the end of the rutted and potholed lane was hardly Spike’s idea of civilization. Why, there weren’t even any telephone or telegraph poles much less electric lights there, just a few dim oil lanterns and lamps scattered around that miniscule, trash-strewn settlement.
Spike slowed in his ill-tempered strides to instead walk a bit more pensively while he mulled over the exceptionally malevolent idea which had just occurred to him. It’d been far too long since the vampire had carried out a nice, gory massacre of innocents in job lots, and the isolated place down there seemed absolutely perfect for this. Just one road in or out, most likely, and that same path untidily carved from the steep hillside looked easy enough to block with a landslide or two. Once that was accomplished by Spike’s vampire strength, slip into the small town and make sure nobody could send out a message calling for help. Then, methodically waylay the adult menfolk who might try to fight back, along with butchering the lesser prey such as the oldsters and the younger children.
The blond demon let a gloating smile of pure evil appear on his handsome features as he continued his journey to the town unaware of its approaching doom. With any luck, there’d be a few good-looking women and girls left over after the initial slaughter for him to take his time with for the rest of the night. Maybe stretch it out longer, if he could find a cellar or something like this to stay hidden from the sun the next day. Happily nodding at this splendid prospect, Spike picked up his pace, eager to get started in tonight’s latest episode for the vampire of blood and death.
Swaggering past the decaying road sign identifying the town below as ‘Dogpatch’, Spike hit a slightly thicker spot of gravel layering the road. Under his treading boots, the tiny stones crunched loudly together. An undead monster didn’t bother walking more softly; he was still too far away from that idiotically-named conurbation for anyone there to hear him.
Spike never considered that somebody else might be close by, and also quite willing to express their own severe annoyance over the current disturbance in the night made by some ‘furriner’.
When the stranger he’d been watching for several minutes from a concealed spot higher up on the hillside passed by below, a lean figure silently emerged out of the shadows cast by the surrounding pines there. Taking aim, this bushwhacker tracked with his weapon’s muzzle the oblivious victim heading towards Dogpatch. BANG!
Bringing down his smoking rifle, Smilin’ Zack peered at a body now lying limply on the road beneath the local killer. His ever-present menacing grin growing a bit wider on the man’s cadaverous face, this mountaineer turned to slip through the greenery around him without making the slightest sound. Ahhhh, peace and quiet at last -- but most important of all, quiet,
which was the only proper thing to be in the ragged ambusher’s opinion. Just like the formerly noisy intruder who’d made such a racket a moment ago, but ol’ Zack fixed that right proper, yessir. Glorying in the stillness around him, the homicidal hillbilly forever yearning for unadulterated hush (and extremely willing to target everybody in his vicinity for it) went back to his cabin without another glance at the stranger he’d just fatally shot right in the head.
When his supernatural healing eventually caused Spike to wake up, this vampire opened his eyes to find himself being carried in a jackknifed posture over someone’s shoulder, staring face down at their broad arse barely contained by a pair of tattered trousers. This unknown person walking down the Dogpatch road was bearing Spike’s weight without any strain at all, except for an arm lazily thrown over the demon’s lower back to keep him from falling off.
Instantly deciding he damn well needed to get loose and then find out just what the hell was going on, Spike shoved hard with his arms against the other’s rotund body while also fiercely wriggling the rest of his body. It almost worked, with Spike entirely slipping down the back of his captor, until a ham-sized hand clamped shut onto Spike’s ankle. In the next instant, Spike was flung up and away through the air by that gripping hand and arm showing tremendous strength by effortlessly playing crack-the-whip with the vampire just before releasing him. Tumbling in his flight while flailing uselessly with all limbs, a horrified Spike saw he’d been thrown over the road edge cut into the near-vertical hillside. With a hopeless scream, this demon plummeted into the trees growing at the bottom of the gulch several hundred feet below.
Two very unusual individuals stood side-by-side at the rim of the road, looking down in their mutual astonishment, as the sounds of a body rapidly crashing through branches ended with an extremely terminal THUD!
Unable to see anything further through the shadowy darkness below, Hairless Joe turned to his partner. Angrily brandishing in his other hand the heavy club he carried everywhere, this modern Cro-Magnon growled, “Lonesome Polecat, yo’ dadblasted numbskull! That feller we collected, he wuzn’t daid like yo’ claimed!”
“Ugh!” promptly argued back the diminutive, loin-clothed Indian. “Him have bullet hole in head, him not breathing, him heart not beating! Pretty sure that make him dead!”
The hirsute man dressed in his ragged overalls snorted, “Well, fer a corpse, he moved mighty frisky tryin’ to git away! Now where are we’uns gonna find another carcass tonight to give our latest batch of Kickapoo Joy Juice some more body?”
Lonesome Polecat just shrugged. “Plenty moose, bear, panther in hills around for you to hit with club and toss in vat. We go on hunt now, okay? Just don’t throw ‘em over cliff like that again!”
Still bickering away, the pair of mismatched friends wandered off into the night. Neither of them ever gave another thought to their odd encounter with a blond stranger, who at the moment was irately laying face-down on the ground a few hundred yards from his original destination while waiting for his numerous broken bones to knit back together.
A few minutes later, an enraged Spike strode directly towards the nearest hovel at the Dogpatch outskirts. Considering the utterly vile mood he was in at present, the only thing which would improve Spike’s livid temper was to immediately murder on sight the very first person to cross his path. The undead Englishman’s attention was soon drawn by the house he was approaching having its front door swing open. Beginning to smirk at this chance to so quickly sate his thirst for others’ suffering, Spike ignored the intense stench coming from a fenced-off section by another house to the side. He kept on striding to meet whoever was now stepping out of the residence ahead--
Freezing in his tracks, Spike’s mind instantaneously switched itself off. He was left standing there, blankly staring ahead while his unknowing quarry left behind yet another victim of her extraordinary beauty. Never seeing Spike out in the darkness at the edge of Dogpatch, Stupefyin’ Jones, undoubtedly the most gorgeous woman in the entire world, went to visit a friend elsewhere in the neighborhood. She’d done this often enough so that the town’s menfolk knew better than to peek at where Stupefyin’ would be walking along at this time of the night. After all, besides the irksome, short-lived consequence of having your thoughts get doused right away like a bucket of water dumped onto a lit candle, this recovery usually came with the unhappy discovery that your wife was just about to forcefully clout you with her rolling pin for being such an idiot.
Spike, on the other hand, woke up to his stomach being experimentally prodded by some disrespectful titch who’d come along while the vampire was still in his severe daze. Outraged by this stranger’s totally impertinent behavior, Spike grabbed him by the throat and lifted that bloke up to head level so that they were staring into each other’s eyes. William the Bloody then shifted his classic features into game face just before preparing to tear into pieces that pillock with a small black cloud hovering above the other man’s scruffy hat--
a second, now.
Spike’s astonished gaze flickered up to the meteorological representation of Joe Btfsplk’s surpassingly bad luck at exactly the moment when this near-sentient jinx decided having its host be eaten by a vampire would spoil all the fun. Without any further ado, the curse of the Btfsplks let fly a tiny lightning bolt from deep within the cloud, which grounded itself right at the tip of Spike’s nose.
Reeling backwards, a screaming Spike also dropped Joe who sensibly scurried away. The vampire clapped both hands onto his merrily blazing nose, and after a few more agonized steps in reverse, he did a perfect pratfall over a nearby split-rail fence to unerringly land head-first into a pigsty.
Thrashing about in the glutinous muck stinking to the very heavens above, Spike discovered with horror that he was starting to sink deeper into the mire. At that point, a hand grabbed the vampire by his shoulder. Incensed fingers dug into the undead flesh there, and a former Londoner got unceremoniously yanked out from the pigsty. Standing with trembling legs on somewhat more solid ground, Spike was yelled directly into his smeared face by the unkempt-but-still-striking beauty holding him upright:
“I disremember invitin’ y’all to spend the night hyar! Git outta my bed sharpish, or mah paw’s shotgun will discuss with y’all our upcomin’ nuptials!”
Right after that threat, Spike was firmly turned around and then given such a majestic kick to his rear that he flew entirely over the fence enclosing Moonbeam McSwine’s pigsty. Hitting and rolling along the ground while spraying in all directions gobbets of pungent sludge, Spike staggered back up onto his feet, a dripping mess. He next hurriedly fled away from Dogpatch in a desperate search for some clean water -- a well, river, or even a puddle -- to sluice off the rest of the clinging slime which was giving off such a fragrant aroma of unwashed porkers.
Eventually finding a small creek running out of the hills surrounding the town now a mile or so behind him, Spike knelt on the banks of this yard-wide stream. He hastily cupped a double handful of cold water to scrub his face. Once this was done (including digging out his clogged ears), Spike thoroughly blew his still-scorched nose, ignoring the stabbing pains caused by expelling every bit of that foul mixture stuffed up there. Sighing in genuine relief at once more being able to smell anything other than ‘Eau de Piggy,’ Spike took another thankful whiff--
After a moment’s pause, Spike slowly glanced over his shoulder. There, upwind of him about twenty feet away, a barefooted Amazonian beauty stood, dressed solely in her skimpy furs. On either side of this long-tressed woman was a trio of enormous wolves, with all half-dozen of these savage animals seated upon their haunches. Every one of these creatures, which decidedly included the woman, was hungrily staring at Spike still reeking of their normal prey.
Puffing at her pipe, Mammy Yokum listened with casual interest from her porch rocking chair to the echoing bestial howls coming from what sounded like the hills to the north. They’d started just a bit ago and were continuing without a break, indicating a chase to the death was still ongoing out there.
“M-M-Mammy, don’t yo’ think thet someone we’uns know might need rescuin’ tonight from them awful critters?” quaveringly came from the interior of the Yokum cabin. From the sound of things, her terrified husband was hiding under their bed again.
Taking out the corncob pipe from her mouth, the matriarch of a hillbilly haven known as Dogpatch spat dismissively onto the ground beyond the porch edge. “Oh, don’t fret, Pappy. Wolf Gal and her pack are doin’ different bellerin’ naow than when they’s huntin’ down hoomans, and there ain’t no farms where thet noise is comin’ from. Naw, let ‘em enjoy the deer or boar or whutever they’s after.”
Sprinting at his fastest speed through the Ozark countryside just ahead of the fangs (both lupine and human) snapping away at his heels, Spike bitterly thought to himself, *Bleedin’ hell, the only way things could get any unluckier if this wasn’t a Monday but instead a damn Friday
Author’s Note: August 13, 1934 was indeed when the comic strip Li’l Abner
started, and that date just happened to be on Monday, as a matter of fact. Most of the Dogpatch characters depicted in the above story weren’t introduced until later on than this specific year (sometimes not even until decades afterwards). I’m sure they were still around in that town beforehand, so that’s why Spike got to meet them…and as you’ve just read, very much to his evident discomfort.