The Buttman Cometh

by Dan Plunkett

I was nursing a warm Carlsberg when she burst in through the Crocus Bar doors screaming. Her clothing was tattered and torn; a look of insane bewilderment accompanied this tragic vixen as she collapsed onto the floor in tears. I turned on my stool to watch as several of the female employees rushed over to help the woman off her feet. She continued screaming until one mole-faced employee covered her revealed body in a coat from the lost and found behind the bar. They took turns trying to coax the story out of her. She was muttering something that I could barely catch over the whines of the various bar inhabitants. Something about an eye. I overheard one barback mention something about rape, as another went to go call the authorities. Yanqiu! Yanqiu! She kept repeating, over and over again. She screamed it at the paramedics when they arrived, and the screams continued to echo until the blue and red sirens made their way past the corner of Xikang Lu.

It was when I had settled down from the strange commotion and returned to my stool to down my piss-warm beverage that I noticed him. He was peering hard at his whiskey, like he aimed to drink it with his mind, and his long, dark trench coat screamed pedophile, Columbine, and perhaps several accumulated public indecency charges. Still he looked American, or possibly Canadian, so I sat down in front of him. He didn’t look at me, just went on mindfucking his whiskey

“Man, what a scene. That’s not somethin you see every day huh?” I asked, trying to sound friendly, and hoping for some measure of retort.

“I’ve seen it before.” He said, continuing to look down at his drink. I noticed he had a large tattoo on his hand’ some kind of bird. It looked like a peacock, its colorful feathers retreating deeply into his pedo-wear.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Liam’s the name,” he said, keeping his gaze towards the table.

“Oh cool, like, Liam Neeson?”

“Fuck Liam Neeson.” He paused for a moment before offering “It’s short for William. William Michelson.”

“Nice to meet you William Michelson,” I said, extending my hand in goodwill only to be met by the cold barroom air. I sat there in silence hoping for some kind of return and receiving none, I continued probing.

“Where are you from William Michelson?”


“Isn’t that in Canada?” I asked.

“Boy can’t slip anything by you, can I?” he added. I basked in his cold dark silence for what seemed like twenty minutes before I worked up the courage to ask him something else.

“Soo, You’ve seen that before?” I asked.

“You’re new to Shanghai, aren’t you?” he grunted.

“Yeah, been here about a month now.”

“Don’t worry, they’ll find you eventually.”

“They?” I asked.

“Nobody’s told you about them?” He asked finally making eye contact with me. One of his eyes was emerald green, the other, more of a brownish color, and his beard was streaked black and white.

“Told me about whom?” I asked.

He leaned in close to my face, and whispered “The Buttmen.”

“The what?” I asked, stifling a giggle.

“The Buttmen,” he repeated, much softer this time.

“What’s a buttman?”

“It’s a demon.”

“A demon?” The words fell stupidly and sarcastically out of my mouth like toppled Jenga pieces.

“Yes, a fucking demon, keep your voice down.” He grunted disapprovingly as his shit colored eye moved up and down, judging me. He continued, his tone, was much more commanding. “They’re demons, but they look just like people.”

“That sounds like a person to me.”

“Well they don’t just look like people. They’re also rapists.”

“I’m not following.”

“They molest you, but first they get you by yourself. They trap you and grab a hold of you. They sort of making you feel comfortable at first. Like a friend or someone who cares about you is trying to stop you and ask you something, or a kind stranger is trying to tell you that you dropped your wallet. That’s their game. ”

“How much have you had to drink?” I asked.

“I’m serious man.” The bird on his hand seemed to change its mood along with him. The once docile peacock seemed agitated, almost like the artist had intentionally ruffled its feathers.

“They grab you on the shoulder, and when you turn around they are bent over. That’s when the demonic-ness of them is truly revealed.”

“When they’re…bent over?”

“Yes. Where their asshole should be, there is only an eye. A giant, piercing, yellow eye.”

I tried to catch myself, but the laughter came tumbling out of me.

I clutched at my sides. “That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. You’re telling me that that woman was attacked by a human with a giant eye in its butt? I mean seriously, do you, do you hear yourself? Do you hear what you’re saying right now? Do you?”

Liam seemed hurt. He finally brought the whiskey to his lips, and downed the rest of his drink.

“Woooo, aha ha, ha, oh my god, Liam, that is hilarious.” I continued. “You should write comedy or some shit. That is the goofiest shit I’ve ever heard in my life.”

He slammed his drink down on the table, startling me. He stared into my face. His gaze was different; it felt sympathetic.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you friend. When they find you, just remember, Liam Michelson told you the truth.” With that, he left his glass on the bar mat, and strode off into the night, his trench coat following close behind.

I downed several more beers and a couple of shots before offering to walk the bartender with big tits to her bus station. She refused, but I followed her anyways. I was swaying back and forth, and I felt my loins stirring at the sight of her. Before I could say anything, or even ask her back to my place, her bus showed up. I didn’t even have time to holler “Wan’an” before she leapt onto the bus. It rolled down the street and I was left by myself, coughing up exhaust. “Bitch,” I said to no one in particular.

I had just started my walk down towards Zhenping Lu when I heard some footsteps behind me. The sound of brisk walking, coupled with heavy breathing. I turned around, but there was nothing. Only a couple of scooters passed on the opposite side of the road, their red lights slowly fading into the growing darkness. I turned around, and continued, slowly placing one drunken foot in front of the other. Then again, the same sound of breathing, only coupled with giggles and faster footsteps. I turned around again, but found the streets desolate, without so much as a tumbleweed or a piece of paper to blow by. I turned my back and continued to walk; I felt my pulse quicken. “That bai jiu must have really gotten to me,” I thought, as I brought my walking up to a brisk pace. It was when I felt the warm hot air on the back of my neck that the panic really set in. I took off; drunkenly sprinting down Changde Lu as fast my feet could take me. I passed Changshou Lu, then Maikan Lu. Finally stopping past the dried grape vendors and their makeshift tents. I kneeled on my kneecaps trying to catch my breath.
That’s when I felt it. A hand on my shoulder. Heavy. Moving my gaze to the grasping feeling, I noticed an enflamed looking peacock staring back at me. I sighed a relieved sigh.

“Hey Liam, I’m sorry about earlier,” I said turning around to meet his gaze. There it was, bent over. The buttman. His large yellow eye pulsated laughingly.