He got the Glock up and into play, squeezing off several rounds and putting at least one of them into the thing before it reached him. Then he hurled himself sideways, grabbing for a big squeegee on a pole and jamming it between himself and the reptile, fending the beast off like a damn caveman with a sharpened stick.
Then he felt a burning sensation on his own backside, and realized the lizard had forced him so far back he was sitting on the edge of the grill. The grill was a flat metal slab heated from beneath, and it burned the entire surface area of Eddie’s buttocks. “Damn it!” he shouted, aimed the Glock a little higher—
and shot a hole in the jug of oil.
Glug, glug, glug, the contents slurped out, filling the kitchen even more with the cloying, dull smell of vegetable oil.
The lizard pushed forward, Eddie jammed the squeegee into its face, the beast kept pushing and Eddie’s makeshift spear snapped in two. Suddenly, the creature was in his lap, clawing at him and snapping with a mouth like a blender on high.
Eddie fell back onto the grill, smelling the scorch-stink of his jacket and feeling the heat intensely. Above him, gray-white feet hung flaccidly dripping blood, a dozen corpses hanging each with its neck drilled through by a saber-like tooth in the mouth of a grinning scab-faced fiend. Eddie heard the gunshots and shouting and the zipping of winged serpents through the air behind him like a soundtrack to the infernal carnage he saw overhead.
He shuddered and kicked.
He caught the lizard square in the center of its face with both his boots and threw it back into the puddle of oil. It hit hard and slipped back, sliding across cracked and mildewed tile in a puddle of canola. Eddie rolled back on his feet, backside and elbows burned and the back of his neck too warm for comfort, but he was still holding his pistol.
The lizard thrashed to regain its footing and scrabbled to try to launch itself at Eddie, jaws gaping. Eddie didn’t waste time shooting it again.
He shot the puddle of oil.
Bang, bang, bang—
and on the third shot, he got a spark and the oil ignited. A sheet of flame like a grassfire snapped into being, rushing across the floor in all directions. The lizard squealed and paddled backward as the fire overtook it, hissing in pain and rage.
Eddie jumped out of the way too, vaulting up onto his feet on the grill. He could feel the heat of the cooking surface, but the vulcanized rubber soles of his boots kept him from being burned. Yet.
Eddie had never owned a decent car, but he’d never let himself be without a good jacket and boots.
A flying serpent whizzed in through the order window. Eddie grabbed it with his left hand, feeling scratchy, twitching wing inside his clenched fist as he swung the thing around—
and brought it down hard, impaling its head on the order spike. It wasn’t much in the way of justice, but it cheered him up a bit to see one of the serpents twitching out its last snake breaths over Mike’s double order of coconut cream pie.