Written by: Matt Molgaard
The always chaotic adventures of Cecil and Bubba continue in Terry M. West’s latest short, aptly titled, Cecil & Bubba Meet The Thang. If tangling with a deadly succubus was a daunting challenge, the threat these polarizing hicks are about to toe the line with is downright horrendous. Can two unlikely heroes overcome a danger not of this world? Of course they can, they’re Cecil & Bubba!
The story reunites both of our titular individuals with the once hazardous Hattie Mae. But Hattie Mae’s place in this story differs drastically from her role in Cecil & Bubba Meet a Succubus. This time around, Hattie proves instrumental in the survival of both men, and for that matter, the planet. A couple of shady FBI agents show up at McGee’s Gas, Garage and 24 Hour Convenience Center in the middle of the night. Their van’s on the fritz, and Cecil’s just the man to fix it. But as Cecil gets to work, the contents – thus far a secret – in the back of the van (which is padlocked) captivate and capture the focus of Cecil, who under some unseen force, destroys the padlock and frees a monstrosity man has only seen in dreams. The thing in the back of the van? It’s dangerous – unbelievably dangerous, and now only Cecil, Bubba and Hattie Mae stand between mankind’s existence, and total human extinction.
West delves a bit deeper into the backstory of Cecil in this particular offering, which is rather enjoyable. We get an idea of some of the everyday mundane issues the man faces, and some of them just aren’t pleasant, but they do serve to explain Cecil’s ability to be quite the aggressive SOB, if need be. His position as protagonist is never called into question, but the reader is afforded a glimpse at a lifestyle that could potentially warrant cruelty. But Cecil isn’t cruel. Neither is Bubba, who himself earns a bit more fleshing out in this installment. As for Hattie Mae, well, prepare to meet an entirely different individual this time out.
The character development is impressive, and the conflict is quite engaging. My only problem with this one, comes in what I feel is something of a minor departure of established personality. Neither Cecil nor Bubba have (thus far) struck me as noticeably intelligent individuals. Yet in, Meet The Thang, they’re often speaking like fringe scholars. You know, very proper English, three syllable words, well-constructed and coherent thoughts. Perhaps I need to revisit Succubus, because they just didn’t strike me as generally intelligent guys one story ago. Are these two very bright dudes who walked right into a nasty curse, or are they unfortunate, unlucky chaps who do little more than get by in life, working a strip club and a gas station to pay the bills?
Personally, I’m much more drawn to two borderline nitwits that always manage to save the day, rather than two intellectuals who have the world fooled with questionable appearances and habits. I’m kicking myself in the ass for not making a return to Succubus to get a fresher feel for each character, but when you’re on pace to receive more than 500 review submissions in a calendar year (no, we won’t get to all submissions, but we’ll attempt to cover the bulk of efforts thrown our way), it’s not always easy to squeeze in re-reads. And sometimes, a lot of great material works its way right out of the memory canal. My memory could easily be deceiving me; these guys may have been thumbtack sharp from the jump, and I’ve simply forgotten. Either way, they definitely don’t read as dumb rednecks in Cecil & Bubba Meet The Thang.
I’m going to need to pin down an hour or so for that reunion with the succubus to get a renewed impression of exactly who Cecil and Bubba truly are. They deserve it.
Regardless of any personality shifts that may or may not exist, I dug Cecil & Bubba Meet The Thang. It’s very old school 80s terror, with a sci-fi twist and a little something for conspiracy theorists to chew on. Getting a closer look at the intimate side of each man’s life is gratifying, and the new villain on deck is damn intimidating. There’s little downtime to contend with here, as all Hell breaks loose early, and refuses to relent until the final period has come and gone.
Worth a read? You bet your tail, it is!