HellBlazer #157 : And Buried...
Writer : Brian Azzarello
Artist : Steve Dillon
Fresh from his violent backwoods excursion, John Constantine arrives in the Half Shell bar, which is
located somewhere in the middle of America. Making his way to the bathroom, he passes two
youngish men who are anxiously awaiting the arrival of a third who appears to be running late. With
the load on his bladder lightened considerably, John returns to the bar and finds Agent Turro waiting
for him. The two exchange their now customary barbs, with Turro making pointed references to the
recent events involving Constantine in Doglick. John and Turro continue their verbal sparring as the
third man arrives in the background and joins his friends. The late arrival is in no mood for his friends
derogatory remarks about his time keeping, so he cuts right to the point and pulls a copy of Time
magazine from his jacket and points to a picture contained therein of some mercenaries operating out
of Sierra Leone. The man's two friends are in shock when they recognise one of the mercenaries as
someone they thought dead at their hands.
Turro works on a plate of oysters before pushing a piece of folded paper across the bar towards
Constantine. John refuses to take the bait, leaving the paper untouched in front of him. The three men
in the background continue their discussion about the picture in the magazine - one of them suggests
that it's just an old picture taken before they killed him but the late arrival points out that the man now
has a distinctive skull tattoo on his hand that he didn't have when they did away with him. The third man tells his
friends that he tried to get in touch with the photographer who took the picture but the day after talking
with his secretary, the photographer was found dead. He then went to the mortuary but the man who
dealt with the corpse was hysterical and refused to talk with him. One of the other men suggests that
the three of them head over and get physical with the mortician until he tells them what they need to
know - but his friend points that that course of action would be futile given that, according to the morning
newspaper, the mortician in question hanged himself the night before.
Turro continues to goad Constantine, trying to get him to look at the piece of paper. He suggests that
someone from John's past, with the resources and ability to get at him, is trying to make his life a
living nightmare. One of the anxious friends in the background has come to the conclusion that they
should dig up the dead man's body in order to prove that he's really dead. Only one of the friends
remains convinced that the man in the picture is someone else, and his patience is rapidly running out
with his two spooked colleagues. When one of them speculates that the supposedly dead man's wife,
who committed suicide shortly after he apparently died, may actually have been killed by her husband
then the sceptic loses his head and shouts at the late arrival for getting them all so worked up over
Turro offers Constantine the folded paper a final time and the Englishman finally gives in, opening it up
to reveal just one word written on it - "Highwater". Visibly annoyed with the FBI agent's constant
jibes, John warns Turro that he shouldn't think that he knows him - the agent replies by making
mention of a young fifteen year old girl by the name of Katrina Bogdonovich. Constantine seems
shaken by this and pockets the paper, agreeing to go to Highwater. The late arrival points out that the
man in the picture has a scar running from ear to ear around his neck - a scar they gave him when they
cut his throat and left him for dead. The bar man interrupts their heated discussions by handing the late
arrival a postcard that arrived at the bar for him - it reads "See you soon" and has a Sierra Leone
postmark. The three men sit together in stunned silence.
As Turro and Constantine leave the bar together, they pass a patron entering through the front door.
John notes the ornate skull tattoo on the back of the patron's hand and quips to Turro "...That bloke
there, I'd heard he was dead...".
(long term Hellblazer readers may recognise that this story telling trick was used previously in issue
#51, not sure why Azzarello regurgitated it here).
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