911 2nd Ave., Old Town USA
What happened was they got cocky. When things are too easy, arrogance ensues.
There was no sneaking anymore. No hurrying. They simply knocked and waited, like Trick-or-Treat.
They knocked on doors, was all. And somehow an opening always came, even in this “Paranoia Age” of security cameras and Ring doorbells.
When the door opened they entered. That was it. Any little opening allowed the pair to push their ways in, where they nearly always found themselves incensed at the fear and submission exuded by the pantywaists they encountered inside. Imagine someone so craven they would not fight for their own lives? So it was that what went on once they were inside was always ugly, because this pair went in so hard and mean. Those who pleaded with the twins for mercy only made their horrors last longer.
It is what happens to bullies when there is no fear; no fear of retaliation, no fear of incarceration, no fear of repudiation. With no fear at all left in them they came in strong, as sons of bitches will, until this one time when their previously successful modus operandi proved a colossal miscalculation.
They came into this house bold and hard, just as they had always done, punching, kicking, and biting.
Yet coming in hard and blind creates it’s own risks, doesn’t it? Attacking with purely aggressive tactics can be it’s own trap. Assuming success might lead to trouble, mightn’t it? It certainly has in the past, so let’s not pretend that we don’t know what assuming does.
Three quick shots was all, followed a good minute later by a fourth, “POW, POW, POW…
POW!” This was not at an occasion of sprayed bullets and wasted ammo. Each shot went just where it was intended to go. The ballsy, but unfortunate pair had happened upon that atypical homeowner who ain’t scared of shit. The cops, when they finally showed, called it a clear case of criminal trespass. This pair were notorious, deleterious, nefarious after all. Robbery, rape and murder had followed the progression of their lives.
Comically, the homeowner was wearing a too small pair of tidy-whities when they arrived and nothing else, his naked beer-belly sagging grotesquely over the underwear’s waistband. Our hero sipped a Coors Light, his bath-robed wife nibbled on microwave popcorn (she always ate when she was nervous, she told them) as he acted out with a running narrative for them telling exactly what had happened. The cops could hardly maintain their professionalism as they interviewed this unlikely shooter. Wasting no time they wrote up their report, shook his hand, and headed back to the station to tell the boys about the final minutes of the pair the precinct had dubbed, “The Bopsy Twins.“ And why not? Two were gone that would not end up back on the streets to be dealt with later.
They only wished more of the city’s S.O.B.s would try that crazy old dude‘s house.
It was a low-budget gory, horror film. A serial rapist kidnaps, tortures and rapes the young women of a popular sorority at colleges across the country. He quickly spirals into a serial killer, bludgeoning the faces of each woman till their skulls crush their brains.
My character is a budding detective who pledged the sorority under attack some years ago. Although each college attempted to keep their tragedy under wraps, the members were talking on the national internet chat board.
And I, Detective Marcy Hughes, was listening.
On this paticular day, we were filming the culminating scene of the movie. The crew was exhausted after six weeks of 16 to 18 hour days. And my diva costar was also a dick and everybody was looking forward to his demise. Today was his last day on set although we still had a few days left to shoot. We couldn't wait for him to die.
In the scene, Marcy had figured out where the killer was going to strike next. She went undercover as a pledge of the sorority house. She was ready for him to make his move. The cameras were rolling. I was on my mark, gun in hand, waiting for the door to open. The camera was focused on the door.
"Action!" the director yelled.
The door opened. Before I could deliver my line and pull the trigger, he fell over, face first. I'm embarrassed to say my first thought was, that's going to make some plastic surgeon happy.
"Cut!" the assistant director yelled.
The props guy ran on set. "It wasn't the gun. I triple checked it. You all saw."
"It wasn't me. I didn't even pull the trigger yet," I said.
"Stop being a douche, Jack."
But, as it turns out, he wasn't acting.
A knife was embedded in his back.
A production assistant screamed. Someone else said "Get the set medic!"
Yeah, well, no medic needed. He bled out before the ambulance arrived.
The case hasn't been solved yet. There still aren't any suspects. Or too many, maybe. We all hated him. But, not enough to kill him.
Duh. One person hated him enough to kill him.
Jack would have loved this though: They actually kept all the footage in the final cut. They dedicated the film to him (to appease his estate) and rewrote the ending a bit (since clearly Marcy didn't shoot him).
Audiences flocked to the theaters to see Jack the Mack die on camera. It was the blockbuster of the year despite being a B-movie. Once it hit the streaming services, it really blew up. Jack would be in heaven.
Well, you know what I mean.
Beware the ...?
I'm standing at a dilapidated visitors center. The building was condemned in 2008 when a monsoon came and tore off half of the roof. Steel sheets lean on the walls. They're rusted on the sides, an amber red that almost blends in with the painted interior which is peeling off its greying soft wood. Next to me is the rookie; Nez, short for Nezbit, strange name, 150 pounds, Irish face, five one, eyes level with the door knob, tired sun baked cheeks. His low angled gaze doesn't change when I tell him about the stick protocol. The Y stick I call it. I've got a lot of good times with the Y stick. I tell him of the pig like noise the beasts make when I give them a gentle nose press, less than gentle on other occasions. He smiles and nods. I'm not sure if he's lifted his gaze yet or just turned his head to another side of the room. That reddened face is towards the abandoned kiosk now. It was filled with scenic pamphlets before the incident, the mighty komodos in bout on the inside among other photos taken by the elusive C.B Wright. He (or she) always slipped new pictures in our mail slot in the back with contact information. The slot gave its signature two and a half dull creaks when new stuff came in, but I never witnessed the photos pour down from Wright. They always appeared without reason. Nez was spacing without reason. It was time for the reinforcements.
Now it was the front doors turn. It gave off one and three quarters squeaks instead of two and a half. Ahh the memories. It's Gary Walker whose opened it. He's got the youthful tan body and frosted tips of a Jersey Shore wannabe. Blood pools down his lower calf. I'm not sure if he has met Nez yet. The kid seems to notice him. His gaze no longer in half power, now full throttle, the eyes gyrating up and down between Gary's numb eyes and exposed muscle. My brother in arms is now hands and knees to the floor. He's doing a bear crawl that's more of a down dog. Every time his small bundle of pad lock keys falls out of his pocket, he does this awkward motive yoga pose. It's almost embarrassing when he does it. As far as I know he's thirty five and had no hip issues. I give out an alarmed yelp to reassert the shocking nature of the situation. No need it seems. Nez already understands.
I forgot to implore that I have a gun. It's cold handle is wrapped into my hand, a magnum ready for a fury of lead. The handle has ivory sides. I replaced them from wood ones last month. Lucky me. Gary rushes through the door. One of the beasts is behind him. It looks sunned out and lazy. Perhaps I shouldn't call it an it, it's a diminutive term for the majestic grey creature. With another one and a half creaks, the rotting door slams against its peeling frame.
"Ambulance! Ambulance!" yells Gary.
He's holding a frayed strip of fabric from his yellow Komodo Island shirt. It's really more of an orange brown, but my colorblindness sees it as yellow. They were dyed from the bright mud on the island and pressed with blue lettering and an artist rendered image of the iconic bout photo from none other than the mysterious Wright. The ink used is a little rough to the touch, but stays unflaked after many washes. I appreciate my good quality shirt unlike Gary, whose ripping out more strips of his thirty dollar uniform to make a tourniquet. I take the hand off of the gun and go to my knees to help him tie the strands. Nez joins me on the floor. His red face is now pale. The phone in his pocket slides into his hands. Fingers flick down the cracked screen. Wave of panic. I whack it out of his hand before the number is sent.
"What the hell!" he yelps.
"Don't call, it'll be a waste of their time," I said.
I'm on my knees, looking at Gary's gash. The skin surrounding the bite is rubbery, pale, plastic. While its bloody drippings are different, the general shape of it is the same; a deep gash about my hand's length, three peelings of skin an inch away from its bottom end, the entire surroundings of the wound is raised, a dead giveaway. A get a pair of blue nitrile gloves from the neglected first aid kit by the window.
"Let's see what we got here." I say this like Gary has a splinter up his ass.
When I look back over to Nez, his panicked demeanor hasn't changed. The poor kid hasn't caught on yet. I feel a bit sorry for what I'm about to do next, but it should bring him to reality. With a hard jerk of the hand, I stake my fingers into the wound. Gary shrieks. His blood smells of starch. I pull. A curved black claw comes out of the fleshy ether. It's dripping in my hand, something from the front limb of a velociraptor. Nez jerks back a bit on his hands and knees, more bewildered, confused. I open the door two inches ajar.
"Is this yours?" I ask to the beast outside.
I wave the large claw to it before tossing it out in a rage. With that I take out my gun. For a second, the smooth ivory on my fingers brings pleasure, but then I remember Nez is going to pass out.
"Have this you fat swine!" I take three shots. Their bangs bounce off the metal roofing. I don't know where they went, don't care. The beast has moved to the bushes, a little shocked by the noise and no holes in its hide, but Nez doesn't know that. He's still behind me inside with no proper visual of the event. I slam the door and rush back to Gary. He's still on the floor, groaning. Nez is about close to this point too. I feel a little bad for his state. It's time to complete the hazing.
"All right, lets get this over with," I said to Gary.
Coming back to my knees, I grab the raised area of the wound and pull, hard.
"What are you doing?" yells Nez. By the shaking of his hands and voice, I can tell he's at the near start of hysterics.
As expected the skin is smooth and rubbery. I keep pulling until the whole wound is peeling like a pale scab. Sinews of plastic sticky "flesh" is stretched out as I remove the entire bloody area. It stretches and snaps off into my hand, a bloody skin sticker. No gash is underneath, just a shiny residue. Nez stands there silent. I laugh. Soon the color returns, some of it anyways. I reopen the door and snatch the claw from outside. It's covered with grass clippings and drops of starch blood.
"Can you tell me what this is?" I said in a stern school teacher manner.
"A..a komodo claw?" said Nez.
"This is a dinosaur claw, not a Komodo's. What on earth makes you have that connection? You need some more training rookie. If this were a real scenario, that poor beast out there could've been framed," I scold back.
"Oh shut up!"
Nez is back on his feet. Without another word, he turns around and rushes out the back door. Gary and I are about ready the burst. The second he leaves we're back on the floor again, nearly choking with laughter. Nez will come around to it, we'll see.
The Tall Man’s Revenge
I stared at the wall of guns in the shop.
The shopkeeper said, "So...you going to get something or what?"
I looked down at the floor sheepishly. "Well...erm, I thought this was supposed to be a candy shop."
"And what made you think that?"
"The name of this building is 'Licorice Sweets'. What was I supposed to think?"
The shopkeeper rolled his eyes. "Yeah alright, I'm gonna go hang some fliers outside on the window. Don't touch anything."
As the shopkeeper went out the door, he bumped into a tall man.
"Where can I get a gun?" the tall man asked.
The shopkeeper grunted. "Inside. The young man will help you."
My head immediately shot up. Me? I was a customer! And the man did not look like he was nice.
The tall man walked up to me. Now, I wasn't short, but the man loomed over me. He was at least 6 foot 4 inches.
"So...can I have a gun?"
I shook my head. "I'm just a customer, I don't know how to help you."
The man grinned. "Alright then," he said, pulling out a gun. "Do me a favor and hold this gun for me. I'm thinking of buying it soon. Just keep ahold of it till the shopkeeper returns."
I scoffed. Who did this man think I was? His servant?
That was when the shopkeeper strolled in through the door.
"Well, what can I help you with, sir-"
Within seconds, the shopkeeper fell. I looked at the man to see him holding a gun, aiming at where the shopkeeper once stood. Horrified, I stared at the body.
"He's dead," the man blandly said.
"How could you shoot him?!"
I could hear police sirens outside of the shop.
"See? They're here to arrest you. You'll be in jail for a long time, buddy."
Instead of being scared, the man just laughed. "Oh, I think it's the other way around."
A group of policemen barged in. "Freeze!"
I sighed in relief, thinking that the man would be arrested. To my shock, I felt the officer locking handcuffs onto my wrists.
The officer sighed. "Sir, you are arrested for murder."
"But it's him!" I pointed to the man.
The man shook his head. "I saw him shoot the shopkeeper, sir! Look, he had a gun in his hand."
I stared at him, my mouth wide in shock. "You gave that to me!"
The officer just shook his head. "Say that in court."
The police escorted me to the police car. I glanced back to see the tall man smiling.
Two months later I was in prison. One day, a tall man came to visit me.
He sat down in front of my cell, smiling.
"Why are you doing this to me?" I asked.
"What have ever I done to you?"
The tall man stared straight into my eyes. "Maybe this will help you remember. The name's Oliver.
My eyes widened in shock. "O-Oliver? What are you doing here?"
The man laughed. "Thought you got rid of me? Well, I survived."
"Oliver I never meant for what happened that night."
"Explain then how you 'invited' me to a party and how you left me in the forest to die."
"I was young and foolish, ok?!"
Oliver glared at me. "I was your only friend till you decided to leave me to die, just to be popular!"
I looked down at the ground. "Trust me, there's not a single day that passes without me thinking about you."
"Yeah right! You have no idea what I went through - lost for 5 years with no one else! It changed me. Even after I came back my parents didn't welcome me back home. They just ignored me and said that I should have stayed in the forest forever."
"Oliver, you know that your parents don't care about you."
Oliver sighed. "I know but I just thought...maybe they'd miss me. But no, they only forgot about me. It's all your fault."
"Enough. Let prison time be an example of how I felt for the last 5 years."
Oliver turned around to leave.
"Wait!" I said. "Where are you going to live?"
I could see through the bars Oliver stopping.
"Back to the forest. Forever this time."
You ask such a simple question. I see the innocence on your face. I wish it didn’t have to be this way, but it is. Why did I shoot? It seems like an easy answer in the language of the prosecutor: I am a tormented veteran who sought out revenge for the hell I’ve been though while at war. I deserve to be locked up because I an too dangerous for the public. From the mouth of my lawyer: I am a severely traumatized man who needs mental health, not the confines of a prison that would only torture me more.
My wife likes to tell me I have a problem. She sounds a lot like my lawyer. She likes to stash away my guns out of fear of what I would do to myself. She wakes up often in the night after the first incident, screaming my name. I would go from my own nightmare into her nightmare, everything merging together in hell. I never know which is worse.
My brother thinks I have some sort of psychopathy. He claims that he saw me torture animals when we were kids. He did not understand that birds are not animals I particularly like, but I never tortured them. I played with them a little rough, but there was never an injury under my watch. I always returned them to the wild when I was no longer playing with them.
My parents probably would say I am a sweet innocent child who does no wrong. As much as they were great parents, I don’t think they knew what was going on behind the scenes. They rather look away, then look behind the stage I dance across everyday.
So why shoot my best friend? The truth is I don’t know. He was the closest person to me—the one person who knew what I’ve been through. I guess I didn’t want them to know. I didn’t want them to try to take away my last redemption...I couldn’t do it after that. Shock got to me.
By the time you read this, my life is over anyways. I got what I deserved in the end for my wicked ways. No one will miss me now. Tomorrow is the day they decide my fate. I can never let them know why.
It’s the end of the line for me, kid. Maybe you can do something more worthwhile than me. There’s still a chance for you. Me? No, there’s no hope for the wicked.
Tell your mom, I love her, and I’ll see her on the other side one day.
Who is this bitch? "How's your mom?" Oh, I remembered. "Is she still as useless as she was when it came to making you?" He laughed at himself because, well, no one else was gonna.
"I own this place. I refuse service. Get out." His fake smile melted into a pout.
"You don't have to be so cold and lifeless like your dad." He's as lame as ever, hanging onto his peak at high school prom. It's more like a cliff with a very immediate drop and he's still hanging onto it by a finger, tch.
"Has it fallen off yet or are you still sticking it into everything that moves hoping it'll get eaten one of these lucky days?"Don't get me wrong. I never had the intention to deescalate.
"Quite chipper aren't you? Considering how bad business has gotten since you decided you're too good to work for your family. How's my city treating traitorous shit like you and your bitches?" He kicked a chair into its matching table, as if it wasn't already pushed in properly.
"My girlfriends? Don't be afraid to use the word just because you can't have any yourself. We're doing fine. They make lots of money entertaining, drugging, and stealing from your boys. Thanks to the pinch you put us in, we're been able to focus solely on robbing your shit blind all the time." I threw a glass of water at him. Cup and all.
"You say that but you haven't killed any of them. As if you could do all that and not nab a few." He pulled out his sticky little revolver from the front of his pants.
"Not even a proper holder or even a pocket. You just tuck it between your legs and grip it so it stays. What, do you spread your legs to-" He let off two rounds.
"I'm not into that, but your mom is."
"You talk a lot about her for someone who used her and threw her away like she didn't give you everything meaningful youve ever had in life." Luckily, he aimed his bullets in my precious flooring. Downstairs neighbors are fine if they're quiet.
"And without me, what does she have that's worth anything. A sellout gay son who can't run a coffehouse and a dumbass daughter who'll be a mom before she's twenty?" Not there.
"Not Vero." I warned and pulled my iron out. Ready.
"And what are you gonna do about it?" he asked me. "Fucking nothing."
And I nodded and said, "Yeah, nothing." And that's what happened. I did nothing, and a whole lot of it.
I did a lot of nothing to his kneecaps, nothing to his shoulders. I reloaded and did nothing to his foot that he used to stomp my mother's head into the ground and break my sister's ribs. I did nothing to his wrist that he hit me with every wednesday while I was in school. I did nothing to his greasy, fat fingers that pilfered bills and pills every time he grazed them. I did nothing, a whole lot of nothing, so what happened? Nothing :)
She held the gun awkwardly, away from her body, as if afraid it would spontaneously go off. She'd only picked it up because she could hear someone coming. The building was old, with hollow walls and floors of wood where every step creaked and every sound echoed.
Standing by the window, squinting in the faint gleam of moonlight through the grime on the glass, she inspected the gun. Pull the trigger to shoot, she knew that much, but was there some kind of safety mechanism she would have to do something with first?
The door creaked and she jumped, gripping the gun with both hands, silhouetted by the window. A man came in.
Before she had time to even think, he cried out and fell to the floor. She stifled her own startled cry.
She stared at the dark hole of the doorway, frozen, holding her breath. She saw and heard nothing but a faint stir of breath from the man on the floor. The whole house felt still, at least from here.
Moving hesitantly, she crossed the room. She crouched by the man, holding the gun carefully at her side. His eyes were closed, but he was breathing steadily. She looked closer, and was startled to notice blood seeping on the floor, pooling beneath his head. She watched it slowly spread, eyes wide with horror.
His eyelids fluttered, and she scrambled backwards.
He groaned and blinked slowly, raising a hand and rolling onto his back. She could see dark blood caked in his hair, at the side where it was cut short. The moonlight glinted off his dark curls.
She hid herself in a shadow, crouching, clutching the gun, watching him as he slowly sat up. She was fairly certain he wouldn't be able to see her. She was wearing black, and it was dark away from the window.
Skin washed pale in the moonlight, he turned, one hand to his head where the wound must be. He studied the pool of blood on the floor, smeared where his hair had rubbed through it. She watched him, trying to figure out where the head wound had come from, or why he'd fallen as if shot, or why he seemed perfectly fine now.
Sure on his feet, he crossed to the window and looked out, as if he'd never fallen at all. Then he turned and surveyed the room. She cringed deeper into the shadows.
"I know you're there," he said softly.
It didn't look like he was looking toward her, although she couldn't be sure with the light behind him. He must have seen her before he fell. But how did he know she hadn't run?
She realized he didn't know. Instead of searching the room to see if she was still there, he was hoping he could make her reveal herself. She stayed still and silent.
"I can't see you," he continued, "but I know you're here." His head turned, scanning the space. "You're in this room somewhere, whoever you are."
She held her breath.
"I won't hurt you," he said, holding his hands up by his head. "I have no weapon, and you have a gun, don't you?"
Had he seen that too, in the split second before he fell?
He crossed to the door and closed it. "It's safe to come out," he said. "But if you don't, I'll find you."
He seemed dedicated. Maybe he really did know she was there. Maybe he'd seen her, as he was waking up.
She leapt to her feet, shoving the gun out in front of her, pointing it at him.
"Don't move," she hissed.
He stood with his hands raised, watching her calmly.
"Why are you here?" she demanded.
The moonlight glinted in the whites of his eyes. "Looking for you," he said.
She brandished the gun. "Why?"
"You don't know how to use that, do you?" he asked. He took a step closer, and she backed a step away. "You're holding it badly."
"Why are you looking for me?" she demanded.
He paused. "To get you out of here," he finally said. "You shouldn't be in here."
"I know that," she snapped. She paused. "Can you really get me out?"
"Do it, then!" she said.
"Put down the gun."
"How do I know you can really get me out of here?" she asked.
"You don't," he said. "But if you don't trust me, you'll be stuck here. I'm not helping someone who's pointing a gun at me."
She hesitated. "Why did you fall?" she asked. "Where did that blood come from? Why aren't you hurt?"
"It's complicated," he said.
"Explain it to me, and maybe I'll put down the gun."
He sighed. "I'm... a sort of thief," he said. "I stole a possibility."
She waited for him to explain himself.
"It's how I can get in and out of this house," he said, "when other people can't. I can steal possibilities. I can take something that might happen, and make it no longer a possibility. There's a cost, of course. No one can turn something into nothing just like that.
"I saw the gun, pointed at me, so I stole the possibility of being shot."
"You... got shot in the head so you wouldn't get shot in the head?"
In the darkness, she could only just see his smile. "Something like that."
Did she believe him? She wasn't sure. But she slowly set the gun on the floor.
"This way," he said, turning to the door and holding it open for her.
"You first," she said, so he went out, and she warily followed.
The hallway was dark, but she could see the shape of him in the faint light from a window ahead, above the stairs. She followed him to the end of the hall and down.
At the bottom of the stairs was the front door. Every time she'd opened it, it had led back into the house, as if she was opening it from the outside. She'd gone back and forth a dozen times, getting nowhere.
He put his hand on the doorknob, and she heard a grinding thump from beyond the door. Then he pushed it open.
She shoved past him, dashing out onto the dark porch. The moon shone above, light filtering through the tangle of vines hanging down from the lip of the porch roof.
A sigh of relief fell from her throat, and she turned back to look at him. He waited inside the house, holding the door.
"How did you get in, anyway?" he asked.
She tucked her hair behind her ears. "You can steal possibilities," she said. "I can steal distance."
She nodded, a faint grin appearing on her face. "Steal the distance between here and there, and now I'm there instead of here. Apparently it doesn't work when you're inside a house that does a similar thing."
He laughed quietly to himself, then gave her a wave almost like a salute. "Goodnight, distance thief."
"Goodnight." She smiled, and was gone.
I totally did
I didn't shoot. My envious step-sister is trying to kill me but she has very bad aim. I take my stance before she could move and shoot my bullet right into her forehead. Her body drops. All I could do is freeze in place, I totally did that. I feel bad for this innocent man for my step sisters mistake of bad aim so I wait for the sirens and explain everything. The money, family drama, my abuse, everything is out in the open. I ran my whole family under the bus to show the world who they really are. "You betrayed us!!" my stepmother would yell at me between bars. "I totally did," I say with a huge grin from ear to ear and walk away.