A short story of revenge. 15 yrs plus. Strong Language & Themes.
How he got into the club dressed in the way he was dressed was in itself a miracle. He had hung around the back of the club in the alley and the dirt hiding in the shadows waiting for the chance, for the moment to slip past the disgruntled KP’s on their smoke break. He knew their routine in the same way he knew all the workers’ routine, he used do thier rotas.
Right on time at 8.25pm the door opened and the two Polish Kitchen porter’s stepped out into the crowded alley lit their cigarettes and started the well worn routine of bitching about the customers. He knew that the boys would stroll down to the end of the alley to peer at the short skirts and pushed up bras that were forming a queue round the front of the club. They were creatures of habit.
And they didn’t disappoint.
He breathed in deep then exited the shadows stepping around the empty barrels and broken bottles careful not to make a noise. Careful not to bring the Poles back. As much as they hated the customers they hated him more and would love a chance to kick his teeth in.
He smiled. So far so good. One last look to make sure he hadn’t been made and he slipped inside the club unseen, his hand held firmly in his jacket like a man with a wounded arm or a like a man packing heat.
He sat at the bar hunched in a corner, hidden enough from the cameras but with a good line of sight to the empty booth that he knew she would soon occupy. She was a creature of habit though not a slave to time but she would at some point be here and she would take her usual booth.
It was early for the club. Anything before ten was early. The place really didn’t kick off until midnight and then there would be wall to wall pussy, testosterone and wads of folded bank notes. A meat market fueled by coke and whores and fifty pound singles. This was a gangsters paradise and right now the club was just the right side of busy.
Enough to hide. Enough to move freely. Enough to make his move and disapear into the crowd when he had done what he had come here to do.
He could wait. He had waited this long. A couple more hours wouldn’t matter.
So he sat there patiently waiting, biding his time. The cold gun heavy in his pocket. It sat there like a well trained pincher with dead eyes. The same dead eyes he now had.
You shouldn’t be here Tommy.
The voice was familiar but he didn’t know the man that was now standing next to him. He felt that he should him but Tommy didn’t recognise him. Not that he couldn’t really see too much in the dim, low lights.
The man was an older man than Tommy maybe twenty, thirty years with a deep ink vine scar that seemed to be the only thing illuminated save for those deep piercing eyes. Eyes that cut through the darkness straight into the core of Tommy. He went to get up but the old man put a stop to the movement with one firm hand on the kid’s shoulder.
Don’t get up. Barman. A couple of mohitos here for me and the kid.
The barman responded against the wishes of the other patrons. The old man never breaking his stare from Tommy.
Mind if I sit?
No answer from the kid. The old man held his hand on his shoulder long and hard. His stare the same, to Tommy a lifetime.
The old man released his grip as the drinks arrived and he sat down next to Tommy swivelling his bar stool a little to half face the kid who instinctively went to pull his gun. This time the old man squeezed the youths gun arm hard and shook his head.
Have a drink. Relax.
Tommy was anything but relaxed.
The old man repeated himself, have a drink.
It wasn’t a request.
Tommy took a couple of nervous gulps from his drink then turned to face his new problem, this unforeseen circumstance. He should have planned for it but Tommy was only thinking of vengeance and the sweet taste of murder. Too busy psyching himself up for what had to be done to consider a plan B. He looked around trying not to look nervous. Don’t want the fucker thinking there was no plan B.
Maybe he should wait til he got outside, when he no doubt would get dragged out into the alley. The old man had no visible backup, no-one standing by the exits. No heavies with folded arms. And the bar was still open. Patrons moving this way and that, but that didn’t mean much. Not really. The owner of this club had no customer complaints department save for the Polish KPs and they didn’t hand out refunds. Only beatings.
The CCTV camera above the bar was still broken. The owner wouldn’t have enable it or the others at his end of the bar was where the juicy deals were made. The secuirity dark spot was intentional. Why change it now? Besides the little red light was off. The old man smiled and took a sip of his drink as if reading the kids thoughts.
Love this drink… Haven’t had a drink in twenty years… Not til now. Man still takes good. How’s yours?
What do you want?
The old man was still watching him. Reading him.
That’s your problem. You know that? No subtlety. No finesse. Fucking amateur. Jumping right in. Feet first without looking. Never really thinking it all straight through. What you should be doing is keeping your mouth shut and seeing what I’m about.
Again, the kid tried standing. Again the old man stopped him.
The two exchanged stares. Tommy’s hand grasping the gun within his pocket but unable to remove it. The strength of the old man immense, holding the young man firm.
Relax, sit back down and have a drink… Or we can get to it right now.
For a moment, nothing happened. Then Tommy relaxed and the old man relaxed allowing the kids arm to move free. The old man grabbed the gun through the pocket trapping the kids fingers.
Uh ah! Hands free please.
Tommy obliged and the old man relaxed his grip a little the gun remaining in the kids pocket. The old man allowed Tommy to slowly remove his arm and Tommy shrugged casually laying his arms on the bar like he had a choice. Like it was it his idea. The old man reached into the kids pocket and rolled the revolver around just under the bar, out of view. The bright metal gleamed in the darkeness. Then the old man released the barrel and knocked out the six rounds into his palm and looked down the barrel and holes where the bullets had sat moments before.
You should look after your weapon. You don’t want it blowing up in your face.
He blew down the barrel… and again. Whatever was down there the old man couldn’t shift it. Something was stuck.
Hey kid hand me one of twister things. Yeah right there.
Tommy just looked at where the old man was pointing. A bar tidy full of napkins, straws and plastic cocktail stirrers.
That thing! Give me it.
Tommy did so. The stirrer was 5 inches long flat round head at one end and a little teardrop at the other. Semi-transparent. A garish shade of orange. The old man bit of the tear drop end and spat out the piece.
Now hold you hand out, the old man said.
When Tommy didn’t the old man grabbed one hand and positioned it palm up on the top of the bar, fingers outstretched. Taking the plastic stirrer the old man prodded and poked into the barrel and with a little frustration a sliver of metal dropped onto Tommy’s palm.
Never buy a gun from a junkie. Especially a junkie that gets his gear from two dumb Polac KP’s.
The kids face said it all. How could you know?
The old man said nothing returning the revolver to the kid and keeping the bullets to himself.
You’ll wanna get rid of that. It’s been linked to three murders.
The old man waited for Tommy to take the drink and when he had, the old man smiled and joined him.
Tommy watched the old man down the rest of his drink. Then he waved to the barman for another round.
No…go ahead. Be my guest… It’s on the house.
The barman stood back a while before waving back that he would be a moment.
New barman, said the old man. He wont last.
Against his will the kid cracked a smile. The old man joined him.
You know I can’t really blame you… for being stupid. You’re young, what the fuck do you know? You haven’t even fucking lived. Look at you full of bile and rage and piss and come. No idea of how the world really works… Or how to game it.
You going to kill me?
The old man turned away as if in disgust or disappointment.
I was there once. You know that? Many, many years ago. Right where you’re sitting. Right there. On that very stool. Well maybe it wasn’t that very stool. But I do remember.
He looked around at his surroundings swiveling around on his stool, like a man in a museum.
You know you remember something and it’s a certain way… And in reality it’s not. Not really. We don’t really remember things like a camera… Humans I mean. More like we paint a picture in our heads and every time we visit the memory we smudge it a little until it’s no longer a memory… It’s just a dream. A lie. And you think… If I can hold on to it… Replay it… You can somehow keep it alive, that memory. But you can’t. All you’re doing is just putting your grubby little prints all over it. Making it unclean.
The drinks arrive and the old man slid one of the mohitos over to Tommy.
Who are you?
The old man turned exposing his face to the light twisting his head ever so slightly. Left. Right. Up. Down. Back again. Making sure that Tommy got a good look at him. The man sure looked familiar but…
Don’t worry it’ll come to you.
Mickey! Mickey mate, bring us a couple of shots.
The Barman turned back to the couple with a snap of a neck and an attitude to match. He was getting a little edgy. Either it was the name calling or the badgering but his patience was wearing thin.
The old man turned to the kid.
What’s that shit you like? Fucking cough medicine… What’s it called?
How do you…? The barman, now infront of the duo interrupted.
What’s the name of the fucking drink!
How do you know my name? – The Barman ignored.
Jagermeister. Thats right. Fucking Jagermeister. Mickey bring us a couple of Jagermeisters. Thanks fella.
Do you I fucking know you?
The old man stared at the cocky bar-keep.
The barman started to look concerned.
You know guy you gotta slow down alright?
Mickey! Shut the fuck up and get us some Jagermeisters.
No reply from the barman.
The old man pulls out his gun a well loved colt .45 and put it on the bar.
I said get me and my friend here a couple of fucking Jagermeisters.
The barman didn’t move just stood there frozen. The look in the old man’s eyes enough to tell him he was fucked either way.
Ah well. I suppose we better get this started.
The old man lifted the shiney colt off the bar top. He raised the weapon a couple of inches away from the barkeeps head and it seemed to hang there as if it was drawing breath. It all happened in slow motion like a sports replay in super hi-def but with the volume turned all the way down.
Almost without a beat the old man grabbed the kid and shoved him toward the bar now covered in Mickey’s blood and brain and skull and tissue and no sign of the body.
The whole club exploded into chaos. Patrons running this was and that, anyway they could to escape. Each fighting the other to survive. They were of no concern to the old man he was searching for something specific. Someone specific.
Two bouncers pushed past the crowd only to get their heads splattered.
The kid petrified, frozen to the spot.
Go on. Go get the drinks, shouted he old man.
The old man spun in one fluid motion and fired off another round that narrowly missed the kid downing another bouncer. This one had a gun. This one was intent on killing the kid.
Tommy saw the old man react to his now empty colt. He pulled a clip out of his pocket with one hand whilst dropping out the old with other then he slammed in the new and fired again. This time hitting a woman in a little red dress.
And then all was silent.
Shit! Muttered the old man. Always the girl in the red dress.
Tommy still stood there mouth agape.
You got the drinks?
The kid didn’t respond.
Tommy snapped out of it but he was still dazed and sluggish. The whole thing was like some damn dream. Some damn bad dream. The old man face covered in blood waved Tommy towards the bar with the colt and Tommy did what he told moving like a cold spoon through warm honey.
Make it a double. Looks like you need it. Nothing fancy. Rum and coke. And Don’t forget the Jaegermeisters.
Tommy turn the corner at the end of the bar. Taking a deep breath he walked around the staff side stepping over Mickey’s headless corpse and prepared the drinks then brought them to the bar to stand in front of the old man as Mickey had done so just moments before. The old man clinked Tommy’s glass and took the shot down in one pulling a face of disgust when done.
Fucking cough medicine.
There was a long uncomfortable pause. The old man was waiting. Tommy stared at the bar top then took the shot. The old man took up his rum and coke and took a sip savouring the taste.
The girl in the red dress tried to scream but it was no more that a punctuated gargle. The sound of short painful breaths. She felt around her belly. It was wet but she couldn’t move. Couldn’t feel. She didn’t know it but the bullet had blown out her spine and ruptured her spleen and churned up her insides. She pulled her hands back and saw the blood. Then she started to cry.
The old man stayed on his stool. He was now looking at the kid. Straight in the eyes. His 45 lying on the bar top hot enough to create tiny wisps of steam from the circles of moisture that the cold drinks had left behind.
That one’s yours.
What the fuck?
She’s yours. Always was. Go on.
Fuck you man!
You can’t save her.
What the fuck are you talking about?
Go take a look.
The girl was still sobbing. Poor bitch in pain. Her mind racing. She imagined a thousand resolutions all them ending in her death. One more horrific than the last even as she tried without success to push the thoughts out her mind and find a way out but it was pointless and she knew it. She was going to die.
The old man continued to stare. Something else now in his eyes. He spun the gun around so the handle was facing Tommy.
Go, the old man taunted.
The girl was still crying. She started to beg. She called out for help. To appeal to her killers for mercy.
Fuck you old man!
Tommy left the bar and slowly walked over to the crumpled girl. Her struggle and blood had mixed together to form red angel wings on the floor like a gruesome mockery a child’s game she used to play in the fresh white snow before the world got to her.
The old man stared at himself in the mirror.
I can’t tell you how we got here. Either of us. Not that it really matters. Not now. How did I come to be here? How can I be here? If someone offered you chance to go back to change what couldn’t be changed what would you do?
I know what I did. What I will do. What I become…became.
Her face was bloody and twisted in pain but Tommy recognised her. And she recognised him.
I remember standing where you are now… listening to these words not realising the truth and the weird thing is? I know the words I am speaking are the same words I heard when I stood where you’re standing right now. I’ld forgotten them to tell the truth but as each one slips from my mouth I remember.
Tommy turned around and faced the old man’s back.
And there’s nothing I can do nothing to change them. I tried Tommy. I came back and tried but everything happened exactly as it happened. Exactly as I remembered it. All this time and I thought we had a choice.
The old man swirled the last of his drink the ice all but water now. He took his last sip then looked back to the mirror. If he was looking at Tommy or himself the kid didn’t know or care.
Free will is just an illusion Tommy. We’re all puppets.
Tommy raised the 45 pulled and fired.