Friday, December 31, 2010

Santa Must Die

Now the final DSD post of 2010! Have a good night folks, and enjoy this story as we head into the last weekend of the DSD flash fiction challenge.


Santa Must Die

By Cormac Brown


Winter is a hard-ass dominatrix on carpenters, and she has been beating on Victor like he owes her money, plus interest. The heavy late fall rains have washed away the last of the season's jobs, and an unusually long and heavy snow have...well, let's just say the Artic Circle has come to Maine. Victor's winter fund that was supposed to have lasted till March is now threatening his vintage nickel collection.

He has taken the miserable job of department store Santa because his ex-wife promised their son a Power Wheels Jeep for Christmas, and she told Victor that he better come through or she’ll get him for the back alimony and child support he still owes.

On the other side of town, Pino grumbles to his bodyguards, "Mistresses suck, and rarely the way you want them to." This mighty Mafia capo is at the mercy of his goomar, Cece. She knows that Pino’s wife goes to Florida for the holidays, but this year she refuses to go to his house.

The disgruntled boss dials his phone and barks, “Mickey? She’s stayin’! Get back here and pick me up!”

"The Mistress won't come to Pino, so Pino goes to The Mistress," whispers Giuseppe to Flavio. Pino sits down with a huff and throws his phone against the wall.

Outside of the department store, Victor is wondering how it all went sideways. Maybe it was the third brat losing his water and wasting Victor’s third pair of Santa pants. Or maybe it was that that yipping little snot of a manager wagging his finger in Victor’s face. Possibly Victor shouldn’t have punched that manager…or the security guard…or the other security guard.

Well, he’ll catch worse from his ex-wife once she finds out he’s been fired. Time to get drunk and Victor will have to get it to go, as no barfly wants to sit next to a urine-soaked Santa during the holidays.

As Mickey pulls up front with the limo, the bodyguards gather around Pino like dogs that want to go for a ride. The capo barks, "Watch my kid!" at Giuseppe and Flavio. He and the others leave before the duo can react. The pair is in a panic, because what they know about parenting wouldn't fill the fortune of a cookie.

“What if he wakes up?” whines Flavio.

“We gotta make sure that it stays quiet,” mutter Giuseppe.

Victor hates to cut through this ritzy neighborhood, but it’s the fastest way home. Damn, all that malt liquor is crushing his bladder. He might as well jump over that wall and whiz in that yard. Who wants to risk getting arrested for public intoxication and indecent exposure?

As Victor signs his name in the snow, he takes in the expanse of the mansion and its grounds. What’s that in the distance? No way. Is that a Power Wheels Jeep on the back porch? Jesus, there are three of them! Surely these rich asshats won’t cry if I take one!

Meanwhile, inside Flavio asks Giuseppe, “Do you see what I see?”

“Yeah, a third-rate Santa is watering the boss’s favorite oak!”

“Look at the balls on this one, he’s coming towards the house!” grunts Giuseppe. “Get on the other side of the sliding door, and we’ll nab him when he gets to the porch.”

Victor cannot believe this, it’s a miracle! The hardest part was getting it over the wall, but Christmas is saved! Christmas…hurts, and like a motherfucker, too! Who or what just hit him? Jesus, it’s some angry goon with a blackjack.

Flavio steps on Victor’s chest, and the words “maim,” “kill,” and “disposal,” swirl around the Mafioso’s brain. “The penalty for stealing from Pino Patriarca, even if it’s kid’s toy, is death,” he mutters.

Giuseppe is about to reach for his 9mm in his coat, when the sliding door opens again. The little nine year-old Pino Jr. chirps, "Where's Papa?"

All three of the men visibly shudder and stiffen. Giuseppe calmly explains, "He’s on his way to the North Pole, Pino Jr, to personally deliver your letter to Santa.”

“Then who is that?” Pino Jr. points at the poor underfoot Victor. Then comes a pause so pregnant it could give birth to quintuplets. Finally, the child says, “Is that Santa?”

Before either henchman can reply, Victor chimes in, “that’s exactly who I am. You didn’t come to the mall today, and I didn’t know that your father was trying to get a letter to me.”

“You weren’t going to kill Santa, were you, Uncle Giuseppe? Please, please tell me that you won’t kill him,” says Pino Jr. with trembling lips.

Victor brightens, “No, no, he was going to help me, Pino Jr.” He musses his hair and whispers, “you see, I’m going to bring you the Xbox Kinect on Christmas morning that you asked for, but I have to take back one of those Power Wheels Jeeps, and give it to a less fortunate child.”

The tears of Pino Jr. evaporate as if little vacuums are in his tear ducts, and his face turns harder than the pearl marble that his ancestors used to mine from the Sicilian quarries. Pino Jr. folds his arms and sneers, “Che cazzata!”

Victor isn’t sure exactly what he said, but he knows by the tone that the kid just called him a bullshitter.

Lui è un bugiardo e lo emana l'odore di urina,” the tyke says flatly.

“He says that ‘you are a liar and you smell like piss,’” Giuseppe translates for Victor.

Pino Jr. glances back coldly and says, “ammazarlo,” before he shuts the glass door.

With that queasy feeling in his stomach, Victor asks Giuseppe, “Just what does ‘ammazarlo’ mean?” His answer comes in the form of a .22 bullet in the back of the head from Flavio.

“I’ll get a tarp from the woodshed,” Giuseppe says. Flavio grins…not over his kill, but in knowing The Boss will be so proud of the chip off the old block.


***

“Cormac Brown” is my pen name. I’m an up-and-slumming writer in the city of Saint Francis and I’m following in the footsteps of Hammett…minus the TB and working for the Pinkerton Agency. Some of my stories have appeared at Powder Burn Flash,Six Sentences, Flash Fire 500, Clarity of Night, Thrillers Killers ‘n’ Chillers, Astonishing Adventures Magazine, Crooked Magazine, Needle Magazine, Dark Valentine Magazine, and Beat To A Pulp. You can find me at Cormac Writes.

A Christmas Carol II (Excerpt)

By Evil Wylie


STAVE ONE

Bob Cratchit sat in the reclining leather chair, surrounded by the spoils of a man whose possessions had grown with the elasticity of his waistline: a bronze elephant statue on the desk; an African mask on the wall; a breed of plant in the corner so exceedingly rare he knew not its name. All of it expensive. All of it interesting. Just not really worth a whole hell of a lot with a .36 calibre Colt Model 1851 Navy revolver inches from his face. The ropes dug into his wrists and threatened to leave permanent damage on the Hong Kong-tailored suit’s cuffs. He could feel the sweat staining the pits of his Italian silk blend shirt; he didn’t even want to think about what blood would do to the shirt.

“You won’t get away with this,” Cratchit said.

“You won’t either,” his adversary countered.

Cratchit’s adversary was clouded in the shadows of the room, lit only by a solitary desk lamp. Cratchit’s eyes darted across the room, but a painful swelling around his eyes hampered his vision; his captor was still too blurry to make out.

“Why won’t I?” Cratchit said.

No answer.

“What won’t I get away with?” Cratchit said again.

No answer.

“I deserve some sort of answer!” Cratchit said. “At least wipe the blood from my eyes? I can’t see you. If you want to negotiate something, it’s only fair that I should be able to see you,” Cratchit pleaded.

“Fair enough,” his captor said, before pulling at the Cratchit’s shirttail and ripping a wide swath from its material. The blood was wiped unceremoniously from his eyes before it was tied around the top of his skull to prevent further leakage. The captor stepped back.

“You--!” Cratchit shrieked upon seeing his captor for the first time.

“Yes: Me,” the captor said. He curled the sides of his mouth up into a frightful smirk. “Now listen carefully, old man: Where. Is. The. Money.”

“You and I, we had a deal,” Cratchit said.

The captor fired a bullet into Cratchit’s kneecap, shattering the bone into powder upon contact. Cratchit howled in pain.

“Wrong answer,” the captor said. “Now one more time: Where. Is. The. Money.”


STAVE TWO

The funeral for Bob Cratchit, one of London’s wealthiest men, was a standing-room only affair. Ebenezer Scrooge, Cratchit’s uncle and long-time business partner, had prepared a speech for the occasion but did not refer to it once. “If it were not for Robert Cratchit, I dare say that I would be the poorest man in all of London. Not poor in moneys, mind you; I would suffer from a poorness of spirit.

“When I first hired Bob as a clerk, I had no idea how profound his effect upon my person would be. I cannot say that he taught me what ‘love’ is, for that is the countenance of a woman’s influence, but I dare say that he taught me the value of benevolence. He adopted this wretched old man into his family and into their hearts I was born again.

“Goodbye, dear friend, and, as his son Timothy has said at every Christmas dinner, God bless us, every one.”

***

While the gravediggers worked to lower the coffin into the ground, Mrs. Cratchit walked the cemetery grounds with Scrooge at her side. “So, what will become of the business?” she said.

“It won’t be long before I join your husband, I’m afraid,” Scrooge said in a matter-of-fact way.

“What about your cousin?” she said.

“Fred?”

“The very same, yes.”

Scrooge shook his head. “While I dearly love my family, there’s not a one of them (including Fred) who has any more business sense than your common cockroach. It’s an awful thing to say, yes, but a true one I’m afraid.”

“Then what will you do?”

There was a long silence between them.

“Tim,” she said.

Scrooge nodded.

“He’s but a boy, only 18 years of age,” Mrs. Cratchit said. He will just be graduating University next summer.”

“I had hoped that he would begin his apprenticeship as a clerk with us immediately upon graduation. Without the proper guidance, those mischievous siblings Ignorance and Want can take over a boy’s head and steer him off course. Tim is good of heart, but a successful counting house needs a captain with the will of steel. I can learn the boy well,” Scrooge said.

A great gust of wind snatched Mrs. Cratchit’s bonnet off of her head. “Good Lord!” she shrieked. She started to take after it, but the hat danced out of her reach and sailed over the tombstones and out of sight. Scrooge caught her arm.

“‘Tis only a hat, my dear,” he said. It was the first time that he had touched a woman in years, and wholly inappropriate thoughts began to fill his head—thoughts that he at once dismissed, of course. Scrooge was an old man now whose loneliness was matched only by his generosity.

Cratchit’s widow looked him squarely in the eyes. “So it is,” she said. In the distance, her son Tim watched them from behind a tree, his eyes filled with rage.

***

After Scrooge had walked Mrs. Cratchit home, he stopped by his office. A police wagon was parked out front, and he suddenly found himself surrounded by law officers. “Can I help you gentlemen?” Scrooge asked.

“I believe you can,” a tall, strapping policeman said. “For starters: What were your whereabouts on the night of Bob Cratchit’s murder?”

Scrooge, being the solitary soul that he was, had no alibi and therefore believed himself to be a dead man even before he was arrested the following week. As he expected, the judge did not set a bail on account of the viciousness of the crime of which Scrooge was accused: The murder of his business partner Robert J. Cratchit. . . .

***

Evil Wylie is the curator of EvilReads, the most evilest publishing site on the Interwebs. New York magazine has called him, “High-handed, condescending, and egomaniacal,” which seems about as apt a description as any. Visit him at www.EvilReads.com or follow @EvilWylie on Twitter.

The Reindeer Incident

By Nik Korpon


‘It really wasn’t supposed to go down like that, hear? It’s just, well, a man can only be pushed so far before he’s bound to spring back. And, brother, I told that fucker that I’d spring, and spring like God’s guiding my hand.

‘And just so you understand where I’m coming from, his daddy’d been trying to beat out the missus and me for years. Probably since, well lemme think, at least since Eisenhower was down there. You’re a young-un, so mind, back then there wasn’t this whole spectacle gaggle of geese there is now. ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ and what-all. Back then, we’d just crack some Bohs and have us some neighborly rivalry.

‘Anyway, somewhere round ’64, ’65, things changed. Can’t remember exactly how it happened, but some money was laid, the stakes was upped, some decorations was tampered with. Huh? Course it was that sonbitch. Look, I ain’t the type of man to lose, but when I lose, I’m a man. I don’t go round no one’s house in the dark of night and stick pins inside the electric socket to blow out someone’s lights. Someone’s ass get turned to fried chicken that way.

‘What? Of course there was retaliation. I won’t strike first, but sure as shit I’ll strike back. Well, I waited till they were out shopping for their little one—the one in question, today, that is—then let myself in the back and gave their candy canes a little extra attention. Big Dick wasn’t none too pleased.

‘From there it just kind of, well, escalated. What do I mean by that? Let’s put it this way, the right kind of fiberglass insulation looks a whole hell of a lot like fake snow. One year you remove most of the screws in the gutter, the next you tarpaper some nails to the roof. A few years later, you’re spraying down the herd of plastic reindeer with acetone and to even the score, you get back on the roof with a can of black paint. You wouldn’t know it if I didn’t tell you, but when you got an illuminated ‘Peace’ over ‘Season’s Greetings,’ just cover up some of them lights, and sure you gotta look at it for a little, but you get one gander and all you see after that is ‘penis,’ five feet tall across your neighbor’s porch.

‘Shit, why’d you think we call ’em Big Dick and Little Dick when their name is George and Junior. What, about Little Dick? Yeah, I’m getting to it. See, you need to understand the basics of the situation so you understand the severity of response.

‘It was all in good fun, or close enough. And we had our rules. We never touched any of the Nativity, being good Christians and all, and we understood when something was over the line.

‘Anyway, after the fiberglass incident, things cooled out for a while. We were both getting on in years and thought an unspoken truce—’cause neither of us would concede to the other—would be best for our families. So we quieted down.

‘Till this year, that is.

‘I first caught Little Dick messing around with my decorations two winters ago. Childish stuff, you know, but there was a certain amount of fecal matter that pushed it from juvenile to what-the-fuck. I got Big Dick on the phone and read him the act. Next Christmas comes round, same shit—literally and figuratively—but worse. I ring up Big Dick again, threaten him this time. Little one’s creating a biological hazard, I tell him, breaking our cease-fire.

‘That? Nah, none of that was him. He’s a fucking sociopath, but that’s from those hoodrats been coming round here as of late. I mean, who thinks that KISS makeup looks good on our Lord and Savior? Sure, I got my dick wet to them a few times. Who the hell hasn’t. But chopping off the Blessed Virgin’s head and putting it in the cradle with baby Jesus? That’s just something I can’t step to.

‘Now, you might be one to say, “Hell, you monkeyed with their reindeer. How can you get mad about yours?” And you wouldn’t be totally wrong, but when I melted Rudolph and his friends, they was just those pieces of shit you bought from Caldor. You know how long I had to wait in line for mine? Animatronic reindeer ain’t cheap neither, specially when they’re brand god-damn new this year. That Japanese poly-whatever it is feels like real fur, and they got some supercomputer in their brain-pan so they make random movement, like real reindeer. These sons of bitches are top of the line.

‘So you understand why, when I walk out of the house this morning and see Little Dick balls deep in my reindeer’s butthole, you see why my first thought is grab my gun and tag the son of a bitch. Hell, way I see it, boy’s lucky I aimed for his leg. It all goes back to what I was saying about the principality of the whole situation, officer, about knowing what’s what. Some things should just be understood.

‘You can’t fuck a man’s reindeer and not expect to get shot.’

***

Nik Korpon is from Baltimore. His novel STAY GOD just came out. His stories have ruined the street cred of Out of the Gutter, Everyday Genius, Sex and Murder and a bunch more. Mutter sweet nothings at nikkorpon.com.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Death By Shotgun

By Mattew J. McBride


Fancy walked Horace West deep into the snow covered woods with a shotgun pushed hard into the middle his back.

It was the winter of 1938 and the air was dry and thin. The country was pulling out of the most severe depression the western world had ever known. Hard times, when hard men were made and worlds collided.

Everyone still alive was desperate to survive. Families were committing suicide, men were off to War. There was no law in the backwoods. Only the law of man, in a time when organized crime took its first breathes of life.

Hard times, and harder men. A time when guys like Fancy drove across two state lines just to shoot a man in the back.

Horace began to beg.

“Please Fancy, don't shoot me.” Fancy's eyes were cold. He thought about baseball.

“Don't do it!” Horace screamed. His face wrinkled, eyes scrunched together. Streams of water ran over his cheeks and froze before they hit the ground.

Faaancy,” he screamed.

When Horace stopped walking, Fancy drove the shotgun deeper into his spine. The breeze came on strong and Fancy grabbed his hat with his left hand. The wind picked up his tie.

Horace couldn't stop screaming. He turned to negotiate with Fancy, pleaded with his eyes.

Fancy cocked his head to one side. He didn't wanna lose his hat and he needed two hands to fire the 10 gauge. The only thing keeping Horace West alive was this stiff breeze.

Horace whispered, “Please, don't do it Fancy.” But he couldn't talk his way outta this.

Fancy felt the wind die down. He took his hand off his hat.

“Mister, I wouldn't do that if I’s you,” came a voice from behind them with a thick Irish accent.

Horace screamed for help, but Fancy never lowered the shotgun.

“Drop that fuckin’ gun, you big motherfucker,” the Irishman said.

His hair was a red mess of loose curls, his skin paper thin and tight. He was covered with scars and freckles.

Horace stepped away from the shotgun barrel, but the barrel followed him like a shadow.

The Irishman broke an ax handle across the back Fancy’s head; he went down to his knees in the snow. He finished him off with a chunk of ax handle. Struck him a few more times ‘til Fancy stopped moving.

They bound his hands with cheap rope.

Horace was frozen in fear at the group who stood before them. Two women and a man, the dirtiest people he'd ever seen. They were thin, gaunt savages. Crazy with the hunger.

“Kill 'em Daddy,” the dirty one said. She had dried snot on her face, a tooth that jutted out of her mouth at an angle. She licked her filthy lips.

“No...” Horace started backing up. He protested, waved his hands in front of him.

“You got the wrong...”

The man she called Daddy pulled the trigger on Fancy's shotgun and blew Horace in half. Daddy ended up on his back, his head found hard earth. The sound echoed through the empty woods and ice exploded off the trees, rained down like shards as glass.

“Goddamn that motherfuckers got some jump.” Daddy said.

“Aw, you done blowed 'em in half, you fuck,” said one of the bitches.

“Well, whud y'all expect with this here elephant gun?”

The women were on top of Horace West before the blood cooled. The youngest was chewing pink muscle from behind his ribcage. Peeling the fresh stringy meat from the bone with her teeth.

“Watch for them lead pellets,” Mama warned ‘er. Blood ran down her chin and mixed with the grime around her neck.

“Hey Goddammit, I done all the work you whores.”

He dropped the 10 gauge on the ground, pulled a bone handle knife from its sheath and sang, “Oh, Lord, we eatin' good tonight!”

He hurried to join the whores with a spring in his step.


Fancy woke up when the shotgun went off. He couldn't see, had blood in his eyes. He kept still, figured if they’s gonna kill him they'd already done it.

He looked up as the crazed Irishmen bent over, cut out a slab of meat from Horace West's thigh. The Irishmen was painfully thin. His skin stretched tight across muscle and bone. Even in the raw, penetrating coldness he wore no coat.

Fancy started moving his wrists. He went to town on that rope.

The clan sounded like animals, feasting on the flesh of a man who raped a little girl. They never heard Fancy approach them until it was too late. The skeleton man looked up, wide-eyed. The hinge on his jaw seemed broke, like the weight of his teeth was too great to bear. It fell open, exposing raw meat that hung from his lip.

Fancy raised the barrel to his bony chest, said, “Killing him was my job.”

He squeezed the trigger for the remaining barrel and the Irishman disappeared in a burst of fire and blood that knocked Daddy out of his boots.

Both women screamed, what was left of the body kicked around, his bare heel plowing crushed ice. The women seemed disoriented, but content. Now there was plenty of food.

***

Benny Tulips sat behind the wheel of the Mercury and watched snow float down from the sky. When he heard the first shotgun blast he assumed it was business. He heard the second shotgun blast about the time he saw a flat bed truck round the corner behind him. There were several men in back; one of them had a rifle.

Benny stayed where he was, he kept the gun close.

The flatbed pulled along side the Mercury and the guy in the passenger seat asked Benny how he was doing.

Benny said he was fine.

“You aint from round here is ya?” One of ‘em asked.

The kid holding the rifle didn't say much. Just stood there looking simple with his dirty face and scrawny neck.

“That's a real nice car, Mister.”

Benny said he knew it was. Told him that's why he bought it.

“You’s got a smart mouth on ya, boy. Specially for a guy ain’t from round here.”

Benny grinned and shook his head. He was movie star handsome and he knew it. His teeth were clean and strait, his jaw firm in it's structure. He had six bullets, there were five guys. Benny felt confident he could shoot them all from behind the wheel. He'd start with the boy holding the rifle.

The guys talked among themselves and contemplated their next move with caution.

“You ought’n be jus sit’n there boy? Got anybody with you?”

“Yeah,” Benny told them. “My partner just took a guy out in the woods and murdered him. When he comes back, we're gonna murder you boys too.”

There was a gasp, a few started laughing.

“Go head and laugh.” Benny raised the gun, pointed it at the simple looking kid with the rifle. Told the old man behind the wheel to put that son-of-a-bitch in gear or he'd shoot the dumb kid right in the dick.

The old man behind the wheel grinded gears as the truck lurched forward.

“That's what I thought,” Benny said.

Fancy walked out of the woods with the shotgun over his shoulder, he was covered in blood and two men were dead. He didn’t kill the whores because it was Christmas.

***

Matthew J. McBride lives on a farm & he writes with a shotgun within reach. He has a bull named Hemingway.