diary of a professional antagonist
Tag Archives: Anti-social behavior
I met her on Alcatraz. Her name was Nancy. To date, our marriage remains the most expensive hour of my life.
At the time, I was still what I now consider young and had just experienced the second major loss of my life, my old man, ‘Burt’. He owned a construction company that had seen its fair share of troubles over the decades. Our relationship was testy at times. I was considered soft because as a teenager I took a few acting classes and preferred a pen to a chisel, but in truth, mano y mano, Burt wasn’t up to much, and so I became useful whenever an angry client came by the house to settle up. I’d step in, turn on the water works in frantic despair, and wail pitifully until sympathy trumped vengeance.
In the year leading up to Burt’s death my mother passed away and an apartment complex he erected collapsed, killing one person. He received a suicide note from some poor bastard who lost everything as a result of the same incident. All these things add up, I guess.
Even though I hated construction, Burt left the company to me when he hammered his last nail. He was well known, and his picture was in all the papers when he passed, so, given that I knew nothing about the business – which projects were active, who worked there, how to get an outside line on the office phone – I hopped on the first flight out of town, drank most of the way and arrived in San Francisco out of my mind.
My limited knowledge of San Francisco told me that it was full of hills, hippies and homos. I could have shacked up anywhere given the inheritance, but ended up taking a room in some dive in the Tenderloin area. Even back then it was a shit-hole area. A lobotomized geriatric checked me in to my room and told me that breakfast was a noun before staring at me for a solid minute after I made the mistake of laughing.
A sourdough bowl of chowder later, my stomach begged me for something normal, so I knocked back a fifth of Night Train, grabbed a second bottle, then hopped on the boat to Alcatraz; figuring the water was the best place to be if I was going to hurl. Walking ‘The Rock’ is still a blur. All I really remember is hearing something about Capone getting syphilis before I was shaken back to consciousness on a cot in one of the cells. Nancy was standing over me.
The journey back to the mainland was excruciating. Nancy talked about her folks all the way. How her Mother always joked that she just needed a good man to complete her. How her Father said she was one in a million. How Maw and Paw told her that family occasions were never dull when she showed up. I listened for two reasons. One, I needed something to focus on so I could stay conscious until I reached the hotel. Two, she had a big pair of tits, and an ass as thick and round as a bus wheel that made up for her average at best looks.
Nancy was still there when I woke up. My clothes were clean and pressed, and there was a big, fat, bloody steak and a cold one on the bedside table. This woman had me down. I asked why she did it. She said she saw something in me, something she needed then leaned in and kissed my cheek. My shoulder brushed against her breast and I got a half lob on. Later she told me that she was leaving for Vegas. I’d slammed six beers by then and thought, “fuck it, I’ve got money, time and a semi with ambitions.”
Nancy listened to my sop story on the flight. She managed to bring booze onto the flight in a Coke bottle, so, as I got more and more wasted, I blabbed on and on. When I stopped talking she didn’t offer any advice, didn’t sympathize or ask how I felt, didn’t tell me everything would be okay – I may have been drunk, but the simple fact that she didn’t do any of these things made me think I loved her.
Nancy had to meet a business associate when we arrived, so we arranged to meet later at my hotel. I’d gotten rid of my emotional baggage and was feeling good, so I hit the strip hard. Somewhere in the middle of it all she returned. She laughed at how drunk I was, but not in a “you’re a disgrace” kind of way, more like a woman who liked to see her man enjoy himself, and could get into the spirit of it, and, man but she could put away the booze. I’d hit the jackpot. Four cocktails later, and after she told me she’d done a pole dancing class, I proposed to her.
In the middle of the night we got married in a fun little shit-hole where Elvis now worked. I took Nancy back to my hotel room and got down to business. Basic instincts operate in all men even when hammered drunk, so I figured I’d have emptied my nuts into her in about three minutes before crashing. However, despite my best efforts, something went wrong.
It started when her dress fell away from her body. I wasn’t confronted by heaving flesh, instead there was another layer of fabric tightly bound to her. I said, “what’s this?” Nancy said, “my spanks”. “Spanks?” “Yeah.” She turned away from me and started to remove it. The only way I can describe it is that it was a like fat suit, except a thin suit, so when she took it off everything that had been so shapely and tight suddenly sagged and fell loose. “Fuck”, I said.
There was a bra and panties embedded in rolls of fat, held together by skin that was anything but healthy looking. She removed the bra. Two things fell on to the floor from the bra. “What the fuck are they?” “My chicken fillets.” “Chicken fillets? What the fuck?” My dick sagged when she tugged at her hair and removed a whole mess of extensions. Thin, greasy hair that fell just beneath her earlobes remained. When she turned around, I did my best to smile but then I looked down and saw a bulge in her panties.
When she next spoke, she was a he. “You’ve got two options here, Chuck. One, you sign a few papers, we annul this and never see each other or speak about this again. Two, we consummate this relationship, and if you don’t think you can get hard, don’t worry, I can.” I thought about it and took option one. She, he, (s)he,
she… fuck it, Nancy opened the door and in walked an amenable looking solicitor, her business associate, who had a bunch of legal documents ready. As he laid them out on the bed I muttered that I should have known better than to pick up a chick in San Francisco. Nancy uttered a knowing laugh.
We hadn’t met by chance. She tracked me to San Francisco after reading about my father’s death in the paper. This was a revenge mission. Her mother died in the apartment complex my father built that collapsed. Her father later committed suicide, lost without his wife, and too proud to go live with ‘Nancy’, his estranged, cross-dressing son.
I signed the papers without further question, but I’ll admit, even though I never wanted my Dad’s company, it fucking hurt when I put down the pen and realized that I’d given away everything my old man ever worked for, the place where I knew him best, where our relationship was least strained and where I felt close to him.
Nancy didn’t have that with her old man. Chemistry, hormones and whatever else separated them, and I guess in the end if this was the only way she would ever do right by her folks, then this was how it was going to be.
The next morning I woke up single again to the hangover from hell, with no prospects and no money. Nancy left me a one way ticket back home. I was already late for the flight. On the way to the airport my brain started to work again – it had been a while – and as the taxi pulled in at the set-down area I realized that the only reason I signed the papers is because I was afraid people I didn’t give a shit about would find out that I married a dude in Vegas. I hadn’t even stuck my dick in him, and who said he was really going to stick his in me? God damn it, I had no real reason to be ashamed.
In that moment I felt stupid. I took comfort in a cheap bottle. Nothing’s changed since then. The decline continues.
I started life as an actor, a jobbing, useless motherfucker desperate for attention and cursed to serve my more supple skin days in the car parks outside parties I wished to be invited to. I did it all, park cars, take tickets, find keys, keep wives at bay while their director husbands had their cocks sucked on by my coat-check girl colleagues – all of whom found careers in the spotlight, even if they still bow down before they get the green light. Me, I took the hard road into the light and had to pave that same road in blood before I got my shot… and then blew it.
It was a cold, crisp December night. The Ritz looked prettier than a supernova and I felt like shit. 2:30am and only one set of keys was left. I told the others to go, hoping on a big tip but really waiting on the owner for something else, an introduction. Then he staggered out, the director of what would turn out to be one of the greatest movies of all time. The 70’s were already flying but this was going to change things. I helped him to his car, he fell in before vomiting all over my shoes, then apologized. I played it cool, said I was waiting for an excuse to get a new pair of brogans anyway. I told him I was an actor and would love to work for him.
“Drive me home, kid, I’m late.”
The wait was worth it, I had a foot in the door and one of the icons of the 70’s now owed me. Then we got to the house he was staying at in the hills and things changed. A black sedan was parked outside. I helped him to the door, it was already open. Something was off, the air was dead and I didn’t like the way the floorboards creaked inside. Deliberate. Expectant. He pushed the door open to reveal an abyss of darkness beyond.
“Come back tomorra’, kid. We’ll work something out.”
“Thanks, Mister –”
Suddenly, an electrical cable whipped through the air behind him, wrapped around his throat and dragged him inside. I ran – into an elbow. When I woke I had a view of the stars I hadn’t asked for and a gun pointed at my head. The director was on his knees, begging for his life, saying I was his nephew and that we would do anything to live. These weren’t the kind of guys you fucked with. These weren’t actors, these weren’t Hollywood. This was a different ball game that jumped the fence and invited itself to the party. Nobody was going to tell these guys ‘no’, not the cops, not their wives and, as piss leaked into my shitty brogans, I realized I wasn’t going to say it either.
They told the director to fuck off back to New York and never look back unless he wanted me, his ‘nephew’, to experience the digestive system of a fish. Naturally he agreed and after he crashed his car twice trying to get out the front gate they took me as collateral into the dregs of the city’s slum in the back of a car, despite my pleas of mistaken identity. A couple of seconds later I knew life was about to change in a very real way when a .38 revolver was placed in my hands. The fingers that pressed it into my grip were colder than the devil’s and harder than the bit of a jackhammer.
“Get a feel for it, kid.”
They raised it, forced me to point it at the back of the driver’s head.
“Go ahead. Pull the trigger.”
The driver flashed a look at me in the rear-view, his black eyes filled with dead fury and burning intensity. He winked at me then said –
“What’cha waitin’ for?”
I looked at the man in the shadows next to me. The brim of his hat bobbed ever so slightly and I caught a brief reflection of silver light in the black coals where his eyes once used to be. I couldn’t tell which of them said it, but someone whispered –
“Snap back the hammer, then squeeze. It’s that easy.”
I admit, I thought twice about putting it in my own mouth and doing just that, then a hard *snap* jolted me to my senses as a blade jabbed me in the ribs and cut the skin. I pulled back the hammer and held my breath. Time stood still. Snow flakes seemed like they were floating for an eternity toward the front windshield.
The gun was empty. A booming laugh filled the car, my arm was still locked forward. Something like post-traumatic stress was setting in but then I noticed what they noticed –
“Look at that.”
My arm, unflinching, holding that weapon like it had been born with it. The man in the shadows started to clap, he stopped when I pulled the trigger a second time, then a third and my eyes locked on those black coals of his.
“I’m hoping for your sake four, five and six are just as hollow.”
He didn’t move, but the driver did. I had his attention, he was worried. He knew how to count and knew the score.
The tires screeched, we hit an embankment then slammed through a wall. The accelerator was still down when I came to, blood dripped from my face, none of it my own. The man in the shadows stood outside looking in and I could feel cold steel against the skin on my neck.
“That was a first, kid. You’ve some nerve, but you’ve got balls, too.”
“I don’t know what I was –”
“You’re workin’ for me now.”
He pointed at the driver.
“I’m a man short and the work’s backed up.”
“What kind of work.”
It wasn’t long before another car pulled in beside us. He got in but before he left threw the .38 to one of his goons and pointed at me. I was left with an edgy, semi-psychotic looking waif.
“When you’re ready, kid. Let’s do this.”
He took me to a warehouse where this fat bastard was tied to a chair with a bag over his head. This was to be my training. Over the course of the next eight hours he showed me the how’s and where’s of the trade then made me finish the job. Details aren’t important, suffice it to say my stomach was long since gone and the shred of sanity that remained was going to leave me on the breadline or in bottom dollar jobs for the rest of my life. Somehow I made it through and they set me up in an office on the strip with nothing more than a phone and a poster of the ocean – one a reminder of where they wanted me at all times, the other a reminder of where I’d end up if I tried to run.
So, for four years I sat there, took the odd call and rid the world of one more scumbag. I started to decorate the place, decided if I was going to have an office on the strip I might as well act the part, so I had a guy engrave my name on the door and put ‘productions’ after it. I never made it as an actor, fuck that game, I was going to be top dog, hot as shit producer, no credits to his name but a shit load of firepower backing me up. They dropped in once or twice, thought the idea was funny then realized there was an angle and put some money behind me. I was legit, I was making porn, but I was legit. They ran drugs, guns, everything through that little office, made connections they couldn’t have before and introduced me to all the wrong people. It wasn’t to last and the fun was about to come to a dead stop.
Word had spread about an indie producer who kept a low profile, they were billing me as a Howard Hughes type and some buzz started to build. The guys didn’t like it and I got the feeling they were about to send me to the ocean for a long swim. A knock on the door saved my life. A hero of mine, a real life, big shot producer walked in the room, introduced himself and said –
“What’s your story, kid? You’re starting to steal my thunder.”
I had the cover story down but my mistake was underestimating this guy, a guy who had heard every bullshit pitch from A to Z and knew a phoney when he saw one. Somehow, all that blood and firepower made me forget that I was stupid. He had heard things, names of people seen up here and knew I was knee deep in shit so rancid I’d leave a stink on the strip that would outlast the next four generations of my seed. Then he dropped a bomb on me, he was talking to the feds and guaranteed that if I gave up what I knew there would be a way out. The weight of the last four years buckled my knees and I finally gave up.
They moved hard and fast. It was a blitz, and before I could breathe the first breath of the next morning all my employers were behind bars or full of lead. With nowhere else to go I went back to the office and found my hero waiting with a big, fat cigar in his mouth, directing the removal men as they cleared out all of my shit.
“You did a good job, kid, but I promise you this – you’ll never work in this town again.”
He patted me on the back on his way out. A fed took me out of town then dumped me in Salt Lake City to lie low. I stayed there for a few years, living out a shitty, boring existence and to fill in the time started to write. Lucky for me my hero’s promise didn’t have the legs to outrun cancer. He sank into the dirt a few years back and the door to the strip opened once more. Sure, I’m a hack, a bum, a screenwriter, the lowest of the low, surviving on that one shred of sanity, but that’s all they ask in Hollywood, and if you last long enough someone will make a movie about you, too.
Last week I checked in with my parole officer to find out where I was expected to carry out whatever was left of my community service. Broke as fuck and praying he had something that’d cover a value-saver burger on Christmas Day, I sauntered into his office without knocking and inadvertently interrupted him trying to fuck a spent toilet roll. I tried to overcome the awkwardness by suggesting a different grip so he would get a better action going but that didn’t seem to help.
He wasn’t expecting me, that much was clear, and started to make excuses about having a skin condition, that he didn’t have a loofah handy and that cardboard was known to have tremendous exfoliating properties. I didn’t see why he felt he had to lie to me of all people. Like most guys I’ve fucked a toilet roll out of boredom, sometimes out of frustration, but my attempts to empathize only served to anger him further and, after berating my presence some more, he checked his diary and took a moment, during which his lips creased into a dirty smirk, then sent me to a soup kitchen off Wash in the neo-nazi quarter – my favorite part of town – carrying a box of ‘Jesus was a Jew, too’ pamphlets.
Two hours in and I was in surprisingly good condition. 50% of those to whom I offered the word of pamphlet were illiterate and concerned only with joining their better halves, who seemed to be orbiting planets somewhere in the galaxies of LSD and Quaalude. After a while I hadn’t managed to shake the ache in my gut and shoved my way through the stooped and staggering in search of whatever lukewarm piss was being served. There were two queues inside. To the left, boasting five patrons, soup. To the right, boasting the remainder of those still standing, Santa Claus.
Like anyone else, the sight of Santa brings about memories of past Christmas disappointments and forced gratitude in the face of whichever relative was having a bad year and had just given cigarette butts and a sticky porno mag wrapped in used rubbers. Like anyone else, this made the temptation to queue up and try to do one better impossible to resist. He sounded third generation Italian American, his beard resembled the grimy cluster of cobwebs usually seen on a witches snatch, and he looked like he had never learned how to smile.
Despite all these plus points this guy worked fast and all the winos, panhandlers, bums, tramps and wastes of space really seemed to like him. Within seconds it was my turn and I instinctively sat in his lap. He didn’t like that and broke my nose to get the point across. After shaking me like a rag doll and throwing a small missile at my head I was tossed to the floor. However, within seconds a vagrant started to help me up. Surely this was the spirit of Christmas. It was, until he started to molest me while begging for my candy cane. I hadn’t a clue what was going on until the missile I’d been hit with fell from the lapel of my jacket into my hand.
It was the shittiest candy cane I’d ever seen. First off it was straight, second it was all white and third it was made of plastic. Actually, it was a tampon applicator. Pissed, I tried to throw it at Santa but the vagrant, displaying the reflexes of a puma, intercepted then scurried over to an up-ended oil barrel and began to take it apart. A cigarette skin floated out, onto which he emptied a little more than a bump of powder, then, after lining up, he snorted it through the applicator. A few seconds later he glazed over, drooled, then slumped into a sort of comfortable looking position at the foot of the wall and soiled himself. Santa spread the word that the same product would be on sale the next day, same time, for ten bucks a hit. I got a bowl of soup and waited until Santa had climbed back into his red with white rims Escalade and fucked off back to the north pole, then started collecting tampon applicators. On the way home I stole a bunch of sweetener sachets from my local diner.
The next day I tore apart an old green curtain and wore it as a vest/kilt combo. I dunno, I guess I had some sort of a Scotch/Irish elf thing going and figured the crowd at the soup kitchen wouldn’t know the difference and buy into the idea of me being Santa’s little helper, there to serve their needs at only five bucks a pop. All I had to do was sell like crazy for five minutes tops and I’d have cleaned up pretty well. First off I did a walk through to drum up publicity. An improved recipe of yesterdays freebie, called the Candy Cane Killer, would be for sale in an hour at a crazy stupid, one time only price. Five bucks and no bullshit got a second hit totally free. By the time I finished every sad sack degenerate in the place was frothing at the mouth and hit the streets in search of cash. I had four hundred tampon applicators ready to go and was looking at a thousand bucks for five minutes work. Then I realized my plan had a kink in it.
Handling the Candy Cane Killer, the cash and keeping an eye on the supply was going to leave me open to getting robbed, mobbed and molested again. I needed an assistant so I found a mean looking war vet and promised him fifty bucks and a value saver meal at Rancho Burgero. He haggled but once a flask of JD was in the mix he jumped into action and set up a pretty damn efficient queueing system then opened the flood gates. Frenzied piranha would have been more manageable but desperation and starvation helped me keep my head above water and with supplies running down I could see Christmas materializing in the form of a crumpled pile of dollars in the palm of my hand. Then Santa showed up and shit got real.
On seeing him load a clip into a gold plated nine millimeter I abandoned my criminal enterprise and ran. Two blocks later, approaching a corner at pace, endorphins popping like crazy, thinking I was almost home free, an arm swung out and knocked me into a violent backflip. I skidded to a halt, on my face, and when I found up it clicked why Santa is Santa and where I had failed. Santa gets paid because he has a team of cretinous elves that he keeps in coin. I was a savvy lacking pretend elf who forgot to sort out his combat trained war vet. He vanished with the takings from the scam and just after I had gotten back to my feet Santa’s sleigh skidded to a halt beside me. Santa didn’t get out, he just dropped the window and said something along the lines of ‘peace and goodwill to all men, shit-bird’ then the doors opened and a bunch of angry vagrants fell out, all looking for a refund.
I was taking the kind of beating any man would be proud of and was somehow still standing. Santa didn’t like the idea of me standing up to my supposed punished and got out holding a baseball bat with ‘Rudolph’ etched into the wood and the tip dipped in what looked like blood. He parted the sea of scum with a wave then took up a swing position that said ‘bottom of the ninth, all or nothing, home run’. I closed my eyes and waited for the feeling of skull fragments piercing my eyeballs as they leapt for the pavement. Instead, all I heard was a sharp crack. Warm liquid spattered my face but I felt no additional pain. I opened my eyes and hallelujah sweet Jesus Christ my savior but Santa was doubled over, stomach pissing blood. The war vet was standing behind him holding a smoking .45.
Sirens on approach rang out and the vagrants scattered. I was overjoyed and even more so when I looked into the Escalade and saw a fat stack of cash on the dash. But before I could grab it the war vet twisted my arm into a death-lock behind my back and shoved me against the wall. I tried to reason with him but got the feeling this was about to end badly. I was right, he was an undercover narc and had been staking out the soup kitchen in an attempt to bust Santino Claude, a rising player in the drug world and have him spill on his bosses, thereby bringing down the whole house of cards. I’d blown their entire operation.
Luckily my parole officer was blamed for the bulk of it. Turns out my community service had finished the week before and he sent me to the soup kitchen to get some sort of pathetic revenge for walking in on his wank experiment. He’s currently under investigation and his license to practice has been revoked. I’m working at the soup kitchen for the foreseeable, new community service, and figure that seeing as everyone down there hates me I might as well cash in on my unpopularity. The plan is, find a new lackey to take bets, line up a fight once a night and clean up on me being KO’d early in the second round. With Santa in hospital someone has to give these bums something for Christmas.
Research is something I don’t take too seriously, especially when writing a horror script which involves a bunch of sadist ghosts out for revenge from the cruel spirits that crushed and stole their young lives. I’ll admit now that this was a low point in my writing career, a necessary evil in order to get in good with a director on the rise who in all honesty was a hack that somehow managed to get financed without problem on every daft idea his colon conjured up. So, I took the offer of knocking out a quick draft which came with the clause of spending a ‘night in a seriously creepy old house in the country’… this was supposed to help me get in the right frame of mind and draw on the energies betwixt the four walls, instead of making me feel like I was in an episode of Scooby-fucking-Doo as I drove the rental out there.
On arrival my gut tightened. Someone was having a laugh at the expense of my pride. There were no windows or doors in the bastard, and it was huge, and sitting up on top of a hill, and it just so happened to be windy and wet as fuck. The surrounding area wasn’t much better, crappy old storage shed the other side of the hill next to a big old marsh, some looming forestry on the nearby mountains, old stone walls and the one neighborly light that was visible at least a mile away extinguished almost immediately. I took the sleeping bag, a pen and notepad (pointless), two bottles of whisky from the trunk, the jumbo bag of chips and the now damp ‘steak and cheese’ footlong I bought a few hours earlier and made my way inside. The whole place was gutted, nobody had lived in it for decades and the stench of rat piss, decaying wooden beams and mould only made me thank God even more that I had the good sense to bring two bottles and not one.
Part confession at this point, I’ve this really bad habit every time I enter someone else’s home, it’s more a compulsion that comes from who knows where, probably some primal ancestor – the long and short of it is, I piss somewhere in the house, I suppose marking terrain or just planting a familiar scent of myself that enables me to relax. In a normal house it’s usually just a squirt in a potted plant or on the towels in the bathroom. In this glorified cave I decided to go all out and with a full bladder let loose everywhere, making sure I hit every room. Once I’d shaken out the last drop I found the least breezy corner, climbed into the sleeping bag and hit the bottle hard.
It was around midnight and I had to piss again so I staggered about until I made it outside. As relief was washing over me I checked my cell. Text message from the director. I’d been getting hourly updates since noon, random facts about the house, who lived in it, what they did, why nobody lived in it and how they died. Turns out I was staying in the ultimate cliché movie house (this guy had no imagination) – the Dad was a loner type butcher, heard voices, chopped up his doting wife and kid, buried their body parts in the floor boards, then turned a shotgun on himself and blew his head up into the chimney as he set fire to his clothes. Laughable. Returning inside, I stubbed my toe on a board as I crossed the threshold and sight of the blood dripping from my toe onto those filthy, tetanus infested floorboards was the final straw that riled me so bad my bowels loosened. Revenge was in order.
I found the fireplace, unloaded an unmerciful spray then fashioned a makeshift fire from twigs, leaves and set the whole lot off after siphoning some gas from the rental – I wasn’t going to waste whisky. I was nicely into the second bottle by three AM and decided more gas and a voodoo dance was in order. The spirits must have taken hold of me because I ended up spiraling around the old shit-hole letting the remaining fixtures, grout and window frames have it with my trusty baseball bat. I fucked that place up good but ended up knocking over the vat of gas and fire spread from room to room. Five minutes later and the whole place was ablaze but it didn’t matter, there was nothing inside aching to catch the flames, run rampant and help it go epic and so, disappointingly, within an hour it was dead, just like my second bottle. At least I’d got some warmth out of it while it lasted but was in need of more so I threw caution to the wind and wandered back inside.
Nothing was going on outside other than that one light on the hillside blinking on for a few minutes then vanishing again, just like my self esteem. My buzz was begin to die and bring a death all its own to my head so I tried to distract myself and started to break the floorboards just to rid myself of the cretinous text plot that was supposed to bring entertainment to the night. After wrecking a few rooms and finding nothing resembling bone I checked the charred chimney stack. Fine, there were some scars in the cement that may have been caused by buckshot but I was aware of a concept called ‘wear and tear’ so ruled it out. I’d hit the wall, boredom, hangover, cold, miserable, resenting my desperation for bringing me to this point and the darkest hour of the night was reaching pitch black. Then a text blinked in from the director which unsettled me.
The land had once been an Indian burial ground, I sighed. The family who took over the land had left no will so ownership went back to the natives. The area was declared sacred and no removals were allowed unless authorized by some descendant chief in their council. The absent bodies had been moved, to the storage shed at the back of the house. The chief had written an account of the tragedy, self published it, sold the rights to my director for pittance and approved my stay for one night. I didn’t sigh… I said ‘fuck’ instead. The director told me to be sure and check out the storage shed before I left. I was already drawn to it, hypnotized in my hammered state, having pissed and shit and desecrated and shed blood on sacred ground – I had to see what was in there.
It took me a full twenty minutes to baby-step my way to the door, despite it being a thirty second walk, tops. The door was already cracked open. I reached out and gave it a gentle push. My eyes squinted against the darkness inside, searching for shapes and then, something presented itself. It looked like a mound of soil. A drop of urine ran down my leg as I stepped closer. Then I heard a noise behind me and spun around. On top of the hill were three silhouettes. A man. A woman. A child. The man was holding a shotgun. In the dark I’m sure I was glowing white. And then he started to make his way down toward me. I ran like a fucking rabbit. That’s right, hopping on all fours, waiting on the blast and hoping my death rattle would at least be somewhat acrobatic and impressive.
It never came. I toppled into a patch of briars and landed face first in the marsh and the man pulled me out before I sank and drowned. He didn’t look anything like I expected. First off he was alive. He was also a native Indian, so was his wife and kid. They looked pissed. After I’d cleared the muck from my ears I realized he was the aforementioned chief who had been alerted by the neighbors on the other side of the hill after they saw the house take to flames. I protested innocence but all that got me was the butt of his shotgun in the mouth. He dragged me to my rental and unloaded on the windshield and the rearview, telling me I’d be hearing from his lawyer and that I’d be personally liable for the restoration. I told him he “was out of his fucking mind” and got another jab of the shotgun in the forehead before haphazardly toppling into the rental and swerving like a lunatic as I made my escape.
An hour down the road I decided ignoring the persistent calls from the director was a good idea. I realized that this low point would sink me so deep I would never getting a writing assignment in the western world ever again, so I did the only thing I felt was sensible. First I threw the cell into a lake, then once the rental prematurely ran out of gas I shoved it off the side of a cliff, moved city and had my name changed by deed poll. There was a momentary grumble of the incident in local news but nobody really gave a shit. The director took the blame, had to fork out for the rental (cheapskate hadn’t opted for insurance) then got his dumb ass blacklisted by trying to make that daft horror story without official permission from the shotgun wielding chief – he had changed the idea but seemingly not enough to convince the judge. Last I heard he was working toilets in a casino as part of his community service.
Unscathed, the road was clear for me to re-enter the business. I decided to do it right, return home, play by the rules and lick the right arseholes until that first big sale dropped. Two years later here I am – still desperate, still drunk, still pissing in rooms.