Chapter Five No Sympathy for the Devil
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Richard took Shannon back to his house and turned on the lights but even in the dark, she could tell it was a beautiful house. And big, he led her upstairs to the bedroom, where he stashed an impressive assortment of drugs in the back of his closet shelf.
“This your room Shannon asked.” “This is my house, he replied.” “May I ask how long since your parents passing???”
“Over a year, he said.”
“How you doing, she asked???”
“One day at a time, he said.” Shannon was impressed for a single guy he had his own house and it was clean. At least by guy-standards. He didn’t have any pets, and the carpets looked not only vacuumed but scrubbed. She wondered how he could afford such an expensive, furnished home, being just a musician, and then when he said he had inherited it, it all made sense.
“You mentioned your mom earlier, Shannon offered.”
I think she may have been the only person who ever loved me Richard said casually. That made Shannon very sad. Richard had delivered on the cocaine just as he promised, and they both did two lines, each.
Afterwards, Richard put on the music, the originals were okay, but bland, nothing commercial. It was just like she thought before, they didn’t have a song writer. Eventually sensing her disappointment, he put on a song by the Rolling Stones instead, it was on a digital file and resampled from the Masters, Beast of Burden, suddenly played in the Background.
His second favorite song by the Stones. He dimed the room lights and turned on the colored lights that shown from a small globe that hung from the ceiling, he even had a remote control for it, and it slowly revolved and then made abstract patterns of light. There was a scented oil plug-in somewhere else that went off periodically; it was supposed to smell like the ocean. Shannon bobbed and swayed her body rhythmically to the music, she started to slowly get into it. She was just trying to match the beat, and she was seductive without even trying to be, right now she played with his hair. Then she draped her long hair over his face with just the ends of its length barely touching his face with its tips, teasing him.
“Do you like the Stones, he asked?”
“Yes, she smiled.”
“Do you like my hair, she asked?”
“Yes, he smiled.”
“Shannon smiled back. Maybe she could help Richard write some of his own songs, all he needed was a little inspiration, and then she slowly took off her clothes.
The Rolling Stones continued to play without interrupting them.
I’ll never be your beast of burden
So let’s go home and draw the curtains
Put some music on the radio
Come on baby make sweet love to me ???
He really didn’t expect to Shannon again after that night, all girls promised but never delivered. The better lookining the women the less reliable she was.
But the next couple days Shannon kept calling until Richard finally answered her calls, and said, “I don’t have any more drugs.” And then he expected Shannon to hang up on him, but she didn’t.
Richard didn’t plan on seeing her again, but he foolishly gave her his number even when he knew better.
All strippers were trouble.
“What, she asked?”
“After that last score, I’m out, I’m sorry, he said.”
“I want you to come over, she said.”
“Why, he asked confused?”
So, you can try my Lasonya, Shannon answered.”
“Why Lasonya, he asked?”
“You said something about making you dinner sometime, Shannon said.”
“Look I was joking, you don’t owe me anything, you uh… you came thru for me, okay???”
“Five o’clock, she replied.
“What time is it now, he asked???”
“Almost two she replied.”
“Two, he repeated.”
“Are you just now getting up, Shannon asked unbelievingly.”
“I’m still not up, he replied.”
“Five is when dinner will be served.”
“You know how to make Lasonya, he asked???”
“Why don’t you be the judge she replied.”
Like Richard, Shannon was part Italian, “Yes I do, and you better not tell me your mothers was better, she warned him.”
“I won’t he laughed, besides yours might be better.”
“Your too skinny, she said.”
“And don’t be late, she warned.”
“But that only gives me three hours.”
“I will call you every ten minutes for the next three hours…”
“Okay, okay, I’ll be there…”
“Pinky swear, she asked???”
He could imagine her making the gesture over the phone, “Lasonya’s my favorite Richard finally answered.”
“So, you’ll be here on time, she warned again.”
“Yea, I guess.”
“Pinky swear, she asked again.”
“Yes, Pinky Swear, he finally agreed.”
He heard Shannon clap.
“Did you want me to pick anything up, he asked???”
“Uhhhhhh, we’ll how about garlic toast she said, and he could hear her going thru her refrigerator and freezer, no forget it, just be here at five. Then she gave her the address and waited for him to get a pen and paper to write it down. She didn’t trust his memory. Then she had him repeat it back to her and told him to come a little early, so he could meet her son. Then he heard a child crying in the background and Shannon said she had to go, Bye, she said hurriedly.
Bye, he replied.
The nerve of this chick, leaving message after message until he answered, waking him out of a dead sleep, at two o’ clock in the afternoon, and offering to make him a home cooked meal, while he was still half-asleep. She obviously didn’t know who she was dealing with. She was just damned lucky he loved Lasonya. Actually, it was favorite.
Richard bought the garlic bread and stopped by a party store to get a bottle of Morellino di Scansano, he was not a big wine drinker, but considering the sauce it was very appropriate for the occasion. He had also brought over a new video game system that he recently purchased but never used, so that he and her son had something to do while Shannon was in the kitchen.
Richard was a people person, and great with even kids, and he hit it off with her son Cody right from the start. Cody needed a male presence, and Richard was most certainly that. Not the most mature, by any means, but when he and Cody were together, they were like too best friends, with Richard acting more like Cody’s age, than his own.
He brought the video game system, so he and Cody could bond while Shannon was busy making dinner. Guy things. Unlike Jill’s son, Tommy, Cody never got to see his father, and even became jealous on week-end when Rob had to spend it with his father. Cody never saw his father and was too young to remember who he was.
Then he asked her why he couldn’t see his daddy, was he dead??? And Shannon broke down crying. Yes, baby he his!!! That broke Shannon’s heart. Now that she was had a “boyfriend” again, Cody would have a male presence. Richard knew about cartoon shows, trading cards, video games, and Star Wars. They had a lot in common, they both of them liked the same characters, from all the same movies. That night after dinner she let Cody stay up late (on a school night) and the three of them watch a preview for a new remake of a Harry Potter Sequel.
Cody begged his Mom if she would take him to see the movie when it came out, until she finally agreed. Even Richard said that the commercial for the new movie looked pretty good, and maybe they could all go together. After Cody was in bed, Richard got up and Shannon followed him to the door, it was obvious that he wanted to stay, and she wanted him to stay, but being a first date, it would have been much more appropriate for him to leave when he did. Shannon was an excellent mother, and she would have to be “Proper,” in front of her son at all times. “Thank You for dinner Richard said as he opened the door.”
“Oh, you’re welcome, Shannon said sadly that he was leaving, and she wished he would ask if he could stay, even thou, Shannon would have to tell him “No.” She tried not to cry.”
“You’re an excellent cook, I loved you’re Lasonya, he said honestly.”
“Really, you mean it, she asked fearfully???” “Yea, but my mom’s was better.” And then Shannon laughed, and she hugged him tightly, and never wanted to let him go, when she did he wiped the tears from her eyes.
“I haven’t had a home-cook meal since… and then he trailed off.” Shannon tried to change the subject.
“It’s too bad I couldn’t offer you desert, she indicated again that she had a son who was still up watching tv in his bedroom.” He wrapped his hands around her waist and gently pulled her close staring down into her eyes, Shannon felt like she was being hypnotized, he always had his eyes squinted, but now they were open. They were a very dark color, a combination of brown and purple, and she studied them. Oh, I don’t know he said, I might just steal a kiss.
But when he tried she turned her cheek, then he tried again, and she did the same. “Shannon would not let Richard kiss her on the lips not even while they made love, not before, during or after, yet she refused to explain, Why.”
Don’t you even think about kissing me on the lips, Richard Poor, or I can promise you will never have Lasonya, or anything else again, she warned him. “You would be that cruel, he asked?” “To a man who doesn’t even return a girl’s phone calls… after they had… and then she whispered so her son wouldn’t hear, been together… knowing that she likes you…. making her feel like a…” “I didn’t know, he said.” She laughed trying not to cry again, she looked vulnerable.
“Well maybe I though you called me for another reason (drugs), and when I didn’t have any more “stuff,” he whispered, and when you found out you were going to hang up on me anyway.” “I met a guy backstage and he told me that recently that people shouldn’t be so judgmental… you should talk to him sometime, Shannon replied.” “Everyone knows that people never follow their own advice, Richard smile.” “If I let you kiss me on the lips will you call me, she asked???”
Then without asking, he kissed her on the lips, she could hear her heart beat pounding inside her head. And it was loud. She was starry-eyed when he let her go, “I guess you better wait by your phone to find out then, he said, letting her go, and then he walked out and disappeared into the darkness. Shannon was stunned. No man had ever just walked out on her before, he didn’t even say goodbye, “Who did this creep think he was… Dracula??? And then she gently shut the door between them locking it. Shannon was up half the night thinking about him. And staring at her phone. Was she in love???
Whenever Richard was invited over, he always brought Justin a little gift, maybe just a toy car, or an action figure but always something. Justin may have mentioned that he needed a trading card for his collection to be complete, and Richard would magically have it for him the next time he appeared. And always something for Shannon as well. Usually just a card, or a small box of chocolates that Cody wound up eating instead. A cute stuffed animal, or a single red rose, but as they became more serious, he would buy her an entire dozen. And every time Richard was over, he would come over on times as promised, he seemed to be a man of his word, and Shannon kept testing him.
She would secretly watch him and her son from a distance desperately trying to remain hidden in the background unnoticed, just to make sure Richard was genuine, and not perpetrating an act to win Shannon over her over by befriending her son. Men frequently used that tactic with single moms to get them into bed and that wasn’t fair. But the more she observed the more Shannon saw how badly Cody needed a father figure, and a few months later when Cody and Richard were alone, Cody asked if “Richie” could be his daddy, and Richard said (just loud enough for Shannon to hear), I was hoping you’d ask, but I have to ask you mom permission first, just so were cool, and then Richard winked at him. Cody winked back.
Deal, Richard offered his hand? Deal, Cody shook it. It was a guy thing. She was his. Shannon went to the bathroom because she started bawling, but she didn’t want either one of them to know it. After Richard said that and saw how her little boys face lit up, and how he jumped to hug him, Shannon instantly fell in love with Richard, and afterward he could do no wrong. When Richard was getting up to leave at his usually time, Shannon stopped him, “I don’t want you leaving, I want you hear with us, she almost begged.” Richard noticed that she was crying. “Shannon you time to think about things.”
“Please don’t go, she begged.” There was no sex, but when she woke up in his arms she made them both breakfasts, it was pancakes, and then sent Cody off to school. Both of them waving to him from the bus stop. Then they made love, I can’t make love to you with my son in the house, she explained.
“I have to set a good example, she said.” “You’re an excellent mother, he agreed.”
“You’re not mad, she asked???” “I’ve never been prouder.” Shannon melted right there. They made love all afternoon and didn’t stop until her son was ready to come home from school. Richard had never had a woman so good in bed, rarely could he even find a girl to keep up with him. No matter how many times he could go, Shannon was always ready, willing and able, to continue. Sometimes Shannon even scared him. When they made love, she was the one who seemed possessed. And now that she had sucked him in, he had made the mistake of going back to the well once too often, and now he was hooked.
Shannon was as addicting as any drug. And he had done many. She always left him exhausted, until he was too drained to even get up, and she let him sleep and do whatever he wanted, those were on days when she didn’t have to work. Before, on the night shift, she worked Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. But on the day shift she had the weekend off but had to work every day of the work-week, Mon-Fri. She was thinking of switching back to nights, just so she could spend more time with Richie. But he told her “No,” her son had to come first, and he would work around her schedule and not the other way around, besides how could she see him play on the weakens, if she was working week-ends. “God, she loved a man (that she loved), telling her what to do!!!” Shannon usually kept both boys, so she could work nights, she hated the day shift, she was only in it for the money, but she noticed that “Smokie” had her also working behind the bar as well, she was filling it for “Whitty,” until he returned, but nobody knew when that was supposed to be. Shannon had Richard sleep over every night, and in her bed.
She even asked her son if Richie could “visit” them overnight, and Cody, said, “Yes, because he didn’t want his mom to be afraid, no more.” If her son accepted him, then Shannon was obligated to as well. She was warned by the other band member, especially Derek (who she didn’t like), that Richard, was not the type of guy to stick around, and actually had a lot of another woman on stand-by. He was selfish, and one time they were backstage waiting for Richie, he had her alone, and he told her that she should forget all about him, because she would have no future with him.
And when she closed her eyes, he put his hand to her chin gently, lifted it to meet his eyes, and when she opened them again, he said “You can do better, he smiled.” Shannon didn’t like Derek, he was good looking but creepy, and always tried to get her alone, and now that things had not worked out with Jill, he had set his (very hungry) eyes on her, and she didn’t like the way he looked at her. Then Derek started in about his constant drug use and criminal history. No matter his past, no matter his reputation, Shannon was going to start Richard with a clean slate, everyone deserved a second chance. “She could easily ignore Derek, but Jill was not so easy, He’s a junkie Shannon, a God-damn junkie, do you understand???”
“I love him Jill, Shannon said sadly.” Jill just shook her head. “You have a child, Jill warned her.” “You don’t know that, she said.” “I do know that, just like I knew with you, Shannon countered.” “You’re going to wind up supporting his ass, Jill said.” “I going to get him help, Shannon replied.” “You can’t help him Shannon, he doesn’t even have a job, and with his past, he can never get a legitimate one.” “He had a trust fund, Shannon said.” “I heard that’s how he supports his drug habit, and now he’s even about to lose that, she screamed.” “He’s a musician Jill, and entertainer, and like us, he’s troubled, all entertainers are, Shannon said.” “Playing in a band on the weekend part-time is not a job, it’s a hobby.
And he’s lucky to get paid for that. You’re an adult Shannon, and you have a child, one whose had a child in school now, and asking question, he told me you moved him in, is that true???” “I’m not like you Jill, I’m not strong, I need somebody to love me, she wept.” I love you!!! Why can’t that be enough!!! Jill and Shannon got drunk sometimes after the kids had fallen asleep and they would drink, and take a hot bath together, Shannon would wash and pamper every part of her body. Sometimes if Jill could get Shannon drunk enough, they would retire to the bedroom, lock the door, take off their matching pink cloth robes, and lay on the bed together. Sometimes they would just fall asleep with Jill spooning Shannon.
But other times before they did, Jill would climb on top, and made Shannon orgasm until she called out her name and made her say that she loved her. Then Jill would lie on the bottom and watch Shannon perform oral sex on her as she ran her fingers thru her hair. Shannon would try to leave and wash her face, brush her teeth and gargle, but Jill would never let her. Shannon would laugh embarrassed, “Jill let me wash. ” She felt guilty and didn’t want to sleep like that.
But then Jill pulled her up and kissed her open-mouthed instead. Then she would wrestle with Shannon until she stopped trying to leave, and just sleep, “as she was,” for the night. Then Jill would spoon just like before. “Jill you can be so weird sometimes, Shannon would say before they drifted off.” Jill had always been bi-sexual, but she kept this a secret, and rarely did it reveal itself, even on stage when the girls pretended as an act, because for her, it wasn’t.
So, she never even hinted that she was. Very few men like very few women turned her Jill on, and she was surrounded by beautiful women, all day, every day, and most did nothing for her. Shannon was that exception, she had always been, but she didn’t know until she kissed her on that deserted hallway that fateful night, and that’s why, she took her under her wing even when she knew better. And that was the real reason that she let Shannon get away with murder that she would have killed other women over even half the shit Shannon pulled… and that’s why she even Shannon breast feed her son.
Because secretly it turned her on. She loved Shannon’s body, and she loved her sassy personality, and she wanted to control her and sometimes even beat her into a sexual submission. She wanted to “turn” Shannon. Jill would have been very happy to have Shannon quit, and do nothing but take care of the children. She didn’t want Shannon working at the club, she didn’t want her around the men or the women. She wanted her as her “girlfriend,” she didn’t even want Shannon leaving the house when she was at work, she wanted complete and total control over her, that what she needed. She wanted Shannon to cook her food, to wash her clothes, to raise her child, and to clean her house. She wasn’t an Ice-Queen, she was a dyke.
When the work was done, and the kids were cared for, Shannon would be hers, she would be used to satisfy her every sexual desire. Every time they “experimented,” fueled and excused by alcohol, Jill was getting more into it, while Shannon more disenchanted, complaining to her now that after several sexual episodes, she liked boys. Jill had never considered herself a lesbian, she in her mind was only a lesbian because of Shannon, and not because of any other women.
That morning she told Jill that Richie started sleeping over regular, Jill lost it, “I don’t want him around my son, and he’s not welcome in my apartment so don’t show up with him, and if he’s here (Shannon’s apartment), Rob and me will not be, Jill spat.” “Don’t you take Rob away from me, she screamed!!!” “I’m protecting him from a junkie, I don’t want him to accidentally step on a needle, she spat.” “Don’t take Rob from me, she bawled.” “You’re not his mother, Jill spat, you’ll be lucky if I don’t call social services on you, and have your own son taken away.”
That was it, she threatened her son, she may never have called Social Services, but the threat was made, and that could never be forgiven, Shannon went it the next day to quit, she went in with Smokie to collect the things from Jill’s dressing room. When Smokie asked Jill to come with them, from behind the bar she said, “She can take whatever she wants.” Shannan said goodbye to every girl who was present that day as she carried he stuff out, and every woman was crying as she left, a few of the bouncers were choked up as well, and Smokie himself had his head lowered.
“I’m sorry about not giving you my thirty day, Mr. Smoky, she said as he was standing next to Jill, who would not even look at her.” “A lot of girls have walked thru that door, Shannon, and a lot of girls had walked out it, I have met hundreds of them, some of them I remember to this day going almost thirty years back, but others I wouldn’t know if they ran over me with their car, but I will never forget you, not till the day I die. Almost everyone laughed. I don’t know where you’re going, but… even thou you were the No. 2 girl around here, and then he looked at Jill, you never had any business working here, and I hope you can find something better now that you don’t. You had friends and they protected you, whether you knew it or not, but you don’t have that anymore, and you’re a girl who needs to be looked after, do you understand what I’m trying to say to you.”
“I think so, Mr. Smokie.” And then he hugged her goodbye. Shannon looked at Jill, she wanted to say goodbye, but Jill pretended to be busy, and wouldn’t even look at her. Finally, Shannon said, I don’t know to say Goodbye to people, but I was never that smart, maybe you can teach me she said to Jill. Everybody was stunned. Jill said nothing.
“I don’t know how to stop loving someone either, even after a fight…” Jill never said a word. And she left trying not to cry but faltering. Goodbye Dummy!!! That night Jill was taking a bath with the water filled to the top and her face submerged underneath it, she was crying her eyes out, she wanted to tell Shannon the truth, all those times she said she loved her, she meant that. The next day Smokie announced that Whitty would not be returning, he had died shortly after they released him from the hospital, and “Jillian,” would be taking his place as Bar Manager. The girls didn’t know which the bigger tragedy was.
Richard was in trouble, he was exhausted and out of options. He was late on the payment he promised his dealer, because the money he had counted on had not come thru like he planned. Richard was out of money, and almost out of time. This night was a night Shannon had to work, because she promised to cover for another girl. Now he was alone, he checked the clock, it was almost 3:00 A.M, and Richard was alone and, in a makeshift shine for lack of a better word, and one that he had made for himself. It was pitch black and Richard was using the Ouija Board for guidance in the darkness.
The Ouija board was supposed to be used by at least two people, but Richard was no novice and he frequently summoned the spirits by himself, usually during the witching hour, for guidance. Ricard took out the red board with an additional triangle shaped piece of, that almost looked like a heart, but had a glass circle near the pointer’s end, and he asked his first question. “Are they coming, Richard asked concerned?” Suddenly the triangle planchette started moving, first to the letter “N” and then to the letter “O,” and then it stopped as if it was an electric device whose cord had suddenly been pulled from the socket. “Should I stay or leave Richard asked?” The Planchette moved to the Moon.
The Moon was on the left-hand corner of the board, it looked like a circle painted black, or in this case red. It represented the full moon, and not the sun, which was a common misconception. The moon was largely agreed to represented illumination of the hidden, mysterious and esoteric, but it was not the answer to a “yes” or “no” question. “Clarify, Richard asked for enhancement?” Now the planchette moved to the opposite end of the board with a jerk. This held the Crescent moon which was thought to mean rebirth, regeneration, and death. He asked the board the same question in a different way.
“Am I in danger, Richard asked?” The planchette stayed at its spot resting; the Crescent moon. “Should I leave NOW, Richard asked?” The triangle wouldn’t move again. Richard didn’t know what to expect, for all he knew the board would have told him to kill himself, with one answer, but not to the next. The band wanted to go on tour, it was roughly twelve states on the East Coast, but they would be gone for almost two months. Richard did not want to go, and he wouldn’t have, but now he owed the wrong people money, and the last visit had not gone particularly well. The money he counted on to pay them back with, had not come in. And now he was desperate. These people were ruthless. They would stop at nothing to get what they owed.
That’s why he reconsidered the tour. He thought by staying he would be putting Shannon, and her son in danger as well. Shannon did not want him to go, and she would “convince” him to stay, basically she had to stay and watch her son, but did not want him on tour with the other women at every stop. But he reconsidered the offer at the last minute. She would not be able to have any influence over him once he was already gone. Up till then, he had been spending most of his time at her house and now he had to come home to finally collect his things that night. He would be gone in the morning and call her and explain everything once he was on the road. He had gotten home late and quietly entered the house, just so he could pick up some clothes and supplies, and ask the Ouija board for guidance, just to double check to make sure he was making the right decision.
But two drug-dealers were already waiting for him before he came in, because they secretly paid off a member of the band (Derek), who had tipped them off when Richard would be leaving, so they had broken into his house earlier and were waiting for him even now. It was a three-man job as the driver pulled in the drive-way in a commercially painted van of a non-existent landscaping company, complete with an 800 number that went to and automated voice mail.
The two thugs went into his house thru the garage, and they desperately tried to stay undetected from the neighbors while the drivers knocked on the door, checked his clipboard, rang the doorbell, then walked back to the van and left. There would be another van, painted with a different fictious company, and a different driver who would return to pick them up.
All three of them in a tow truck. When Richard tried to reach for the light in the bedroom, the two thugs rushed him and started beating on him immediately until he fell to the ground. Richard started yelling until one of them put a gun with a silencer into his mouth. “Shat that bloody hole Ya junkie bastard, one of them threatened in the dark as he choked on the barrel.” “The second man patted him down, He’s clean he said after he finished.” “What is this shit, who are you, Richard demanded?” “The other man grabbed his wallet and checked thru his id’s until he found the driver’s license.
The holographic picture and text on the driver’s license glowed in the dark, to make it easier for the police to read at night when they pulled people over at night. “Yea, it’s imm, okay, one of them said.” “Were here for the money Richard, compliments of the boss, the burly man with a gruff voice said.” “Is that all, well I have the money, so none of this is necessary, he said still choking. He did have some of the money but only $600 dollars of it and mostly in singles, nowhere nears the $10,000 he owed, and that was without the interest.” “Glad to hear it, the burly man said.”
After a long pause, Richard finally said, “You going to let me up, so I can get it?” “You can hand it to me from there, the man with the gruff voice answered, with his foot still on his chest?” “Actually, I can’t it’s in the closet, Richard pointed in the dark.” “What you mean in there, the other man, name Donny said?” “Yep, that’s the closet, Richard said plainly.” “Maybe you better look instead, Redd answered to the other man in the dark.” “I don’t like that idea, Donny said fearfully.” When he was little, Donny’s father used to beat Donny, and throw him in a closet until morning, he would stay in the dark terrified for hours. “Why not Redd, asked?” “Well, why me, Donny asked?” “Because your smaller now aren’t you, you stupid cunt.”
“Donny shook his head, I’m not poking me head in there, I don’t know where he hid the money anyways.” “Well I’m not letting him go in there by himself, Redd barked, he might have hidden a weapon, you damn fool.”
“I thought you checked the closet, Donny answered?” “I did check the closet, you stupid c-, Redd stopped he was getting agitated again.” “There aint no room for the two of us anyways, not at the same time, Donny replied.” “Go on and get the light and we can all look in together, is that alright with you then, Redd asked sarcastically?” “That’s a much better plan Donny agreed, and then he walked over to the end table when he had stashed the lightbulb earlier, but as he approached the three men heard a loud crunch in the darkness, it sounded like broken glass.” “What was that Redd turned around startled!!!” “I’m guessing that might be the light-bulb Donny said embarrassed.” “Are you ribbing me, you left it on the floor, Redd asked.” “I put it on the end table, and… I guess it must have rolled off sometime when we were waiting for him, Donny said scratching his head with the barrel of his gun.” “And you didn’t see the lightbulb before you stepped on it, the gruff voice asked in the darkness.”
“Well I can’t very well see a lightbulb in the dark, now can I, Donny scoffed.” Sometimes Redd did not think before he spoke, and he made himself sound like a fool. An angry fool, and those were the worst, it reminded Donny of his father. “This is exactly why I told the boss I didn’t want to work with you no mores, Redd said in the darkness.” “I don’t know why you’re always blaming me every time something goes a-rye Redd, Donny sounded wounded, you hurt my feeling, you do, the way you go spouting off. “Because you’re the one responsible now aren’t you, Ya, brainless sod.” “See… that last one, it’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about now isn’t it, it’s just like that Dr. Phillips is always saying on the telly, “Blame is like a Perpetual Boomerang.” “And who the fuck is this Dr. Phillips then, Redd asked in the dark?” “You don’t know who Dr. Phillips is, Richard asked, joining in on the hilarity, but still on the floor, with Redd’s boot on his chest the entire time?”
“You shut up, Ya junkie bastard, Redd foot pumped him, and cocked his gun and then re-aimed it at Richard in the darkness who was a much easier now that his eyes had readjusted to the dark again.”
“He’s a celebrity head-shrinker, who has his own show, and is largely syndicated is all he is, Donny finished, annoyed that he was talking to a simpleton.” Redd wasn’t sure who to shoot first. “You got your lighter Donny, Redd asked???” “I’m not for certain, Donny said, patting himself down for it.” “What wouldn’t have you have it useless, you have it every other time, Redd asked?” “Because I’m trying to quit smoking don’t you remember. I told you in the van on the ride over, Donny reminded him.” “Fine time to quit now, you brown lunged turd.” Donny flicked the lighter in the dark.
Then the flame danced thru the air until he made his way back and was standing next to Redd. Then they both turned their attention back to Richard, “Okay up you go then, and into that letter-hole, but no sudden moves, Redd warned him, you take it real slow, you got it?” “Yea, I go it Richard said, and then Redd offered him his hand to help him up.”
“We don’t want to hurt you Richie, we just want the money is all, so no games huh, Redd was trying to reason with him now, not intimidate him, that time had passed???” “Richard nodded, as he slowly reached up to the second shelf and grabbed a large blue cylinder with a white lid. Then he very slowly backed up and handed it to the burly man named Redd who seemed to be the “brains,” of the outfit. “What this then, Redd looked surprised, staring at the face on the coffee can, “Trying to spoil me sleep then, he joked?” “The money’s inside Richard said unamused.” “Right, he slowly handed the can back to Richard, then you show me, and real slow, Redd commanded again, pointing his gun at him, and no sudden moves, I don’t want there to be any “accidents.” Richard opened it slow and, as he peeled back the lid in the darkness, and they could see that it was filled with paper. Then the light went out. “Hold that damn thing steady, Redd said to Donny, grabbing the plastic coffee can and pilfering thru it. He studied several of the bill quickly. These are all singles Richie, what is this a gag?
No way can this be the correct tally, Redd said???” “Good aroma thou, eh, Donny said, trying to be encouraging.” Donny was stupid, but he was loyal. Both men who broke into the house had accents, but not the same kind. “Right, you had better go back up in that closet, and find us some more beans, and make sure you have the right brand this time, if you know what I mean Richie, Redd half-joked.” “No problems Richard said calmly, he was a cool customer, and Redd like that.”
This kid has balls!!! Richard reached in and grabbed the second coffee container, but this one was smaller. He tried to slowly hand it to Redd again, but the large, thick man waved it away just like he had the first. Richard motioned if it was okay for him to open the lid, and Redd nodded, he did so slowly, and showed them the inside, it was filled with wads of singles too, but this smaller container wasn’t even half filled. “It that it Redd asked.” “I’m trying to give you everything I have, Richard explained, it’s not easy to find everything in the dark.” “Hey, this one has some fives, tens and even twenties, Donny said.”
This can smells like expensive perfume and not just coffee beans, Donnie noticed. “Well he can count it in front of the boss then, Redd replied.” Richard had met a lot of freaks in his life. But this “boss,” was one of the worst. He always dressed in dark colors, but they were the wrong dark colors, not black but like a dark, nasty, shit brown, with an off-piss yellow shirt. His taste in clothes were horrible. Just as disturbing was the way he accessorized, he wore these tinted sunglasses that you couldn’t see his eyes thru, they were circular by design, but too small for his fat face which made his appearance even more bizarre. Richard never saw his eyes, and when he spoke it was with a thick unrecognizable accent that rarely showed inflection or emotion. Ricard could barely understand him. The boss was much scarier than either one of these two assholes even with their guns pointed at him. He knew if he went to see the “boss” without all the money he owed, he would never leave alive.
For some reason, Richard felt that “the boss” wanted to make an example out of him. Even when he knew Richard by reputation, had never screwed anybody on a drug deal previously. Under different circumstances, Richard might have been scared, but he had done a handful of Ativan, which were little more than prescription downers, and washed them down with a pint of Jack Daniels, that was about an hour ago, so now he just felt numb. Chemically, he couldn’t experience the full extent of his fear even with the adrenaline rush that flooded his system. But he could feel his heart pounding in his chest, so he knew it was there just the same. And if intimidation was the plan, the “Boss” should have sent different goons, he already met these two guys before and neither one of them impressed him very much, the first time.
Maybe if he could make it out of the house, he could have half a chance for a get-away, and hole-up in a cabin his parents owned up north. Few people knew his parents had a moderately sized cabin in the Upper Peninsula, he had stayed up there for almost an entire winter before. Then he could call Shannon once he was safe and send for her and her son. “Let me keep looking, I know I have more, both men looked dubious, but Redd finally replied, “Well go on, get on with it then.” Richard still had his father’s hunting shotgun and he had sawed off most of the barrel and placed it in the golf bag with the other clubs, so it wouldn’t stick out above the bag. He took the shells out and replaced them, after he was done. In the dark it was well hidden, and the handle never rose above the top of the bag. Redd never found it or even thought of looking there. Richard wasn’t worried about dying, he had performed two rituals earlier, and with the drugs he was on, he felt invincible. He pulled the shotgun out of the bag and had just enough room between the walls to shoot without aiming, he didn’t think, he would hit anything on the first shot, so he would drop on the floor and shot from an angle if he got a second chance. That was one of the things the “Ritual of Self-Preservation” had prepared him for, reaction with thought, a blind instinct approach over his reason, because his hesitation would immediately create fear, and it was that fear that immediately followed, can created the hesitation, which would get him killed. At the very least he would just keep shooting until the gun was empty, and if he could he would try and make his way out the doorway, and then out of the house. Unfortunately, he missed with his first shot even thou it went thru the wall and the gun was so old and unmaintained that it jammed on his second shot. He never got his second chance. Richard had never fired a shotgun before. He had never cleaned or oiled the gun in the closet (or any other gun), just replaced the took out the old ammunition when he put the gun in a vice downstairs to saw off the barrel. Richard was smart, but inexperienced with guns. He just expected them to work on demand, and without maintenance, why would it need maintenance, if he never used it before??? Both targets with handguns had already returned fire shooting into the closet blindly. Several bullets hit Richard in the chest, but somehow, they missed his heart and head. He dropped the gun, without realizing it, and fell with a heavy thud, for several minutes he was still alive. He could smell the burned scent of gun powder, and everything suddenly stopped at its “normal” speed and continued thereafter in slow motion. The two men had guns with silencers, but even those where loud, and the shots fired echoed like a hammer hitting a wooden table in an empty room. But nothing compared to the shotgun which sounded like a canon from within the confines of the closet. Richard was deaf after that. He could hear his own thoughts but nothing more. Both men were sure the neighbors had heard the shotgun and figured they were already calling the police even now, and they panicked. Richard the skinny junkie, gone assassin. Unbelievable. “He had a gun in that closet Donny whispered, terrified, I thought you checked it???
I did check Redd whispered back angrily and breathing heavy.” “We have to get out of here, Donny said terrified. Both men were crouched instinctively, they didn’t even know if they hit Richard, or if he was still alive or dead, they just assumed when he stopped shooting and when they heard the body drop it was his. “Call the boss, Redd spoke.” “Why me, Donny complained, he hated talking to the boss, and he did not want to be the one to deliver the bad news, the “Boss,” would be furious. “Because I’m the one who called him the last time, Redd explained, and you tell him that we need emergency evac straight away.” There was a towing company nearby, it served as a front for several criminal enterprises. The two men were told to call the shop (a 24-hour number) in case of an emergency. Now there actually was one. Donny searched for the disposable cell phone he carried on him. But this phone was so cheap that it did not have a back-lit display, like a “normal” cell-phone did, so he had to use his lighter see the numbers to dial first. “You have to help me find my lighter, I dropped it in the dark, Donny whispered panicked.” “Just go in the other room and use the light in there, Redd commanded.”
“But you said… “I know what I said, you stupid cunt, now stop wasting time, Redd growled.” Originally the plan had been to take Richard back alive with the towing truck used to haul away Richards car, and they were going to make him sign over the car, to cover whatever deficit he owned between that and the money he had on him. But the “Boss” did not send these two morons to kill him, if he wanted Richard dead, he would have sent different people. People who had more sense and were more dependable. But Richard didn’t know that. The towing company would have his car towed to an undisclosed third location where the boss would be waiting. They wanted to make the operation look legit. Just in case there were any suspicious neighbors, or roaming police who just happened to be patrolling at the wrong place, at the wrong time. “Do I tell the boss Richie’s dead, Donny asked, or still alive?” Redd peeled back the window shades, just enough to let in as much light as he possible could without being noticed from anyone peering in, and that’s when he saw a light go on in the distance, the neighbors were up. Bloody Hell. Then he shut the curtains, there were no stars in the sky. Just the moon but it was huge.
He saw Ricard moving and trying to breath, choking on his own blood. Despite the fact that Richard tried to kill him (Redd even admired him more now), he hated to see Richie suffer, dying like some animal hit by a car. He liked Richie, despite the fact that he was junkie, Richie was a good lad. Young and handsome too. Pity. The he pulled the shade down again and shot him twice more in the head, the second shot was illuminated by the first. “Dead, Redd confirmed.” While Donny nervously walked away to make the call he stepped on a bump, he knelt to see what it was, and that’s when he found his lighter, then he lit it in the darkness and carefully dialed the bosses number. When the boss didn’t answer on the second ring Donny got nervous and continued to pace out the room and into the hall. Redd heard something in the darkness, it was a stirring, at first, he thought that Richard might still be alive, but then he heard something else. It sounded like the crunching of bones.
He inspected the closet again. Richard was gone, he had disappeared and for a second Redd thought that he might still be alive, and he almost started shooting into the closet again from the shock. Redd moved away from the closet, then he pulled open the shade next to him and opened it but held on to it. There was nothing there, no body, Richie, no nothing, he almost screamed. No, that was impossible, what happened to the body, it could not have just disappeared???
There were no streaks of blood on the wall either, they were gone like someone had wiped them away with a sponge or a cloth. Then something shiny moved in the gloom, “What the fuck, Redd said out loud, as he tried to make it out, Richie is that you??? Redd could not believe the words coming out of his own mouth; he was terrified, and that’s when the aberration attacked him, it pounced like a spider, and covered him like a blanket. A wet blanket because it felt heavy, and Redd a thick man who although was near fifty, was in great shape for his age, and still like to fight bare knuckled, and even at 275lbs of mostly muscle he couldn’t move or budge this thing on top of him, let alone get it off. Now he was having problems breathing, he could hear himself scream, “Donny, get me out of here, he yelled.” Then he could feel himself burning, it’s like suddenly he was on fire, a chemical fire. Instinctively he shot off his gun, but none of the hollow point bullets penetrated the membrane. The bullets could not be absorbed, nor could the gun. But his leather belt could, minus the buckle, and so could the rest of his clothes, and his leather boots as well. “Donny, he kept screaming terrified.” Everything was being absorbed, quickly and silently in the darkness, and then Redd was gone. All 275lbs of him. ??? “What the boss suddenly answered, impatiently.”
“Uh boss, it’s me D-D-Don, Donny never used his full name even on a disposable cellphone.” “And… the boss asked sternly in an incomplete question?” “W-we had a spot of trouble, he managed to force the words out of his mouth in a stutter.” Then there was a slight pause. “How bad, the boss asked, it sounded like House-vadd.” Donny could hear ice cubes clinking in the background. Donny held his breath and then released it suddenly as he answered, “Very Bad, he answered.” And ze Mark (Target)??? Not available, Donny said somewhat cryptically. Anything savage-akable???
“Yes, but were not up to par, he said trying to keep his voice steady as he continued to force the words out.”
“Veer’s Redd, the boss asked?” “He’s sorting it all out but wanted me to ask for back-up and we need it straight-away,” Donny wanted to tell the boss that shots had been fired, and that the neighbors had likely already called the police, but he lost his nerve. “Put himz on, the cold, stern, iron voice commanded.” “Yes sir, right away,” and then he paused for just a second to make sure that the boss didn’t ask him to do anything else before he made his way back to Redd.” Donny was sure to keep his voice low but spoke near the receiver, so the boss could hear him following his orders, “Redd, you’re wanted on the line….” There was something standing near the closet, it looked like a man but something about the form was off, Donny squinted his eyes, as he got closer. “Hey Red, the boss wants to speak with you…”
“Then he saw the standing figure drop into a kneeling position, Redd??? “Donny licked his lips, hey are you okay, he asked???” And then he saw it, right before it pounced. It knocked him down, and the phone bounced away. Before Donny could even make a sound. It instantly surrounded him like it did the two others, and it prevented any movement or sound. When Donny was a child in Heidelberg, he had fallen into a vat of Molasses at a factor he worked during the summers when he was a thirteen, but he managed to get up, he could walk to the edge, but he could not pull himself over the edge, and he was stuck there until morning. The Molasses had cooled for some time, but it was still hot enough to burn, and Donny still had the scars from the second-degree burns. One of the managers (who mysterious got fired shortly thereafter), made the mistake of telling him that he was lucky to be alive. That what he felt like now, thirteen and back in that molasses.
He couldn’t see the molasses, in the dark, whatever had a hold of him felt like that molasses and suddenly it was starting to get hot. The disposable phone had fallen face up. The line was silent but had not gone dead. The disposable phones that Donny bought were meant to be used one time and that was it. It didn’t even have a back-lit display; only cheap plastic buttons to dial. No texting and no internet. It was like the old disposable cameras that were throw-away, long before computers, you took pictures that you gave to the drug-stores to process (when they still did that), and picked up the pictures the next day, but they threw out the “carton-camera,” as it could only be used one time.
“Hey-lo, Hey-lo,” the boss repeated himself over and over, he did not like waiting, and now he had already finished his first drink. “Are you there, the angry voice on the other side kept asking, and then the phone finally went dead. He looked at his own cell phone (not cheap or disposable by any means), before breaking it to pieces by squeezing it with gloved hand. He hated being hung up on, if those two fuk-vups thought they had seen him angry before, they had no idea what was waiting for them when they got back.
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