The creak of my front door was slow and followed by a soft footstep. I could tell right away that it was someone careful. Someone scared. Someone who had just seriously fucked their shit up to no-wheresville. Population them and soon to be yours truly.
The whole concept of ‘scared” was a bit of a mystery to me. I’ve never gone yellow over anything in my life. I’ve had guns in my mug, I’ve gone to war like a good douche who killed anything the generals pointed at in some middle-east shithole, I’ve been shot, stabbed, and beaten. Hell, I’ve played Russian roulette with a one-armed, one-hundred percent bonified Russian crazy man. Nothing has scared me in a long spell.
Alright. I’m kinda stretching the truth there. Ok… when I was a kid, the big ol’ dykey broad who had taken her vows to God or some such used to keep me scared of “eternal damnation” and all sorts of other stupid, scary stories that dumb asses used to listen to from dumb-asses over campfires as they screwed their sheep. I was 10 and being a polish/Italian kid you kinda want to do right on the side of the almighty.
It was all so stupid that it made me angry. So angry in fact that a year later I told them all to kiss my ass. Even a polish/Italian kid who's going on 12 knows when to say “fuck off”.
The door finishes swinging open and in walks some impossibly forgettable guy. He’s in his 40’s, graying around the temples and wearing a lemon yellow Izod shirt with soft hands. Yeah…a really cool cat with perhaps the gayest preppy style I’ve ever seen. With him was some black guy in a casual suit who seems like he can handle himself in a square fight. I mark him as bodyguard, and he’s scared too.
The day was going slow anyway so this might prove to be fun.
“Uh… Mr. Baine?” the guy in the izod asks in a quite, subdued voice. “I’d like to buy your services--OK… rent your services for a while.” It always makes me kinda skeezy when possible clients (or anyone in that matter) says stuff like that. It makes me feel like some kinda queer whore. A big, queer and bad brutal whore.
“Come on in and have a seat.” I tell the guy and his friend as I walk over and pull some chairs around my desk trying to look like I give a damn about the place, making sure to kick all of he empty bottles of rye to the side.
The two sit down. The guy with grey hair looks around him like he’s waiting for some execution squad to plaster him as soon as he said something wrong.
“Vince.” I reply. This guys not much older then me and him calling me “Mr.”, seems just wrong.
“What can I do for you?” I say as my ass hits the destroyed foam of my chair. It squeaked out of tune like a fart. “My name is Vincent by the way, no one calls me Mr. Baine unless they’re in some serious trouble.”
“Well, I am in trouble.” He says in a tone of voice that makes him pathetic and human at the same time. “And I need some protection.”
“Really Doctor, what about your friend here? Seems like he can handle himself in a brawl.”
“How’d you know I’m a…” he sputters out like a bad Holley double-pumper that's not getting enough fuel.
“Your demeanor and you. I could tell by your hands.”
“OK. Fair enough. Well, this is Michael. He’s someone who I hired when I stared to have problems. Things have gotten so out of hand that I needed to bring in someone with your rep. I read about you in the L.A. Times after you saved that hostage in that Italian restaurant in Pasadena. I need a really cool head for the kind of problem that I’ve got.” During this time I’m watching him, his friend and the clock.
“And what kind of problem would that be?” I ask, thinking he might have been caught with his arm up some broads ass when said broads husband came in, catching Doc’s hand in the cookie jar, so to speak…
“I’ve been marked for death by Christians because I perform abortions.” He says.
I only mouthed the words “oh shit”.
“So, how’d you get on the bad side of God’s good Christian soldiers?” I ask him, wondering what I’d done wrong in a past life to get into this kind of predicament yet again.
If there were a God, which I’m pretty sure there isn’t, well… that bastard would be laughing like a wild eyed loon at me right now.
“My name is Richard Pierson. I’m an OBGYN at the Planned Parenthood in Pasadena. This is my colleague Chris, he’s the door guard at the clinic.”
I nod understanding, in the style of “annnnd yeah?”
“As you know Planned Parenthood has always been the target of religious extremists, mainly fundamental Christians. Recently I did a procedure on a 18 year old girl who had a 23 year old boyfriend. She was scared and didn’t know what to do. So she came to us and we helped her.” He stops for a moment and clears his throat. “A week afterwards I start to get some really scary phone calls from her father who is, surprise, the head of a fundamentalist group called The Arm of Retribution in Georgia. He proceeds to give me the usual spiel about damnation and hellfire, which I’m very accustomed to. It’s not until a couple of days later when I drop his name to co-workers that I get scared.”
I shift in my seat like a kid watching a movie… this is the good part.
“It would seem that the father, Martin Goodman, has had ties to Paul Hill.”
“Paul Hill was the guy who shot that abortion doctor with the shotgun, right?”
“Yeah… He became a martyr for those people. Goodman was a high-ranking member of that church before he took off and started his own congregation. So his threats don’t come lightly.”
I lean back and pull a cig from the destroyed packet of smokes on my desk and light it. Drawing in sharply I exhale and say “So now you’re worried he’s gonna come after you? Do you think he’s got that killer side?”
“Vince, the hatred I heard in his voice for “violating” his daughter gave me sleepless nights for a week. They weren’t the words of a sane man.”
I smile and blow a stream of cancer mist from my mouth.
“You want me to go find this guy and make him stop? If I put it to him hard he probably would…”
“No Vince. I want you to temporarily act as in a security capacity with Chris.”
I snort. “Door guy, right? I’d like to but…”
“I’ll pay you seven-fifty a day.”
The room went really quiet. I looked at him as he looked at me. I shot a glace to Chris, who looked back with eyes that said “yeah, he’s good for it.”
“Ok… but I’m not going to be official. I’m gonna sit in the waiting room and…wait.”
We shook hands and he gave me a check for the first week.
It’s Wednesday and I’m starting my detail of sitting in an abortion clinic being a shitheeled guard. I go to the place on Lake Avenue and walked into the place and up to the double reinforced panes of glass. Behind it was a cute black chick looking at charts and such and getting ready for a days worth of work. I pressed a buzzer next to the window.
She looked at me once and then twice in quick succession. Her face kinda went slack on the second go around. “Can… can I help you?” she said in a wavering voice that made me feel sorry for her.
“Yeah, my name is Vince Baine and I’m here to sit in waiting room.” I said. I smiled as best I could as someone who was awake three hours before their normal wake up time.
She beamed with her dark apple cheeks. “Hello Vince. Go ahead and come in.” She reached under her desk and I heard the strained sounds of an electrical switch being triggered in the wall on the adjacent door to my left. I pulled and swung the reinforced door open.
I looked into a room with seats for about 40 people. A couple of them were taken up by the asses already implanted in them. I went to the corner of the room and took a seat with my back to the wall with a 180 view of the place. The heaviness of my guns set snugly against the thickness of the trunk of my chest under my p-coat. Two sets of .45 caliber death ready to kill whatever I pointed them at. I pulled out my copy of A Confederacy of Dunces and started reading
For the first hour I was involved in Ingatius’s antics when I finally noticed that more people had filtered in. There were several sets of couples sitting there with me in the waiting room. They were scared. I’ve seen scared way too much in my life. I noticed the guys trying their best to coddle their girls. This wasn’t a happy place. The place reeked of tension and last chances. I’ve never been in the need to come to a place like this before, but it wasn’t what I expected. Everyone was sitting expecting their name to be called and dreading when it actually was. A name would be called, a girl would look up, she’d stand up and her guy would stand up too. He’d usually hug her and if he wasn’t too high strung he’d give her a kiss and she’d leave in an adjacent door like it was a gulag. The poor sap would sit down like a plane wreck and you could almost hear the worry in his head.
I sat there, getting more and more uncomfortable. I was earning my cash for this job, no doubt about that, but I felt bad for the doctors here, the people behind the protective pane of glass, the patients and their significant others. During the course of the day I saw more then a couple of people cry like they were going to their final judgment. It was unnerving and it gave me the jitters something fierce.
I crossed my arms as a little kid ran past me. Some Mexican woman had brought her two kids here and they were running around like they owned the place. The second kid, a small girl, was running past my legs when I whispered under my breath “Relaje a la niña.”. She stopped and looked at me with her huge brown eyes. She had gotten the point and went back to her mom and curled up next to her, not taking her eyes off of me. I smiled. Teach ‘em young I say…
Over the course of the day they had put on E.T. on the video player. Everyone halfheartedly watched it, even thought it seemed so artificial in this place. It wasn’t the atmosphere for good time family movies. As people left more came in.
Around 12:00 a couple came in who seemed too nervous and too… homogenous? They looked like they had just gotten off of some farm somewhere. They didn’t seem like your typical couple from Pasadena “in trouble”. My eyes fastened on them like hot white iron. He was somewhat stout and detached and she was trying too hard to fit in, both were blond. She was fidgeting with her purse.
They sat, looking ahead, not even looking at each other and that snake I have in my gut started to uncoil. Something was not right with these two. “They’re nervous,” my brain told me, “you try and be in this situation and not act like those two.” I continued to watch as my brain and my gut fought it out, each getting louder and louder.
I then noticed that the girl had stopped fidgeting and had placed her purse under her seat. Her boyfriend took her by the arm and led her out of the room through the reinforced doors hurriedly. The snake in my gut hissed and spit. As I stood up the vacant purse also started to hiss as smoke erupted from it quickly. I moved to the front of the room’s window pulling out my guns. The people in the waiting room started gasping and yelling. Everyone was bailing from the joint, pushing and shoving in panic. I sat and watched, the smoke burning my eyes. As the place emptied out I heard a low whump.
As I’ve said I’ve been all over the world while I was a Navy SEAL killing this guy and that. I know what a car back-firing sounds like, and after 5 weeks of BUD/S training I know exactly what carefully placed explosive charges for infiltration sounded like. This was the later.
I could feel my adrenaline start to pump as I pounded on the window and motioned to the cute black chick to let me in. She did quickly. The door buzzed again as I ran through the door. Cute black chick ran past me to get outside. The air was lousy with the smell of cordite and smoke was filtering into the reception area. Everyone had emptied from the place.
I yanked out my guns from the twin tanker holster rig around my chest. All sorts of bad death was going to be descending on this place and I wanted to be sure to get my piece of hurt in. Sometimes it seems like I just go through life tolerating everything and everyone around me. I never get to really live and do that which I’m supposed to do. As my thumbs found the safety on the guns and flicked them off with a slight click I smiled… This is what I live for, I thought. It’s the only thing I’ve ever been good at and you just gotta love what you’re good at.
I rounded the corner with both guns arms length. The place was a catacomb of hospital machines and beds surrounded by baby blue curtains. The smoke was drifting around head level and cast a haze over the entire joint. I heard several voices around a corner. I looked around the corner quickly sizing it up. It was a hallway. From what I could tell the administrative area was at the other end. Smokey silhouettes moved like ghosts down the hallway. Identifying whom it was, though, was another thing all together. The shapes moved into another room only leaving shadows on the ground. They weren’t running away from the chaos so they were targets for the time being. I slowly moved down the hallway silently glancing slightly, mainly relying on my hearing. At that point I heard the yelling and scuffling. I moved faster.
Glancing around the corner again I saw a group of men in L.L. Bean clothing with semi auto mini-14 rifles, they were talking quietly now, weapons at the ready in front of the admin area. There were three of ‘em. Two big old corn fed Aryan looking fuckers with their close cropped blond hair and prominent chins. The other was clearly the brains of the outfit. He was about six foot two with grey hair and chiseled sharp features. You could imagine this one as a congressman, C.E.O., or... holy shit… the kooky minister of some Jesus-crispy camp shouting about hellfire and damnation from his hypocritical pulpit. It was Pastor Martin Goodman doing God’s dirty work.
“Motherfucker.” I thought. “Mother fucking cocksucker. They’re gonna pinch Pierson. Think you retard… THINK!!!”
They burst through the door with a blinding flash of fire and bullets and death. Through the deafening pops of gunfire I heard screaming. ‘Here I go” was my last conscious thought as I ran forward, my legs pumping with blood and strength. I brought the .45s swinging upward in what seemed like slow motion as I squeezed my trigger fingers on my two bad boys. Looking past the blurred muzzle flashes I saw one of the guys head catch two rounds as his body flew forward like a 10-pound sledgehammer had just whacked it in the shoulders. The guy with a head that now looked like an open red flower fell to the side firing into the floor lamely. The other two fell to the side taking cover, surprised.
As they hid I ran barreled through the door of the room and saw the remaining big guy swing his Heckler & Koch HK416 up at me. I pushed forward into a flying sprawl as I left my feet. Three things could happen right now. He could shoot me, I could shoot him, or I could go flying like a ton of dumb bastard into the adjacent door. The last one happened.
I thanked my dumb luck as I went through the door as 7.62 caliber rounds thudded just shy of my leg and nuts into the door. I landed on my ass as I kicked at the door desperately and closed it. The door slammed shut. I glanced around and saw two people riddled with bullets. One was the black guy Chris… poor bastard. He’d caught one in the neck and chest. His lights were probably out the second he hit the floor. The other was some blond woman in a lab coat. She wore glasses. One of the lenses was gone. It was instead a mass of blood and stuff. On the floor a thick trail of blood wound out behind a desk.
I crawled over behind the desk and saw Doctor Pierson. He was white and clutching his chest. I went closer and pulled open his shirt. He was wearing protection, and not a rubber you dirty prick, it was a pricey Kevlar vest. Unfortunately there was a perfect hole in it that drained blood like a spout. Kevlar’s good, but a straight on shot from an assault rifle was a no-no. That’s what he got. God damn it I thought. He was just doing what he thought was “good”. My mind went dark as I though the same about the man outside with the big, blond gorilla. “Good” it seems made men both killers and victims.
He fumbled at his chest and whimpered. He looked at me ashen. Flecks of blood on his chin and neck. He knew his ticket had been punched. He laid there lame and dumb and looked at me through purple eyelids. I mentally burned his face into a long checklist of faces I’ve seen push off of this coil. He reached up and patted my face and smiled a wan, sick smile. I felt the stickiness of his blood on my cheek. He stiffened and a rustling came from his throat and his eyes went unfocused. The farm had been bought.
I realized what the smile meant. “That’s it man. Don’t worry about us. No need to be subtle. Do it. Go big and go for broke.” My jaw muscles clenched so hard I could have bitten through a wrench. I flipped the magazine eject on my guns as the empty mags fell on the floor with a hallow tin clank. I quickly drew out two more magazines and jammed
them up and in. I could feel the sneer on my face like a brutal scar. I got up, breathing like a bull that had just been pissed on by some Spaniard.
The door burst open as blond gorilla number two came barreling through, right shoulder down in a charge. He was yelling crazy shit about God and hell. He took two steps into the room as I shot him in the fucking head. His chin snapped to the side and nearly tore off from one round. The second caught him behind the peepers. He kept running though, full tilt, his God talk trailed off into mumbling nonsense, into the adjacent wall like a clown doing some goofy act. Only he left a big red smear after impact and I didn’t laugh.
I looked through the door and saw Pastor Martin Goodman scrambling backwards on his ass yelling. Elijah! Elijah! Did you get that bastard?” I walked towards him, the smoke of the killing zone obscuring me. He pulled his weapon up shakily to defend himself. “God will smite thee on this…” He didn’t finish as I shot him in his right hand which was forward on the gun. His mashed fingers went flying in a spray of red. He screamed like a woman and whirled around dropping his gun trying desperately to get away from me. Only I wasn’t going anywhere and I had all of the time in the world.
Oh, and a box and a half of .45 rounds that screamed to be used.
He scrambled and tried to run as I leveled on his exposed back and let loose. I let it all go. This one wasn’t getting away. “No way man…” I thought as bullets thudded into his back, his arms, his legs. The thing with a .45 caliber bullet is that it’s such a big round it won’t just go through you like a 9 millimeter. It takes pieces of you with it. It breaks bones, it causes intense tissue damage. All of that was happening to the Reverend from the back forward. He flew forward like Superman had just flown through a slaughterhouse. He fell with a splash.
I came up to him. He was still twitching. I grabbed him by the scruff of the neck like a kid and turned him over. Blood flowed…well… everywhere on him. He was done. But me being me couldn’t let well enough alone.
“So Martin. You aint getting up after this one. No sirree bob…You’re as dead as Judas.” I told him. His blue eyes locked on my face. “Now, since you’re going to the supposed ‘embrace of your lord and savior’ and all of that silly bullshit, I want you to do me a little favor. I want you to imagine that there really is no God. That all of the faith you’ve had and all of your acts in his name were really for nothing. That you’re going to die and there will just be black nothingness and then they’ll put you in the ground to rot. You won’t be a martyr, hero or saint… you’ll just be fertilizer. So imagine that all consuming blackness you’re going to right now and realize that your faith really didn’t matter at the end.”
His eyes focused on me in terror as the thought went through the miss firing synapses of his dying brain. His body relaxed into death, but the horrible realization is his eyes remained. I let his body fall. Faith it seemed had failed Martin Goodman. Or the other way around. Or whatever. I didn’t care.
The sirens were coming and I’d have a lot to cop up to but I didn’t mind. The cops would understand, they always do after a little sweet talk. I smiled. Happy hour was in four hours and I was gonna be done with all of the questioning by then, drinking pitchers of beer and watching the game.
BAINE and all related characters and situations Copyright © D.W. Frydendall, All Rights reserved. 2009. Any and all copying or usage of material will result in your fool heart being cut out and displayed in the local town square.