Tuesday, November 24, 2009


As many religions over the ages from every corner of the planet had predicted from eon to eon, the world had ended.

Actually it ended last Month.

Not with the vast glamor of a planet-rending explosion from the hand (or hands if you were Hindu) of God, or even the feverish and confusing mish-mash of drama known as Revelations. No the world had gone quite simply to shit in the course of a couple of horror filled weeks.

If you are wondering if it was mad science run amok that did it, or an all encompassing pestilence that spread wiping out hundreds then thousands then millions come billions, you might be right. The strange thing is that death came for the planet Earth and no one really knew how or why or where it started. Death just came and got them...

...actually, ate would be a better choice of word.

The dead had come back in a dizzying flood that modern mankind couldn’t cope with. Was it a virus? No, the big brains from all around the world had ruled that out. Nothing in the basal ganglia or in the medulla oblongata had changed after death. The person got bit, the person got feverish, the person expired, then the person got up and attacked anything within eyeshot of it (If the person in question had no eyes, then earshot). Take that scenario and build upon it by about 6 billion... give or take a few thousand.

I can bore you with the details of how mankind valiantly fought back against the onslaught of destruction, that the best of mankind and the worst of mankind became apparent in the crisis. How the everyday people rose up against the military industrial complex to find a way to survive despite the army’s incompetence and bureaucracy . I can also bore you with the story of how the world’s leaders put aside their territorial disputes and theological differences and came together globally in their last desperate hours to fight a world-wide menace only to lose at the 11th hour, but I won’t. This is not that kind of story. No, this is the story after all of that fun.

North Hollywood California was a nice place that had it’s share of families, entertainment companies and porn actors. Now trash filled the streets adjacent to abandoned cars while buildings were burnt out from long dead fires. Unchecked fires had ultimately leveled most of adjacent Van Nuys. The only movement on the street was the quiet shuffling of the remaining animated dead. There were billions of them now. The pace of life had seriously lessened in the last month. The only conflict now was when one of the dead bumped into another, confusedly moaned and looked around with the thousand mile stare of an ossified drunk, and stumbled the other way. Needless to say things had simmered down in the last several months.

On what was once Magnolia street sat a place known as Coffee Plant and it used to be... you guessed it, a coffee house. In the outdoor patio there sits a table with a faded green umbrella. There’s a man sitting there. He’s drinking tea and has the manicured image of the CEO of a large company. His hair is black and carefully combed above his tall face. He wears a slim burgundy business suit who’s make and style is not really too apparent.. Sitting, he looks around with eyes that always seem to be thinking. Ancient eyes that seem like they could play six games of chess consecutively at the same time and win with ease. There is no look of emotion on this man’s face. His eyes shift from one of the walking dead to another without a trace of thought or compassion. The dead don’t seem to notice him, for if they did they would swarm him and pull out all of his wet pieces.

We’ll call him Mr. Red.

A newspaper blows by him and he reaches out without looking and snags the fluttering paper in mid-air. His movement is fast, reminiscent of a snake striking some small squeaking prey. The headline on the paper reads “THE DEAD WALK!”. A small greasy smile stretches over the man’s face ever so slightly.

“No doubt.” he thinks.

As the man sets to reading the paper he notices many misspellings and simple grammatical errors that make the man chuckle at the fact that at the time of publication the papers owners had probably run out of their A-list writers and had to settle for their B-listers.

“It is in this writers humbol opinion that these are indeed the end of times. Making me wonder what we have wrot as a planet of humans to gain the wrath of god.”

Make that C-list.

“You and me both writer man.” thought the man in red as he lowered the paper.

A figure was sitting directly in front of the man in red silent as the grave. This would have scared the ever loving shit out of anyone with less then an iron resolve. The man in red barely blinked.

The man opposite the man in red could only be described as a man in black. He had non-distinct features, making him in an odd way seem just like about...well... anyone. It was like when you see someone out of the corner of your eye. You can’t make out the details of the face but the individual is still there. Looking at him was pretty much the same effect, except that you’d be looking directly at him.

For the purposes of this story we’ll call him Mr. Black.

Mr. Black and Mr. Red sat and looked at each other for a second. The silence is ended by the ruffle of old paper as Mr. Red puts the paper down. If you were a purveyor of film you might think that this situation would lend itself perfectly to to either an art-house film about existential angst or an arthouse horror film about existential angst.

Both however would be considered wrong.

“Hello. How are things down in the Firm?” asks Mr.Black. “Did you get a run on the market when this madness went down?”

“I could ask the same of you my friend.” replied Mr. Red as he leaned forward and held his hands together as in prayer. If you knew this man this you’d find volumes of irony in his pose. “The answer is no. We were completely taken unaware.”

Mr. Black both quietly laughed and snickered slightly “I know you don’t like when that happens.” he said.

Mr. Red looked up quickly in realization. “Oh Hell, where are my manners? Did you want anything to drink? I can have something whipped up really quickly if you’d like? I make a mean...”

“That’s alright...” said Mr. Black cutting off Mr. Red. “I always bring my own.” Mr Black said as he presented a large black Thermos that strangely enough has THANATOS on the front instead of THERMOS.

“You never change.” The man in red says with the patronizing way an older brother would talk to a younger brother about his strange habits. “Always have to do it your way.”

And so they sat in uncomfortable silence nodding and waiting for the other to talk, starting a spirited conversation or argument. This went on for what seemed like forever (it may be argued that this stalemate did indeed go on forever). Until finally Mr. Red asks “Soooo... how are your brothers?”

“As you know we only get together for really special occasions. From what I hear Mr. W. is out of work and living in Miami with his girlfriend Artemis doing quite a bit of boar hunting. Mr. F. has got a new job, but I heard it’s really mundane. It seems the system he’s working with now is really automated and lacks any personal “panache”. Out of everyone I hear that Mr. P. is doing the best. He’s come out of this situation smelling like a rose, which is really strange for P. if you know what I mean...”

“Ha...quite.” responded Mr. Red drolly.

“So... ah... you don’t know what’s going on, do you?” asked Mr. Black, cutting to the quick of their meeting.

“Finally!” an exasperated Mr. Red breathed out. “We get to it! No, I have no clue as to how or why this happened. Everyone down at the Firm is in the dark as much as I am. We thought with the nature of this catastrophe that it would be something perhaps pertaining to you.”

Mr. Black was taken aback. “Pertaining to me? I’m very simple in my complexity. This situation is a little more complex then my office allows. The last time I’ve heard this mentioned, outside of the films and such of course, was in the bible, and that’s way out of my jurisdiction.”

Mr. Red gave the man in black a sly, sideways glance. “That’s also what we thought. What would you get out of this? No, the other option was Him. That’s why I asked you to ask him to come today to this meeting...Since he doesn't talk to me anymore after my ‘falling out’...”

“Yes I did... or more directly I tried. You probably don’t know this but getting a hold of him has been incredibly difficult through the ages. The line is always busy since everyone... and I do mean everyone, tries to get a hold of him. Sometimes I think he acts all ‘High and Mighty’ just to get away from the throngs of sycophants asking for stuff.”

This train of thought derailed as a Asian woman, dirty and wearing rags ran past the table, screaming maniacally being chased by shambling dead people. Both men looked on with a vague tint of surprise. “You don’t see THAT much anymore do you?” asked Mr. Red. “No you don’t...” said the man in black. His eyes narrowing in anticipation.

The woman continued her dash to freedom looking over her shoulder only to run into the not so friendly arms of a large rotting man dressed as a vagrant cop. They spilled in the street in a somewhat funny pratfall as the woman kicked with all of the desperation her destroyed psyche could muster. The dominoes of the dead fell upon them both as the woman’s scream turned higher in pitch until it finally cut off entirely. Her body burst apart like a wet bag filled with red wet rags.

“Excuse me...” said Mr Black as he wiped his mouth and starting to stand up. “By all means...” said the man in red gesturing to the gory feast that was happening about fifty yards away. Strangely enough, Mr. Red had just barely finished when he was interrupted...

“Sorry about that...” said Mr. Black sitting down after scant milliseconds of standing. “These days I have so much free time it’s nice to have a personal touch in certain affairs.”

Mr. Red continued. “So getting back to him, do you think he’ll show?”

At that point as if on cue, there was a loud cough down the street from someone dressed in old white clothes. They look like they were covered in fresh sick, since the man had just in fact been sick all over himself. He wore a tight white beard and swayed like a drunk sailor who had been on the mother of all binges (considering who this man was, it would be a binge of MONUMENTAL proportions). He yelled at a couple of pigeons and kicked one out of the way. The pigeon exploded. He slurped and laughed in a deep gravely voice that was in no way jolly. The meandering reanimated corpses stumbled past him as if he wasn’t there. He made his was to the table in a zig-zag path that took about twice as long as it would have taken him in a straight line. He pulled out a remaining chair, burped a thick foamy burp and practically fell into the chair. You guessed it... this is Mr. White.

“So...I... guess you did get my message?” Mr. Black said eyebrows up.

Mr. White leaned back in his chair and clasped his hands on his belly awash with sick. “Yer’ fuckin’ A right I did! You dipshits act like I run everything or some kinda boool shit...”

“Well, actually...” started Mr.Red in a quiet manner, not taking his eyes off of the fresh tea in front of himself.

“You shut thefugup! You whiny little faggot! Alwaysh with the WHINING, and the PLOTTING, and the COHORTSH.” said Mr. White emphasizing each observation point with a roll of a hand and thousand mile stare behind Mr. Red. “You... make me sick! You think you know me?” Mr. white continued. “You don’t know me... you don’t KNOW me...”

“...godammnit...” said Mr. Red so under his breath that it was barely audible. it sounded more like “guddummit”

“HEY! You watch that ‘Godammnit’ shit boy! Yer’ not old enough that I can’t whup the shit out of yer’ loushy hide again!” Mr. White leaned over with a plump fist squeezed, ready to crush the man across from him in the face.

“Excuse me...I don’t mean to interrupt but do you know what’s going on?” Mr. Black asked holding his head in frustration. His tone was similar to that of a parent who’s child was having a tantrum.

“Goddamn right I do!” Mr. White with a good deal of flying spittle. “I got sick of that whole... whaddya call it?” he was gesturing again with hands, this time more frantically.

“Uh...swearing?” Mr. Red asked like a kid ready to duck a blow from an abusive parent.

“Polyester? I always hated synthetics...” Mr. Black volunteered.

Mr. White snapped his fingers and smiled. “Free will... tha’s it!” He pointed a swaying finger at Mr. Red. “That goddamin free will... had to go...”

Mr. Red looked on incredulous. “You mean you cause all of this? This whole thing is little more then a joke to you? All of the time and effort... all of the tears and pain... and you just get sick of the way everything was going? After multiple millennia of building and building... you just... pissed it all away in a fit of blind anger!?!” the man in red’s face lost all composure and turned the color of a tomato. Mr. White didn’t answer... he was fast asleep with his head rolled back, snoring loudly.

“Wake up!” said Mr. Red kicking the table sharply.

Mr. White woke up with a start mid snore. “Jeesuz!” he called out in shock.

Mr. Black leaned over and touched Mr. White’s shoulder much like a therapist would to a patient. “Please... can you tell me what happened? I need to know or everything’s not... uh... going to work properly.”

Mr. White looked blearily at Mr. Black. “Ok, Lemme sober up...” Mr. White blinked and opened his eyes which seemed to have just learned to focus when they opened. “OK... sorry about that. What were we discussing?”

Mr. Red was rubbing his temples, his eyes shut in concentration. “We were asking you about all of this... the whole end of world by reanimated corpse thing.”

Mr. White smiled. “Yes, I indeed did this.”

“But there are protocols to this sort of thing!” Mr. Red pleaded. “We had it worked out on how it was all going to go down! The anti-you, Mr. Black here and his brothers, The leviathingy... it was all pre-ordained! We’ve all been waiting so long! I’ve been waiting so long!”

“I understand your concerns, but ultimately I decided it would be best.” Mr. White said unsympathetically.

“What gives you the right to...” Mr. Red stammered.

Mr. White looked at him with a look that if you were to have ever asked the dumbest question ever uttered in the billions and billions of years of the earth,you would have gotten this look as well.

Mr. Black shot the now quiet Mr. Red a look that silently read as “Shut up you...” and started. “I don’t mean to presume my role or anything, but this is the thing I was designed and built to deal with. What... what was your thinking behind this?”

“Simple.” said Mr. White directly. “Listen, remember how it was when we started all of this? How it was so new? I always hoped that this whole thing would have a good long shelf time. But from the off set I had the sneaking suspicion that it was all going to go bad. From the time with the snake and all of that.” He motioned to Mr. Red. “And it’s been down hill ever since. Look at the way they were before I changed it. They would bicker and hate and kill one another. They would kill one another in MY name, mind you! That’s the kind of thing that really...” Mr. White closed his eyes in thought... “-really...”

“-Rankles?” Mr. Red volunteered quietly,

Mr. White snapped his fingers and pointed at the man in red smiling. “That’s it! Rankles! That really rankles me! And always asking for the stupidest things! If you could hear what they always ask for you’d start drinking too! That’s why I was drinking so much. It was the only way to stop the little voices in my head. It just got to be a little too much for me. From people who want me to save their loved ones from illness to people who asked for inconsequential stuff. It always comes from a selfish place. Especially when they talk to me about helping other people in my name. It’s just to make themselves feel better. Selfish, selfish people...” Mr. White went silent as a dark mood fell on him.

“So what did you do?” Mr. Black asked.

“I figured out how to get rid of that whole tiresome ‘free will’ thing that’s always been the huge bug-a boo from the start. All I did was fix a couple of chromosomes in a test subject. Funny thing actually, the subject was a cleric for the Taliban. I placed one simple change in his chromosomes when he was in vitro, kind of like a metaphysical ticking time bomb. He grew up, and became a zealot and ultimately died and came back. He then spread this chromosome to others around him. The fact that it all started from a holy man was too great to pass up, and you noticed that they never mentioned where it came from. And thus the change started...”

“But what about Revelations? All of the world’s armies in one final titanic battle to the death? We had it all planned...” Mr. Red quietly moaned with a snivel.

“Sod all of that garbage.” Mr.White shot back stone cold emphasizing each word like a punch to the head. “Like that would work. Let’s give them a playbook for the ending of the world? That’s smart. Why don’t we just give them a big red button that says APOCALYPSE on it and see what they do with it. Make it really simple for them. No... they brought it down on themselves and I’m glad to be rid of them. They’ll go on of course, only a little...slower.”

Mr. Black looked on. “So that’s all it’s about really. No free will...” he smiled and nodded. “Very simple... very elegant... OK, I get it. Makes my job easier. I might just take a holiday or something.” he volunteered to everyone at the table with a smile.

“But... but... what will I do?” Mr. Red asked quietly.

“What you always do. Continue to have your cut-throat office politics. Have your petty squabbles and power plays. You have enough people in your Firm that you could do it til’...”

“-Doomsday?” said Mr. Red with the sideways grin of someone coming around to an idea, but really slowly.

Mr. White laughed heartily. “There you go! You get the idea. Now we can all go on and concentrate on the things we really like. It’s better for them really when you actually put some hard thinking into it. It’s more like ‘automatic pilot’. And just think about it, Our little family squabble is over. You can come over for dinner more often. I’m sure the kid would like to see you. He misses your talks in the desert.”

“ Yeah, me too... so, are you going to go back to drinking?” Asked Mr. Red. Who now was warming up more and more to the idea of a world without free will.

“No, it just turns out that that woman over there was the last one.”

“Really? That’s was a really odd coincidence that that would happen at the same exact spot where we had our little conversation?” Mr. Black said.

“Yeah, what are the odds of that?” Mr. Red replied mockingly with a roll of the eyes.

No other words were said between the three men. They quietly got up from the table and stood up. Smiles and nods were exchanged and they disappeared. There were no flashy displays of power or “Hollywoodesque” special effects... they just disappeared. The dead inhabitants who walked around the street took no notice at the three mens departure, and if they did they made no account of it. The new inheritors of the world just shuffled on... after long last there was perhaps now hope for the human race.

Copyright © D.W. Frydendall, All Rights reserved. 2009. Any and all copying or usage of material will result in your being beaten, whipped, and then beaten some more. Then it's plier time!

Monday, November 9, 2009


Vivian and VIctor Circle had been married a year before Vivian had gotten pregnant. They had hoped to hold it off for a couple of years, after the initial “settling in” time that newly married couples usually have. Victor worked as a coach for Highland Grove Middle School in the city of Sierra Madre, California. He was trying to get into a university or community college or something other then a middle school. He wanted to be around people his own age. Victor’s sense of humor was sharp and at times wicked. One of the traits he prided himself on was his humor. It had gotten him out of a lot of sticky situations in his life. Now, while teaching a bunch of kids in affluent Sierra Madre who’s parents were all to willing to lodge the slightest complaint about anything that their little darlings might encounter seem like the ideal job, Victor didn't think so. He didn’t like stepping around the mines of extreme good taste.

Vivian had been a pretty girl in high-school and then college. She had studied Business at college and never used it. College had been fun but ultimately she had bought the american dream of meeting Mr. Right and getting married and having children. She liked Victor when they first met because of his sense of humor. He liked her because she spoke her mind. The night they met he had said perhaps the stupidest come on line she had ever heard. It was something along the lines of “Can I check your shirt label? I want to see if you were made in heaven...” She would have laughed a guy who tried such a lame line on her out of the room, but the look in his eyes showed that he knew this line was stupid but he didn't care. He had no fear whatsoever, and that fearlessness excited her and they went out and as they said the rest is history. Now that she was pregnant, she was initially worried. But as the idea of it settled in she felt much more comfortable about her upcoming child. It seemed predestined.

The pregnancy went without any complications and the birth was easy. Vivian had been in labor for only a couple of hours and when the time finally came for the child to be brought into the world, everything was pure textbook. She had given the world a new pale child who weighed in at 10 pounds. There was an initial worry because the child didn’t cry when the doctor withdrew the baby from the womb. The doctor was nervous because this usually means that the baby’s retarded or has some kind of brain damage. But then the child opened his eyes and looked around the room with his light blue eyes and furrowed brow that strangely seemed like the child was visibly thinking “So, this is earth? Not to impressed.”

The naming of the child was the next issue. For nine months Vivian and Victor had bantered back and forth about the name of their child. Victor had always liked the Sex Pistols and Sid Vicious so as a joke he had brought up the name Vicious as a possible idea. She had laughed but he pressed on how since their names were Vivian and Victor, Vicious kinda fit, and with a name like that bullies would definitely steer clear of him. As a couple of minutes filtered by the idea seemed more and more plausible. Even though the child had not been born, the name seemed perfect.

So Vicious Circle had been brought into the world.

Vicious was a quiet kid who listened to everything that everyone around him said and seemed to take notes on everything mentally. As per quiet children, when Vicious said anything, you listened. He didn’t seem to excel at sports because he seemed bored with it. To be exact Vicious seemed bored with everything. It seemed that the idea of being a child was a necessity, something that had to be endured to what no one, not even Vicious knew.

The years went by and Vicious maintained a good grade point average and continued to grow into a tallish, skinny kid. His hair was pale blond, bordering on white and his eyes stayed light blue with a tint of grey. Vicious also seemed to not have time for friends or company of kids his age. He never brought anyone over and was never invited to birthday parties. Vivian would have been angry if Vicious cared either which way, but he didn’t seem to at care at all, so neither did she. Vicious never mentioned the kids at school to his parents. No school yard buddies, no girls he liked, no pushy bullies stealing milk money... no one. One day Vivian dropped Vicious off at school and instead of driving off sat in the car and watched his interactions with his fellow students. She watched as Vicious walked in a straight line right through the throngs of school children milling about talking and carousing. Vicious seemed like a ghost, no one noticed him walk through without raising the awareness of any of the kids. It was as if he didn’t even exist to the other children. Vivian felt a cold finger of trepidation start to scratch across her psyche.

Although Vicious was a strange kid, Vivian and Victor couldn’t have loved him more. Vicious didn’t show affection comfortably and he kept to himself almost to the point of being a hermit, but Vivian and Victor felt their chests swell with pride when they thought of their odd little boy. They knew their son marched to a different drummer but it never mattered to them... ever.

The years flew past and Vicious seemed to show more and more impatience with just being young. He seemed like an old man, an ancient man, in a young child's body. His pale blue eyes looked at the world with cold steel seriousness that could at times be more then a little disturbing. Sometimes when Vivian and Victor would bicker or fight, Vicious would appear in the doorway without a sound and flash them a look like that of a patient grandparent, who’s patience was running out. It was an odd thing to be reprimanded by your own 10 year old child without a word.

One day Victor decided to breach their quiet understanding and ask Vicious about himself, trying to see what made him tick. Victor walked into his sons room. The room was sparse with a desk, dresser and a bed. There were no pictures on the wall and no clothes on the floor. It reminded Victor of a hotel room.

“So... how was your day Vicious? Did you have a good day at school?” Victor asked his son. “Anything cool happen?” Victor realized that he was going to not go for any humor. Humor never worked with Vicious.

Vicious slowly turned his head and locked eyes with his father. “Dad... I’m in grade school. Nothing cool ever happens. It’s just another day.” Vicious dryly replied.

Victor studied his son’s face and couldn’t go past his steady stare. He finally said “Vicious, doesn’t anything make you happy? It makes me sad to see you so miserable.” His tone was that of trying to make someone understand a notion and not whine about it. All of Victors humorous lines were on vacation in his head... nowhere to be found.

Vicious broke eye contact and looked off into what seemed the future and finally told his father “It’s like this Dad... you know when you were in college and you just couldn’t wait to graduate? How it seemed like life was just on the other side of the street but you just couldn’t seem to get there quick enough? How everything would get under your skin and make you antsy? That’s how I feel a lot of the time.” Vicious stopped when he saw the look of quiet discomfort on his fathers face.

“ I don’t have an answer Dad. I’m sorry if I worry you. But I know that soon... It will be all done. Everything always works out... you’ll see...” Vicious said with a forced smile.

Victor never asked his son about his day again.


Life went on. Two years later Victor finally got the college sports job he had wanted all along and Vivian and Victor were happy. Where normal thirteen year olds are starting to think about girls and friends and such things, Vicious was still quietly restless with his life. He had grown into being a tall, thin kid with sharp features. He didn’t wear the kind of clothes that the other kids liked. His mother would take him out to Macy’s by their house and try and like any mom would try buy him the clothes that she had seen or heard about on TV. Instead, she would show Vicious a shirt with a screen printed surfer on it. Vicious would look at the shirt, and then look at her not even trying to feign false interest and walk into the men’s wear department. Vivian followed Vicious and found him in the young adults section. He had found a black dress shirt and and held it at arms length, looking it up and down. He turned to his mother and handed her the shirt. Twenty minutes later Vivian and Vicious walked out of the store with three of the matching shirts, a pair of black dress shoes, and a couple of pairs of slacks. One black and one charcoal black.

One day it all changed.

It was a Sunday when there was a ring at the door. Victor went to the door and opened it. Standing at apt attention was a thin delivery man. He wasn’t from UPS or Fed Ex. He wore a blue delivery outfit and hat like something out of a fifty’s era television show. In his hands he held a package wrapped with brown paper and tied together with twine. Before Victor could ask the delivery man anything, the man said quickly, cutting Victor off. “Package delivery for Vicious”. Victor was taken aback. Something in his consciousness made him look over his shoulder. Vicious stood there, as if he was waiting for this. Victor stared at his son as his memory unreeled back over the last thirteen years. Pieces fell together as a larger picture came together in his mind. “That’s me.” Vicious said and walked forward and took the package.

“Can you sign this?” The man asked as he pulled out a pen and handed it to the gangly thirteen year old. Vicious scribbled his name on a line and took the package from the man. The delivery man tipped his hat and turned on the balls of his feet and walked away down the driveway. A bland white van awaited him that he entered and off he drove.

As his son held the package Victor studied it. There were no addresses on the package. No sender, no receivers address, no name, no postage... nothing. Just a plain brown package.

A brief, almost imperceptible ripple of joy went through Vicious as he walked to the dinner table in the kitchen and put the package down. A larger picture continued to assemble itself in Victors mind as Vicious pulled on the twine as the tie gave away. The package opened up as both men leaned forward and looked inside.

Inside was a automatic handgun.

Victor’s head hurt as an image of a bigger picture blossomed in his head. His mind was numb with an imperceptible, vague uneasiness that he couldn’t put his finger on. Vicious reached inside the package and withdrew the gun. Victor turned and looked at his son who held the gun up. When he saw his son’s face his uneasiness grew exponentially.

For the first time in a long time, perhaps forever... a smile creaked across Vicious Circle’s long, pale face.


Vicious seemed to become animated and alive after he had received the mysterious package. His parents were worried about this gun that their son had been given from... well... someone. Who would send a thirteen year old kid a gun? The idea of it was too absurd. Victor had asked Vicious to see the gun and Vicious handed him the gun proudly. There were no words engraved on the gun and no caliber size. The gun was light yet it was a dull polished metal. It had the heft of a real gun that was empty. He looked for a cartridge or magazine of something. Nothing. There was no safety.

Victor handed the gun back to his son. He took it and held it with barely concealed joy in his eyes. Victor again thought about the big picture that was too vague and large to see in it’s entirety, and realized now his son was now both more and less human simultaneously with this macabre present. As Vicious held the gun Victor realized with a strange fatherly pride that the gun seemed to complete his son... and it looked awfully at home at the end of his arm.

Victor and Vivian never spoke openly about the gun. It seemed like whenever they would start, something inexplicable would happen. Or their trains of thought would seem to derail and their minds would go blank and slip into another topic of conversation. One thing they were sure of was that their son was finally happy and alive for the first time in his life and that was fine with them. They felt oddly safe that their son had adopted a gun as his first and only friend.

Vicious’s teacher Mr. Philo though was not hindered by such warm thoughts. Mr. Philo was a tall and lanky man with dark hair and features. He had curly hair and a black mustache on his thin face. His eyes were thin and slanted nestled over his hooked nose. Vicious was pulling out his exercise book in english class and Mr. Philo with an ever watchful eye saw the gun hidden in the bottom of his bag. He snatched the bag away from Vicious and pulled the gun out. “What the hell is this!?! Why the hell would you bring a gun to school! Come with me RIGHT NOW!” Even though Mr. Philo was a wiry man, he grabbed Vicious by the arm with incredible strength and brusquely and pulled him out of the classroom, down the hallway to Principle Ledger’s office. Vicious was dropped roughly into the “hot seat”...the chair that you would sit in to get chastised by Principle Ledger. Ledger was a man in his mid forties who had the grey crown of of hair and ponch of fat that marked a man who had made administrative work his careers ambition. The Principle sat there looking at some documents and looked up from under his glasses. Only his eyes moved to focus on Vicious, his head made no movement.

“So... what’s going on here?” asked the Principle as he placed the papers down with a mirthless smile. It was obvious that this exact situation had put the screws to hundreds of kids over the last decade and a half of his job, but for some reason though this Circle kid seemed unfazed. Actually, Principle Ledger was the one who was more then a little unnerved in this instance. Vicious’s cold stare seemed to just bore into the Principles face.

“Mr. Circle here brought a this to school.” volunteered Mr. Philo as he dropped the gun on the Principles desk with a metallic clang. He proceeded to cross his arms and stare at Vicious, waiting for the axe to ultimately fall on the kids neck. A stern look etched across Mr. Philo’s face.

“Hmmm... so, how do you explain this, Mr. Circle?” asked Principle Ledger who’s interest was now piqued. “Seems something like this is better left at... ah...home?”

“No, I keep it with me at all times. It belongs to me and it has to always be with me. That’s just the way it is.” said Vicious. Mr. Philo’s jaw dropped.

“No, it doesn't work that way! How dare you say that! First you’re going to apologize to Mr. Ledger and then we’re going to expel you and maybe press charges!”

Vicious sighed quietly and looked at the angry teacher. “I’m not going to apologize. I haven’t done anything wrong and I think that Mr. Ledger would agree with me.” Once again Mr. Philo’s jaw dropped. He looked at the Principle to see if he was as outraged as he was.

Principle Ledger looked at Vicious and smiled. This is it. Mr. Philo thought, the kids about to get the book thrown at him. “I have to say...” Principle Ledger said clasping his hands together. “That you’re right, Vicious.”

“WHAT!?!” Mr. Philo yelled in shock. “How can you say that, Bob! What the hell’s wrong with you!?!”

“Pete, Pete...” Principle Ledger said calmly, “It’s obvious it’s not a real gun. Look at it. It looks like it’s made out of tin or something. And I would ask you not to raise your voice to me in front of a student like that. It’s not professional...”

Steam and sparks seemed to erupt out of the teachers ears. “Buh...buh...” was all Mr. Philo could stammer out. Principle Ledger took a finger and pushed the gun across the desk towards Vicious. “Here you go son. Just keep it on the down low and we won’t have any problems...OK?”

“Yes sir.” Said Vicious as he put the gun back into his bag and closed to opening. “Can I leave now?” Vicious asked as he stood up.

“Yes, get back to class. Pete, will you stay here for a minute? I’d like to talk to you.” Principle Ledger gestured towards the “hot seat”. As Vicious closed the door behind him, the last thing he saw was the look of shock and worry on Mr. Philo’s face as the door closed shut.

Principle Ledger was a good man. Besides his demeanor that would intimidate any child under the age of thirteen, he was just and fair and would give you the shirt off of his back. He had been married for twenty years to his high-school sweetheart and had two children. Everyone who knew him would say that he was a just man with, deep down, a good heart. Mr. Philo on the other hand was a pushy, arrogant man. If you had asked anyone in the faculty about Mr. Philo they would had said that something about him rubbed them slightly the wrong way. A couple of years later, when Mr. Philo was arrested for several counts of sexual abuse with past students, no one was incredibly surprised.


Vicious was getting older and seemed to finally be settling into his skin. He excelled at school and stayed out of trouble.

One night a couple of days after Vicious’s sixteenth birthday, the childhood that Vicious had been grudgingly waiting to come to an end did just that. He left the house and said good bye to his parents, who were going out for the evening. He was walking to the neighborhood seven-eleven for a chocolate bar when a feeling in the pit of his stomach made him stop. He could feel the cool breeze whisper onto his neck. It was a feeling he had never experienced before. He cautiously started walking again as the feeling became more substantial. He stopped and looked down at his bag for what seemed like an eternity. He slid open the pack that he was carrying and withdrew the gun. It seemed a little heavier then usual. The night seemed to shimmer preternaturally as he walked forward to meet his destiny. He placed the gun in his pants under the belt. He dropped the package where he walked, not noticing it.

As the seven-eleven came into view from around the corner of the street, Vicious felt a magnetic draw to the front doors. Inside he saw a familiar man standing behind the counter. He was a Palestinian man named Henry who was pleasant enough to Vicious. He would always say hello with a smile as you entered and would say good bye with the same smile as you left.

As Vicious entered the only noise he was greeted with was the ding-dong of the door sensor. Henry looked at Vicious with a quiet stare. Vicious nodded as walked past a man reading a magazine and grabbed a Thousand Grand candy bar and put it on the counter.

“That’s a buck.” said Henry who was staring at Vicious with a slight spakle of perspiration on his upper lip. Vicious put the dollar bill on the counter and turned around and headed for the door. As he opened the door to leave he looked over his shoulder at Henry and nodded. Henry looked back with no visible reaction.

Vicious stood in the dark of an adjacent tree in the parking lot. He reached down and grabbed the gun, withdrew it, and slightly juggled it, feeling the guns weight in his hand. He looked at it and took a deep breath and closed his eyes. His heart was hammering, more and more... and then he opened his eyes. His heart was beating a normal pace once again. The gun had gotten to be heavier in his grip. His eyes went towards the 7-11’s door.

The man reading the magazine dropped it and held a .22 pistol with tape on the grip. There was no sound through the glass but the intent was clear. The man raised the gun and silently yelled at Henry, who held his hands up, blanching.

The door dinged.

Vicious stood there in the door way, the gun swaying too and fro at his waist slowly. By all accounts he should have been scared, terrified even. But he felt like Sunday morning, like when you walk through the park on a summer night and smell the jasmine. He had to stop himself from whistling “High Hopes”.

“You again!” the gun-man said. “I let you go be...” He saw the gun. His eyes reflected shocking horror. But when his eyes darted back to Vicious’s face his blood went ice cold and all color left his face. Vicious noticed this as he felt his underbrow stare and thin grin grow darker. The gun-man ran and grabbed Henry and put the gun to his temple. He was shaking.

“I’ll kill him if you don’t leave now! I’m warning you!”

Vicious raised his gun arm smoothly. It raised as if powerful magnets pulled it upwards. The gun seemed hungry. He smiled and said nothing.

The gun-man snuck behind Henry with only his gun hand visible. Henry gulped and his breathing was heavy. He closed his eyes and prayed.

Vicious fired right into the center mass of Henry.

The gun-man seemed to explode back as if a grenade had gone off in his guts. He flew back 10 feet into the slurpy machine and slid down. He was dead before he hit the floor.

Henry opened his eyes. He looked at his chest then at Vicious. Vicious said nothing and didn’t react at all. he lowered the gun and put it back in his pants. He turned around and left. Henry looked at his shirt and felt himself all over and then looked back, just as shock was peeking around his vision. He called the police right away but when they took his statement he failed to mention who had killed the gun-man, saying it was his friends because it was a botched stick up. He stuck to that story.

On the way home a breeze passed over Vicious. He stopped and felt... sad... for a moment. He had taken a big step through an even bigger door. When he got home there was a call from the police. Not for what had happened at 7-11, but for the car-wreck that had happened involving his parents. They both died on impact.

He put the phone down. He looked at the gun in his pants and felt nothing... only that everything is where it should be and should always have been. Somethings can’t be tied down with nostalgia, emotional feelings... or even maternal love.

They just need to be.

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.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


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.

“Mr. Baine.”

“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 niƱa.”. 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.