All posts by Jon Park

Jon Park is in his fifties and lives in Gateshead in the North East of England. He took up writing seriously about a year ago and has been encouraged by his daughters to keep trying. His first piece of flash fiction is due to appear in issue 67 of Yellow Mama.

FADE AWAY

Vinnie could not believe that the frail figure lying in bed at the Woodrow Nursing facility was that of Frankie Malloy. Or as Vinnie knew him, Frankie the Razor. Frankie had once been the most efficient, and most feared killing machine that the Family had ever had at its disposal.

+++++Now, he lay here, at the grand old age of eighty-four, his once sharp mind and body, were succumbing to the final stages of Alzheimer’s. His life, thoughts, and memories were fading, like leaves in the wind.

+++++All that was visible of Frankie was his head poking above the pristine bed sheets that appeared to be holding him in place. The skin on his skull looked pulled tight, so it was almost translucent. Through parched lips, Vinnie could hear him sucking in oxygen.

+++++Vinnie busied himself, screwing the silencer to the end of his gun. The Family had given the order. Frankie had to be silenced. They feared that as he slipped from existence, he may divulge some information that could somehow implicate them. A risk they were not prepared to take. They wanted Frankie’s secrets burying with him. Quite literally.

+++++It was a mercy killing, that’s how Vinnie justified it. Like putting an old dog out of its misery. Sure he had known of Frankie. Anyone in this line of business knew of his reputation. Especially his weapon of choice, the cut-throat razor. Silent and efficient. That was Frankie’s style. The man was a legend, and it pained Vinnie to see him like this. He was sure he would understand. After all, it was only business.

+++++Vinnie moved closer to the bed, careful to avoid the bag of piss that hung over its edge. The nurse on night duty had explained that it was unlikely Frankie would even know he was there in the room. The Alzheimers was slowly shutting down his body. It was only the body’s survival instincts that were keeping him alive. Eventually, they too would close down. Something the Family was not willing to wait for.

+++++Vinnie looked down into Frankie’s eyes, seeking some sign, some recognition. Nothing, just two lifeless pools that remained fixed to the ceiling above, devoid of life. Vinnie leaned in to whisper in Frankie’s ear, compelled to say something.

+++++“Listen, Frankie, if you’re in their buddy, this is nothing personal. Just business.”

+++++Before Vinnie could bring the gun up, he felt the cold, sharp edge of the razor, pressing into his neck, already beginning to draw blood. He looked down into those two dark pools and prayed. How much of Frankie the Razor was still in there. He was about to find out.

DO YOU HAVE THE BOTTLE?

Sarah made her way along the wine racks that lined the walls of the cellar, running her fingers across the array of protruding bottles. She would occasionally stop, pressing the base of the bottle firmly, lifting it from its resting place, checking the thickness of the glass. She didn’t care if it was a Chardonnay or a Sauvignon Blanc, all that mattered to her was the thickness of the bottles base and how it felt when she held it in her hands.

+++++Through the open door above, which led to the kitchen, she heard her boss, Colin, calling. “Come on, Sarah. Grab a bottle and get back up here. A full body red will do.” Even his voice repulsed her.

+++++Selecting a bottle, she made her way back between the racks to the bottom of the steps that led up to the kitchen. As she climbed, she could already feel the temperature in the cellar, automatically adjusting itself.

+++++“Optimum temperature to store wine is between eight and fourteen degrees,” Sarah recalled Colin bragging as she sipped the wine he had offered her on her first visit. The next thing she remembered, was waking up naked in his bed, bruised and sore. That had been a week ago and now the office had sent her around again with more “urgent” paperwork, requiring Colin’s signature.

+++++Sarah stepped into the kitchen where Colin stood waiting, a grotesque grin on his sweaty face.

+++++“Ah, there you are. I thought you’d got lost down there. Now, come on, let me grab a couple of glasses and we can make ourselves more comfortable in the Den.”

+++++As Colin turned to pick up the glasses from the bench, Sarah swung the bottle. It connected with the back of his head with a satisfying, “THUNK”. Colin crashed to the floor, a handful of blue pills falling from his open hand. Blood was already beginning to spread across the back of his silk pyjamas.

+++++Sarah casually brushed fragments of bone and scalp from the bottle, opened it and took a deep drink, safe in the knowledge that this time it didn’t contain Rohypnol. Because this time, Sarah wanted to remember everything. Slowly, she began to remove Colin’s pyjamas.