Category Archives: Edward Vaughn

Piggies

You’ve seen it in the movies a hundred times. A guy gets his toe cut off by some serious gangster types, they ask about some missing money, the guy doesn’t squeal, so they take another toe. He screams and screams until finally he gives up the location of the money, the girl or what the fuck ever.
+++++Well, that’s where we’re at with Teddy. The little piggy that stayed home. Unfortunately, he still won’t give up the info of where my property is located.
+++++Mitch has the grass clippers pressed against his toe. Blood everywhere, pooling on the plastic underneath him on the floor from the ones we’ve already lopped off. Teddy’s crying and screaming.
+++++“Where is the bag, Teddy?” I ask.
+++++“I don’t know.” He’s sobbing and moaning. Music to my ears.
+++++“Where is it? It’s a black gym bag with a swoosh on the side. I know you know where it’s at.”
+++++“I swear, please. I have a wife and kids, man, please.”
+++++I wipe my hair out of my face and nod toward Mitch. He squeezes the clippers and Teddy’s toe pops off like a champagne cork.
+++++Teddy screams. Obviously.
+++++“Come on, Teddy,” I yell into his red, tear-stained face. “You don’t want to end up like Nikolai No-Toes, do ya?”
+++++“Okay, okay.”
+++++“Where?” I say into his ear.
+++++“I don’t know where it’s at, I swear. But I know where it’ll be dropped off. I’m supposed to pick it up.”
+++++I point to the kitchen and tell Mitch, “Get something to stop the bleeding.”
+++++Teddy sobs. “Fuck… oh fuck.”
+++++Mitch comes back with some towels and duct tape to stop the bleeding.
+++++I bend over and lean on my knees, looking Teddy in the eyes. “Last time, Ted.”
+++++“It’s going to be dropped off… fuck… at the Motel 6 at seven thirty… fuck… get me to a hospital, please.”
+++++“Good, man. As a thank you I’ll even put your toes on ice for you.” I lean in close and grab a handful of his curly hair. “But, if you’re lying to me, so help me god, I will find you and your family and cut off every one of their feet.”
+++++“It’ll be there I swear.”

***

So, I’ve been staring at this motel door like I’m in love, and want to stick my dick in the keyhole and make it yell my name, for the past hour without anybody coming or going. Sitting in Mitch’s car listening to him eat hasn’t been the most fun experience I’ve had lately. See, me and my partner have been together since high school. And when I say together I don’t mean it the way you’re thinking. It’s not like we snuggle up together at night and whisper sweet nothings into each other’s ears. I mean we eat pussy for fuck’s sake. How do I know if he eats pussy you might ask? Because we’ve double teamed chicks on more than one occasion, that’s why.Anyway, we’ve been friends for a long fucking time and I like the guy, but he ain’t the most talkative person I’ve ever met. The boredom is killing me
+++++Finally, a guy pulls up in a nice brand new Cadillac, gets out with my black gym bag and walks over to my new girlfriend the door. He raps his knuckles on the door and somebody lets him in.
+++++I open my car door and turn to Mitch. “Stay here. If I ain’t out in twenty minutes come and get me.”
+++++Mitch swallows a chunk of the cheeseburger he’s devouring like a starving African kid and says, “Sure.”
+++++I walk straight up to the motel door. The blinds in the window next to the door split a little. I give the peeper my best tough guy open-the-fucking-door face and point at the knob. It cracks open and I let myself in.
+++++Inside, there’s a guy leaning on a wooden cane, the guy I saw with my bag, plus two big fuckers sitting at a table playing cards. The one with the cane says, “Well, well, Brad the Butcher. Privetstvuyumoyegodruga. Come, come, have a seat.”
+++++“Nikolai.” The door closes behind me and the two gorillas eclipse the light from the window behind me. I look back at the man leaning on the cane that just spoke to me in Russian.I notice my bag lying next to his feet. Pointing to it I say, “That’s mine.”
+++++“Oh, this?” Nikolai says tapping the bag with his cane.“No, no, I don’t think so.”
+++++“Nikolai, that’s my bag. I want it back.”
+++++Nikolai examines his fingernails like they’re too long and dirty. “You may not have it. It is mine now. As…payment, for what you have done to me.” He taps his foot with his cane.
+++++I jab my finger at his stony, wrinkled face. “I want my bag you Russian piece of shit and I ain’t fucking leaving here without it.”
+++++“Brad the Butcher,” he says emphasizing the vowels like he just learned English.“You do not scare me. Skhvatityego.”
+++++The two monsters behind me grab an arm each and lift me off my feet. They slam me face first onto the bed.My first thought is Teddy fucking set me up. He knew the bag was coming here and he knew Nikolai No-Toes would be receiving it. I’ll get that little bastard for this. I should have cut off his whole damn legs.
+++++One of the big galoots has his elbow jammed into the back of my neck. I can barely get my words out to say, “What the hell, Nikolai.”
+++++“Have you heard the saying, an eye for an eye?” His bodyguards strip my shoes and pants. I can’t move an inch under their bulk. The guy that brought my bag to this room steps away from the corner he’s been standing in and opens my bag. He pulls out the small hacksaw I use on people that especially piss me off.
+++++Nickolai says, “How about toes for toes?”
+++++The guy comes over to me as I struggle under these damn apes. He can’t be more than five-five and one fifty. But, it doesn’t matter because he’s pulling on latex gloves and has a dead stare like he’s done this sort of thing before. He goes to work on me, no anesthesia, just a leather belt shoved in my mouth by one of the gorillas. The pain is un-fucking-believable, let me tell you. He gets through one whole foot before Mitch comes bursting through the door, guns blazing. He takes out the surgeon and gorillas without retaliation.
+++++He sees my foot spitting blood and quickly takes the belt from my mouth and tightens it around my leg to stop the bleeding. I roll to my back moaning and groaning- I swear to god I’m not crying- as Mitch reloads his weapon and points it at Nikolai. He says, “What the fuck is going on here?”
+++++“Nothing. Your friend wanted something that belonged to me. I would not let him have it.”
+++++I reach out across the bed and point at Nikolai, sweat (not tears) pouring from my face. “Kill that fucker. It’s Nikolai… Nikolai No-Toes.”
+++++“Let’s not be hasty, moy drug.” He raises his hands as if in surrender, the pussy. “We can talk-”
+++++Mitch put two in his chest and one in his forehead. He grabbed my bag of goodies, got me up and out of there in a flash, rushing me back to the car, hopping on one leg.
+++++In the car Mitch asked, “What hospital?”
+++++“No hospital.”
+++++“Are you fucking serious?”
+++++I groan and ask him a question right back, “Do you want to go to jail dumbass?”
+++++“What then, asshole?”
+++++“Remember the guy,” I was starting to fade out. “Remember the guy that stitched you up after that heist a few years ago?”
+++++“Yeah.”
+++++“Yeah, go there.”
+++++Mitch pushes the gas pedal into the floorboard as I black out from the pain.

***

Now, Mitch is pushing me in this god forsaken wheelchair like he’s fucking Dale Jr. We’re walking down the sidewalk, hitting every damn crack in the pavement.
+++++“Will you slow the fuck down? Jesus.”
+++++“Sorry, boss.”
+++++“My fucking feelings are getting jarred right out of my teeth for fucks sake.”
+++++I mean, I appreciate him showing up before I lost more than my toes and making bloody swiss cheese out of those damn Russians, but still. We find the apartment I’m searching for so Mitch wheels me up to the door and I knock. After another knock, a woman, mid-thirty’s maybe, opens the door.
+++++“Can I help you?” she asks.
+++++“Mrs. Hobbs. Is Teddy home?”
+++++“Um, no. He’s out at the moment.” A little girl, maybe four, peeks out from behind her mother’s legs. “But, he’ll be back soon,” the lady says.
+++++I adjust the black gym bag on my blanket covered legs and Mitch lights a smoke.
+++++“That’s okay, Mrs. Hobbs. You’re the one I wanted to talk to anyway.”
+++++“Me? Why me?”
+++++“I just want to ask you a few questions.”
+++++Mitch walks around me and shoves Teddy’s wife into her apartment. I look around the complex and wheel myself inside, shutting the door behind me.

The Motel

Charlie Green pulled into the motel parking lot, cut the engine to his
Crown Vic and waited for his wife’s lover to arrive. He leaned back in
his seat and pulled out a half eaten double cheeseburger from a
wrinkled bag and ate. The trailblazer that his wife drove sat in the
parking lot beneath room 6B just a few spaces down and across from
where he waited. Ten minutes later a Ford F-150 pulled into the motel
and parked in the space next to the trailblazer. A man with shaggy
dark hair, white cut-off sleeve shirt and denim jeans got out and
walked up to room 6B on the second level.
+++++Charlie waited five more minutes, enjoying a cigarette. He finished
and flicked the butt out of the open window. Wiping the crumbs of his
lunch from his black t-shirt he got out of the car and headed for 6B.
He walked up the metal steps to the second level and pulled out a
fresh pack of Camels he bought on the way to the motel. He threw the
plastic wrap on the ground and packed them against the palm of his
hand. Ten times, every time. He had OCD about it. He had OCD about a
lot of things. He pulled out a cancer stick, lit it and rapped his
knuckles against the door. A woman wearing a tight wife beater, jeans
and a shocked expression opened the door.
+++++“Charlie,” she said.
+++++“Hello, Mandy.”
+++++“What are you doing here?”
+++++“You going to let me in?”
+++++She turned without a word and let the door creak all the way open.
Charlie entered the room, cigarette dangling from his lips. The man
from the F-150 lay on the single bed, shirtless, drinking a beer.
Charlie recognized him from an office Christmas party picture of
Mandy’s. He had been dressed in an elf costume with his arm draped
around her and another girl. An I’m-fucking-your-wife smile spread
across his bearded face.
+++++“Who the hell is this?” the man said getting to his feet.
+++++“This is my husband. Charlie,” said Mandy.
+++++Charlie took a drag from his cigarette. The ember glowed only half as
bright as the fire of anger in his eyes. Flicking ash he exhaled a
plume of smoke in the other man’s face.
+++++“What the fuck is he doing here?” he said standing eye to eye with
Charlie. Reaching behind his back Charlie pulled his 9mm and slapped
the guy across the bridge of his nose with the barrel. The man grabbed
his face as blood squirted between his fingers.
+++++“Ah, fuck.” The man cupped his nose with his hands and fell to his knees.
+++++“Shut up. I need to talk to my wife,” Charlie said.
+++++“Charlie,” said Mandy. “What are you doing?”
+++++The Other Man lay on the floor groaning and spitting blood. “You broke
my fugging nose, asshole.”
+++++Trying to maintain his cool Charlie grabbed him by the hair and shoved
the Beretta into his mouth. “Shut the fuck up. I will fuck you in the
face with this. Do you understand me, you smug piece of shit?”
+++++The Other Man mumbled something inaudible, possibly yes, and then
Charlie shoved him onto the bed.
+++++“You’re crazy, Charlie. Just go home,” Mandy said and retreated into
the bathroom, slamming the door behind her.
+++++“Not without you,” Charlie shouted through the door. “We have some
things to talk about.”
+++++She opened the door and stuck her head through the crack, tears
bubbling in her eyes. “It’s too late to talk. Just leave me alone.”
+++++He replaced the gun and slid his fingers over his buzz cut head.
Confusion, anger and heartbreak writhed over and under in his gut like
a school of hungry koi. He put out his cigarette, quickly fired up
another and looked around the room. The Other Man was gone. Must have
had enough of the married life for one day.
+++++“Mandy, please come out so we can talk like adults here.”
+++++“Just go home. What are you even doing here? Spying on me?”
+++++He didn’t respond because the answer was obvious. Charlie paced the
room instead, smoking and listening to his wife’s sobs coming from the
bathroom.
+++++Minutes later, Mandy opened the door and came out like a groundhog
scared of its shadow. Her eyes were red from crying. “I don’t know
what happened to us. Ever since she died you haven’t been the same.”
She looked up into his eyes. “She was my daughter too, Charlie.”
+++++Charlie didn’t say anything. He hung his head and inhaled smoke. He
didn’t want to think about the accident. It had to be more than that.
Sure, he had been a little withdrawn lately. As a private investigator
he had a lot of people to check on and follow up with. Mandy was a
nurse, working long hours. Amy had been gone a year. He took another
drag and let the smoke leak between his lips. It swirled around his
head like little phantoms.
+++++“So, that’s why you’re fucking a co-worker, because Amy is gone? What
kind of shit is that?”
+++++“No, I’m not.” Mandy ran her fingers through her long hair and
groaned. “I’m not sleeping with him.”
+++++Charlie stepped toward her, causing her to take a step back. An inch
from her face he said, “Then what was this? He’s sitting in a motel
room with you, his shirt off and his dick trying to break out of his
pants.”
+++++“Okay. I admit I planned to sleep with him today. But we never have before.”
+++++“You’ve never slept with the guy before?”
+++++“Never,” she said.
+++++The rage cooled a few degrees and he stepped away from her to try and
think. She sat down on the edge of the bed. She said, “Since she’s
been gone you’ve been so distant. You’ve been working extra hours,
coming home so late. I feel like I don’t even know you anymore.” Tears
streamed down her face and dripped from the edge of her jaw. “I was
lonely.”
+++++Charlie stamped out his cigarette in an ashtray on the dresser. “I
didn’t leave that gate open. It wasn’t my fault.”
+++++“I know, Charlie. It was an accident. It wasn’t anyone’s fault,” Mandy
said. Her voice caught in her throat. “She just fell in.”
+++++He leaned against the dresser and lowered his head, fighting back
tears. “We should have built a fence around that pool.”
+++++“She’s not the only one I lost that day, you know.” Mandy lightly
touched his face.
+++++She burst into tears again and Charlie wrapped his arms around her.
The pain of their loss bringing them close as the memory of their lost
daughter hovered over them, a dark fog of misery and regret.
+++++They embraced each other at the edge of the bed in silence. Minutes
passed as they slowly regained their composure.
+++++“I’m sorry.” Mandy said.
+++++Charlie remained quiet in his cloud of despair.
+++++Mandy said, “I shouldn’t have done this.”
+++++“No, you shouldn’t have.” He stood up. “But, you’re right. We have
grown apart. Things haven’t been very good between us.”
+++++Mandy lay back onto the bed with a loud sigh. “Let’s just go home and
forget this ever happened. We can work on some things. Get close
again.”
+++++Charlie wondered how he could ever forget that his wife was trying to
have an affair with a man she worked with every day. Before he could
speak the devil appeared.
+++++Now wearing a shirt and a bandage across his nose The Other Man walked
through the open door and said, “That’s him. That’s the fucker that
broke my nose.”
+++++Another man the size of a Volkswagen Beetle squeezed into the room
behind him. Charlie noticed they both had guns stuffed into their
waistbands. Without a word The Volkswagen lumbered toward Charlie.
Charlie reached for his gun, but before he could aim it the big man
snatched it from his grip and tossed it across the room. He hit the
guy with a right, then a left in the face, but the guy just laughed.
+++++Kicking his steel toe boot into the big man’s knee Charlie brought him
down like a fallen oak. As he fell Charlie slammed an elbow to the
man’s temple, then wrapped an arm around his throat and put him in a
choke hold.
+++++The Other Man, still standing in the doorway, pulled his .45 and
pointed it at Charlie. “You motherfucker,” he said and pulled the
trigger.
+++++The bullet sounded like a wasp buzzing past his ear. Charlie pushed
the unconscious man to the ground and stepped over him to face the
shooter. He lunged at the man and grabbed his wrist holding the gun,
slamming his other hand into the guys elbow. The gun went off again
before it fell from his grasp. Charlie rammed his elbow into the guy’s
chin. The Other Man hit the ground but didn’t go unconscious. He
kicked at Charlie’s leg knocking him to the ground.
+++++Charlie leapt onto the man with the agility of a panther. He pummeled
his knuckles into the guy’s teeth and broken nose. The man tried to
fight off the blows, but only grunted in pain as his face was bashed
to bloody pulp. Charlie kept hitting him and hitting him until finally
he stopped moving. He groaned in agony and spit a mouthful of blood
onto the floor. Charlie stood up, grabbed the .45 and turned to check
on Mandy.
+++++He immediately saw the blood splatter sliding down the wall. Mandy
splayed across the bed. There was a weeping hole in her throat. She
tried to speak but only a wet gurgle escaped. The bed soaked up her
blood. She looked at Charlie with fear in her wide eyes, trying to
breathe.
+++++“Baby”, he whispered. “Baby, no.”
+++++Charlie sat on the motel bed cradling his wife in his arms and wept as
she stopped struggling for her last breath.

Not In The Cards

I knew as soon as I knocked on the apartment door I was going to die. A young black guy, couldn’t have been older than twenty, wearing a camo jacket and baggy jeans, answered the door.
+++++“What do you want?”
+++++“Here to see T-Bone.”
+++++He turned inside the apartment.
+++++“Hey, T. Some white guy here for you.”
+++++From inside I hear,” Let’em in.”
+++++The apartment was dim and blurry with smoke. T-Bone sat at a table buried in tall cans of Natural Ice and poker chips. He was a large black man with short dreads, ink painted on his prison sculpted arms. Two men sat on either side of him about the same age as the guy who answered the door.
+++++The one on the right of T-Bone wore a blue FUBU shirt and was nursing a beer. A cigarette dangled between his lips. The other wore solid black and stared at his cards like they were a naked lady. The Door Man closed the door behind me and stood next to it, his hands in his pockets.
+++++“Full house suckers.” FUBU scooped up all of the chips in his arms. The other guy slammed his cards on the table.
+++++“Fuck.”
+++++A huge, hog of a man sat on the couch reading a magazine, television off in front of him. The cover appeared to have two men in a provocative pose. He wore a cowboy hat and had a fat cigar gripped between his teeth. His feet, clad in snakeskin, rested on the coffee table.
+++++I turn my attention to T-Bone who stared at me with cold eyes. “You got my money with you?”
+++++“Well, that’s what I’m here about see.”
+++++T-Bone laid his cards down and flicked ash from his own cigar.
+++++“You ain’t got the money you owe me?”
+++++“Now see, here’s the thing.” I scratch the back of my head even though I don’t have an itch and stare at the floor. “I was robbed. On my way here actually.”
+++++T-Bone took a puff and blew a cloud of smoke.
+++++“You mean I was robbed.”
+++++“Right, you. Anyway, these two meth heads, they jumped me. Then they snatched the bag.”
+++++Actually, I spent more than half of it on Opana and numerous other pills. The rest on god knows what. I was too high to remember. But, he didn’t need to know that. Either way I was a dead man.
+++++T-Bone leaned back in his chair, staring daggers into me. He crossed his thick arms across his chest, smoke leaking from his mouth.
+++++“You don’t look beat up.”
+++++I wrung my hands together and looked around the room, avoiding eye contact.
+++++“Yeah, they um, hit me from behind. Still got a knot on my head and my ribs are killing me.”
+++++All four men just stared at me. The Fatman kept reading his porn mag. T-Bone leaned against the table on his elbows.
+++++“Let me tell you a little secret about me. I don’t like liars and I especially don’t like people who steal from me. You want to know what happens to people who steal from me?”
+++++Beads of sweat started rolling down my face. I wiped my wet palms on my jeans.
+++++T-Bone moved his gaze to the man standing at the door. His nod was barely noticeable, but I saw it. My muscles immediately stiffened and I faced the Door Man, ready for what came next.
+++++He pulled out some sort of cord from his jacket, stepped up behind the man in the FUBU shirt and wrapped it around his neck.
+++++The man reached back grabbing at his assailant. He tried to pull at the cord around his neck to no avail. Falling backward he kicked out and hit the table sending empty beer cans flying.
+++++T-Bone calmly sat back and looked me in the eye as the man struggled for air.
+++++FUBU eventually gave in and lay limp in the chair. His eyes bulged and his tongue slid out of his mouth. The Door Man kicked his body out of the chair, then rolled him up in the rug on the floor.
+++++“This is what happens to people who steal from me. Jerome over there thought he could cut my shit and sell it for profit on the side.”
+++++I stared in shock at the rolled up carpet. The top of the guy’s head still visible.
+++++“I…I swear. Two junkies jumped me. Here feel my head.”
+++++I stand next to him baring my head.
+++++“Motherfucker, get away from me. I don’t wanna feel your fuckin’ nappy-ass head.”
+++++The other card player, the one in all black, quickly stood up and pointed a pistol at my head. I quickly stepped away from the table putting him at ease. T-Bone yelled at the Fat Man across the room, still sitting on the couch reading his magazine as if nothing just happened.
+++++“Yo, Marty.”
+++++“Yeah?”
+++++“Take this asshole and go get my mother fuckin’ money back.”
+++++“Sure thing T.”
+++++He closed his magazine and threw it on the coffee table. It took him three tries to get his fat ass off the couch. Once he did he breathed as if he just ran a marathon.
+++++“And don’t leave that faggot ass shit layin’ out, man.”
+++++Marty gave him the same look my mother gave me when I said God Damn as a kid.
+++++“What the hell did I tell you about using that word?”
+++++T-Bone threw up his hands in surrender.
+++++“My bad Marty, man.”
+++++Marty stuffed the magazine under a couch cushion and lumbered over next to me. T-Bone stood up and walked over to us, kicking empty beer cans on his way.
+++++“I didn’t think you were all sensitive and shit.”
+++++“It’s cool T. Just, you know, don’t let that shit get out.”
+++++“Alright, alright. Now take this fool and bring back my money.”
+++++Marty put a meaty hand on my back, pushing me toward the door.
+++++“Let’s go partner.”
+++++Before we could go T-Bone put a hand on each o our shoulders.
+++++“I tell you what. Before you leave, help Marty here take this carpet out to the dumpster.”
+++++I look at the carpet-wrapped corpse.
+++++“Yeah, okay. I can do that.”
+++++I picked up the end with the head poking out and Marty grabbed the other. The body had to weigh at least two hundred pounds. T-Bone put his head close to Marty’s and whispered something in his ear. Then he told The Door Man to let us out.
+++++Carrying the body out of the apartment building was slow going. At two in the morning no one was around except a group of kids drinking 40’s in the front of the next building over. Too far away to notice anything but two guys taking some carpet to the trash.
+++++We made it to the dumpster and sat the load upright. Marty gasped for air, sweat dripping off his second chin.
+++++“Go ahead and jump in there and pull this thing in while I push.”
+++++“Why don’t I just help you push it in?”
+++++“It’ll just be easier this way.”
+++++Marty opened the side door of the bin and I climbed in. The smell made me want to puke, like sweaty balls and cheese. He picked up his end of the carpet and slid it through the hole. I lost my balance and fell into something soft and wet, the carpet landing on top of me.
+++++“Damn. Hold on, I wasn’t ready.”
+++++Marty appeared at the opening, the streetlight behind him casting his face in shadow. He raised his arm and I saw the glint of light off the gun.
+++++“Sorry, partner. You knew not to come here without the money.”
+++++Before I could beg for my life the blast ended it.