A BIG APPETITEFebruary 6, 2018
Lenny knew the odds of dying in a car wreck within a lifetime were one in 113. Compare that to being killed by lightning, one in 174,426.
Yet that still didn’t prepare him for the sound of the heavy-duty pickup T-boning the black Audi with a terrific CRUNCH at the intersection of Franklin and Highland. It was enough to send shivers through Lenny.
And something else. Hope.
The eerie silence that followed reminded Lenny of that time at Davey’s, the lame hipster joint in Silver Lake. When he’d slammed Trevor Chapman’s face into the pool table over and over until the son of a bitch collapsed with a thud onto the concrete floor. Left streaks of blood and snot all over the shiny wood and green felt. The dead silence immediately afterward prompted Lenny to get the hell out. Although he knew none of those douchebags would come after him. Fucking pussies.
Exact sensation now at Franklin and Highland. As if all the energy was sucked into a vacuum. Thwiiiick! Nobody moved. Nobody breathed.
Then the vacuum whirred to life. Cars pulled to the curb. Others drove slowly around the wreckage, classic rubberneckers.
Lenny pulled over and made his way down the hill. Glass and plastic debris littered the street and sidewalk. From where he stood he could see the female driver of the Audi pitched forward like a mannequin, blonde hair fanned out over the wilted airbag. Her tanned arm now a filthy red.
Sirens in the distance. Lenny turned and trudged back up Highland, sweat pooling underneath his arms.
Odds were that Ella Simms was dead. Lenny hoped that would be enough.
You call that payback, you weak fuck? I am Revenge. I am not Sheer Luck. I am not Coincidence.
Lenny flinched at the beast’s words.
“But she’s dead. That should be enough,” he said as he climbed inside his SUV. He stared at the chaos down the hill. The metal carnage glinting in the sun like wadded-up aluminum foil.
I will not be ignored, motherfucker.
The Cape Cod-style monstrosity sat smugly at the top of the circular driveway. Lenny and his SUV sat at the bottom. He eyed the baseball bat lying across the passenger seat. A pistol next to it.
It was time to increase his odds. Lenny was tired of the house winning every time. He knew Revenge, the beast, was tired of it too.
Give me more.
Revenge was a hungry bastard.
That’s where Donald Chapman came in. And why Lenny was camped outside his Cape Cod-style mansion in Brentwood on a lovely Sunday morning.
Because Ella Simms sure as hell didn’t fill Revenge up. Watching her fly across Franklin into a light pole didn’t quite have the same satisfaction as bashing her head in with a baseball bat.
Even when he’d read online the next day that her upper torso was practically severed from her legs, Revenge insisted that was pathetic. Like feeding a starving lion a scrawny mouse.
Did she suffer excruciating pain and terror while wedged in that mangled hunk of metal?
“I don’t know,” Lenny had said, staring dully at the computer screen.
Then we have a big fucking problem.
Lenny wished the beast would leave him alone. Let him and Cecilia heal.
But you invited me to the party. Don’t you remember?
“Yeah, I remember,” Lenny said.
It happened at Davey’s. Back when the beast was just an itty bitty parasite. A virus Lenny couldn’t shake.
He’d only intended to scare the kid. Maybe permanently disfigure Trevor’s pretty boy face. But the asshole ended up dying from a bleeding brain. When he fell on the bar’s concrete floor.
Lenny wasn’t crying any tears when he found out. He wanted to kill the son of a bitch. For assaulting and raping his daughter and only getting a slap on the wrist. Thanks to the Ivy League lawyer bitch, Ella Simms. And the fat judge with the bald head. Sentencing Trevor to a pathetic hundred hours of community service. What the fuck was that?
Cecilia was seeing a therapist but it’d be a long time before she’d be able to have a healthy relationship. At least she was young, only nineteen, Dr. Feinstein reassured Lenny.
That’s weak fuckin’ sauce. Revenge’s words, not Lenny’s. Lenny wanted to believe Dr. Feinstein. Needed to latch on to hope.
But Revenge only grew more powerful. By the time, Lenny was released from California State Prison for murdering Trevor, the parasite inside him had become a roaring monster.
Feed me more fear. More pain.
Lenny tried to tell the beast that Trevor is dead. Time to move on. But he knew it was no use. Trevor’s death was a stroke of luck.
At first, Lenny promised the beast a bullet in the judge’s bulbous head. What a disappointment when Lenny got out of the joint, only to learn the lardass died of a heart attack three months earlier.
Heart disease was the number one killer. Your odds of dying of a heart attack were one in seven. So it shouldn’t have been a surprise. Especially because the judge was obese. Increased his chance of dying of heart failure by sixty percent.
But tell that to the beast. Revenge didn’t give a fuck about odds and percentages. He wasn’t like Lenny who had obsessed over death statistics since he was a kid. All the beast cared about was getting fed. So it could grow bigger. Stronger.
So next in line had been Ella Simms, Trevor’s high-powered attorney. Lenny wanted to do it right too. Not make a big show of it.
He’d followed Ella’s Audi daily to Simms & Saacke Law Group out in Century City. And to her weekly tryst at the W Hotel. With the dark-haired gentleman. The one who had her screaming, “Oh yes, right there!”
The dark-haired man always left the room first, Ella followed ten minutes later. Lenny planned to knock on the door once he saw the man leave. Near-perfect odds that she’d open it, assume her lover had forgotten something. Or wanted round two. Then Lenny would shove his way in.
Then again, Lenny thought it was near-perfect odds that she’d actually get to the W in one piece. But the beast knew how that went.
What Lenny wanted to know now was how likely a third person would slip through Revenge’s scaly little claws.
Pretty unlikely, yet Lenny wasn’t taking any chances this time. Screw plotting and planning. It was time for balls-out action. Just like at Davey’s.
Donald Chapman—the father of the scumbag rapist—was going to have his brains bashed in in the comfort of his own home. And if his wife and now-only child were there, Lenny would kill them too. That’s what the pistol was for.
Because odds were his wife and kid would be there. Probably all sitting down to a pancake breakfast.
Lenny climbed out of the SUV, shoved the pistol down the back of his jeans, and grabbed the baseball bat. He walked up to the front door and rang the bell.
It’s feeding time. Hallefuckinglujah.by
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Sarah M. Chen has published numerous short stories with Shotgun Honey, Out of the Gutter, Spelk, Crime Factory, Dead Guns Press, and Gutter Books, to name a few. her noir novella Cleaning Up Finn was released in 2016 with All Due Respect Books. It was shortlisted for an Anthony and an IPPY award winner.