Tag Archives: Revenge

Wrath of the Lamb

Joshua Schafer knew the corridor well. Since the state had re-established capital punishment, he as death row chaplain had ministered to twenty inmates, and there were three more executions slated for later in the year. With luck, he wouldn’t be here for those. He’d done the paperwork for an unpaid leave of absence hours before, and there was no reason to think he’d be denied. He’d read the newspaper that morning and was certain he’d made the right decision. The headline had assaulted him. He knew that when a man of the cloth feels hatred and revenge in his heart, it’s time to step back. And not only step back but reconsider whether he was prepared to go on—with everything.

+++++The corridor looked the same as last time, smelled the same, sounded the same. Light, shadows, echoes, the inelastic ambiance of fear: all the same, except for one thing. The young prison guard kept glancing back at him as they walked down the hallway to unit 05, where an inmate had been transferred to the death house just yesterday. At first, it was only a slight sideways look and Schafer thought nothing of it. But then it happened two, three more times and Schafer touched his clerical collar wondering if something was out of order.

+++++They stopped at 05, and the guard hesitated.

+++++“What is it guard?”

+++++Again the look, this time more of a stare, making Schafer even more uncomfortable.

+++++“I get the feeling there’s something about me that’s bothering you,” said Schafer.

+++++“I’m just amazed, sir,” said the guard, a shadow of embarrassment passing over his face.

+++++Did the kid even shave yet? thought Schafer.

+++++“You look astoundingly like Cullen,” said the guard.

+++++Schafer had seen the photographs, flipped through the file. Yes, he’d noticed a resemblance in the sandy-colored hair, high cheekbones, over-large ears, and a nose that was long and narrow and a bit crooked from a straight-on angle. But it hadn’t concerned him, and what could you tell from a photo anyway?

+++++“Hmm,” said Schafer, as he looked away. “I think we should get on with this.”

+++++“Sorry, but it’s hard to ignore,” the guard said. “You’d think you were the man himself. What’s that word people use? Uncanny? That’s it, uncanny.”

+++++Schafer felt heat rise from his chest and neck. He took a long breath. “Look, I haven’t got a lot of time, and quite frankly it’s been a rough morning for me. Daunting, to tell the truth. I’d like to move this along as quickly as possible.”



+++++Joe Bob Cullen looked directly at the chaplain as to the two men shook hands. For a moment Schafer had the sensation he was staring into his own slate-blue eyes. They sat facing each other at a metal table inside a small meeting room a few paces from Cullen’s open cell. The room was without a door and separated from the rest of the unit by a cinder block wall painted white. There were three guards, but they couldn’t be seen from where the two men sat. Cullen wore the usual death row inmate’s uniform, a white jumpsuit with DR printed in black on the back.

+++++“I’m sure you’re aware that on the day before an execution the inmate has a chance to meet a chaplain. The new rules allow us ten minutes in a semi-private setting. I’m here to introduce myself, and to say I’ll be there for the procedure unless of course, you would prefer me not to be. We can also have one more visit before the execution tomorrow.”

+++++“Fine by me,” said Cullen. “Whatever the rules and regulations say.” He laughed.


+++++“I’m glad I’m dying in a more liberal state where they treat us guys like human beings.”

+++++Schafer nodded and studied the file he’d brought with him. He noted that Cullen was born two days after him, in 1977. He looked up. “I can pray with you as well, offer communion, answer any questions you might have. And I can…”

+++++Schafer stared at Cullen’s face, impassive as granite. Photographs did little justice to the resemblance between the two men. Was it true that somewhere in the world my exact double exists? thought Schafer.

+++++“Cat got your tongue, padre?”

+++++“Er, no, it’s just that…”

+++++“I know what you’re thinking, pastor. By the way, you prefer to be called pastor or are you one of those down-and-dirty, streetwise padres? You prefer Joshua or maybe Mr. Schafer?”

+++++“Mr. Schafer’s fine.”

+++++“Mr. Schafer it is, then.”

+++++Schafer fidgeted with the file in front of him, ran his hand across his sandy colored hair. His knees bounced to an unknown rhythm. He stroked his chin and realized he’d forgotten to shave. He’d left his house in a hurry after reading the morning paper. Had he switched off the toaster?

+++++Cullen watched as he sat leaning against his chair back. His legs were crossed. “People tell me I’m your Doppelgänger,” the prisoner said. “That’s the word, ain’t it? Doppelgänger?”

+++++“Yes it is,” Schafer said, trying for nonchalance. “I must say, I’d never realized how strong the resemblance is until now.”

+++++“Makes you sorta nervous, don’t it? Like it’s one of those there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-I sorts of things.”

+++++The chaplain shrugged and smiled. “The world is full of chance occurrences, coincidences, marvels. There are so many unpredictable things they’re almost predictable. It’s all part of God’s wondrous, mysterious universe.”

+++++“Like the twist of fate that left me taking the rap for a murder I didn’t commit? The lousy break that allows me to be the fall guy and another bastard goes free?”

+++++“My remit is not to discuss your sentencing but to minister to your spiritual needs.”

+++++Cullen smiled, and Schafer noted that his bottom teeth were so closely packed that one tooth had been pushed forward. He instinctively raised his finger to his mouth to feel a misaligned incisor in the same position.

+++++“I’m thinking you may have some spiritual needs too, padre.”

+++++Schafer frowned. “We all feel the necessity of having a relationship with God. In some it’s sharper than in others, but it’s there for everybody.”

+++++“I read the papers,” said Cullen. “Saw the headline. What was it? Former Accused Murderer Wins Lottery. Yeah, that was it.”

+++++Schafer glared at the prisoner. “That has nothing to do what we are about here, Mr. Cullen. What we are about here is the fact that tomorrow evening at 6 sharp you will receive a lethal injection. My goal is to assist you spiritually in any way I can between now and that moment of truth.”

+++++“Well,” said Cullen as he picked at a fingernail. “I don’t believe much in the truth, frankly, since I told the truth and look where it got me. But I ain’t a dumb man, padre, and I know a little bit about human nature. You know, prison is about the best place I can think of to read up on the world, get your bearings. Some of the boys call it FelonyU. And my education tells me your seeing that headline must have just torn you up.”

+++++“Mr. Cullen, if you have no questions or requests for me, then I’ll say my goodbyes until tomorrow.”

+++++“Now wait a minute,” said Cullen, as Schafer was about to stand. “I read how the man who’d been acquitted of raping and murdering the prison chaplain’s young wife—Magdalena, right?—goes out and lives a fine-and-thank-you-very-much kind of life. And then what happens? Bastard wins the lottery and becomes an overnight millionaire. How’s that for luck, padre? I’m reading that paper and thinking, why, that must be hell for the chaplain. Pure hell. Because the chaplain still thinks the man did it. Still thinks his wife’s former lover is the murderer. Or so says the paper. Were you misquoted?”

+++++Schafer rose. “I think we’re done here.” He stood but didn’t move as he stared at the inmate.

+++++“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world,” said Cullen.

+++++Schafer’s face darkened.

+++++“I know a little bit of the Good Word too, padre. It ain’t only newspapers and pornography I read. I know that when John the Baptist said he was thinking of Christ as the Lamb of God, he was thinking of sacrifice.”

+++++“You’re no sacrificial lamb, if that’s what you’re saying,” said Schafer. “You killed a convenience store owner in cold blood. Just because you wanted what little cash the poor man had. God forgives you, of that you can be certain, but the people have a right to seek justice, and tomorrow they will have it.”

+++++“Well we can disagree on the sacrifice part,” said Cullen. “An innocent man killed for something he didn’t do is a sacrifice, I’d say. I’ve got the job of somehow atoning for the crimes of all the good citizens out there. I’ve never been big on sharing, if you know what I mean, but there it is.”

+++++“I can see the Lord has not yet opened your heart. In the next 24 hours I will pray that he does.”

+++++“Well you go right on and pray, padre. I can’t stop you from doing your job. But I thought I’d remind you that the Book of Revelation also speaks of the wrath of the Lamb. That’s right, the Lamb’s wrath. And it even says, ‘These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them.'”

+++++“I will not stand here and allow you to misuse the Lord’s Word.”

+++++“But I bet you’ll allow me to be your wrathful Lamb, won’t you, padre?”

+++++“What do you mean?”

+++++“I’ll take care of the fucker who did your wife.”

+++++“I have no idea what you’re going on about, Mr. Cullen, and this is highly inappropriate anyway—”

+++++“You and me. Exchange places.”

+++++“This is preposterous.”

+++++“You and me, we look alike. So close I could be you. I know you see it. I know you know.”

+++++“And you’re suggesting I stand in for you, so you can…what? Kill the man who killed my wife? If I had that much hatred in my heart I’d do that myself.”

+++++“But you won’t. I know you won’t. You’re a man of God. You’ll carry around the hatred all your life. You’ll ask for forgiveness, do good works, think you’re helping guys who are ready to get a chemical stew in their veins. But you won’t do anything but get on your knees. Meanwhile the acid of revenge eats away at your insides. Always eating until there’s nothing left. You take my place and you can rest assured you’ll get the one thing you want more than anything else in the world, more than life itself. That man will die. The minute I get out of this shithole, I’ll hunt that man down and kill him. All you need to do is give me the key to outside. They’ll probably catch me for it too, so don’t go thinking I go scot-free. But it will be worth it to have a little more time outside.”

+++++Schafer straightened his shoulders. “You underestimate how God’s grace works in our hearts. How it enables us to move on.”

+++++Cullen harrumphed. “How’s that working for you so far, huh? I know I couldn’t move on from something like that. A pretty little wife, you find out was screwing with this guy, and then he stabs her full of holes—and then lives the life of fucking Riley. No, padre, a man doesn’t move on from something like that. That sits with a man. Claws at him. That kind of injustice makes grace melt like snow in April.”

+++++“You said you weren’t a murderer. You didn’t kill the convenience store owner.”

+++++“I said I didn’t do that murder.”


+++++The chaplain heard the door to unit 05 close behind him. His knees were mercury. His heart thumped and he feared the guard could hear it. His mind raced. He was in the courtroom a year ago watching the defendant. He saw how the man smirked when the judge said four fateful words, “acquitted of all charges.” He felt as if some dark soul of revenge and destruction had come to colonize his life. He was in the bedroom where he’d found Magdalena’s naked body, the sheets soaked in red, walls splattered. He imagined her and the man together, in that bed. On the carpeted floor he saw what would be identified as the murder weapon, a kitchen knife, and he’d wished many times since then he could drive it into his heart to stop the burn of hatred.


+++++Again he walked the corridor. The guard was an older man and he didn’t study the pastor’s face as the young guard had yesterday. The sounds and smells of death row seemed strangely muted, as if he were in some other place and some other time, or no time at all. His black trousers and black shirt felt snug, as if he’d donned someone else’s clothes. His white collar scratched his neck.

+++++He thought about his duties. Praying with the condemned man, offering to take care of any last-minute things for a spouse, a child. Ensuring the prisoner was able to say his last words at the execution. Standing at the end of the gurney as the procedure went on.

+++++Cullen was already seated at the metal table when the chaplain entered. The prisoner looked up and smiled, a picture of casualness.

+++++“We have five minutes at most,” said Schafer. He stood behind the white cinder block wall and undressed.

+++++“Perfect fit,” said Cullen as he shed his uniform and began dressing in the pastor’s clothing. Schafer slipped on Cullen’s white shirt and trousers. They exchanged shoes.

+++++Cullen handed Schafer a folded piece of paper. “My last words,” said Cullen, smirking. “There ain’t much so you can memorize it quickly.”

+++++Schafer nodded. “All you have to do is stand there by the gurney and let me say my piece, I mean, your piece, and…”

+++++“I seen the documentaries. I know what the padre does when they start feeding the poison.”

+++++They looked at one another, not sure what to do next. A guard strolled past the entrance to the small room. “Couple more minutes, gentlemen,” he said, barely glancing at them.

+++++“You kneel,” said Cullen in a hushed tone.

+++++Schafer went down on his knees and bowed his head as Cullen raised his arms and whispered, “And they said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?”

+++++Schafer opened his eyes and looked at the linoleum floor. He heard the buzz of fluorescent lighting overhead.

+++++Cullen walked out and the chaplain was alone, still kneeling.


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.

Eddie Spaghetti

“Scary, cover the hippy cashier,” Screw said in the van, pulling the ski mask down over his face, obscuring the faded blue swastika tattoo on his cheek.  “He so much as farts, you put a bullet in his head.”

+++++“I’ve never fired a gun before,” Scary said, holding the .45 at Screw’s chest.

+++++“Point it at the Phish fan behind the counter when we get inside, not at me,” Screw said, pushing the barrel away.  “Smoky Dave.”

+++++“Yep,” Smoky Dave said, throwing the butt of his cigarette out the van’s window.

+++++“Herd the stoners into a corner.  If somebody starts acting like John Wayne, blast ‘em.  I’ll go first, and cut down that big security guard motherfucker.”

+++++“We wont actually shoot nobody will we?”  Scary asked, pulling the bill of her black ball cap low over her eyes.

+++++“I fuckin’ hope so,” Smoky Dave said behind a hockey mask, sliding two shells into the shotgun.

+++++Screw gave Smoky Dave a confidential look that put Scary ill at ease like they knew something important she didn’t before they exited the van, and approached the pot dispensary.

+++++“Eddie.  Eddie Spaghetti.  His meatballs are ready,” Scary said under her breath, and rubbed the aluminum tab torn from a soda can in her pocket.

+++++Screw bounded through the front door, and smashed the massive security guard in the head with the butt of his Glock, wilting the big man like a thirsty plant.

+++++“Everybody face the wall,” Smoky Dave said, kicking open the second door, ripping one into the ceiling, and counting four scarred shitless costumers.

+++++“Hands up,” Scary said, pointing the .45 at the white hippy with dreadlocks behind the counter.

+++++“Be cool lady,” the hippy cashier said, squinting at her.  “Be cool.”

+++++“I said get your hands up,” Scary said.

+++++“I know you,” the hippy said.  “We went to school together.  You were what’s his name’s girl.”

+++++“Shut up,” Scary said.

+++++“You just signed your death warrant,” Screw said, and squeezed the trigger.

+++++The hippy flopped around on the floor as blood gushed from the side of his head.  Panicked sobs and mournful cries erupted from the patrons.  Two middle-eastern men hugged each other, and a young white woman with tattooed sleeves and plugs in her earlobes, crossed herself, and tried to look for heaven in the ceiling.  An older woman in a red power suit and matching pumps stood frozen in a defiant stance.

+++++Scary winced at the dead hippy on the ground.  His name was Ricky Fred.  She remembered ditching P.E. to smoke weed with him in his V.W. bug freshman year.  He felt her up, so she punched him in the balls.  Scary hated him for that, but didn’t wish him dead.  There was only one person she wished death on.

+++++“Quiet down, or I start shooting,” Smoky Dave said to the customers.

+++++“I’m not scared of you,” the woman in red said, coming to life.  “I haven’t survived breast cancer to be killed by some punk at a stickup.”

+++++“Lady, I swear to god if you don’t turn around, and put your face against the wall, I will blow your fuckin’ head off,” Smoky Dave said.

+++++“You will not,” the woman said, clutching her purse.  “I’m leaving, and don’t try to stop me.”




+++++Scary woke in a large city planter box in front of the public library with a raging headache.

+++++“Eddie.  Eddie Spaghetti.  His meatballs are ready,” she said, and felt the aluminum tab in her pocket before plodding downtown, and scrounging through public ashtrays to assuage her nicotine addiction.

+++++“Scary,” Smoky Dave said, handing her a cigarette and a matchbook.  “Where you been?”

+++++She lit the smoke, and looked at her reflection in a storefront window.  Her blue hair was pulled back exposing brown roots.  Her face was swollen, sunburnt, and covered in runny scabs.  Smoky Dave wore a crusty black leather jacket, and no shirt underneath.  His long dark hair dangled in front of his face, obscuring his features.


+++++“Got a job for you.”

+++++“I don’t suck dick.”

+++++“It ain’t like that,” Smoky Dave said, and inhaled from a vape pen.  “You know my buddy Screw?”


+++++“Skinhead with a swastika tattoo on his face.”


+++++“I met him in prison a few years back.  He did a stretch for attempted murder.  He’s been staying with me since he got out.  We’re knocking over a pot dispensary by the highway called Papa Greens.  It’s easy money, but we need a third.”

+++++“Why me?”

+++++“Because I trust you, and because you owe me.”

+++++“I don’t owe you shit.”

+++++Scary used to buy heroin from Smoky Dave.  He wasn’t the nicest of guys.  He’d short her, and beat her when she came up short with his money.  Smoky Dave’s sister died of an overdosed.  It was rumored he was angry because she was stealing from him, so he spiked her hit.  Scary avoided Smoky Dave when she got a better dealer, but he always claimed she still owed him when their paths crossed.


+++++Smoky Dave placed the barrel of the shotgun against the older woman’s forehead as Screw smashed open the register, and emptied the cash into a black trash bag.

+++++“Get them sweet nugs too,” Smoky Dave said.

+++++“Fucking stoner,” Screw said, knocking dozens of small black plastic containers filled with various strains of marijuana into the bag.

+++++“Bob Marley blunts tonight,” Smoky Dave said just before the blast.

+++++Smoky Dave dropped his weapon, and crumpled to the floor.  Propped on his elbows in the doorway, the security guard fired again, grazing Scary’s shoulder.  Screw ducked behind the counter, and squeezed multiple rounds into the big man’s face.

+++++“Smoky Dave?  You okay?”  Screw asked, removing his ski mask.  “Shit.  Come on Scary.  Let’s dust these fucks and bounce.”

+++++Scary pointed the .45 at Screw.

+++++“Fuck is wrong with you? Grab the money and let’s dip.  I’ll take care of the witnesses.”

+++++“You used to beat up punkers with a baseball bat,” Scary said.  “A day doesn’t go by that I don’t dream of killing you.”

+++++“You were that kid’s girl,” Screw said in a moment of recognition.  “The last twenty years haven’t been kind to you.”

+++++“Rot in hell,” Scary said, but Screw pulled the trigger first, shooting Scary in the gut, knocking her back against a shelf, and toppling dozens of hash filled containers onto the floor.


+++++“I have something for you,” Eddie said, handing Cary the aluminum tab he’d torn from a Coke can.  “A talisman loaded with juju that will protect you from assholes.”

+++++“Why Mister Edward Jordan Green.  I’ll keep it always,” Carry said in a phony southern accent, and squeezed his hand as they entered the Vet’s hall.

+++++Carry and Eddie bounced around the dance floor, bumping people in the mosh pit as their friends’ band sped through three chord riffs.  Near the end of the set, the musicians brought Eddie onto the stage, and started chanting, ‘Eddie.  Eddie Spaghetti.  His meatballs are ready,’ until everybody in the packed hall repeated the words.  Eddie dove off the stage as the band tore into the Eddie Spaghetti song.  After the show, Eddie kissed Carry on the sidewalk.  Car brakes squealed, and punkers scattered as a gang of skinheads hopped out of the back of a pickup truck.

+++++Eddie never saw his assailant swinging the baseball bat at the back of his cranium, but Carry did.  She saw the hate in the man’s eyes, and the swastika tattoo on his cheek.  Eddie went down, and his skull bounced on the concrete like a basketball.  His eyes rolled into the back of his head, and he bit his tongue.  No matter how much heroin or meth Scary put into her veins in the coming years, she couldn’t lose the image of Eddie convulsing on the ground.


+++++Screw placed the Glock to Scary’s head, and pulled the trigger, but the chamber was empty.  Scary’s shot shattered Screw’s jaw, and he collapsed into a corner, hissing blood.  The hostages squirmed against the wall like sizzling sausage, frying in the fear of death.  Scary felt warmth leaking from her side as she approached the wounded skinhead.

+++++“Eddie.  Eddie Spaghetti.  His meatballs are ready,” she said, and replaced the swastika on Screw’s cheek with a bullet hole.

+++++The high-pitched whine of sirens approached as the hostages fled the dispensary’s carnage.  Scary sat on the blood soaked floor, clutching the aluminum tab.  Soon there would be hell to pay, but Scary didn’t care.  She was protected.