Flashback: “The Man With the Golden Eye”

I’m not gonna say I’m suffering from writer’s block. But I’m certainly lazy as shit.

So here’s another flashback from the early days. It was a sequel to Shoot Me, Deadly and it’s by far my least read story. It’s not nearly as good, plus it’s replete with grammatical errors.

But, eh.

Whatever.

The Man With the Golden Eye

The phones were ringing off the hook. Everyone was missing something: cat, dog, prosthetic arm, leg, penis, you name it. Business was booming.

But I needed help. I was on the phone all the time. Not solving cases.

Isabella brought in lunch: a Philly cheesesteak from Tony’s off 5th Avenue.

“Gee mister,” Isabella said. “After I sent a butthole pic to that producer on the internet, I’ve been getting all kinds of acting job offers!”

“That’s good to hear Izzy,” I replied. “But you can call me James.”

The calls kept coming. I couldn’t keep up. Unfortunately, between the court fees, medical bills, fines owed to the state of California for burning down a nature preserve, and replacing the window in my office after a man fell through it, I couldn’t afford help.

“Say James,” Izzy said. “You look swamped. Since you saved my life and all, the least I could do is help you out with your business.”

“Oh you’re a lifesaver Izzy. I had to let go of my secretary the other day. If you could sit at her desk and answer phones, that would be great. Just ignore the calls with a Sacramento area code,” I replied.

As I was explaining the job, Sgt. LP Anderson of the LAPD called.

“What do you know about Franco De Werner?” Anderson asked.

“He’s around 5’10.5 with a great head of hair. He’s the biggest arms manufacturer on this side of the Mississippi. He’s been a financier of various counter-revolutionary movements in South and Central America. In fact, his eye got shot out in Nicaragua for which he now wears an eye patch. He’s earned a reputation as a solid middleman between the CIA and various fruit companies in war-torn countries. He graduated summa cum laude from Emory, earned an MBA from Wharton. His wife is Becky, they have two children ages 15 and 18. His drink of choice is Kentucky Bourbon, and he enjoys the works of Dostoyevsky. Otherwise I don’t know much,” I said.

“Well the FBI called, seems like a shipment of Werner’s has gone missing en route to Costa Rica. If you provide your assistance, the FBI said they’ll drop their investigation into you. I’m assuming you know they’re talking about,” Anderson asked.

I sighed.

“Very well,” I said. “Tell your FBI contact that I’ll set up a meeting with Franco De Werner.” I hung up the phone.

“Lazy bastards,” I thought to myself.

I went to Izzy. “I need you to gather all the information you can find on Franco De Werner. Print it off and slide it under the door of the bathroom. I’ll be in there for awhile,” I instructed.

The Philly cheesesteak went out as fast as it went in.

***

I took the California 1 up to Malibu. Again, I got pulled over.

“You need to stop fuckin around,” the officer said. “I’ve seen your kind before. You come around here thinking you solve everything. But you can’t. You’re just one man. You can’t change the system.”

“First off,” I replied. “Weren’t you a sheriff in San Luis Obispo last week? And secondly, I’m just helping the FBI on an investigation into Franco De Werner’s missing property. I’m not trying to change any system. And third, how the hell do you know who I am? Hand me my ticket and fuck off.”

The officer glared at me for awhile then wrote up the ticket.

“I better not see your face around here again. And fuck this piece of machinery that you call a vehicle,” he warned.

“I’ll have you know that I get 12 mpg in this piece of machinery,” I replied.

The cop flipped me the bird and walked away.

I pulled up to Werner’s beachfront property. As I walked towards the house, a 50 cal. machine gun knocked up a bunch of sand and blew my bowler off. I dropped to the ground and pulled out my .45.

Seconds later, there was a laugh and a man walked up. His smile was perfect.

“Those commie bastards did me a favor by shooting out my eye. My aim has never been better,” the man said.

I stood up and knocked the sand off.

“Mr. Franco De Werner, I presume?”

“Indeed,” he replied. “You must be the investigator the FBI sent. Welcome to my humble abode. Can I offer a refreshment? A bourbon perhaps?”

“A change of underwear if you’ve got it.”

We went inside to Franco’s Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home. His servants offered cucumber sandwiches and some 90 proof Elijah Craig.

“I heard you slaughtered an entire mafia up in the mountains,” Franco said.

“How did you hear about that?” I asked.

“For a man in my position, it pays to have eyes everywhere,” he replied. “I could use a man like you.”

“I’m just here to assist the FBI, Mr. Werner. Not for a job interview,” I said.

“Right”

Franco sat back in his seat and lit up a cigar. Villains love their cigars.

“There was a whole shipment of M4s and Carbon 15s going to counter-revolutionary forces in the jungle. The communists had to of intercepted it,” Franco explained.

“How could they have known?” I asked.

“I must have a rat in my midst,” he explained as he puffed on his cigar. “I need you to sniff him out Mr. James.”

“I’m a simple private investigator Mr. Werner. Not an undercover agent.”

Franco took a drink of his bourbon.

“I know about your troubles. I know about you burning down an apartment building, about the massacre in Big Bear, about your medical bills and unpaid fines to the California Highway Patrol. I can make all your problems go away if you do me this favor: join my team, and find this mole.”

I thought for a second, then poured a glass of Elijah’s.

“I’m all ears,” I said.

***

“Do be careful James,” Izzy said.

“Be sure to pack my Beretta 93R,” I replied. “Things might get heavy.”

Izzy handed me my aluminum edition suitcase and drove me to Burbank International. I was headed to Belize to pick up the trail of Franco De Werner’s missing arms shipment. 

To infiltrate his elite team of mercenaries, Werner provided me with false credentials. My name: Carlos Newhouser…a half-Austrian, half-Mexican, former member of Spetsnaz. 

My mission: snuff out the communists.

Kill, if necessary.

At the airport, a rag tag crew of rednecks, Arabs, fishermen, nomads, musicians, accountants, fur trappers, Canadians, dope heads, dope dealers, truckers, Canadians, hockey players, Arsenio Hall, and former special forces were there to greet me. This was Franco’s crack team.

“I’m Carlos,” I said.

Everyone glared. 

“Anyone gonna say anything?” I asked.

A female stepped forward.

“Welcome to Belize, Mr. Newhouser,” she said. “I’m Angelika Anotolukolopolous.”

Angelika was red headed. She spoke with a Scottish accent.

“Let me take your bags,” she said.

“No thanks,” I replied. “I prefer to carry my own.”

We all piled into the bed of a jacked up 95 F-150. Anna tried to brief me on the situation while on our journey to the hotel.

“What?! I can’t hear you through this loud ass Diesel engine!” I said.

“Franco has tasked us with finding the missing arms shipment! He suspects the communists of stealing it!” she replied.

“I know! We’ve already gone over this!”

We arrived at Helena Bay Family Resort. The hardened crew gathered by the poolside bar while children ran and played about.

“I heard you torched a school in Sarajevo because you suspected they were harboring communists,” one of the mercenaries said to me. “You’re one cold blooded son of a bitch.”

“Better dead than red,” I replied. I looked over to the bartender. “Mai Tai please.”

Angelika stepped out in her bikini. The ruffians glanced over and went back to their mojitos. I stripped off my shirt and jumped into the pool.

Angelika looked me over through her Ray Bans.

“I see you have a good taste in music,” she said. She was referring to my Def Leppard tattoo. 

I hopped out of the pool and dried off.

“Thanks,” I said. “Got it during their Slang Tour in 96.”

“I’d like to see what else you got,” Angelika replied. She was playing seductively with her straw between her lips.

“On my left ass cheek is the Whitesnake tour from 92,” I replied.

She slipped me the key to her room.

“Come see me tonight, after 10:30. I’ll show you what I got,” and with that Angelika got up and slowly walked away.

She suspected something. We suspected each other. But I had to follow my leads, and Angelika was at the top of my list.

After 10:30, I unlocked the door to her room. 

“Angelika?” I asked.

From behind the bathroom door appeared Angelika in a purple corset and black undies.

“Well,” I said. “I don’t see your tattoos.”

“Hello James,” a woman’s voice said from behind. 

I turned around and there stood another Angelika in the kitchenette.

“Sorry ladies, I only brought enough protection for one,” I said.

“Please sit down,” the Angelika in the kitchen replied.

I complied.

“Care for a drink?” she asked.

“Irish whisky,” I replied.

A third Angelika appeared and handed me a glass.

“Can I have the bottle please?” I asked. “What’s going on here?” 

“We are genetically enhanced clones from the Ionian Liberation Front,” the first Angelika said. “We know you’re not Carlos Newhouser. You’re a hack detective from some agency in Los Angeles.”

“Genetically enhanced?” I asked.

The second Angelika took my glass and smashed it against her head.

“I see what you mean,” I said.

“We’re after Franco De Werner. Join us, or you won’t be leaving this room alive.”

I thought for a second, then I saw an opportunity: The burrito I ate earlier was roaring back with a vengeance. So I stood up.

“I need to use the bathroom,” I said. “It must be Montezuma’s Revenge.”

“Very well,” one of the Angelika’s said begrudgingly.

I sat on the toilet and started thinking through my options. As I stunk up the room, a forth Angelika handed me a roll from behind the shower curtain.

“Don’t forget to wipe,” she said.

***

“If you stray a foot, I’ll murder you where you stand,” one of the Angelikas told me.

All the mercenaries, 40 of us in total, boarded the black hawks en route to the jungles of Honduras. The three other Angelikas disappeared hours earlier. Only one was left to watch me.

“Why are you after Franco De Werner?” I asked her.

“In addition to killing our comrades, he holds the key to a secret nuclear arsenal somewhere under the Gulf of Mexico. If we can capture him, we’d control enough fire power to destroy the Western Hemisphere,” she replied.

Well fuck me, I thought. Angelika(s) plan was to massacre the mercenaries in the jungle during their communist hunt, forcing Franco down to Honduras. 

I was caught between a rock and a hard place: between a diabolical madman and a kill squad of four genetically enhanced clone-ladies

“But why me though?” I asked. “Are you aligned with the mafia? Are they still pissed because I torched the shit out of them in the woods?”

“Just shup and do what you’re told.”

The choppers dropped us off on the beach. We set up camp for the night. All the men gathered around the various fires, cracking open one Keystone Light after another.

It became a beach party.

I stood watch along the tree line. Angelika handed me an MK 556. She pushed me up against a tree and grabbed my dong.

“Remember,” she said. “I am always watching you.”

She then kissed me and disappeared into the jungle. I began to cry.

The men started to get rowdy. I told them to quiet down, that the communists could be watching.

“What are you afraid of, Carlos?” replied Tiger Tanaka, the most ruthless of the bunch. “You’re the most notorious arsonists in Eastern Europe. Quit being a puss.”

Tiger then pulled out a Henri Selmer saxophone and started rockin’ out like he was Clarence fucking Clemons. This noisy instrument was echoing across the bay and into the jungle.

“Damn it Tiger! If you don’t put that loud piece of shit away, I will shoot you myself!” I yelled.

“I ain’t afraid of nothin in this jungle!” he yelled back.

Ironically, a tiger then jumped out of the woods a mauled his face off. The men quickly scattered into the jungle, leaving their weapons behind. I fired a few rounds at the animal before it disappeared.

“There’s tigers in Honduras?!” one of the men yelled. I shrugged.

Angelika must have something to do with this, I thought.

The men attempted to retrieve their weapons. Every time they got close, the tiger would reappear and drag one of them into the woods.

“It’s an ambush,” I said. “We must fall back.”

“Fall back into the jungle?! WITHOUT OUR WEAPONS!” said Thomas Jane “Little” P.P., the explosives expert.

“Calm yourself, Little PP,” I replied. “Fall back and we’ll regroup.”

As the men retreated, trip wires began going off. A fireball would light up the sky and body parts would fall back into the trees.

“We’re gonna die!” screamed Little PP. He ran ahead a few yards in front of me before falling into quicksand.

I extended my rifle to pull him out, but he kept sinking deeper. “I don’t want to drown!” Little PP yelled. “Please kill me, Carlos!”

When I realized that I couldn’t rescue him, I lifted up my rifle and fired one round into Little PPs chest. I watched as his dead body sunk below the surface.

The screams of men continued to echo across the jungle. I heard growling behind me. The tiger was near. I fired a few rounds into the bushes and ran off.

I hopped across a trip wire and hid behind a tree. “Come at me mother fucker,” I said. The tiger jumped out and hit the wire. The explosion was brilliant.

Tiger blood rained from the sky.

I sat down and radioed in.

“To Angelika or whoever’s listening,” I said. “Tiger’s dead. Both tigers are. There can’t be very many of us left. But I’m still standing. If you want me, you’re gonna have to come down here and get me. 

But be warned: it’s gonna take more than a tiger and a few land mines to kill me.”

***

The warm breeze blew through the trees while the sun beamed down. Dead and mangled bodies littered the jungle floor.

I rested beneath a tree, waiting for the Angelikas.

A chopper rattled in the distance. The trees rustled as it hovered overhead. Four ropes dropped down to a clearing in front of me.

The four Angelikas lowered down.

“You’re coming with us,” they said.

“Not today sisters!”

I attempted to fire off a clip, but my rifle jammed. I threw the weapon down. If it came down to hand-to-hand combat, I was fucked.

Three of the Angelikas attempted to corner me. One stood back. I threw a grenade, but one caught it and threw it back. The explosion knocked me back a few feet.

The chopper continued to hover overhead.

As I laid there in a daze, I suddenly remembered: Izzy packed my burst action Beretta. The Angelikas were inching closer. I pulled out the sidearm and unleashed the three rounds into the chopper.

I could see the pilot’s brains splatter across the glass. His body leaned forward and the helicopter came careening down into the jungle. As it exploded, fire rained down onto the three Angelikas.

They might’ve been genetically enhanced. But as I’ve learned time and time again, no one is immune to the destructive force of a fireball.

I walked towards the last remaining Angelika. She instantly cowered down.

“Don’t kill me! I’m the original, I’m not genetically enhanced,” she screamed.

“Where’s Franco?!”

“He’s holed up at the abandoned airstrip a few klicks away.”

“You’re taking me to him.”

I held her at gunpoint as we journeyed towards the airstrip. Franco was in the hanger while his private jet rested on the runway. 

“Here’s your communist mole,” I told him.

“Excellent work, Mr. James,” he replied. “Now that I can trust you, I’ll reveal to you my secret plan.”

Franco turned around and removed his eye patch. A brilliant flash of gold appeared from where left eye once was. He laid a steel briefcase on the table.

Inside was a ridiculous looking retinal scanner.

“When I run my golden eye through this retinal scan,” he said. “50 scud missiles armed with nuclear warheads will fire from beneath the Gulf of Mexico. Each aimed at a major city in the Western Hemisphere.”

“You’re a madman, Mr. Werner,” I replied. “You’re not even gonna attempt to blackmail world leaders? What kind of villain are you?”

“Once when the world’s major cities have been destroyed,” Franco continued. “They’ll blame the communists, and leaders of the world will have no choice but to use my services to defeat them.”

“Billions of people will die, just so you can make a profit,” I replied.

“Basically, yeah.”

I’ve seen these cases hundreds of times: madman wants to destroy the world just so he can make a few extra pennies. People will do anything for money these days.

“With that type of destruction,” I interjected. “Nuclear winter could last ages. Are you sure that you completely thought the consequences of your plan, Mr. Werner?”

Franco pondered for a second.

“Shit, I guess I didn’t,” he replied. “Oh well, it’s a risk worth taking. But tonight, we feast!”

Franco left the hanger. Angelika was locked up behind a gate.

“James,” she said. “Franco killed my friends, my family. All I’ve ever wanted was justice. Please don’t let him do this.”

Franco returned with his servants. They were bringing in cartons full of local cuisine out of the jet. He poured a glass of bourbon, then lifted it to make a toast.

“To the future,” he said.

I had to act quickly.

***

Franco stuffed his face with Chile con queso and guacamole. When he finished, he pulled out a cigar.

“Time to get this show on the road,” he said.

Franco ran his golden eye through the retinal scan, which initiated a countdown. He laughed as he lit up the cigar. When the clock reached zero, the computer informed us that all fifty missiles were launched, all aimed at the fifty largest cities in the Western Hemisphere.

“We better get the fuck outta here,” Franco said. “We don’t want to be on the ground when those warheads hit.”

Angelika, myself, Franco, and a few of his minions boarded the private jet. When we were up in the air, Franco was still amused with himself.

“In 19 minutes,” he said as he puffed on his cigar. “We’ll be the richest fuckers in the universe.”

Then he leaned forward as his stomach cramped.

“Damn it,” Franco said. “Montezuma’s Revenge.” He got up and ran to the toilet.

I looked over to the steel briefcase that controlled the warheads. “James, do something!” Angelika yelled.

I swiftly leapt out of my seat and kicked the guard in the dick. “Ow! My groin,” he yelled as he fell to the ground.

With the guard incapacitated, I opened the briefcase and attempted to redirect the missiles. However, I didn’t know how to operate the computer.

“Remove the handcuffs James, I know how to do it,” Angelika said. I took the keys off the guard and set her free. She redirected the missiles into space, where they’d all converge to create one massive explosion.

Moments later, the sky lit up…almost as if there were two suns resting on the horizon.

“Congratulations Angelika, you saved the world,” I said.

“We still have a problem,” she replied. “One missile is not responding to the commands. It’s headed straight for Mexico City.”

I thought for a moment.

“What’s our flight path?”

I busted into the cockpit and knocked out the two pilots with the butt of my rifle. “Our path takes us near Mexico City. We can intercept the missile with this jet,” I said.

I took control of the cockpit in an attempt to steer the jet into the missile. I never flew a plane of that magnitude before. I flew a Cessna once. I figured that flying a Lear at 745mph couldn’t be that different.

“Two minutes to intercept,” Angelika yelled as she was putting on a parachute. I climbed out of the cockpit and began strapping into one on as well.

I kicked open the emergency exit and the cabin depressurized. At that moment, Franco ran out of the bathroom and began firing his Ruger. Angelika grabbed his arm and attempted to knock it out.

“Jump James!” she yelled.

I jumped out of the plane. Angelika engaged with Franco for a few more moments before throwing him out of the plane without a parachute. Then she jumped. 

The missile crashed into the Lear, detonating the last nuclear weapon several thousand feet above us. We deployed our parachutes. When we were 20 feet above the ground, Franco rifled out of the sky like a lightning bolt, grabbing ahold of me and crashing us into the ground from his tremendous momentum. 

Franco somehow managed to keep his cigar in.

We wrestled on the ground, with him getting the better of me. When Angelika landed, not even she could overtake him. I took out my Beretta, but Franco kicked it out. 

While I was laying on the ground, Franco grabbed the gun and aimed it at me.

“Goodbye, Mr. Private Dick.”

The wind then kicked up and my parachute blew on top of him, obscuring his view. I jumped on top of him and began to strangle him.

By this point, I’ve probably killed hundreds of men. But there’s nothing like killing a man with your bare hands.

Franco gurgled for a bit, then the bones and muscles in his neck began to break. When his eyes rolled back into his head, I loosened my grip. 

“Let him go, James,” Angelika said. “He’s dead.”

I took my hands off his lifeless body and stood up.

“That was fucking brutal. Jesus!” Angelika told me.

I began to strip off the parachute when a man fully decked out in military regalia came out of nowhere and began to clap.

“Well done, well done,” the strange man said.

He walked over to Franco’s body and picked up his cigar. “I am Admiral General Colonel Majors. United States Navy,” he explained.

“Where were you guys when we needed you?” I asked.

“You were never in serious danger. We were monitoring the situation the entire time.”

Angelika and I look at each other.

“But 50 nuclear missiles were launched,” I replied.

“Don’t worry about it,” Admiral Majors said. “What’s important is that I’m here to recruit you into my ultra top secret kill force, the most lethal unit in the world.”

“Why me?”

“You’re a killing machine James. You know that. You love the thrill of taking a man’s life. I watched it with my own two eyes. Face it James, you were born to kill.”

I finished taking off the parachute and threw down the Beretta. “I’m a simple LA detective, Admiral,” I replied. “I seek the truth. I’m not very good at it, but people pay me to do it. But I’m not a killer.”

“Suit yourself,” the Admiral said. “But this isn’t the last you’ll see of me.”

Angelika was later arrested due to being wanted by INTERPOL. Something to do with “terrorist activities” in 14 countries. I called Izzy.

“Mission complete,” I told her. “I’ll back in LA in a couple of days.”

“Oh that’s wonderful, James,” she replied. “Did you find that missing arms shipment? It would be really bad if all those weapons fell into the wrong hands.”

“Fuck! I forgot!”

THE END 

Flashback: “Randy Returns”

Sometimes I wonder: “as a writer, have I lost a step?” Then I read my old stuff and conclude it’s an unambiguous “yes”.

When I started this blog, I initially posted random thoughts and stories about my literary alter ego “James”. Before I abandoned that project, this was how that story ended (without resolution, I might add).

Now the story you’re about to read may be a little confusing, so let me provide some clarity. “Dick” was my Scottish roommate who was also a private detective. Nicky Wallz was my “father”. Dale was a coworker and reoccurring character. And Randy was my comical arch nemesis (later revealed to be my real father).

I dunno, I thought it was pretty funny.

****

RANDY RETURNS

I was hopping up and down to the sounds of 80s pop phenom Human League when there was a pound on the door.

“Open up! It’s LAPD!”

It was Randy. I wasn’t fooled.

“What can I do for you Randy?” I asked.

“Can you believe they let me out on bail?! I mean, seven vehicular manslaughter charges!! That’s crazy!” Randy said.

He was flanked by his two female henchmen, Anthrax and Honda. As Randy hoot and hollered, the ladies just stood there, arms crossed.

“So Jimmy, wanna do some drugs? I gotta speedball here,” he asked.

“Gee, I don’t know Randy. Isn’t that dangerous?”

“Not at all! Everyone’s doing it.”

He didn’t have to tell me twice. 

Eventually I found myself in a daze sitting in the backseat of Randy’s Pontiac between Anthrax and Honda. Randy was driving like a maniac down the streets of West Hollywood when he looked to the backseat. “You see! I told you everything will be alright!” he said.

I didn’t think anything was suspicious.

Finally Anthrax and Honda carried me out of the car and into the back of an abandoned warehouse. I recognized the place. I survived a stabbing there a month earlier. They laid me down in a tub of ice and an overweight German doctor wearing a lab coat and nipple piercings tried to load me up with barbiturates.

However the joke was on them. I was always loaded up on barbiturates. 

But then it occurred to me. 

“Fuck, they’re gonna harvest my organs.” I thought.

Now, like most people, I’ve had to talk my way out of an organ harvesting attempt before. But this one was different. 

It was going to take some skill.

“You know, there’s other ways of making a quick buck,” I said to Anthrax. “You can humiliate yourself in front of complete strangers on the internet like I do.”

But she stood there motionless. So I tried a different tactic: the art of seduction.

“It’s a shame I’m about to die. I wish we’ve gotten to know one another more. But, I guess I should count myself lucky. At least the last thing I’ll ever see is your beautiful face,” I said.

Finally Anthrax uncrossed her arms and adjusted her posture. Clearly she was responding to what I was saying.

“I have a confession to make. That time when you and Randy cornered me behind Dick’s Sporting Goods, pulled down my pants and shoved golf balls up my ass, I thought: ‘I could spend the rest of my life with this woman.’ Well it appears I’ll get that chance,” I told her.

Finally she removed her black Gargoyle sunglasses so I could see her eyes.

“I believe it’s customary to grant a dying man his last request,” I said.

“What’s that?” Anthrax replied. “A kiss? How lame.”

“No. I just want to cop a feel.”

She stood there and thought for a second. Finally she moved in closer, removed the handcuffs from my left wrist and placed my hand down her low cut tank. I then grasped as hard as I could on to her tit.

“Ow my titty!” Anthrax screamed.

I then leapt out of the bathtub and kicked Honda in the coot as she moved in closer. I grabbed her nickel plated .45 and pistol whipped Anthrax unconscious. With both henchwomen neutralized, I moved over to the doctor.

“Nein nein nein!” the man screamed. “Ich spreche kein Englisch. Ich weiß nicht wo ich bin!”

“I don’t want to hear that shit!” I yelled while he stared down my .45. “Where’s Randy?!”

I took the doctor by gunpoint into Randy’s lair. There were computer monitors everywhere with live feeds from CCTV cameras all over the world. Mostly in women’s bathrooms. 

There were also scientists everywhere and a shit ton of beakers.

“Well well well,” Randy said menacingly. “It appears that you foiled my plan.”

“This ends now, Randy.”

“No, you can’t stop me. The LAPD can’t stop me. INTERPOL can’t stop me. Not even unadulterated black tar heroin can stop me! You will never catch me Jimmy, so help me GOD!”

At that moment, men in black shirts began pouring out of every dark corner, firing their AK-47s indiscriminately at me. I used the doctor as a shield while I fired back. 

In the mayhem, Randy disappeared while a timer began a countdown to 0 before 200 tons of dynamite exploded. As the clock ticked down, I jumped through the glass window, falling 14 stories into a dumpster while the warehouse exploded into a magnificent fireball, lighting up the Los Angeles skyline.

When the police and fire department arrived, I chastised the New York police officer with the LAPD for releasing Randy on bail. 

“We didn’t let Randy out on bail. Dat man is dangerous! He escaped weeks ago!” the officer said while shoveling a hot dog into his mouth.

Then a junior officer came running out of the wreckage, claiming they didn’t find the bodies of Randy or anyone else.

“Say, are you sure that you were kidnapped and held against your will and did not just blow up 16 square blocks of West Hollywood because you were high on methamphetamine?” the New York officer asked.

I knew it.

Randy escaped.

We faced off once. But I knew that he’d come back for vengeance.

***

Dick was a Hall of Fame stalker.

Or “private eye”, as he called himself.

I shot up on some ‘roids to help with my low T when I got pissed off.

“That mother fucker,” I though. “He borrowed $15 from me ten years ago and never paid me back.”

I was of course thinking of Nicky Wallz, a bouncer at a strip club I once frequented. I lost touch with him after the joint got shot up in a disastrous FBI raid. 

“I’m gonna beat his ass,” I thought. But I didn’t know where to find him.

Dick was sitting there, cutting away a slice of deer meat with his sawtooth Bowie, when I asked him: “I need you to find me a Nicky Wallz.”

“Aye mate,” he replied. “The price es steep though lad. Ya donnae have a penny to yur name. I just a might be callin n a favour from ya.”

“Just find him.”

Weeks went by. In my restlessness, I began bulking and sculpting. I fought every shit heel in the bar that wanted some, smashing glass and busting heads…all in preparation for my showdown with Nicky Wallz. But Dick was dragging his ass.

“Hey Dick!” I yelled. “What’s the word on Nicky? I told you to find him seven weeks ago. You better not be cruising the the rest stops again.”

“Oy mate, I see ya lookin’ fit lad. But donnae talk to me like tha again. Or else I’ll stab ya in the scrote,” he replied.

“Oh you want some of this?”

“Aye I do.”

We both removed our shirts, displaying our perfectly sculpted abs and chest. Before we fought, we rubbed each other in oil…down our arms, down our legs…before removing our underwear, where I used the oil to rub his magnificent c—…..

Anyways, after venting my frustrations, Dick asked me, “Aye mate, why you bein such a snoot lately? What is it with this Nicky fella?”

I didn’t know how to answer.

“Perhaps I just haven’t noticed how the time has passed,” I said. “I’m getting older. I’m losing friends, acquaintances. Maybe they’ve moved on and I haven’t. I just feel like I’ve learned nothing. Nothing of importance. Nothing about myself.”

We sat in silence for a few moments.

Dick spoke up. “Well lad, I found him weeks ago but didnae wanna tell ya. Maybe let sleepin’ dogs lie yeah?”

Maybe he was right. Nevertheless…

“Where is he?” I asked.

Dick and I went down to the Los Angeles County Hospital, Psych Ward B. The doctor warned us to handle Nicky with utmost care. The nurses were handing out meals to the patients when I walked up to Nicky and slapped the trey out of his hands.

“Recognize me asshole!” I said. 

Amazed, Nicky said, “James, you’re alive old friend?”

“Still?! Old friend?!” I said. “Where’s my $15 you piece of shit?”

“Is that what this is about? Money? Nothing else?” he replied.

“What do you mean?”

“James, when I was 15, I was homeless and sleeping under a car. An older woman found me and took me in. She fed me. Clothed me. And gave me an education. We were close. Too close. We began a forbidden love affair. It was wrong, we both knew that. We tried to hide it, but the authorities found out. They took her away but not before we sired a child. That woman was Jenny, your mother.”

“Horseshit,” I said.

“Not horseshit. My only regret is never having the heart to tell you. After that strip club got shot up to absolute shreds, I never recovered. That’s why I’m here, because I just can’t bear the guilt of knowing who I am.”

Dick and me left the hospital in quiet contemplation. Could it be true? How could my mother have hid this from me?

We wandered back to the car then I pulled out a cigarette. I said to Dick:

“Damn, I should have asked for more than $15.”

***

I’m gonna slap those chilli fries right out your mouth,” Jenny, my mother, said.

“Jenny, I’m just asking you if Nicky Wallz is my father,” I replied. 

“I don’t know who da fuck dis Nicky is, but he can suck my lef nut,” she said. My mother never explained how she got a Brooklyn accent.

“Ma, did you ever take in a homeless kid 30 some years ago?”

“It was da 80s, everybody was doin wacky shit then,” Jenny replied as she took a drag off her cigarette through her stoma.

I couldn’t stand to be around her when she was like this. I started to walk away.

“Where are you goin?” she asked.

“I gotta take a shit Ma!”

Later I was browsing the porno mags in Safeway when a strange woman bumped her cart into me.

“Watch it lady!” I yelled.

It was Anthrax. I haven’t seen her since I escaped from that exploding warehouse.

“Hello James,” she said.

“Anthrax”

“I just thought I should tell you that I am three months sober. I am attending AA and I am currently seeking to make amends to those I have harmed. Therefore, I apologize for drugging and kidnapping you, and putting objects up your rectum.”

I was shocked.

“Well, you are forgiven. And I am sorry for squeezing your tit and pistol whipping you unconscious,” I replied.

“I forgive you as well,” she said.

We both stood there in awkward silence. Finally I spoke up.

“Say, can I get you a cup of coffee?”

“Yes. I would like that,” Anthrax replied stoically.

We didn’t have much to say at the coffee shop. I was still hyped up on the MDMA I took earlier, so I just drank water.

“So what happened to Honda after that deadly explosion that nearly destroyed West Hollywood? Is she okay?” I asked.

“Her face was ripped off and her arms and legs were mangled beyond repair. She survived though, whisked off by the black shirt men to an undisclosed location,” Anthrax replied.

“Well that sucks. Weren’t you two close?”

“Yes. We were sisters in the crime syndicate known as TOILET: Terrorism Or the International League that Engages in Terrorism. Honda rescued me as a small child off the streets of Stockholm and trained me in the ways thievery, extortion, and deception. I owe her my life. I would do anything to find her.”

“But how did you survive that explosion?” I asked.

“I have my ways”

Anthrax continued to sip on her coffee. I took one last gulp of my water.

“Welp, care to have sex?” I asked.

“Yes. I’d like that.”

***

“Dick, you’re gonna have to hide your Ruger collection until dad’s suicidal tendencies go away,” I told my roommate.

Nicky Wallz was recently released from the psych ward. To help get him back on his feet, I agreed to let him stay with Dick and me.

“Aye lad are you sure Nicky’s yer da and wasn’t just trying to get out of paying you $15?” Dick asked.

“I’ve never known Nicky to lie.”

There was a knock on the door. Nicky waddled in completely disheveled and reeking of skid row.

“It’s swell of you guys to take me in. I sure do appreciate it. I’ll try not to be a burden,” Nicky said.

“You just let us know if you need anything.”

Dick called for me into the kitchen. “Aye mate, how long is he gonna be stayin’ with us? The man’s still walkin aroond in his shittee underwear,” he said.

I turned around and Nicky was pissing into an air vent.

“No no dad, the bathroom’s over here.”

Dick was right. I had to find another option.

So I went back to work at the toilet factory and in walked Dale, fresh out of the hospital after taking a sniper round to the leg during a hostage situation weeks earlier.

“Dale how’ve you been you lunatic bastard! Long time, no see,” I tell him.

He was all smiles.

“Boy I tell ya,” Dale said. “This new medication is working out great! I have absolutely no urge to walk in here with my Mossberg 12 Gauge and shoot the place up. Life’s been great!”

“I’m happy for you Dale. But how are you doing living out in the woods all by yourself?Without your family? Without friends?Completely ostracized from society? Not permitted to be within 500 yards of any school or church due to your shameful, shameful deeds?”

“Come to think of it, it is quite lonely out there,” Dale said.

“Well shit Dale, why didn’t you say something?! My father is looking for a place to stay. You two would get along great!”

I’m always happy to play matchmaker. 

So I had that problem solved. Now I just had to take my dad out to Riverside County

***

I haven’t been to Norco since I was mugged behind that high school in 95. 

But I was taking Nicky, my dad, to Dale’s house in my mom’s Saturn Ion. It was a pleasant drive down I-10.

“You know,” Nicky said. “I haven’t been to Norco since I mugged a guy behind that high school in 95.”

“Well hopefully this will be your first steps towards a new beginning,” I said. “Say, when was the last time you’ve seen Jenny?”

“Not since you were born. I’m sure your mother is as beautiful as the day I met her.”

I didn’t reply.

Nicky looked out the window, taking all the sights that Riverside County had to offer. After several minutes of silence, Nicky said:

“You know, I’ve fucked everything up. I’m just a total disaster, a loser, a piece of shit, totally worthless, absolute garbage, just trash, deserve to be castrated, impaled, burned alive, and dumped into the sea. But if I’ve done one thing right in this life, it’s having a son like you. It’s made it all worthwhile.”

We continued to enjoy our drive as father and son.

We arrived at Dale’s cabin outside of town. Dale was outside, firing his rifle aimlessly into the air.

“Now Dale,” I said. “Dad gets depressed and suicidal frequently. So you might have to give him some of your unused medications from time to time.”

Dad went inside to take a nap while I went to the car to get his bags. Something glistened across the horizon out of the corner of my eye. I looked again at the eerie apparition.

“Fuckin Norco,” I thought.

Then the howling of hell echoed across the valley. A legion of bikers, renegades, outcasts, mohawks, and cenobites filled the prairie, ripping up the fields with their choppers, dirt bikes, and jacked up Dodges. Their storm cloud of dirt and smoke moved ever closer.

“Could it be?” I thought.

Dale stood in awe of the ungodly sight, paralyzed by fear. 

“Dale,” I said. “Grab your G36.”

But it was too late. The ragtag army had us surrounded. The leather cladded gang bound both Dale and me and took us to an undisclosed desert location.

We were forced to our knees and the shrouds were lifted from our faces. A hooded figure, decked in black robes appeared before us. The figure slowly began to remove their coverings, revealing a face that neither resembled man nor earthly creature.

I instantly recognized this devilish being.

“Honda,” I gasped. Her face was no longer human. She was more machine than man. 

She walked up to Dale and looked him up and down. “You. I don’t know you,” she said.

“But you, I never forget a face. James.”

“Honda,” I said. “What’s the meaning of this attack? If it’s money you want, then I’ve got some bad news for you.”

“SILENCE!” she yelled. She moved closer to us. “You know how I got this face. You know that you kicked my uterus into sterility. You’ve cursed me to wonder this earth as a nomad, as a castoff. Unwanted by the syndicate. Unwanted by society. This crew you see, we seek not money, or acts of deception, or extortion. We have one aim that unites us all: Revenge.”

“Okay, I’m sorry for kicking your poonan beyond repair,” I said. “But it wasn’t me that detonated all that dynamite. Randy did that. He was trying to cover his tracks. He never cared about you and Anthrax. You were both cannon fodder to whatever his deranged plan was. Come on, Honda! You know that’s true! It’s Randy you want, not me!”

Honda turned around in contemplation. After a long pause, she slammed her hands into the table in front of her, smashing it to bits. After standing over the wreckage, she directed her attention towards me.

“Perhaps you’re right,” she said. “But you and I have some unfinished business.”

Honda then slowly lifted me off the ground, gazing into my eyes, and kneed me square in the dong.

***

“Your dick don’t work,” the doctor said.

“Thank you doctor,” I replied.

Dale and I were found outside of Palm Springs buck naked. We were bound together and gagged. It took awhile for the police to realize we were victims and not nudists.

We were taken to the hospital where I was treated for massive scrotal damage. Dale was alright.

“Aye, don’t worry lad. We’ll get your wee workin again. You watch,” Dick (my Scottish roommate) said.

“Never mind that. I need you to find Honda. It isn’t over between us,” I instructed Dick. 

“Aye”

Dick quickly left the hospital room to begin work. Dale spoke up.

“I’m just glad that we all made it out alive,” he said.

“No one asked you anything,” I said.

Anthrax also came to visit. After Dale and Dick exited, she came to my bedside.

“I need you to tell me everything you know about Honda,” she inquired.

“She seems to possess extraordinary strength. I don’t think she’s human anymore, Anthrax. I think she’s a cyborg. Who the fuck would do that to her? Randy’s a dumbass, there’s no way he could’ve done something like that,” I told her.

“I think I know who.”

“Who? That stupid ass crime syndicate? Honda said that they didn’t want her anymore. That’s why she’s riding around with those dorks like she’s Peter fuckin Fonda,” I replied.

“It’s not Randy. It’s not the syndicate,” Anthrax said.

“Alright. This is getting too complicated and contrived. But if you or Dick find Honda, tell her I’m coming after her,” I said.

“I’ll find her. But please, before you do anything, I need to know if there’s at least an ounce of humanity in her. If there is, I know that I can save her. Please James.”

I agreed. 

As Anthrax began to leave, I grabbed her by the hand.

“I learned from a James Bond movie that before one seeks vengeance, they must first dig two graves,” I said.

“But I’m not seeking vengeance,” Anthrax replied.

“Oh yeah, I am. I mean….please be careful.” 

Anthrax gave a faint smile then departed. I laid in the hospital bed bored and feeling awkward for not feeling like I have to compulsively masturbate. 

“Your mother is on the phone,” a nurse told me.

I reluctantly took the call.

“Ohh my poor Tony,” mom said. “I heard that you were in the hospital!”

“This is James, ma. Who the hell is Tony?”

“What do you mean? I don’t have dementia,” she said. “How’s my sweetheart doing?”

“I’m alright. Is something wrong? I’ve been to the hospital hundreds of times and you’ve never called.”

“I’m just checking up on my favorite son. What are you, a moron?” 

“I’m your only son Ma,” I said. “Anyway, are you sure Nicky is not my father?”

“Did you not read your birth certificate?”

“You put down Lou Diamond Phillips. Is there anything you can tell me about my father?”

“He was a tall glass of water. He could send shivers up and down my body with one touch. He was smooth, suave, with a voice of gold like Sinatra in a younger day. You don’t remind me of him at all,” Ma replied.

That definitely didn’t sound like Nicky.

***

You know, I lost a testicle too in a savage kidnapping plot,” Dale said to me while we were setting up C-4 explosives.

“Did you get it back?” I asked.

Dale and I were putting up booby traps around his cabin outside of Norco. We knew Honda was going to strike again so we wanted to establish home field advantage.

Nicky (my alleged father) was sitting around the campfire staring down the barrel of his .44.

“No no dad,” I said as I took the gun out of his hands.

All three of us sat around the campfire under the Norco moonlight. The air reeked of cow shit.

“What a god forsaken place,” I said.

Dale took in a deep breath of shit stained air.

“I was born here. I grew up here. I lost my virginity here. I got married here. I got divorced here. Got married again. Got divorced again. Lost everything I had. And never gained it back. I’ll probably die here,” Dale said.

“Probably so,” I replied.

Nicky spoke up. “You know, I’m just glad that you boys are out here to protect me. When the FBI shot up that strip joint, I remember that I completely blew out my pants. Shit got everywhere. When they arrested me, they made me sit in my shitty underwear. Then I cried.”

“Don’t worry about it dad,” I said. “Dale and I have faced Honda before. We know what to expect.”

“By the way,” Dale chimed in. “Who the fuck is Honda and why are we in this mess?”

We all looked at each other and shrugged.

“It’s important to not think too much on this,” I said. “The important thing is that we are family, except for Dale, and that we are all going to help each other out this train wreck we find ourselves in.”

We nodded and started to enjoy the campfire.

Finally I asked Nicky, “So what do you remember about mom?”

He smiled and said, “what a lovely woman. Legs, ass, tits. The whole package. Eyes as blue as the sky. But a warm heart. She knew how to brighten up my day.”

I looked back at the fire and thought that doesn’t describe mom at all.

Finally Dick called.

“Aye lad, I’ve been tailin’ Anthrax all dee. I’m watching her outside a trap hoose n Pasadena,” Dick said. “I donnae think you’ll like who she’s with mate.”

“Randy,” I said.

“Aye”

That bitch, I thought. I knew she was going to double cross me and I fell into her trap. Instead of a battle, we were now facing a war on two fronts.

“Then you might get your M2s, M4s, AKs, AR-15s, 44s, 94, and 22s,” I told Dick. “We’re headed for a Mexican standoff.”

***

While sitting around the fire, Dale was free style rapping like a shitty 90s PSA.

Then the first explosions went off. A booby trap was tripped. Dale and I threw on our bandoliers, our machetes, and our AKs.

I tossed an AR-15 over to Nicky. “When in doubt, just spray bullets indiscriminately across that tree line,” I told him. “If they catch you, go ahead and use the weapon on yourself.”

Both Dale and I penetrated deep into the woods, deep into the cold of night. Another explosive went off. Someone, somewhere was close.

“Drop your weapons,” we heard. 

We dropped them.

We obviously made shitty commandos.

Dale and I were surrounded by men in black uniforms and state of the art technology. They patted us down and escorted us through the dense woods to a large, portable, tank-like structure that resembled something out of Avatar.

How this structure moved undetected through Southern California is a mystery.

We were brought up to the bridge of this mega tank, and just like when Dale and I faced Honda, we were placed on our knees and presented with a series of theatrics that culminated in a villain presenting himself.

“Cut the bullshit, Randy,” I said. “We know it’s you.”

“Damn,” he replied. “But this tank is pretty cool, huh?”

“What are you and the dumb syndicate up to now?” I asked. “Poison the world’s food supply? Creating a race of super humans for world domination?”

“How did you know?” Randy replied.

“Just leave me out of it,” I said.

Then the black shirts brought in Nicky and placed him in front of Randy.

“We found this asshole with a rifle in his mouth. He didn’t even put up a fight,” one of the soldiers said.

“Damn it dad!” I said. “You were supposed to at least get off ONE shot before you offed yourself!”

“Sorry son,” Nicky replied. “I’m just not very good in firefights.”

Randy spoke up.

“Son? Dad? What’s this about?” he asked.

“Nicky’s my dad,” I replied. “I may die today, but at least I’ll die knowing who my family is.”

“Nicky’s not your dad,” Randy said. “I am your dad.”

“Bullshit,” I replied. 

“It’s true! I thought I told you. Guess I forgot . Anyhow, your mom and me were partners in another syndicate before we joined TOILET (Terrorism Or the International League that Engages in Terrorism). Unfortunately it was the 80s, so we were coked up and fucked, then you were born. So she left the syndicate. 

Years later, the syndicate wanted to cover up its tracks, so I deployed my other son, Nicky, to kill you and your mother. But then the FBI shot the fuck out that strip club and Nicky got amnesia. After realizing that you were just some loser, the syndicate decided it wasn’t worth spending resources to kill you. 

So Nicky, I’m also your father.”

I felt the world disappear beneath my feet. My heart sunk. I knew it was true.

“So what do we do now?” I asked. “I know the truth.”

“Excellent question,” Randy said.

Out of the shadows appeared Anthrax in full battle rattle. “I say we finish the job,” she said.

“Great idea!” Randy said.

“Traitor,” I said to Anthrax.

The soldiers grabbed Dale and placed him up against the wall. Randy took out his flame thrower and began taunting us.

“This has been quite a reunion,” Randy said. “You thought that Anthrax was your friend. You thought that you could stop me. But your plans just went up in flames.” 

Randy then unleashed the full wrath of hell onto Dale. There were no screams. Dale just danced around as a gigantic flame before falling to the ground. What was once a man was now just charred, smoldering, remains. 

“Was that supposed to scare me? Because I just shit my pants,” I said. 

Just then the structure began to violently shake. Then there was a massive explosion and soldiers began to man their stations.

Honda launched her attack.

TO BE CONTINUED

Jack Hardcock: The Legend Continues (Part VIII)

“So it’s totally cool that we left a dead body in that storage unit?” Donovan McNabb asked Peter. We back in the Vandura en route to Riverside. Peter sat silently in the backseat. He was still pissed at me for killing his favorite porno director.

“Yup,” Peter replied to Donovan. “There’s a dead body in every storage unit in El Segundo anyway.”

“Do you know the strip clubs in Riverside?” I asked Peter. “Would you happen to know which one Layla Huffington might be at?”

“She’s at the Glory Hole,” he said while thumbing through the latest issue of Fine Gardening.

“How would you know that?”

“You mind your own goddamn business, Jack Hardcock!”

We rolled up to the Glory Hole an hour later. Donovan was adamant that he go inside first. “I really need the closure,” he said.

“No,” I replied as I reloaded the .38. “This is about me. I’ll go inside and scope the place out.”

I put the fake mustache back on and wondered inside. “That will be a $20 cover charge,” the bouncer said to me.

“That’s outrageous,” I replied, “it’s 1:30 PM!”

“Those are the rules.” So I shelled out the 20 bucks and went to the bar area. Strippers were everywhere but I was the only patron. “What can I get you, honey?” the bartender asked me. She was a mature woman, 65 to 70. All she was wearing was a tiny purple thong.

“Bourbon please,” I said.

“All we have is Tennessee Whiskey.”

“Dickle?”

“Just Evan Williams, green label.”

“That’ll do. I’m here to hate myself anyway.”

She poured the stiff drink and I scanned the club. There was no sign of Layla Huffington anywhere. So I summoned the bartender back.

“Excuse me, but does Layla Huffington work today?” I asked. The bartender leaned forward and her boob rested gently on my forearm. “Sweetheart, Layla ain’t a stripper no more,” she said.

I lowered my head, fearing my search had come to a dead end.

“She does peep shows in the back,” the bartender continued. “Go on. Pay her a visit.”

I nodded and picked up my whiskey. A puny bald man greeted me in the back. “Sir, just step into one of the rooms, drop a quarter into the slot, and the curtains will open,” he informed me. “The performer will do whatever you ask of her for five minutes before the curtains close. At that time, you will have to insert another quarter if you want the show to continue. You will be able to see her, but she won’t see you. If you make a mess, clean it up. Enjoy the show.”

I walked into a pitch black room and dug into my pocket. I only had one quarter. I dropped it into the coin slot and the curtains swung open. The room brightened up and in front of me, on the other side of the glass, was a scantily clad Layla Huffington.

I quickly turned my head. My back was facing the glass.

“Hello?” Layla asked, “is anyone there?”

I was too terrified to speak.

Then I could hear her knocking on the glass. “You have me for five minutes,” she said, “is there anything you want to see?”

“Uhh,” I stuttered, “my apologies. It’s been so long since I’ve laid eyes on a woman.”

“You have nothing to fear mister,” I heard her say, “I do this all of the time.”

“I suppose you do,” I said.

“So?” Layla asked after a long pause. “What do you want me to do?”

I backed up and leaned against the glass, still not facing her. I couldn’t find the words. “I just want to hear your voice,” I finally said.

“My voice? What do you want me to say?”

“Who are you? Where do you come from?”

“Umm, well,” I heard her chuckle, “no one’s ever asked me that before.”

I didn’t reply.

“I grew up on a farm in Iowa,” she explained in a soft voice. I could feel her standing near the glass. “I dreamt about being somewhere, anywhere but where I was. One day, I left for the big city, expecting big things. But big things never came. I realized that I’m just a small town girl, meant for a small world. And now I’m here. It’s a tale as old as time.”

My left hand reached across my body and I placed it against the glass. I could see Layla out of the corner of my eye, but I still couldn’t face her.

“Do…” I started to say. “Did you ever love someone?”

There was a long, awkward silence. “I…I…,” she stuttered.

Then the curtains shuttered and the room returned to black.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Jack Hardcock: The Legend Continues (Part VI)

I threw Donovan McNabb against the wall in our room at the Cecil Hotel. Then I put a knife to his throat. “Did you bring an extra toothbrush?” I asked. “I forgot mine.”

His hand was shaking as I took the toothbrush from it. “Relax,” I told Donovan, “why are you so stressed out?”

Right then, Peter Tucker startled me as he came in through the door carrying a trey of coffees. I drew the .38 and blasted the trey. Piping hot latte got all over him.

“Goddamnit Jack!” Peter yelled. “That’s the fifth time I’ve had to go to Dunkin Donuts! Will you stop blasting every trey I carry in?!!”

“We’ve been in LA for two days!” I said as I put the .38 back into the holster. “We’ve got nothing! NOTHING! We need Layla Huffington before it’s too late!”

“Too late for what?” Donovan asked. “She’s already in the porno business.”

I then backhanded him across the face. “I know that,” I replied. “But maybe it’s not too late to save her.”

“Save her?” Donovan said as he rubbed his cheek. “I don’t think she’s in any danger. I just want to talk to her to get some closure!”

I kneed Donovan in the ballsack then threw his head into the mirror, shattering the glass. “Goddamnit Donovan! Don’t you get it?” I said. “Layla is under the clutches of Satan! The Lord has made it MY quest to rescue her! MY QUEST! And when the Lord speaks, I answer the call! So you best not get in the way, or you will be the NEXT one to swallow a bullet.”

Peter stood back in quiet contemplation as he rubbed his hand across his face. “Donovan, will you step outside the room, please?” he requested.

Donovan granted his request as he wiped blood from his temple. Peter closed the door behind him. “I know what’s going on here, Jack,” he said. “I know you too well. You’ve been watching her videos, looking at her naked pictures constantly. That’s too much for a man that doesn’t masturbate.”

Then a dark revelation came to me. I looked down at the broken shards of mirror at my feet. “And I want her for myself, is that what you say?”

“It’s an obsession,” Peter replied, “an obsession that has gotten ahold of many men in your position. And as a man with 20 years of backed up semen running through him, it’s an obsession that will crush you.”

I nodded in agreement. “So what do you recommend?” I asked.

“Seeing as you are emotionally compromised in this case, I’ve had no choice but to utilize my massive FBI resources to track Layla Huffington down. So I posed as a porno producer and got in contact with a director that has worked with her many times before,” Peter said. “Plus, you should beat off every once in awhile.”

“Who’s your contact?”

“A very well respected man in the business,” Peter replied. “His name is Dillon J Dudenburg.”

TO BE CONTINUED….

‘The Internet Ruined Everything’s’ Interview with Beau Montana

Here at The Internet Ruined Everything (TIRE) we are always searching for new and interesting people to profile. While this isn’t the first time we’ve interviewed TIRE’s Founder/President/CEO/Creative Director/Lone Employee Beau Montana, this is the first time we’ve spoken to him since being the inaugural recipient of TIRE’s Big Bad Motherfucker Award for being all around mean son-of-a-bitch.

TIRE: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to sit down with us, Beau. Congratulations on your award.

Beau: Of course! I was just telling my therapist that it’s about time someone gave me an award for being an asshole at AutoZone. But you gotta put people in their place these days, ya know? I ain’t paying $200 for a catalytic converter when I can just steal one off another vehicle!

TIRE: SO true. Now you’re a big advocate for mental health awareness. Why champion this cause?

Beau: Well, I grew up in a rough household. The only way to survive was to join the roaming street gangs of Manhattan (Kansas). And after performing the ‘Jet Song’ for the 900th time, I finally had enough of that shit. I knew there had to be a better life. So I enrolled in college and took courses in “psychology” where the professor taught some liberal propaganda about “mental disorders”. I told him there ain’t nothing wrong with my brain, then I dropped the textbook on the floor and took a shit on it in front of the entire class. So I’ve been railing against this nonsense ever since.

TIRE: Nevertheless, you’re a big proponent for therapy.

Beau: Correct. But I’m a man. So I don’t “talk” about my feelings. I once had a therapist tell me that I had undiagnosed “PTSD” and tried to prescribe me medication. But I grabbed that prescription pad and told him “this is where you can stick this,” then I dropped my pants and shoved it up my asshole. No man can tell me what I feel. Because I feel nothing; nothing but contempt for the human race. If I wanted to “feel better” about myself, I wouldn’t take pills. If god wanted us to take medication, he wouldn’t have given us Jim Beam. And no, I don’t have a drinking problem.

TIRE: So in lieu of traditional therapy, what do you recommend?

I’m a man of action. The only thing that calms me is taking apart and cleaning my Glock while blindfolded. I also make my own ammunition and scratch of serial numbers for my growing gun collection. “Paranoid Schizophrenia,” is another big word THEY like to throw at me. But God speaks to me daily. He tells me that the world will soon be made whole again and that I must be ready for when He calls my name.

TIRE: Thank you for an enlightening interview.

Beau: Thank you. And remember: God’s watching. And so are THEY.

Jack Hardcock: The Legend Continues (Part IV)

“Please take the barrel of your .38 out of my nose!” the manager of the porn theater cried. “I don’t recognize the girl!”

“I know you know something!” I replied. “If you like having a nose, you better spit it out!”

“I know nothing! I swear!”

“You’re a liar. And you know what the Lord does to liars and pornographers? There’s no forgiveness! The Book of Isaiah says so,” I said. “But you will live to die another day. So get right with the Lord, for hell is in your not too distant future!”

I pulled the trigger and his nose splattered against the wall. The manager screamed on the floor while blood streamed through his fingers as he held his hands over his face.

Meanwhile, Peter Tucker was waiting outside of the manager’s office. “I’m proud of you, Jack,” he said. “You didn’t put a bullet in the suspect’s brain this time. You’re really maturing as a person.”

“Thanks Peter,” I replied as I put the .38 back in its holster. “Gosh though, this Layla Huffington girl is really hard to find. I mean, millions of men beat off to her picture everyday! You’d think SOMEONE would recognize her.”

“People go missing all of the time. I think you’ve done enough work for the day. C’mon, let’s get drunk and forget about it.”

I nodded then Peter and me left the theater and began walking past skid row. I couldn’t shake the image of Layla from my mind. There was something about her face that was haunting me.

As we were about to enter the bar, a street performer was playing a familiar tune on his guitar. “Do you hear that song?” I asked Peter.

“Yeah, it’s a shitty acoustic version to that Eric Clapton song. What of it?”

“Layla,” I said.

I walked up to the street performer and handed him a $20 bill. “You better take the money,” I told him, “cuz if you don’t give the answers I want, you’ll get a bullet instead.”

“Fuck off copper!”

I slapped him across the face with the butt of my .38. As he laid on the ground, I pointed the gun at his skull. “I ain’t no cop,” I said. “I’m Jack Hardcock and I don’t play by the rules. So tell me about Layla or else you’ll be my next victim of the day.”

“It’s just a song, man!”

I cocked the .38.

“Alright alright!” the performer cried. “She’s my ex-girlfriend! She dumped my ass and fucked off to Los Angeles!”

“Layla WHO?!!”

“Layla HUFFINGTON!”

TO BE CONTINUED….

Jack Hardcock: The Legend Continues (Part III)

“Don’t forget your Winchester ammo, Uncle Jack,”Klyde reminded me before I boarded the Greyhound bus.

I chuckled a bit. “You must mistake me for some stupid moron, Klyde,” I replied, “I never forget that!”

Thankfully he did remind me because I forgot.

“Well Brother Jack,” Pete said as he slapped me on the back, “don’t you be enjoying California too much. If you come back as a Democrat, I’ll strangle you with my bare hands and hang your corpse in the front yard.”

“Heh, good luck getting passed my .38,” I said as I pulled out my gun.

We laughed and exchanged hugs before I took my seat on the bus bound for Oakland, CA. When I arrived 12 days later, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being watched. So I grabbed my bags and checked in at the La Quinta Inn in Alameda.

“Name please?” the clerk asked.

“Hardcock. Jack Hardcock.”

“ID?”

I laid the .38 out on the desk.

“Ah yes, Mr. Hardcock. Welcome to Alameda,” the clerk said. “Room 213 is ready for you.”

I went up to the room, threw my bags on the bed and began checking for bugs and wiretaps. I found nothing. Then there was a knock on the door.

“Room service,” the voice said.

I drew my weapon and cracked open the door. “What do you want?” I asked.

“I’m here to bring you more toiletries, Mr. Hardcock,” the housekeeper replied.

I opened the door and invited her in. She pushed her cart in front of her and started dispensing soaps and shampoos on the nightstand and skink. When she was finished, she parked her cart in front of me.

“Is there anything else I can get you?” she asked.

“Yes, just one more thing…”

I punched her in the face and wrestled her to the bed. As I had my knee to her back, I ripped off the wig.

“Nice try, Peter Tucker: FBI agent!” I said.

I released my knee and Peter started laughing as he rolled over. “Nothing gets passed you,” he said, “you’re as sharp as a tack!”

“What the fuck do you want? Why are you watching me?”

Peter sat up in bed and began wiping away the makeup. “Now now, settle down Jack,” he explained, “I know you’re after the missing Huffington girl. I promise to not interfere with with your investigation, the only service my office will provide is protection.”

“Protection from what? There’s nothing on the streets that I can’t handle myself. Remember, I spent six months in Cleveland?!”

“I know that! But things operate a little differently here.”

“How so?”

“Well, for one thing, I’m in charge.”

I let out a huge guffaw. “Don’t tell me the FBI put you in charge of the San Francisco field offices!”

“You better believe it, bucko,” Peter replied. “Furthermore, I don’t you running around here with that puny ass peashooter fuckin everything up! So you play by the rules or I’ll have you locked up in San Quentin! Do we have an understanding?”

“Peashooter? You mean this LETHAL weapon?”

I then pulled out the .38 and shot Peter’s makeup sponge right out of his hand.

“That’s exactly what I’m talking about, Jack!”

“Alright Peter,” I said as I placed the .38 back in its holster, “I’ll play it your way. But what’s with the disguise?”

“Disguise?” Peter asked. “This is how I dress.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

Jack Hardcock: The Legend Continues (Part I)

“Why did you give me this ‘Jesus Saves’ tract?” the bank robber asked me. I had the .38 pointed directly at his skull.

“Because I’m giving you one last choice,” I said. “And I suggest you accept the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior.”

“And what if I tell you that you can wipe your ass with this?”

I shook my head in disappointment. “Then tell Satan he’s next,” I said. I pulled the trigger and unleashed the full fury of my .38 right there in the bank lobby.

Shouts and screams echoed throughout the halls while the robber’s brains spewed out onto the marble floor below. I raised my hands to calm the crowd. “No need to thank me,” I said, “I’m just a good Christian Samaritan doing his job. Have a blessed day.”

I exited the bank just as the police arrived. The officer in charge started yelling in my face. “Goddamnit Jack Hardcock!” he screamed, “you had the suspect disarmed and apprehended, but you shot him anyway!”

“It’s good to see you too Sarge,” I replied sarcastically. “I figured that I save the taxpayers money by executing the bastard right then and there.”

“That’s not how justice is done!” he exclaimed. “Get out of my city before I throw these cuffs on you!”

“With pleasure,” I said then spat on the ground. But that’s the kind of thanks I get for being an instrument of the Lord’s Wrath.

***

“It’s time to go to Bible study,” my brother Pete Hardcock said. Him and his wife were kind enough to allow me to sleep in their garage while I got my life together. This was a year after I saved the city of Cleveland and Progressive Field from a renegade FBI agent. To pay the bills, I was now doing private detective work; stalking cheating spouses and such. It was beneath the dignity of a lethal holy weapon such as myself.

“You know I don’t need that shit,” I said to Pete, “I don’t have to read the Bible. I know everything in it is true and divinely inspired. That’s good enough for me.”

Pete’s stay-at-home wife, Jesseka, brought me a plate of green bean casserole. “Where’s the bourbon?” I asked.

“You know we don’t drink in this house,” Jesseka replied.

“If God didn’t want us to drink, He wouldn’t have made Kentucky bourbon,” I explained.

“Say Jack,” Pete said, “why don’t you come to church and meet a nice Christian lady. You’re 21 years old. Don’t you think it’s time to settle down and start a family?”

“Poppycock,” I replied. “How can I settle down when there’s so much evil on the streets? Like I tell everyone, I’m a blunt instrument of the Lord. So I have no thoughts or desires of my own.“

Pete and Jesseka’s son, Klyde, came rushing into the garage. “Uncle Jack,” he said, “someone’s at the door for you.”

“Back to work,” I uttered to myself. So I pulled up my pants, lit up a cigarette, then walked towards the front door. There I found a woman with tears streaming down her face.

“Are you Jack Hardcock?” the woman asked. “My daughter has gone missing. I need your help!”

TO BE CONTINUED…

Jack Hardcock: Christian Detective (Full Story)

Jack Hardcock will be returning in November. So here’s an introduction to the man, the legend.

Enjoy.

“Cleveland. Shit,” I uttered to myself. “Still only in Cleveland.”

“What’s that, Jack?” the Chief asked.

“Nothing, Chief,” I replied. “It’s just that I’ve been stuck in this godforsaken city for the last two months.”

“Eh,” the Chief shrugged, “at least it ain’t Cincinnati.”

“Ain’t that the truth,” I replied as I lit up a cigarette. “What do you got for me?”

“A triple homicide. Two dead hookers and an anonymous John.”

“So the usual, huh?” I said. 

“Jesus Christ, Jack! Do you want the case or not?! I’ve got two detectives downstairs itching for a case like this and you’re up here bitching like a little bitch!”

“Don’t use that language around me Chief,” I replied. “I was raised Southern Baptist.”

“My mistake, Jack,” the Chief said, “you know me, I always try to be respectful of other people’s belief’s. Except for Seven Day Adventist.”

“Word.”

“So what’s it gonna be Jack? Do you want the case or not?”

I put out my cigarette and grabbed the file. “I guess so Chief,” I said, “Sometimes I wish the Lord would come back and unleash hell on this town. If it ain’t a serial killer, it’s some goddamn junkie robbing his grandmother for his next fix. I swear, you unbelievers will learn the vengeance of God! May this city be cast into Hell!”

The Chief got on his knees and begged for mercy. “Please Jack! Don’t let me burn in hell for all of eternity!” 

“Then accept the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart,” I said, “and pray for the forgiveness of your sins.”

And on February 23rd, 2022, the Chief accepted Salvation through Jesus Christ.

After the Chief’s conversion, I loaded my .38 and asked God to guide my bullets into the bodies of my enemies. “Thank you Lord,” I prayed, “let vengeance be Yours…and mine.”

I kissed the barrel of my gun and entered the mean streets of Cleveland. “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil,” I uttered.

I grabbed the first pedestrian I saw on the streets. “Do you recognize this man?” I asked while holding up a picture of one of the victims.

“No,” they replied.

I slapped them across the face with the butt of my gun. “Liar!” I yelled, “Do you know what the Lord does to liars? He mutilates their genitals and they feast on them in heaven! So don’t let the devil catch your tongue! For it’s not the devil you should worry about if that happens! It’s GOD. And you WILL know God’s wrath AND the wrath of my .38!”

After the pedestrian pissed their pants, they confessed the victim’s name: Art McGarth. 

So I let that poor sack of shit go and lit up a cigarette. “Not bad for an honest day’s work,” I thought.

***

“What can you tell me about Art McGarth?” I asked the cop at precinct 13.

“Fuck you Jack Hardcock!” the cop said. “You don’t run this city! Every time you come around here, a cop ends up dead. You’re a loose canon! I will not be cooperating with you!”

I pulled out my .38 and reached across his desk. “Listen here, HEATHEN,” I said, “I’m doing the Lord’s work by saving this city from the clutches of SATAN! You will cooperate with me or else you will be swallowing one of these bullets!”

The Chief detective of the precinct, Sally Wally, intervened. Her bottom of her skirt went just above her knees. “Jack, put that gun away,” she ordered.

“Sally, you’re dressed immodestly,” I replied. “I can’t do my job with an erection.”

“Step into my office please.”

I went into Sally’s office. I threw my coat and jacket down on the couch and kicked my feet up on her desk. “Did I say you can sit?” she asked.

“Sally, with all due respect,” I replied, “you might be over this precinct, but I’m still a man. And as a man, my authority supersedes yours.”

“What do you want with Art McGarth?” she asked, completely ignoring my comment. “This investigation is under our jurisdiction. We will handle this case.”

“The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations has asked me to look into his murder, along with the murder of two prostitutes,” I said. “McGarth was listed as a John Doe with the Bureau before I identified him and his name only appears in your databases. So what can you tell me about him?”

“After you got 14 of my officers killed in your last investigation,” Sally explained, “a federal grand jury decided that my department no longer has to cooperate with yours. If you have a problem with that, take it up with the Supreme Court.”

“You see, that’s the thing,” I replied as I lit up a cigarette and let the ashes fall to the ground, “man has his laws. And God has His. And I don’t answer to the laws of man.”

“That’s why you were kicked out of the FBI,” Sally said.

“Come on Sally! I wasn’t booted from the FBI! I voluntarily left because I couldn’t work for a heathen President like Joe Biden!”

“Tell your department that if they want our cooperation,” Sally said, “they will have to get a federal warrant. Until then, get the fuck out of my office and don’t show up here again.”

I stood up, grabbed my hat and coat, then put my cigarette out on Sally’s desk. “Have a blessed day,” I said.

There was something fishy going here. Whatever Precinct 13 was hiding, with the Lord’s help, I was going to get to the bottom of it.

When I walked outside, I reached into my holster and pulled out the .38. “Don’t worry sweetheart,” I said to the gun, “this city will soon know your wrath.”

I kissed the gun and put it back into the holster.

***

I unlocked the door to 12th story apartment overlooking downtown Cleveland. I threw down my keys and coat then turned on the light.

The local gangster, Gregg Poppovich, was pointing a gun at me. “What do you want with Art McGarth, Jack?” he asked as he lifted a stogie to his mouth.

“I’m investigating his death, Gregg,” I said. “You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that, would you?”

“Of course not,” he replied, “I just didn’t want you pointing the finger at me.”

“Now why would I want to do something like that?” I asked while I studied him over.

Gregg laughed and put the pistol away in his holster. “I didn’t suppose you did,” he said, “you’re too smart for that.”

“But you must know something. Or else you wouldn’t have broken into my apartment.”

He laughed some more. “Of course,” he said, “that’s why I’m paying you a visit. It’s neither organized crime nor police corruption. There’s a madman loose out there, Jack. I don’t know much more than you, but watch your back.”

“Thanks for your concern, Gregg. But I have the Lord’s protection. Besides, why kill McGarth? He must have had some connections.”

“Not McGarth,” Gregg said, “but the two prostitutes. They’re disappearing all over the city. I’m telling you, Jack, it’s a Jack the Ripper kind of situation.”

“A serial killer?” I laughed, “in a city like Cleveland? Never heard of such a thing.”

“I’m not crazy, Jack. I don’t believe in that silly God of yours, but I do believe in the Devil. And he’s here in this city. So you better watch yourself.”

“I’ll pray on it,” I said, “and I’ll pray for you and your Salvation. May the Lord guide you towards the Light.”

Gregg left and I took a shit. All that scotch and nicotine was running through me. I absolutely destroyed that toilet.

When I walked out of the bathroom, Sally was lying on the bed. “Jesus Christ, Jack!” she said while puffing on a cigarette, “someone light a match!”

I closed the door and loosened my tie. “You shouldn’t use the Lord’s name in vain,” I said. “What are you doing here? I should really change the locks to this place.”

“Just paying you a visit,” she replied while hiking up her skirt to expose her gorgeous legs. “Have you found out anything about Art McGarth? Seeing as we’re both investigating his death.”

“His murder appears to have been collateral damage,” I said. “Other than that, I know nothing.”

“Are you sure?” Sally asked as she unbuttoned her blouse.

“Sally, I don’t know what you’re expecting to happen here. You know I don’t know what to do with a woman. I’ve never had sex!”

“I could show you,” she said as she lowered her shirt to expose her shoulders.

“No thanks,” I replied, “I don’t believe in sex before marriage. Now please leave.”

After she left, I straightened out the bed, loaded one round into the revolver of my .38, spun it, pointed it at my head, and pulled the trigger.

Nothing.

“Thank you, Lord, for always watching out for me,” I prayed. Then I went to bed.

I always sleep better after a game of Russian Roulette.

***

I returned to DCI headquarters to check in the Chief. He was shoveling jelly donuts down his face hole and getting shit all over the paperwork.

“Can you believe this shit, Jack?” he said while shards of donut was flying out of his mouth.

“I’m a Christian, Chief,” I replied, “I believe everything that I’m told.”

“Take a look at this.”

Chief handed me a report from the Pittsburgh FBI office regarding a series of murders. I had to swipe away jelly just to read all of the paragraphs.

“So what?” I asked.

“The autopsies came back from the McGarth killings. It can’t be a coincidence Jack. The same guy killing all them hookers in Pittsburgh is the same guy who killed McGarth and our two prostitutes.”

“The FBI are a bunch of jokers, Chief. I wouldn’t trust them to find a missing cat. Especially after what they did to President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago!”

“Now cool it, Jack!” Chief said. “I know that you hold a grudge against the Bureau after they shitcanned you and sent you to Ohio BCI, but I expect your full cooperation!”

“Cooperation?” I asked. “The fuck are you talking about, Chief?”

“The Feds are coming to help us with our investigation,” he replied, “and I don’t want ONE word out of you! You hear?! Or you’ll be sent to Toledo so fast that you’ll bust your pants!”

“I already busted in my pants once today, Chief,” I said, “then I prayed for the Lord’s forgiveness. So don’t threaten me with a good time.”

“That’s it!” the Chief yelled, “get out of my office!”

“With pleasure.”

The FBI would not be getting my cooperation. But I couldn’t solve this case on my own. So I went looking for my good friend: local gangster Gregg Poppovich. 

I found him enjoying a plate of lasagna at his Italian restaurant that he owned just outside of town. I grabbed his head and shoved it into the plate.

“Jesus, Jack!” he said as he wiped away the tomato sauce from his face, “you could have just said hello!”

I laid the .38 down on the table. “I need some answers,” I said.

“About what?!”

“Art McGarth.”

“I told you! I know what you know!”

I grabbed the plate and smashed it against his face. “Not good enough!” I yelled.

Gregg grabbed another towel and began wiping the blood from his face. “Is there something wrong, Jack? You seem a bit agitated,” he asked.

I took a deep breath and exhaled. “Thanks for asking Gregg,” I said, “but it seems like the FBI is always up my ass!”

“I know how you feel,” Gregg replied, “it ain’t easy being a local gangster, ya know?”

“Unfortunately, they’re coming down here from Pittsburgh to investigate the McGarth killings,” I said. “I don’t need their help. What good has the Federal government ever done?!”

“Jack, I know we haven’t always seen eye to eye,” Gregg said, “but if you ever needed any assistance, I’m always here to help.”

“Thanks Gregg,”I replied, “you’ve always been a good friend. So since you’re offering, I’m gonna need the entire Cleveland criminal underworld to help me catch a killer.”

***

I couldn’t sleep that night. I even loaded .38 revolver with two extra bullets. 

Nothin.

I prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ Our Savior. I said, “Lord, every time Ohio BCI tries to give me a partner, I tell them I don’t need that shit because Jesus is my partner. Well now I’m calling on that partnership. Please let me find the killer of Art McGarth and the two prostitutes before the FBI does. Amen.”

Immediately, there was a knock on the door. It was Sally. 

“Sally,” I said, “for the last time, quit coming around here. I don’t know how to fuck.”

“This isn’t a social visit,” she replied, “you’re wanted at the precinct. There’s been another murder.”

***

“How long ago did the murder take place?” I asked as we were walking into the coroner’s office. 

“Approximately 8 hours ago,” Sally replied.

“Have you identified the body?”

“We were hoping you would help us with that,” she said. Sally then pulled back the sheet covering victim’s body. 

I was aghast.

“My god,” I said, “Sally, that’s, that’s…”

“The Chief?” she replied. “Yes, how convenient. You were the last one seen with him.”

“Listen, I had nothing to do with that!”

“Put your hands behind your back,” she ordered.

“You’re making a big mistake!” I yelled.

“Am I? The Chief was killed with a bullet to the brain fired from a .38 special. That’s your modus operandi. You had a means to kill him, now I just need a motive. I hereby place you under arrest, Jack Hardcock!”

Two other officers flanked me on both sides. I roundhouse kicked one and kicked the other one in the gonads so hard that he passed out. I pulled out my .38 and pointed it at Sally. “I demand you tell me what’s going on here!” I ordered.

“You’re a renegade cop, Jack!” she said. “You are the biggest menace to the streets of Cleveland and I’m taking you down.”

I laughed. “Better luck in the next life, sweetheart,” I said, then pulled the trigger. Sadly, I only had two chambers loaded in the revolver because I was playing Russian Roulette earlier, so nothing fired. 

“Sorry,” I said to Sally. Then I pulled the trigger again. Unfortunately the bullet missed her.

Before I could fire off a last shot, the two cops re-emerged from their blackout. So I jumped out a window and fell 20 floors into the dumpster below. I shattered my pelvis, ruptured my spleen, punctured both lungs, broke all of my limbs, and was severely concussed. 

I laid in the dumpster where a dump truck scooped me up, poured me into a rubble heap, and carried me off to a landfill. When I awoke the next morning, I crawled out of the trash dump, and all the way to Gregg Poppovich’s restaurant outside of town. 

It ain’t easy crawling 8 miles while undergoing organ failure with all your limbs shattered. But that’s just life in Cleveland.

***

Jack, you magnificent sack of shit,” Gregg said to me after he patched me up, “I don’t know how you do it, but I’ve never seen anyone heal from broken limbs, organ failure, and brain damage as quickly as you have.”

“That’s the power of prayer,” I said in response. “I don’t need any of that medicine bullshit. I have God on my side.”

“You have proven the Power of Christ to me, Jack,” Gregg replied. “Despite growing up in America, getting hounded daily by Jehovah’s Witnesses, raised in the Catholic Church, and the Bible essentially being the cornerstone of Western art and literature, no one has ever told me about Jesus Christ or how to receive His Grace.”

“Bow your head,” I said. And on February 27, 2022, Gregg Poppovich, local Cleveland gangster, accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior.

I got up from the operating table, buttoned up my shirt, and punched Gregg in the stomach. “I’m gonna need more bullets for my .38,” I said.

Gregg was wheezing on the floor. “You could ask nicely, Jack,” he said.

“I don’t have time,” I responded, “Sally’s behind these murders, I’m sure of it. She’s already framed me, which means the FBI will be looking for me. Have you amassed your army of fellow gangsters? I’m gonna need them.”

Gregg stood up and straightened out his jacket. “They’re ready and waiting on your orders, sir,” he said.

“Good,” I replied, then socked him in the face. “I want a stakeout on Sally and a few of her officers. They are NOT to engage with any of them. Understood? Once when they have them cornered, your men should reach out to me. Okay?”

“Understood, sir,” Gregg said as he wiped blood away from his nose.

“Alright, now where are those bullets?”

I went to the back of Gregg’s Italian restaurant outside of town to do some target practice. I had just recovered from shattering every bone in my wrist after falling 20 stories into a dumpster. Unfortunately I missed every shot.

Gregg stood on the back patio laughing with a stogie hanging out his mouth. “Are you sure you’re ready for all this?” he asked.

I turned swiftly and shot the stogie out of his mouth. “As ready as I’ll ever be,” I said. I twirled the gun around my finger and put it back in my holster.

***

I received a page from my beeper,” Gregg yelled. “They spotted Sally alone off Market Avenue!”

So Gregg and I piled into his 78 Buick Regal and sped off northbound into town. “What are we gonna do when we catch her?” Gregg asked.

“Just gonna ask her a few questions,” I said.

But before we reached Market Square, a black SUV rammed into the side of us. The Buick crashed into the side barrier then went over the edge into the Cuyahoga River.

Thankfully the river wasn’t on fire at that particular moment.

***

Gregg and I were individually strapped to a chair in an abandoned warehouse. We were revived by a blinding flash of light.

“Well well well,” a voice said from behind the light. “If it isn’t disgruntled Ohio BCI agent Jack Hardcock and local Cleveland gangster Gregg Poppovich. You two make strange bedfellows.”

“By the authority of Jesus Christ, I demand to know what’s going on here!” I exclaimed. 

The light shut off and in front of us were three FBI agents. I recognized one of them. “Peter Tucker,” I said.

“Jack, how’ve you been?” Peter replied.

“Pete, untie us now! I don’t know what Sally told you, but I am not the killer!”

“Yes I know,” he said, “I just wanted you to know that I am in charge here.”

“What do you mean?”

Pete lit up a cigarette. “You see,” he stated, “we know that Sally and her minions are the ones that killed Art McGarth and many, MANY others.”

“If you have something to say, Pete,” I said, “spit it out. We don’t have all day.”

Pete took a long exhale as smoke billowed out his mouth. “Sally is a vigilante, Jack,” he continued. “We’ve keeping a watchful eye on her. She’s been executing pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers, stoners, plumbers, hipsters, Hoobastank, and anyone she deems a menace to society. She’s gone renegade, Jack. She thinks she’s above the law.”

“My God!” I said. “That means…”

“Yes,” Pete interrupted, “that means you were next.”

An agent came up and cut Gregg and me loose from our chairs. “Since you’re in charge,” I said to Pete as I massaged my wrist, “what happens now?”

Pete put out his cigarette and stepped out from behind his desk. “Jack, you can fool BCI but you can’t fool me,” he said. “I know you want back into the Federal Bureau. Cleveland’s a toxic wasteland. It’s Ohio’s toilet for fuck’s sake. It’s no mistake that the Browns are perpetually terrible. This city is cursed! I know that you don’t want to spend the rest of your career here.”

He handed me my .38. “All I’m asking,” Pete concluded, “is that you help me catch Sally. If you can do that, we can forget that time you accidentally burned down a retirement home and shot up a Denny’s. You’ll be back in the Bureau. What do you say?”

I looked him square in the eye.

“Pete, if I help you do this and you go back on your word,” I said, “you won’t have to wait on the Second Coming. I’ll send you straight to hell myself.”

***

Sally’s trail went cold. But somewhere beneath that shit-crusted anus that is the Cleveland underworld, she was waiting on us, plotting her trap. 

The FBI was generous enough to fish out Gregg’s Buick from the bottom of the Cuyahoga River. Despite being busted up on the side and immersed in water for hours, it started up like a charm.

“A Buick will never let you down, my daddy always told me,” Gregg said. 

“Ain’t that the truth.”

We were passing back and forth a bottle of brandy while on stakeout outside of Progressive Field. Peter Tucker sent us there. He had his suspicions that Sally would strike there next.

“What kind of idiot would send us here?” I asked Gregg. “It’s not even baseball season!”

“That ain’t true boss,” he replied. “There’s a celebrity baseball game here tomorrow.”

The blood drained from my face. “Oh fuck!” I said. “Gregg, get to the nearest pay phone and page Pete’s beeper. We’re gonna need backup.”

I knew what Sally was thinking. Celebrities would be there. That means pedos, druggies, rapists, all-around scum of the earth. She would have all of her eggs in one basket.

So I readied my .38 and scaled the fence into the stadium. It was night. The security guards were sleeping. 

Sally was there. I knew it with all my instinct. I kicked open doors and trashed the stadium but found no one. 

Then I entered the equipment room. 

Inside were countless bald eagles locked up in cages. Strapped to them were contraptions that, when activated, would release live hand grenades onto unsuspecting people below. 

“What are you doing in here?!” a man shouted. It was the bird keeper.

I lifted the .38. “Where’s Sally?” I said.

The man raised his hands in the air. “Hey man! I know nothing about that. I was just paid to do a job!”

I clicked the gun. “I’ll give you three seconds to answer before I blow your brains out,” I replied.

The man pissed his pants and continued to cry that he knew nothin. I pulled the trigger and his brains splattered all over the wall. In hindsight, that was a bad decision because I should have took him in for questioning.

C’est la vie.

I walked back out to the Buick and looked for Gregg. Off in the distance, underneath a pay phone, I saw Gregg laying on the ground holding his guts in. 

I ran up and tried to stop the bleeding. 

“She got me good, Jack,” Gregg said.

“Shut the fuck up you stupid bastard,” I replied. “You’re not gonna die.”

With his last bit of strength, Gregg grabbed me by the back of the neck. “Jack, I want you to know,” he uttered, “I regret every moment.”

There I held Gregg Poppovich, local Cleveland gangster, dead in my arms.

Then the pay phone rang. “Jack! This is Pete Tucker,” the voice said, “I received an urgent page from Gregg!”

“Gregg’s dead,” I said to Pete. “Sally killed my boss and now she’s killed my best friend. But I have her right where I want her. She’s here, Pete. Vengeance is mine.”

***

“What are you gonna do Jack?” Peter Tucker asked me at the FBI flophouse. I was washing local Cleveland gangster Gregg Poppovich’s blood off my hands.

“I’m gonna do what the Lord should have done a long time ago,” I said, “I’m gonna send her back to hell. Right where she belongs.”

“Say it ain’t so, Jack,” Pete replied, “are you actually losing your faith?”

I grabbed a cheap towel and began drying my hands. “I never question the ways of God,” I said, “but I sometimes wonder if He really has forsaken us. He’s certainly done so to Cleveland.”

Pete poured two glasses of whiskey and handed one to me. “We’ve always hated each other, Jack,” he said, “in fact I despise the ground you walk on. Someday I hope you die a slow agonizing death, preferably by fire or some means of disembowelment. You’re a piece of shit and I would love to grab this bottle of whiskey, shove it up your ass, and throw you out the window. However, unlike you, I have restraint. But goddamnit Jack, I’ve always respected your faith. And I’ll drink to that.”

“Thanks Pete,” I replied, “I needed that pep talk. It’s tough out here on the streets. It’s tough to make friends when they always end up dead. At least the Chief and Gregg found Salvation before their deaths. I do find consolation in that. I hope that someday you’ll find Peace through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

“Fuck that shit,” Pete said, “a lot of good that did to your friends. They found a guarantee into Heaven and next thing you know, they’re dead. That’s not for me Jack. I need the constant threat of Hell to keep me alive. That’s how you survive these streets.”

I shook my head. “You’re too short sided Pete.”

“No, dipshit. I just ain’t stupid.”

“Well, whatever,” I said as I downed the whiskey, “we’ve got a demon on the loose. And if there’s one thing that I’ve learned about the Lord is that He always vanquishes His enemies. Specifically through MY .38.”

“What a pussy ass weapon,” Pete replied.

As he raised the whiskey glass to his mouth, I fired a round right through the glass. Shards and liquid went everywhere. 

“Alright, now I see what you mean,” Pete said as he wiped away whiskey that splashed on his face. “So what’s the plan? How are you gonna get to Sally?”

“Thankfully we cleaned up the blood and brains from that guy I shot at Progressive Field,” I replied. “Yeah, I probably shouldn’t have killed him, but what’s done is done. Hopefully she won’t notice he’s missing and she’ll move forward with her plan.”

“And then?”

“And then?” I thought, “God will provide a way.”

“That sounds like a stupid plan.”

***

“Stop calling them the Cleveland ‘Indians’ Jack,” Pete said while we were prepping to enter Progressive Field.

“I will never give into the woke agenda,” I replied. “This is a Christian Nation and I will never let a Catholic like Joe Biden tell me who to respect! Build the wall!!!”

“You’re a moron,” Pete uttered.

Security let us through the gate and we were handed a program. It stated that at the conclusion of the National Anthem, hundreds of bald eagles would be released over the stadium. 

“We gotta stop those eagles,” I said, “thousands of people are at this celebrity baseball game. If Sally armed those birds with live grenades, there’s no telling what kind of damage that will do.”

“We should split up,” Pete ordered, “we’ve only got 10 minutes!”

Security was tight. There was no way we could search the entire stadium. I had to act fast.

The Village People were prepping to sing the National Anthem. One of them stepped into the bathroom and I followed him inside. While he was taking a shit, I kicked open the stall door and knocked him out. 

With him unconscious, I took his costume, added a lot of makeup, and flushed the toilet. As I exited the bathroom to search for Sally, one of the Village People, the construction worker, shouted at me. 

“Hey buddy,” he yelled, “it’s time to go on!”

“Fuck,” I said, then followed them out onto the field.

I had the .38 hidden under my smock.

As we danced to an upbeat rendition of the National Anthem, I kept a lookout for Sally. When the song concluded, Deshaun Watson was coming out onto the field to throw the first pitch. 

Then the bald eagles came flying.

“Everyone hit the ground!” I yelled as I drew the .38.

I ripped one bullet into the air after another. Each one made it into a bald eagle and they came plummeting towards the ground. The stadium erupted into a panic and security rushed the field.

“I’m a cop!” I yelled after they tackled me. I pulled out my badge.

Pete came running out behind them with his weapon drawn. “Jesus Christ, Jack!” he said, “What the hell’s the matter with you? Out of all the Village People, you came out dressed as the Native American?!”

“Never mind me!” I said, “What about the bald eagles?! Did anybody get killed?!”

“There were no grenades,” Pete replied, “you just senselessly shot six bald eagles out of the sky in front of everyone!”

“Damn it Pete!” I yelled, “Sally is here! We’ve got to stop her!”

There was a quiet roar overtaking the stadium. It continued to grow louder and louder. “The fuck is that sound?” Pete asked.

A large, smooth object the loomed large over the stands and was slowly moving over the field. It was the Goodyear Blimp. I squinted to see who was piloting it.

It was Sally.

“My god, Pete,” I said, “it’s a trap…”

***

“Shit!” I yelled. “After killing those bald eagles, I’m all outta bullets!”

“Jack,” Pete replied, “if you can get us out of this, you might make me a believer after all.”

That was all the motivation I needed. So I said a prayer: “Lord, everything that’s happened so far has led me to this point. Give me the strength to kill Sally and lead Peter Tucker to Salvation in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Right then, as the Goodyear Blimp hovered above, Sally, who was piloting the aircraft, released dozens of live hand grenades down onto Progressive Field. Pete and I weaved and bobbed our way through one explosion after the next but when the last grenade landed, it didn’t explode.

That’s when the Lord gave me a sign.

I saw Deshaun Watson, who was supposed to the throw the first pitch in the celebrity baseball game, cowering in the corner and pissing himself in the dugout. “Deshaun!” I yelled, “we need your arm strength! If you pick up this live hand grenade and hurl it back at the blimp before it detonates, you might be redeemed in the eyes of the public for all those disgusting sexual acts you did to those masseuses. Maybe not though. But what other choice you got?! Hurry before it explodes!” 

Watson gathered up the courage, climbed out of the dugout, picked up the grenade, and with all of his strength he launched it towards the blimp. 

He was right on the money. The grenade exploded, and the blimp came tumbling down onto the field. 

Sally was in a daze when she climbed out of the wreckage. “Holt!” Pete ordered as he lifted his 9mm towards her. But Sally was too quick. She drew her weapon and shot Pete in the abdomen.

Then she turned her gun towards me and laughed maniacally. “I finally have you where I want you, Jack Hardcock!” Sally said, “Prepare to meet your maker, Cleveland scum!”

Sally then ripped an entire clip into my direction, but to her surprise, every bullet missed. I dodged my way over to Pete’s position. With one hand over the bullet wound, he tossed me his 9mm with the other. “Pete,” I said, “without my .38, I’m useless!”

“I believe in you, Jack,” he replied, “have faith!”

I lifted the 9mm and emptied five bullets into Sally. As she dropped to her knees, I walked towards her, still aiming the weapon. “But why, Jack?” she asked, “I was only trying to clean up the streets. Wouldn’t your God approve?”

“No Sally,” I said, “Vengeance is the Lord’s. And I am His instrument.” 

I fired one more round into Sally’s skull and her body fell to the ground.

***

“I hate the everlasting shit out of you, Jack,” Pete told me on the hospital bed. “But goddamn it, you saved my life. I’ll never forget that.”

“Good. So you’ll accept Jesus into your life?” I asked.

“Fuck no! We got lucky that Deshaun Watson was there. It happens. No need to thank god for that bullshit. Deshaun might be a sex pervert but he’s got a rocket arm!”

“Yeah? Well that’s, like, your opinion, man. Next time your life’s in danger, you might not be so lucky. But someday, Pete, I’m gonna prove to you that God’s real. You watch!”

“Fuck off, Jack.”

The mayor of Cleveland stormed into the hospital room with all smiles. “Jack Hardcock, with Lebron James gone, you’re the biggest hero to this town,” he said, “I would like to present to you the keys to the city.”

“Thank you, Mayor,” I responded, “but you can kindly stick those keys up your ass. I’m resigning from the Ohio BCI and moving on with my life. My only hope is that the next time the Cuyahoga River catches on fire, it will burn this entire city down.”

“But Jack, where will you go?” Pete asked.

“God made me a rolling stone,” I replied, “I will go wherever the Lord tells me. With the help of my .38, I will perform God’s wrath on any son of a bitch that asks for it. And I’ll spread the Word of Jesus and whatever.”

“I wish you the best of luck,” Pete said.

“Thanks Pete, but I don’t need that shit either. I have the Lord’s protection.”

We shook hands and I departed the hospital room. Where I was going, I didn’t know. My only guide was the Word of God and my .38.

THE END 

BUT JACK HARDCOCK WILL RETURN…

Untitled (Full Story)

What a godawful story for the month of October.

BUT, that’s what AI told me to write:

A woman in her sixties, who can be quite compassionate.

A man in his early thirties, who can be quite aggressive.

The story begins in a nightclub.

Someone is driven out of their home.

It’s a story about greed.

I didn’t follow the prompt perfectly. But I’m not taking responsibility for writing this trash.

Enjoy.

“I don’t piss in public toilets,” Eric shouted above the music to Don Lemon. “The toilets are connected to the publicly funded municipal sewer system which then goes to a treatment facility. From there, hazardous chemicals and biologicals are removed from the water where it is then discharged into receiving waters like lakes and rivers. Downstream, other municipalities treat that same water so that it is safe for human consumption. That’s socialism. I’m a libertarian. I don’t believe in using such systems. Besides, REAL men piss outside.”

“Look,” Don replied, “I’m just saying that there’s no sense in holding your piss in! If you gotta go, GO!”

Eric and Don met in college. Despite their paths diverging after graduation, the two remained close. Now in their early 30s, Don was killing it selling Mazdas at the local dealership. Eric was still taking odd jobs stocking shelves and slinging pizzas.

“Mazda is a quality machine, Eric,” Don would always tell his friend, “I could get you a good job down at the dealership.”

This made Eric chuckle. “Don, you know I’m a Hyundai man.”

Don was happily married. But his friend Eric wasn’t blessed with the skill of communication. Or even empathy. He’d pity his friend as he watched him fumble around with women throughout their dorm days. But Don’s obligation to his best friend never wavered. Though knowing it was futile, he’d encourage Eric to mingle, hoping that some lucky lady would relieve him of his duty to his awkward friend. 

Now the two pals were batching it up at the club. Don sipped his cocktail, leaning against the bar. Eric was pounding the rum and cokes, ignoring the patrons. 

“She’s cute,” Don said, referring to the girl on the other end of the bar. As opposed to the other girls in the club, this one was closer to Eric’s age, dressed down in jeans and a t-shirt. 

“She’s alright,” Eric replied. 

“Buy her a drink!”

Eric stumbled his way across the bar. After seven rum and cokes, he was easily able to overcome a vague sense of nervousness. “Hi, I’m Eric,” he slurred, “can I buy you a drink?”

The disinterested girl nodded. “Wh-what do you do?” Eric asked.

“I’m a graduate student.”

“What do you study.”

“Middle Eastern Studies.”

“I love the Middle East!” he exclaimed. “Did you know that since the US invasion of Iraq, the economies of various nations in the Persian, or Arabian, Gulf have exploded: the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, etc. And they did so without much help from public subsidies. A perfect example of the power of unbridled capitalism. This, as opposed to Iran, who, US sanctions notwithstanding, drove their economy into the ground by nationalizing most of their industries. What a shame.”

“Uh-huh.”

Moments later, the girl’s friends came to collect her. “Gotta go! Thanks for the drink,” she said. 

“Fuck this,” Eric thought. He signaled the bartender to close his tab. “Are you leaving?” asked Don.

“Let’s face it, Don,” Eric explained, “females just aren’t interested in an intelligent, nice guy like myself. They want bad boys to treat them like rag dolls and whores. I’m done with this shit.”

“At least let me drive you home,” Don pleaded to his friend.

“No! Those are public roads! I’m WALKING home.”

***

Across town, in a much quieter bar, Patricia was lamenting her 60th birthday. “To god for allowing me to live one more year on this godforsaken planet!” she toasted to her friend.

“Maybe you should stop drinking,” Debra replied. “If you get one more DUI, you’ll surely be fired from you VP job at the bank.”

“Poppycock!” Patricia yelled. “Without me, that bank wouldn’t run!”

“Just take it easy, you gotta be at work in the morning.”

Patricia looked down at her watch. “Oh fuck, you’re right. I better go.”

“Well let me drive you home,” Debra pleaded.

“Sit the fuck down bitch,” Patricia replied, “you’re acting like I never drove drunk before.”

Patricia pulled out her keys and revved up the engine to her red Porsche 718 Cayman GTS. She cranked up Def Leopard’s Hysteria album and sped out of the parking lot. 

On down the road, while walking home, Eric finally had to relive his bladder. With his deep-seated hatred for all public works, Eric pulled out his penis and began pissing on the street. Patricia, meanwhile, was singing at the top of her lungs to Animal as she burned down the road.

Suddenly, mid-piss, Patricia clipped Eric with her Porsche. He helicoptered into the air before landing on the pavement, unconscious, and covered in urine.

***

“Sorry about shattering both your legs, pelvis, 14 ribs, and rupturing your brain,” Patricia told Eric, “but I couldn’t take you to the hospital. I hope you understand. That would work out best for both of us: I wouldn’t get fired and you wouldn’t accumulate massive medical debt. But I’m rich, so I will pay you a lot of money to keep your mouth shut.”

“Yeah, no I agree,” Eric replied as he sipped on his tea. Patricia spent the previous few days nursing him back to health in her own home. “I don’t trust doctors anyway,” he continued, “I just hope you cauterized the head wound to facilitate a full cognitive recovery.”

Patricia shook her head. “I’m sorry but you don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m a trained physician.”

Eric was stunned. It never occurred to his half witted (and heavily damaged) brain that a woman could be more knowledgeable than him. “B-b-but, I thought you were a banker!” he stuttered. 

Patricia rubbed her temples. “It’s a long story,” she explained. “I have an MD and an MBA. The important thing is that I’m fully capable of healing you.” She then stood up at his bedside and slipped on a robe. “You should lie in bed for the next few days,” she continued, “don’t over exert yourself. I’ll compensate you for all your lost wages.”

“Shiiiit,” Eric said, “I’m making more money in this bed than I’ve ever made in my life. But my family’s gonna wonder where I’ve been. My mom’s probably gonna kick me out of the house for going missing.”

“Just make up something. Besides, aren’t you 33 years old? Why are you still living with your mom?”

“Living on my own? In this economy?! Yeah right!”

“Anyways!” Patricia said. “I’m going to work. Please stay in bed. And if you need anything, I’m at your mercy.”

Eric watched Patricia leave the guest room and close the door behind her. “Maybe I have a milf fetish,” he thought as he whiffed her lingering scent. The thought of her examining his body easily aroused him.

Meanwhile, Patricia returned to work after a week of tending to Eric’s needs. “So who’s the lucky fella?” the President and CEO of Fifth National Bank, Harvey Whinestine, asked as she walked into her office.

“Pardon?” she replied, fearing her secret has been discovered. 

Harvey laughed. “I just figured you escaped to the Caribbean with one of your boy toys. I didn’t think we’d see you again.”

“Oh,” Patricia said, drawing a sigh of relief. “I’m sorry, I’ve been sick all week. I’ll get with Debra and we’ll get caught up on everything.”

Harvey stepped into her office and shut the door. “I do hope everything is alright,” he said. “If you ever need anything…”

“Harvey, I’m fine,” she interrupted. “I haven’t had a drink in two months. There’s no urge. You have nothing to worry about.”

Harvey shook his head. “I’m glad you’re hanging in there, kiddo,” he said. “Take all the time you need to get caught up.”

But Patricia instantly started answering emails after Harvey left the room. She opened the top drawer to her desk to find a notepad. Then she paused when she noticed what was inside: tucked away under a bunch of papers was a picture of her son. 

“I’m sorry Kenny,” she said to the photograph.

Her hands began to shake uncontrollably as she closed the blinds to her office window.

***

“I’ve seen a million penises,” Patricia informed Eric. “I’m a trained doctor, remember? I just need to examine your pelvis to see if it’s fully healed for fuck’s sake!”

“But I’ve always had male doctors,” Eric replied. “If a female doctor looks at my junk, I might, uhh..”

“Get a boner?” Patricia asked. “Who gives a fuck? I’m just gonna lower your underwear and feel around a little.”

Eric laid in bed quietly as Patricia lowered his piss-stained tighty-whities. Despite flooding his mind with unpleasant thoughts, blood raged through his veins on down to his nether regions. Patricia focused diligently on her duties while her wrist and elbows occasionally brushed up against his pathetic, throbbing erection.

The two didn’t say a word for the duration of the examination. Patricia came to the conclusion that Eric did indeed make a full recovery and then looked back at his helplessly average wang. “Do you ever wash this thing?” she asked, “Jesus Christ.”

“Uhhh….,” Eric was at a loss for words while Patricia studied his appendage. Already four sheets to the wind, Patricia removed her rubber gloves and gripped Eric’s schlong. “Sometimes after pelvic and spinal injuries,” Patricia explained, “male patients can experience ejaculatory problems.”

After two, no more than three strokes, Eric busted all over Patricia’s hand and guest bed. “Hmm,” Patricia wondered aloud as she gazed upon her jizz stained hand, “based on the lack of stimulus applied to the glans, you may experience involuntary ejaculation from here on out.”

Patricia stood up to wash her hands while Eric remained laid out in a state of post-orgasmic euphoria. After drying her hands, she wrote out a seven figure check. “I hope this covers everything,” she said as she laid the check down on Eric’s bare chest while his arms were sprawled out, “I’m sorry for hitting you with my car. But you are fully healed. You’re free to leave whenever you wish.”

Eric came to his senses, pulled up his nasty ass underwear, and proceeded to dress. Patricia went back downstairs to pour herself a stiff drink. Eric joined her minutes later.

“These last few days,” he explained, “have been some of the best days of my life.”

“The hell are you talking about?” Patricia asked. “You’ve been bed-ridden for two weeks!”

“I know, I know,” Eric replied. He then lifted up the seven figure check, ripped it up, and let the shreds fall to the floor. “But damn it, Patricia,” he continued, “I think I’m falling for you.”

“Uhhh….”

***

“I fucking hate you,” Eric’s mom informed him. “You disappear for two weeks without letting me know where you were! How disrespectful of you, you piece of shit!”

“Mom, put down the booze and listen!” Eric replied. “Like I said, I got drunk at a bar, walked home, got HIT by a drunk driver, she nursed me back to health, and now we’re in love. Are you fucking stupid?”

“That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard!”

“There’s nothing crazy about it at all. It happens everyday!”

Eric’s mom shook her head. “Your father would be disappointed in you if he were still alive.”

“He is still alive. He just lives in Indiana!”

“Get out!” she screamed. “You’re not welcome back in this house. You’ve been nothing but a burden to me. You sleep all day, you do nothing but clog the toilet and play Xbox. And I’ve even caught you wearing my underwear! You’re a disgusting pervert!”

“Ma, I’m a man goddamnit! A MAN!“ Eric shouted. “And as the man of this household, I will not be addressed in that tone! I’m a proud libertarian and I believe in working for everything I’ve got! You’re not kicking me out! I’m unplugging my Xbox and LEAVING!”

Eric yanked the plug out of the wall, kicked the door open, and stomped his way over to Don Lemon’s house a block away. He pounded on the door until Don’s pregnant wife, Stacy, answered.

“Don’s not here, sweetheart,” she said to him.

“Oh that’s okay, I’m just gonna play Xbox and crash in your basement for awhile. Don will be cool with it.”

“Uhh, I don’t think so,” she replied as she tried to block him from entering. “Don and I have to discuss this first.”

“Darling,” Eric said, “with all due respect, Don is the man of the house and I’ve known him longer than you. So please, step aside and let a grown ass man play some goddamn Minecraft!”

Right then, Don Lemon pulled up in his 4-cylinder Honda CR-V. “Don, can you believe this shit?” Eric said to him, “your wife won’t let me through the door. Who does she think she is?”

A puzzled Don looked over to Stacy. “What’s going on here?” he asked her.

“Eric wants to….”

“Let me explain, Don,” Eric interrupted, “Ma was being a bitch, so I told her to fuck off. I came over here to crash for awhile until I can talk my girlfriend into letting me move in with her. It’s not a big deal!”

“Your girlfriend? Move in? I don’t understand…”

“Yeah, my girlfriend dude, I told you! She’s like 60 years old, but still pretty hot, you know what I’m saying? Plus she’s rich. Anyways, I’m trying not to make things weird because we’ve only known each other for two weeks, so it’s probably too early to move in together. So I’m just gonna stay in your basement until enough time passes and I can move in with her. It’s quite simple.”

“I don’t think so, Eric,” Don replied, “Stacy’s due at any moment and we’ve got enough going on in this household…”

“I see, I see…,” Eric nodded, “so I guess our friendship means nothing to you. I should have known. Stacy’s totally domesticated you. You’ll never be Enkidu to my Gilgamesh, Robin to my Batman, or Spock to my Kirk. Oh well! A real man must forge his own path anyway.”

Eric straightened himself up, ran fingers through his hair, and with the Xbox in hand, he started marching proudly down the street. Then he stopped in his tracks. “Can you drive me to my girlfriends?” he asked Don.

***

Patricia put down her cocktail and slammed her hands on the table. “Goddamnit!” she yelled, “Who the hell is knocking on my door?!”

She swung the front door open to find Eric just standing around with his mouth agape like a fool. “Oh it’s you,” Patricia said, “I just woke up! What kind of jackass knocks on my door at this hour?!”

Eric looked at his watch. “It’s 2:30 pm,” he replied.

“You’re goddamn right it is! What the hell do you want?”

“Mom kicked me out of the house. I’m just gonna crash here.”

“Huh? What?!” exclaimed Patricia. She then leaned forward and barfed all over potted plants on the front porch.

“If this is a bad time, I can come back later,” said Eric.

“No no,” Patricia replied while wiping vomit from her mouth, “come inside, we’ll work this out.”

She was afraid Eric was going to return after he informed her of his feelings. Despite being 30 years old, he seemed to innocent in the ways of the world; she didn’t want him reading too much into their sexual encounter.

“Look,” she explained, “it was a mistake to give you that handjob. As a trained doctor, that was unprofessional of me. But I had to determine if your spinal injuries would cause you to have unprovoked ejaculation!”

“Oh god, I think you were right,” Eric squealed as he busted in his pants. “This has been happening all week!”

Patricia shook her head. “I’m sorry if you feel like you were taken advantage of,” she said.

“Taken advantage of?” he replied. “No woman has ever touched me that way. That was the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

Patricia was puzzled. “You mean…”

“Oh sure, sure. I’ve DEFINITELY had sex before,” Eric explained, “but a visit to the truck stop glory hole in Rockford, IL just ain’t the same thing, ya know?” Eric put down the Xbox he was hauling around and ran his fingers through his hair. “Patricia, I’ve always been an angry man,” he said as he struggled to find the right words, “but something inside me has changed. I don’t know if it was you crashing into me with your car, or holding me captive for two weeks while I recovered, your attempt at bribery, or the aforementioned handjob. But I feel like I’ve become a better person since meeting you.”

Patricia exhaled as she considered her response. Eric was handsome in his own slobbish way, she thought. She didn’t know if it was the combination of Xanax, Ambien, and alcohol flowing through her, but she was slightly moved by his little speech. Yet the truth was, just as Eric was deprived sexually, she was deprived of any emotional connection. 

Plus, there was lingering guilt from the car crash.

“Alright,” Patricia said, “you can stay here. Just…”

“…anything Patricia! I’ll do anything!” happily cried Eric.

“…just stay away from my booze.”

***

You don’t have to wear a condom, Eric,” Patricia said after getting rammed into next Tuesday. “I’m 60 years old. I’ve had a hysterectomy. I won’t be getting pregnant anytime soon.”

“I know that,” replied Eric (actually he had never heard the word hysterectomy), “I only wear one to to numb the feeling a bit. Because of that spinal injury, a slight change in weather makes me bust my pants. Besides, it’s still good protection from STDs”

“Yeah, with you, I’m DEFINITELY not worried about that,” Patricia said.

After their romantic pillow talk, Patricia sat up nude in bed and pulled out a pint of vodka. “Care for some?” she asked Eric.

“No thanks, that stuff dulls the senses,” he replied. “I have to be in tip top shape when I go live for Fortnite.”

“You know that shit’s for babies, right?”

“I ain’t a baby! I’m 33!”

“Whatever dude,” Patricia said as she pounded the pint, “do you even have a job?”

“What’s the point?!” screamed Eric. “The government’s just gonna tax half my check anyway! Besides, are you ever SOBER?”

“How fucking dare you!”

Passion was instantly reignited in the pair as they flung their naked bodies at one another in a frenzied, sexual fury. “You’re a sick, pathetic, loser!” Patricia orgasmically screamed. “And you’re a drunken spinster!” replied an equally euphoric Eric. Finally this inexplicable fervor came to an explosive climax and the two laid in bed, covered from head to toe in each other’s bodily fluids. 

It was a disgusting sight.

“What just happened?” Patricia asked as she tried to catch her breath.

Eric had no answer.

Then, after several moments, a still befuddled Eric sat up. “I gotta get to the Xbox,” he said, then climbed out of bed.

Patricia just laid there in her own sweat, unable to make sense of anything. Then, while lost in her thoughts, there was a knock on the front door. She threw on her robe and took a quick glance in the mirror before rushing down stairs.

“What does this jackass want?” Patricia thought to herself. Then her jaw dropped when she opened the door.

“Hello Mom,” the visitor said.

***

Kenny’s enormous hands engulfed Eric’s as they greeted one another. “How do you know my mom?” asked Kenny.

Intimidated by such a fine male specimen, Eric began to stutter. “Uhh, uhh, I’m just here to fix the plumbing,” he replied.

“Eric is your cousin,” interrupted Patricia, “you know my sister that I haven’t spoken to in 40 years? Eric’s her son.”

“Is that so?” replied a skeptical Kenny. “Well it’s certainly nice of my mother to have taken her nephew in. She has shown you more compassion than she’s shown me these last few years.”

“Eric, will you excuse us?” asked Patricia.

“Certainly,” said Eric after sensing the awkwardness. He speedily left the room. “You have a lot of goddamn nerve,” Patricia told her son.

“I HAVE a lot of nerve?” said Kenny. “YOU’RE the drunk doctor that somehow killed a patient during a routine colonoscopy. YOU’RE the alcoholic wife that sucked and fucked the entire neighborhood. And it doesn’t appear that you’ve changed your ways either! Empty vodka bottles are everywhere and now it seems like you’re into going to GameStop and picking up younger guys!”

“Don’t give me that shit!” replied Patricia. “Your father was just as guilty as me, yet you chose to side with him!”

“You burned the goddamn house down MOM! What did you expect me to do after you tried to kill us?!”

Patricia covered her face with her hands. “You know that was an accident, Kenny,” she said. “How many times do you want me to say sorry?”

“Jesus Christ,” replied Kenny. He grabbed one of the numerous liquor bottles from the cabinet and poured a drink.

After several moments of silence, Patricia spoke up. “So what do you want from me?”

Kenny looked down at his glass. “I’ve been let go from another job,” he said. “Camila left me and now I can’t pay rent. So I’m coming home, Ma.”

***

That night, after another nasty fuck session, Patricia rolled over alone while Eric laid there in bed staring at the ceiling. Then a strange thought occurred to him: something was bothering her. Should he try to actually talk to her?

Eric tapped her on the shoulder. “Kenny seems like a pretty cool guy. Is he moving in?” he asked.

Though slightly annoyed, Patricia realized that this was Eric’s awkward attempt at conversation. She rolled over to look him in the eye. “Yes,” she said, “he’s fallen into hard times and I’m helping him out.”

“I guess you two haven’t always gotten along, huh?”

“No.”

“Do you care to talk about it?”

“No really.”

“Should I leave?”

Patricia didn’t know what it was about this stupid idiot lying in bed with her. From the outside, it would appear that they had nothing in common. But for this brief moment, this odd couple both knew there was something, however intangible, between them. 

She placed her hand on Eric’s cheek to comfort him. “Just stay out of the way,” she said.

***

“Wake the fuck up!” Kenny yelled to Eric, still laying naked and alone in bed.

“What’s bothering you, Kenneth?” a befuddled Eric asked.

“I know mom has given you money, where is it?!”

“I don’t know what you mean. I’m just your long lost cousin that has a very close relationship to your mother.”

“Obviously!” Kenny retorted. “But you ain’t my cousin. You’re just a fuck toy.”

“Alright,” Eric admitted, “yes I’ve been absolutely tearing your mom up from one end of the room to the other. But she hasn’t given me any money. It’s not like that.”

“Huh?” Kenny struggled to find the right words. “But…but you look like a guy that’s been kicked out of Chucky Cheese’s a few times while my mom is a wealthy cougar! This just doesn’t make sense!”

“You better believe it bucko,” Eric replied, “your mom and me have something special going on. I can’t explain it to you. You would never understand.”

“Oh I can understand it alright. I don’t care what you do with my mom. But don’t play stupid with me. You’re with her for her money.”

Kenny stormed out of the bedroom. Eric then climbed out of bed and put his pants on. After brushing his teeth, he went out to the living room to resume his Xbox duties. When he opened the cabinet to turn the system on, he noticed it was missing.

“That son of a bitch,” Eric uttered to himself. He looked to the front door and noticed it was cracked open. He rushed outside shirtless to tackle Kenny, who was carrying the Xbox out to his car.

“I will murder you!” Eric yelled while on top of Kenny. “Don’t ever touch my Xbox!”

Yet Kenny greatly outsized Eric and quickly overpowered him. “Listen here, fuck toy,” Kenny said, “I know you’re up to something. You AND my mom are up to something. She’s always conspired against me and I’m going to get to the bottom of this! And since you won’t let me pawn your Xbox off for drug money, no one can have this Xbox!

Kenny lifted the console over his head then slammed it on the ground. It shattered into a million pieces right in the driveway. Eric stood there in stunned silence while Kenny sped away in his 93 Honda Del Sol. 

As white hot hate pumped through his veins, Eric gazed at the Del Sol as it disappeared past the horizon. He knew Kenny would be back.

***

“Everybody freeze! This is a robbery,” Kenny yelled in the lobby of his mother’s bank. Old ladies dropped their purses while the security guard pissed himself.

“Nah, I’m just kidding,” he said, “I’m just here to talk to my mom. Her name’s Patricia and she’s the vice-president of this place.”

Patricia stepped out of her office to find her strung out son flirting with a terrified teller who was only seconds away from calling the police. She tapped him on the shoulder while she choked back her rage. “What the hell is going on here?” Patricia asked.

“I’ve been looking for you!” Kenny replied. “I went into your bedroom but I only found that Jeffrey Dahmer-lookin dude sniffing your panties. I wouldn’t go home if I were you, that guy’s PISSED!”

“Get into my office RIGHT NOW!”

Kenny picked his nose and scratched his ass as he waddled into his mother’s office while she followed behind. He plopped down on the leather sofa when Patricia slammed the door behind her. “What the fuck do you want now?!” she asked.

“I need money, alright! The price of Benzos and quaaludes are outrageous these days!”

“You need rehab!”

“Fine. I’ll agree to do rehab again, just one more bender and you can send me anywhere you like.”

“Not a chance! You go now or I’m cutting you off for good!”

Kenny slapped his hands against the leather sofa in protest. “That does it mom!” he said, then stood up began wagging his finger. “You’ve crossed me for the last time. If you think you can bring me down, you’ve got another thing coming!”

After Kenny stormed out of the bank, Patricia tried to calm herself with a stout shot of vodka. She buried the bottle back into her desk drawer and began to meditate while the warming sensation spread throughout her body. Then Harvey Whinestine interrupted her. 

“What was all that commotion about?” he asked as he peaked his head through the doorway.

“Nothing. I got it taken care of.”

Harvey stepped into her office uninvited and took a seat in front of her desk. “You know, we can’t have another distraction like that,” he said. “You’ve already had five DUIs in the last year. If something else happens like that, the board will probably want you out. Unless…”

He reached across the desk and placed his hand on top of hers. “…unless you and me can work something out and maybe I can smooth it over,”Harvey continued.

Patricia felt like she didn’t have a leg to stand on. She knew her career was in jeopardy and had little choice but to play along. “Okay Harvey,” she said, “what do you suggest?”

***

“Settle down, Eric,” Don Lemon kept telling his friend. Eric kept pacing back and forth, still shirtless, and wielding a knife. “I’m gonna kill him. I’M GONNA KILL HIM!” he kept saying.

“It’s just a goddamn Xbox!” Don replied. “It can be replaced!”

“You don’t get it! People have been fucking with me my whole life! I’m setting my foot down this time! I’m the alpha male. I’M THE ALPHA MALE!”

“You might have a point,” Don said. “You are fucking his mom. But Kenny might have done you a favor. I hate to be the one to tell you Eric, but it’s time to grow up.”

“I didn’t invite you to my home only to lecture me!”

“This isn’t your home! This is your sugar momma’s home!”

“How fucking dare you!” an irate Eric replied. “I thought you were gonna help me plot my revenge. But between “having a full time job” and a “family”, I guess you’re too good for that. What a shitty friend you are!”

“I won’t be spoken to in this way,” Don said as he stood up. “I’m done helping you. You’ve been nothing but a drag.”

Eric went into a blind rage and chased Don out of the house, threatening to slit his friend’s throat. While the two rushed out to the driveway, Kenny was burning down the road blasting Smash Mouth’s Wanna Be Like You on repeat. When Don reached the street, the crack pipe fell out of Kenny’s mouth as he tried to slam on the breaks. The Honda Del Sol crashed into Don, but instead of flying into the air, the tires went over and crushed every bone in his body…including his skull.

Eric screamed in horror as he watched his former friend’s violent death. “You killed him!” he yelled to Kenny through the window. “What the hell’s wrong with you?”

Kenny got out of the car in a daze. “That guy came out of nowhere,” he kept repeating. “Wh-wh-what’s with the knife?”

“You killed my friend,” Eric replied, “now I’m gonna kill you!”

But once again, Kenny easily overpowered Eric and wrestled the knife out of his hands. “Look!” Kenny said while he held a belligerent Eric on the ground, “I don’t know who this guy is, but it appears as though you were trying to kill him! Now we can continue to roll around on the road waiting for the cops to arrive, OR we can hide this body. So what’s it gonna be?!”

***

“Excuse me, sweetheart, while I pop my Cialis,” Harvey Whinestine said to Patricia. “They say that you’re not supposed to mix alcohol and medication. But I say that’s poppycock.”

The two were sharing a daiquiri and a plate of nachos at Chili’s before they went back to her place. Harvey’s wife was at home, so naturally they couldn’t go there. “I should probably pop a Beano too,” he continued, “don’t want to be bustin ass while we’re boinking.”

“Bartender, can I get a bourbon?” Patricia asked. Harvey disappeared to the bathroom while she pounded the drinks at the bar.

He reappeared minutes later in a panic. “I clogged the toilet,” Harvey said, “we better dash. Oh, by the way, I forgot my wallet. Can you pay?”

Instead of calling an Uber, or riding together in the same car, the two drove drunk to Patricia’s place in their respective vehicles. She arrived first.

The late Don Lemon’s 4 cylinder Honda CRV was still parked in the driveway, as was Kenny’s Del Sol.

Patricia rushed into the house to give warning to Eric. She found him still shirtless and cackling with Kenny. The two were covered in blood.

“I don’t know what’s going on here,” she said, “but Harvey Whinestine is on his way. Unfortunately I have to fuck him to keep my job. So you two keep it down.”

“I’m sorry, Mom, for putting you into this situation,” Kenny said. “But Eric and me have been talking and we both agree: it’s time for us to grow up. So Eric’s getting a job, and I’m quitting the drugs. That is, if we get away with killing a guy.”

Patricia would have been moved by her son and lover’s revelations had she of not been so drunk and in a rush. “That’s such a relief…” she said, “but what’s this about killing a guy?”

At that moment, there was a loud crash outside and Harvey came stumbling into the house with tears streaming down his face. “I just smashed my Bentley Continental GT into a 4-cylinder Honda CRV,” he cried, “I just killed a guy!”

Eric and Kenny both smiled and gave each other a high five.

***

“So you guys accidentally killed Don Lemon, placed his body in his 4-cylinder Honda CRV with the intention of sinking it in the river to hide his body? But before you two could do that, Harvey Whinestine rammed into the Honda and made it look like vehicular manslaughter?” Patricia asked Eric after court.

“Sure did!” he said.

After Harvey Whinestine was found guilty of killing Don Lemon, Eric and Patricia immediately asked the same judge to marry them in the courthouse. Along with Kenny, the three of them returned to Patricia’s house to celebrate.

“Man we got lucky,” Eric said.

“Damn right buddy!” Kenny replied.

“I think you mean ‘Dad’”

“Ah shit, you’re right…Dad!”

Despite being three years younger than Kenny and a half a foot shorter, Eric playfully put his stepson in a headlock and gave him a noogie. While the two men horsed around, Patricia came downstairs to join in the festivities.

“Mom,” Kenny said, “I finally feel like we’re a family again. I love you.”

“I love you too, son,” Patricia replied. “I just want to say that I’m thankful for the two men in my life. I feel like I’ve been given a second chance at life, so I’m proud to announce that I am two weeks sober.”

“But why?” Eric asked. “With Harvey Whinestine going to prison, you’re now a bank president. We’re also married, Kenny and I started a car detailing business, and we just got away with murder! So Fuck that sobriety shit, we’re untouchable!”

“Hmm, I didn’t think of it that way,” she replied, then went to the bar and started drinking directly from the tequila bottle.

***

Harvey Whinestine was later sentenced to 20 years in prison. Months later, he was released on appeal due to a shoddy police investigation. All evidence was later incinerated.

Eric and Kenny were never regarded as suspects for their role in Don Lemon’s death.

Patricia and Eric divorced three months later.

The grieving, pregnant widow of Don Lemon was left a single parent and never remarried. 

THE END