Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Money Part 9

I have always believed that a story should start from the beginning. Whenever I read a book series I start at the beginning and I go in order. My father was less discerning and a voracious reader, he read the series in whatever order he could get his hands on. Our fundamental view of books, stories and characters that we had both read were always different. I think in the long run I got more out of the books by patiently waiting to read a story in the correct order. I have a better memory of what happened and when it happened. My timeline is intact and his is fuzzy. Of course he reads 3 times the books I do. All that being said it would make sense to tell this women my story from the beginning. Unfortunately in real life your story is kind of a mish-mash and the beginning is always somewhere in the murk of your past. As a result, I found that I was not sure how I got on the path that ended up here. The one thing I knew was that my continued silence would probably cause irritation. She seemed to be the calm one but I was not sure that meant much. My general working theory is that abnormalities work harder to get where they are. Twin sisters that appear so innocent must have done some dark stuff to get to a position of power. Havng this theory does not get me out of trouble very often. I am like the tourist who pokes a sleeping bear with a stivk to try and get an action shot and winds up half digested in his belly when the bear autopsy happens later. So what I am thinking right now is that I am in Seattle, WA; talking to someone about money I borrowed in Portland, OR. I had ran to Seattle in an attempt to give myself time to make the money back.... it had been a mistake. I manage to keep the smile an inside one.

"Ray....." Her voice was breathy and I noticed that more then my ears perked up at it. "Ray.... tell me your story. I like to hear the stories."

I finally look up and face her. I am no longer collecting my thoughts. I decide to go for broke and when going for broke you have to start with a triviality. "So why does it make total sense that the Portland underground would be run from Seattle?" I feel the confident smile spread across my face. The one I always use when I talk to the various women who have floated through my life. It always works for a while but Emily was already unfazed by it. She just sits and waits while I forge ahead. I will get that smile to light up her face again or die trying. In fact there was a possibility that both could happen today. "You know, because Seattle is always seen as the cooler, more grown up, big brother to Portland." She just watches me talk. I fidget and try again. "If I told you I bet all the money on a horse named Lucky Legs could we call it a day and set up a repayment plan?" She just continues to stare at me. "You don't mind if I smoke do you?" I ask but don't wait for an answer. "I usually start smoking whenever I think for very long. Usually clears a room." Still nothing from her. No reaction at all, not even one of irritation. Not that I had opened up with my good stuff. "You know because I was thinking and it made my brain overheat... it's a joke. Things smoke when they overheat..." My voice rises as I say this and continue to be faced with her expressionless face.

"Ray..... stop flirting before I shoot you." I blink in response, fidget a little for good measure, and then launch into my story.

"It was just a fluke originally. I was making dinner for a few friends and they were raving about it and telling me I should do it for a living. They kept telling me I was gifted and I loved the flattery. Naturally I ate it up and I felt good that I had made them something they had so thoroughly enjoyed. The idea was still percolating in my head as we drank the night away. That same idea was competing for space in my head the next day as I battled a pounding hangover while working my sales job. I no longer had to think too sale and I had plenty of time to review my options. I went home that night and I continued to daydream. Weeks went by and I was still fascinated and enthralled by the idea of having my own restaurant. I did more then daydream of course, I went online and priced different options. I also experimented with my own culinary creations. It wasn't a new idea, I had dreamed of it as a future career in my youth. I had pursued it at as a possibility in my college career but real life got in the way. Things like phones, cars, rent, and all those other bills clogged up my path and so I took a job that I hated and soon found that I was stuck. I made great money and it was scary to think of going without that security blanket. Even if it meant I was making my dream a reality."

"So why was your friends' suggestion different? Why did it get stuck in your craw? How come you didn't just keep going along in your comfortable life?" Her interest distracts me from the story momentarily.

"That's a good question.I think it was because for once I was just as taken with the dish I had made as they were. I felt like I had finally started making food that was worth charging people for. I had always felt like I hadn't really earned the right to charge people for food. I always felt I did not quite meet muster. I finally felt like I could pull things together without consulting a recipe. I had ideas of what to do with things that were a little creative and just a shade unique. I knew that what I was putting out was the equal of what I was paying for when I went out and in a lot of cases it far exceeded their example. I was more disappointed then pleased when I went out. I wanted to make it myself; to do it the right way. That idea made me obsess and it ultimately led me to buy a little trailer that I began renovating. Unfortunately, I soon ran out of money. I was never great at saving money and the money I made went out as quick as it came in. I have horrible credit thanks to my irresponsible college years and the loan companies said no when I came around with my hand out. Before I knew it my cart and my dream were dead in the water."

"What about those friends? It was their idea originally, didn't you ask them for help?"

"You know the saying about friends and money?"

"There are a few.... which do you refer too?"

"Before borrowing money from a friend, decide which you need most."

"Ah.... so you decided to borrow from a criminal instead of from friends. Smart move?"

"I didn't say I did not borrow from those friends I simply asked if you knew the saying. I borrowed from those friends but soon I was out of money and I had not even applied for the permits. The cart was ready and so was my menu. I had located a spot for rent and I was just waiting on my next paycheck to get the permits in and my first rental payment paid. That was when the first friend came to me needing the loaned money back. We had a contract, I had attempted to make this all legit, and I was not in default but they were having a crisis and needed money. I tried to explain to them where the money was and remind them that I would pay them on time. I even tried paying some money to them when my paycheck came in. They weren't satisfied, they demanded it all. So I handed over my check to them. I was in a world of hurt at that point. I no longer had money for the space or the permits. To make matters worse I soon found other people knocking on my door asking me to pay them back. It was ugly. I had exhausted all my reputable options and with calls and unannounced visits from friends starting to hurt my work life as well as my personal life I needed some sort of quick fix. I found myself at the bar trying to find a solution at the bottom of my glass. I tried 4, maybe 6 glasses before Denise came in and started yelling at me about owing money that she kept seeing me drink away. It occurs to me that she had a point. My drinking had increased since I borrowed the money. In fact I was on a first name basis with my bartender, her name is Jessie. I also had a mad crush on her and this scene made me feel...... slightly emasculated. Luckily for me it seems my bartender friend likes me enough to overlook that. She invited me over that night and..."

"I am not here to listen to your exploits Ray. They won't impress me." The smile finally lit up her face as she said this. I had achieved my earlier goal. I was not sure how but thought the word emasculate might have had something to do with it.

"Right. Anyway I began hanging out with Jessie a lot and I was paying people off the best I could with my regular job. I hadn't realized I had borrowed so much until they all were bothering me about it. One night I was cooking at Jessie's house for a get together she was having to introduce me to her friends. I was going all out and I was finally feeling calm because I was engrossed in my task. I was once again doing what I loved and it was received very well by her friends. I was not at first but that food won them over. It was at this party that I first met Oompa Loompa, I mean Jimmy." I glance in her direction nervously and the smile is still there and she nods for me to continue."Jimmy and I hit it off pretty well and we began hanging out a lot. He was an old friend of Jessie's apparently. At first we went to bars together and then it was clubs. One night while drinking around the pool he made his offer and we talked. It was days before we settled into a business partnership. Within the month I was open for business. It was not to a very big crowd but made more then I had spent on the food that first day so I was feeling good." I pause to take a breath and at the same time the door flies open to reveal Ava and Jimmy. Ava has a bat and Jimmy is not looking thrilled to have become part of my story.

"You're lying Ray!" Ava barks at me and then she swings. I close my eyes and await the thwack. It doesn't come. I open one eye to see that Emily has blocked the blow with her chair. It seems storytime is over.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Money pt. 8

It feels like a cliché to say that all things I saw were a blur, but they really were. The drugs kept their hold on me even past the point when a burlap sack was pulled over my head to hide the Bosses location. They kept fogging my brain as two guys dragged me out of the car, across a lawn and up some stairs (I witnessed all this as I stared at my feet and tried to will my drool to stop dribbling down my chin). I didn't even fill the drop when they shoved me into the room and my face hit the floor first. The nice thing about that was the little collision with the floor sent me into darkness. When my mind refocused I was tied to a chair while a pretty blond applied some salve to my face. She was humming and I wanted to look up at her but the drugs seemed to still have a hold on me because I could not lift my head. Even more worrisome was that I seemed to still be drooling. How come I never look good around the ladies?

"Ray...." The girl with the long blond hair had a light lilting voice. "I am going to leave you now. Your drug should be wearing off in a few hours and we will be back then. I hope you can resolve this issue Ray, I'd hate for you to continue to get hurt."

I felt confused. It seemed incongruous that such a sweet voiced female would be on the side of evil. I watched her legs move towards and out the door. She was followed by two stocky looking males. I had not even realized we weren't alone. I felt my mind wander and I was soon dozing again.

I awoke some time later to a groggy ache that covered my entire body and a slight burning on my face. I was no longer tied to the chair but was lying on the ground. I noticed in front of me was a sink and a set of new clothes. I pushed myself up and felt muscles call out in protest. I then proceeded to the sink one shuffle step at a time. The sight that greeted me in the mirror was just a shade under grizzly. I had what looked like carpet burn on the left side of my face. There was a shiny substance covering it and I remembered the blond applying the salve. I took off my shirt and washed my body using a washcloth I found at the sink. I continued to move down until I was completely disrobed and stopped once I was as clean as a sink bath can make you. I looked at the mirror again and realized I needed to wash my face. I was reluctant because I would have to wash the salve off and the dried blood and I knew that would not feel good. I briefly wondered about the wisdom in wiping off the salve but then I looked over at my clothes and noticed a jar of salve sitting on a pair of clean underwear. I started with my hair and then moved to my face. I winced and stifled shouts (a man doesn't scream) as I washed the sensitive side of my face. I reapplied the salve and then got dressed. I looked in the mirror and noticed I looked a little better a lot of the face trauma had been dried up blood but I still had a decent amount of rug burn across my face. I hit a button on the wall that had a sign above it saying to call when I was awake and clean. Within moments two burly mountains came into the room and grunted at me to move.

I was brought into a room that looked like a conference room but nicer. It had nice leather bound cushy seats and a table made of a dark wood. I kept thinking of it as "rich mahogany" and I allowed myself a smile. I found some water on the table and I poured it into a glass and drank it down greedily. I was guzzling my third cup when the 2 mountains came back in and were followed by two beautiful blonds. There was no doubt in my mind that they were twins. With the exception of the eyes (one had green and the other had blue) and choice in clothes, they were identical. The same long flowing hair, the same height, the same easy smile that made me feel at ease even though my heart was racing. I set my glass down but not on the table and it hit my foot. I stifled the scre...shout that had nearly escaped my lips. I bent over to pick up the glass and then I put it on the table (I watched the glass this time). I then looked over at the door expecting more people to come in. I quickly realized that no one else was coming and I turned toward the mesmerizing twins again. One was smirking and the other was frowning. The frowning girl spoke first.

"No one else is coming. We are the people you owe money to."

"You're Oompa Loompa's bosses?" My choice of name seemed to further define each of the twins as I watched their expressions diverge. The smirk turned into a genuine smile and the frown became highlighted by fiery, angry eyes. The mirthful one spoke next.

"Yes Jimmy works for us. I find it strange that you would make fun of his coloring in a situation like this though. It hardly seems like a good idea."

"I am notorious for not thinking about things for long before I say them. It is always getting me into trouble."

"Seems this time it wasn't just your mouth that got you into trouble." The tone matched her fiery eyes. "I don't feel like we need to have this getting to know you chatter Emily."

"Hush Ava! Don't be rude. I doubt that hurrying will do much for us. I don't think Ray has our money anymore and I figure I want to know how he used it."

"Damn it Em! Who freaking cares?!" She punctuated the last shouted question by chucking a water glass at me. I managed to move but doubted from that throw that she had really wanted to hit me. I got the feeling she was pretty good with her aim.

"Ava! Leave!" Emily was pointing at the door. "You are much too keyed up to participate in this discussion. I don't want you hurting our guest!"

To my surprise Ava did as she was told. She shot me an angry glance as she did but the door closed as she exited and I was left with Emily. Oh... and the two mountain men.

"So you two are the infamous bosses?"

"Infamous? Hardly. I think the only way you know of us is if you are dumb enough not to pay back your loan on time. Most people are not dumb enough that their late payment ever leads them to a personal meeting with us. This is a first. We always get our money back. Then there is you..." Her face smiled and she still evoked images of angels in my head but I realized she was not necessarily the nice one. So tell me your story Ray. After that, Ava and I will decide what to do about you."

My mouth went dry and my words failed me. I sat there looking at her and tried to figure out where to begin.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Money (pt. 7)

It was kind of amazing when I got to the car that I had avoided getting hit again because I was still giggling and the van man looked mad. I felt like explaining that it wasn't his ridiculous lisp that I was laughing at but that I was laughing at congratulating myself on not laughing at his completely unbelievable lisp. It occured to me that the explanation might make him angrier. When he pushed me into the car I stopped giggling. I realized that I was in an entirely different car then the one I had previously seen him in. He joined me in the car and we left the volcano behind and my manic giggling had stayed behind with it. I was almost sure the kid in the stroller we passed had possession of it as he giggled at his father's funny faces. I felt like I could no longer move my body let alone giggle nonstop.

"I thon't afpprethathe you lathing ath me! I hath owal sutherthy thith morning! Ith noth my faulth." Inside I laughed but on the outside I couldn't even blink. "Tho to avoith unnethathy anger I thoughth I thood thrug you while I ethplainth." Luckily for me as he started talking his speech either got better or my brain had learned to understand mush mouth.

"The name is Charlie. I know it sounds like a typical thuggish name but I am actually in school to be a doctor. I want to help people most of the time when I'm not doing things for the boss. Most of the time the people I come across deserve to be roughed up a little. Most of the time these people are the scum of the earth. The leaches of our society. I know it sounds like I don't actually want to help people but when I put on those scrubs my brain shifts gears. I finally have a reason to care! It might simply be vanity, the whole not wanting to fail thing, but it feels nice to care. I don't really give a damn what you did that got you in this situation. I was asked to bring you to the boss and that is what I am doing. You seem like a different sort then who usually gets dragged to the boss but what do I know. So, loser, what is your story?"

I managed to blink but I couldn't even turn from the window. He turned my face towards him.

"Damn it! I must of given you too much. I read that whole book and passed those damn test and still managed not to give the right dose! Oh well. Where was I..... oh yeah. I am becoming a doctor to help people. I.... well I'm just a good person. I deserve to get a lot of money for it. Of course a lot of the real money is now in the past. A lot of doctors, that specialize in crazy procedures, barely make six figures! Damn government needs to stay out of health care. My mom told me I should be a lawyer but, even though I love her, she was a raving moron. Lawyers are scum! I mean who wants to be a lawyer?"

My silence on the topic made him frown so he went back to talking. He seemed to really have expected an answer. Maybe my paralysis had made me miss a chance to really bond with my kidnapper.

"You see I knew the boss through his kid and I used to always be a round eating his food...."

I went on mental auto-pilot and blissfully thought about nothing as he spoke. I was granted sweet relief when a bump in the road made me slump over and when he pushed me back to a sitting position my face was turned towards the window again. The scenery and his soothing drone felt almost reassuring, all the alarming thoughts I could sense were inside me seemed to have been paralyzed by the drug too. All I knew for those 3 hours was bliss.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Money (pt. 6)

I was on the freeway heading South again. I watched as signs foretold of an impending turn off for Mt. St Helens. A place where a mountain's dramatic and earth shattering event changed everything around it. I felt like killing Shawn had been my personal Mt. St. Helens. I felt a sudden irritation at my own thoughts for feeling guilty for ending the life of such a scumbag. Unfortunately I could not stop feeling regret and remorse for my actions no matter how justified they seemed to me at the time and even now. I was fighting for my life and like any other cornered animal I attacked, caused damage and ran away. Life is like that sometimes, you are forced to make a decision and then live with regret. Of course this was a bit more complicated then any decision I had faced before. The St. Helens turn off told me it was the next right and I found myself steering the motorcycle toward the off ramp. I drove through a town that I was not entirely sure I had caught the name of, despite the turn off signs and the town welcome sign, and kept driving. Finally I parked at The Johnson Ridge Observatory paid my... actually Shawn's 8 bucks..... and headed into learn.

After seeing the videos and reading things I was ready to stretch my legs and I headed up a mainly treeless hill to get some better views of the still smoking volcano. The devastation of that blast was still present as you looked at hills covered in trees and then you looked were you stood and at the volcano and saw very little plant life. I stood there thinking about what it might be like to have been swept up in that destructive wave and that moment of reverie was costly. I felt the jab in my back before I realized I was not surrounded by friendly looking tourists. It was that man I had seen as I left Shawn's place. The man who was in that van, the one I hoped I would never see again.

He didn't talk at all just used whatever was jabbed into my back to guide me further along the path. I tried to stay stoic and quiet too but my brain went into autopilot and I started voicing every idea I had about the volcano as we walked. I talked about everything I had learned at the visitor's center. I told him about the survivors and what I thought that must have been like to survive. I kept talking and asking questions he did not attempt to answer. It was inane chatter and I was not sure I would ever stop. That was until I said "I don't have the money. I keep telling you jackals that but you think torture and fear inspiring tactics will cause me to crap out a golden egg. It won't happen. If your bosses want the money they will have to wait like sane people. I have some money in my pocket I could offer as a first payment...." I kind of peetered out at this point, the words had dried up.

It was at this point that my captor decided I needed to face plant and he shot his foot out and gave me a quick shove to prevent me from correcting the fall. I hit hard and knew I was going to bruise. For some odd reason my reaction was to laugh. It was at this point that I was introduced to another foot. I hated my inappropriate urge to laugh in terrible circumstances. I sat there not crying out and no longer laughing as I caught my breath. He dragged me back up to a standing position  and started guiding me with his gun again. I was a little bit slower now and he finally began to talk " I thon't care tho mush. Money ith your ithue with the botheth! Now walk!" I suppressed my giggle and then silently congratulated myself.

The self congratulations made me giggle....

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Money pt. 5

  It was an hour into my escape when I started to shake. I had to pull off and park the bike under a tree while my nerves let go of some anxiety. I am not saying I cried but I sure wish I had a teddy bear to snuggle with. It passed after a while but a wave of exhaustion hit me and I decided to get off the freeway for a nap. I figured an off ramp had to be just a few miles away. 40 miles, and a little sleep driving later,  I was sleeping in the parking lot of a giant truck stop at a picnic table. The pervasive light of the sign only kept me awake for a couple minutes and soon I found myself amid a terrible dream.
  I was running away from a man with pliers. He had the voice of Morgan Freeman but the build and complexion of my most recent torturer, Shawn the sadistic fat guy. His face was eclipsed by his giant razor sharp teeth and no matter where I went he was right behind me. I woke up heart racing, drenched in sweat and with an urgent need to pee.
  My legs had cramped up while I slept and I spent a few excruciating minutes trying to make them move. I was positive my bladder was seconds from bursting and had to stop several times to attempt to "mind over matter" my incessant urge to pee. This of course nearly caused me to wee away in my pants so I hobbled along as best I could and found myself leaning against the wall for support as I finally found relief.
  I washed my hands and sauntered over to the attached diner for some grub. At a table, near the window, is where I first noticed that the vehicle I saw earlier was parked right next to my bike. My heart shot up into my throat and I had to focus on not vomiting all over the table. My appetite was gone and I sat there waiting for my impending doom. My eyes never left that car, even when the cute waitress came over to take my order. Not even when I ordered a last supper style meal, with more then I could ever possibly eat in one sitting. Nor did I look away when she asked if people were joining me and I replied that I hoped not. While I ordered and conversed (poorly) with the waitress, that car sat there the entire time. I was lost in its shiny windowed gaze.
  It was as I sat there staring at the car that things began to change. As if there truly were guardian angels my luck continued to hold up very well. The full comedic impact of my bout of paranoia did not dawn on me when a mother and daughter came walking toward that car. Nor did it hit while I watched as the mother strapped her daughter in a car seat in that car and then belted herself in before pulling out to head back to the freeway. In fact, it did not hit until the server delivered 7 giant meals with 6 sides. I was briefly the most popular guy in the place as I handed the meals out to incoming diner guests. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Money (pt. 4)

What I had forgotten about were the dogs. The good thing is, although they are not my number one fans, they are both tea cup poodles and they cowered under the television stand after I hurled a fake kick in their direction. I head to the bathroom and find it to be immaculately clean, unlike the rest of the house. I turn on the water and just get in, clothes and all and begin scrubbing. I am mersmerized by the swirl of red that circles the drain before going away. My mind is filled with thoughts of stupid CSI shows and all the ways they catch a killer. Luckily.... or perhaps unluckily they will probably never find Shawn's body, because these guys clean up shop very quickly and very effectively. I start to peel off clothes as the red color starts to fade and I allow myself to soak in the heat of the shower and try to let it wash the memories away. Instead I keep seeing my blood covered hands fall down on a body that is no longer moving.

I leave my clothes in the shower when I climb out. I drip water all over the floor as I look through his cabinet for a towel. He has an overabundance of big fluffy towels and I flip the towel out before wrapping it around me. As I leave the bathroom I realize one other miscalculation. Shawn was shorter wider and more metallic then I am, which means finding clothes might be a problem. I flip through things and find a huge t-shirt and some pants, that have a layer of dust on them, that are only 4 sizes too big. It will work if I use a belt and cinch it up tight. The alternative I have is that I could relive the style of my youth and let the pants hang low.... so all the ladies can see my rear end.

I emerge from the bathroom, with the belt as tight as I can make it, and hear the welcoming growls of the still cowering dogs. I walk past them, which causes a bit of yipping, and I head into the kitchen to look for food. I am greeted by a pile of dirty dishes and an overstuffed trash can, that has a faint odor of rotting fruit to it. I look around for food anyway and I find a frozen dinner that looks somewhat edible and I throw it in the microwave for the required time. Then I grab a beer from the fridge and I sit down and begin eating with Shawn's last clean fork.

After I finish I decide to take a look around. I peak in drawers, cookie jars, containers, piggy banks and I start piling up things that might be of use. I have a wad of cash, a gun, some travelers checks and a knapsack piled in the middle of his couch. It is when I look in the garage that I see what I never knew that I was looking for. I see a Harley Davidson Fat Boy sitting there begging to be rode. I locate the keys hanging on his key rack and I head back in and grab the knapsack. I open the garage, back the bike up and then crank over the engine. It gives a loud satisfying growl. I put the helmet on my head and I take off down the road. I notice a van drive past me as I sit waiting to turn right off the street and I recognize one of the people in it. I turn the corner and pick up speed and hope they failed to notice me or the stolen bike.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Money (pt. 3)

I hang up after leaving my last message. I hope that the people will call back.I hear Shawn outside my cell singing taunts to me. If I had just trained to be sneakier, a bit quicker..... instead I find myself looking through my contacts for one more person.

"Gimme the phone." Jimmy says breaking through my desperate thoughts. "I can't have you dialling without supervision."

"I'm just looking at the contacts... trying to see if I got them all...." He takes the phone from my hand to end my objection.

"Maybe one of those people you called will call back. We'll wait and see." His compassion confuses me. It is like he is a different person.

"Doughtfuhl." Shawn yells as he walks in. "Yooh ahreh screhwehd!"

I just look at him for a minute and fight the instinct to attack him. I am half sure I would win but it seems like too big of a chance to take at this point but if things get more desperate....

"Give it a rest Shawn. Don't you have work to do that will take you somewhere else?" Jimmy asks.

"Thah bohsss tohld me tooooh stay here. Thhinks yoooh wehnt sohft." He smiles self satisfactorily. "He cahlled meeeh in to mahke sure ahll loohse ends are tiehd uhp." The twinkle in his eye seems to be dancing as he reveals this last bit of information. I wonder if that was a threat to Jimmy so I steal a glance at Jimmy who seems to be stunned by what Shawn has said.

"What does that mean you metallic piece of crap? You trying to scare me? I don't think the bosses would send an incompetent in to take care of me! You could never make it happen!" Jimmy responds.

Shawn turns his back to me and seems to be no longer aware that I am in the room. "Yooh hahve noh right tooh speahk to me lihke that Jiiiihmmy. They dohn't cahre what you'hre doing here. They just want problems eliminated." He says as loud as his hoarse voice can go.

I look at the back of Shawn for a moment as I formulate a plan. I decide that now is my chance. I have to attack Shawn. I doubt Jimmy would stop me, he has made the loathing of Shawn very clear, but I wonder if he would allow me to escape.

"You are a lousy manager Jimmy. Everybody  hates yOOOOOOFFF!" I tackle him in the midsection knocking the wind out of him. Then I just start wailing on him like a man possessed. He is trying to cover up while whimpering but I have no intention of letting up. After what sems like several minutes but is in reality only about a minute I feel my arms getting tired. I don't want to stop the pummeling so I bring my hands together and use my ebbing strength to hit him with my conjoined fist while adding some kicks for good measure.

Soon I notice I have made him bleed and I feel like stopping but I am too afraid to stop. I begin to wonder why Jimmy isn't pulling me off. I notice that my teeth begin to hurt because I am clamped down so tight as I wail on Shawn. My arms scream out in exhaustion and my hands feel so sore that I am sure they are about to start bleeding. That is when I let up. That is when I stop and look at my hands.... at the blood. Shawn doesn't move.

I fall away from him and back up to the wall. I look over and Jimmy is staring at me like he is not sure he knows who he is dealing with. I echo that sentiment inside my own head. Who am I and how did that just happen? Then another thing occurs to me and I race back to Shawn. Fumble around for the keys and get ready to barrel through Jimmy. When I turn around I notice he is gone and I feel the urge to stop think my next steps through but I don't have the time. I can't squander the opportunity to escape and I am not entirely sure Jimmy didn't go to get a gun. I rush out the door and try to find the exit that will take me to the dead tattooed guys car.

I look down at my hands and notice I have more then Shawn's keys, I have his wallet and a long knife. I do not recall taking these but I recognize that I could probably use both. I tuck the wallet in my pocket and I flip the knife so the back rests against my forearm. I push through the exit toward a back parking lot. I take off my bloody shirt as I walk and I try to use the back, the non bloody side, to wipe up the blood. It soon proves futile and I start walking while hitting the lock button on his little keypad until I hear a distinct chirping. I head that direction and notice Shawn was a proud owner of a minivan. A minivan with the little stick figures that people like to put on their cars to let you know they have a family but this just shows one guy and 2 dogs. I breathe a sigh of relief that he still does not seem to have any redeeming qualities. I would have felt bad about killing someone's father.

I open the door and notice the stench before I even see the mess. It is filled with half eaten fast food and some seems to have went South. I look in the mirror and see blood speckles and my face and decide not too judge. I decide to take a look at the license as I pull out of the parking lot. I take note of his address and I head there immediately. I have the feeling that I should get cleaned up and I have no desire to go home.

The ride passes in a blur and I find myself outside of a small little house that looks run down even though it happens to be in a super wealthy part of the city. I shake my head, get my keys and head to the door. As I do this my head is filled with one thought "What happened to Jimmy?"

Thursday, April 05, 2012

The Money (pt. 2)

Normally, if this really were a bad '80's movie, I would spend my blacked out experience reliving the last few days so that I could fill in the audience on what happened. Unfortunately this isn't a bad movie andmy mind doesn't like following rules. Instead I am stuck following 3 pink rabbits who occasionally kick me for no apparent reason. Well no reason besides that they are evil devil worshipping Satan spawn rabbits. I am still not clear why I know that about them because, like real rabbits, they can't talk. I am also not clear on why a Satan spawn would also be a devil worshipper. I could share our adventures but they don't really make sense. I could also blather incessantly about how dreams make total sense while your asleep but no sense once you awaken but I am kind of awake and in pain now. It seems the illustrated porcupine has a taste for ripping off fingernails and I am in the middle of screaming bloody murder.

"Don't start on the next one Shawn! The goal is to get him to talk not to wilt in pain!" Jimmy screams. Such compassion.

I whimper something that is supposed to sound bold and brave but that fingernail deduction really sucked. My whole hand is on fire from him pulling out one freaking fingernail!

"What was that? Did you feel like talking? You can tell Shawnie!"

I almost throw up at his self imposed nickname (or perhaps it is the blinding pain) but instead I look up at him and I repeat myself. My mom didn't raise no fools.... well with the exception of me she didn't. "I said I specifically requested a pedicure with a high gloss clear coat and not all this red...."

My voice is barely a whisper but he hears me and his eyes broadcast instant anger. I find myself instantly wondering why this looks so much cooler in the movies as he leaps at me with the pliers. Once again I find myself in the weird position of thanking Jimmy for coming to my rescue as he collars Shawn and drags him, screaming newly created curse words at me, from the room.

"I never knew you were this friggin' stupid kid. Just get us the money. Ain't you got no family you could get the four grand from? You seem a likable guy, at least a guy with some con ability. Someone who could talk his way into some one's pocket. Yet here you are talking crap to a man who wants to make you suffer." Oompah says to me and it is starting to sound like true compassion. I try to stay focused and stop envisioning him singing the songs from the original Chocolate Factory movie. "You clear your frigging head! When I come back, I hope you have come up with a plan. I honestly don't got the stomach for murder and I hate the fingernail thing. If it were up to me I would have just beat you into the hospital but you caught the eye of those above me. So now we can't let you go with out showing something."

Once he has left I start to regroup. It is not easy with the throbbing of my hand but I manage to get a handle on a few things. Most importantly I start to realize that I don't like being hurt and that I need to make it out alive and with no more assaults to my person. After I come to a realization that should have been obvious, I start to look around the place. I see a camera looking at me. Which seems odd... who records torture? A part of me thinks it is just a b.s. psych out thing but the other part of me is sure that the ones in charge want their proof. They want to see me break. I am not wild about being watched so I push myself up to my feet and stumble my way underneath it, so I am only partially in it's view. The camera doesn't move. I turn my focus to inventorying this room. There isn't must besides blood and me. Nothing is in my pockets and I don't have my shoes. I spend the next few minutes being pissed about losing those shoes, I made them myself online. They were sweet. I realize I am drifting again and I tell the rabbits to leave me alone.

I know now that I won't outwit or overpower them in my current state. I spend a few depressing minutes feeling my pain and thinking about my impending painful demise. Once I am done with that I began trying to think of every single person I have ever oweed me a favor.....

Monday, April 02, 2012

The Money

Sometimes you have to shake off a run of bad luck. It ain't always easy, but anything worth fighting for usually isn't. I figured my life was worth fighting for. There are those detractors out there like the guy I was running from right this moment. He would give anything to shake me and my bad luck into the hospital. I had one chance and it was the ferry that was supposed to be leaving in 15 seconds. If it was going to work I had to be barely within jumping distance and he had to be outside that distance. It felt like I was in a movie and I hoped my luck was movie luck. I pushed past some people that were waving goodbye to loved ones. There weren't a lot of those because most ferry passengers are day trippers but there were some. IT should have seemed odd. One of the well wishers catches my eye a second too late and I feel my side explode in a solar flare of pain. My run has not ended as planned. Sometimes....... things don't shake so well. I feel like I am spinning as I actually plummet into the frigid waters of the Sound. My last conscious thought is about the large cleavage of the woman who stabbed me.

I awake in a grey building with a scary tattooed and grotesquely pierced freak sewing me up like I am Sally from the Nightmare Before Christmas. Odds are, with the way I feel, that Sally is still the better looker of the two of us. It takes me a moment to hear the noises that go along with the overly bejeweled lips of the scary one. I briefly wonder if the person is female or male when it/he/she slaps me. The voice does not help me clear it up, it's a dry scratchy noise that sounds like what a muted dog would sound like if it's barks were human speech. "...... bloooohdy ihdioht! Yoooh shouldenah rahn. Iht mahkes theh bosth mahd. Thehn yooh ehnd uhp here ahnd I hafta pahtch yah up."

"I take it from your whining that Ray is awake and with us again. How was that nasty little spill into the Puget Sound? Worth the run you little shit!? Nearly caved your head in on the boat and I am still trying to figure out if that would have been bad or not. On one hand a dead man never pays but on the other you seems like a big time loser that won't ever pay!" hollers Jimmy Oompah Loompah (as he is less then affectionately referred to due to his overtanning and rather underdeveloped stature).

"Thihs bloohdy ihdioht prohbahbly wihshes heee nehvah mahde iht bahck ouht ohf the sohund!" cackles the walking piercing.

"Shut up! I hate your breathy voice Shawn! Isn't it about time for you to be done? Don't frigging answer that! It was a rhetorical question!"

At least Oompah and I agree on something, the voice does make the pierced and tattooed one even harder to handle. I can see that Shawn, the living canvas, has been offended when he yanks a little too hard on the thread. I can't help but let out a whimper in response. I see a smile spread across both of their faces and realize that pain from others is what brought this dynamic duo together and will probably keep it together long enough to deal with me. Luckily for me, Shawn, the world's ugliest canvas, has hurriedly finished up and left. But not without kicking me very near my flesh wound first.

When the world returns to a less pain blurred focus I see the Loompah is patiently waiting on me. "I am betting you were hoping for a bit more luck today. Unfortunately you weren't focused on all the details that a man like me has to be focused on. I anticipated your move, it was so 1980's cliche movie get away...."

"Really..." I whisper, "must have missed those movies.:" Jimmy's orange face slips out of sadistic smile mode and takes on an 'I will kill you' facial expression. That is when I realize that I am living out the ultimate cliche where the hero, ha!, taunts his captor. Unfortunately cliches do not protect you from searing pain and I wake up with the tattooed one cleaning me up again. It makes me think of the Princess Bride and the pit of despair. I smile as I think of Wesley being cleaned up before his torture begins.

"The ihdioht ihs ahwahke." Igor the rhinestone pierced cowboy announces.

"I don't like you Ray!" bellows a high pitched orange.

"Really...?" I breathe.

"I just want the money and you run from me. I am forced to have you stabbed and then sewn up and all you can do is mock me." He glares at me and I try not to smirk, even in this much pain my urge to laugh at inappropriate times is trying to take over. "I will kill you if we continue in this fashion, RAY!"

All I can think is 'why does he keep saying my name, does he think I might think he is talking to Shawn the fishing lure?' That makes me laugh, unfortunately. I briefly swim through a tide of crimson before the blackness falls on me like a wannabe vampire's ever important cape.

To be continued?