Here’s a story that I revised from third person to first, which to me, made for a better story. This has Adult Content (language, violence). It’s a Noir story all the way. Hope you enjoy. Please comment and let me know what you like and didn’t like.
Robert C Price
“What the hell am I doing?”
I asked that question of myself after surveying the damage I inflicted on this man. His face swelled with black, blue and yellow tinged bruises forming a grotesque mask. Blood drooled from the right corner of his mouth hitting the cold, oil soaked concrete floor into a pool of burgundy.
I did this.
I crushed Shane Malcolm’s legs by pounding his bones with a Louisville Slugger and didn’t think twice about relenting. I felt nothing except hate. Pure and unadulterated. I had dreamed of this day and it never once cross my mind that I would feel empathy.
Not in the moment.
He laid lifeless, handcuffed to a black Suburban twitching every so often to let me know he was still hanging on. Determined bastard. I didn’t blame him for trying to survive. I was too. The last twenty years was a testament to survival accompanied with a solid diversion of drunkenness.
The day it happened was like all the rest, soaked in Smirnoff and not stopping until I passed out or threw up. Whichever came first. I was at home watching the Eagles obliterate the Cowboys. My cell rang and I didn’t bother to look at the Caller ID, but I heard his voice. I asked, “What do you want?” as dry as I could make it. He laughed and told me what he did. My face sank like a wounded cruise ship and I hung up.
I went to my bedroom and threw on jeans, T-shirt and a jacket. I stood staring at my mirror for a minute, biting my lip and looking for an ounce of regret. I kiissed my fingers and placed them on my mom’s picture I had taped on the right corner of my mirror and left.
It took ten minutes to get to my uncle’s abandoned garage. The building sits there as a reminder that you don’t will a business to a nephew who could care less. I put it on the market, but no bites. Bad time for ownership.
When I went through the side door, there was Shane unconscious and shackled to the front grille of the SUV. I saw a bucket in the corner, picked it up and went to the bathroom sink to fill it to the rim. After, I slogged that bucket over to him and poured on top of his worthless head.
He woke up with a start, looked around confused and began screaming for all hell to break loose. I punched him dead in his nose and heard the crunch as his head flew back into the grill.
“Who the hell are you?” he yelled as he tried to shake the stars he saw flashing around him. My mind went back to the night everything went to shit. Blackness came over me and I leaped on top of him. My fists hammered his face to an unrecognizable pulp. His head dropped and his body went listless. I shook him to wake up, but no movement.
I slammed my hands against the hood of the SUV, cursing at him for not staying awake to take his beating. And like a sign, I heard the bat fall in the corner. I spied it laying there waiting for me. I walked over, picked it up and twirled the bat in my hands. As soon as I got close, I raised the bat over my head and pummeled his legs until I gained my sanity back.
Here I was checking this asshole’s pulse, making sure he was breathing all because of my conscience. I sat there next to him wondering what my next move would be. I didn’t have too much time to think when approaching headlights flooded the garage.
I got up and waited for the door to open. Last time I saw Andre, I had him in cuffs.
“Damnnnn Troy! You can’t wait on a brotha,” he said as he walked over to the body. He knelt and examined Shane’s face. I could see a smirk form on his lips. It made me sick.
“You did a number on him. Shit, you did most of the heavy lifting, dog. I gotta say, this is nice work. When you done fuckin’ wit dem cops, you know I got a spot for you, right,” said Andre.
I looked at them both and thought about the shit I gotten myself into. He saw my face turn sour and sprung up like a predator. He got within an inch of my face and asked, “What da hell is wrong with you?”
“I can’t be a part of this. Look at what I’ve done,” I said as I pushed Andre away. I saw him go for the back of his pants underneath his coat, but he stopped and started laughing like a bully who just stole your lunch money.
“You picked a fine time to get all guilty after you damn near killed the man. What’s left for me to do?” as he strolled over to the dying man and kicked him in his kidneys. I grabbed him by his arm and shoved him against the Suburban.
“That’s it. I’m done! We’re done! Look at him. I fuckin’ did this Andre. I took the law into my own hands and went against my sworn oath as a police officer and I may have taken his life. The shit is over,” I slumped to the floor with the palm of my hands digging into my eyes.
Andre raised himself off the SUV, fixed his coat collar and knelt beside me. He said in a deliberate tone, “Troy, I understand what you going through. I mean, what would your “brothers in blue” think of you? Right? Beating the shit outta an unarmed suspect. But we’re talkin’ Philly cops, so, they’d probably give you a medal or sumptin’. It’s not everyday you get a chance to beat the shit outta the man who killed your mother.”
I glared at him, which only made Andre snicker. He went back to the body, lit a cigarette and stood there examining the wounds like a detached surgeon.
“Ya know, your mom was always good to me,” he said while taking a drag from the cig. “She looked out when my moms was too busy tryin’ to get her next hit. You lucky Troy. She gave you everything you needed or wanted. So, the least you can do is honor her and stop actin’ like a little bitch and finish the job. Or do you want me to do that too? Clean up your shit like always.”
Andre removed his 9mm from the back of his trousers and a silencer from his inside coat pocket. He began screwing it on the barrel, “This piece of shit killed your mom over ten dollars. I eat punks like him for breakfast just for passin’ through the block. It’s time for him to take a nap, Troy. Man up and get your shit together.”
He placed the barrel of the automatic on Shane’s bloody forehead just as his eyes opened. They stared at each other and smiled. I didn’t know if Shane knew what was coming, but he looked at peace.
“Look at you. Just a mess,” said Andre, “My man Troy took it to ya, huh? It’s all that pent-up aggression. I told him this would be better than a shrink. As ususal, I’m savin’ his ass. This is for Mrs. Michaels, the most gracious woman who ever walked this earth. Say goodnight.”
I go over it in my mind, but it’s still a blur to this day. I just knew I couldn’t let Andre execute him like a dog in the street. I rushed over and grabbed him around his neck. He tried to flip me over but I planted my feet like a tree and had at least a hundred pounds on him. I dragged him over to a wall when he pointed the gun in my face. I gripped his hand and flung it in time for the bullet to miss. I kept a firm grip on his wrist and neck and began to squeeze like a clamp. My fingers dug deep into his skin until I drew blood and then I felt him slump in my arms. We both fell to the floor with a thud. I bawled like a baby hitting him in the chest trying to resurrect a past that’s been gone for a long time.
The whole act was a pointless exercise in futility. A man I grew up with is dead by my own hands and another near death. My mother would’ve been disappointed in me. She didn’t teach me to be vengeful; that was God’s territory. “Judge lest ye be judged” one of her favorite verses and I was no better for it.
I sat there in my car taking a belt of vodka from my flask I had stashed in the car. I saw the red and blue lights flashing as the patrol car rode up. Luckily, I knew the officer who stepped out of the vehicle and tapped his baton on the window.
“Evenin’ Mike. Nice night?” I said to him.
“Evenin’ Lieutenant. You called in a murder?” he said.
“Yeah, two dead bodies. One strangled. The other bludgeoned”
“They did it to each other, Lieu?”
“Nope. I did it. You may want to read me my rights now.”