He drinks down the burning whisky, chokes it down gagging. Sits back in the car seat and feels his stomach warming, his confidence rising. The next drink is easier. He thinks that he will get more whisky, just keep drinking all the way through the killing. He can steal some from her parents. He isn¢t going to miss this town. The stores along the strip are all cheap looking dollar stores and liquor stores and bars. Dead. The Railroad shut down the switching yards that had created the town of Garrett, Indiana, long before he was born. Everyone wanted to live in Auburn, five miles away, where they had a McDonald¢s and Burger King. Garrett refused to let them in, because some restaurant owner was on the board that made the decision, and that had helped kill the place, too. He thought maybe he would miss his mom, but he never had before. His dad never mattered much to him or his family, just a drunk they had to take care of now and then.
They weren¢t going to let him see her anymore. He went over there this morning and her dad came out on the porch looking mean, his hands shaking all nervous, his black steel lunch bucket in one, a huge crescent wrench in the other. His clothes were stained black from the rubber dust at the plant. ?I told you, she is too young for you, dammit.?
?Hell, she told me you was five years, like, older than her mother? When he heard this from her, he figured he would stop at nothing to get his way, because he was right.
?She¢s gonna get nothing but trouble from you, you ain¢t even working or in school. Since it ain¢t legal, I ain¢t letting see her. Get the hell out of here. I see you around here again, I am going to kick your ass, then have you put in jail, where they¢ll fuck your ass.?
He just backed off, got on his bike and rode down the street. He didn¢t want to go to prison, not at his age looking the way he did. What Mr. Fitzgerald said scared him, made his stomach clench ? getting fucked in the ass would destroy something inside of him, he was sure of it. The old man would call the cops; get him sent up on statutory rape charges. He had threatened as much twice now. He might just get all pissed off and go ahead and do it. He could as easy as hell.
He didn¢t like the feeling of somebody having something over him like that. Especially a man who hated him all to hell. There was only one way to stop him for sure.
He gets to his house and locks his bike to their fence, reaches around in his jacket for a mint, has to check most of his pockets before finding some tic tacs.
He walks into his the door off the kitchen; from the living room he hears the television; his mother and sister are watching their soap opera. His mother taped them in the morning, without watching them?no matter how exciting the days revelation was advertised, then his sister came home during her lunch break at the Stern¢s Hardware¢s and watched the damn show. He hated them. They had just wasted their lives. Didn¢t even have boyfriends. He was not going to end up fat and carrying around a black steel lunch bucket all covered in rubber shit. Or working at the hardware store and having to listen to the owner go on and on about his rich ass life?his sister had hated this, same as the other clerks, for ten years and never said a word to the jerk. He would have kicked his ass first day.
He takes his shoes off in the doorway and walks through the den to get to his room, so he can avoid the music on the soap opera?something about it had always depressed him. Above his bead is an oak gun rack, polished to a gleaming blonde shine, with two rifles. Both were gifts from his grandfather. He always came down and took him deer hunting on Thanksgiving. ¡
He had taken down a kill every year. His first year, when his aim was still shit, his grandfather took him out to a ranch where they guaranteed a kill. After that he sat in a blind with the rest of the men in his family, took his shot and downed them. One of the guys cut the deer up into steaks, charging just some meat for himself. His grandfather had the first deer¢s horns put on a plaque; cost too much to do every year.
He picks up a black phone a table filled with star wars action figures, dials the number of his grandfather, who he was closer to than anyone, even though he only saw him a couple times a year. His grandfather was a teacher, and always telling him stuff that he didn¢t really understand. Like why he wanted him to learn how to hunt, even though his dad didn¢t care for hunting at all, didn¢t even keep any guns around.
He answers in his raspy, breathy voice, ?Hey, Kid.?
?I¢m going hunting.?
?I wish I could go with you. What season is it down there??
?You could get a month in jail and a hell of fine for??
?Yea, yea, I know? this is on private property, at my girlfriends. They have like 400 acres.?
?Then hunt well, my warrior.?
?You think men need to hunt, to keep in touch with themselves, right??
?Sort of. Hunting is something humans should do, because we are killers, son. It¢s natural, something we enjoy. It keeps us in touch with nature, animals. That¢s what they don¢t understand. Your dad never did. People don¢t see it like that so much anymore, I suppose? Aw, you don¢t want to hear that. I bet you¢re hunting Raccoons, right? Got a dog??
?I wish I had a dog. Yea, we¢re going for coons. Late tonight. Gonna shine my flashlight up into their eyes, and shoot em. Can¢t sell em until season, so her dad keeps em in this freezer. Talking about dogs, I was thinking of coming to visit you, and maybe getting one or two of them dogs. Now, you know, since you¢ll probably be leaving them to me, right? I mean, I love them dogs.?
?Oh, your mom didn¢t tell ya??
?I had to sell my dogs. I have this damn problem with my legs now. That¢s why I sent you that gun. I explained all this in the letter that was in the box.?
?I lost the letter that was in there.? He had to sound out words and think about them awhile . . . he only did it when he had to. He just checked the letter for money and then tossed it. ?I¢m sorry. I¢ll talk to you later.? He hangs up before he can hear the old man¢s voice again.
He feels hate for the old man, wishes he could kill him for selling off his dogs. He had loved visiting there and going out to the kennel, playing with the puppies.
?Just makes that new life look all the better,? he tells himself out loud.
He keeps his guns well oiled, polished; they shine in the gun rack above his bed. He takes down a Remington twenty two automatic with oak inlays down the sides. His grandfather¢s gun; a real beauty. He was going to sell it, get some money to buy a car. He still would, he tells himself, just later -- in his new life.
He calls her. The phone rings three times, then before it can switch to voice mail, someone picks up the receiver then sits it back down, breaking the connection.
He throws his phone into the wall, watches it smash into pieces? he wasn¢t going to need it anymore. ?That fucking bitch? she goes first.? He puts on his army jacket, picks up a box of bullets and slides them into his pocket, takes the gun and goes back out into the kitchen and takes his sisters keys off the counter. He looks in on them and they are engrossed, hypnotized, like they got when their food was done and they were just watching all those exciting lives that they were never going to have.
He goes outside and put the car into neutral, then pushes the small Escort down the driveway to the road before starting the car. He waits for a truck to pass, then does a u turn and heads out for her house.
He reaches into the glove compartment, pulls out a black .45 with a scope, slips it into the side pocket of his army Jacket. He has a hunting knife in there, too, in case he has to cut up the bodies for some reason. He will cut up the bodies if he has to. Anything to be with her. They were meant to be, so he figured that maybe everything he did to get her was okay. He had a right to her, and they were almost the same age?
She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Young and innocent, moving like a child, and just him knowing she had that little devil inside. She loved to make out, stick her sweet, candy coated tongue down his throat as she rubbed his dick through his pants. She gave him head the first night they met? she¢d never done nothing else wit a guy until him. She let him because she said they were going to be together forever. He loved thinking about her saying that. His silently mouthed the word, ¡forever.¢
He notices that he is speeding and slows down. No cops, not today. The guns would get his ass in trouble. No, not that day? that day he would kill a cop. He hated to do that. He kind of wanted to be a cop.
He comes to her house and turns off the road. The Escort¢s wheels crunch over the rock driveway. He sees the curtain in her window get pulled aside, and then her smiling face, surrounded by her golden hair? she looks all excited, so damned happy ? she knows why he is there. They¢d discussed what they would have to do if her dad tried to put him in jail. When he told her what he might have to do,
She¢d told him that he should kill anyone who tried to stop them from being together.
She said No one could ever keep them apart, anyways, because they were soul mates. He believed everything she said, even though he knew she was like a kid in that respect, always ready to believe the world was full of wonderful shit. He hadn¢t thought so, not the last few years working at Burger King feeling like he never had enough money and nothing to do but drink beer with a bunch of wasters that stole from each other when they could. Now he had her, and just maybe? there was something wonderful out there? he again felt a warmth that came to him sometimes, in his stomach, when he thought of her?
He was going to have a new life. They would go out west, live around a bunch of cows. He had always liked cows. He would butcher them himself. Castrate them. She said she couldn¢t do that, not to cows ? she liked them, too, mostly because he did. She tried to like everything he did. Boy did he like that. She really took him to be the responsible one. So he was going to do this for her. . . and him . . . and their new life.
Her mother comes out onto the porch with her arm up pointing back toward the road screaming something he can¢t hear. The sight strikes him as comical and he starts laughing as he takes the looped driveway up to right in front of the house. He stops, pulls the .45 out of his pocket, pushes open the car door, steps out, brings the gun up to his shoulder, sees her face in the scope -- a cross intersects just over her brow as her face goes from puzzled to shocked to scared. She starts to turn back toward the door. He pulls the trigger back slow and smooth. A red dot appears between her eyes. She falls out of his sights. He lowers the gun and looks at her all crumpled up on the porch. She was dead as hell. He laughed and started up the porch, stepped over her.
She comes into the living room and embraces him, then kisses him fiercely on the lips, her tongue probing down his throat. He grows hard and she notices, starts rubbing him as she says, ?That bitch said we could never see each other again. I hope she¢s in hell.?
He takes the whisky out of his jacket and hands it to her.
?Well, she ain¢t in hell, I bet.? For the first time he kind of wonders what he is doing. He doesn¢t like the idea of sending someone to hell. He¢d been raised in a church with a fundamentalist preacher who had convinced him, when he was a kid, that Satan was everywhere. He had given up on most of that shit when he started partying and going to whores and stealing and shit. Still, he kinda believed in the lord, and the thought of Satan just sort spooked him. When he thought about it at all, he figured that he would repent sometime, when he was older, and still go to Heaven.
They made crazy love right there in the living room, on her dad¢s Lazy Boy. There was a big wet spot that made them laugh on and off for the rest of the day. They made love there again later to make sure the stain was permanent. Her dad wouldn¢t even let anyone sit in it. Kept it perfectly clean.
They take the hose and spray the blood off the aluminum siding by the door and the porch, drag her mother down into the basement and hide her in an old coal bin. They didn¢t want anyone to know about the crime for weeks. They¢d have a whole new life by then, new names, be from a different place.
?Let¢s let him see the chair before you shoot him.?
?Okay.? He looks around the room and decides to hide in the kitchen, then step out and kill him while he was yelling about her chair. ?If he asks, you go ahead and tell him that it¢s from fucking me, alright??
She laughs so hard that she bobs her head up and down and jumps up and does a little dance. I bet he has enough money on him for gas?. We¢ll go see the mountains, the desserts, the oceans? Hollywood. Everyplace. I think we should just drive around robbing stores. Just never come back to this hell hole.?
At four twenty, they heard him pull into the drive way. They went to the window of her room. He whispers to her, ?Stay naked. That will freak him.? She laughs so hard that she spits out her gum. He picks it up, kisses it, and hands it back to him.
?Ew, no. I always keep a lot of gum around. It¢s diet. I ain¢t never gonna get fat on you.?
?You better not.?
?Men can get fat.?
From downstairs they hear her fathers¢ voice. ?What the fuck happened to my chair??
He laughs, leans down and picks up the .45, and pushes her toward the stairs. ?Go on down there and tell him.?
?Now I don¢t want to.? She looks scared as hell all of a sudden. She spins around, grabs a garbage can and throws up. The old man hears her too. ?Honey, you up there? Something happened to my chair. Where the hell is that daughter of ours? She did this because?? He comes to the doorway and looks in at them standing there naked.
?You are going to jail, and you are going to juvenile hall.?
He has the .45 hidden under a sheet draped over his arm. She stops puking and looks up at him.
?Your mother raised a whore.? He hisses the words. ?Put your damn clothes . . . ?
The bullet blasts through the sheet sending white flakes fluttering into a sunbeam coming through the window. The old man stumbles back to the steps and falls backwards. They listen until he is at the bottom of the stairs, then he takes her in his arms and hugs her.
¡Don¢t kiss me until I brush my teeth.?
?Okay. We gotta get him in the basement and get out of here.? He feels some weight somehow start pressing on his chest, keeping him from breathing, and for a moment the walls in the room seem to be wavering, coming in on him. He takes a deep breath, grabs his underwear and starts getting dressed. ?We get caught, what you gonna say??
?It¢s my plan, so I remember it all stupid. I¢m gonna say they were touching me.?
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