The Write Off: Shotgun Surrogate
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By Richard Dani
(This contains foul language.)
The crowd roared as they had been doing every night for the past two weeks. Opening night had been a smash and after the reviews they couldn't seem to sell tickets fast enough.
Sandra took her bow giving a smile, but trying to hide the pride welling up inside her. After all, it was a team effort to put on a production of this caliber, but she knew it was her they had come to see. As the curtain flowed down in front of her like a velvet waterfall, she let her pride slip. Now hidden from the crowds, she threw her hands over her head and did a little dance of victory. If she had been able to reach her back in the grand gown that adorned her body, she might have even patted herself.
Back in her dressing room, staring in the mirror, Sandra shot herself a wink.
"You've still got it kid," she said, smiling.
"Sandra, you've got some fans out here that would love your autograph," Brad said leaning into her dressing room.
"Tell them I'll be out in a minute, but I can only do a few, I've got plans tonight...big plans," Sandra said.
Sandra approached her car in the dimly lit parking lot below the theatre. It had been a struggle to tear herself away from the adoring fans, but she loved every minute of it. She checked her watch, nine thirty, she would have to hurry if she was going to make it. She pressed the alarm on her car and it gave its familiar chirp and the locks popped up. Moving to the door she heard a noise behind her and she whirled about. Nothing.
She pulled open the door and slid inside, placing the key in the ignition she looked forward and froze. There placed neatly under her windshield wiper blade was a single business card with four letters on it.
In an instant everything had changed. It was over. She was finished. They had found her.
“Fuck!” she yelled and removed the key from the ignition. For nearly two years she had been in hiding with not so much a sniff from the men of M.A.R.S. and now, one rinky-dink play has brought them to her.
“Fine,” she thought as she pulled the chrome plated pistol from her purse, “let’s have a coming out party.”
Realizing her car was a four-wheeled coffin, she popped her door open and stepped onto the cold, concrete tarmac. She had completed this while scanning the garage for shadows that might forsake their positions. Carefully, with her back to the car, she reached under her seat and removed the sawed-off shotgun she had learned to keep there. Then, feeling properly armed, she called out, “Alright cocksuckers, show yourselves. I ain’t got all night.”
Her words echoed off the rows of parked cars and cement walls and for a long moment, there was no reply. She passed the time kicking off her shoes and tucking the pistol into the belt that supported her gray pleated skirt. Having grown impatient she shouted, “What? No fucking balls?”
A small beep beneath her car was their answer and almost instantly she broke into a run. They had anticipated this action and two men, who were dressed completely in black, materialized between the cars before her. Without breaking her stride, she pulled the trigger and the “boom” of the shotgun filled her ears. Before they could even aim their weapons, both men were effectively liquefied leaving only a gory smear to mark their existence.
Still in full run, she managed to duck behind a blue SUV just as her car exploded with a cataclysmic sound that seemed to rock the garage on its foundation. As the shrapnel rained down, and set off the alarm on a Mercedes, she remained focused and reloaded her weapon.
Two years prior, her relationship with M.A.R.S. had been a brief one. It didn’t take long to figure out that the men who ran it were a collective bunch of lunatics. The “S” in M.A.R.S. stands for surrogates. They were looking to pay women for the use of their wombs. Sandra had been hard up for cash, and they were offering a truckload, so she had agreed to meet them. That was when she learned the rest of the acronym and it scared the shit out of her. She had immediately turned to leave their offices but after she felt a small pinprick in her neck, everything had gone black.
Some time later she awoke in a hospital bed with a burning fire between her legs. She wasn’t sure, since she had no children of her own, but it felt like she had given birth to a litter. Despite her condition she was still one dangerous woman. She had spent years in the military and even more working for a few organized crime families and as a result, she had counted herself the deadliest person in the building. It didn’t take her long to commandeer an orderly’s outfit, which came at the expense of a young man’s jugular, and a few household supplies necessary for her revenge. She had then snuck to the basement and located their furnace, which burned natural gas. Like a real life McGyver, she had whipped up a makeshift time bomb from a clock, some radio wires and a Zippo lighter. In mere seconds, she had fled the building and was a few blocks away when it blew. Ever since, she had been on the lamb. She wasn’t sure how much of the organization had survived but she knew they’d have a price on her head.
With the car alarm still blaring in the parking garage, she would be unable to hear her attackers approach and a sickening feeling burned in her stomach. For a moment, she had hoped that her car explosion would bring some assistance but that desire quickly disappeared. These men were on a suicide mission with one primary goal: To kill her. They weren’t about to let a few local police, let alone civilians, stand in their way.
She glanced around the rear of the SUV and saw no one. Then she felt the hands on her ankles. She looked down and saw that the dark clothed arms were extended from beneath the vehicle. She bent over and pointed the shotgun between her legs and fired under the truck. Instantly, the hands lost their strength and a bloody puddle began racing toward her heels. As she straightened herself, the cold metal of a semi-automatic weapon pressed against her temple and someone ripped the shotgun from her hands.
“Fucking cunt,” she heard the man say.
Over the car alarm a different male barked, “Will someone disable that goddamned thing.” It was more an order than a question and it took only a few seconds to be obeyed. With the absence of the siren, she could hear that the guy holding her gun was whispering threats, “I’m gonna stick this shotgun up your ass and pull the fucking trigger. Ya know that bitch? Or maybe I’ll tie you to my bumper and drag your ass to Canada.”
Obviously, he was trying to antagonize her to an action that would justify his shooting her, but she wasn’t going for the bait. She stood silent and waited for the person in charge to approach. She wondered why they hadn’t taken her pistol but when she stole a quick glance down, she had her answer. At some point, her blouse had come un-tucked and it effectively hid her weapon.
“Good,” she thought, “just give me an opportunity.”
She felt the puddle of blood rap around her bare feet just as a large man in a blue suit appeared from behind the vehicle. He thinning hair was combed over the crown of his head but his attempt to hide his baldness was failing miserably. She recognized him from her first meeting at M.A.R.S and she believed his name was Mr. Jenkins.
“Hello, Sandra,” he said with his jowls flapping. “How are you doing? You look a little flushed?”
The words “Fuck You” immediately jumped into her mind but she decided against them. She had wanted to feign at least a little compliance and though she knew he really didn’t care she said, “Okay, I guess. My stomach hurts a little. How are you?”
“Much better now that I have my prize surrogate back in the fold. Have you had any babies while you were away?”
The question filled her with disgust and she fought hard not to grab her pistol. The “babies” was what this had all been about. M.A.R.S., which stands for Medically Abled Regenerative Surrogates, turns women into small infant producing factories by reducing the pregnancy from 9 months to barely a few hours as Sandra had discovered on her own. One morning, after a one-night stand, she awoke in mid-labor with a baby’s head sticking out of her loins. Her evening’s lover didn’t even bother getting dressed. He just ran from the hotel room with his clothes bundled in his arm.
“Only one. I put it up for adoption,” she replied with her temper flaring.
“Good, then you’re not out of practice,” he said with a malicious grin.
Sandra could take no more. She reached for her pistol and was able to fire off one round before the semi-automatic erupted against her temple. As her brains began to empty from her skull, she died knowing that her bullet had found its mark. It had hit the spot beneath Mr. Jenkin’s zipper.
If you have no questions or fears about your abilities, then you will learn nothing from your mistakes and know nothing about your limitations.