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BOOZE, RIPPED-0FF DOPE, PENTHOUSE
LESBOS, AND BRASS KNUCKLES
I was only eighteen and I had already
witnessed two murders.
This is the first one.
I’m sorry. I know that these are flag waving,
George W. Bush and Billy Graham praying, ultraconservative,
Toby Keith patriotically singing with
tears in his eyes, politically correct times. But there
is still no way to say it but just like this - I was
sitting on the stool, reading a Penthouse, and taking
a cocaine rush induced shit when the first murder
went down.
It was the summer of 1975. My high school
days had ended just about a month previously and I
had no immediate plans other than to continue on
what I had been doing for the past two years which
was getting stoned and dealing some weed and
desperately trying to get laid for the first time.
Contrary to public opinion the two do not mix as I
was soon to find out. Not the getting laid part, I
meant the dealing and getting stoned part.
I was looking at this lesbian pictorial - are
all lesbians that hot? - and just thinking about
jerking off when I heard the front door bust open.
Lynyrd Skynyrd was jamming so goddamn loud on
Don't Ask Me No Questions, that at first I couldn't
hear or understand what was going on. The door
buzzer had gone off first and I had assumed that it
was just announcing more folks, hopefully chicks,
coming in to party. Man, was I fucking wrong!
The stylus on the turntable scratched across
the record. The music stopped. In fact, it sounded
like the turntable was knocked right onto the floor.
"Hey dude, what the hell are you doing!
Watch the fucking album. I just bought the
goddamn thing. Fucking thing cost 5.99!" Mike was
seriously stoned. "Hey! What are you doing here?"
“Just keep your ass in that chair and don't
move a muscle you lowlife motherfucker!”
My scrotum tried to crawl up into my
stomach. I knew who's voice that was. His name
was Cletus la Favor. A local thug, pimp, and drug
dealer. Two weeks ago I had broken into -
technically the door was unlocked - his Corvette
that he had left parked in his driveway. I had been
riding my ten speed home down his dark street
when I had seen la Favor park his car in front of his
house and stagger through the front door, his
tattooed, tree trunk arm wrapped around one of his
ladies. I don't what the hell had gotten into me to do
it, probably the nine beers that I had drank, but to
my utter disbelief and joy, I had discovered a half a
pound of gold Columbian and a .38 caliber snub-nose
in the backseat, damn near in plain view. I had
ripped off both items but hadn't told a soul about it.
la Favor was bad news. He had done hard time in
Stillwater and there was a local urban legend going
around that said he was known to strap on a pair of
personalized brass knuckles when people were
either drunk, stoned, or just plain stupid enough to
cross him.
To my horror I suddenly realized my
mistake. Several nights ago, Mike and I had gone
to a small keg party and in a lame attempt to get in
the pants of a hot number who was way out of his
league, Mike, without my knowledge had turned her
on to a couple of joints of the Columbian. That had
to have been how la Favor had found out. The
backwater town we lived in got buzzed mainly on
Hamm's beer, white cross speed, and Mexican ditch
weed. It wouldn't have taken much for la Favor to
put two and two together.
"What's the shotgun for, man? That's not
cool, dude. Guns aren't cool!" Mike was going
through this weird "violence isn't the answer" hippie
period. I think that he thought that would help him
attract more women. It didn't.
"Where's the dope at you little cocksucker?
My fucking dope and my fucking pistol? I know
that you and your buddy took it!"
Mike's current girlfriend, a sweet dimwitted
bimbo named Angel and who was only sixteen but
easily could have passed for twenty five, (I think
that Angel may have been her stage name) and who
stripped on the weekends at the Aragon Bar,
screamed out in either fear or pain or both.
“Shut up you cunt! You either shut your
goddamn cock holster or I'll shove something in it!”
"Why are yo….” A hideous shriek of agony.
“First you have the nuts to deal on my turf,
you dirty fucks! (Our pot operation was so small
time I couldn't believe la Favor even knew about it)
Then you rip me fucking off! Now I ain't gonna ask
again, where are the fucking drugs? My fucking
drugs!" la Favor screamed.
"We don't have shit, man! We haven't ripped
anyone off!" Mike protested. "Just this little dab of
coke is all and this quarter ounce of weed is all we
have! You can take it if you want it!"
"You lying prick! Where the fuck is that
little asshole friend of yours that's always hanging
out here? He's the one I really need to talk to."
There was a pause. "Hey! Get your hands off her
tits and check this dump out!" he barked to
someone.
Panicking, I realized that I was the "asshole"
in questions and that I was trapped as the proverbial
shit-house rat. Quickly thinking (for once), I closed
the toilet lid and stood up on the stool. There was a
panel in the ceiling in the bathroom leading to a
ventilation shaft and I shoved the panel aside and
slithered like a snake up into the overhead and
pushed the tile back into place. It was pitch black
inside and smelled heavily of mouse piss. I could
feel their little shit pellets crunch under my hands.
Someone was in the bathroom below me looking
around. Jesus Christ! What's going to happen if they
lift the lid and see a fresh shit in there? They'll link
me to the turd and start searching for me. Probably
shoot me right through the ceiling. I stifled a
whimper.
"There ain't anyone in the crapper. But holy
shit! You should see these dyke bitches in this
magazine, boss!"
"Put the fuck book down and take the slut
out to the car, tie her up and throw her ass in the
trunk you goddamn moron. We'll take care of her
later. I'll handle this little son of a bitch."
I could hear Angel screaming out a blue
streak as she was taken down the stairs. The word
"motherfuckers" was mentioned predominately. We
were a mile out of town in an apartment over a
waterbed warehouse. There wasn't a soul around to
hear her.
"What? What do you want? I'll do anything!
I'll give you anything! Just bring Angel back up
here and I'll..." Mike's voice was suddenly cut off
like someone had him around the throat.
"Too late, asshole. You had your chance."
All I heard after that was this weird, wet
sound like someone hitting a ripe pumpkin or melon
with a stick. Then the racket of la Favor, all three
hundred pounds of him lumber down the stairs. I
could hear him bitching at his flunky through the
attic vent.
"Hey dipshit! Quit feeling up the fucking
bimbo, we got work to do. Dump her off at the farm
and get back here with a can of gas. We're gonna
torch this fucking place. And leave the fucking
beer." A high horsepower engine revved up and
gravel sprayed the side of the warehouse as a car
raced out of the parking lot. Then total silence. But I
knew la Favor was still out there. I could hear him
belching and farting.
I laid up there in the dark with the mice and
their shit for what seemed like hours but was
probably just a couple of minutes before I could
muster up the courage and make myself crawl back
down in the bathroom. I had to do something or I
was going to get roasted like a hot dog along with
Mike and his apartment. I walked gingerly around
the corner into the living room. Mike was sitting
straight up in his easy chair with his back to me.
"Mike! Mike!" I stage whispered. "We gotta
get the hell out of here! They're going to burn the
fucking place down!
He didn't answer so I slowly walked around
the chair. His eyes were open but he was obviously
dead. He was the only person I had seen dead
except for my grandmother and that had been at her
funeral. I remembered that she had looked like she
had been cast in wax, like a candle minus the wick
in her head, and real peaceful. But Mike didn't look
like that at all. Punched into the middle of his
forehead, like his skull had been made out of the
cheap sheet metal we used to use for projects in
high school shop class, were the initials "ClF."
"Brass knuckles," I mouthed to myself. The
legend was true!
Suddenly the stairs started creaking as la
Favor began to make his ascent up the stairs. Mike
had a Louisville Slugger that he had gotten a bunch
of the Minnesota Twins to sign years ago at a father
and son banquet with his local Cub Scout troop. It
was sitting in a place of honor on a shelf above the
stereo. I grabbed it and flattened myself against the
wall next to the open stairwell door. When la Favor
stepped into the apartment, I stepped into my swing
like Tony Olivia going for the fence.
"What in the fu.." The bat caught la Favor
right on the forehead. Dead center. His eyes rolled
back in his head then snapped back to look dead
straight at me. He stood motionless for at least three
seconds glaring at me as I got ready to wind up
again. And then he suddenly dropped like he had
been shot. There wasn't much damage. Just a nick in
the middle of his forehead that was dripping a
single stream of blood down the side of his head.
The son of a bitch wasn't dead. I could see that he
was breathing, but goddamn I really popped him!
The prick must have had a head as thick as a
coconut.
Dropping the bat, I ran over to the closet to
grab the two hundred dollars in dope money that I
knew that la Favor had missed. Mike always kept
his money stash in the inside pocket of his Levi
jacket. I then went to his bedroom to retrieve
Angel's tip jar that she kept hidden under their bed.
I don't think she would miss it - no one would ever
heard from Angel again I thought at the time. On
my way out the door I stopped and pulled the
trucker's wallet out of la Favor's back pocket with
the chain that was hooked to it. I jumped down the
stairs five at a time.
I was fucking flying on my ten speed down
the county road and I thought I had it made in the
shade until I saw the oncoming headlights and I
could hear the familiar throaty roar of the engine.
Without giving it a thought I shot straight down into
the ditch and racked my nuts seriously on the
crossbar when I hit the bottom and I flew over the
handlebars into a pool of stagnant and shitty
smelling water. The car roared past without seeing
me.
Doubled over on the bike with a serious case
of swollen nuts I barely made it home. Per usual,
the old man was watching an old late night episode
of Dragnet. The drunk old coot was going deaf and
I could it hear it two doors down as I came up the
street. Stepping into through the screen door, I
peeked around the corner of the living room. My
father was passed out on the couch which was a
nightly occurrence since my mother had run off
with a trucker and the old man had been laid off at
the packing plant because of carpal tunnel
syndrome. There was at least ten spent bottles of
Grain Belt beer and one full bottle on the coffee
table in front of him. I grabbed the full one and sat
down on the recliner to try to figure out just what in
the hell I was going to do to get out of this mess. I
didn't have a lot of time to dwell on it.
Angel’s tip jar had almost a hundred bucks.
la Favor’s wallet contained four and a half and
some change. Along with Mike’s two hundred I had
some decent cash to give me a running start. Then it
popped in my head as I looked up at the commercial
that always signified the half way point of the
Dragnet shows. That’s what was going to be my
way out! It was a Navy recruiting commercial. It
was like I had just noticed it for the very first time
even though I had seen the goddamn thing at least a
hundred times before. It's more than an job! It's an
adventure! Just what I was looking for since I need
to put some serious distance between myself and
this redneck shithole. Well, fucking A! Now I was
thinking! The local Navy recruiter was twenty miles
away over in Austin. I looked up at the clock. It was
close to three AM. The recruiter must open around
eight or so. I went into my dad’s room and opened
the top drawer of dresser and grabbed the envelope
where all my personal shit - birth certificate, social
security card, high school diploma - was kept in an
manila envelope. I grabbed that and the keys to the
piece of shit Chevy Vega that my mom had left -
along with the payments - when she ran off on us.
I stuffed a change of clothes and the
envelope into a gym bag and walked back into the
living room. The old man hadn’t moved a muscle. I
thought about leaving a note but didn’t. It was better
this way.

To be continued....

------
Scott L. Anderson


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