Molotov Cocktail Lounge is taken from Meat Bubbles & Other Stories, which is out now from Close To The Bone Publishing.
I slowly unwrap the grease-poof paper. Inside is a human hand. It is half rotted, with flaked yellow skin clinging to the bone.
I swallow the bile rising in my throat, and chase it down with some of Marie Andretti’s good scotch.
She grinds out her high tar cigarette and taps her red lacquered nails on the desktop irritably.
“Well? Will you do it?”
Her voice is husky and low. I can’t tell whether she is excited or upset.
I nod. Sometimes I really wish I didn’t have principles. They only ever get in the way.
Her ex-husband is a convicted sex offender named Barry Balthazar. It was a marriage of convenience – brokered by her late mother Carlotta in a desperate bid to consolidate the Andretti’s waning power base. The Balthazar family were old money, and had a lax attitude towards their business associates.
It seemed like they were working towards a common goal, but the relationship was a disaster from the outset. Marie caught him trying to procure a rent boy on their honeymoon, and it went downhill from there. He stuck around long enough to drain a couple of her bank accounts – and find out where some of the proverbial bodies were buried. By the looks of the severed hand, he found out where some of the actual bodies were buried too…
Marie has something of a scorched earth policy when it comes to revenge – she says it is the reason she has stayed in business for so long. I was surprised when she told me that she had enlisted a smack-addled loose cannon like Frank Cutler for the job. He used to be a pimp, and ran a pair of West Indian girls who specialised in sado-masochism. No one knew exactly when they arrived, or where they disappeared to, but they briefly made him a lot of money.
Frank cradles the Molotov Cocktail like a new born baby. He is weirdly proud of the fact that he made it himself. His eyes are bloodshot and he is wearing a greasy overcoat. He pulls the rubber Halloween mask over his sweaty face, and grins malevolently.
He trudges across the gravel lot towards the North Atlantic Motor Inn, the missile dangling from his gloved fist. The hotel is Barry’s pride and joy. He spends every night holding court in the cocktail lounge, surrounded by flunkies and hangers-on. I can see the fluorescent lights flickering behind the frosted glass – until the window explodes on impact.
Then the screaming starts.
Frank peels off the rubber mask and drops it onto the scarred table. It stinks of burned flesh and stale smoke. On the table it looks even more grotesque – like something you would scrape out of a medical waste container.
His eyes shine with lunatic glee.
“What time is Marie meeting us?”
I wrap my arm around his throat and squeeze. I squeeze so hard I hear his windpipe give way with a crunch.
Biography: Tom Leins is a disgraced ex-film critic from Paignton, UK. His short stories have been published by the likes of Akashic Books, Shotgun Honey, Flash Fiction Offensive, Horror Sleaze Trash, Spelk Fiction and Close to the Bone. He is the author of three novelettes, SKULL MEAT, SNUFF RACKET and SLUG BAIT, and two short story collections, MEAT BUBBLES & OTHER STORIES (Close to the Bone) and REPETITION KILLS YOU (All Due Respect, an imprint of Down & Out Books).