Beau Johnson, Crime Fiction, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Punk Noir Magazine

New plan: find a better class of man.

This is what’s going on under my extensions as Renee’s “friend” levels his gun at my head.  Well okay, there’s a little bit more to it than that, I suppose, but stuff such as this is meant to come with the territory, no?  Instead I have what I have: my sixteenth failed relationship in as many goddamn years.

Man had a handle too, which maybe-kinda-sorta should have been a tip off right out of the gate.  Me and judgement though, we tend to pretend we understand one another right up until the bruises appear, the money runs out, or the dope and drink start quenching things better than I have ever been able to.

Brings us to Renee, the newest guy in my life.  A Frenchman, I still recall his smile when we met, his big hairy hands over mine.  Hey, you would like to dance?  He says with his mouth.  His eyes are a whole other story.  Finding Dory, perhaps.  But rebooted.  The end result coming to hold not just one type of shark, but the whole damn species.

Okay, those eyes said, but first I’m gonna go on and eat you up.  And you know what?  You are going to enjoy the way I chew. 

               So yeah, I’d known from the get go I might have been out of my depth.  Sure, I like to fool myself as much as the next person and really, who doesn’t?  But there comes a time.  Christ, does there.

“No hands.  Just suck.”  A tall order, sure, but one I have always been game for.  Oh yes.  Every inch of the way.  Not because the performance is a particular thing of mine, but because I am a people pleaser to my core.  Might be because daddy touched me I’m like this.  Might be because my mother did not.  Either way, it comes down to a combination of loneliness, gentlemen callers, and bad decision making so epic, statue, honor, and erected should be the only names I respond to.  Doesn’t help I like to be fucked often and well either, but even that right there is me stretching things somewhat.  I need to always be with someone I suppose.  For the majority of time I’m awake and breathing I mean.  Gets me into trouble is what this does, and mixed up with guys one rung below the bar of standards methinks.

Brings us to the fridge full of body parts Renee and I end up staring into.  “Well, pet, would you look at this?”  He didn’t have to say it.  Not in the least.  My eyes just about outta my goddamn skull.  We’d already found what we’d come for: the dope.  What I was told was in lieu of a payment owed.  Renee’s “friend”, our “ower”, some sorta Richie-Rich type.  Chandeliers and paintings the whole place over.  Stairs and sofas and rugs so plush I could more or less swim.  Why the hell didn’t we leave when we had the chance then?  Why make our way to the lower level and the red/black curtains we should have never pulled back?

“Just want to take a peek around, pet.  Won’t be but a tic.”  But it was a tic.  Many tics.  Arms and legs.  Torsos and thighs.  Wasn’t the worst of it though.  Not by a country fucking mile.

Turning, I feel the heat of the bullet that enters the back of Renee’s head go past the bridge of my nose like breath coming from God.  My man’s chest hair and skinny jeans fly forward in response, what remains of his head slamming into a crisper full of ring fingers and thumbs.  I scream.  Go to my knees with my hands held tight against my ears.  Takes me a few seconds but I begin to realize I’m still alive.  I look up, unable to control my shaking, my eyes right into the bright blue of the dude holding the gun.  He’s older than Renee, darker, and the man-bun he’s attempting has just about come undone.

“You here by choice or did that piece of shit force you?”

There are many things I could have said.  Many things I could have done.  Wishing to remain whole, I recount my life as best I can.  Done, he says: “That so?  If it is, prove it.”

I rise.  Wipe my face.  Tuck my hair.  Take hold of the axe he motions to, the one hanging just back from the side of the fridge.  I dig in and swing, the power I unleash into what remained of Renee something I never knew I had.  It’s cathartic, primal, and I scream the entire time it takes to take his body apart.

“See?”  I say, and my breath comes out of me as it does after sex.

He says he does, yes, and then he lowers the gun.  I seem to see him for the first time as he does this, and the exchange that comes scares me more than what I have just been through.

It is the look of lust which stares back at me.  The look of love.

Fuck—just my type.

BIO: Beau Johnson has been published before, usually on the darker side of town.  He is the Author of A BETTER KIND OF HATE and THE BIG MACHINE EATS, both published by Down and Out Books.  Look for Bishop Rider’s continuing struggles in ALL OF THEM TO BURN, coming 2020, also from Down and Out Books.

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