Hey reader. Few quick notes for you. One, this entry is longer than most, I hope it can hold your attention. Two, this story is a little over a year old now, so get your cake and candles out and send me presents. Three, Reese and myself love you all very much.
As he adjusted his buttocks, moving his phone from his back pocket to the front, the leather chair Ethan sat in squeaked. There were a lot of squeaking chairs in the expansive room, as the Largo family all waited rather patiently for the lawyer to return from fetching coffee. Although charges still had yet to be brought against the high school senior, Ethan’s parents thought it would be best to get out ahead of any potential allegations. That parental drive had brought them into the city, and the downtown office of Chas German, famous for his role in the city universities college football team 1983-1987 seasons, and infamous for his work following.
The television ads for Happles, German & German showed Chas, who had maintained his linebacker build and tight haircut (which showed just enough grey to make him seem esteemed), standing again on the gridiron with a large stake of legal briefs. In the commercial, he ran down the field, a single bead of sweat dangling from his forehead as he juked, stiff-armed, and ran over a series of nebbish others, presumably representatives of other law firms. The voice over (either a hyper-masculine drawl or rather sultry female dribble, depending on the time slot) informed the viewer that HGG would always go the extra yard for their clients. Whether it was meant as a pastiche of late night DUI chasers or seen as a serious endeavor by those who made it was a common debate at the courthouse, but that matters little. After all, HGG, and particularly Chas, were the most sought-after legal team for middle/upper middle-class families faced with criminal charges. In fact, since taking over the firm, Chas had led the charge to more not guilty verdicts than any other defense attorney in the state.
His specialty, his calling card, his forte, was defending young men accused of sexual assault or harassment. Unfortunately for society, Chas German was making a proverbial killing in this little college city.
Ethan felt dirty just being in the office. The room was bohemian, the desk modern, the carpet a dull grey, and the atmosphere was more somber than a morgue. The wall behind the obsidian desk was made up entirely of windows, which looked down onto the cities main downtown street. The river, which roared in the falls up by Deercliff, could be seen in the distant, cutting the city in half.
The wait was finally brought to an end as the heavy oak door slid open silently, and the heavy steps of Chas echoed around the small chamber followed by the little clicks of high heels. Chas carried a 20oz cup in his large bear paws, and behind him the front desk attendant carried three smaller white cups. The family all muttered variations of thanks as the cups were passed out, and the pencil skirt excused itself from the room. Chas stood behind his large chair, pulling hard at the big paper cup.
“Ahhhhh,” Chas gulped. Even though he was using his “inside” voice, it reverberated throughout the room. “You know, I thank Christ almighty every day for Starbucks. It’s a serious business, with seriously good coffee, and if that isn’t the just the best damn thing on the planet I don’t know what is.”
“They do make a good frap,” Ethan’s mother said, between small sips.
“Your damn right miss, your damn right. I hope we didn’t keep you too long. Put in the order on my phone before I even left the room. Pretty neat, pretty damn neat stuff this tech. Anyways, let me just cut the shit. This is a consultation. There are no charges against your son at the moment as I understand it. That is good. But you didn’t come here to hear me tell you that you’re ok in the moment, you know that, you’re here cause the next moment might be a total cluster show. I want you to know if we go into business together, that you will be able to sleep easy each night, each moment, cause no matter what they throw at Ethan here, you’ll have me, and they won’t. They won’t have shit cause they don’t have shit already, and this honor roll student sitting across from me does not deserve to have his name, your family name, dragged through the mud in some witch hunt. I’ve already looked into the whole shebang, and I can tell you, if you give me the word, that we will have a full defense drawn up by the end of the day today. Which means we have to do the ugly part. You’ve had time to look at the contract, have you made a decision?” His body was animated as he spoke, hands making passionate leaps as he drove through his narrative. Partway through the whole thing, he had moved the chair and set the coffee down. He now leaned onto the desk, muscles rippling beneath the pinstripes, his eyes bouncing back and forth between the Largo family.
Ethan looked at his parents, trying to gauge a response. The lawyer was an intimidating figure, and somehow the more hunched over his body got the larger he looked. Ethan’s mother kept folding and unfolding her hands, not daring to make eye contact with the lawyer. His dad was wide-eyed, star-struck even, and he lifted up the paperwork he had been handed when they walked into the front desk.
“Consider yourself hired, Mr. German. Please, help our boy,” Ethan’s father said.
“Excellent! Damn excellent! Ethan, kid, you are in the best hands possible. Now, I’d like to lay out our case as is but just highlight the key stuff. We will set up meetings going forward for the formal stuff, and I’ll send you an email with the full details. You ready kid?”
“Um, sure. Go ahead Mr. German,” Ethan muttered.
“Call me Chas. Mr. German is six feet under, rest his soul. Alright, should this become a full-blown case, our first move will be to move to reduce the charges. There are going to push for battery, sexual assault, the full gambit. Say it was premeditated. Call Ethan a predator, preying on the weaker sex. We will probably have to let them keep the underage drinking part, but we will get them to drop the sexual assault charges no problem. I’ll explain that in a sec, but with that outcome we will still be fighting potential battery charges. Through a series of character witnesses we should be able to prove Ethan incapable of hurting a freaking fly, and probably won’t even need him to take the stand. From the reports I’ve received, it looks like the wounds inflicted on the girl weren’t even man-made. You said something about her walking home from the party, isn’t that correct Ethan?”
“yea, she took…”
“Bingo. You lot live up the boonies, there is bound to be the occasional mountain lion or something up there. Forensics will be our friend there. It won’t be our friend in some cases though. You said you two did kiss a bit at the party?”
“She kissed me, yea. but…”
“Well, a kiss ain’t a problem, especially if she initiated it. Hell, that might even be a consent angle. That does mean there’s going to be trace amounts of his DNA on the girl though, which might be a fucking monkey wrench, pardon my French. But like I said, I don’t think we will be fighting any charges of sexual nature. Don’t look so skeptical, Mr. Largo, you see, I have some information even the police doesn’t have yet. The results of the SAFE kit have come back, and I’ve gotten a little sneak peak. Got a friend at the bureau, that I do. They aren’t pleasant, but they don’t contain any trace of your son. Now, they may try to get another SAFE kit, since it seems like they totally botched this one, but we can fight that from being introduced as evidence due to the prior mishandling and the time between tests,” Chas said. First, a broad smile crossed his face, followed shortly thereafter by a confused look. “I mean, they said she had frog semen in her, which is just…
Anyways, the SAFE kit plays into our defense. That, a few good witnesses, and perhaps if one of your friends may remember better your exact location during your little beer run, I don’t think the DA will have a goddamn thing to run with. It’s an empty case, but it’s high profile. If they have the audacity to go after your son with so little, just to find a scapegoat for a tragedy, well then they will have to get ready to get the full extent of my fire and fury…”
Who knows where Chas would have gone with his little monologue. He was known for building up his presentations on the first visit with clients, and he had every intention of giving the Largo’s a good show, but he was cut short by the heavy, wet thud on the window of his office. A large red splot drizzled across the pane, followed in quick succession by three more. The whole wall was quickly covered in the dripping wet paint. The wail of a bullhorn pierced the interior setting, followed by a shrill chant, “NO REST NO PEACE GET YOUR FUCKING HANDS OFF ME!”
Confusion erupted within the office. The first paint balloon explosion had startled Ethan’s dad so much he had tipped over in his chair, Chas had run to the window and began pounding on it letting out a ferocious roar, “YOU GODDAMN BITCHES GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM MY OFFICE!” and the door had burst open to the shrieking of the pencil skirt, who was covered Carrie-style in red paint. Standing outside the office were two thin, feminine figures dressed in all black save the red bandanas they wore as face covers. They held empty paint buckets in their hands and stared at Ethan with cold eyes for several seconds before running away.
Amongst all this, Ethan sat failing to process any of it. The competing noises all became a dull whine, and all he really saw was the sun make it’s first real appearance from behind its cloud veil. The rays of light fought through the newly painted windows, casting blood red light down onto the black, glassy top of the desk.
The consultation was clearly over, Ethan thought, and his parents had spent 4,500 dollars on this first date for what exactly?
Stop. Please, make it stop.
The engine of Trevor Nice’s aging Subaru chortled as it settled in to rest for the first time since setting off from Chicago. The city hospital loomed, a monstrosity of boring modern lines and pigeon crap, over Trevor and his passenger, Amanda Sanders.
“We made pretty good time, all things considered,” Trevor said, looking over at Amanda. He had deep purple bags under his eyes, and his skin looked extra pale in the midday light. Amanda didn’t look all there either, her hair disheveled and her several day old makeup smeared. By her feet was a mountain of fast food bags and empty gas station coffee cups. The center console had, for the first time, been put to use as originally intended as an ashtray, and several packs of American Spirit butts squatted in it as a reminder of the whole ordeal.
“Yea, we fucking showed that blizzard,” Amanda drawled sarcastically.
The two had been stuck at an Eastern Montana gas station for three days after a freak blizzard had made the roads impassable. During this impasse, the two had become closer. Road trips almost always have this effect on their participants, and this had turned into one hell of a road trip. The two had somehow managed to stay awake and warm throughout the whole ordeal, guzzling the cheap laxative coffee and smoking pack after pack of cigarettes. Trevor did most of the talking with Amanda continually prompting him with further questions. At first, her lack of desire to share had bothered Ethan, but given time stoicism grows on just about everyone. It was almost therapeutic, and Amanda had a habit of asking just the right questions to prompt Trevor to reach the most base elements of the stories and points he was trying to make. With a background of howling wind, angry snow, stale smoke and steaming coffee, Amanda had sat, a curled up manic pixie dream girl gobbling up the very essence of Trevor’s soul.
He hadn’t recognized the crush he had developed on the girl yet, and when he finally did he would slowly come to understand it was for the best he never really acted upon it. For as voraciously as she consumed other’s experiences, she was even better and devouring hearts and mashing them, removing all excess and leaving those who loved her with white pearls of singular pain and loneliness. This sort of forced transformation she made others go through had broken all who had been drawn further into her siren persona, and her own recognition of the danger she posed to those who loved her (and complete lack of care) was perhaps her most appealing attribute.
“I suppose I should thank you for the ride, Trevor. Hitching in that shit could have killed me. Course, hitching in the Midwest can always get a lady killed, all that pent up redneck semen and misogyny.”
“I’m just glad I could hold back all my own redneck semen and misogyny this long.”
“that was a dumb joke, I’m sorry.”
“No, it was very sensitive coming from the guy who is visiting his recently raped sister…”
“I… Christ Amanda… I’m sorry…”
“… No. I’m sorry. I hope she is doing ok. Have you texted your parents yet?”
“Not since we left Wolf Point, no.”
“Well, let them know you are here. Go help your family heal. Be happy you are all close, that your sister is safe now. Have faith in each other and yourself, be strong for her, show her that the whole world hasn’t gone bad. She has been put into hell, and needs someone to go in after her, to guide her back and help set the world whole again. You are a beautiful person, and your beauty will help smooth her own wounds. Help her know it’s not her fault, help her know that she is not another statistic, but a messiah. Forced to confront evil and fight it, the rest of her life. To bring the best out of others. To show the strength of womankind, the strength of those who face fear and get back up to fight again. Help them, help yourself, and do good Trevor Nice.”
Amanda said all this with her head pushed against the passenger window, her heated breath making a smoggy cloud. Her voice never faltered or changed pace, never indicated an emotional response, and tore into Trevor’s frail heart. She didn’t see the tears rolling down his checks into the stubble the road trip had left him with, but she could feel the atmospheric change, the rumbling of the thunderous pain that rolled around in his stomach.
“May I give you a hug before I leave?”
This caused the crying to grow and gain a voice. Trevor’s head sank to the steering wheel, his body shaking violently. “I’ll come to you,” She said. She opened the door, walked around the front of the car, and opened his door for him. He shakily undid his own seat belt, and stood, falling into the embrace with the girl.
How long the embrace lasted, Trevor did not know, but by the time he withdrew from Amanda’s arms he felt as if she had sucked up all his pain and fear leaving a vacuum ready to face the horror of seeing his beaten sister. For her part, Amanda offered a small smile, and gently stroked his cheek, before saying, “I better get going.”
She was three steps away, her slender frame gliding off in those ash-stained converse when Trevor’s mouth worked against his better judgment, “Please don’t. Could you, could you walk with me inside?”
“No,” two more steps away, no look. “No. Next bus is in ten minutes.”
She was halfway across the parking lot then. Trevor knew inside that she deserved to be sent off, to be left alone, that she had played her part in his life. He also knew that he needed her to be there next to him, just like she had for the past six days, for this next moment in his life. As the conflict swirled in his brain, with all the pain and fear boiling his belly, he resorted to the only thing he had left, the only thing he knew he had on her, and screamed, “You fucking owe me money still.”
She stopped. Turned her head and looked him directly in the eyes. It was all too indie rom-com for just that brief moment. As she marched back, grabbed him by the hand, and walked him inside the hospital and up the stairs, Trevor grew elated. His whole life, he had hoped to stumble upon a woman who was willing to take control of his life, his actions, and drag him from important event to important event. He may have met Amanda under reversed roles, but she had quickly taken the lead as he jumbled through his life story in the frozen car, and he wasn’t ready to let go. Her bony hand even hurt slightly with the way she grabbed his wrist, a sensation which mixed well with the hastened breath of climbing the stairs to the seventh floor.
She let go when they exited the stairwell and left him in the waiting area as she went and spoke briefly with a nurse at the reception area. The waiting area was mostly stocked with middle-aged sons and daughters, doting (or hating) upon their rapidly decreasing parents. This floor was reserved for patients whose conditions were stable and quiet, and the sorrow of those gathered in the waiting room matched the conditions of their sick. They read the old magazines, checked their Facebook feeds, and shuffled in calm discontent as if mocking those who lay in the other rooms waiting for death. Maggie did not belong in a place like this.
Amanda returned a few minutes later, linking her arm through Trevor’s and guiding him down the hallway to the left. The beige of the hallway and rooms they passed was oppressive and had Amanda not been there, Trevor was sure the mixture of baby blue/lime green scrubs and awful eggshell colors would have made him feel sick. Empowered by her presence, he, however, felt indifferent to his surroundings.
They found his sisters room quick enough. Inside, his father sat fast asleep and uncomfortable looking in the stiff chair by the window, and his mother stood, stroking the hair of Maggie slowly while humming softly to her. She had always done that when the Nice kids were sick, singing or humming her favorite David Bowie songs in a soft whisper. “Moss Garden” moved in a slowed down, choppy vibration through her throat now.
Amanda knocked on the door slightly as they entered. Trevor didn’t know how he passed from the arms of the one woman to the next, but before he knew it his arm was free of Amanda and he was embracing his mother with great intensity. They way any scared child does an adult who offers protection from the horror of reality. As he grasped his mom, who rocked back and forth in the comfort of her son, he got the first glance of his teenage sister. The blankets were drawn up to her shoulders, and her face had a peaceful calm on it, the same kind she had had when they were young and she had fallen asleep to Jurassic Park after he insisted they watch it a third time that day. When his mother let him go, the gruff ruffling of his arisen father broke the silence.
“Huh? Ah, Oh, Trevor, thank god.”
The two men exchanged a brief embrace. Then his parent’s eyes fell on Amanda.
“Hello,” His father offered up, his confusion not hidden.
Her voice was unusually peppy when she spoke, and she motioned with her eyes at Trevor to attend to his sister all while saying, “ Hi! I’m Amanda, Amanda Sanders. I grew up close to here, In Alberton actually. I hope Trevor has told you all about me coming with him, I just couldn’t let my boyfriend… oh, sorry I’m still getting used to saying it… I couldn’t let him go through this awful trip alone…”
Sure, Trevor heard what Amanda had said.
He also understood that she was doing for his parents the same thing she had done for him, give him a release from the horrible truth for a few minutes and give them something positive to focus on for a few moments so that something important could happen. On the road trip, in the blizzard, she had helped him come to terms with the fact that he, as a cis-gendered white male who had been blackout drunk plenty of times and done plenty of stupid shit, had probably sexually harassed someone he knew and cared about. She helped him just say that out loud, in the smoky confines of his own car, and that, along with her acceptance of the fact, had helped him deal with the strange guilt he had carried halfway across the country upon hearing about his sister. She had told him all that fact did was make him unfortunately normal, and if he could address it and change would make him fortunately unique. For his parents, she was offering them a chance to see something positive in their son, a step in a direction he hadn’t taken in a few years (not since Sara) to help clear their heads of the negative side of male/female interactions.
Trevor used her emotional shielding to approach his sister. He grabbed her right hand, leaned forward until their foreheads touched, and began muttering to her, “Hey Maggie. You look a lot better than I thought you would. I’m so, so sorry that you have to be here. No one should be here, but I mean, you, you don’t deserve this. Not you. You’ll probably laugh at me when you find out how much I’ve been crying because of this. Then again, it did make you miss this month’s movie, so you’ve got some catching up to do little sis. I finally got the Amazon password outta my roommate so I can watch Prime too. We were supposed to watch The Lobster but you know that. I liked it, but I know how much you hate Colin Farrell so it would have been good fodder for a mock session. I know you need your rest, but I hope you wake up soon Maggie. You were the one hurt, and I know you need me, but I feel as if I need you too…” and with that, he kissed her on the forehead. Behind him, Amanda was telling his parents about some fabricated story about how the two of them met, and a first date that had never happened. Her oddly offsetting charm would have been obvious to anybody who wasn’t Trevor’s parents.
The slow beeping of the machine, the first strong rays of sunlight peering into the room, the soft kiss from her brother, the tale of made up love from the girl, it was into this world and this room that Maggie Nice woke up and the power in the city and entire county went out.
Chuck Moretti had immediately fled the county, Deercliff, and Northern Passage Energy Company following his encounter with the naked girl who gobbled up the power plants electricity for the safety promised him at his father-in-law’s coastal Oregon beach home. They had told the frail old-timer that they would be visiting for a few weeks, mostly to help around the estate and to escape the cold that was descending on mountainous Deercliff. He, of course, had had no objections and was excited to watch share the most recent polls on the president-elect’s approval rating with them that Fox News had released.
Chuck still felt uneasy about everything that he had seen. Following his encounter, he had walked back inside the plant, took off the buttoned shirt with his name sewn into the patch, and uttered that magical phrase, “I. Fucking. Quit.” It had been liberating, yes, but he now had to deal with the trauma of knowing the natural order of the world wasn’t exactly the way he had always assumed. That it had never been. That those silly supernatural tales and all the folklore and the flat earth people and lizard men and all the stuff you just lumped up in nice pulp-y piles may not be so silly. The dominoes of his mind hadn’t been tipped over, but they had had the first one in the row rocked heavily. Enough to scare the rest of his consciousness as it watched the black monolith sway. Enough to remind him that his establishment was just that, his, and outside forces had more potential than previously conceived.
He spent most of his days down on the stretch of beach that ran next to his father-in-law’s home. It was an easy walk to the water, then a quick scamper over the lazily tossed driftwood wall before he had a chance to wander for miles up and down a pebbly mess of coastline. His walks were slow, hindered both by the rocky ground and his contemplations. Having the open, grey Northwest sky and rumbling Pacific to look out at helped him center himself, and reassert his own place on the planet.
So he had seen some strange shit, that didn’t change anything about him, right? That was the mental behemoth he wrestled on those walks. One experience does not a man make, or so Chuck resolved.
He always ended his walks at about the same point, and turned and wandered back to the house just in time for the four o’clock news hour and a dinner prepared by his wife. His wife wasn’t extremely happy with her husband’s little jaunts, as it meant she was stuck inside listening to her father’s meandering commentary with the TV pundits and his fairly constant praise of Donald Trump, but she had been kind enough to not harass him too much about them yet. That didn’t mean she hadn’t brought up anything about his newfound fondness for sleep talking.
Chuck didn’t think he had ever been told he had a problem with making noise in his sleep before. When he was in his early thirties, the beer belly had resulted in him having pretty intense sleep apnea, but his doctor-mandated Whole30 diet and Stairmaster routine had fixed that. The first night in Oregon he had ignored his wife’s early morning mumblings about his nightly emission of talking, already pondering his walk. The second morning he flatly refuted her claim that he had been having some sort of conversation in the night. It wasn’t until the Moretti’s fifth night in Oregon that Chuck was shaken awake in the middle of the night. He was sweating profusely, and the only light in the room was his wife’s cellphone which cast a sharp white beam into his face.
“What the hell, Margie?”
“I got, I got it all on camera! You were talking again, saying some sort of weird cult shit Chuck!”
She brought up a video on her phone and hit play, the video was dark, but it had audio playing, loud and clear, of Chuck’s unmistakable saying, “Manus mortis habet cum firmitate.”
As the recording of his own voice filled the dark bedroom, Chuck’s vision began slipping away from him, the dark shape of his wife and his own body morphing and rippling. Instead, the haunting face of the girl from power plant began to preoccupy his mind. She stood there, illuminating the darkness with her shimmering naked flesh, hair flying wildly behind her, and smiled. Electricity jumped between her teeth and parted lips, illuminating her skull as it cackled. Her arms raise slowly, as if beckoning Chuck to embrace her and he felt himself wishing with all his might that he could. She drew closer to him, her arms still raised and calling, and as the figure loomed larger and larger in Chuck’s eyes he felt the heat of her body.
As the girl crawled up onto the bed (how could he have forgotten he was in bed?) Chuck felt the sweat pour down his face. Having her this close was like standing near a raging wildfire. He wished he could speak, could tell her she was hurting him, but his mouth failed to move and he was equally frightened of what would happen if the girl left his side. Her eyes, which hadn’t broken contact with his, made him feel important, and he saw himself reflected in them in the way one does after a few drinks. Every flaw of his aged face looked purposeful and strong, a masculine face he rarely would attribute to himself. Chuck couldn’t figure out why the girl was so close to him, but he liked it, and when she kissed him, he could feel the energy jumping from her lips to his own. Their eyes remained locked, and Chuck dared not look away from the vision of himself he saw within her eyes. That best Chuck, kissing that pale beauty with such passion. Yet, as she began closing her own eyes, Chuck saw no harm in falling deeper into the electric kiss, in letting sensation take the reigns. As his eyelids dropped he felt overwhelming joy, the fast-moving tongue of this partner exploring his mouth in ways he had never known, leaving behind powerful tingles and jolts. He could feel her running over the rims of his teeth, his checks, her tongue sliding gently along the top of his own and farther and farther down his throat.
The darkness of closing his eyes was total and complete.
Margie never recovered from watching her husband writhe and smoke the way he did that last night, and all the police, medics and firefighters on the call that night never did find a way to explain how a grown man suddenly had a fatal electrical current run through him without any source.
Stop stop stop stop stop stop stop stop stop stop stop stop stop
Essie Boyer had never used a bath bomb before. The large purple and blue orb reminded her of those old jawbreaker candies except for the substance, which was too chalky to seem appetizing. It had come with the package her sister had sent her for her birthday. The only gift she got each year was from her sister, usually a stuffed box full of girly junk that her sister figured would help her relax. Essie was more grateful for the show of affection that the actual gifts, but she tried a couple times a year to take her sister’s advice and spend some time for herself. After all, it was also the advice her therapist gave her at the end of each session.
So here she was, in the middle of the most heinous crime in her career as sheriff, with the Serial podcast playing quietly in the background while she disrobed and palmed this soapy ball. She had to light the several candles that had been saved from the previous years, and the mixing aromas were heavy and bizarre. “how the fuck was I to know lavender sunrise and full moon pine wouldn’t mix,” she wondered, before throwing the bath bomb into the steaming tub.
It had been decades since she had last taken a bath. The whole process was too time-consuming, and sitting in her own bath water grossed her out a fair amount. She wasn’t overly fond of hot tubs and swimming pools for much the same reason. As her bath began bubbling and changing colors, Essie let out a hard sigh, withdrew from the bathroom and grabbed the pile off her kitchen counter. She had put all the files and documents relating to the Nice case into plastic bags so that she could try to get some work done while getting in her mandatory me time.
She and her boys had yet to pull up any useful information, and the lack of progress on the case was beginning to give her this constant stress-related headache. She hadn’t put the badge she pulled from the Griffen house into the official evidence locker, and since her emotional discovery of it had altered her thoughts on it. It did not validate the teacher’s story and could have come from any costumed person. That determined revelation meant that she had no evidence in this case. Hell, she didn’t even have the girl’s phone and given teenagers proclivity for their devices she was certain it would reveal a treasure trove of information. Just a wounded and hurt girl, the words of some drunk and scared teenagers, and a village full of gossip. Supposedly the SAFE kit results would be in at the end of the week, but the short call she got regarding them had told her to not be excited by what they got back. Sliding into the tub to re-read reports she knew by heart, all Essie could really think about was how goddamn ticklish the water had become. “Well this is all bullshit,” she thought.
“Stop! Jesus Big Mac you’re hurting him!”
The athlete’s hands continued to rise and fall, body blow after body blow landing on Todd Sizemore’s lanky frame. He was letting out rapid and harsh coughs, the air repeatedly being knocked out of him as Big Mac’s knuckles bounced off his belly and ribs.
The rest of the gang was screaming and begging Big Mac to quit. When they had brought Todd in, sat him down and tied him up, Jackson and Ann Marie pleaded and begged for some alternate action. For his part, Todd had remained mostly calm with his head stuffed in the bag, offering to talk it out with the group who he now knew was Jimmy, Reggie, Jackson and Ann Marie. Told them they were probably trying to do the same thing. The gang had made a small huddle after getting their abnormally tall peer tied up, and Reggie had tried to explain what was going on. Big Mac had just stared at the hostage. Somewhere in between brainstormed ideas about how to explain to Todd what was going on and the line of questioning they were going to ask him, Big Mac had left the huddle and approached Todd.
That’s when the screaming and punching started. “I KNOW YOU (punch) FUCKING DID IT YOU FREAKY FUCK (punch) WHY? (punch) WHY WOULD YOU HURT HER LIKE? JERKING (punch) OFF NOT ENOUGH FOR YOU? YOU FUCKING FUCK (punch)…”
It went on like this for about a full minute. The rest of the kids immediately began attempting to calm Big Mac down, but his rage had taken over his body. his hands flew and landed with dull thuds, hammers being driven into raw meat. Tears soaked Ann Marie’s face. Reggie was shouting, his loyalty conflicting with his little connection to empathy. It wasn’t until Jackson leaped on Big Mac’s back that the beating let up. The scuffle that ensued was short. Jackson was all nerd, Big Mac all jock, and the later quickly got Jackson off his back and had shoved him hard and from him in a matter of seconds.
Standing up, Big Mac looked at the scene. Todd’s wheezing was still muffled by the gym bag, making Ann Marie’s crying the loudest sound in the room. Jackson was laying on the ground, moaning in pain.
“What the fuck Big Mac?”
“Oh fucking bite me, Reggie. You guys want to play at this stupid shit, fine. Between this freak or Ethan, yea, Ethan, we know who hurt Maggie. One of these sick little shits who couldn’t get laid without forcing it, and they figured if even Maggie “Slutty” Nice wouldn’t give it to em no one would. I’m done. I’m fucking done. We know what happened, and we haven’t dealt with it properly. These people think they can hurt us, hurt our friends, then they need to get hurt themselves. C’mon Ann Marie, let’s leave Shaggy and Scooby to ask their stupid questions,” Big Mac said, moving towards the door.
“What? No? you’re my girl. Also, you’re my ride.”
“Fuck no. Get out of here. I don’t want to speak with you again. Get the fuck out of here.”
“Listen to her Big Mac. You need to go cool off man.”
“You know I’m right Reggie. You know we should be sending a message to everyone who thinks they can get away with shit like this.”
“Just get out of my house man.”
“Whatever. This is all bullshit.”