My name isn’t Vincent.
I don’t know why, but most people call me Vince, or V. I stick with it, never care to correct anyone. I let people call me what they want.
Some friends nicknamed me Zen. Why Zen? Never lost my temper, or control. Ever. Which is important in my job. My job? Bouncer.
Sometimes a bit more, but today a bit less. It means I get to pick up stuff sometimes. Won’t tell you more than that.
Today it’s a package from a run down construction company building. Looks more like some storage house, if you ask me… Inside, the janitor will be waiting. That I’ve been told.
Be there at 6 p.m. Easy money, they said, easy job. Just pick up, stay put, and wait, till it gets picked up the next day. Sounds… fun, like getting an appendectomy… It smells fishy. I don’t like this… Every time I hear “easy”, I think they’re shitting me. Why? Cause they are. Can’t be helped now, I really need the money.
“Bite chunks outta me. You’re the shark, ‘m swimming… My heart still thumps as I bleed, and all your friends come sniffing… Triangles are my favourite shape… Mmmhmm. Toe to toe, back to back, let’s go. Mmmmhmmm – Lets desolate…,” I pick up few lines of the song playin’ in the radio. “Three guns and one goes off, one’s empty, one’s not quick enough…” Yeah. Reminds me of. I grab my revolver and stuff it into my left boot leg… Just in case. I can handle things with my fists well enough.
Luckily I only have to watch my own ass. I park at the back of the building. No one to see, doesn’t mean that no one’s around. You ever had one of those days, when you feel watched? It’s like you know you forgot something, but can’t remember what. Damn annoying.
Inside it’s dark, no lights. Which means… nothing. At the back of the room, there is a door, opened. Light gleams from in there. Sounds like someone’s watching porn. It’s easier than expected to walk through the room, my eyes get fast used to the dim light. The darkness becomes more concrete and solid the closer the door gets.
An old man sits in the next room. “It’s on the table.” His index points somewhere into the darkness behind him. He is leaning on his counter, one hand supporting his cheek. Man, he doesn’t even look up from the screen. The laptop keeps moaning with pleasure. The light reflection on his glasses twitch.
“Erm… Where? I’m no fucking bat to see in the dark,” I state.
“Ok. Mr. Smartypants. I’ll say it s-l-o-w-e-r, so even you’ll understand. This isn’t fucking bat-sensitivity training. So take it and fuck off. It’s there. You go get it. Then leave. Close the door from the outside. Clear now?” His voice is dripping low.
“What foulmouthed words, for a filthy janitor, pop! I’d be more careful, if I were you.” Why do I even have to put up with such a lowlife? To run this errand is a royal pain in the ass. I’m no errand boy. This is ridiculous. Deadly look from the old man. Finally looking up, eh? Got your attention now?
Irritated. I walk past that counter and knock a chair down. The janitor is panting. Sounds like he’ll get a stroke if he keeps his stress level up. With a grunt he closes the laptop. Click. Great! Now what? It’s too dark to see anything. Wait my lighter! There you go. Better. Much better.
There is the table, and a little package. A bit small, has the size of my mobile phone. Whatever it is, it must be hot. They wouldn’t send me, if it isn’t. And they expect trouble… Knowing I’d be picking up, no small fries would dare to cause a fuss.
Behind me the janitor harrumps. “Done? Get it outta here. I hate to have it around. It’s evil!”
Can’t help it, but burst into laughter. “What?!… Are you insane, pop? Evil?!” I grab the package. It’s ice -cold. It needs to be cooled? I hope it isn’t something contagious… Or something that could explode. Damn. What do I have myself gotten into? Too late to worry now. Just get it over with.
“Don’t whine that I didn’t warn you! Weird stuff is happening since it was delivered! Don’t give me that look. I’m not nuts! Listen! My wife called me.”
“What’s weird about that?!” Old geezer, your imaginations is playing you tricks.
“She DIED twenty years ago! …See? She calls and tells me kinky stuff. It freaks me out! She never did that while she was alive. Hell, I don’t know why though.” The look on his face, pale, nervously moving eyes… He is terrified.
The frosty sensation between my fingers gets even colder. Hurting chill, drilling itself to my bones.
The thick red corridor carpet muffles the sound of my steps. The key slides into the lock effortlessly. Room 21.
Knocking the sign –two long, three short- then going in. Hopefully Joe remembers and doesn’t greet me with a bat.
Joe’s sprawled out on the bed. Cold out. Reeking of liquor, cigar and cheap perfume. Pants down around his ankles. Lipstick marks all over him. Yeah, there too… I doubt he can remember who it was, or if he had his fun. She had fun. The ugly watch he’ so proud off is gone. Likely that she took all his cash too.
Joe, that numb nut, volunteered for this shit. He’s got the family bonds, which gives him the fool’s license. Sucker! That makes me his nanny, I guess… His gorilla nanny, maybe? I look impressive, built like a shit brick house, if I use his words. I’m the guarantee that he doesn’t fuck it up… I’m the guarantee that he doesn’t get fucked up.
The “evil” thing, Joe – my idiot bonus- and me. Don’t ask… Seriously… Having some bad weeks betting, and you take every fucking job you get offered. I’m not picky, nor overly timid, or anything…
Dunno. Just not getting used to it. I mean being a bouncer isn’t so bad, you get nice ladies, money stuffed into your pockets, free drinks. But being the hand for dirty jobs is different. The day started like vacation in hell. Got an invoice, cat peed in my snickers, TV died this morning, phone is making calls by itself, that shitty thing – going to throw it into the river if it keeps that up… And now I not only have to watch Joe, but also this fishy thing in my pocket. The day got infinitely more fun.
The cooling irks me. After all, I’d be the first to experience to content – that means getting blown to bits, or being infected with something nasty. If I’m lucky, I’ll be only beat up by some other idiot looking for the stuff, or just trying to rob me.
Could be a long night… Well, at least I get to eat dinner -in peace- and watch TV. More sushi for me! Anyway. Tomorrow, right. Stay put till tomorrow… I settle down on the couch and dig in.
“…Fuck…” Joe grunts. He’s been cold out for half an hour or so. Serves him right. I’m doing his job and he goes straight into a nightclub.
“Having fun, eh?” I ask; can’t hide the amusement though.
“Fuck you, Vince. Ow, my head.” Hangover? Maybe she didn’t even had to drug him. Drinking till passing out is his favorite hobby. Easy to take his wallet and that ugly Rolex, he was so proud of.
This is exactly why women shouldn’t be allowed on the job. No drugs, no booze, no women. But hey, he’s the one getting a chew-out, not me. …Or maybe it will be me after all… Damn.
The little package shifts in my pocket. I still have it on me. The chill it keeps radiating crawls deeper under my skin, giving me goose bumps. I’ve been thinking, about the things the janitor told me. About his dead wife calling and telling him… stuff. Of course I do not believe in “evil” things. But it is making me uneasy. That old man, he really believes what he said. It was true fear.
“You went solo, didn’t you? Where is it?… Fine! Don’t tell me! You know what, big guy? Give me some money for Pizza.” Joe’s cupped palms move under my nose. I hate him. The cold gets stronger. “That bitch took every cent. Don’t do that brow thing! You look like an idiot. Besides, I’m going to punch you, if I have to eat that Japanese crap again! You can eat raw fish, but I won’t! For sure… Oh, come, on!”
What is it today with old folks? First the scared janitor, now this one… The desk clerk yelling at his wife and other customers.
“Hallucinating? No, I’m not! I did hear it. I’m not fancying it. There are noises. Movement, cracking floor boards… Then…
Teeth grinding. The snarling comes definitely from under the beds. No doubt about it. And I’m not imagining it! It’s not the pipes! It’s not the cables. And I – hey you! Sir! Moai!”
WHAT!? That old fart called me – what? I turn around with the most infuriating expression I manage. Shoving the people aside, the clerk goes white as a sheet. “Um, Sir? … Sorry, Sir? ”
(to be continued)