cold ‘n’ empty

  • content warning (language, violence)

You are in serious trouble, when you are on foot and heading to the meanest part of town.

Blue Hill, the dangerous. Not one day without headlines of murder and mugging in Blue Hill, the bellybutton of mayhem. The tabloids are full with that kind of crap.

Well, it’s not that they aren’t right… They certainly are, but that doesn’t even scratch the surface.

And you are the one who knows that, far too well.

You were born there. And you worked your ass off, just to get out of there, to get good grades, a good job, a good life… A future…

But now? Your future, your dream is to be taken away? Just because some old fart is too narrow minded?  

You know that a gigantic mountain of shit is coming for you. You can smell it. It comes down your alley, to drown you, to put you in cuffs and throw you in jail for the rest of your days.

But you’ll have none of that.

It’s just bad luck, that’s all. Anybody could fall for that, you tell yourself.

There is no other way out, and you thought that through. Here you are, far past the point you could have turned things around. Just fix your eyes the future now you’re probably never have.

Nevertheless, here you are, on your way, voluntarily, at 3 o’clock in the morning, in the middle of the worst winter since God knows when.

Nasty detail, you have an appointment with a shady brute, called Pitbull Joe. Even more, you have an envelope with ten thousand Euros hidden in your jacket, just for that short sweaty bastard. 

You fucked up big time, when you are about to pay a man handsomely to kill your fiancee’s filthy rich dad.

At least it’s not snowing anymore, you tell yourself and pull your cap deeper. The icy wind finds its way into your sleeves as you pop your collar up.

Your hands shake. You notice, as you light another cig.

It’s the cold and the exhaustion, you tell yourself.

A lie.

Is it the fifth, or the eights? How stupid, you lost count already. „Not good with those numbers.“

Your voice cracks in the dimly lit street. No one hears you. „Such a mess!“ You don’t sound like yourself tonight.

Nevermind, everything will turn out just fine, you keep telling yourself. „Just once!“ You’ll be a lucky man, killing two birds with one stone.

The snow crunches under you boots. You listen to your own steps gnawing away the remaining road to Blue Hill Park and White Church. Only down the street, you can see the towering big trees.

There is one bright spot, Pitbull Joe was right. One streetlamp is lit. That marks the spot, is what he said. The brand new looking white Hummer parked nearby looks too convenient to be there on coincidence.

You stand there, alone at the intersection, not decided what to do. Your body wants to be elsewhere. Badly. Your mouth goes dry, you swallow hard. No turning back.

The car door at the back opens. A big man heaves himself outta there. A muscle man. Then Joe hops out of the Hummer. A white pit bull shoots past his legs, right towards you. Involuntary your body takes a step back. Bad move, you tell yourself. You will yourself forward. One step, then another. The pit bull stops abruptly at a short whistle. It plunks its butt into the snow, observing you, chipped ears pointing up. It looks at you like you’re a squirrel. You look over its head at the grinning short man.

„One word from me, he tears you to shreds.“ He laughs.  No, that’s something to impress junkies or whores, not you.

It’s your luck that Joe has no idea who you are. More precisely, who you were in another lifetime. Now, you look like a presentable part of society, with a nice job and good income.

„You’re wasting my time. I’m here for business.“ You tell loud enough to sound sharp and angry, but not loud enough to yell. His smile freezes. Joe looks at his companion, and shakes his head.

„Are you on your period, or what? Teach him a lesson!“ He points at you, then he turns back at you with a slick grin. „You want something from me. Remember?“

The muscle man, reaches you before you decide which way to jump. He grabs you by your collar and slams his huge fist into your stomach. Thank god you didn’t eat. Your guts feel like huge knot, pulling your knees to your chest. You lean into the muscle man’s grab for support. Pull yourself together! The ground is not your friend! Hot sour saliva drops on your expensive shoes and jeans. Your lungs refuse to let in any air. You cough. Nothing much your confused muscles could do. Somehow you keep steady, on your own legs.

„Now, that we’ve established that, let’s get to business,“ Joe says.

Still you can’t stand fully upright, as you want to, one hand clutches at the revolting guts. Pull a pokerface, things go as planned. And you did expect Joe to show off. Just keep him thinking you’re a rich spoiled brat with no dirty tricks up your sleeve. That’ll make him careless.

„I’ve got what you asked for,“ you rasp into the cold air. The vapor clouds you exhale do not dissolve. You sound miserable enough, Joe comes closer to you, grinning.

„Give.“ Joe commands. You pull the zipper of your jacket down, and take out the thick brown envelope you had in your breast pocket. You give it to him.

He opens it and pulls out the photos. Your fiancee’s dad, your father-in-law to be is smiling happily with his second wife from the pic. His home and work addresses, car types and plate numbers are printed on a paper you clipped to the photo, as well as his timetable for the coming two weeks. All the stuff you know off.

Joe looks at you. „So you want him dead.“ You nod. „He looks rich.“ You nod again. „Why do you think ten thousand are enough?“ You waited for that one. And you have the perfect answer for a scum like him. „He keeps plenty of cash at home, has paintings, and his wife has lots of nice jewels, plus the cars. You break in, when he’s at home, and kill two bird with one stone. Take what you like. I don’t care.“ You point at the photo. „Thirty thousand at home, fifty thousand at work, cash. You just have to reach out and take it. And while at it, take his life too.“

Joe squints at you. „What’s in for you?“ He asks.

„I’m taking over his company. He tried to ruin me. He has to pay.“ That seems to satisfy Joe. You didn’t exactly lie, you just didn’t tell the whole story.

„Keep watching the news.“ Joe waves at the muscle man and he lets go of you. The dog follows them as he whistles. The door of the Hummer closes and the engine comes to life. The car speeds away, down the empty road. You watch the rear lights disappear in the distance.

It’s time to go home. You’re tired. Your eyes burn. You feel cold and empty.

Your stomach still hurts. Blue Hill is a draining place.

A vacation will do you good, somewhere warm. Yes.

You’ll go on a nice three week vacation with your fiancee. Hawaii, or Maldive Islands. You have the wedding ring you bought the other day in your pocket.

You’re going to ask her, when she least expects it.

And then you are going to be a good husband and comfort her, help her over her loss.

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