“The Neighborhood.” A Short Story.

“You’ve always been crazy. That’s why we all hired you. You’ve always had a way with words too, but you aren’t saying too much tonight. I gotta wonder how a guy like you gets so crazy that you think walking in with my daughters severed head in your hands will get you any more work from this family.” Said the boss as calm and professional as he always is. It’s unsettling how calm he is considering his daughters dead at the hands of this lunatic.

“You want me to take care of this fucken’ psycho boss?”

“Who told you to talk? Watch those emotions. This is business, Mikey. I want to hear from this mad man what happened. I want to know who hired him and I want to hear it from his own mouth. Now speak up before I have Mikey mess that face of yours up to start.”

It was quiet for maybe ten seconds before the boss had me smash his face around with some brass knuckle punches. It wasn’t always this way but I enjoy the sound of bones breaking on these scumbags faces. Street justice usually means one less competitor on the streets and one less person on the payroll.

“Ok, Mikey. Let’s give him another chance to talk, unless you broke his jaw. The way his eye is falling out it looks like all your punches left his jaw intact. So, smooth talker, who hired you? Who’s sent you to me to send a message? Speak up or we go round 2 and this time I’ll give Mikey full run on your body.”

It was quiet for another 10 seconds. The only sound heard was the smooth talker wincing in pain, agonizing pain. Then boss gave me the green light. The beatings continued. I broke a few ribs with my brass knuckle punches, then fractured his jaw bone and then smashed his knees with a metal baton kept hidden in the jacket I was wearing. Then, Boss called a time out.

“Alright, ok. If you hit him anymore there won’t be anything left to chop up and ship to the other families. I gotta send a message and what’s a better greeting than body parts from the assassin hired to kill your family and then eventually you?” the boss said as calm as when this started. “So, last chance to talk. You wanna tell me who sent you? You had plenty to say when you arrived and now you’re speechless. Mikey, you think if we gave Mr Smooth Talker back his tongue he might have something to say?”

“I broke his jaw pretty good, boss. I don’t…”

“That was rhetorical, Mikey. Rhetorical means you don’t answer. Just stand there and stop being so talkative tonight.”

“Sorry boss.” and then I caught the boss throw a disappointed and frustrated glance my way. I realized too late that I wasn’t even supposed to say that.

“Ok smooth talker, it’s time to say good bye. You cut my daughters head off so that’s where we start. I’m glad you aren’t known for raping anyone first because then I’d have to call the Glam Brothers and have them come over here, pick you up, take you to the East Side docks. We all know their methods. So we know you’d come back ripped open and so filthy the church wouldn’t let you in. So, fortunately for us, the fact you aren’t a rapist saves us time, which is good because I have a thing tonight downtown. Mikey, put him in that chair over there and chop his head off. I can’t get any blood on my suit. Make it quick would ya? The weird noises he’s making are gonna eventually draw attention if anyone walks by this warehouse.”

Mikey has always been known for his methods. He’s been taking care of this families business since he was just a street kid claiming to have no parents. He’s been the best right hand man in the business but that ends tonight. It’s unfortunate because Mikey never hurt anyone who didn’t deserve it, well, his one slip up is the reason for tonight.

He finally removes the head from the psychos body and calls me over. He’s barely out of breath as he holds the head up for me to see. He notices my gun pointed at his head and his expression turns from satisfaction to confusion. Two shots. Two shots was all it took to blow a hole clear through his head. Round 1 is complete. Now let’s take a walk and see who’s driving by that I can utilize.

“Well now, look who finally opened his eyes.” said the nurse staring at me while I lay immobile in the hospital bed. “We weren’t sure you were gonna make it. Not many people can get hit by a truck and survive. Suspicion confirmed. You sure are tough, aren’t ya?”

The fact I can’t move or speak is trouble. I don’t know where I am and for some reason I had a dream about killing Mikey. The dream feels real, too real. I don’t know which family wants me dead but something doesn’t feel right. This is new methods being used. The families don’t go to these lengths. The nurse looks familiar too but I can’t figure why.

“You’re probably wondering why you’re here. The answer is simple, but you won’t believe it at first.” said the nurse who just threw away an empty syringe. “I brought you here. It took some effort on my part but it was worth it. You see, I’ve been hunting you for a long time. Not me, the nurse you see in front of you, but me, the ghost temporarily borrowing her body. You had Mikey kill me 20 years ago when I just started a walking beat as the new neighborhood patrol. 20 years I have been hunting you.”

“You see, after you had Mikey kill me, I went away for awhile. It took time for me to realize I was dead and then it took even more time to figure out how to manipulate my current circumstance and get back to earth. Then I spent the remaining years developing my new abilities and using host body after host body to satisfy my taste for vengeance. I knew eventually I’d find my way back to you. It’s fate… and now that is a believable thing.”

“So, I used one family boss to hire the smooth talker and kill your daughter. Then, I used the body of the smooth talker to deliver your daughters head. From there I took over Mikey while the beatings took place. You had clue and you freely gave up the location of the Glam Brothers. Finally, I took control of you. He was the closest thing you had to a friend. So, I had your daughter murdered and had you kill your only friend. Then I walked you in front of truck, that was oddly satisfying. Now after I leave here I can start my next hunt.”

“You won’t feel anything when you die. You were poisoned 5 minutes ago. Your heart will eventually stop. When I leave the body of this nurse, it’ll feel like a dream to her and for some reason, you’ll be dead in her room. She won’t know why but she will recognize you. Six months ago you killed her father who owed you a large sum of gambling money. She didn’t know about the money. She only knew you sent someone to kill him in his corner store. You know how the neighborhood is, people talk. She’ll panic at first, they all do. Eventually she’ll take comfort knowing her father was avenged. She just won’t fully realize how or why.”

“Well, boss, last minute left in life. You always had Mikey do the killing while you would drone on about why things were happening as they were. I’m extending you the same courtesy you extended all those he killed on your behalf who had to suffer your intolerable, pompous, monologues. Since you were always calm about death, you can be calm for your own. Try not to panic and ruin what I’ve done for you. Just relax and get ready to see Hell. I’m sure they have a suite ready for you with a fresh pressed suit because after all you still have a big event to attend.”

***************************************************

“Vengeance will forever be mine. I’m free to hunt down the living who would send fresh spirits to Hell. There’s no laws for a ghost. The rules the police abide by mean nothing to me and nobody will believe I exist. I operate above the law because, in my reality, I am the law. In my reality, I am. Now let’s go visit those Glam Brothers…”

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