Bury The Hatchet
"Let's just put all that stuff behind us. Let's go out for drinks tonight. You know, bury the hatchet," I said.
I went to meet him at The Argonaut around 9:45.
I didn't see him when I got there, so I sat down at the bar and ordered a Black & Tan.
A baseball game was on TV, and even though I don't much care for sports, I watched it while I waited.
About ten minutes and half my beer later he showed up.
"Joe. How are ya? Grab a seat, man," I said.
"Sorry I'm a little late. Hope I didn't keep you waiting too long."
"No. Not at all. I was just-watching the game."
"Oh. Who's winning?"
"Uh, Houston. No, looks like Cincinnati actually."
He chuckled. "Yeah, you never know with the 'Stros."
I laughed. "Yeah. Right. So, what do you want to drink? First one's on me."
He thought. "How about a-Margarita. No. A Mojito."
I signaled the bartender over. "Two, uh-"
Joe interrupted. "Mojitos."
I continued. "Uh-two Mojitos."
"Sorry guys, we don't do Mojitos. We don't carry the mint leaves to crush up."
Joe spoke. "The Margaritas. Two Margaritas then," he told the bartender.
"Okay, two Margaritas."
Of course Joe would order the faggiest drink. I'm trying to make peace and he's trying to have a goddamn fiesta.
The bartender returned with our two Margaritas.
Joe spoke. "Hey man, I'm glad we can put everything that happened in the past. I mean, I didn't think you were a bad guy or anything. Chalked it up to tough times or just the wrong moment, you know?"
Oh, he didn't think I was a bad guy? Fuck you, Joe. You fucking arrogant prick.
I responded. "I'm glad too. I'm looking forward to what comes next-you know, now that we can be civil around each other."
"Oh yeah. For sure. We should go to a baseball game or something sometime."
"Yeah. Who knows."
We finished our gay Margaritas and Joe spoke. "Alright, your turn. What are we getting next?"
"How about two Old Fashioneds."
"What's in an Old Fashioned?"
He laughed. "Oh boy. The hard stuff."
I chuckled. "Yeah."
He shouted. "Bartender. Bartender." The bartender looked over at us while he was in the middle of making another drink. "Two-what were they called again?" he whispered.
He shouted again. "Two Old Fashioneds."
The bartender responded. "Oh yeah. Comin' up. Right away."
His response was obviously sarcastic, but Joe didn't seem to notice. Or to care.
Joe started. "So, how is everything with you?" He made a fist and nudged me in the arm like we were fucking buddies or some shit.
"Not too bad. I think I'm making real progress with-"
The bartender interrupted. "Two Old Fashioneds. For the two gentlemen."
Obviously sarcastic again. Joe oblivious again.
Joe spoke. "Ah, well thank you, good sir. These are on me." Joe held out his credit card. The bartender took it and looked at it.
"We got a twenty dollar minimum."
"Oh-uh," Joe flipped through his wallet. "Hey, I don't have any cash on me. Can you get these? I'll pay you back tomorrow." The bartender handed Joe's card back to him.
"Yeah. Sure. Why not? It's for a friend. You know I trust you-to pay me back."
I gave the bartender the cash, and we took our drinks.
Joe spoke. "So, what were we talking about? Ah, who remembers right? Did I tell you we're looking for a new house?"
Who remembers? I fucking remember. The other half of our conversation, you dickwad. I happened to be telling you about myself. No, but it's fine. Go ahead and make this all about yourself again.
"Yeah. I think you mentioned it once or twice."
Did I tell you we're looking for a new-YES! You fucking moron. I'm pretty sure you have told all of us at least fifteen times in the last month. How the fuck would anyone not know you're looking for a new house?
Joe spoke. "Yeah, well with the promotion and the raise the wife and I were thinking of upgrading, you know. Plus, little Amy is going into the 2nd grade now and we'd like to move to a nicer neighborhood and she'd love to be closer to her friends. We've got it narrowed down to this gorgeous Tudor on Elm, a beautiful Victorian on Ash, or a real doozie of a Colonial on Mayberry."
Oh, so you narrowed it down to the three houses you've been thinking about the whole time? I've got it narrowed down to-punching your face until it turns into raw meat, sawing off all your limbs and letting you bleed out, or the real doozie of shoving my foot and leg so far up your ass that all your organs compress and shoot out your mouth.
"The Colonial is a little more than the other two-285K-in case you were wondering, but the wife and I think we can get it down to 250K. Especially if the owners see little Amy. Look, I'm telling you-she has got to be the cutest eight year old in the world. How could they resist letting such a freaking beautiful girl live in a house as beautiful as her?"
"Well, sounds like that one on Mayberry is a winner."
Joe chuckles. "Oh, you don't know the half."
We finish our Old Fashioneds and I convince Joe to stay for another drink. We get beer this time.
About halfway through with the beer, I can tell Joe is getting drunk. The way he is slouched a little more. His eyes linger for a few extra seconds even after what he's looking at has moved.
We finish our beers and I order us another round. Joe tries to decline, but his willpower isn't as strong when he's drunk.
This beer really hits him. Joe starts spilling his guts to me.
He's telling me something about this fight he and his wife had and how he ended up at a strip club or something. Then he's telling me about when he had a lapse of judgment and might have came on to little Amy and hopes he didn't scar her for life or whatever. And he tells me about something to do with his job and the boss and how he got the promotion.
I don't know. I don't really listen to him or pay any attention. He's telling me all of his secrets and I don't want to know them. I'm not the kind of guy that gets pleasure from that sort of thing.
We finish our beers and this time, Joe wants to order one last round-on him. He pulls out some cash from his pocket, not his wallet, and orders two more beers.
I slid the full beer away from me so I could sober up and take care of Joe.
He continues to go on about things. Things he's not proud of. Things he didn't want to tell anybody. Actual humility. From a guy that has probably never been described as modest or humble. And I don't listen.
Joe spoke. "Shoot. Wh-what timeisit?"
I respond. "12:15. We should probably get going." I stand up and pull my keys from my pocket.
Joe stops me. "I-I can't drive inthisstate."
I laugh. "You're right. You look like a mess. I'm alright to drive. Come on, I'll give you a ride back home. It's what friends do."
Joe lifts his head from the bar and smiles.
I help Joe into the passenger seat and buckle him up. By the time I get to the other side and get in to drive he's already falling asleep.
I turn on the radio for a little music to keep me company since Joe is asleep. A song I like comes on. I don't know the name of it or who sings it, but I know the words and want to sing along. But, I don't want to disturb Joe so I just tap along my fingers on the steering wheel as I stare ahead down a country road.
A few minutes later, Joe stirs and starts to wake up. He sort of looks back and forth for a few minutes trying to focus on something or figure out what's going on. I can tell he's looking at me, but he doesn't say anything.
After about thirty more seconds he's finally able to think of what he wants to say. "This-isn't thewaytomy house."
I stepped down a little harder on the gas pedal and the engine revved as the car sped down the empty country road.
Joe spoke. "Wherearewe going?" His slurred words now with a hint of panic.
"Wh-where arewe going?" he asked again. Even more panic.
His head bounced as I drove the car off the smooth, even road and onto the rough grass.
He tried to speak. But could only stammer out and abundance of "whs."
Whats? Whys? Wheres? Maybe he was trying to say all three.
I guided the bumpy car around the bushes and trees in the forest, getting further from the road we had just been on.
Joe spoke. "What the f-f-fuckareyoudoing?" Panic gone from the slurred words. Terror now.
I slam on the breaks and Joe lurches forward in his seat. I put the car in park, unbuckle my seatbelt, pop the trunk and get out.
Joe is so drunk, he just sits there in some kind of stupor, watching me.
I lift the trunk and pull out an axe.
I come around to the passenger side and open the door.
I smile. "Home, sweet home."
Joe stares. "Thisis nt- myome."
I laugh. "Joe, how many did you have? You're drunk. Don't you see your house right there?" I point to where the car's headlights illuminate a clearing in the forest.
Joe shakes his head but squints out at nothing but trees.
"Here I'll help you to your door." Joe unbuckles himself and stumbles out of the car.
"Come on," I urge. "Boy, you're going to feel terrible tomorrow."
Joe walks into the lit clearing and realizing his home isn't really there, turns around to face me.
He squints against the bright headlights. "Heey this-this isntmy ho-home."
My hand holding the axe-my right hand-moves out from behind my back and down to my side, letting the blade of the axe slide forward on the grass as I step toward Joe.
I can only imagine Joe at first thinks he's seeing a third leg come out from body since he's straining his head and neck forward to try and make out what I'm holding.
There's a brief second-the second when his face changes from knowing what I'm holding to understanding why I'm holding it-that I don't want to miss.
Almost as if on cue, his eyes and face seem to relax as he now makes out the object-an axe-and then instantaneously his eyes widen and his face tenses in horror as he knows the why-to kill him.
Joe vomits. I think from the alcohol. I watch as a stream of chunky, mucousy, yellow liquid comes from the back of his throat and out of his mouth accompanied by what can only be described as gurgling guttural sounds.
He gags and chokes on the leftover vomit in back of his throat. "Wh-what areyou," his voice is a higher pitch and cracking with fear, "gonnadooo?" He hacks and heaves up a little more vomit on the last word.
"What are you talking about? I just want to put stuff behind us. You know, bury the hatchet."
He hurls up more, but it comes out dry. He had way too much to drink.
Joe spoke. "You're not going togetawaywifthis f-f-fingerprints. You're not wearing anyglubs" he moans.
I ask. "Joe, what are you talking about?"
Joe screams. His screams are wet and sad. Maybe from the vomit. Maybe from his sobs and tears.
I panic. I run towards him and lift the axe up. I fling my arms forward and drive the butt-end of my axe into his skull. Joe crumples to the ground. The wooden base of the axe recoils and reverberates jostling my hands. A few strands of Joe's hair are stuck to the axe handle.
I take a few second to catch my breath. I bend down and check his pulse. Still alive. There is a deep gash bubbling out blood on the side of head though. Probably need stitches.
I think about what he said before I clubbed him in the head. You're not wearing any gloves.
I chuckle. Wearing gloves while killing someone is like having sex with a condom on. Just not as satisfying.
I don't know what to do now. Try and pass time until he wakes up. I go back to my car and put on the radio. It's another song I like. I don't know the name of it or who sings it, but I know the words. I sing along, hoping maybe it will wake up Joe this time.
I sing. "I made it through the wilderness. Somehow I made it through. Didn't know how lost I was, until I found you." Nothing. Joe's still out.
"I was beat. Incomplete. I'd been had. I was sad and blue. But you made me feel. Yeah you made me feel. Shiny and new," I sang.
"Oh shit, he's moving," I accidentally said out loud.
I gripped my axe and went over towards Joe who looked as if he were in the center of some spotlight.
He touched the wet, bloody cut in his hair and moaned in pain. He had way too much to drink.
I stood above him and watched his eyes flutter open. What a pretentious fuck. I raised the axe above my head with two hands and brought the blade down right into his abdomen, cutting off the start of his scream and causing the start of his groan.
The first hack didn't get as far through as I wanted. Blood gushed from his body and seeped through his shirt. I had probably only cracked through the ribs as evidenced by his gasps, so I lined up another shot for the same place. I swung the axe down on his body, and this time, saw the blade go deep into his body, slicing through soft organs before hitting the spine. The axe trembled as it hit the solid bone.
Joe gave out a whimper. Then a faint moan. If he wasn't paralyzed from the blow to the spine, he was too weak to move anyway. I tossed the axe to the side and ran back to my car.
I drove forward and stopped with the front of the car pressed gently against the trunk of a tree. I put the car back in park, got out, and went back to get Joe.
Joe was barely still alive. He shouldn't have drank so much. I grabbed his hands and started to drag him towards the car. His waist started to rip away from the lower half of his body on the left side-the side where I hacked to his spine-so I had to adjust and pull his right side with more strength.
His body left a trail of blood and organs behind. Joe was spilling his guts to me. And I didn't care.
I brought Joe to the back of the car and placed his face just in front of the back right wheel.
I ran around to the other side of the car and got in. I turned on the radio and took a few deep breaths. I turned off the radio. I hated the song that was on.
I put the car in gear and it moved forward about an inch before the tree trunk stopped it, the back wheel pressed against Joe's face.
I put the car in four wheel drive. And then slammed my foot down on the accelerator. The wheels whirred and whizzed while I went nowhere.
Five seconds. Ten seconds. I turned on the radio. Still the same shitty song. I turned the radio off. Twenty seconds. I let up a bit on the pedal then pressed down harder again. Thirty seconds.
I let off the gas, put the car in park, and got out.
I got around to the other side of the car and tipped Joe away from the wheel. He was dead. Too much alcohol can kill you.
His face was a mangled mess of flesh and meat, ground down to a bloody pulp. The tire was wet and sticky with blood and fleshy bits of skin stuck to it.
I picked my axe back up and went to move Joe's body.
A few minutes later I came back from deeper in the forest with my weapon, having severed and buried the pieces of Joe with my fingerprints on them, and leaving all that other stuff behind.
Now, all that was left to do was, you know, bury the hatchet.