A/N: This is my second short story! I wrote this for R A B Bradbury’s contest. The theme was Rags to Riches. I HOPE I conveyed it correctly. Please, PLEASE be honest about this. It was definitely the hardest thing I’ve written and I am still not sure how I feel about it haha. :D
~The Night The Butcher Got Lucky~
Tommy sharpens the knife as muffled screams erupt from the freezer. That’s Ok, he thinks to himself. Then he reaches over and turns the music even louder. He sighs as the blade of the knife touches the sharpener, the sound buzzing throughout the deli.
“Baby, I need your loving! Got to have all your loving!”
“Doesn’t get much better than solid gold oldies!” he calls out over the Four Tops. He wonders if she can hear him. He doubts if a woman like her can appreciate good music like this. Thinking about it angers him even more.
He grits his teeth and focuses on the knife.
Make it sharper, he thinks to himself. Sharper.
He wonders what she may be thinking about, locked away in that freezer with all his raw meat. She must be cold, he is sure. And scared, of course.
He smiles at the idea.
Tommy doesn’t like being turned down, and he especially didn’t like being turned down by the cute little geologist at the diner.
Thinking back on the first time he laid eyes on her, he felt himself fall for her all over again.
Thin waist, full bust, and a beautiful face, even if it was covered by a pair of thick, yet chic glasses. She had given this impression of a sultry librarian. He had liked her. He had liked her a lot. So he asked her for coffee.
“I’m really busy,” she told him. “Work and all.”
Tommy didn’t like that answer. Too busy to have coffee? No one was dumb enough to believe that one.
He sits the knife down, then walks to the store front. It’s nearly ten now, and the streets of San Francisco are dark barred the streetlights. His deli is not in the most populated part of town. Mostly the only people who walk by are women of the night and men who take up with them.
Tommy doesn’t have a lot of money. He barely makes ends meet with what little business he has here at the deli. Maybe that’s the reason the beautiful geologist didn’t want to have coffee?
“Too good for me,” he huffs, thinking about it once more. Sure, he is no Brad Pitt. Maybe he could stand a few crunches, but who is she to judge, with her high, $300 stilettos and tailored suit. He sees her Coach purse sitting on the counter and he smiles. He wonders how much he can sell it for.
The song ends and he hears her shouting again from the freezer. Nice pair of lungs on this one, he realizes. That’s a thick freezer door, but she seems determined.
Tommy grabs his knife, and he grabs her purse. He yanks open the freezer door and there she is. Funny. Sprawled out and tied up on the freezer floor with duct tape on her mouth, she really doesn’t look like much of a classy lady.
“Did daddy buy you this purse?” he asks her. “What about your car? Daddy buy the Beamer, too?”
He enjoys the look of fear as her tear-filled eyes widen. She shuts them tight, and he can hear her whimpering.
She shakes her head. He thinks she is lying.
“Come on, pretty lady, we’re going for a ride in daddy’s Beamer,” he tells her. He walks over, and he picks her up, carrying her out the back door so no one will see.
The night air is chilly, but her body is already cold from being locked in the freezer for so long. Her BMW sits beside his old truck, exactly where he’d left it.
He opens the trunk, and gently lays her in it. She is struggling, and squealing the best she can with her mouth covered by the duct tape, but there is no one around to hear her.
Tommy smiles down at her. “All I asked you for was coffee.”
He slams the trunk hard, then gets into the driver’s seat.
It is such a beautiful night, Tommy muses as he drives north out of San Francisco. There isn’t a cloud in the sky, and the moon is full. Spring is on its way, too. He is excited to make this drive on a warm Spring day, maybe with a picnic basket, and a beautiful woman.
He frowns. But not a woman like the one in the trunk. No, that kind just won’t do.
Soon, San Francisco is long behind them. She is in the back kicking, punching, whatever it is that’s making all that noise, but it doesn’t matter now. They’re in the middle of nowhere. Nothing but winding roads and trees to hear her screams.
Tommy hasn’t been up this way in quite some time. It’s been a solid two, maybe three years since anyone’s made him angry enough to take this drive.
Tommy slows down. He turns his blinker on, but it doesn’t matter. No one is around to signal his turn for. Easily, he turns the car down a long, winding path. Narrow, dark, and surrounded by trees on either side, it’s very easy to miss from the road. Tommy remembers it well, though.
“We’re almost there,” he calls out to her. But can she hear him? He doesn’t know. He just smiles and fiddles with the radio. “Almost here.”
He turns the volume as loud as it will go and Creedance Clearwater Revival’s Bad Moon Rising is blasting through her speakers. They are nice speakers, he thinks. Nice, and loud. Quality sound.
He doesn’t worry about anyone hearing because of course they are about as alone as they can be.
He eases to the end of the drive. The house sits dark and silent by the cliff. He shuts the engine off and opens the door. The ocean breeze brushes against his cheek, the smell of salt filling the air. The tides are high tonight, he can tell. Below the cliff, waves are crashing hard into the rocks.
Tommy grabs his knife, then grabs her purse. He won’t let that go over the cliff, he decides.
Whistling Bad Moon Rising Tommy goes to the trunk, and he pops it open. There, the woman is still squirming. Her cheeks are tearstained now.
“Did you enjoy the ride, Missy?” he asks her.
She cries, so he smiles. This is going to be so wonderful, he thinks.
He shows her the knife, and she screams, muffled by the tape, but she screams nevertheless.
“It’ll only hurt for a minute,” he tells her. “I’m doing you a favor, Missy. I could just push you over the cliff without killing you, first. Then you’d drown. No one wants to drown. You don’t, do you?”
She cries, and cries, and cries. Tommy wants to savor every bit of it, but he realizes he can’t waste any more time. He holds his hand high, the blade of the knife glimmering under the full moon light, and brings it down with one swift move.
Finally, she stops screaming, and Tommy puts the knife in the trunk beside her lifeless body.
“Now, that wasn’t so bad was it?” he asks her.
He takes his apron off, once white but now splattered with her blood, and puts it in the trunk.
“Yep,” he says as he walks to the driver’s door. “Coffee would have hurt so much less, sweetheart.”
He shifts the car into neutral and watches it slowly roll to the cliff. Over and into the water below.
“Poor thing,” he says, clicking his tongue. “What a promising young, woman. Just got that job at the University. Yep, she was going places. Not anymore, though.” He begins to search her pocket book. “Just wrong decisions. Lands these young women in the wrong places. They come to the big city and just don’t know how to keep their eye out.”
He finds a pack of cigarettes in her purse, takes one out and lights it up.
He searches more, puffing on the cigarette, and finds a picture. Missy and a young man. He’s a good looking man, too. They are embracing, and there isn’t a doubt that they are a couple. On the back of the picture, is handwritten, Can’t wait to see you. 6 more months.
Tommy sighs. Boyfriend. The photo is dated for today.
“This is why you turned me down,” Tommy says. He almost regrets what he has done. Until he digs deeper into her purse.
“What’s this?” he asks out loud, pulling out a small slip of paper. It only takes a moment to realize what this is.
A lottery ticket. A winning lottery ticket.
He feels his jaw drop. “$50,000?” He glances back to the cliff, where just moments ago, Missy’s dead body had gone over. And he shrugs. “Eh, you didn’t need it, sweetheart. But me? I guess it’s my lucky day, after all.”
He tucks the ticket into his shirt pocket and starts to walk, whistling Bad Moon Rising along the way.
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