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I suppose that in order to tell my story, I need to give you a sense of who I am. Popular psychology would assume that as with any person I am who I am because of my family dynamic. Especially when it comes to my folks.
I think of my parents as a river and a dam. My mother has always been the river. Her thoughts are in a constant state of fluid movement, never resting or still. Only finding peace from this in the river's marriage to the dam.
My father of course, being the dam. He, like the dam, to those standing in front of it can see little trickles of water seeping out here and there, seemingly in no pattern or sense of structure. But behind it, a tumultuously complex whirling surge deep turbulent water. No rhyme or reason at face value but such withheld complexities behind it all.
I add myself in this metaphor because from this I can explain how I see myself. The way I see it, in all of this, I am merely a river stone. Carried by the river, all the way to the dam. Pushed by the river against the dam. In order to gently shape and polish it into something smooth and beautiful.
But sadly to spite the best and most loving attempts by the river and dam, by my own constant stubborn resistance I, in spite of these two natural wonders and by sheer force of will ruin they're attempts and wind up jagged, ugly, rough and sharp. Luckily for me, the river and the dam, they love every rock. But I am not an only child.
My family is me, my dad the dam, my mother the river, and three sisters. The youngest, Emily is about to celebrate her sweet sixteen, I was ten when she was born. Then there's Rachael just one year younger than I am. I'd like to tell you about Rachael, but honestly I can't say that I know very much about her. I can't say much other than at face value, she's just a sweet innocent girl who keeps to herself.
Finally there's Anna. She's the oldest, she's got three years on me, but she still treats me like an annoying kid brother. Then again, I act like it. Anna is....over sexed to say the least. It's not like she goes through a lot of guys, but what makes me say over sexed is, you wouldn't know she doesn't to look at her. Let's just say flirty and leave it at that.
As far as blood goes, they're all I have. But otherwise, I've got two best friends, Murphy and Donovan. Murph and Van are the same age as I am. Van is as shady a person as I've ever known, yet for some reason, I really like the guy. He's been getting me in to trouble since we were kids on the monkey bars, but now I tend not to ask how he makes his living to spite his constant willingness to tell stories. Murph is obsessed with the sea. Naturally a sailor, born into a long standing nautical family. He lives at the marina, doing charters and fishing mostly.
I'm actually not too far from it, my building over looks the bay. Of course, I live pretty damn near the basement. It's a glamorous life I have. I'm near the family though. Emily lives with my folks, towards the top of my building where Rachael also resides. And Anna lives farther in downtown in some weird posh loft thing. You know, the kind of place with those lame art-deco chairs that you don't even know how to sit down in. She's a photographer, she can afford to be pretentious.
I'm usually at the office, I edit several local magazines in the area. Naturally that's where I was Thursday morning, when Van saw fit to interrupt me, as so often he did on Thursdays.
"Come on guy, knock off early. Let's take a ride, I got a car outside. Murph's waiting." He said leaning and seating himself on my desk, his shiny fo-leather jacket squeaking as he did so. I just let out a sigh, shut off my computer and grabbed my coat from the back of my swivel chair. "There's a boy!" Van got up, playfully throwing his arm around me as we walked to the elevator. 'Every Thursday Van.' I thought. 'Why even bother coming in?'
As soon as we hit the door Murph jumped off the car to meet us. "Why Job English, as I live and breathe!" he said in a most unserious fashion. That's my name by the way, Job, phonetically: Jobe. That usually comes up when my name is written down. I can't tell you how much I used to hate roll call when we had a substitute teacher. But anyway.
"Well, how do you like her?" Van said, gesturing to his new vehicle. It was nice, a sort of licorice black convertible. I don't know too much about cars, but it must have been an older model since it was built like a tank.
"Looks like it's built Tonka tough Van." I told him, taking my seat in the back, he and Murph hopping in the front and driver seats. "Let's go get a taco" Van sang out melodically. I never liked the way he drove, too fast and too reckless. And being snugly buckled up in the back, I couldn't help but notice something.
Every time Van hit a sharp left, from the trunk I heard 'roll, roll, roll, thump.' Every time again and again 'roll, roll, roll, thump.' So when we got to Van's treasured taco stand as soon as we got out I asked him, "Van, what the hell have you got back there?"
He just shrugged, "I don't know I told you I just got it. Probably a spare or something." Taking a bite of his taco he said to no one in particular, "Damn hard shell. The thing explodes when you bite it, and now I've got taco on me."
"Then why do you never get the soft shell?" Murph interjected, cleanly enjoying his soft taco.
"Because if it's soft it's not a shell now, is it Murph?" As Van said this, I left them to their philosophical debate, grabbing his keys from the seat to open the trunk to find out what that noise was.
Lifting the trunk, it took a minute for my eyes to realize what I was looking at, as they nearly tripled in size. Quickly I slammed it shut and ran back over to the guys. "Van....Murph...." I paused putting my hand on the back of neck and looking down for moment. "Guys, look in the trunk." Handing over the keys I stood my ground and waited as they opened the trunk.
"Sweet Jesus!" Van said slamming the trunk closed. Murph stood silently frozen, eventually running over to me.
Saying in a whisper "Dude, there's a guy in there! Why is there a guy in there?"
How the hell should I know? I don't know why there's a guy in there, I know there shouldn't be a guy in there!" I said matching his low frantic tone.
"Is he?" Murph said, both of us looking to Van who had reopened the trunk.
"He's not dead." Van shouted waving us over.
"Jesus Van, shut up! Don't yell that!" Murph said shoving Van aside.
"Well what he's not. That's a good thing." Van said, poking at the man. "Sure is out of it though."
I looked down into the trunk at the man. His hands were bound in duct tape in front of him, as was a silver strip of the same material across his mouth. I had no doubt this had something to do with Van's vocation of choice.
"Who did you get this from?" I asked turning toward Van.
"I bought it from the boss this morning." he stopped a moment. "I wonder if he wants this back?"
"I think the boss just royally screwed you" Murph said. "We have to close this up, and get this guy out of there."
"Whoa, hang on now. Boss finds out about this, I'll get a lot worse than screwed fellas." Van said closing the trunk. "What we're gonna do is, you two get back in the car, I'm gonna grab another taco, hard shell. And then we're gonna take this guy somewhere, see if he comes to, and see what's what with all this."
And that's exactly what we did. We brought the stranger into a really seedy motel room, in a really seedy part of town. It was the only place to go. Van pulled the car to the back, and together he and Murph lifted him out and into the shabby room. I shut the door behind them.
"I feel like now's the time to tell you guys something." Van said.
"Now! Now! Now's the time!" I shouted at him.
Remaining calm Van continued, "I didn't so much buy this car from the boss. See, I guess you could say I got a better offer elsewhere and well....instead of saying goodbye and purchasing this car from the boss. I decided to just take off and steal this car, from, the boss."
"Oh well that's perfect! Just perfect Van!" Murph said walking towards him, tripping over the stranger on the floor. "We may as well just tape ourselves up and join him!"
"Oh would you two pretty ladies stop it. This is not a big deal. Now, you two watch him, I'm gonna go buy liqueur." Van said, then hastening out of the room.
While Van was gone, which was longer than anyone else would have needed, for the first half hour, nothing happened. Murph and I just sat silently, looking from one another down to the stranger and back again. Finally about fifteen minutes after that, the stranger woke up.
Righting himself to his feet, he wasted no time in making a run for it. No sooner had he did so than he knocked into an arm chair, stumbled and staggered hard into the wall, sending him back down to the floor. Murph and I rose, but just stood and looked at each other until eventually Van came back.
Bottles clanging in the plastic bag behind him he entered. Now, I'm a team player and all, but I wasn't about to stick around for this. Van's judgment was impaired enough and him getting soused was something I was not about to see. I mumbled something about doing my taxes and shuffled out of there. I kept telling myself I did the responsible thing, I went home to get drunk.
I woke up the next morning to the phone shattering my eardrum. I clicked to answer and immediately heard Anna's voice.
"Hey little bro. Van called me, time to get up!" Maybe it was the hang over but she sounded pretty cheerful.
"Oh God, what did Van want?" Even my own words gave me a headache.
"Well, I'm babysitting your hostage. He's here with me. I know, I know, don't worry the police aren't on their way, this isn't a sting or something. Van just called because he said he needed someone this guy wouldn't run away from."
"What's that supposed to mean? Won't run away from?" Every second I got more annoyed.
"Well with my certain....attributes we'll say. And he's yet to escape me! So come on over, say hello, won't ya? Don't be rude to our guest."
I just groaned and hung up the phone. She knew I wasn't about to just pick up and be on my way. I wanted out of this epic blunder.
My name is Felix Vienna. I'm a trigger man, trigger man, bag man, make of it what you will. I'm hired out mostly, and I tend not to double cross. All except for that one time. A time which in hind sight, I sorely regret. Also I'm a mute, I wasn't born that way but over time, my voice just faded away.
So I didn't really understand why after feeling a sharp blow to the back of my head, I woke up in some trunk with tape over my mouth. I know I should have thought about my head hurting, or fear for my life or thoughts of escaping but all I could think was 'Do these people think so little of me they don't even know I can't talk?' It sort of pissed me off.
Later on when the car started to roll I got knocked senseless again being tossed back and forth every time the bastard driving hit a left. I woke up in some crappy motel room that smelled like tacos, there were some guys in there too, I thought to kill me. I ran for it, bumped something and hit the wall something fierce. And again I was down for the count.
I figured I'd play asleep and see why these guys had to have me awake to kill me. After all, if they wanted to just do it they'd do it, right? I heard the one guy on the phone. He was talking to some broad to baby sit me. Said him and 'Murph' whoever the hell that was had to go and do some things. He told her that I wouldn't run from someone like her. I didn't have any idea what that meant, but I figured I'd have a better chance handling one girl than two guys. I decided to stay knocked out until she got there.
Eventually she showed, it was about forty five minutes. I know because I kept opening my eyes to glance at my watch. The one guy Murph was in a panic and that other guy was pretty damn well near drunk by then. I kept my eyes closed and didn't pay attention to their conversation with the girl since I like surprises. The two idiots lifted me into a chair and a second later I heard the door slam closed.
Then the time came; I opened my eyes. And I liked what I saw sitting across from me. She was half leaning back on the bed on her elbows, and she had her legs crossed hanging down to the floor. Man, this girl had legs for days, it was the first thing I noticed about her. She wasn't modest either, not a hooker, but this chick ain't no nun. She covered just enough that it hurt you to want to see the rest. They idiots were right, I wasn't running.
"Well now. I've never been ogled by a man in duct tape before. You get your eyeful, stranger?" Yeah, that was the first thing she said to me. This broad was a character more slick that a slip and slide. She went on; "Now, if I take that tape off your mouth, you gonna be a good boy?"
God I love irony. But nonetheless, I just nodded and she took the tape off. When I didn't say anything right away she ruffled my hair and said "There's a good boy. But listen you aren't a monk, you can talk you know." And then I shook my head. "You won't talk? Want nothing to do with little old me? Why, strange boy, I'm almost hurt." She of course was not sincere.
I shook my head again, and tried to mime to her that I actually was incapable of speech. I don't remember exactly but I did something stupid like opened my mouth and gestured with my hands that nothing would come out. And much to my surprise, she knew what I meant.
"A mute? Why would they tape a mute?" My answer was a shrug that just screamed the phrase 'beats me.'
"Do you sign?" She asked. But, I didn't. Never bothered to learn. I'm not deaf, and I can write so...you know. Figured I'd just write out whatever I had to say. And lucky for me, she handed me a few sheets of hotel stationary and one of those crappy hotel pens that always seem to be almost out of ink. I always carried a pen though, my lucky charm. My rich man's fountain pen as I called it. So I used that instead. I began to write, and pretty much just gave her the short hand of my story.
Other than the events I've already told you about since I met these people, the things you don't know went something like this, in my written explanation.
My name is Felix Vienna. My chosen career is as a gun for hire. Not that I haven't dabbled in a little of this and that in criminal activities. I was hired by the boss of a family to take care of almost all of the members of a rival family. It was only later he wanted me to include women, children, everyone. I'm a triggerman, but I'm not a monster. I met with the head of the rival family, a very ancient man, some sort of Asian. I told him all of this. And because of my noble efforts. I was offered a position with them. And with them, we made a real bad dent in the forces of my new enemies. Not to mention all the swag we took. Usually I don't double cross, but the first boss that hired me was a monster. One night I was alone, my new rival's goons ambushed me, and that more or less brings us back to me taped and bleeding in the trunk. I assume to be take somewhere to get buried. That's all you need to know, my wrist is getting tired.
She read it, simply saying "You know, your penmanship is like, perfect." But when you are like I am, it has to be. She was beautiful, but while some woman are classic beauties, this girl was the kind of beautiful that years from now is what is going to be called the new classic beauty. I think the thing I liked the most about her though was that she didn't seem frightened or curious to me for the most part.
She continued; "So listen voiceless wonder. They only got this place for a few hours and they're almost up by now. So seeing as to how there's no way I'm spending my hard earned cash to rent more time in this hell hole. It's all hookers with businessmen and hopeless drug addicts that are always saying shift like 'I'm gonna get clean soon, pick up the pieces of the kind of man I used to be.' so I'm gonna take you to my place but if you so much as move a Sopha cushion I'll make sure you have reunion with your old boss just like that."
My face lent her a disdainful look momentarily, but as soon as she had collected her purse I followed her out. The ride was kind of long but her car was someonewhat nice. It was just one of those silver colored sedan style deals, you know, the ones that you see a million times a day while your are out driving around. Usually I hate them, but for some reason just knowing it belonged to her made me actually kind of like it.
When we finally got to her place, this posh loft none sense as it was, seemed to have been furnished quite comfortably. Like the woman who lived there or at least decorated the interior seemed like she must really have her shit together. The goal oriented type I guess. I can't be certain seeing as to how I don't really have goals or future plans in mind. But I was so banged up and tired, when I saw she had a love seat I couldn't help but throw myself on to it.
"I'm not unbinding your hands I hope you know" She came and sat down next to me on the couch. "Nothing personal, I just don't like the idea of a hit man with two free hands in my apartment." I guess there was a logic to that, if you didn't know any better.
I get no pleasure from what I do, it's not a hobby or a past time. It's just my job. And nobody is happy at work. I wouldn't kill anyone on my own time no more than a mailman would make his rounds on Sunday. And just like a mailman doesn't read someone else's mail, I don't think twice about who I bump off. I don't bother, and I don't care.
So there's this friend of my brother's, Van, a petty crook but he's ok. Anyway, this Van called me around Friday, 1 AM it had to be. I was just getting back from this club, The Lyon's Den. It's got all of these weird exotic plants and a giant fake waterfall that girls in tiger body paint dance on. It's a pretty hot club, but that's not where I'm going with this.
I came home in a taxi, a little tipsy from these flaming jungle cocktails, dropped my purse on the floor flicked on the lights and couldn't wait to get my heels off. I didn't even get to before the phone rang, when it was Van. He had some crazy story about a guy in a trunk and a motel room, I thought he was just screwing around since he sounded drunkish and usually he likes to call and bother me like that.
But that other guy, another friend of my brother and Van's who I don't even really know got on the phone. Murphy. Murphy told me he wasn't lying and they needed me. It didn't sound boring, so why turn them down?
When I got there, I already felt annoyed considering they actually expected me to stay in the kind of place you can't even call a roach motel since roaches won't even rent a room in a place like that. I passed the guys coming out of the door and Van just pointed back to the door with his thumb and said "He's in there." So, I went in.
I didn't really have a first impression of him when I saw him there laying down. He was a mess in a suit, bump on the head, a little bloody and duct taped to the nines. Finally after I took a seat on the edge of the bed, attempting to make as little skin contact with it as I could, he opened his eyes.
And I take no small pride in the fact that when he did open his eyes to look, he took me in a good eyeful. Sometimes I think even gay men like to stare at me. I guess it was the excitement of the possibility of something dangerous going on, but I was pretty pumped up, and my mood improved. I decided to get friendly. And I even teased him some.
What do you expect? I'm young hot, and I flirt. Besides, he was sort of cute in a save the animals pity the one eyed dog sort of way. He explained to me who he was, what he was, and what he couldn't do: talk. That's what you really look for in a man, silence.
Then I explained to him, that we were getting out of here, he was coming with me, and I trust he wasn't going to try anything because I was sent to be his jailor, not to let him go about his usual business.
When we got into the car I let him sit up front with me, tape and all. Who looks into other people's cars anyway? It wasn't a big deal to me. I guess I don't need to mention he didn't say anything during the ride considering that it's a medical impossibility and all. I didn't say anything either. I just blasted my radio and sang along to my bands as loud as I wanted like I usually do in the car.
I took him up to my loft, he just sort of looked around like it wasn't what he was expecting. Like I don't have style. I let his mouth free considering he couldn't use it anyway, but I kept his hands together considering those he probably could use well. I even called Job my brother, but I knew he wasn't coming. This is the sort of mess he'd want out of.
"Well, Felix" I said, Felix is what he called himself by the way. "Well, Felix" I said "What is it that happens now? Or is the future as much of a mystery to the both of us as the present?" He just shrugged and shook his head. Why did I bother asking questions to someone who can't talk?
Besides, he looked like he was dozing. Maybe he was drugged by someone or sleep deprived, or just really really lazy. I got up to go make some drinks, because I own a blender and if I want to have a frozen tropical adult beverage I have one, I don't care what point in the day it might happen to be when the mood strikes me.
I figured the blender would annoy him enough to make him get up and come over, but when I came back with my drink and one for him, he was more or less out cold. So I just slumped him over the side of the love seat, sat down next to him, put my feet up, and enjoyed both my and his fruity girl drinks.
I was just finishing up the second one when I noticed as he jostled in his sleep there was a rattle in his pocket like the sound tic-tacs make when you walk. Cautiously I slipped my delicate little hand in and pulled out a prescription bottle. "Hmm, that explains it." He had a nice family size bottle of sedatives concealed on his person.
"Don't mind if I do." I took a couple, he had enough to go around, and it's never a bad idea for a literal chill pill now and then. It was only when I started to get pretty dopey and tired that I realized maybe they could be a little strong for little old me. That probably wasn't a good thing. But that was out of my hands now. I just sort of leaned over on him since my head suddenly weighed twenty pounds heavier and I was all fuzzy. And before I knew it, I had accidentally fallen asleep on my hostage.
Let me just say, you don't even know how much I regret not waking up first so I could just sort of slide off of him and he'd never be the wiser. But I woke up laying on the couch alone. I knew he didn't make his escape, he no straight man would. I was still a little loopy but I got up yawning and stumbling for a bit to see what the hell he needed to get up for.
I came around the corner to where my kitchen is, if you can call it that. It's more like a kitchenette like some office break-room or something. And as I got closer. I smelled a wonderful smell, like a 50's diner or something. He got up to make breakfast? Why would he do that? It seemed pretty weird at the time, but I was hungry and I love eating breakfast at night. Who doesn't?
As soon as he saw me he gave me a slight wave and bent down to remove something from my oven which until then I wasn't even sure if it worked. He had this and that simmering, bubbling, crackling monopolizing all of the burners and appliances. So I sat down at my little kitchen counter with the sliding cu trains separating the bar from the counter.
He opened the curtains to see me, and set some coffee and juice out, what kind of killer doubles as a waiter? But anyway when finally he had finished up Felix the Hostage made way too much food. And God was it ever fancy, and pretty too. He was very sweet to do that. Especially with his hands tied.
"So," I said "What's all this about? A hired gun/silent chef?" He just gave a little chuckle and handed me another note which I assume he had written sometime in advance. It read:
"I thank you for treating me like an actual person. I decided long ago, a mute is not something people want much to do with. So I took my time occupations to better myself. Cooking is one of those..... It's almost a sub-culture."
So we ate together. It was so weird sitting across from him eating breakfast, it was surreal to say the least, dining with an assassin. "That was amazing" I said wiping my mouth the a napkin. To which he answered with a sort of smirking blush that can only be conveyed by the type if person who isn't often complimented.
"Well. what now?" As I said this, Stranger/Hostage Felix took out his special pen and began to write me an answer. It read as such:
"I need to take off. There's things I have to go do, get my affairs in order and take care of some things. All I ask is that while I'm gone that you don't do anything stupid. I'm not going anywhere, I actually have to come back here. It's a good place to hide out until some of this heat dies down. The Asians only protect their own, and so for now I have to come back. Bide my time in hiding so my former boss and his crew makes it a point to show that I'm expendable."
It all seemed all so mysterious and sexy, I had to come too, the natural rush it gave me there was not one way I wasn't tagging along, It took forever but finally, I wore him down. I'm pretty
good at wearing down men, or well wearing men out. Not to mention the only way he has to get around is me driving him all over in my car.
So now I guess that I can surmise that everyone I knew like my hostage are working for the Asians; And the rival family took a harsh beating I had no idea where we were headed. He decided to drive, and I sitting right next to him, I put my hand on his leg and together we sped off to God knows where
© Copyright 2016 J A Sholar. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Literary Fiction
Short Story / Children Stories
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