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Robert Ninja

Everyone knows the rule that you dont tug on Superman’s cape.

Angel Luis Colon stops by the Gutter to offer an addendum: You don’t fuck with a man named Ninja.

Robert Ninja by Angel Luis Colon



I found the name in the phonebook, Robert, Ninja. My finger stopped in time with my eyes. “Bullshit,” I said out loud. I wandered dorm room to dorm room—collected the usual suspects: Jerry, Pete, and Mike.

“Bullshit,” they all repeated.

“It’s in the fucking phonebook.” I pointed at the name, as if that would make it more real.

“Yeah, but…” Jerry snatched the phonebook away. “…the way it’s listed. His last name is Robert?”

“What matters is this motherfucker’s first is name is Ninja.” Mike lit a Parliament. “His parents couldn’t have done that—had to have named himself that shit later.”

“You never know, man.” I lit a Newport. “Maybe it was his destiny to be a ninja.”

“Yeah, or it’s probably what’s his name, Michael Dudikoff.” Pete scratched the back of his neck. Adjusted the crotch of his board shorts.

“Who the fuck is Michael Dudikoff?” I asked.

“Fucking hell, Rob. You never saw American Ninja?” Jerry eyed me. Mike and Pete joined in.

I shook my head.

All three threw their arms up and groaned.

“Whatever.” Mike brought his phone from his shorts. Only one of us with a cell phone—a Nokia. “Motherfucker needs to be spoken to.” He dialed the number, then handed me the phone. “All yours.”

The phone rang. The call connected. I turned on the speaker.

“This is Ninja,” the voice on the other side of the line slurred.

I lowered the phone, mouthed, Holy shit to the guys. “Um, Mister Robert?”

“Yeah?

“This is Samurai Pete. I, uh, challenge you to a duel!” My lack of imagination was old news.

The guys burst into laughter. Pete snatched the phone away. “Don’t forget Cowboy Gustavo, Astronaut Daniel, and Coast Guard Lieutenant Alexander.” He stifled a laugh. Cleared his throat. “We’ve had enough of your shit, Ninja Robert.”

“Do you boys understand what you’re doing?” His voice was a little clearer. “This disrespect will not stand.”

We howled laughing.

Jerry took the phone next. “Whatever, dude, we’ll be in touch.” He disconnected the call. “Let’s get blazed and call that asshole back later tonight.”

That’s just what we did. Sixteen calls in a row between 2:30 a.m. and 5 a.m.—all between bouts of Tekken 3.

By the tenth call we were familiar with him—started calling him Ninja Bob. He picked up every call. Stayed dead silent throughout—never hung up.

*

Ninja Bob killed Jerry first. Caught him in the dorm showers and hung him from the shower bar. 

Campus security figured it was a suicide. We didn’t argue the point, I mean, what were we going to say—Ninja Bob did it? Besides, my phone book disappeared and the newest one I found didn’t have his name in it.

I sat on a bench outside as EMTs rolled the stretcher with Jerry’s lifeless body on it into the back of an ambulance. Behind me, the roar of a leaf blower blocked out the rest of the noise around me—the tears of friends and acquaintances. Mike tried to call out to the gardener, but the fat fuck ignored him.

*

I had the misfortune of finding Mike next. He was dead on the top bunk of his bed—throat open from ear to ear. He was tucked in tight—top of his blanket stained a deep red, but his face as white as the rest of the sheet. Girlfriend said she had left him sleeping sound when she left for classes at 7 a.m. The cops held her for questioning for most of the day, but she had an airtight alibi. When she got back, she was crowded by students and administration. All the questions broke her down and I think she had a psychotic break right in our common area. Campus security came to pick her up and get in touch with her parents.

“Dude, that rent-a-cop look familiar to you?” Pete asked.

I stayed silent. Could this crazy bastard be coming after us over a few phone calls?

I looked at the two security guys flanking Mike’s girlfriend—didn’t even know her name—but only saw their backs. Both fat as hell.

*

Pete and I drank our sorrows away for a few nights. Decided it was time to kick the Playstation back on and play a few rounds of Tekken—for old time’s sake.

Of course as I’m a round from destroying Pete’s Lei with my Eddie Gordo, the lights went out. It was only a few minutes before they came back up. That’s when I saw that Pete’s head was gone—just a raw, red stump remained. I dropped my controller, scrambled away from the body. Heard a thump behind me and turned to see Pete’s head bounce and roll until it hit the TV tray. My only escape route blocked by a fat bastard in orange ninja pajamas—the lower half of his face covered.

“You dishonored me.” He adjusted a strap around his waist. It struggled against his gut.

I stood. Held my hands out to him. “Listen, man, we were just fucking with you.” Shook my head. “It was a prank.”

He stood in a dramatic pose. Arms held slightly aloft at his sides, legs spread to shoulder width. “Which one are you?” he asked.

“What?”

“Which one of my enemies are you?”

This was fucking insane. I put my fear aside and tried to run for my phone. Saw Ninja Bob move out of the corner of my eye. Heard a whistle and my left hand was gone. Separated from the wrist before I could grab the phone from its base. I screamed. Held my forearm and watched the blood spurt from the center of my new stump.

Ninja Bob laughed. “Do you know what’s worse than dishonoring a ninja?”

I ignored him. Vision blurred as I lost more blood. Heard a click.

“Dishonoring a ninja with a rocket launcher.”

A bump. A rush of super-heated air. My stump didn’t hurt anymore.


Angel Luis Colón works in New York City but has been exiled to live in the northern wastes of New Jersey—thankfully, they have good beer. His work has appeared in Shotgun Honey, Revolt Daily, Thuglit, All Due Respect, and The Flash Fiction Offensive. You can follow his grumblings on Twitter @GoshDarnMyLife. Or http://angelluiscolon.com/