On the sixth Daze of Christmas,
Tom Leins gives to us. . .
Tom Leins gives to us. . .
Slay Ride by Tom Leins
I jerk awake as the Motorola twitches in my pocket. The ringtone is motherfucking Jingle Bells.
I’m face down in an alleyway, Santa suit splattered with fresh excrement and stale fast-food waste. I struggle to make out the caller ID because my right eye is swollen shut. It’s Terrell.
I press the cell phone against my bloody ear. “Yeah?”
Coarse laughter crackles on the other end.
“So, you’re still alive, you sorry sack of shit?”
I grunt. “Where’s the fucking loot, Terrell?”
“That’s for me to know and you to find out. See you on the other side, shit-stain.”
We thought we were cute robbing a department store payroll truck in rented Santa suits. In the cold light of day, I look pretty fuckin’ stupid.
I retrieve my Santa hat from a pissy-looking puddle next to the dumpster. My head is throbbing like a diseased dick, and my mouth is dry as sandpaper. The last thing I remembered was Terrell’s size-fourteen work boot kicking me in the face as he ripped the hold-all out of my hands and threw me out of the rental car.
I work a broken tooth loose and adjust the white acrylic beard to cover my busted mouth, then head back the way I came. Those rotten bastards have really fucked me over.
We rolled as a four-man crew. I knew Terrell by reputation, not personally. He was an old-timer willing to get his hands dirty. My boy Anthony hooked us up. He was the wheelman. Anthony’s cousin, Ramon, was also on the job.
Ramon got kinda bent out of shape during his last stint in the Big House and picked out a plus-size ‘Sexy Santa’ outfit at the costume shop. Terrell wasn’t impressed and ordered Ramon to stay in the car when we pulled off the job.
Anthony told me the only time Terrell liked punks was when his big, cancerous balls were bouncing off their fucking jawbones.
We planned the take-down from a cinderblock hot sheets hotel named the Merry Gentlemen Rest Stop. The door to Room 237 is ajar when I arrive. I nudge it open with my boot.
The threadbare carpet is strewn with bloody banknotes. Anthony is face down in a pool of blood with a bullet in his back. His Santa suit is a shade darker than normal. Ramon has been gut-shot on the bed and a lipstick shriek is drawn across his dead face. Poor motherfuckers.
I gather up as many of the ruined banknotes as possible and stuff them into the pocket of my Santa suit. I retrieve Anthony’s handgun from the dresser and slip it under my belt.
A taxi idles outside the manager’s office. I approach as casually as a man clad in a heavily-soiled Santa suit can. I retrieve a crumpled, blood-splattered fifty from my pocket and press it up against the driver’s window.
He shakes his head, chuckling to himself.
I grab a few more bills – each one bloodier and more crumpled than the last – and press them against the window.
He nods and stuffs his half-eaten burrito into the glove box. “Where to, chief?”
Lapland is a strip club on the east side of town. The rustic Scandinavian aesthetic is pretty appealing. The customers, though, are the same sorry fucks with corroded livers and bloodshot eyes that frequent all the other shitty local strip clubs. I’ve seen some of these dudes get so drunk, they’ve tried snorting the fake snow.
Terrell’s oversized silhouette is stark against the dim lighting. A fat, bleached-blonde girl with pigtails grinds her ass into his crotch. As I get closer, I notice that, like me, he’s still wearing his Santa suit.
I pick up an abandoned cocktail and wet my dry lips.
I walk up behind, place the barrel of the gun against Terrell’s lumpy skull, and squeeze the trigger.
The lapdancer screams as blood splatters against my thick white beard.