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Eye for an Eye

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

In The Gutter, that tree is cankered all the way down to its roots.

Eye for an Eye by Mark Westmoreland


The trunk smelled like cat piss and taint. I was balled up in the fetal position and couldn’t feel my legs. There was nothing I could get my hands on to help me pry my way out; no tire iron, nothing. It was a helluva situation to be in but I could think of worse places to be stuck.

It was hard to recognize the direction we were headed. The way my head bumped around didn’t help matters. Wherever we were going was hotter’n four hundred hell. My eyes burned from sweat, the ass crack of my underwear was soaked, and I was starting to develop an odor my captor wouldn’t appreciate.
           
My mind was groggy and the memory of how I got myself shoved in the trunk was fuzzy.

There’s a beer at the bar, some pretty girl with her nips signaling at me, and a black dude shaped like a roly poly.

He strutted up to me like there’s a butt plug jammed in his b-hole, and asked me if I’d like to step outside. That’s not something I was interested in and let him know.

I returned my attention to the nipples staring me down. That’s when I was yanked off the barstool.

The colored guy tried to drag me towards the door but I brought him down to my level with an elbow to his nutsack. Before I could really make him regret interrupting my staring competition, a pair of his buddies burst through the door and proceeded to whoop my ass.
           
Makes sense why my balls ache now. Before I was thrown in this trunk, Roly Poly stomped ‘em so they felt like smashed fruit.
           
Guess those details came together better’n I thought they would.

*          *          *

At the end of the ride, it got so bumpy I thought I might sustain concussion-like symptoms. That may or may not’ve worked in my favor depending on what these boys wanted.

Once the car came to a stop, I tried to maneuver myself so I could fight once they popped the trunk. That did me no good cause every which way I turned made it so I was even more cramped.

When the biggest one opened the lid of my captivity, I lunged at him. 

He caught me and tossed me on the ground.

Roly Poly tried to kick my ribs but caught my shin instead. It hurt like a sumabitch and I let him know. He grinned like a dog gnawing a bone and his buddies picked me up off the ground.
           
“Where’d yall bring me?”
           
“Near Black Mesa.”
           
“We almost in Texas?”
           
“Closer to Colorado.”
           
“The hell’d yall bring me way out here for.”
           
“Got somebody wants to talk to you.”
           
“Shit.”
           
There’s one thing you can say for Oklahoma, ain’t a whole lot of it pretty. The choices are flat or bare. There’s a lot of hills where we were standing, and the mesa was a sight, but it was too damn hot too care.

It was around the time I was starting to get the feeling back in my legs, that an RV churned up dust in the distance. It drove what seemed like forever and pulled off the road in front of us. When the driver put it in park, it let out a sigh like it was exhausted, and rocked side to side when someone walked inside it.

The door in front of me opened and a black man the size of a grizzly bear stepped out.
           
His lips were like a pair of slugs stuck on his face, the lines on his forehead were crevices water could run through, and his left eye was covered with a patch.

He cleared his throat as he walked up to me and said, “Mack Dooley, remember me?”
           
“Who the hell’re you?”
           
“I’m a friend of your deddy’s. From back in Georgia.”
           
“You wasn’t no friend of my deddy’s.”
           
“What makes you say that?”
           
“Cause my deddy’s racist as hell.”
           
I wasn’t joking, but he laughed like I was and said, “Me’n your deddy was good friends. He gave me this eye patch.” 
           
“That’s nice of him.”
           
“I been lookin to return the favor.”
           
“Mister, what’s your name?” 

“Friends call me Tyrone. Everybody else calls me Big Cock.”
           
“Tyrone it is then.”
           
“No, you’ll call me Big Cock.”
           
I shook my head. “How bout Grizzly Bear?”
           
“Boys,” Grizzly Bear said.

My legs were knocked out from under me. My knees banged on the ground and I was wishing the feeling was gone from ‘em. My head was yanked back and I was forced to look Tyrone in his good eye.

It was blue as the sky above me, but twinkled like there was some mischief in it.

He pulled a Bowie knife from a sheath on his hip and run it along the side of my face. “You got nice eyes, Mack.”
           
“Girls seem to think so,” I said.
           
“Remember me saying your deddy gave me this patch? What I really meant is he took this eye from my head.”
           
“Sounds like somethin deddy would’ve done.”
           
“Sometimes I still feel that eyeball. Hurts like a motherfucker.”
           
“Sorry to hear that.”
           
“Been wantin to make your deddy feel that same way, but I found out he’s dead.”
           
“For bout ten years now.”
           
“Guess you’ll do then.”
           
Tyrone slid the Bowie knife towards my eye.

I stopped him and said, “You know what? I remember deddy talkin bout you.”
           
“You do?” He pulled the knife away.
           
“He always said you’s a pussy,” I said before spitting in his eye.
           
Big Cock wiped away the spit and flung it on the ground.

I’d hocked up some boogers in it and those were stuck to his hand.

He smiled so big I thought his face might break. “I was gonna go easy on you. Make it so it didn’t hurt,” he said. "But, motherfucker, I’m gonna make this the most painful thing you’ve ever felt.”
           
“Make it hurt. Cause when you’re done I’m comin for that eye patch.”
           
He wasn’t lying. It hurt like hell.




Mark Westmoreland is a Georgia native living in Oklahoma. He is a Netflix enthusiast, Georgia Bulldogs fan, and pro-wrestling junkie. His stories have been published around the web and can be found at www.storyandgrit.com.