Latest Flash

Of Dreams, Scenarios, and Plans

Today in The Gutter:

A special flash piece directly from Beau Johnson's new book.

Of Dreams, Scenarios, and Plans by Beau Johnson


Maurice and me, we are men of extremes. Some would suggest different, even over the top. Either way, the life we’d chosen to lead ensured we pretty much had to be something along these types of lines. Only when such traits spill over into things they shouldn’t do complications arise for people like us. With this comes thoughts of over-compensation and I can understand why some people defer to this kind of thinking. A misconception is what this becomes, as over-compensating and confidence are not much more than distant cousins once you’ve gotten under the hood.

This comparison is what I’m attempting to enlighten Maurice to when the snake begins to twitch. Meant his eyes would no longer meet mine, and it’s totally understandable why this occurs. I mean, the size of the thing Milligan hooked me up with is huge, taking three of us just to get it in the glass.

“You’ve always been big on fear, this we know,” I say. Nothing. Nada. His concentration beyond me, through the glass, and towards a situation which, for the time being, remained asleep. It slept because I’d tranquilized the thing six hours prior, secretly hoping today would become the day. “But do you recall telling me your greatest fear?” 

I know he didn’t, not in the way he should, but this is the thing, the difference between employer and employees. Us guys, the workers, we don’t forget. At least I don’t. When someone goes and lets you in on such a nugget, you go and squirrel that shit away. Never know when an opportunity may arise or a situation might present itself. It’s pragmatic is what it is. That and then some.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Realizing, I move forward, blocking Maurice’s sight line to the glass. I hold up both my hands. “What I want you concentrating on is this. No, come on now, I want you to take a good hard look at the shit you set in motion.” I flex what’s left of my fingers. “Used to be eight of these bad boys, right? Now you’d be hard pressed to say I have three. Used to have both ears too, Maurice, and this eye here, it never hung the way it does now. You think any of this is givin’ you a clue as to the reason we are here today?”

I didn’t require an answer, not really, and I tell the man so. “However, the place I do want to go is how we arrived here, as in our juncture. Translation being: you should have maybe sent someone a little more inclined as to how one goes about one’s job, I think. Double translation: they should have at least gone and checked for a pulse before they buried me.”  

Had his boys done that, I’d never get to show Maurice why I can no longer grow hair. The bullet that rode my skull from one temple to the next destroying the only part of my head I’d been able to comb since before the nineties.

“And you do realize how this makes you look? Not just for setting in motion what you did, but the reason as to why.” 

I go on, say my piece, Maurice looking more like an ugly Daddy Warbucks than ever before. “The way it looks to me is this: Janice never would have glanced my way if she were a woman being satisfied.” 

His eyes expand at this, a little more rage let out of the box. Seems I’d gone and hit a soft spot.  He double downs with snot bubbles, great big giant fuckers, which begin to foam above the gag.

“You tryin’ to tell me there’s more than scrap metal in yer pants there, Boss?”  I smile as I say this. I can only imagine the sight of me. Made me want to laugh and scream at the same fucking time. I mean, of all the things we’d done, all the jobs we’d pulled, that it would come down to a woman, a woman he’d already divorced.

Eighteen years gone in an instant, poof.

Laugh or scream. Shit or get off the pot. All told, I sometimes wish the grave had been a little less shallow.

“But what it comes down to, specifically, is this: how do you truly destroy a man? You obliterate that which he creates. Your words, Maurice. From your lips. Brings a whole new kind of light as to why I had junior join us here today.” 

Perfection. All of it. Especially the veins upon his neck, each one now popping like cords.

I go one step further and share what Milligan passed along: that if I could see my way to rearranging a shoulder or two, my selection, it didn’t much matter; python or anaconda, each would take a man. Done, it’s on to constriction, the application, and how it’s this which would come first. What impressed me more is when I found out how the feet would go last, the anaconda going on like a condom, its meal taken by the head into a digestive system unlike any other. Truth be told, it kind of made me wish Maurice had had other children. Or that his child had children. And I know how this makes me sound, I do. But I also know how I feel.

“It’s not like I had any kind of choice, Maurice. Not once I realized I was still alive.” 

His nostrils flare at this, flare again, but I pull him forward anyway. The legs of his chair screeching every inch of the way.

Four feet from the glass, I plant myself beside him, my backside into the very same chair his son had been strapped to not minutes before. As I sit, my dream scenario continues: Maurice unable to do anything but stare, nothing but remorse leaking from his eyes. I acknowledge this by placing an arm around his shoulder and squeezing it with fingers both phantom and real.

Twenty minutes on and junior’s eyes flash open, his struggles against his bonds causing an agitation I’d been anticipating since awakening last Fall. It brings a different type of panic to the festivities as well. 

I stand and cut the gag from Maurice’s mouth.

I tell him I do this because I can. Pragmatic or not, over the top or not, I'm confident I'm about to like what I hear.

Beau Johnson has been published before, always on the darker side of town. It appears he cannot escape the shadows there, where empathy and bad guys meet. Such fine establishments include HST, Shotgun Honey, Spelk, and this place right here, Out of the Gutter Online. Beau is the author of A Better Kind of Hate, published by Down and Out Books. He will see you when he sees you. Peace/out.