(Everything is about to go crazy. The cops screwed up on the charges and Dean’s play for the cops with Frost Pharmacy is no good and they want him to do it again. The four are all drunk and the run into Mickey, who originally set them up.)
Mickey knew that Dean was no threat to him. The bearded man was all head and no heart and Mickey had never heard him talk about fighting. But Billie! Billie was a brawler who had been 86’d from many bars and there were already legends about him. Mickey had heard people say that Billie was not allowed in any bar that had windows because the “Painter”, as Billie was known because of his trade, took special delight in shattering bar windows by throwing his opponents right through the glass.
Billie staggered along the edge of the six foot stone wall that bordered the apartment lawn and at times he came perilously close to lurching over the side but he never did. Dean followed closely behind him and Billie came up to Mickey, face to face, inches away from each other and Billie bellowing beer breath into Mickey’s face and Mickey backing away slightly and swinging tight from the side.
The crack of the blow echoed into the night air and Chrissie almost dropped the bottle, but not quite, as Billie crashed down onto the sidewalk with a dull thwack as the back of his head thumped the cement. He shook his head and struggled to his feet, smiling, and leaned toward Mickey with his whole body, breath coming hard.
Mickey threw another shot to the head and blood sprayed from Billie’s mouth. Billie took a punch to the gut and, in what appeared to be slow motion, spilled his large frame over the wall and whumped into the hard frozen grassy ground below.
Dean stared at the scene and his mouth hung open. Mickey glared at him and stood there, with the Irish Setter aimlessly circling around him, daring Dean to come ahead and attack him.
There was a groan and all eyes focused over the wall as Billie wobbled his head, spit his false teeth onto the grass with a splattering of blood-filled saliva and slowly pulled himself up the wall. Mickey’s eyes grew very large.
Billie stood in front of Mickey and there was the sound of heavy breathing. Mickey was like a statue and Billie rocked slightly.
“Had enough?” Mickey talking strange pitch to his voice.
Billie, smiling again, foot coming up quick from nowhere and crashing, smashing into Mickey’s chest. There was a cracking sound and the smaller man lifted into the air and slammed down onto the pavement on his back. Mickey gasping for lost breath, moaned and tried to rise, fell back, sobbing weakly.
“Now I’ve had enough,” Billie said as he jarred Mickey with a sharp-toed cowboy boot to the ribs. Another crack. Billie went back to the car and took the bottle from Chrissie, drained it and then tossed it onto the asphalt before he climbed down the wall, picked up his false teeth, and then turned to Dean. “Let’s get out of here.” Said Billie.
Dean didn’t argue with that. He hopped into the car and drove away as he shot a glance into the rear view mirror. The Irish Setter stood over Mickey and seemed to be licking his face but it was too far away to be sure. Dean pressed down on the gas pedal and the tires cried out into the night as the car strained to hold all four wheels on the road as they took a sharp corner. He thought about the police.
The next morning the Judas car pulled up as Dean and Brenda went out. Irish and D’azeo, wearing black leather jackets over t-shirts, came up and got right in Dean’s face so close he could smell stale liquor and old garlic as they growl-whispered at him.
“You think you’re smart.” Said Irish.
“We know about Mickey. Busted him up but he won’t say who or press charges.” D’azeo.
“We’re going to drop you. You’ll have stuff on yo whether you’re holding or not.”
“Go ahead punk. Tell someone. Ask for help. No one will believe you or your fucking whore-bitch dope-fiend wife.”
“Maybe when we get you, you’ll try to run.”
D’azeo pulled his gun partially from his holster.
“Dead. You’re dead mother-fucker.”
Dean cowered with fright and Brenda stepped back as the detectives sprayed them with threats and saliva. Dean felt his chest tighten up and there was an emptiness spooling down below his belly and he thought of rabbits with headlights bearing down on them, frozen to the death-spot on the road.
Suddenly the dicks were heading back to the black car, a screech of tires, and they were gone. The smell of burning rubber was in the air and it was like the winter quiet of a graveyard on the narrow urban street.
The night before court Dean and Brenda shot Dilaudid. Brenda also at some red bullet Seconals. She did not dream at all. Dean was plagued by a recurring nightmare all night long.
In the dream he and Brenda were at a wedding. The wedding party gathered in a giant boat at the top of a multi-tiered waterfall. Each person at the party flowed down the waterfall and the main gathering drank and made merry on the boat as it descended.
Suddenly it happened. Someone had forgotten to remove a partial glass barrier on one of the tiers and one of the bridesmaids got caught and started spinning around at the tier as the boat bore down on her.
A few people ahead looked back to see what the commotion was and saw the boat bouncing down tier after tier with the trapped woman screaming as the boat spilled down the beautiful wood-tiered flow-way towards her.
There were screams, the shattering of glass, another color danced in the water as the sound of something soft being squelched was heard. And then the boat, the giant wooden wedding boat, crashed over and splintered with a roar as it tumbled down the watersteps to hell, crushing everything in its path.
Dean and Brenda leaped from stone to stone, board to board, to flee the nightmare as it hurtled toward them. Suddenly Brenda fell backwards into the path of the massive ship. Dean saw someone in front of them with a look of sheer terror contorting their face. A hideous shriek filled the air.
Dean looked back to see the boat falling onto his wife as she screamed. And woke up covered with sweat. He looked at Brenda. She lay next to him on the bed. A cigarette had burned deeply into her fingers before it went out. She did not wake up.
Court was simple. Everyone got a fine and dirty looks from the detectives.
Chrissie broke up with Billie and moved. Some say she moved down south.
Billie had to do time in Seaside Heights. After he got out of jail he moved to Dover, New Jersey and no one ever heard of him again.
Dean and Brenda were divorced. Brenda moved to Florida with her mother. Dean moved to New Hampshire. There were rumors that he had ripped off a major drug dealer and there was a contract on him.
Someone said he moved to Portland, Oregon with the proceeds of his take and became a pot dealer there to support his habit on black tar heroin. They said he caught that flesh-eating bacteria from the black tar and died. Who knows? In that world, nothing seems to end well.
I knew all of them and decided to write this story. Me, I live on the internet. You can’t find me anywhere.
-Marc D. Goldfinger