Story a Day in May #4

No commentary, let’s just get to it.


The casket closed over Ricky’s face, and he sighed with relief. So long one life, he thought. Now it was time to get to another. He just had to get out of the funeral home alive.

November 23 was the day Ricky Montavlo died, at least by his reckoning. He was in Club Tiesto, another one of Chicago’s never ending parade of dance clubs. Ricky had the world by the stones, he’d thought. He’d stated slinging rock at 18, when it became clear he had no other career options. The family grocery store had become a prison, the girl his immigrant parents had arranged for him to marry, the warden. Oxy had just started filtering into the neighborhood, and like young men before him, Ricky had recognized a growth industry. Two years later, he was running ten square blocks, and had two paid cops in the local precinct. It was good to be Ricky Montavlo.

Now he was here in the club, which he and his supplier had bought into. It was a good way to clean all their drug profits, and provide a refuge from their enemies. Which were growing by the day as the economy had tanked. Less money in people pockets meant less pie to share. And you didn’t get into dealing for the retirement plans or 401K.

So they’d armored the club, mainly due to an continuing problem with o all things, the Westies. He’d figured it’d be the cartels or the Crips, or MS13. But a bunch of pasty white dudes?It was almost embarrassing. Until his suppliers car and driver had gone up in a flash of thermite. But that was seen as just the cost of doing business.

Ricky had been on his third Oxy of the night, crushed and snorted , and making him feel high,alert, and alive. It was breaking one of the biggest dealer rules ever, but Ricky didn’t care. He was so gone it took him five minutes to realize there was someone standing in front of him.

The flashing lights made it hard, but he finally saw the guy was wearing UPS brown. That was how he’d gotten up here. If it was a fake, Ricky had a .22 in the boot, but still. The guy mouthed words, finally handing Ricky an iPad to sign. Ricky did, figuring it was just club bullshit. He’d have to remind the club manager to get this handled. He took the thick padded envelope from the guy, and tossed it on the table ,almost losing it among the empty beers and pill bottles.

Then Ricky noticed the blood on his hand. He looked down at the envelope, and a small pool of it was leaking out of a corner. He picked it up, time slowing down to a crawl when he recalled it in his head.

The smell was first, making bile rise in his throat. The first thing he pulled out made it worse. It was a pair of ears, tied together. They were stapled to a photo of his father. Ricky put two and two together, and promptly sprayed the table and floor with his dinner, the normally non-vomit inducing Ann Sathers.

There were seven photos in the envelope, each with body parts. His mother’s nipples. His sister’s eyeballs. His supplier’s wife’s picture was in there, with what was later identified as her ovaries.

He’d blocked out the rest. But all of his and his supplier’s immediate family had been wiped out in one move.

They’d found the bodies in a warehouse on Lawrence, right below the El tracks. By that point, Ricky was gone. The shock and horror of what he’d caused to his family had cored him like a deer hanging in a tree after the hunt. It was this lost soul that the devil himself showed up to take.

Lieutenant Croucier wasn’t Satan, it was just the term everyone who dealt in Chicago referred to him as. He was the scourge, the wrecking ball. When the Chicago PD decided they needed a neighborhood cleansed of a dealer, Croucier was the one they called. He somehow made deals that wiped out entire gangs with a single informant. He’d turned OG’s by the dozen,and no one was sure how he did it.

Croucier didn’t look like much, Slightly overweight, balding, and mousy. He looked like a mall cop or worse yet, one from the suburbs. And yet here he was, whispering in Ricky’s ear. It wasn’t that hard a sell, though.

Ricky wanted to die. He’d thought about going to the pathetic excuse of a bar the 33 Street Westies used as a headquarters with four of five bricks of plastique strapped to him. He’d think about it, then remember how he’d died inside since the murders, and didn’t wish that on anyone. But any move he’d make would cost him his life anyway. SO he was busy murdering his liver when Croucier found him.

Croucier’s plan seemed idiotic at first. Rat the Westies? Ricky may have been many things, but a rat wasn’t one of them. And what about his partner? He’d likely kill Ricky as well.

“Who do you think led us to you?” Croucier said, his voice like a stage whisper or soft breeze. Through the next months as they plotted and schemed, Ricky never saw Croucier display any emotion, or raise his voice. If he wasn’t ice, he was certainly snow.

Ricky was nervous as he stood outside the Westies’ new bar. Bought with blood and flesh, he thought. All of it his and his partners. But Ricky steeled himself with Klonopin and coke, which put him right into the land of Do Not Care Anymore. He was normally there all the time already, but the drugs kept his rage safe inside.

It kept him through the next four hours, where he faked his way through a surrender to Big Mike Falstaff, the gang’s leader. Once they’d shook hands, even the drugs couldn’t hold him anymore. He’d lunched himself over the desk at Mike, pinning him to the floor. By the time his handlers had blown the front door and taken the gang prisoner, Ricky had broken the man’s skull, nearly putting him in a coma.

The next day had been scary, even for Ricky, who was still numb and uncaring. It had taken a film school student stunt class to fake the accident that “killed” Ricky by putting him and his car into the Chicago River. One bribe to a coroner later, and Ricky was where he was now, being shipped back to a non-existent family enclave in Manitoba Waters, Wisconsin.

Ricky wondered when he could get out of this thing. He was not claustrophobic, but you spend four hours in a coffin and see what it does to your head.

Finally, the coffin opened. It was a gray sky that peeked out above Croucier’s head, as he pulled Ricky out of the box. Croucier was all smiles as he pulled Ricky up.

“Welcome to the land of the living! Well Wisconsin, anyway.” Croucier’s reasoning was that even if the Westies got suspicious, none of them would think to look this close. By then, all the surgery would be done.

It was another four month of hell as Ricky got a new face, a new identity, and spent hours testifying before grand juries. He told everything on everyone. The dead may hold secrets, but not the living dead, Croucier said.

So now they were here, in a small town outside Madison. Close enough to get some civilization, but not enough people to get too nosy. His new identity,Thomas Kane, had some money, but Ricky was going to open a store, just like his father. He owed him that much at least.

Ricky was stocking shelves, readying for opening. He couldn’t count on much traffic, not at the end of the tourist season. But Ricky hadn’t been dumb with his money, and had enough for a few years anyway. Couple that with a foreclosed house, a disability check every month, and SNAP, and he’d get by.

Croucier was walking around the store, face still ice cold. Ricky figured this was the last time he’d see the guy, so he had to ask.

“How do you do it, Croucier, how do you get everyone to turn?”

Croucier’s expression turned into what one could calla smile, but it looked horrible on him.

“Well, you’ve been sworn to secrecy, and you’re dead, so I suppose there’s no harm.”

He went out to his car and came back. He handed Ricky an envelope, and told him he couldn’t read it until he was all alone. He shook Ricky’s hand and then drove off.

That night, Ricky sat on his couch, exhausted from the day’s work. He cracked open a Miller and slit open Croucier’s envelope.
He went numb. He tried speaking, but no words came out. His mind raced, wondering, hoping, that this was not true. He looked inside again, stood up and walked out his front door. Later, the police report said the semi had been doing 80 when it turned him into a pile of flesh.

The police explored, but could find no explanation. No note, no clues, nothing was found. What made the mystery even worse were the two extra fingers the corpse had seemed to have,both sheared off during the crash.

Story a Day in May #3

No commentary tonight except that the people who gave Prisoners an 85% approval rating on Rotten tomatoes are on something. Here’s story number 3:

Blood flew from Bob’s nose as Ray’s knee connected with it. Bob staggered back, annoyed. Ray was taking a victory lap, which was true to his character,Baron Rodrick, the English Duke. What wasn’t part of the match was Bob’s now broken nose.
Bob turned to the ring post, sneezing the blood out of his nose. If this cost him TV time tomorrow, he was going to kick Ray’s head in. Might anyway, for making a screw up like that. Sure, mistakes happened in matches, but damn it, this was the third time this year. Maybe it was time to teach Ray a lesson.

Then Bob looked over to his corner, where Marie was standing. To everyone outside the business,they were Battling Bob and Mistress Mayhem. To him, she was everything. He was so distracted by her he almost forgot to duck when Ray flew into him. Ray slammed into the turnbuckle,and as he staggered out, Bob flung him across the ring, slamming him into the opposite corner. Bob smiled as he heard Ray hit the other side with a crack. Maybe that would teach him.

But here came Ray again, charging like a madman. This was a house show, not TV. Why was Ray going so hard. Sunday shows were supposed to build for Monday TV. Was Ray Juicing. He wrestled Ray so infrequently,it was hard to tell. Ray was younger, way down on the food chain. He’d done something to tick off the boss, and was jobbing to everyone in sight, which was causing his merch to gather dust at these shows. Baron Rodrick was boring, the dirt sheets were saying. Maybe Ray was trying to insert himself into Battling Bob’s storyline.

Not on Bob’s watch. Like most wrestlers, he knew the finish before he got in the ring. Tonight’s deal was for him to go over clean,without any problems. He and Marie would then drive over to Columbus for tomorrow’s live TV. Where he’d start a feud with Manta, aka Mark Du shay, also known as Marie’s ex-husband. Keeping it in the family while boosting their star was good for everyone all around.

Bob was thrown out of his figuring by Ray’s fist upside his head. Bob couldn’t understand it. Why was Ray doing this? It had to be drugs. Bob looked over at Burt, the referee,his eyes asking questions. Burt just shook his head, and looked away/ What was that about?Bob knew right there , he had to put a stop to this. He hated to do this in this YouTube age, with cameras everywhere, but Ray was flying way off the rails. As Ray kept swinging at him, he ducked down and punched him square in the balls.

That should have stopped any male on the planet,but not Ray. He roared,and headbutted Bob hard. Bob staggered back, his head ringing and everything going hazy for a second. He needed an out. He was already going heel tomorrow night, so the crowd wouldn’t be too surprised at what he did next. Marie and him had signals for every possible plan of attack. He took one index finger and circled his ear and then pointed down. Marie nodded, and reached under the ring. As Bob pushed off Ray,Marie came back up with a steel folding chair.

The reaction from the crowd was instant. Catcalls and boos echoed through the building, as Bob took the chair from Marie. Stuff like this was not supposed to go down in the post-concussion sports world, but Ray was not stopping, and Burt didn’t seem to care. Either drugs or a rat were involved here, and Bob had a good idea which drug dealing rat it was: Manta

One of the surprises Bob had coming up through the ranks was how upside down the backstage area of pro wrestling was to reality. What appeared random out there was planned, what everyone though was planned was free form, and most good guys were flaming assholes in real life.

Manta was no exception. Sure he’d had a great run ten years ago, but he was using a cocktail of supplements, hormones and painkillers these days. Apparently Ray was one of Stinger’s new “buddies”,using chemicals to get an edge.

Bob hated those things. He’d worked hard to get where he was at, and all those chemicals seemed like more trouble than they were worth. And they shrunk stuff, things Marie was fond of when they’d get a moment alone and awake. Bob was going to have a talk with Manta, AKA Eugene Dershowitz of Albany, tomorrow in Columbus.

But first,he had Ray to take care of. Bob gripped the chair like a bat,and swung for the fence. He was going to waste no more time screwing around with this putz. He hit Ray clear in the face, teeth spraying like rice. Ray collapsed like Enron stock, falling flat on the floor. Bob dropped the chair and glared at Burt, daring the referee to do something. Burt just shrugged then began counting Ray out. Bob began climbing out of the ring when everything went black.

He came to slowly, his ears ringing. He rolled on the mat, trying to get his bearings. Through the ringing, he could hear screams and yells. As he rolled , he felt something wet on his back, Looking over, he saw the referee laying in a pool of blood. Ray was turning Burt’s head into a cherry slushie, and the crowd was locked in horror. Where was Security. He staggered to his feet, appalled. Was this somehow planned? He looked over to the timekeepers table, and stared,eyes going wide with shock.

There sat Manta, holding a gun on the security squad. His eyes were glazed over, and one arm was flopping in the wind. The other Ray’s jaw was hanging from his mouth, blood pouring out. Bob’s brain connected the dots quick:PCP

He’d heard about it on the road. Animal trank, made you feel invincible. Most didn’t mess with it though, due to the psychosis in induced. Apparently the two Ray’s drug buddies had gotten them some, and Burt had paid the price.

Ray finished pulping Burt’s head and turned to Bob. Bob was hoping he’d stay focused on him but Ray then turned to where Marie was standing in the corner of the ring. Why hadn’t she run? Bob could hear people fleeing and screaming. She should have joined them. But she’d stayed true, and it might cost her her life tonight.
Bob had loved her from their first night on the road together. Eight hour drives had gone by in a haze with her. They were saving pennies, like every wrestler should. One bad match and this gig went away. Bob had a sinking feeling this was his and her’s end both.

Ray advanced on her, pulling down the straps on his tights. Good God, he thought. Ray was going to try that in the ring? Bob hated drugs more than he ever had anything in the world right then.

He pushed to his feet, dizzy as all hell,a plan coming together in his ringing skull. If he did it right, this could still end OK. One wrong step and bad was going to rain in here hard.

Bob grabbed Ray, not even trying to punch him. He threw him against the ropes, then ran behind him as he rocketed off the steel cables towards Manta. He had one chance to nail this.

Ray flew over the ropes, Bob close behind him. He hoped Manta was too out to notice the 500 pounds about to land on him. He hit hard onto the timekeepers table, his aim off a hair.

The shot exploded in Bob’s ear, and the pain in his chest staggered him. It broke the spell of the security crew, who pounced on Manta, beating him into oblivion. Bob laid there, the lights in the arena getting dimmer by the second.

Then she was there, raven curls around her face. Bob smiled, his last thought of her face sending him into oblivion happy.


Story a Day in May#2

Yes, i know it’s technically day 3 now, but I’ll go by West Coast time if I have to. Anyway, here goes nothing:

The Devil sat upon Mt. Ararat, watching the battle. Seraphim were flailing demons, while cherubim were being spit upon an arch-devil’s pitchfork. Damn, but he was tired. He looked at his watch,wondering. When was the guest of honor going to show?

A loud click in his ear held the answer. He stood, dusting off his suit,and flicked his cigarette away. He took out the mirror he knew he’d need for this day. He couldn’t look at the guy directly. So he held it up, and grinned at what he saw.

The war had not been kind to Yeshua ben Joseph. Most folks called him Jesus, but Lucifer knew the deal. One advantage to being what he was, he never really forgot. He wondered what Yeshua’s followers would say if they could see him now.

He was appearing as had on Earth, not as Leonardo and the rest of the Renaissance bigots had painted him. Long curly hair, black as sin(which caused Lucifer to giggle), a permanent shade of tan on skin, yes. But he’d switched his robes for white fatigues, and a cross big enough to make a Texan feel embarrassed. The battle had left scorch marks in places, and Lucifer was pretty sure that was Asmodeus’s right fang in Yeshua’s shoulder. Yeshua was holding a gold plated .50 caliber Desert Eagle to Lucifer’s head.

“I have you now, Lucifer!” Yeshua roared, so loud the mountain shook. His face, beard and all was a mask of rage. If only Falwell and them could see his Highness now, they’d die again from joy. And all the Quakers would throw themselves off a cliff,if they hadn’t all been wiped out in the first hour on Judgment Day.

“Pipe down, sonny boy, no need to shout. Everyone is buys killing each other off down there. Even if you blew me up with an atomic bomb, there’s two millennium or so of pissed off getting let loose in that melee.”

“I suppose you’re right,Satan. Or is it Lucifer? Or Old Scratch?” Yeshua pressed the gun into Lucifer’s temple again, causing a slight burn as the blessed weapon bit into his flesh.

“It’s Satan, honestly. I didn’t have any other names until that opium head Milton came up with the rest.” Satan reached into his suit pocket, took out another Sobraine. He was going to miss those things. Suddenly tired, he sat down on the rock. Why did the end of the world have to be so damn uncomfortable?

“Get up, you piece of scum!”Yeshua looked pissed. That’s what happens when you let Americans get hold of a deity, he thought. A hundred year case of testosterone poisoning.

“I’m not getting up, if you’re going to shoot me, shoot me, otherwise, I’m going to sit here and watch this thing go down.”

Yeshua backed up. This is not what he had planned. He’d marched victorious armies out of the Heavens, armed with the latest versions of man’s weapons. He’d killed demon after demon, and taken out the Anti-Christ with a drone. And yet,here he was with Satan himself, and there was…




Yeshua sat down next to Satan, watching the spectacle. A demon driven Abrams fell over down in the valley, crushed under the weight of several Nephilim. Yeshua wondered when they’d gotten to this thing.

“Hard to believe it all comes down to this,isn’t it?” The Devil handed Yeshua a rolled up joint. Yeshua took it,figuring if Father didn’t say it was bad, it must be all right.

“Damn, that’s making me hungry.” said Yeshua as he inhaled. He hadn’t eaten since he’d come down. “I could use a feast or two now”

“Well,forget about it, Yeshua. After this,you don’t get a feast. All the humans are gone, remember? And they ain’t coming back.” Lucifer stood up, this time looking angry. He grabbed Yeshua’s gun and pointed it at his temple. Before Yeshua could react, he’d pulled the trigger.

And nothing happened. Lucifer tried four or five times before handing it back to Yeshua. Then he hauled off and clocked Yeshua, knocking him to the ground. Yeshua came up with the Desert Eagle in his hand and pointed it at Lucifer’s head again. He clicked off the safety, and was preparing to fire when he stopped cold.

Lucifer was crying. Blood red tears were flowing down each cheek. That wasn’t what was freaking Yeshua out. It was the expression on Lucifer’s face. He’d seen it every day since he’d ascended. On mothers begging for children’s lives, on husbands begging for wives to come back,all of them asking, begging, and pleading.

Yeshua fell to his knees, tired again. It was easier to bear,there in Heaven,when you were part of the command team. But down here, it was , no pun intended, too big a cross to bear.

“Why? Why won’t you do it?” Lucifer was pleading now. “I did my part, now you do yours.”

“Finish me.”

“No.” Yeshua stood, and brushed off his clothes, turning them into robes once more. “I am a merciful God, Lucifer, and so I grant you release. Even you can get forgiveness, here in the end.”

“Except you can’t, Yeshua.” The devil was striding toward him, then blocking his path.Yeshua tried walking around him but Lucifer blocked him at every turn. He felt the anger rising inside himself again.

“Do not make me regret my decision, Lucifer!” Yeshua slapped Lucifer, the noise ringing across the valley. Anger rising, he found the gun again in his hand. Yeshua looked down, confused, wondering what game Lucifer was pulling in the end.

“What trickery is this,Devil?” His fatigues appeared again, and he was confused. He looked skyward for guidance.

“No trickery, Yeshua.” Lucifer sighed, his shoulders slumped. He pointed behind Yeshua “Maybe He can explain it better.”

Yeshua turned around surprised to see the Meta-tron, Father’s official voice on Earth here. It was, as always, a hot mess of eyes and wings. Yeshua turned and faced it.

“Yes, Father. I’d like some clarity here. What’s going on”




Yeshua looked at the Meta-tron Another one of Father’s riddles?Now,at the end, in this place?

Lucifer came and stood beside him, his flesh burning from the holy radiance.

“You don’t get it yet, do you?The Word, it was always about the words.”

It came clear to Yeshua now. All the words were written down then they were changed, and so he changed with them. As did Father, and the angels, and all of it. Near the end,the words of unbelief had almost undone them. But here they were now.

And Yeshua understood. His part was written. And now there was no one to change the end, no more writers to write him a way out. He knew what he had to do. He turned to Lucifer, understanding all of it at once. He clicked off the safety again and aimed right between Lucifer’s eyes.

“Thank you.” said Lucifer.


Story a Day in May #1

So there’s this crazy thing going around about doing a story a day in May. Going to give it a shot. Here’s the first:

Jesse woke up groggy and cold. Greyhound was not known for comfort, but half a bottle of Robo cured all,especially on the night trips. Night trips were all he’d take now,anyway. Day meant sun, and people, and hope. Jesse wanted none of these.

He hopped off the bus, bag on his shoulder. Same McDonald’s at 3AM, same staff firebombed by life. Minimum wage and minimum lives, slowly being crushed by reality. He used to care and think they were sad. But that was a lifetime ago,it seemed. He splashed water on his face, hoping to stay awake long enough to feed, then take the other half of the bottle of Robo.

Looking in the mirror was always a mistake. He never wanted to anymore. Some guy was staring at him in the mirror, then blinked. Not his eyes, just himself. Jesse turned, but then guy just walked off. Robo did some strange stuff, especially in large amounts. Jesse shivered, then headed to line up with the rest of the travelers.

Two cheeseburgers and a Coke later, and Jesse was getting close to awake. Another trip to the john and one long chug would take care of that. He could sleep without the Robo, but the Robo held the dream in check. Last thing Jesse wanted to do was dream. He was rising to go hit the head when the guy sat down across from him.

The first thing Jesse noticed about him was that he didn’t notice him. Your eyes kept sliding off of him. Jesse was unsure of what the guy wanted from him. Some wanted drugs, others a quick trip to the stalls before boarding back up. Jesse didn’t swing that way,but it didn’t bother him when they asked. Only when they wouldn’t take no for an answer. The last one had taken Jesse’s Robo stupor as a reason to discount his 300 pounds and 6 feet of height. That guy was still in a cell in Knoxville, he hoped.

Jesse sat down. Years later, he wouldn’t be able to say why. He couldn’t figure out why he kept not looking at the guy. You’d think he could the way the guy looked. Not too many dread heads on a bus to Green Bay,especially old ones. And the pink parka should have made him stand out as well, But Jesse kept not looking at him.

“Give me the gun”. The voice was a low rumble,snapping Jesse’s head up in an instant. He didn’t know how the guy knew. The guy just stared at him now, his eyes locked on Jesse’s.

“Give me the gun. Just slide it under the table.” Jesse started to sweat,wondering if this was some cop thing. He’d spent one night in jail around here, and didn’t care to repeat the experience.

“I’m not a cop, and you don’t need it.” Jesse just stared at Mr. Old Rasta, his Robo buzz gone in a flash of adrenaline. The weight of his journey was suddenly clear, and tears welled in his eyes.

“I’m afraid I can’t do that,man.” The backpack was resting on the seat next to him. He tried to look over at it, but his eyes wouldn’t leave the piercing stare. He never could remember later what color the man’s eyes were.

“Don’t do it, Jesse. You think this is what they’d want? What you’ve become? To have it end like that?” The bag seemed to be made of lead now. Jesse was wondering what show he was on. He glanced around, seeing a state trooper at the registers. Maybe it was time to go for it.

Then a little girl wandered in front of the trooper, and Jesse froze. She was the same age as his Alice. Clarity hit him, shattering his nerve.

Jesse unzipped the backpack, and slid out the .22, hidden in a folded up shirt. He slid it under the table, not sure why. The man just smiled,stood, tipped a non-existent hat, and was gone.

“All passengers for Greyhound 45, time to go!” The world snapped like a rubber band around him. He stood, groggy, wondering about the dream. He slid his hand into the backpack, finding the pistol gone. One of his fellow passengers was standing as well. Jesse asked him about the old Rasta he’d been talking to. Guy hadn’t seen him,and asked what Jesse was smoking,since he’d been alone this entire time.

Jesse boarded the bus, sitting down in his seat. As the bus went down I-94, dawn crept over the horizon. It was still dark, Jesse thought, but a little light was coming back. He hugged the bag,holding what little he had left of Alice. He was taking it to where she’d been born, and maybe he could start living there as well.

one, no title.