Popcorn & a Movie
Marvin shook his freshly-popped popcorn into the big, orange bowl. The one with the crack in it. He put a movie in the player and settled into the big, easy chair. “Ahhh.” And that was the last thing he remembered.
When he awoke, he saw his popcorn scattered on the living room floor, the bowl upended at his feet. The television was off and the house was silent. Except for one sound – a kind of scratching-tapping. “What is that?” He struggled out of the chair and shuffled down the hallway. The sound grew louder as he neared his bedroom. He stopped at the closed door – funny, he didn’t remember closing it, in fact, he never closed it. His heart jumped in his chest with each scratch-tap, his vision blurred with anticipation. “Stop being an ass, Marvin,” he scolded himself and threw open the bedroom door…
There he was. How he got into the house was unknown, his reasons for being there, not so mysterious. Marvin hadn’t seen him in four months, yet he was there, larger than life. Marking the wall, rhythmically with his penknife. Staring.
“Why are you here?” asked Marvin.
“I’m here for you. Because of you, what you did. See these marks? These are the days I was without light, because of you” replied the familiar stranger.
“It wasn’t my fault. I wasn’t even there- how can you blame me?” plead Marvin, growing increasingly alarmed, sweat beading on his brow and running in rivulets down his spine.
Marvin looked down at the man, from his face to his hand, bony and scabbed, grasping his carving tool, then to his face again. Traces of the young boy with plump, freckled cheeks were nowhere to be found in that face, not even in the eyes. Marvin didn’t know who this person was, but he sounded like his son Mitch, if Mitch had swallowed a handful of pebbles.
Mitch looked up at Marvin. His eyes, dark and vacant, smirked at Marvin. His father looked scared. Good, thought Marvin. Now he knows how I felt.
A pale, scarred hand clasped his cheekbones with the dexterity only a blind man could possess. Bony fingers swept with tremulousness yet prescision over Marvin’s jaw. They flowed delicately up to his ears, then made a curve so they could feel out the tough ridge that was his brow. Mitch’s hand digressed from his father’s face, and stood at ease at his side.
He knew his son was blind, but it felt like he was always looking at him. It was almost as if he could still see with his mind’s eye.
Feeling his ritual scars tingling under his shirt, Marvin quickly realized what had to be done. It took a moment to type a special number into his cell phone, a number too secret to be stored in the device’s memory, but the call was answered almost instantly.
“This is Z984K. I need immediate support at my apartment.”
That being enough, he hung up. To his son he said, “It’s good that your gift survived the torture. Don’t worry, you will have revenge.”
Mitch smiled at his father, the way blind men do and let go of a little moan.
Marvin didn’t know if he was onto him or not but he knew he only had to stall for a few minutes longer and then he would be safe.
“Where the hell are they,” he said aloud without meaning to.
“Who?” Mitch was suddenly alert.
The door bell rang…
Marvin remembered it- that day was branded into the wormy lobes of his brain forever.
It happened four months prior to the day. Marvin was a drug dealer in Washington, D.C.- he took it upon himself to distribute his product to the masses, to “free their minds” from reality.
Things had been going well for the past few years. There was just one problem for him. The problem dressed himself flamboyantly in a white pantsuit, and surrounded himself with a smoky aura and an even smokier entourage. He was the crime lord of D.C., a fat weasel of a man who had a face to match the color of his soul – scarred and vehement.
Mr. Smith hung up the phone, then typed the ID code into his terminal with one hand, while pressing the button that summoned his assistant with the other. He scanned the information on the screen while he waited for her to knock once and enter.
“We need an investigation team at,” he pressed the print key and nodded at the printer, “that address, at once. Send a cleaner team too, just in case. Give them the ID of the Supervisor on duty with the most experience, then send that person here for instructions.”
Smith leaned back in his leather chair and studied the information on the screen, while his assistant made her exit. This matter was listed as “settled.” It’s sudden emergence as an active case was going to cause problems. Lots of problems. Not to mention a long night for the man at the worry desk. He briefly thought about allowing himself the luxury of loosening his tie, but decided against it.
As she shut the door behind her, Allison’s lips went crooked with satisfaction. She needed to reach her contact. Now that she had Marvin’s address, things would be simpler. It was almost over now.
Allison grabbed her purse and walked quickly to the restroom, taking care to look casual. She couldn’t afford to draw any attention to herself – they were too close. A quick call to Hammer and then comply with Smith’s orders. She still must get that crew over there. She had to play the part until it was truly finished.
“We’ll show these bastards,” she thought as she dialed her contact, a thin wisp of smoke known to her only as “The Hammer.” She wasn’t sure how he’d gotten such a name. She chuckled inside when she was first presented to him. So tiny, he was. Then she stopped once she looked him in the eyes – like venomous snakes.
Allison still didn’t know exactly why he was called the Hammer, but she had her ideas. She sent him a message. It took five seconds and she returned to her desk.
To her cover.
Marvin grew increasingly restless – they should have been there by now. He had a time getting rid of the girl scout and her mother, trying to sell him cookies. “I’m a diabetic, I tell you,” he said and slammed the door in their surprised faces.
“Father?” Mitch stood just a few feet from him in the hallway. Like an evil spectre back to haunt his life. He still held the knife at his side, silent and menacing.
“I was just going to make us some coffee. Have a seat, I’ll bring it to you when it’s done,” Marvin stalled.
Mitch stepped closer to Marvin, grinning like a hungry cat. “I’ll go with you. I love the smell of fresh coffee brewing.”
Despite his hurried gait to the kitchen, Mitch was on his heels and never wavered. Marvin went straight away to make the coffee, while Mitch found a chair at the kitchen table.
“So, it’s been a hard road, eh son?” Marvin asked, his back to Mitch. No reply. “I said…” he turned toward Mitch – who stared blankly at the ceiling his throat sliced open and gaping at him. “What the…”
“You’ll get the same, if you make a sound,” the Hammer whispered in his ear.
Marvin’s eyes darted from Mitch to the the blood stained knife the intruder pointed in his direction. He suddenly realized that his life was also about to come to an end.
The intruder stared at him with eyes that were like ice on fire. Suddenly with the movement of a cat, the dark figure leapt toward the open window and was gone as fast as he had appeared.
Marvin continued to stare at the window and wondered why he was still alive and why Mitch had two smiles.
“It’s done,” the Hammer hissed into the phone and the connection was broken.
Allison smiled and buzzed Smith on the intercomm. “Taken care of, sir.”
Smith grunted an acknowledgment and the intercomm went silent.
Allison made another call, to D.C. and told the man with the penchant for white pant suits where he could find his nemisis. She hung up the phone and hummed to herself absent-mindedly. All was right with her world. No loose ends and that’s how she liked it.
Marvin was still struggling with Mitch’s body and the blood and mess in the kitchen, when Fat Weasel burst through the door with his goons.
“Take care of it,” he told his men.
Marvin’s shoulders slumped, admitting defeat. He raised his hands over his head. “Get it over with, then.”
Weasel’s men made quick work of disposing of Mitch’s body and cleaning the kitchen and were gone in a wink. He gave Marvin a smirk. “Go eat your popcorn, old man. And stay the fuck outta my business.”
Marvin let his arms go limp to his sides. His eyes locked with Weasel for a long moment. “Care to stay and watch? I’ve got Pirates of the Carribean.”
Well, there you have it, folks – a completed gang story. Again, I want to thank christine, desktop, sarah, brit, jess & lord crimson – for their contributions (and please visit their sites, great stuff there). I had a blast. Hope you did too.