Sunday, April 19, 2020

Fiction: "Love Kills" by Jeremy Void

Fiction by Jeremy Void

Chapter 1: Riot Girls

Tick tick, tock—the clock stops. The lights flicker. I hit the Jack Daniels. The train lurches and jostles. Motion. Forward fucking motion. The Jack Daniels feels smooth going down. I’m alive. Passengers mob the doors. If only they knew what I know. Life 101. The Jack Daniels in my hand. Life swirls around me. People lost in oblivion. They herd like cattle inside the subway train. Lights flashing. The world going black black black. Wake up. You’re almost there. My eyes surge open. I tuck the bottle inside my bag and lift it up and stuff my arms through the straps. The train tilts and swaggers. I smack the tape, blink—the pink light flares up. Next stop is mine. I stare out the window as happy people in their happy lives go about their happy night. I hate each and every one of them. The streetlights stream past me like confetti. I grip the rail, dreaming. Dreaming about the knife slicing her throat. The sight of the blood oozing and gushing from the open wound. I lick my wet lips. I pat my pocket to find that my switchblade is still there. Nice and steady. Nice and easy. It won’t hurt a bit. Almost there. The train stumbles and jerks. The doors slide open with a ghastly whisper. I release the rail and start for the opening. Life happens around me. Swirling like water caught out in a storm. I’m floating. Skip and gallop down the steps. I trip but catch myself as I make my way down Huntington Ave. The heat feels nice on my face. The air smells like hate. I dream about using my knife on each and every one of them. Bastards, all of them. I breeze through with a gusto. People move to let me pass. They can sense the sheer weight of my anger festering out in the open like that. Up ahead, lights. People. Punks: hair, bright colors, and shiny leather. I see them festering there outside the doors of the venue. I pat my pocket; it’s still there. I break into a swaggering charge, winding past the bystanders, pushing and shoving—I’m almost there. The Punks crowding the entryway look at me as I barrel toward the venue; I pull out my switchblade, press the button, and the blade slashes outward, and I hit the short stairway in a charge, crest it with absolute ease until my feet tangle up and I rock back and go straight down rolling, my body mashing each step, and my chin clanks the concrete at the bottom. Jeremy, what are you doing here? she says. The sound of her voice causes the anger to fade out of me like a deflating balloon; I just lie there and see a blurry face faze into sight above me, the edges sharpening as it gets closer to me, and closer until I can make out her worrisome complexion. Jeremy, are you okay? Then the anger comes back to me but the confidence I felt earlier, that bold desire to cut this chick’s throat when I caught up to her at the show, stays in the dark, and now I’m angry again—I mean, since when does she care if I’m okay—and I start screaming: WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU CARE? YOU’RE THE ONE WHO DITCHED ME. WE WERE TO MEET UP IN HARVARD SQUARE AND BELL TOLD ME YOU HAD RUN INTO THAT CUNT AND DECIDED TO TAKE OFF WITH HER TO THIS FEMINIST CUNT SHOW. I look around me and see there are mostly butch women here wearing big steel-capped boots and army jackets and all their heads whirl to face me and they’re glaring hard, but I don’t care, I’m fucking pissed, and rightfully so. I try to stand up. But the seesawing ground makes it rather difficult to do so. I push against the ground. I sway. I stumble and rock and tilt but eventually catch myself as I stand there as still as possible, but still swaying, and I feel unstoppable, my index finger slashing at the air as I shout and bark, and the angry riot girls standing around, their grins are getting fiercer and crazier at the sound of my voice, but I don’t care, I’m on fire tonight. She whips her head behind her and says, Jeremy, we’ve gotta go. WHERE? I shout. SOMEWHERE OTHER THAN HERE, she says. She grabs me and yanks me away. I go without a fight but still keep shouting cold threats, boldly defying the language barriers, as she pulls me to someone’s car. Then I notice I’m flanked by two other girls I know and a big guy I also know. I’m still screaming, though, flaring at the mouth, swinging my index finger around like it’s a sword. A car door opens and I’m thrown inside. My screaming doesn’t stop. She sits in the passenger seat, the two other girls sit beside me—I’m pressed up against the left window—and the big dude sits behind the wheel. My screaming persists. The car starts and rolls forward. I’m still screaming. Grab the Jack Daniels from my bag and take a hit. The girl to my right says, Don’t you think you've had enough. I take another hit and spit it in her eyes. What the fuck! she says. I continue to scream. The girl to my right grabs my bowler hat off my head and says, You’ll get this back when you shut the fuck up. I reach for it, she moves it farther away, I reach for it, and she says, You’re not getting it back. I punch her in the face then, hard; she gives me back my hat and I put it back on, and I feel satisfied then and I’m mostly silent for the rest of the ride.

Chapter 2: Boylston Street Punks

The car stops. My head rests on the window. Outside the world is lit up with red and green lights, crisp buildings stabbing the night sky, people flocking the streets, flowing and ebbing as doors open and shut. Cars glide past us, headlights beaming like lasers. It might be nighttime but it looks almost like daylight, with an ominous tint to conceal the freaks and the creeps and the cretins who lurk in shadows wielding clubs and knives, tucked away in hidden places of the mind——and then the doors open, my head remains pressed on the glass. My own door opens then and she stands out there and I fall straight through, hit the curb and roll over onto my back and start laughing. Get up! she demands. I reach out my hand for help but she just looks at it, rolls her eyes, and says, Go fuck yourself! I sit up and stagger to my feet. I follow her and the two other girls and the big guy across the street. Horns honk. For a moment we’re in the spotlight as stalled cars blast their headlights at us. A car soars past, cuts left, and through the open window someone shouts: FREAKS. I whirl. I hold up my middle finger and start shouting: WHY DON’T YOU SAY THAT TO MY FUCKING FACE, YOU ASSHOLES! She says, Shut the fuck up! Fuck you! I reply. There’s extreme hostility in the air. Besides for our crude bickering, the whole group stays silent. Across the street is the band practice space that BSP (Boylston Street Punks) uses for their hangout spot—they’d broken in and made it their home a while back; I’ve been here a few times already. Every now and then there’s a new lock on the door but one of their members who might as well be a monster he’s so big, would just reach out and grip it in his baseball mitt-sized hand and rip it right off the door; with a heavy, metallic clunk the lock would snap in half from the sheer force of this monster yanking on it. When we get there, we notice the door is left askew, and the five of us slip on through. She and I go up to the second level where BSP are sitting on the stairway drinking whiskey and beer and smoking pot like they always do. The big dude who drove us is right behind us. From down the stairs I can hear a gentle sobbing, and some mild chattering. I look around for the other two girls but I can’t find them. I peer around the banister and catch them sitting there on the basement floor; the girl I had punched is sobbing and the other girl has her arm wrapped around her back in a comforting gesture. Jeremy is such an asshole, what the hell is his problem—more sobbing—he has no right to hit me like that, I did nothing to him. It’s okay, Jeremy’s just riled up right now, you’ll be okay. Suddenly my stomach flips over and I feel horrible for the way I had acted. Right now I’m fairly calm, or calmer than I was, and the thought of me causing someone to cry, sends me into über remorse; and then I hear a heavy thunk and my head spins and I see a knife lodged in the wall. One of the guys from BSP retrieves his massive hunting knife, plucking it from the wood, steps back to give himself some distance from the wall, grips the blade in his thumb and index finger and middle finger. He rocks the knife forward and back, forward and back, forward and back, and then sends it flying and spiraling into the wall; the blade connects and slides into the wood. You’re an asshole! I mutter under my breath. Retrieving the knife from the wall he turns and says, What d’you say? I called you an asshole! He guffaws and cocks the knife and lets it fly and it cuts into the wall so smoothly, lodging itself deep into the wood. You’re a fucking asshole. He says, You better shut the fuck up or—— Or what? I shoot at him. The guy with the knife chuckles and shakes his head and chucks the knife again, but this time the handle clonks the wood, hard, and the knife rebounds, bouncing in a haphazard, twirling design, spinning and wobbling and whirling and arching right past my face—I have to arc my back and turn my head so that the crisp blade wouldn’t take off with one of my ears on its spastic plunge. You’re such a fucking asshole. Whatever, he says. So we all get good and drunk, hours slur past us, time amounting to nothing because here in this world nothing exists except for sheer chaos and extreme intoxication; and when we are almost ready to leave, all five of us who aren’t members of BSP, conjuring on the ground floor now, I see the guy with the knife whispering something to the leader of BSP, an ex-convict who’d recently been released from the clutches of incarceration, and whose back is currently facing me. The guy with the knife looks at me, smiles, and walks back up the stairs. Then I take a straight shot to my eye; it had come out of nowhere. I stumble backwards and shake my head before realizing who my attacker is: the leader of BSP. He fakes left and slugs me with his right and my bowler hat goes spinning off my head. He hits me again and I drop down on the hard concrete. Then I start laughing; I can’t control it. This guy hits me, and I laugh and laugh and laugh as he hits me again and again and again, punches plummeting into my face one after another. I scramble to get my bowler hat off the floor, he kicks me in the back, I grab the bowler hat in my hand, turn over, and he punches me in the face. Punch after punch, laugh after laugh, and everybody watches it happen, watching me get beaten, watching me laugh as I get beaten. My nose bursts and I can taste the blood dripping into my mouth. I’ve got a gash on my forehead. My lip is split in five different places. I chipped at least one tooth in all this. And all I could think to do is laugh; I laugh and laugh and this only serves to make him madder and madder and the blows come down harder and harder and I laugh harder and harder, my vision blinded by the blood stinging my eyes. He slams his fist into me again and again and again. Then stops. I rub the blood out of my eyes and see him standing over me with a steel baton raised high above his head, posed for him to bring it down across my dome. But she is standing beside him, holding his arm and telling him to cut it out. I get up covered in blood and notice everyone is gone; it’s just me and her and my attacker. The rest of BSP has vanquished. I stumble to the door, feeling fairly sober now after the tension the attack has caused me. I reach the door and push it open and fall straight through onto the side of the street, hitting the pavement like a beached fish, and the girl I had punched says to me: Jeremy, you might want to go to the hospital tomorrow, you probably have a concussion.

Chapter 3: She & I on the Train

It’s just the two of us now. I cry and I can’t stop crying….

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