Thursday, October 28, 2010

In the mood for a little something...

Cool night--crisp--I suppose some people call it. A crisp night. I have never really thought about it that way. When I think of crisp, I think about biting into a potato chip. I don't think about the temperature. I don't think about bundling up into a jacket.

So I was shivering about in the cool night when his neck snapped.

Crisp. Yah. I can imagine that was the noise his vertebrae made when they broke apart with a sharp twist. Brain functions must have ended in an instant. I wonder if he saw my face. Stupid question. Not like his tongue works to tell anyone about it.

He lay there, body on the sidewalk, dreadlocks lying along the gutter grates. I know it's the wind when I see movement. Has to be the wind, despite the scratching noises inside the gutter. Yes, I'm sure the rats feed at night, but I can't imagine them hanging around when he had screamed and charged forward. Knife raised. Blade glinting in the moonlight. Hands reaching out toward my purse. Cursing at my reluctance. My refusal.

His appearance was ragged. His expression had lips curled in a grimace trying to be intimidating. His body rigid in rage like a man used to always getting his way with whatever he wanted. Yet his eyes... they held uncertainty. I saw that. On his outside appearance, nothing but a typical gangsta. On the inside of him, a passive aggressive demeanor. If the intended victim holds their ground, a man like that meekly turns away.

Full of chicken-shit in the heart and in the head.

I stood my ground. Didn't know he's been having a rough night. Too many people on the street seeing through his game. Too many people brushing his meaningless threats aside. When he saw me, he planned to get his way. I looked shy. I looked meek. I looked like a pushover. A helpless woman. So he rushed forward. "Give me your money!" But I refused. His feet pounded on the pavement. Three steps. One. Two. Three. A fourth step and he'd be close enough to do damage with that blade of his.

Shoelaces untied. He tripped himself up and fell forward. My own arms raised in protection. His body twisted one way. His head twisted another when smacking into my hands.

Not a crack sound. Not a snap sound. Like... a low type of crunch when teeth bite down on a potato chip and just begins to grind the bits between molars. Crisp.

He was dead in the gutter. I walked into my apartment and grabbed a dirty sheet from the hamper. Cut two eyeholes in the fabric. Hung it on the coat rack, shook a can of beer, and squirted the rising geyser onto the sheet. Then I strolled back outside, laid the sheet beside him, rolled him over, folded the sheet, and rolled him back on his unmoving chest. I tossed the can beside him and pulled out a few thin mints I should have given him to tame the raging bad breath he had. Scattered it around his body. Nothing but a drunk punk out to get his kicks by stealing candy from kids. Ended up breaking his neck on his po' boy laces.


I went back inside my apartment. The police will be out and about on a night like this, on patrol to make sure the trick-'r-treaters are safe. They'll find him then. Believe it was sweet justice...

I hesitate. They'll probably run the standard coroner's exam. Find out there's no alcohol in his system. I shrug off the worry. The dead wanna-be mugger probably had a rap sheet longer than the toilet paper hanging from tree branches outside. Police will do the courtesy investigation, but inside minds they'll be glad it's one less mugger out stalking people for an ego trip.

I relax and pick up the book I was reading before going out earlier that evening. Didn't have any candy-run agenda. Walked along the streets, through the normal gang-infested areas. Heard about someone out of his territory. Had entered mine, doing damage. I don't play games like that. People should be safe to walk about the streets. Sure, I no longer had a beat job. Retirement felt good. I had survived from those streets, unlike others who have fallen, given the sendoff no police officer wants to see when it happens to a cop in your department. Gunned down. Never saw death coming.

Crisp in his prime-- like the young punk's neck breaking when I twisted it in my firm grip. Will be good to see the old gang on the force. They'll ask me the basic questions. I might hand them a few drinks, non-alcoholic of course, as we throw each other winks above the glass rims holding Long Island ice teas.

"Hey! Good to see you! What? Someone died tonight? Outside my apartment? Smelled like booze but the toxicology report came out as negative alcohol in his bloodstream. No. I didn't hear anything. Gave a few young ones some candy from my pocket. Mints. Forgot to buy candy this year. Settled down with my book. Felt sorry for a bit, since I was the first house the trick-'r-treaters came to. Mints? Near the dead body? Damn punk must've swiped those kids' candy. Shoelaces untied? Yeah... I guess he's not only a punk, but a stupid one for not tying his po' boy laces. Must've killed himself when tripping over his own feet outside."

I'd shrug, share in a few jokes passed around about how our fantasy leagues are doing, then shut the door.

Yes, that sounded right. Died on his own shoelaces. Before I go to bed tonight, I'll stuff the woman's wig into a garbage bag along with the dress. I know how things go. Get rid of the evidence. Let my hair grow out on my face. Maybe a goatee. Had planned on putting on my red horns for some Halloween fun.

I've had plenty of fun tonight...

Happy Halloween! Enjoy the candy and keep the kids safe for the holiday. Hope you enjoyed my fiction piece.

photo courtesy of


  1. Wow, now that's the Surly Writer we all know. Writing that chills you to the bone. Awesome, Michelle.

  2. Yikes! Now that's some fun Halloween writing! I'm with Eric - Awesome!

  3. Eric said it-Chilly, and just a little disturbing-that's what I like about you.

    Can't say I liked the MC much but it is refreshing to read a story from the other point of view. I like the reality of it and was, nonetheless, intrigued by the character. I kept thinking, "this could be bad" and then was still shocked at the character's actions.

  4. Great work, Michelle. The bastard had it coming to him.

    And now I want some Junior Mints.

  5. Amazing story, Michelle! I love it! Crisp and darkly woven!

    (But why do I have a sudden craving for potato chips?)

  6. chilling and crisply written!

  7. VERY Poe-ish!!! I LOVE IT!!! You are such a terrific writer, Michelle!! Just stopping by to say "hi" and I find this piece of brilliance!!! So glad I didn't miss it!!! Love you! Janine XO

  8. I read this way back, but for some reason didn't leave a comment - perhaps Blogger (or me) was having a bad day! However, having found it again, the second reading was just as great. Who's a clever girlie, then?!


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