Fiction Extract: Head by Vincent Zandri

Crime Fiction, Fiction, Humour, Noir, Pulp, Punk Noir Magazine, Vincent Zandri

head vinceFucking Chuck. Charles. Chuckles.

He’s a pisser, let me tell you. Especially when he gets drinking the Jamie. Jameson that is. He’s a nut for it, and it brings out the devil in him. So, that night at Lanies Bar, he thought it would be funny to head outside in the cold and draw a big cock on Timmy’s car, because Timmy loves his black Beemer more than he loves himself. Timmy AKA Buddha. And let me tell you something, Buddha loves himself like a heated dog loves humping. So, you can imagine how much he loved that second-hand black Beemer. But still, Chuck thought it would be hilarious if he ran his fingers through the dust that coated the front door while Buddha was inside the bar downing his sorrows in vodka and Heineken.

As for me—your humble narrator and younger of the three amigos—I’m Jones or Jonesy, as they nicknamed me. I stood back and watched while drinking my beer, my leather coat keeping out the cold winter wind, my scruffy face needing a shave, and my black skull cap, work boots, and jeans covering a stocky body making me look like an off-duty Longshoreman, even if I was a writer by trade.

I also couldn’t stop laughing. Here’s the thing that took me by complete surprise. Fucking Chuckles is an artist. He might not be much in the brains department, and he might be a little soft in the middle and balding on top, but I’ll be damned if he didn’t draw the most anatomically correct cock you ever did see. It was a real thing of beauty to behold. Something only a visual artist would appreciate. And probably a lover of porn. It was a long cock, curved for dramatic effect, with a big floppy ball sack and a lightning strike vein running along the shaft. He even took the care and time to add a patch of pubic hair to the masterpiece.

Fucking Chuckles . . .

Sure, as he created it, I smoked the shit out of a cigarette and stole sips from my long-necked Budweiser, but like I said, I was also laughing my ass off. Chuckles had that talent. He could make even the nastiest of people laugh. It was a gift. He didn’t take shit seriously. Everything was a joke to him. A sixty-three-year-old high school kid, that was Chuckles all right. A dude who never stopped getting himself into trouble; and a dude who, because he was always getting himself into trouble, never stopped entertaining.

Like the time he put a bumper sticker on the back of his insurance coworker’s car. The bumper sticker said, “HONK IF YOU’RE AS GAY AS I AM!” Poor bastard didn’t know the sticker was there until three days later when a passerby pointed it out to him. Some gay dude walked up to him on a street corner and said, “Honk, honk, big fella.” What did the co-worker immediately think? He thought, “Fucking Chuckles.”

So, when Chuckles completed the cock rendering, I knew he could hardly wait until Buddha came out of the bar which would be any minute since he had to get home to the girlfriend or his ass would be grass. We both stood outside the bar, drinking our drinks, smoking our butts, freezing our asses off in the Albany mid-winter, but laughing too. Snickering like two little kids who’d just rang their neighbor’s doorbell and took off.

But I’d be goddamned it wasn’t Buddha who exited the bar and approached the black Beemer. Instead, it was a dude by the name of Rod Last Name Not Known. Chuckles and I nearly shit ourselves. Rod was one of those big, scary, mysterious dudes who came into Lanies every now and again, sat by himself, never spoke a word to anyone, just played his Quickdraw, drank his red wine, and kept all to his lonesome. I mean, everyone knew who he was and what he did for a living, something that could make you dead, very quickly; but no one dared talk to him about it for fear of pissing him the fuck off. So, we all kept our distance from the big mafia thug.

Tonight, he was dressed in his usual black pants, patent leather shoes, and black leather coat with a shirt and tie underneath, his thick black hair slicked back on his round head. When he approached the Beemer and caught sight of the cock, he stopped dead in his tracks. It was like he didn’t quite comprehend what it was he was seeing. Like he wasn’t looking at a very well rendered display of the mature male anatomy but, instead, at his own life flashing before his eyes.

“Jesus Christ, Chuck,” I said, under my breath. “You fucking drew a cock on the wrong fucking car.”

He slapped his cigarette down on the ground.

“That ain’t the Buddha’s Beemer? I thought for sure that’s Buddha’s Beemer. He always parks it there.”

His eyeglasses covered face took on a look of despair as Rod Last Name Not Known about-faced and locked his gaze on us. I immediately felt my heart jump into my throat, and I averted my eyes like the action might make me invisible.

“Hey, you, Stronzi . . . assholes!” Rod Last Name Not Known barked. “You responsible for this piece of artwork on my ride?”

Now, Chuckles wasn’t Chuckles at all anymore. He was back to being just Chuck. He stood there in shock. Incapable of saying anything or doing anything.

“Answer me, Stronzi!” Rod shouted.

He started speed-walking toward us. I felt the cigarette fall out from between my lips, heard it land on the concrete.

“Run,” Chuck said.

“Run where exactly?” I asked.

“Back inside the bar.”

I was just about to do it when Rod Last Name Not Known reached into his coat pocket, pulled out a gun.

“Walk to the car,” he said. “Now, Adesso, now.”

Chuck put his hands up like a surrendering POW. He was still holding onto his beer.

“Drop your beer,” Rod Last Name Not Known insisted.

Chuck dropped it. It smashed against the frozen concrete.

“Now walk, teste di cazzo,” he insisted.

I leaned toward Chuck. “What’s teste di cazzo mean?”

“It’s Italian. Testes is dick. Cazzo means head, I think.”

“Dick head,” I said. “Makes sense considering the circumstances.”

We walked. It was all I could do not to crap myself.

When we got to his car, Rod said, “Okay, which one of you is the artist? And don’t lie.”

“He is,” I said.

Chuck shot me a look like Thanks a lot, traitor.

“Down on your knees,” Rod demanded. “As close as you can possibly get to the big cock you drew on my car.”

Chuck slowly, achingly got down on his knees. That’s when Rod cupped the back of Chuck’s head with his free hand and wiped the car door with his face. The big beautiful cock disappeared. Rod pulled Chuck’s face from the car door by grabbing hold of his gray hair. What’s left of his hair, that is.

“Now, how did that taste?”

Chuck’s face was black with grime.

“It tasted like your mother’s pussy,” he said.

That’s when Rod Last Name Not Known slapped the gun against Chuck’s head, and then he pistol-whipped me too.

When I came to, Chuck and I found ourselves stuffed into a tight, cramped, black space. The trunk of Rod’s BMW, no doubt. We were rushing along a winding road, destination unknown.

“Chuck,” I said. “You awake?”

“Yes, I’m awake,” he said, voice pissed off.

“Why’d you go and make that crack about his mother?”

“Because he made me mad, Jonesy.”

“He was holding a gun on us. He could have killed us on the spot.”

“He’s gonna fucking kill us anyway, you dumb shit,” he said. “He works for the mafia. What difference does it make what the hell we say to that fucking thug at this point?”

I felt my insides slide south.

“Chuck,” I said.

“What is it now?”

“I think I’m gonna poop myself.”

“Jesus,” he said, “you’re practically on top of me. At least wait until he lets us out.”

I puckered my ass, hoped for the best.

Suddenly, the car made a hard turn, bounced along a rough road, then came to a stop. Rod Last Name Not Known killed the engine, got out. I heard footsteps. The footsteps of a big, bad, killer of a man. The trunk opened, and he shined a bright Maglite in our eyes. The LED light burned my retinas.

“Let’s go, teste di cazzo,” he said, grabbing hold of my leather coat collar, pulling me out with the strength in just one of his arms, dropping me to the frozen ground.

It was then I realized I was hogtied with a couple of those thick plastic garbage bag ties. One around my wrists which were bound behind my back, and one around my ankles. When Rod pulled Chuck out of the trunk, I could see he’d been bound the same way. My head hurt. I knew an egg-sized lump had formed where Rod walloped me with that handgun. It was tough to see in the darkness, but I could make out that Chuck was bleeding. That was confirmed when the white Maglite sprayed over his face. A vertical stream of blood flowed from the side of his forehead down his left cheek. The dark blood made his stubble shine when the light hit it.

“Now, gentlemen,” Rod Last Name Not Known said, as he took a step back, but keeping the gun pointed at us with one hand, and the Maglite with the other, blinding us. “Since you enjoy cock so much, tell you what I’m going to do for you.”

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