Authors: Shane McKenzie
Bleed On Me © 2012 by Shane McKenzie
Cover Art by Jim Agpalza
All characters depicted in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
No part of this book may be reproduced in whole or in part without the publisher’s written consent, except for the purposes of review.
Bleed On Me
“Sir, this is the third time you've called in an hour. We have life-threatening calls we have to get to first. I-”
“But you people aren’t doing shit about this. Those assholes are driving me crazy!”
“Sir, please calm down. Officers will be sent once a unit is available. I understand your frustration, but a noise complaint isn’t exactly a high priority.”
Chris squeezed the cell phone to the point of shattering it, the bandaged gash on his palm screaming in pain as he did it. He hissed, inspected the gauze on both hands; he had just got the damn things to quit bleeding and didn’t need another episode. But beside a small red circle in the center of the bandage, it was clean. His skin burned hot and sweat trickled down his forehead. “It’ll turn into a high priority when I go down there and take care of it myself, won’t it?”
“Sir, please don’t make threats. This is a recorded line, and-“
Chris hung up on the operator, cocked his arm back as if to throw the phone against the wall, but calmed himself, tossed the cell to the couch. The music from the apartment below him continued to bump, sending vibrations into his feet and up his legs.
He slammed his feet as if he were smashing cockroaches.
“Shut the fuck up!”
This tactic never worked with these people, but it didn’t stop him from trying it over and over again. He paused, ear to the air, hoping the music would, at the very least, lessen, but as usual it banged on. That fucking gangster rap shit. Of all the goddamn genres of music these bastards could crank to the maximum volume, it had to be this shit.
Why not some nice Metallica?
At the very least, I could enjoy that on some level.
A knock at the door.
He tensed up, wondering if one of the neighbors had come up from below to confront him for pounding on the floor. His anger transformed into fear, and he ran his hand through his hair, stayed rooted to his spot, and just stared at the door. His eyes swept the apartment for some kind of weapon, but besides the dull-bladed replica samurai sword hanging above his television, he had nothing. And if he opened the door wielding that thing, whoever was out there would only laugh, and then proceed to kick his ass, or whatever it was they were hoping to accomplish.
Chris forced himself to at least check the peephole, then sighed with relief as he peered into the hallway. He grabbed his wallet from the counter, then opened the door. With all the commotion happening, he forgot about the order he’d put in.
The pizza boy smiled, his eyes a cloudy pink. A strong marijuana scent wafted from the boy’s shirt, and Chris frowned, handed over the money.
“Here. Got parmesan in there?”
The pizza boy looked past Chris and into the apartment. His hazy eyes scanned the walls, the shelves, then landed on a framed photograph on Chris’s entertainment center just under the television. “Oh shit, man. You got your picture taken with Tanya Taylor?” He laughed, arched his eyebrows, sort of leaned in as if to tell Chris a dirty secret. “She’s always been my favorite, man. I got tons of her shit on my hard drive at home. Shit, even the stuff she did when she was older was good. That bitch can suck a mean-”
“She was my mother, you fucking dickhead. And she’s dead. You know that, right? That you’re jacking off to a dead woman?” Chris swiped the pizza box away from the stunned man. He had gotten used to this kind of thing over the years, but even though it didn’t shock him anymore, it still pissed him off.
“Hey, man. No…no offense. I didn’t…I, uh…”
“I’ll take it out of your tip.” And he slammed the door in the mumbling idiot’s face. He sat on the couch, balanced the box on his stomach as he opened it and inhaled the cheesy aroma. The pizza was nearly folded over onto itself, the cheese stuck to the top of the box. He sighed and rolled his eyes. “And fuck you very much!”
He ripped a tattered slice away, wiped it over the box to collect some of the goopy cheese, tore open a parmesan packet with his teeth and emptied it, then smashed the slice into his mouth. With his greasy fingers, he reached over and grabbed the remote, cut on the television. He had to turn the volume to damn near full blast to hear a thing over the constant pounding of the rap music, but he tried to calm himself, let the greasy, gooey bread soothe him.
A rerun of
was on, and he tried to focus his attention on it, smacking while he chewed. But his eyes traveled to the frame sitting just under the screen, him and his mother smiling out. He was only seventeen or so when they took that picture, and his mother’s career was at its peak. The most popular porn star in the business, or at least that’s what her agent had told her. Her bank account told her the same thing.
I miss you, Mom.
Despite her chosen profession, their relationship had always been strong. She never tried to hide what she did, explained it to him at an early age. By the time he was a young adult, it meant nothing to him. Until, of course, their upstairs loft became an in-house studio. But idiots like the pizza boy always had some snide comment about it.
He forced his eyes away from the photograph and back to the television screen, the vibrations of the bass engulfing him. But just as he thought he could ignore the music, just as he was losing himself in the town of Springfield, the face of his cell phone lit up and started ringing.
“Fck,” he mumbled past the mashed up mess of saliva and pizza in his mouth.
He leaned over and read the screen, saw Todd’s name, and sighed. Tossing the crust from his last slice aside, he wiped his hands on the couch, reached for the phone.
“What the hell do you want?”
“Now is that any way to talk to your stepdaddy?” A crackly chuckle. “You know what day it is, you know what I have to do.”
“Can’t this wait ‘til tomorrow? It’s late and I’m fucking tired.”
“I’ve got things to do tomorrow-“
“Like spend my mom’s money?” A handful of couch cushion was squeezed in Chris’s fist, and the throbbing in his temples was keeping beat with the music rattling his walls.
“You mean my money. You only get your share because your mother felt sorry for you, and if I didn’t love her so much-“
“Love her? You gotta be fucking-“
“-And if I didn’t care about her wishes, then you wouldn’t see shit. But it is what it is, and I’m on my way. See you soon…son.”
“Fuck! Shit!” This time he did throw the phone, and it smashed against the wall, shattered into plastic and metal confetti. “Oh, goddamnit.”
Boom boom boom.
The music played on and on. Chris grabbed a hold of his hair with both hands, pulled, screamed, stomped his feet some more. “Please…please shut the fuck up!”
Boom boom boom.
Chris took a breath, looked around the apartment. If Todd saw the state of the place, he would hold back the money for sure. He’d done it before, and Chris knew the prick would look for any excuse to refuse him what was rightfully Chris’s anyway. His mother, god bless her, only wanted Chris to do something with himself. Her will stated that he was to get a monthly allowance-a hefty one at that-as long as he worked a steady job and maintained a home with “livable conditions.” Of course, the great and wonderful Todd, her agent turned husband, got most of the money, and she put that prick in charge of judging whether Chris was following up on his end of the deal.
So Chris moved out, got his own apartment, got a job with the complex as a sort of handyman. He’d always been good at fixing things-and building things-and he never understood why. He liked to tell himself that whoever his real father was must have been an architect or something, and those skills were passed along in his genes. As far as he knew, he had no other skills, nothing to offer any kind of employer, nor the drive to attempt finding a
job. The hours at his job were short, scattered, and he didn’t have to leave his complex if he didn’t want to. Fucking perfect.
Empty food cartons, pizza boxes, and dirty clothes littered the apartment, and there had been a sort of rotting funk in there for weeks that Chris couldn’t pinpoint. The second Todd stepped into that place, he would smirk, refuse the money, and leave.
Chris snatched a garbage bag from under the sink and ran around in circles stuffing it full of garbage. He could only hope that Todd was far enough away to give him a chance to clean it enough to be considered “livable.”
But the music just kept exploding from the floor beneath him, and his mood was sanded down by the consistent bass. He knew the goddamn cops weren’t going to show, they never did. No matter how many times he complained, they continued to ignore the problem.
Once he had the trash stuffed into the plastic bag, he moved into his bedroom and sighed at the piles of dirty clothes. He could only hope Todd wouldn’t venture that far into the apartment. Another long sigh slid from his throat as he walked out of the apartment and headed out toward the dumpster.
And on my way back, I’ll knock on their door, he told himself. I’ll finally tell them face to face that I’ve had enough, that if they don’t shut off their music, I’ll fucking murder all of them.
He smiled as he trotted toward the dumpster, imagining kicking in the door, machine gun in hand, and spraying those assholes with hot lead.
He tossed the bag into the dumpster, but heard something scraping around in it, probably a raccoon or something, and he hurried his pace back across the parking lot.
If he was going to confront these people-probably short-tempered gangster wannabes from the music they listened to-he knew he had to have more courage than that. He had to have balls. He had to be fucking Schwarzenegger.
The bass exploded from the first floor, a volume that had to be disturbing the other neighbors as much as it was him. The people walking around in the parking lot and the rest of the complex seemed oblivious to the nuisance, either that or they were just as intimidated by it as Chris was and were unwilling to say anything about it.
I’ll just ask politely. I’ll just tell them their music is disturbing the peace, and if they would kindly turn it down, I would greatly appreciate it.
He laughed at the thought, knew it wouldn’t be that easy. But he’d had enough. No more calling the cops only to be ignored, no more stomping on his floor.
His stomach swirled with anxiety as he trudged toward the apartment. As he grew nearer, his fists clenched tighter and the sweat flowed more freely. He heard no voices as he stood outside the door, the music sending tremors through the concrete below his feet.
“Hello?” he said as he rapped his knuckles against the door.
The door inched inward just slightly, and that small crack in the last barrier between him and the music only made it louder. But nobody came to the door. Chris’s temper ignited, scorching any thread of patience that remained, and he shoved the door in.
“Look, goddamnit, I’ve had enough-
The smell of death engulfed him at the same time his eyes were smothered with it. Bodies lay all over the place, torn to ribbons, blood splattered over the floor and walls like a Jackson Pollock painting. Men and women, their skin torn open, innards glistening with lamplight, lay piled over each other, scattered across the living room floor. The music shook the walls, sent ripples across the blood’s surface, slammed against Chris’s brain.
And then there was cold metal pressed against the side of his head.
Todd poured himself a drink as the driver took a sharp left turn. “Will you slow it down? If you make me spill my drink, I swear to god you’re fired. Do you have any idea how much this shirt cost me?”
“Um…no, sir. Sorry, sir.” The driver’s eyes glanced at Todd from the rearview mirror.
“Keep your goddamn eyes on the road, not on me. Jesus! And I’ll tell you how much it cost me. Six hundred fucking dollars. How does it make you feel knowing my wardrobe costs more than you’ll make all year?”
Todd sipped his Cognac, chuckled as he awaited the driver’s reaction. Paul had been Todd’s driver for over a year, but Todd liked to pretend he still didn’t remember the guy’s name. Giving the help shit just felt good. Kept him entertained anyway. He never imagined it would be so boring to have so much money.
“I don’t really know, sir.”
“Well, if I was you, I’d be pissed. I can tell you that, Pete.”
Paul’s eyes glanced back at Todd through the rearview, but the man still didn’t say anything.