Dave's Corner of the Universe

Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide

The Reluctant Executioner Reduex

I relay was going to do somethijng original for my post this week, but well goat stalls don’t muck themselves, so here is a story that I wrote for a group writing project five yers ago. It was supposed ot set the tone for the project. Personally I feel I might have been to influenced by Frank Miller back then.

It long for a blog abut 7 pages, but check it out there is a twist in the end.

You accuse me of fancy talk
When I’m just trying to find my words
You’ve got a funny way of saying my name
Like I just ripped it off

These whiskey tango ghosts
Won’t leave us alone
But you are too polite to complain
Of the art of speaking plain You
I haven’t gathered a thing

While I know we’re dug in deep here
Why can’t we live high with the wind
You’re just a freckle away from changing everything
I’ll make this easy
By calling on my gypsy pedigree

These whiskey tango ghosts
Won’t leave us alone
Of the art of speaking plain
I haven’t gathered a thing

While I know we’re dug in deep here
Why can’t we live high with the wind
Can’t we live

Of the art of making waves
I had my lesson in spades
And these ghosts they make it plain
They’re never going away

And my ghost she makes it plain
I haven’t gathered a thing
Though I know we’re dug in deep here
Why can’t we live high with the wind
Can’t we live

Tanya Donnelly

Whiskey Tango


All things considered, Bud’s Bar and Grill would be a sucky place to die. Never the less, someone will die here, before the morning’s light. How do I know this? Because, I am going to be the killer.

A state sanctioned killing is still a killing.

Bud’s is this cheap cinderblock building that has been a white trash haven since before WW II. It’s this dive off the highway as you enter Ojai from the south. You really have to want to get wasted, or be really, really desperate, to come to a place like this. It is by far much more a bar than grill. Not the type of place where I would hang out if I wasn’t on the clock.

I stand in front of the joint’s old Wurlitzer jukebox, pretending to be making my selection. The Wurlitzer was the only thing in this place that I don’t consider a piece of crap, patrons included. The reason that I have taken my position in front of the old jukebox is because it gives me a full view of every one in this roach-infested dive. But if I stay there too long, someone might get suspicious.

I quickly glance down at the selections. The natives might realize something was up if I don’t pick out something. Especially after I just spent so much time pretending to be interested in the musical choices. It is the expected honky-tonk fare. Both Hank Williams, the Georges, Jones and Strait. Lynard Skynard and Little Feet for those who like their drunk with a little Rock N Roll flavor. Then my eye focused in on a unexpected surprise: Tanya Donelly’s Whisky Tango.

I doubt that the habitués of Bud’s are sophisticated, intelligent or sober enough to understand the subtle beauty of Mrs. Donelly’s words. But, this night is going to bad enough as it is, I might as well steal some small pleasure out of it. I slide my quarter in the slot and make my selections.  G-4, three times.

I tug at my denim jacket so no one can see my nine millimeter, in its shoulder holster, as I walked to the bar. I feel as if Tanya’s deep husky voice is serenading just me.

I take a stool. The bartender is a woman way past her prime, with a bad blonde dye job and enough makeup to make Tammy Fay take a step backwards. She comes up to me and wheezes, “Last call in twenty minutes hon, what you want?”

I pulled a crisp twenty, fresh out of the ATM, from my wallet. I lay it down on the bar and tell her. “If you get me a Roy Rodgers in a shot glass, you can keep the change.”

The barkeeper looks at me suspiciously. She has probably made me as a cop or private eye. In truth, she is both farther from and closer to the truth than she could ever imagine. She shrugs. I suspect she has probably gotten stranger requests in her time. Besides, a sixteen dollar tip is a sixteen dollar tip.

She slides the shot glass in front of me. I lift it up and sniff it to make sure it is really is only lemon lime soda. I shouldn’t be here, and I definitely shouldn’t be here alone. No reason for me to do a job like this. Not by myself. Not alone. Not in a place like this. Agent Clarke is more skilled at this than I am. Agent Larson wouldn’t stay up at night regretting what had to be done. Agent Samuels would probably even enjoy it. I am the boss. I could have given it to any or all of them. Or at the very least, assigned them to back me up in case things go south.

But of course I didn’t.

At times our jobs require us do some bad things. Some VERY BAD THINGS. Every once in a while a task like this comes across my desk. One that is so heinous, so ugly, and so evil. One that if I think I have a chance to come out of it alive, I assign it to myself. Boss-man’s prerogative. However, it seems as if I take more and more of these missions, and care less and less about whether I can survive it alone. What was it that Agent Mora used to call me? “The Walking Martyr.”

She was close, but not on the money. What I am really is the walking wounded. The death blow has already been struck. But I am like those old dinosaurs, the ones with the second brain in their butts. They kept on moving after the primary brain was dead.   I am just too stupid to stop walking and lie down and die. If I got to go, then might as well take as many sins as I can with me. Well maybe she was right, about that martyr thing anyway.

Damn, I miss her.

Keep your head in the game Dave, I remind myself, stay alert.

Of the half dozen or so patrons in Bud’s I am pretty sure I have found who I am looking for. A fat, greasy-haired repulsive piece of crap. I see that he is pawing some girl in the corner.

I have had enough conventional criminology training to know the type. He is a piece of filthy pond scum that gets off on hurting girls. He wants to add this girl to his conquest list and he’s not going to take no for an answer.

Knowing what I am going to find doesn’t make the job any easier. I look down at the bar top, close my eyes and rub my temples. I look like any other bar patron, maybe fighting a head ache or a hang over. But in reality part of myself leaves my body.

I am in no way a mage. My powers are so low and so hard to control I barely count as a psi. There is no way I can do this on my own. But the government has put a lot of money into what the tech boys call ‘enhancers.” Things to boost even the least gifted talent.

To perform tonight’s act of prestidigitation, I rub my finger on the large happy face patch on my denim jacket. It triggers micron crystals in the fabric. That in turn sends a signal through my fingers to my brain, giving me the energy boost I need.

The Egyptians had it right. The soul is a multi-part entity. What they called the Ba, stays in my body. It controls things like my heart rate and breathing.  The bare essentials to keep my meat body alive.

What they use to call the Ka is that which makes me, David Nodd, flies invisibly across the bar floor, and enters the man. ur souls merge. Though he is unaware of his silent hitchhiker, I become part of him: a person who I can’t stand to look at.

I see the girl through his eyes. I feel the lust, and his need to take building every second as he looks at her. I feel the changes in his body as he prepares to take her.

His name is Marvin but he tells her it is Jack, because he thinks it seems manlier. She tells him that her name is Rose Marie, though I suspect she is lying too. Marvin/Jack is too drunk and or too horny to care.

I see and feel his sins. I see him curse his children. I see him hit his pregnant wife, because she asked him not to go out tonight. I see first hand, from his point of view, the times he has forced himself on women, the times he has hurt them. He wants them to resist. He sees this as permission to hurt them, and I mean hurt them badly. He hasn’t killed a woman yet, but he is working his way up to it. At the rate he is going, he’s got, I’d say less than two years before he hurts a woman so badly she can never get up.

I found out what I needed to know. I will my consciousness back into my own body.

I take a slug of the Sprite wishing it was something stronger, even though I have never taken a sip of alcohol in my life. I would today if I weren’t on the job and didn’t need to be on top of my game in order to keep me alive tonight. I would guzzle a whole liter of Jack Daniels, just to attempt to wash Marvin from my soul.

It takes every ounce of willpower and discipline that I possess to not just cap him in the back of his head right now. I hate him. He doesn’t deserve to live.

I concentrate on the girl. She looks young, maybe just out of high school. Rose Marie, as she calls herself, doesn’t look old enough to be in a bar. And she doesn’t look streetwise enough to be able to be safe in a place like Bud’s. If the barkeep gave a damn about her liquor license she wouldn’t kept giving her the stream of beers that the guy who calls himself Jack keeps buying for her. She has a chest which is smaller than Marvin/Jack likes, but he feels he can’t be picky tonight. Besides he’s more interested in the fact that she might try to resist rather than what she looks like.

Her most attractive features are her eyes. Deep beautiful grey eyes. It may be cliché to say that they are the kind of eyes that men get lost in. But, well they are. They are the type of eyes that bring out what is in a man’s soul.

They make Jack or Marv or whatever his name is want to force himself on her.

They make me want to protect her, defend her from this piece of manure and all his kind. Take her away some place safe, protect her. I am not saying I don’t want her too. It is I just express it in a different way. Mora used to say I was way too paternal.

Tanya is finishing the last chorus on the last song that was bought with my quarter. Only ten minutes before closing time. Marv knows it is now or never. He invites her to the back of his pickup truck. The first time he asks as nicely and sweetly as one cane phrase such a vulgar offer.

She tells him that they had better not. “No?” His voice is more forceful this time.

He is twisting her wrist. “You’re hurting me.” She tells him.

“Come on baby, don’t you want to have some fun.” He replies squeezing her wrist tighter.

I feel for the handle of the SIG-Sauer, carefully so that the bartender can’t see my weapon.  Stay cool, Dave, he is making his move, soon you will get the chance to make yours.

Marv tells Rose Marie that he loves her and that he wants her and that all he cares about is making her happy. His words are sweet, but the tone of his voice is that of a bully. Then he tells her. ”Baby, don’t make me hurt you, alright honey?”

Is that what you do Marvin? Make them think it all their fault? You pond slime.  Not man enough to admit this could be because of your own sick desires. I want to hurt him. I want to hurt everyone in Bud’s because no one has the back bone to stop him.

She says she will go with him. How many times has a woman told him that mistakenly thinking that she was better off doing that than kicking him in the balls and running?

He steers her out the door. I follow, not so close that they will notice me, but close enough I don’t lose them. Once they are in the parking lot, they head right. I go strait up the middle to the end of the lot and turn right then down so I can intercept them. Before entering Bud’s I did a quick recon of the parking lot. I make his truck out as the old beat up International Harvester, with a Bondocovered front left fender, The Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia in the back window, and a “Got Beer” Bumper sticker.

With my right hand I pulled the SIG Sauer out of its holster. With my left hand I retrieved the sound suppressor from my denim jacket’s pocket. Note, I didn’t use the word silencer. The only time a handgun is truly silent is in a Hollywood movie. I round a beat-up old VW van, as I tighten the suppressor to the gun’s threaded barrel.

Outside the truck Marvin is all octopus. Groping her, grabbing her. She yelps at him to stop it. Then she pushes back.

That is what he subconsciously wants her to do. In his sick, twisted mind he sees this as permission to hurt her – to force himself upon her.

He pushes her back, throwing her down in front of a rusted old Bronco.

I raise my gun one handed and point it at her.

Marv hasn’t noticed that she is on all fours like a runner at a starting block. Her back is arched like a cat ready to strike. He is either too drunk or his mind too rational, to see how her eyes are now glowing blood red, and the twin fangs that hang down in front of her lower lip.

I come out from my vantage point behind the VW bus and yell. “I am a federal agent! And I know what you are! Stand down or I will shoot!”

Marv, who will never be accused of being the second coming of Einstein, is more afraid of me and my gun than of her. ”What the F,,?” he yells.

Before he can finish his profanity I interrupt him by yelling “Shut up. If you want to live, get the hell out of here!”

Marv’s sense self-preservation kicks in and he fumbles for his keys. He lets himself in the Harvester’s cab, tires squealing as he gets the hell out of Dodge.

The girl, who by now I am sure is not  named Rose Marie, relaxes, her body going from taut predator to an almost a fluid/liquid state. He eyes are no longer shimmering red but have returned to their original soulful soft gray color.

“If you know what I am, then you know that little gun of yours can’t hurt me.”

I pointed the gun at the top of her skull. It was too dangerous to focus any where near her eyes. “Hollow point. Filled with holy water, night shade, rose oil, the ashes of another one of you, and some gook that the lab boys cooked up. I guarantee that there is something in that combination that, if it can’t kill you, will burn you, burn you badly.”

“You saved that little sack of turd. Do you know what he did to his wife tonight, when she tried to stop him from going out to rape some girl?” she asks me.

I knew what he did. I knew it better than what was needed to convict in a court of law. I had seen his soul. ”Not my job.” I told her, which I am afraid I say without much conviction.

“But it IS your job to protect scum like him?” There was a tone of accusation in her voice.

“He’s human. It is my sworn duty to protect all humans from monsters like you.” I reply.

She laughs at me. “Oh really?  I only kill those who prey on innocent women. He destroys the lives of girls, and your law can’t touch him. Now tell me, who is the monster in that picture? She continues “Ye, gods I must be getting old. To let a little man like you track me down.”

“Too long in one place.” I tell her. “Three missing men with the same psychological profile. That and a tip from a good pre-cog.”

I can feel her psyche reach out in an attempt to touch mine. The gun gets heavy. I grip it in a two handed stance. I have had stronger members of her kind try to control me before, I have been trained to resist.

“Hmm…” She says smugly. “I see why you hunt the things of the darkness. Because one of them killed someone, who was important to you… Who was she…? A Friend?… A sister?… A lover?”

“She was someone who worked with me. And a friend.” I tell her. I have revealed way too much about myself. This is all a charade of course. She knows it. I know it. If I really meant to take her in alive, so to speak, I would have made sure I had transport capable of bringing her in. I am just putting off what I know I have to do.

“I knew it had to be a female. A male loss would not have generated that much strife in you. That is why you hunt us, those that you feel are responsible for her death. You pursue us over even true monsters like that man who called himself Jack. Rest assured, I have not preyed on a woman in over two hundred years. So unless you are much older than you look, I can not be the one you are looking for.”

“It’s not just one of you,” I tell her, “It is all of you. Surrender or die!”

She shakes her head at me. “I don’t think so. You see, I have seen your soul. Oh, if I attack, you would have no qualms about killing me. Even if I attacked that pathetic sack of crap you would shoot me to defend him. But if I just turn around and walk away… You’re not strong enough to overpower me. And you won’t shoot me in the back.”

“Want to bet your life of it?” I ask her.

“I think I will take that bet.” She practically purrs. “You forget I have seen your soul. You are a good person. You’ve done bad things, because you felt they were right. But you still have boundaries. Lines that you won’t cross.” With that she turned her back on me and begins to walk away.

“I will kill you!” I yell.

“No, you won’t!” she says as she continues to walk on. In my mind’s eye I can see her smugly smiling at me.

“Last chance!” I yell, as she is about to reach the end of bar’s parking lot.

She doesn’t respond.

I pull the trigger twice.

Two muffled roars.

My aim is true.

The shells slam into the back of her head. Which is instantly engulfed in flames. In less than two seconds the flames travel down her entire body. She turns to ashes, which are promptly blown away in the night’s wind.

Quietly I say to the parking lot – devoid of anyone but myself – “Damn the night.”

I moved to my Jeep, open the door and enter. Contradicting everything I ever learned, in every firearms training class I ever took, I toss the suppressed SIG-Sauer onto my Cherokee’s passenger seat. I should put it back in my shoulder holster, but I don’t want that implement of death touching me right now.

As I take a deep breath, I head the Jeep south onto the highway.

I will have to fill out the paper work, but that can wait till Monday. When I get home I have a pack of Green Monster energy drinks, a hand full of No-Doz, and some forging movies waiting for me. Ones that I have to force myself to stay awake to watch by reading the subtitles.

Normally I eschew caffeine. But I need to stay up at least twenty four hours. I can’t let my self fall asleep, for fear I will dream. I don’t have dreams any more, I only have nightmares. Sometimes they are about friends I could not save. Sometimes they are of some kind hell and the beings in it that want into our world.

But I have to stay up for the next twenty-four hours or so, otherwise I fear that I will dream of the girl with gray eyes.


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This entry was posted on February 20, 2015 by in Uncategorized.
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