Meat Pies

You might be wondering “What the fuck is this?” At least people would be wondering that if I had anything resembling a fanbase rather than a random assortment of lunatics that accidentally hit a link to my blog. Well… I have spent the last couple of months sick and extraordinarily unproductive. The whys are spectacularly unimportant. Let us just say that my mental health has been working me over like a hooker who tried to hide a fifty from her pimp. Also I’ve been pissing out a seemingly endless stream of jagged sharp hellrocks visited upon me by a vengeful deity – or my caffeine addiction.

We’re still waiting for the test results on that.

Unable to form any new coherent and entertaining thoughts at the moment I looked to Hollywood for inspiration as to what I should do. So I hunted down a piece of work I wrote some time ago in a state of massive frustration and present it as something new. It’s nothing special and no one asked for it but I wanted the illusion of work. Maybe some of you will read – maybe even like or comment on – it but the important thing is that it will look like I am accomplishing things without actually doing anything.

You know… like being a modern day Stephen King.

And now that I have statistically angered 150% of all potential readers of my blog here is my own personal writing which I am sure will not make that crack sound at all like I am talking out of my ass.

And – no – I do not know why there are extra spaces in there. If you want to know why they are going to remain please see the image I used as my header and let the enormity of my laziness really sink in.

                                                                  Meat Pies

   “I don’t want to hear how you can’t. I want to hear how you can,” Suzanne said with all the conviction rote repetition and an MBA can give  you.

   My teeth ground against each other as I swallowed her bullshit and forced a tight, understanding smile. It wasn’t what I wanted to do. I wanted to rant and rage and rip apart every meaningless, vapid business cliche she threw at me till she choked on them. But I didn’t.

   Dignity doesn’t pay the rent.

   “I’ll have a plan of action to you before we close tonight,” the words squeezed out from  thin pressed lips. Knowing full well that I was just going to lie to her – tell her that we were going to do everything her professors told her were necessary to succeed in business. Never mind that  neither her or her professors had ever worked a day of retail in their lives.

   But why should we let logic get in the way?

   She packed away her laptop and paperwork with a painfully visible attempt  at being ominous. No one except for her was impressed. Not me, not  Danny behind the counter, and certainly not the customers trying to shop around us.  But in her own mind? We were trembling.

   “Make  sure you do that, Victor. You know how important this is,” Suzanne said pausing  as dramatically as any elementary school director could have hoped. “Now is there anything you need before I go?”

   A drink would be nice.

   I shook  my head not  trusting myself  to speak. Not daring  to even open my mouth  till she was long gone. A  distant pain in my tongue was  followed by a hot, metallic taste.  All I could do was stare at the counter  top and wait for the howling in my head to  stop.

   “Vic…  are you okay?”  Danny asked softly  resting her hand on  my shoulder.

   The worry  was evident  in her elfin  face when I raised  my eyes. It wasn’t a  surprise. She was possibly  the sweetest person I had ever  known. It was honestly why I had  kept her around. She wasn’t the greatest  salesperson but she made the store a better  place to work. A living reminder that not everybody  sucked.

   It wasn’t  helping today.

   “Yeah,”  I finally  said wearily. “I’m  just gonna go in the  office and get some work  done. Buzz me if you need  help.”

   “Alright-”  her response  was cut off by  the back room door  swinging shut behind me.  Pushing past a stack of game  systems that we didn’t have room  for in front or the back and ignoring  the office door I slipped into the bathroom.  The whir of the partly broken fan greeted me as  the light took a second to flicker and finally turn  on. It was small, cramped, and cluttered but it served its  purpose.

   The water  that sputtered  from the faucet  was cold. Numbing  my hands and burning  as I spit a mouthful pink  and bloodtainted back into the  sink. My grip shook on the porcelain  edges of the sink. Every breath coming  harshly scouring my throat. In the mirror  the already pale skin of my face seemed paper  thin except for the bags beneath my eyes. Looked  like I hadn’t slept in a week. Felt like screaming  till I couldn’t anymore.

   Starting  to look as  sick outside as  I was inside.

   Looking  away I splashed  water across my face  and left the bathroom behind.  In the quiet confines of my office  I buried what was left of my dignity  in a mountain of soul-less paperwork. Losing  myself in the seemingly endless cycle of busy  work. Filling out forms that no one would ever  read, writing feedback in a corporate program no one  used, and sending emails about things no one besides Suzanne  cared about. It was idiotic and pointless but it got me through  the rest of the day without stabbing someone in the neck with a  pen.

   The clang  of the gate  closing wrenched  a heavy breath from  me. Felt like I’d dropped  a hundred pounds. The store  would still be here tomorrow and  the day after but it wasn’t my problem  for a few days. It had cost me two days  of vacation, lots of schedule juggling, and  a lovely visit from our beloved district manager  but it was worth it. 4 whole days of no work, no  public, and no Suzanne.

   Putting  the mall  behind me –  and putting the  store out of my mind  as much as I could – I  hurried across the parking  lot to what passed as my car. The  silence of my walk was comforting after  a day of fake smiles and company propaganda..  A cool night breeze stole some of the tension from  me but it wasn’t enough to keep me standing out in it.  The door slammed hard enough that the window rattled as I  collapsed int the front seat. A moment later it rumbled to life  purring like a bronchitis victim.

   It was  rough and  ugly but cheap.  Just some little blue  German thing found on Craigslist.  Not ideal but it’s the best you could  hope for when your job is best described  as minimum wage game jockey.

   Must  have set  there for fifteen  or twenty minutes half  assed listening to whatever  passed as rock on the radio  anymore trying to shrug of the  stress of the day. Telling myself  it didn’t matter. That all the words  and cute, little cliches didn’t matter.  That she and the blind idiot corporation  she represented didn’t matter.

   It wasn’t  helping.

   Tires  squealed  as I tore  out of the parking lot.  Barely noticing the glare  of the malls lot security.  Barely noticing anything at all. Driving  on instinct. Anger becoming speed. Frustration  bleeding into aggression.

   Cellphone  chimed as a  message was left.  I knew who it was  without looking. Only  Emelia ever texted me and  it was always the same bullshit.  Some cute hello and an emoji followed  by some passive aggressive jibe as she  waited for me with a glare and a dinner  that tasted like cigarette ashes. Spoiling for  a fight so she could tell me how much of a fuck  up I am. How I’m wasting my life.

   I didn’t  need that tonight.

   A poorly  lit sign caught  my attention. Dollar  vodka bombs. Wasn’t much  for drinking or bars most  days but right now the Black  Crow was making a damn good offer.  Cheap drinks and no one I knew to bother  me.

   For once  my car wasn’t  the shittiest there.  It was a strange feeling  as I looked out over a sea  of battered and rusty vehicles  and thinking that mine looked a little  too nice to be there. A quick glance towards  the streets showed me what I had been too distracted  to see. I’d ended up in the Bottoms – the old industrial  section of the city wrapped around the base of the hill the  city sat on. All abandoned steel mills, warehouses, and the odd  haunted house. It would be a miracle if the bar even had a liquor  license.

   As long  as they took  money for liquor I  wouldn’t complain.

   Stepping  inside I instantly  felt more out of place  than my car did outside.  White Walmart button ups and  black slacks were too fancy for  this place. Every piece of clothing  in the place was ripped, stained, dirty,  or some fucktarded combination of all three.  The people wearing them were equally ratty with  more time behind bars than remaining teeth. Felt like  high school all over again.


   Damn  near had  to shout to  be heard over  the generic metal  blasting from the worn  speakers but I got my point  across. The hard faced bartender  poured the vodka into plastic cups,  took the handful of bills I gave him,  and went back to studiously not cleaning  the bar. A chore he had been diligently performing  for quite a number of years by the looks of the place.

   The bombs  tastes like  vinegar and flop  sweat. No surprise.  Everything had tasted  like it had been filtered  through the runoff waste of  Nascar bleachers for the past  few months. Nothing helped it. No  amount of brushing or mouthwash did  anything. No mints helped. Not my favorite  food was spared nor my most hated. It all tasted  like garbage like the world had gone bad and only I’d  noticed.

   Shitty,  indecipherable  music blared around  me as I waited for the  liquor to do it’s job. Couldn’t  tell if the music was bad or if  it was just the piece of shit flea  market, crackhead special speakers. Probably  both. Half a dozen shots of even the most gutrot  of vodkas should take the edge off. Especially with  as little as I had eaten over the last few months. Started  to look like I’d picked up the methhead’s diet book.

   A diet  that the  other customers  at the bar were  more than familiar  with by the looks of  them.

   After  fifteen  minutes nothing.  No buzz. Just a horrid  taste in my mouth, the beginning  of a migraine, and enough failure for  five lifetimes. Couldn’t even get drunk right.  Shit job, a busted body, a girlfriend who’d love  me as soon as I was completely different, and now  I managed to fuck up the simple process of poisoning  myself till I enjoyed my life for a few hours.

   How the  actual fuck  does that even  work?

   “Barjockey! BARJOCKEY!”  I called over the music  and the growing pain in my  skull. He shot me a dirty look  but it was still the cleanest thing  in the room. “Five more – and make sure  it’s actual vodka this time!”

   His jaw  tightened and  for a moment I  hoped he’d punch me  but he just slapped down  the shots and took the money.  Pussy. Might have been fun to get  in a fight. Maybe even win if my body  didn’t crap out on me. Not that that was  likely. All it seemed to do anymore was crap  out. Too much stress and not enough food.

   Five  shots went  down hard. Tasted  like cat piss and failure.  Stared at the counter for what  seemed like forever waiting to feel  something. Anything. Looked up at the  clock. 17 minutes had passed. 17 minutes  and nothing. Not a buzz in sight. Now something  was wrong. Either I had developed the world’s greatest  tolerance for alcohol over the last 4 months or I was being  served flavored water.


   The plastic  cup crumpled in  my hand. No slam.  No satisfaction. Like  foreplay with a Born Again  Chirstian – the intention is the  only good thing about it.

   “Is this  some kind of  joke?” I asked  staring at the bartender  almost daring him to jump.  Frustration running roughshod over  my brain to mouth filter. What little  I had to begin with. “Let’s play a trick  on my first customer with a high school diploma!  Give him piss water! It’ll be great!”

   “Listen,  you little  fag-,” he started  – slamming his glass  down – before I cut him  off.

   “Faggot?!  Really? Is  that the best  you got?” the words  flew fast and hard from  my lips. Spitting them out  as fast as I could. Anger spilling  out of me. “The worst thing you can  think of is being gay? Like occasionally  touching another man’s dick is worse than being  an illiterate, cranked out fucktrumpet selling bar  rag squeezings as liquor?”

   About  the time  FT was about  to find out whether  you can bludgeon a man  to death with his own shoes  a big hand landed on my shoulder.  The hand was covered in enough scars,  tattoos, and dirt that I couldn’t tell whether  the owner was black or white. Couldn’t much better  looking at him. Not sure how one gets that much grease  on them. Maybe he’s a pig who uses motor oil to cool down  – or maybe he’s just another methhead mechanic who thinks he’s  tough.

   “Think  you’ve done  enough talking,”  Methchanic growled  as he stuck his chest  out like a startled white  trash puffer fish. “Time for  you to take your drunk ass somewhere  else.”

   Shouldn’t  have wasted  his time. Intimidation  only works if you have  fucks to give. I’d run out  of fucks before I walked in the  door. I was fuck-less verging on negative  fucks given. An event horizon of fucklessness  shaped like a man.

   “Drunk?”  I asked turning  to face the mountain  of muscle, grease, and  failed dreams that stood  behind my stool. “I’d couldn’t  get drunk off of this shit if  you mainlined straight into my veins!”

   The words  just kept coming  faster till they were  bullets being sprayed into  the face of the world. Too  many people playing games. Too  many people thinking that I had  to take their shit. A whole fucking  world of them treating me like a fucking  idiot.

   Don’t  know which  of us threw  the first punch.  Could have been either  of us. Felt less like a  fight than a car wreck. Bodies  smashing into me from every side.  Chaotic. Pinwheeling across the bar floor.  No time for pain to register. The roar of  the crowd louder than the music. Battering me  in a rolling ball of sound and sweat.

   Fighting  one moment  – flailing every  hard part of my body  against every soft part  of theirs – and hurtling  into the chill night air the  next. Hit the ground hard. Concrete  scraped away the top layer of skin from  my face. World swam. Vomit touched the back  of my throat.

  “Not  so mouthy  now are you,  faggot?” the bartender  laughed as his faceless  band of bar goons went back  inside. Leaving him, me, and the  Methchanic outside. “By the time we’re  done tonight you’ll know better than to  walk into my bar and start shit. Fuckin’  lightweight, pussy ass bitch.”

   “You  stupid  son of a  bitch,” I heard  the words come out  my mouth without my say  so. Clumsy and thick. Ground  was rough against my palms as  I rolled to my hands and knees.  Not sure why I was getting up – or  which of us I was talking to.

   He was  saying something  but I wasn’t listening.  Everything ached. A lifetime  of old injuries, a few hundred  pounds of pissed of barfly, and a  harshly unsympathetic stretch of concrete  had slammed together into a shitshake of pain  and poor life choices. Only things keeping me moving  was adrenaline and stubbornness – and they were gonna get  me killed.

   “Hey,  fuckstick!  I’m talking  to you!” FT screamed  a second before his boot  buried itself in my ribs.

   A rib  cracked in  a fiery burst  inside me. Arms  gave out slamming  my face into the asphalt.  Never saw the other kicks coming.  Each one a hammer blow against my sides  till my chest was a bag of broken glass.  Jagged, searing lines drawn with every movements  and every breath. .

   “That’s  enough, Jake.  He’s learned his  lesson,” Methchanic’s  voice was a distant echo  – distorted and strange. Tried  to see him but the alleyway was  too dark.

   “It’s  enough when  I say it’s enough!  No one comes into my  bar and fucking disrespects  me!” Jake screamed his voice  pounding into my skull. “So either  help or go back inside ‘cause if you  do anything else you’ll never get within  sniffin’ distance of any of my crank again.  Do you understand me?”

   A pain  wracked half  laugh escaped me.  Felt like I’d run my  lungs through a woodchipper  of rib fragments. Hurt like hell  and I was probably going to die but  at least I was going to die right.

   “Yeah,  Jake, I  got you. I’m  not gonna stop  you but I don’t  wannabe a part of  this either,” Methchanic  said managing to sound at  least a little bit guilty. Not  that it made me feel better when  the door shut behind him leaving me  alone with Senor Psychopath.

   Gravel  crunched  beneath his  feet as he crouched  next to me and said,  “Now it’s just you and  me. That ain’t good for you.”

   Thank  you, Captain  Fucking Obvious.

   Chest  was heavy.  Wet and sucking.  Couldn’t tell how many  ribs were broken. Probably  easier to count the ones that  weren’t. Shaking. Night had grown  cold. First drops of rain hitting my  skin. Body wracked with pain. Didn’t (couldn’t?)  respond when I told it to move – to stand and fight.  Too heavy. Too weak.

   Jake  was talking  again and I wasn’t  listening again. No point  now. We both knew what was  going to happen. He’d talk till  he worked up the nerve to finish  me off and then I’d die like a dog  on the pavement. Everything I was or ever  could be snuffed out because of shitty vodka  and my mouth.

   It was  a fucking  joke. All the  stupid fucking bullshit  I’ve put up with so I can  die in an alley? Suzanne’s condescending,  idiotic babble… Emelia’s constant disappointment…  the endless succession of soul-less, grinding jobs…  working past all the injuries and illnesses… all to  end up bleeding on the ground in an alley behind a shitty  bar. It was all so stupid. So fucking stupid!

   Wanted  to scream  but all I managed  was an agonized groan.  The damage inside too great  even for that. Wasn’t even a  man anymore. Men could scream or  cry or throw a punch. All I could  do was bleed into my lungs and rage  fruitlessly in my own head. Pathetic.

   And it  was then  – in the midst  of my pity party  – that I found salvation.  A scent that overwhelmed the  cool smell of the rainstorm rolling.  Something tangy and meaty. Heavenly. My  stomach growled as a sudden hunger rolled  through me. It was hot and angry and insistent  as it poured out of some broken place inside me.  A mad dog smelling a steak and tearing through my flesh  to get it. Relentless. Starving. Felt sweat break out on my  forehead and my face flush. The pain was distant. The hunger was  all that mattered. It had been there behind the frustration. Hiding  in plain sight. It was behind the bitter taste that had haunted me and  the weight loss that stole the health from me. It was the voice that drove  me to fight when I should run. To goad and mock till they couldn’t take it any  more and blood was spilled. Waiting for something to draw it out.

   It was  the bartender’s  blood leaking from  the lip I’d busted on  our way outside. It was  just a drip but it filled  my nose like a slaughterhouse.  Brought the hunger boiling to the  surface chasing the darkness from my  eyes letting me see him. Making me see  him. Strung out. Cocky. Certain in his own  badassness. But I could see the truth of him.  He wasn’t hard or badass or even a threat.

   He was  food.

   I don’t  know how I  did what I did  next. How I made  the mass of broken  bones and bleeding organs  I’d become move the way it  did or if I even gave it the  order to do so. The need was in  control. Driving my hands to his wrists  and my teeth to his throat.

   The last  thing I knew  was the taste of  human flesh and how  amazing it was…

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