As the wind whipped the snow into Jed Thane's face, he pulled his collar up around his neck and pushed the door open to the empty meat processing plant. Nothing kills your soul faster than being the only human being for ten square miles around with nothing but the cow carcasses, blood, flecks of gore, and the stench of the killing floor to keep you company.
Though tonight for Jed, alone is a relative term.
Seriously, I really need to go back to school. Waking up at nine in the evening and driving nine miles through ice and snow, just to clean up a slaughterhouse? Using a water hose that has almost twice the pressure of a fireman's hose, has lost its appeal to my inner-child. People with severe learning disabilities get better jobs than this without even trying.
Well, Terry isn't here, so I guess I'll be working by myself-ooof!
What the hell?!
"How are you doing, Thane?"
It's some madman with a baseball bat. He's angry and Jed wonders if has something to do with the steroids that the guy must obviously be on, because he is yoked. The guy is about three times Jed's size, he has a haircut that probably costs more than Jed makes in a week and leather jacket on that definitely costs more than he makes in a month.
Oh, Christ...that hurt. Who is this dickhead? Why is he calling me by my last name and what's up with the Louisville-
"No, no. There's no need to get up on my part, just make yourself comfortable right there on the floor. "
Ow, shit! That's okay, I don't need those ribs, I have a bunch more.
"Because that's going to be your new home, Thane. You think that would be able to help yourself to my girlfriend and I wouldn't find out about it?"
Gahhh! I guess I didn't need those teeth either. What the hell "girlfriend" is he going on about? Jesus, is this guy a drunk, or is he a crack head?
Jed mumbles through the blood and pain, "I don't know what you are talking about, man. I haven't been with a woman for months."
"Yeah, that's original. Let's see if this jogs your memory."
Shit! I can't breathe! How do I talk to this guy? He must be high out of his skull? What do I do? Just come up with something!
"See, I knew something was going on, but I didn't know just with whom it was until you went and got stupid, leaving your dry cleaning receipt...right under Joan's side of the bed."
C'mon man, think on your feet...your knees, whatever! Crap, that's it; I'll crawl towards one of the stations.
Jed manages to stop wheezing for a moment and he spits out "look at me. Do I look like I would need to have anything dry cleaned?"
C'mon, Barry Bonds. Just follow me a little further and we'll see how you swing that bat, then.
"Don't try to weasel your way out of this! I got your address off the receipt and I matched it to your trailer! I followed you out of your miserable trailer, all the way to over here!"
Oh, so that's why he's calling me by my last name. It must be my brother that is messing around with his girlfriend.
"Listen, Thane, listen. Can you hear that? The way that song just wafts through here? It's the fat lady and here comes her aria."
Jed crawls a little further. His assailant raises the bat and goes after him...for all of one step. The baseball wielding cuckold slips in blood and falls on his ass. He reaches for the bat, but it is too slippery with all viscera on the floor and it wouldn't make a difference, because it's too late. Jed grabs a boning knife and drives it downward through that two-thousand dollar jacket.
In a sickly combination of sputter and snarl, Jed sneers "I'm tone deaf and besides...I hate opera."
One minute later and the only thing left breathing in the building is Jed, albeit poorly.
He is in a tremendous amount of pain and he is sure that at best, three of his ribs are fractured.
He licks his mouth and his initial count is five teeth that are missing or chipped.
Hell, on top of trying to figure out a way of getting rid of this body and the car that brought it here, Jed still has to have at least half of this place clean before the 3 AM shift comes on, or he's fired.
All I can say is that after all this? My brother better sign his Mustang over to me.
BIO: "Cormac Brown" is my pen name. I'm an up-and-slumming writer in the city of Saint Francis , and I'm following in the footsteps of Hammett...minus the TB and working for the Pinkerton Agency. A couple of stories that I've stapled and stitched together can be found at http://cormacwrites.blogspot.com