Gerald pushes glasses up his long nose. It makes him look distinguished. Bushy uni-brows complete the look. So what if he is bald? Isn't bald sexy these days anyway? He'd read it on the cover of Red Book magazine while waiting in line at the grocery store the other day. It is respectable at the very least.
Respect. Where is the respect these days? The grocer had handed him the little piece of paper with DECLINED written on it when he tried to buy a loaf of bread, bologna, and a quart of milk. Just cause a guy is down on luck and a couple bucks doesn’t grant the grocer the right to snicker and exchange Ain’t this guy a loser look with the next person in line. Yes, he’d almost squeezed the trigger.
He keeps the nice little pistol in his pocket, just in case. Never know when one might need a gun. It is the answer to all his problems. It is.
Your boss fires you? Bam you shoot him.
Your banker says your money's flushed down the john? Bam you shoot him.
The grocer refuses your credit card? Bam you shoot him.
Gerald had never so much as flashed his gun at anyone before. But he thought about it. He daydreamed about it. No one truly understood who he was, what he could do, including the hooker he picked up and brought home this evening. She demanded her money before the service. I mean, come on now, Gerald had read up on what’s hot and what’s not. Bald is sexy, remember? he’d asked Blondie Hooker as he kicked her stomach over and over again. Distinguished glasses are sexy, right? Another kick to the ribs. Gerald knew Blondie Hooker had read all this in Red Book magazine. That’s what those kind of girls do. They knew all about sexy. If you’re sexy you get it for free. Remember? He’d asked her, you give it for free.
Before Blondie Hooker passed out she’d screamed too much. Police were called. Now. Tonight. He’d get what was due him. Respect. Respect is what he wants. You can’t buy that with a twenty, but Blondie Hooker could have offered it with a free blowjob. Aretha. R-e-s-p-e-c-t. She knew how to get respect and it is damn well time he got his slice of the cake. Gerald doesn't care the price.
The police bang on the door asking him to open up. Gerald giggles, pushes his glasses up again, and gives a thumbs up to waking Blondie Hooker. She is duct-taped to the folding chair. Pointing at her blonde head is the barrel of a rifle. The trigger is rigged to twine rigged to the door. The second police ram through – Bam! That’ll be last the time someone says no to him.
Blondie Hooker struggles and makes muffled noises. Gerald isn’t sure, but she sounds like she is throwing up. A piece of gray tape seals her mouth, a dribble of orange creeps from the corner. Serves her right for turning him down. What is the world coming to? You bring a hooker home – you expect some action.
“Right?” he asks puking Blondie hooker. He watches her bruised adam’s apple rise and fall. He knew what she was swallowing. It made for a good enough answer.
He cocks his pistol. “Right.”
“Open up. Police!” Another hard knock on the door.
Gerald crouches behind the piano. Waiting.
The knocking stops. Silence.
He’s waiting for the door to break in. The twine pulls the trigger, puking Blondie Hooker is dead –he’ll get his respect when the police realize what they’ve done. They’ve done mind you. They’ve killed an innocent victim. Oh, the irony. Who will be the respectable authority now?
R-e-s-p-e-c-t, Aretha Franklin knew what she was talking about. The song plays over and over in his head. He wished he hadn’t smashed the radio in the other night when it wouldn’t stop playing Ghost Riders In The Sky. He hated that song. There are no Ghost riders in the sky or anywhere else. Everyone knows that. Even the stupid hooker.
He waits. The silence carries on longer than it should. Blondie Hooker keeps making muffled noises, which makes it hard to hear their footsteps.
Gerald stands and points the pistol at her head. “Shut up. Just shut up. You’ll ruin everything.” More orange leaks from under the tape, only it’s looking reddish now, like blood. He squints to get a better look.
Something smashes through the window. A slight pop - hiss. Gerald’s eyes begin to sting. Loud shouts. He can’t breathe. It stings. He points the pistol everywhere, first at her, then at them, then at her.
“Police. Drop the weapon.”
How’d they do that? How’d they get in? It isn’t fair. Life isn’t fair. “All I want is some respect! That’s all I want.”
“Drop the weapon.”
Gerald opens his eyes against the sting. Points at Blondie Hooker. Shoots.
Pain erupts in his leg. Police shout. Another pain in chest. Gerald falls to the floor, but not before opening his eyes and looking at Blondie Hooker. Red dribbles from her slouching cheek, down the length of her arm, down her fingertips to the hardwood floor.
There. Now. Finally. R-e-s-p-e-
One last bang interrupts Aretha’s song.
Copyright: © 2009 Jodi MacArthurJodi MacArthur serves imagination raw on an open flame. Her work is influenced by all things Grimm and carnival. To learn more, please visit her website at: www.jodimacarthur.blogspot.com