SHORT STORY 17

2018

A D V E N T U R E S - O F - A - P S Y C H O P A T H

SHORT STORY 17

2018

ADVENTURES OF A PSYCHOPATH

DISCLAIMER:

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Nothing gained, so none of this matters.

“She gave shit blowjobs, but I loved her pitiful expression when she knelt with her mouth wide open while I jerked off onto her tongue.”

“I loved spreading her gaping pussy, so I could watch her awkward smile as she looked away embarrassed.”

“What about you, Bruce? What's your fetish?”

“Don't know what the fuck you guys are talking about,” I sneered, from the backseat of that Audi SUV.

“What are you, vanilla?”

Glaring at the back of their heads, I knew that one day these tough guys would find themselves at the short end of a matrimonial-stick, wishing for even sniff of that sweet, innocent vanilla sex.

“So?”

“Currently celibate,” I replied.

“Fuck off!”

Watching the rain-swept night streets, I ignored the two laughing Slovakians as we drove through the most eastern parts of Lichtenberg.

“I fucking hate girls with rape-fantasies!”I finally admitted. “So, I use pruning-shears to cut a hole in their ribs and then literally fuck them right in the tits – till their fucking lungs collapse!”

Turning into a darkened parking lot, the driver asked, “What are pruning-shears?”

Jörg stood next to his black Bugatti Veyron, and had grown a scruffy brown beard since I had last since him. Stepping out of the SUV, I shook his hand as he said, “How you doing, man?”

“Where's Caviezel?” I asked.

The twenty-something-year-old, tilted his head and looked around the surrounding apartment blocks. “Thing is, Mr. C, yeah, he can't help you, man. You know, come on, you're a scary guy. I've seen your work. The shit you think up. I don't know, man. He said, I can't do anything for you. You know how it is. I don't know.”

Rubbing my forehead in exasperation, I glared at the ground, and clenched every muscle in my back, trying to keep my voice balanced, “I'm just a normal guy. And he's a –”

“He's a busy man.”

“And I'm bad for business.” I understood the implications: even criminals didn't want to be seen with me.

“Hey, do you want a lift somewhere?” Jörg called out, as I walked away from him and the two Slovakians. “What the fuck, man?!”

I wasn't sure what part of town I was in, but I didn't care. There was nothing happening tomorrow, or this week, or the next. Perhaps I could wander all the way to Poland, and claim refugee status, seeking asylum from my fucking reputation. But knowing my luck, they too, would tell to go fuck right off!

In the vast expanses of empty concrete between those cheap towering buildings, I noticed two teenagers in hoodies snarling at some other kid lying on the ground. They seemed like jackals gnawing at the scrawny bones of a gazelle caught out in the open. They never bothered with me. Not because I presented a threat to them, but because they sensed, deep down inside, that I wasn't even fucking there at all. I am an hallucination of the hateful.

The sound of a glass bottle smashing, gradually drew my attention back to those predators as the WHACKS of fists echoed across the frosty night. One guy was now on his knees, clutching a bloodied face. The other was brawling with Jörg like a champion. Suddenly a drum-fire of running sneakers came racing around a corner as the wasted youth of East Germany rushed to the aid of their friends. Smiling enthusiastically, Jörg glanced in my direction, and then hooked his knuckles into the side of the kid's jaw, knocking him out for count! The new arrives came from behind Jörg as well as outflanked my position. These hiphop-infused, hopeless kids looked like they had just won the lottery this deplorable fucking Friday night. For as good at street-fighting as Jörg was, they out numbered us by at least a dozen. Though, it came as no surprise when Jörg began laughing at this gang that began closing in. He then pulled out his 9mm. Correcting my posture, I faced my shoulders directly toward that dark-haired Belarusian. If he was going to shoot me, then I wanted it straight on. He couldn't miss from this distance. But to my nauseating disappointment, as the kids all run out of there, Jörg just turned and watched them scatter. He didn't even raise his weapon.

“Just because Mr. C's an elitist asshole, doesn't mean we all are,” Jörg shrugged, tucking his gun away. “Come on, I'll buy you a whore and we'll tag-team the bitch!”

-

“Raped, tortured, and murdered, if not worse.”

“What the fuck could be worse?”

“Saw a girl with her arms and legs amputated so that she would fit perfectly inside a suitcase that a guy kept under his bed. He used her as a fuck-puppet for twenty-years. Fucking Austrians!”

The two men in suits suddenly went silent once they noticed my entrance into that deserted bar.

“Fuck are you?!”

“The fuck is this?” Jörg shouted, strutting in with his arms wide open. “Where the fuck are all the girls?”

“Not tonight, Jörg.”

“Not tonight? Not tonight?! I need it every-fucking-night!” Jörg's famous temper was only ever one ambiguous comment away from going ape-shit. And just as he grabbed a bar stool, the taller guy in a burgundy suit, stepped closer.

“Friedrich's girl's gone missing!”

The stool was in mid-swing, when Jörg went into slow-motion, and stared curiously at the body of some unknown guy, lying face-down in a puddle of his own blood.

That was when the phone on the bar began to ring.

-

The four of us sat in a Lincoln Navigator SUV as we sped away from Charlottenburg. The whole drive, Mr. America continued listening to his phone, occasionally grunting and nodding his head. Jörg sat in shotgun, while Mr. Burgundy drove.

“Should be coming up on the next left,” Mr. America stated.

Right then, a black BMW 7-series cut across our path in the middle of Prenzlauer Berg, and we immediately followed it. Jörg glanced over his shoulder, staring back through his oily hair at me. He seemed to wait for some sign of acknowledgment. In that moment, his excited eyes looked his age. I remembered being that young, adamant about how the world worked, and yet, still anxious about my ability to handle the unknown. Turning my head, I scanned the empty streets, considering how little had changed in the last fifteen years. If I was truly fatalistic, then why did the uncontrollable still bother me? If it would all work out in the end, why couldn't I just fucking accept it?! I was saturated in the ennui of ineptitude.

The BMW soon pulled over and drove into an underground parking lot. We accelerated and made it inside before the gate closed. Then the breaks screamed! The three other men evacuated the SUV and sprinted across the private parking space at the shocked guy exiting his BMW! Resting my forehead against the cold glass, I sat where I was and watched the two guys in suits throw their target against a concrete wall, before Jörg kneed him in the face! That's all it took for the guy to breakdown and beg for mercy.

Stepping over to the bleeding guy on the ground, I watched him cringe, muttering something in Deutsch. Mr. Burgundy held up a black Ralph Lauren handbag from the backseat of the BMW. Mr. America then pulled a set of keys and a phone from the German's pocket before Jörg forced him into the trunk of the BMW.

“You know that guy?” Mr. Burgundy asked me, as we all stepped into the building's elevator and unlocked the penthouse level.

“Look at this face,” Jörg grinned at my reflection in the golden elevator. “He could make anyone talk with that expression!”

Mr. America's phone then rang as we reached the top floor. Answering it without a word, he quickly waved his hand. “Fuck's sake! Wrong place! They're on the move!”

Jörg pressed his ear against one of the two doors in the black corridor, shook his head, and then gestured for the keys. The other two were already back in the lift, and just dropped the keys and phone on the glossy floor before the elevator doors slid shut. Unimpressed, Jörg stomped over, snatching them up. He then gave me a filthy look. “Man, what the fuck is up with you tonight?! Seriously, spit it out! You want to fucking tell me something?!”

I paused as I was flooded with thoughts that I had temporarily managed to suppress, about how I was currently drowning in debt to the Finanzamt. But instantaneously, I knew such personal circumstances were as boring to others as relationship drama. “If I needed a shoulder to cry on, I'd ask your mother.”

Smirking, Jörg opened the penthouse door and walked straight into bass-heavy sound of Nostalghia, Homeostasis.

Slowly making my way into that massive apartment, I disregarded the sounds of fists and the scuffling of heels on the polished floor. Instead, I headed directly toward the lifeless body of a teenage girl lying on a blackened dining table. Her face had been brutalized until it looked like little more than a mix of borscht and bone. The pool of blood surrounding the body was slowly soaking into her tight white dress and long, bleached-blonde hair. She had a fucking excellent body, and as I placed the back of my knuckles on her slender neck, I found that her flesh was still warm. I'd fuck that. But then the landline began to ring. Walking through the darkened kitchen, I pulled on my leather gloves, and watched Jörg choke some guy under his boot in the huge living room. Picking up the ringing phone, I heard a casual German mumbled into my ear. Listening, I opened a drawer and plucked out a large Japanese steak knife. With a deranged frown, Jörg looked up from the gangster that he had stomped unconscious, as I held out both the phone and the knife. Licking his lips, Jörg chose the knife, saying, “Thanks, man.”

Backing up, I made sure to step out of range of the arterial spray as Jörg slashed his prey's jugular from ear to fucking ear! Noticing the other two bludgeoned men nearby, I slowly handed Jörg the phone and stared at the three blood-soaked meat-mallets that lay upon another glass table top.

-

As we drove off in the BMW, Jörg grabbed a black device that was sitting on the dashboard. Switching it on, we were then blinded by a flashing blue police light. Jörg grinned, “We're unstoppable now!”

“Who the fuck is Friedrich?” I asked, straightening the blue light.

Jörg was about to laugh, when the trunk of the car flipped open while we were racing through the city! “Fucking cunt!”

The BMW swerved onto the sidewalk, and we both jumped out to find the owner of the vehicle crawling across the middle of the street, fifty-meters-back.

“Get him!” Jörg yelled, slamming the trunk shut, as I ran at that rabbiting motherfucker. This prick meant nothing to me, but he had seen my face. That was all the breakneck motivation that I needed.

He raced down a side street, his arms whipping at his sides as he ran into a small park. I could see the stairs to an Sbahn station, but the gates were shut. He darted across another traffic-island and slowed down. There, I realized that he wasn't trying to out run me, just lose the car. It then occurred to me that I probably wouldn't be able to handle this guy on my own. And as we ran into an open platz, he turned, glaring straight back at me. No longer the pitiful coward on his knees in the parking lot, he was enraged as he lunged at me! I only had inertia on myself and kept running. Slamming into him, my legs drove that piece of shitk back into a lamppost! Something hit me from above and below, and then he shoved me the fuck away! He didn't stick around, and ran straight toward a line-up of taxis. Getting to my feet, I looked up, just as the BMW drove through the open platz like a bowling ball and knocked that cunt the fuck out!

-

Soon, the BMW eased into a quiet neighborhood in Pankow, where Jörg nodded at a big mansion with only a few lights on inside. First thing first, he opened the trunk and used a tire-iron to beat the living shit out of the unconscious owner of the vehicle.

We then wandered around to the back garden, inspecting the modern windows, until we spotted movement on the second floor. Ecstatic, Jörg unzipped his jacket and stretched his shoulders. While I was wearing at least five layers against the cold, under his leather jacket, Jörg only had on a thin cotton shirt that was open down to his chest. There, a Russian Orthodox crucifix swung on a thin gold chain. I had no fucking idea whose house this was, and Jörg clearly didn't need my encouragement. He opened a sliding door, while I glanced around the overgrown gardens wondering what the fuck we were doing here. However, after Jörg submerged into the darkness beyond the drapes, I dismally remembered that I had nothing better to do. I could go home, but to what?!

The contemporary lounge was full of expensive looking furniture and one of the biggest flat-screens on the market. Jörg scurried up the stairs, and immediately the yelling of men was met with the impacts of human bodies pounding against the floorboards above my head. I didn't feel like being caught off-guard again, not without a blunt instrument in hand. So, I grabbed a post-modern candle-stand before scaling the stairs. To my surprise, it was Jörg who I found in a headlock from some Turkish-looking giant. Two others were sprawled on their asses, dazed and confused. With the candle-stand at my side, I stood patiently in the doorway as Jörg squinted at me and then gasped, “Little help.”

Quietly walking into that enormous bedroom, I smashed my weapon into the side of the skull of the first guy sitting on the floor! Taking my club in both hands, I then battered the second casualty, before turning to the two men wrestling next to the window's pale curtains. The big guy holding Jörg backed up as I slowly approached, holding my bloody weapon toward his face. His dilemma was a painful one. Release the scorpion in his grip and face two at once, or hold on and get his head bashed in. Suddenly he released Jörg, but before he could reach me, Jörg pulled out his gun and shot him pointblank in the back of the head!

My initial reaction was to check that I hadn't been hit by any of that cunt's bodily fluids.

Jörg knelt over the fallen man and poked him with his handgun. The guy was still alive, despite a hand-size flap of this face hanging wide open. While his arms twitched, his only remaining eye blinked, though was drenched in blood. Jörg smiled, slapped the gunshot wound, and then stood up and left the bedroom. “Thanks, man!”

“The fuck are we doing here?!” I yelled, throwing the candle-stand into a wall mirror that exploded!

Jörg stuck his head back around the door-frame, pointing at a woman's dress on the unmade bed. “That, that right there. That's Galina's.”

“The fuck is Galina?!”

With a coy expression, Jörg stepped back into the bright bedroom. “Look, I know I promised we'd get some tonight, but there's only thirty minutes till she's fucked! And we're on a fucking roll here! Burgundy fucked off on the wrong lead, man!”

“And why the fuck are we here?!”

Crouching next to one of the bloodied guys lying near the bed, Jörg turned him over. “The phone call at the penthouse, Pavel was on the line. You know Pavel, don't you.”

“No.”

Jörg looked at the body before him. “Wait, you're not Pavel.”

“Pavel?”

Jörg grabbed the other guy and rolled him over. “Where the fuck is Pavel?!”

“Seems like he's not here.”

“This is Pavel's fucking house!”

“And neither is this Galina.”

Utter silence filled the room, until Jörg eventually nodded his head. Anger then snapped across his face and he shot the two injured men lying below him!

Looking around the messed up bed, it seemed obvious that whoever owned the dress had had it torn off by a gang of rapists. You could still smell it in the air. Jörg started turning in frustrated circles, his gun still in hand. I was pretty sure he didn't give a fuck about this Galina chick, he only seemed to enjoy the game of chasing after something with a time-limit. And as curtious as he had always appeared to treat me, I didn't intend on ever finding myself on his shit-list. “So, let's get this right. Galina's Friedrich's girl? She's not here. But had been? And that's her handbag's in the car. Did you check what's in her bag?”

“Still in the backseat.”

And that was when another an unfamiliar phone began to ring from Jörg's pocket. It was the phone from the guy stuffed in the BMW's trunk. Jörg answered it with nothing but grunts. Lowering the phone, he looking up and relayed the message. “We're meant to pick up the 'drop-off' and bring it back to Wenham's place.”

“Whose place?”

“Let's go find out!”

-

With the blue light flashing, Jörg sped through the city in record time, and I made damned sure that my seat-belt was fastened tight. The handbag sat on my lap the entire journey into Mitte, but it wasn't until we parked on a street overlooking the Rudolf Virchow monument, that I opened the handbag and pulled out Galina's rose-gold iPhone. It was locked of course, and when I picked up the phone which had given us the instructions to come here, it too was pin-code secured. Unless someone called us with either phone, they were dead-ends.

“There!” Jörg grinned.

A black Mercedes drove up in front of the monument. Someone stepped out, glanced around, and then placed something at the bottom of the pillars below the stone statue. Once the Mercedes cruised away, we drove up. Being the taller, I jumped out and reached up, finding yet another fucking phone.

“Hey, exactly whose side are we on when we're in his car?” Jörg asked, as we both sat in BMW staring at this new phone, right when it started ringing. Jörg answered with his vague affirmations – but suddenly someone slammed into the side of the car, tore open my door, and threw me against the statue! Another two men grabbed and punched me in the gut! Collapsing to the concrete, a boot then clamped down on my face! On the hierarchy of hand-to-hand combat: there were Krav Maga experts at the top, then those trained in martial arts, then casual gym boxers, then drunken pub scrappers, then abusive loudmouths, and then there was me, just above sniveling weaklings. But after being pinned down for all of five seconds, I was released, once Jörg screamed at them with his gun out stretched!

More hostile cars rushed to the scene, as we raced away, while I picked gravel from my cheek.

“They're fucking Friedrich's crew!” Jörg yelled, punching the steering wheel. “We fucked up by taking this fucking car! They're going to think we're fucking responsible!”

Slowly shaking my head, this wasn't how I'd hoped this evening would pan out. However, this immediate bullshit made my financial concerns seem less of a priority. Anything was a welcomed distraction from the constant stress that had been depriving me of sleep.

“How we going to lose these cunts?!” Jörg shouted, frantically looking around the deserted streets of central Berlin.

“Hauptbahnhof.”

“What?!”

“There's always cops outside the station.”

“You want the fucking pigs after us as well?!”

“We're in a cop car, aren't we?”

“Are you fucking retarded?!”

“Cops will help one of their own.”

Jörg didn't look convinced, but thirty seconds later, we skid into the entrance at the north-side of the looming glass train station. The officers in body-armor just stared cow-eyed back at Jörg who leaned out his window, yelling at them in Deutsch. The moment our three tails raced up behind us, the cluster of twenty cops finally fucking reacted!

Jörg swerved the BMW around and sent the cops running as we accelerated between our pursuers. A blaze of blue lights, sirens, and gunfire then erupted in our rear-view mirrors.

“Okay, what are we doing?!” Jörg asked. “Where to?”

“Are you fucking kidding?!” I frowned, switching off the dashboard light. “We have to find this fucking Wenham, and then hopefully this fucking the girl? I don't fucking know!”

“But where the fuck am I going?! Come on, man! Where's Wenham?!”

Exhaling hard through my nose, I cracked my neck from side to side. “This car. The guy in the trunk. It was his phone. He must know where Wenham is. Right?”

Jörg shrugged.

“Is he still alive?”

Again, Jörg shrugged.

-

After buying a chilled bottle of mineral water from some insignificant kiosk on a nondescript street in Gesundbrunnen, I emptied it over the twisted body in the trunk.

Nothing.

Jörg just crossed his arms.

Reaching into that bloody mess, I tried finding a pulse on his neck, and then his wrist, before saying, “Hey, give me his phone.”

“Why?”

“New iPhones use fingerprint recognition.”

“Yes!”

We drove off while I went through the contacts, and sure enough, Wenham was listed.

“Yeah, but what good it is having his number?” Jörg groaned. “Where's he at?!”

“Text him in Deutsch. Tell him you're lost and need his address.”

“That's suspicious as fuck!”

“Then fucking text a bunch of people in his contacts! Ask if they know where he fucking lives! Jesus fuck! You have any better fucking suggestions?!”

-

In less than a minute, Red Scalp, Mantra Bufala, was playing on the stereo and we already had nine replies to the ten Whatsapp messages. I was shocked. So, that's what it's like when people actually answer their messages at the same time that they read them. Three of the replies had no idea what we were talking about. One responded was a, “Fuck off!” and five pretty much described the exact same directions to Wenham's place. It would only take a couple of minutes and we would be in Wittenau.

“What if the girl's not there?” I asked.

“Then we'll politely ask where she's at.”

“As long as we're polite about it,” I smiled, appreciating that I'd gotten lucky so far. Recently however, my health insurance had restricted my access to emergencies only, due to my refusal to pay them since simply trying to quit. German health insurance in legalized extortion, never let any American-socialist-dreamer tell you otherwise! But hopefully though, tonight I'd get shot in the fucking face!

-

Pulling into a driveway next to several other cars, Jörg headed toward the front of an ugly concrete block of a building. The first two big guys we met welcomed us by pointing inside to a shitty glass entrance. The lift opened as we walked in the front door, and out stepped an little guy who snarled at us both. Jörg simply held up the drop-off phone, “We got it!”

Waving his hands madly, the small man glared at his wristwatch, ushering us into elevator, before thumbing the button and leaving as alone.

“Who's this Friedrich to you, anyway?” I asked.

“Never met him.”

Incredulously, I turned my head to Jörg. “What the fuck are we doing here, then?!”

“Man, you know, you'll never be a successful businessman! But at the same time, you know, you'll never be bored doing nothing.”

“What's that supposed to fucking mean?!”

“You've got a talent, man. You've always had that,” Jörg said, looking out the glass elevator at the surrounding woods. “It's just, fuck! You're making shit no one wants to fucking see! So, you know, you'll never be anything more than just another fucking shithead wasting your time on pointless shit.”

Suddenly it seemed as though the one guy who had had my six this entire evening decided he would take a huge dump right on my fucking head with some hard-hitting facts of life.

“You think you're part of something bigger than yourself, but you know, man, you're not! None of are!”

“No shit.”

“But at least, you know what. You actually have your art,” Jörg said, crossing his arms. “What the fuck have I got but this shit!”

Once the elevator reached the top floor, music came from an open door along the corridor. Jörg strolled inside the party at Wenham's place, and as perplexed as I was by his rather accurate insight, I followed. I wasn't sure what language anyone was speaking in that weed-stinking flat with graffiti all over the walls, but scanning the kids, I that knew none of them give a fuck who we were. A bunch of guys were playing X-Box on torn sofas in the lounge, and I somehow lost sight of Jörg in the crowd. It was the shrieking of a female's voice that abruptly drew my attention. In the pigsty of a kitchen, a blonde chick was literally screaming into the phone that Jörg had delivered, and then she slammed it against the fridge! Some other guy then began smashing the cupboards with a baseball bat! The girl continued shrieking, but no one was touching her. Another guy held the phone to his ear and yelled something in Deutsch, before placing the phone under the path of the baseball bat!

The chick squealed again but this time euphoric. I spotted Jörg with an expression matching my own apprehension. The girl then made a meal out of another guy's face before they marched out of the flat. As the girl strut by, I stared at her white dress and long pale hair – I had already seen her twin this evening. This wasn't a fucking coincidence. This was Galina, and she sure as shit wasn't being held against her will!

Suddenly I was shoulder-barged into and thumped against a wall! Spinning around, a hand grabbed me from another direction, however, this time Jörg shoved me away from some hostile cunt looking to pick a fight. Jörg then put on a shy act and laughed about a misunderstanding, patting my chest as he spoke. That was when the little guy from the elevator came yelling in a shrill pitch! Jörg was abruptly grabbed and thrown over the kitchen counter top! I too was swung into a group of kids! They pushed back, and I lunged at the attacking son of a bitch! In that moment, my confidence wasn't dissuaded by my conscious lack of skill, for I still believed in brute force, and that was all the violent faith that I needed. We collided and our claws clung on as we twisted in a wrestling match for about one second of chaos – until a machine-gun woke the fucking neighbors! Instantly, I was released. Ducking in confusion, like everyone, I saw Jörg firing an Kalashnikov into everything in all directions! He changed the clip and walked into the lounge where he shot any asshole still sitting on their fat fucking ass! I lost all respect for the guy who had shoulder-barged me, as I saw him frantically scurry out the front door. The little guy, however, was still shouting as he went up to Jörg with nothing but a pointed finger and balls of steel. Lowing the gun, Jörg laughed at this human-chihuahua. Either Jörg was out of ammo, or perhaps he just liked pummeling that squawking cunt with the stock of the gun. Stepping closer for a better view, a cruel smirk widened my lips. What more glorious a spectacle was there than that of one man beating another to death.

And then Jörg suddenly looked up. “Wo ist sie?!”

-

Racing through the northern suburbs of Berlin, we nearly lost sight of the Toyota SUV Cruiser somewhere near Tegel Airport, until we reached one of those great lengths of perfectly straight road without any other traffic. While Jörg floored it, I had to remind myself that this was perhaps the only way to clear our names from any insinuated involvement. But then again, I wasn't entirely persuaded that we had actually incriminated ourselves. Besides, it felt like our so-called good deed came at the expense of anyone in our path. However, ultimately, it was the violence that kept me in the passenger seat. Whatever reasons Jörg may have had for trusting me, it was a golden ticket to a first-hand display of murder and mayhem. You got to take your sadistic pleasures where you can, before the misery of the world turns its spite on you.

We were driving through Alt Tegel, right on the tail of the Cruiser, when it took a left into a development of modern apartment buildings next to the inlet from the lake. Though, we just drove on by. Jumping out of the BMW, Jörg and I hurried on foot back to the private driveway, and watched Galina and the guy enter one of the new weekend retreats. Their driver in the SUV continued into the underground parking lot. For a moment, I considered suggesting that we just call Friedrich and tell him where his girl was hiding, and be done with it. But I had no intention of ending the evening's adventures anytime soon.

-

Jörg broke in through a dark window on a side of the three-story building where we thought we would go unnoticed. Unfortunately, there was a completely different couple sleeping upstairs. They awoke as the lights came on, while Jörg's walked in with 9mm aimed at their bewilderment. Neither Jörg nor I had assumed that these modern homes had been subdivided in two. This couple were in their fifties, and as soon the husband raised his voice, Jörg grabbed a pillow and shot him through it! WHAM! The woman inhaled as if to scream, until Jörg shoved the bloody pillow over her face and spent his last bullet! BAM!

Taking a seat on the edge of the bed, Jörg's head hung low. While keeping my hands behind my back, I stepped up for a closer look at the burst skull of the husband. The last pumps of blood oozed out of the entry wound in his temple as I focused on his dilated pupils.

“Christ,” Jörg whispered. “Look at this fucking place. All their fucking money, and yet here we are in the wrong fucking place, and now look at them. Where the fuck are we, man?”

He had that same tone of voice from the glass elevator. Maybe the late hour was getting the best of him, or maybe he just needed another line of cocaine.

“You know, man, I spend most of my fucking time in vast periods of isolation. Look at this shit. We live in this fucking city, but I can't fucking remember the last time I met a single person I a fuck about. You know, I've begun telling myself that I'm actually living in the remote mountains. I see people everyday but I speak to none of them. Not really speak. All these people, they're not really here. Why fucking live in a city if I'm not interacting with anyone. Every-fucking-day, I'm just killing time, waiting for fucking nothing to come! It's all a wonderful waste of my fucking time!”

Crossing my arms, I pictured myself at his age, when I was standing next to my tall bedroom window, looking out over the inner city rooftops. I hated everything I saw. There had been nothing to look forward to, and even the idea of moving to Germany was still a long time away. My career had been floundering and I was years between significant others. It's a fucking miracle that I had made it through that time in my life.

“I know exactly what built the fucking pyramids,” Jörg said, breaking the silence. “Idle fucking hands.”

He was absolutely correct. With so many years to myself, I had always been busy with obsessively stalking females and personifying my disgust into piles of artwork. If I ever had an army of fucking slaves, I would build empires of mountainous tombs where I would mummify the trophies of my desecration.

“I live here and yet none of these fucking people know me. And look at what I get up to. Fucking people like Mr. C can't fucking stand me. They know exactly what I've done, but they still fucking need me!” Jörg yelled, smashing a vase with his empty gun! “You know, Mr. C once said some shit like, the most dangerous people are the ones that play within the rules. Bitch, fucking just look at what I've done here! Don't fucking tell me what's more dangerous! Don't fucking tell me anything!”

Pulling out his own phone this time, Jörg made a quick call. For a moment, I wondered if these were the kind of 'accidents' that Mr. Schilling used to clean up. If Jörg represented my past, and Mr. Schilling was my future, it seemed as though there was meant to be some kind of profound lesson that was screaming at me from the vale of self-defeating introspection. Or perhaps I was just as incapable of learning from my mistakes as I was unable to pity the lives I'd witnessed executed tonight.

-

While Jörg sat dwelling in comtempt next to the dead couple, I climbed around the balcony railing to the adjacent apartment. There, I found myself standing alone, staring into the neighboring bedroom at some old-school doggy-style on a king-size. While watching the live porno, as I stood in the dark, I knew that I was invisible to those inside. It was decent show. The average-looking guy was going balls-deep, and the blonde cunt was pushing back and moaning like a pro. But then I saw Jörg approaching them from the bedroom door. It was too freezing for this peeping-tom bullshit, so I wrenched open the glass door! The roar of the slider, accompanied with a gust of arctic wind, shattered the fuck-fest. The guy shoved the chick face down as he lurched backward. But Jörg brutally slapped him about the head before knocking his feet out from under him! Galina screamed in terror once she laid her eyes upon me. Her voice alone was a greater turn-on than merely watching her rut.

Using wire coat-hangers from the dry-cleaning in the cupboard, I bound the lover's wrists. The arogant guy began arguing, until Jörg stuffed the prick's own underwear into his mouth. However, once the Galina began to speak, Jörg and I both turned and stared at her. I couldn't understand everything that she said in Deutsch, but picked up enough to realize that her lover-man was actually Mr. Caviezel's little fucking brother! The blonde cunt knew that she had said the magic words as she watched the reevaluation run through our heads.

“What the fuck is this, the beginning of the second Trojan War?!” Jörg yelled, backing away. “For fuck's sake! Friedrich's on his fucking way here right fucking now!”

Galina shrieked her protest, while lashing out against her restraints.

“Friedrich's going to fucking kill you both!” Jörg said, shaking his head. “This was supposed to be some awesome resolution shit right here! We were going to be the fucking heroes! Not anymore, Jesus fucking Christ!”

Jörg proceeded shouting in multiple languages while punching holes in the fucking walls! I was impressed that he managed to keep his hands away from the proverbial Paris and Helen. It was the white dress crumpled upon the floor that once again reminded me of the faceless girl in the first penthouse, and I asked, “What was your plan exactly?”

The driver then came out of nowhere and tackled Jörg! The two men crashed into a dresser before hitting the ground, where the bodyguard had his eyes dug out! Jörg crushed the two orbs in his fists before he unleashed his frustration upon the blinded man!

The naked lovers looked petrified at the relentless aggression that poured out of the young Belarusian, while I quietly repeated my question, “How'd you think you'd get away with all of this?”

-

As the BMW left Alt Tegel, a procession of five black cars raced toward the modern house that we'd just evacuated.

“They're not going to be happy about this,” Jörg said, shaking his head with a slight smile. Paris, sat in his underwear up front, while I was in the back next to the female-cause of this evening's conflict. Jörg then punched Paris in the balls! “If this doesn't work, I'll personally hold you down in front of Friedrich, and watch my friend here, skin you alive. And he's not very good at it. But he's fucking persistent!”

“You take me back to Friedrich, and I'll tell him you both raped me! I'll say it was Paris who stopped you!”

Jörg wasn't having any of that, and the BMW skid into a dangerous sideways slide! He kicked open his door and dragged Paris out. Sucker-punching Paris, Jörg shoved him into the trunk with the dead owner of the vehicle. Jörg then ripped open the door next to Galina. Grabbed her by the face, he whispered into her manic resistance, “You speak one more time without being asked a direct fucking question, cunt, and my slap-head buddy next to you will indeed fucking rape you with a fucking knife in ways that will make you unable enjoy a dick or bare a fucking children – ever!”

-

With the blue police light on, we sped across the city, back to the penthouse where we'd first acquired the BMW.

Once all four of us stepped into that silent apartment with its gigantic windows, all that we found on the dining table was a smeared puddle of cold black blood.

While Jörg kicked the shit out of Paris, I checked the rest of the place, making sure there wasn't anyone hiding. What I did find, however, were the three meat-mallets sitting in the kitchen sink.

“Fuck this!” Jörg screamed, flipping the entire dining table, and it BOOMED upon the polished floor! Despite their hands being bound behind their backs, the two lovers took the opportunity and ran! Stepping in front of the exit, I was slammed into by the couple! Balance, however, was on my side, and with one hand each, I pushed them over onto their asses. Jörg then yelled out, “Let's just dump these two fucks on Mr. C's doorstep and let him sort out this fucking shit!”

“He'll fucking kill you for knowing too much!” Galina stated. “I told you, I've been working on this plan for months! This is the only fucking way to get out of this clean!”

“The fuck happened to this, what'd you call it, this scapegoat-body, then?” Jörg shouted from the other room. “Why the fuck is this shit my fucking problem?!”

“Pavel's continuing with the fucking plan, you idiot!” Galina stated.

“Why the fuck are we here, then?!” Jörg screamed at the top of his lungs. “Why'd we come here?!”

With a mocking sneer, Galina yelled back, “You drive like a fucking pussy, that's why!”

-

Even a cop with his sirens on wouldn't have been excused for driving as recklessly as Jörg did from then on. Cutting across the pavement and scraping against parked cars, we lost both side mirrors within two minutes.

“Once we get there, give Pavel my handbag. That's why it's here in the first place, to identify my body. Then we'll call Friedrich. Tell him that you two fuck-ups almost saved me, but ruined the exchange, that's why the plan changed. You'll be in the clear. I'll say that some unknown asshole is going to kill me on the waterfront if Friedrich doesn't come alone with the cash. But he's only going to find the dead girl. And then we can all fuck off and get on with our fucking lives!”

“Where the fuck are you two love-birds going to go?” Jörg asked. “I mean, why the fuck didn't you take the first flight out of town?”

“We're staying right fucking here!” Paris said defiantly. “This is my fucking home!”

-

I'd never been to the Müggelsee before, and from the wooded west bank, with the first clouds of Saturday morning lighting the horizon, it looked more like an ocean than a lake. Paris had already made a call on the drive, telling Pavel to wait for us, and we found him standing next to a Mercedes van with two other men on the edge of the water.

Once Jörg and I stepped out of the BMW, we suddenly found the three men pointing handguns at us.

“Chill the fuck out, would you. How'd you assholes forget this shit?” Jörg laughed, holding up Galina's black handbag. “You know, I'm supposed to be taking this legend to see some strippers, not fucking around in middle of fucking nowhere, with you cunts!”

Dumping the handbag on the gravel, Jörg and I stood still while we were frisked.

Complaining in a moan, Pavel continued to babble on about bullshit, while the other two gang members opened the van and pulled out the scapegoat-body. Picking up the handbag, Pavel's groaning changed to confusion, as he pulled out three meat-mallets. Yeah, there had been another last minute change of plan. Jörg then grabbed one of the tools as he ran at the two preoccupied thugs – and smashed in both of their skulls!

Taking a mallet myself from the shocked Pavel, he surrendered like he didn't give a shit about what was going on.

It wasn't until I opened the trunk of the BMW and glared at the two lovers, that I realized it had only been six years since I had been the one who found himself trapped like this by the same criminal organization.

“Please, it's too cold in here for her. Please!” Paris pleaded on Galina's behalf. He did seem genuine about his affections. The things we do for women. But for what in return?! Thinking of my painting from 2006, What Have I Learned?, I wondered how anyone ever imagined that they would find enlightenment down the holes of whores.

After tossing the three new handguns on the dashbaord, Jörg took Pavel's phone and did in fact call Friedrich after all.

-

Pavel sat in the passenger's side, while I was in the back again, as Jörg drove through the woods. This time the icy corpse of the bleached-blonde, scapegoat-body was lying on my lap. She was so pretty without a face.

“Man, why the fuck are you wasting your time with fucking criminals like us?” Jörg suddenly asked, through the rear-view mirror. “You have a actual talent, something away from all this shit.”

Glancing out the window, I stroked the dead body's belly as I recalled, “This evening, before I met you, I went to the kino with a friend. She told me that a friend of ours, who just moved back to Japan, has been diagnosed with a brain tumor.”

“Ah, he's fucked, then.”

“And you know, I'll hear more and more stories like this soon. Watching others drop off one by one. Yet I'll still be here.”

“Not if you keep hanging out with people like me.”

“Hopefully.”

“You fucking stupid?!”

“You know what my retirement policy is: suicide or prison.”

“Man, that's a weirdly optimistic pessimism,” Jörg laughed. “ Why don't you have any faith in yourself, if you actually think you'll live that long?”

“Fucking coward!” Pavel quietly interjected.

The BMW immediately came to a full stop! Jörg then yanked Pavel out into the middle of the tree-shrouded street. Pavel had only a tired expression of impatience – until Jörg shot him in the chest! The gun continued firing until Jörg's finger clicked upon an empty magazine.

Leaving Pavel's carcass on the asphalt, we drove on. Jörg cleared his throat before speaking again, “You're like, the only guy I feel like I'm honest with, man. You know, when was the last time you had a serious heart to heart with a fucking girl? They don't want hear about your fucking personal problems. You open about anything like that and they instantly see it as a fucking weakness! All conversations with chicks are only ever a show of power. Which, you know, leaves all relationships fucking empty! Man, I fucking hate fags, but sometimes, you know, I think they might actually have more meaningful connections. Seriously, is it any fucking wonder that all the great thinkers were those fucking man-boy-loving Greek!”

There was am inconsolable despair to Jörg's voice, reminding me of a week earlier, when it was Mara upon my lap. She believed that I had abandoned her on her birthday. Abandoned her by not going to the Staatsoper ballet, and by refusing to accompany her to Amsterdam. It was the desperation of true loneliness in her voice. But in these utterly self-deprecating times of alienation, I found that I was in no position to offer any comfort or reassurances to anyone, or even myself.

-

Heading through the city, Jörg resumed my playlist, and Lowdrive, The Last Stand, was as loud as the car was fast – until we were crashed into from the side! The van from the lake had caught up with us! I guess Jörg hadn't quite beaten the shit out of the last two gangsters. Putting his foot down, we sped ahead of the van, only to spot headlights coming toward us. The assholes in the van must have called for back up. The on-comer swerved and stopped in the middle of the street, where out stepped two guys with HK416 assault rifles and opened fire! The BMW's windscreen shattered, as Jörg screamed, “Jesus fucking Christ!”

The BMW drove straight through one of the gunmen while the other blasted into the side! Clinging to the dead girl, I kept my head down, checking that I wasn't shot. “The fuck was that?!”

“Fucked if I know!” Jörg yelled, sweating with anger. “I'm going to fucking kill these pricks!”

Another unknown car roared out of a side street and punched into the BMW! Jörg struggled with the wheel and we were sent down a new street while being rammed into from behind! Yelling outraged, Jörg slammed on the breaks! The two cars behind crashed into us as Jörg twisted around in his seat and fired two hand guns through the rear window into the following drivers! Glass fragments rained over my shoulders as I shielded the dead girl below. Jörg then raced off leaving the two cars behind. Laughing, he was excited with the distance we made – until a Hummer drove into us and the BMW was wrecked upon an immovable lamppost!

Having already being lying low in the backseat, the abrupt impact wasn't as bad as when I was dragged from the car and thrown into an SUV. A black bag was pulled over my head as my wrists were bound.

-

Soon, my hood was removed and I was shoved to my knees, finding myself in the private courtyard of a single-story mansion. As my restraints were cut, I scanned the open space. It was full of vehicles and dozens of Slovakian gangsters. A granite sky hung beyond the towering trees, and I estimated that we were somewhere just out of town. A sixty-year-old guy with a face that commanded fear, slowly stepped out onto the front porch, inspecting his guests before he approached. Jörg knelt to my right, the faceless blonde lay to his right. To my left were the two lovers, shivering in their underwear and still with their hands tied.

“Look at these two!” the old man condemned, looking down his nose at Jörg and I. “Did Luca Signorelli foresee this when he painted the, Deeds Of The AntiChrist! Though, who has the worse influence here?”

It didn't take much to work out that this was Friedrich in the flesh. Stepping sideways, he stood over his treacherous woman and watched as she trembled. Paris however, scowled at me with conspiring eyes.

Turning, Friedrich barked at Jörg, “Prove yourself!”

“You can't kill him,” Jörg stated, while still glaring down at the cobblestones. “He's Caviezel's brother. It'll start a war.”

I was rather amused that Jörg would even care about preventing a greater conflict.

“I don't have a brother,” came a familiar voice from the big house.

Turning my head toward Paris, I saw him cringe, and I immediately understood that it was Jörg and I who had been the ones taken for a fucking ride. Mr. Burgundy stepped outside along with Mr. Caviezel, and they both looked fucking livid.

“The artist who complacently represents what is reprehensible, vicious, criminal, approves of it, perhaps glorifies it, differs not in kind, but only in degree, from the criminal who actually comments it,”” Mr. Caviezel quoted Max Nordau into my ear, before dropping a heavy machete in front of Jörg. “Make them suffer!”

Jörg didn't move, he just kept his head down where he knelt.

Fine! Picking up the tool, it was oblivious what needed to be done in order to correct this predicament. So, I walked over and hacked off the head of the would-be Paris within a matter of seconds! Galina vomited a shriek of epic volume upon gulps of hysteria at the sight of her lover's slaughter. She was still kneeling with her hands tied behind her back, when I turned my fixation upon her. With a shove from the sole of my dress shoe, I sent her backward, and then I drove the long blade into her belly! Her screams never seized. Discarding the machete and my coat, I rolled up my sleeves before digging my hands into her guts and ripping out every inch of her bowels! Her voice went even more shrill once I stuffed the severed head of her Paris into her hollow cavity! Now she could permanently keep a part of him inside of her! Stretching out a length of her slippery intestine, I wrapped it around her throat and proceeded to strangled that cunt with a hatred for all those things that I could never change! My jaw clenched as tight as the noose, until that female went limp, and finally the membrane of the ligature broke open, spraying her own shit across her dead eyes!

Stumbling backward, I caught my breath above the butchered lovers. It took some time before I realized that everyone, except Jörg, had retreated to their vehicles and were slowly driving away.

Washing my hands in a freezing puddle, I saw Friedrich glaring at me from the house and then quietly closed the curtains with a broken heart. His withdrawn face suddenly took me back to my childhood. Our next door neighbor was an old guy who had been alone since I was born until his death in my teens. There was also a neighbor across the road who lived alone. He too died of an isolated old age. Further up and over a hill there had been yet another old man but with one arm. He had always lived in a state of disheveled decay. His house was falling apart and his entire property was full of piles of trash. As kids, we had shunned him. My brother openly despised his lack of self-respect, and my parents told us never to bother him. But there was something about his condition that disturbed my timid childhood. It was the idea that perhaps it wasn't his lack of an arm that had brought him down to this sad situation. Our other neighbors had both limbs, and still, the great indifference of the universe had eaten them alive. Eventually, they had all become the insect-shells of their former selves, hardened by years of habit and rejection, until one by one, they had each died alone.

“What do you want?” Jörg whispered from his knees.

Standing tall, I extended an open palm to Jörg. Silently looking down on this deeply troubled kid, I waited until he caught a hold of my hand.

“What the fuck are you waiting for, you sickfuck! We're not friends! I don't need your fucking help!” Jörg lunged to his feet, grabbing my collar as he screamed with bloodshot eyes, “WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU STILL HERE?! WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT FROM ME?! SHOW A LITTLE FUCKING RECOGNITION, FOR FUCK'S SAKE?!”

“What's the devil's shadow to himself?”

Jörg gasped with exhaustion and backed away. “What did you expect from this evening? What, huh? What?”

“Planned on asking Caviezel for a part-time job.”

“Why?”

“Only working on, as you put it, my own worthless shit.”

“Should be fucking happy, then.”

I bit my tongue. After I had returned from Turkey last year, I had assumed that I had earned the responsibilities of Mr. Schilling's former position. But obviously I was wrong, and Mr. Schilling had been right about everything.

“You're always working on something. It's fucking disgusting. So, what are your really planning?”

This time, I backed away, turning to leave. “Putting some serious thought into giving up my worldly possessions, joining a seminary, and becoming a Presbyterian priest.”

Bursting into laughter, Jörg wiped his tears with his forearm, “Possessions are the best! Especially owning people! Why be a fucking saint when you can be rich as a fuck!”

-

That morning, after ignoring my bed, I met Mara for coffee before we visited a retrospective exhibition about Gianni Versace.

Over sushi in the evening, we romanticized about returning to Japan. It was just talk after all. Why discourage Mara's expensive holidays, extravagant ballet performances, and precious birthday plans. All that friends really want, are team-mates in the self-indulgent game of humoring their whimsical fancies. So, I laughed and joked and played the part of good company. Jörg was right, there was nothing gained from telling others about your failings. But he also had cocaine keeping him going. I merely had cortisol produced by the shame of understanding that I'd soon be living in destitution. I also knew, however, that I'd gone hungry before, I could do it again. And a line from Nailbomb echoed through my head, “Don't need sympathy. Smile it's nothing but teeth. I'll keep my integrity. Even if I have to sleep on the street.”

Bruce

© 2018 BRUCE STIRLING JOHN KNOX