Welcome to the Xeroversary! We're celebrating two years of the Xeroverse with guest fiction from some of my favourite flash fiction writers. Thanks for dropping by, come in, enjoy the fiction, say hello. =)
...and don't miss the afterparty! ^_^
No Laughing Matter
by Steve Green
Well, I tell you, I've dished out a few punishment beatings before but never in my life have I ever come across anyone as tough as Big Bernie.
Bernie was one of those guys just born to be a goon. He was massive, strong, totally loyal to his boss. He wasn't the sharpest tool in the box, in fact his thought processes and emotions were nearer to those of a child than an adult.
Jimmy had winched him up on the block and tackle while I held the gun on him. Bernie, naked, hanging by his wrists, started looking a little nervous as I put down the gun and picked up the baseball bat.
Jimmy walked past me and leant against the wall behind me, just a spectator now.
If I had wanted information from Bernie I would have been wasting my time, he would die before ratting on his boss. No, this was a pleasure trip for me, last week Bernie had kicked the living crap out of one of my guys, he would be out of commission for weeks, and now it was payback time.
I swung the bat straight into his shin bone, the resultant thud, and the shockwave along my arms gave me a warm glow of satisfaction.
Bernie burst into fits of hysterical giggling.
“Okay, let's see how funny you find this.”
I swung the bat again, harder. This time I heard the bone crack. The bat sank a good two inches into his leg, making sickening squelching sounds as I yanked it back out again.
Instead of screams, and pleas for mercy I was rewarded by further giggling, which increased in volume and intensity until it turned into outright laughter.
Now usually I keep my calm throughout these kind of situations, stay detached, it adds a little more menace to the punishment, but Bernie's laughter was getting to me, it was as though HE were the one punishing ME!
I put real anger behind the next swing, I think at least three of his ribs must have collapsed under the blow.
One of the bones must have gone through a lung. Blood sprayed from his mouth as he threw his head back and guffawed at the top of his voice.
“Right, that's it, you big stupid dummy.”
I set about him with a vengeance, raining blows hard and fast all over his body, all control gone now. I beat him harder and faster, a blur of mindless violence.
The sound of pulping muscle, cracking and splintering bone, dull thuds and liquid suction echoed off the walls, and rising above it all, sometimes drowning it out completely, Bernie's loud, uncontrollable, and almost continuous laughter.
I let the bat fall to the floor, I was drenched in sweat, exhausted, I just didn't have the strength to hit him any more. He had beaten me.
I picked up the gun and pointed it at his face. His grinning, laughing face.
His head and arms were the only parts of him left that you could call human. The rest of him was just a battered, smashed mess hanging above a large pool of blood, guts and bits of skin.
“I'm sorry Bernie, it should never have gone as far as this, I have to finish you off, there is no way that you can be fixed up again.”
Bernie just carried on laughing, and for the first time I noticed that he was looking over my shoulder, and when I think back, that is where he had been looking most of the time I had been hitting him.
I spun round to look at Jimmy, whose face seemed to be struggling to maintain a serious expression.
I turned back to face what was left of Bernie, who immediately started laughing again.
“Okay Bernie, you know I have to do this, but before I pull the trigger, just what the hell do you find so amusing?”
Bernie looked down at me with a twisted face as he fought to control the mirth running amok inside him.
“You know I don't like to rat on people, but it's all Jimmy's fault. He keeps pulling funny faces at you behind your back.”
Steve Green: An unpredictable muse inside an overactive imagination.
Check out his work on The Twisted Quill.
Xero says: I once called Steve an 'ideas machine' and I stand by that. I never know what I'm going to get, going over to the Quill, but I know I'm going to like it. From simple yet well-crafted concept explorations to deeper narratives, and all usually underslung by his slightly off-kilter humour (as you may have noticed above... ^_~ ).