On this cloudy autumn day I take the lite rail cross town through a tunnel under the river to the North Side. I scan a discarded newspaper on the clattering train, read about grisly murders that stretch from Canada through Michigan into Pennsylvania, a letter “S” carved on the female victim’s forehead, the “S” meaning a human sacrifice. I touch the switchblade in my jacket pocket and read my horoscope. “Today you will do something very bad that is very good.”
I am a white male, twenty-four years old, wearing sneakers, jeans, and a dark hooded jacket. I get these migraines from being hit with shrapnel while serving in Iraq, U.S. Marines.
I cut through a park that nestles between the old buildings of a community college and a tough inner city neighborhood. I spot a black dude with dreadlocks following me.
I stop to watch a pair of squirrels chasing one another and see a gray van with half moons painted on the sides. Five characters stand beside the van, new age assholes, gypsies, three scraggly-haired white dudes and two dumpy looking white broads. One white broad beckons to a pretty blonde haired white girl with a backpack, a college babe I figure. The college girl sidles toward the van. I duck behind a tree and toss the knife into a mound of leaves.
As I exit the park the black dude comes up beside me and flashes a badge. A car pulls up and two white plainclothes cops jump out.
The black cop says, “Matt Kerns, right, MK?”
“Narcs baby, spread them.”
I lean forward, legs apart, hands flat on the hood of the car. They pat me down. Nothing. “You jerkoffs got a bad tip,” I mutter.
One of the white cops slaps me hard across the back of my head making my ears ring. “Watch your mouth, dickhead.”
They pile into the car and drive off.
I pass bars, a pawn shop, a soup kitchen with a string of homeless lined in front. A carload of black gang-bangers slows passing me.
I cut through alleys and arrive at an abandoned industrial site with crumbling buildings, rusted debris, and poison ivy everywhere.
I come to a secluded spot, my “WEED FARM”, ten plants, grown from seeds I planted, Alaskan Thunderfuck marijuana seeds, for medicinal purposes at first but then I started selling it, $300 an ounce. I have seven customers. I net $1500 a week. The weed I sell has a heady smoke, a skunky scent, or maybe the scent of grapes rotting in a bowl, and a chocolaty taste.
I’m blocked by buildings but the sound of tires crunching gravel startles me. I sense that those black gang-bangers trailed me.
I slip around a rusted metal door in a nearby building and dig out a duffle bag covered with canvas. There’s a plastic bag holding powdery root toner, small pruning sheers, and a .45 automatic.
I go around the building and see the gray van and the new age assholes holding knives and surrounding the college girl who is naked, tied with rope, and has duct tape over her mouth. A fucking human sacrifice, I think.
“Fun time over, dirt bags. Into the van.” I wave the gun.
They clamber inside. The van spins around and the dude on the passenger side shoves the barrel of a shotgun out the window. I shoot first and his head explodes like a tomato smashed with a hammer. The van speeds away, tires spitting gravel.
I stash the gun and get her dressed, a beauty for sure, sweet smelling, all firm curves, shaking with fear. We leave the site with rain falling hard in slanting lines and her clinging to me.
“Are any of them dead?” she wants to know.
“Don’t think about it.”
“I’ll have to tell the police what happened.”
“That’s up to you.”
“I don’t even know where we were.”
“It’s better that way.”
“I should know your name.”
“Make one up.”
Like lovers, we huddle together under the roof of a bus shelter. A bus comes. I push her on. I stand in the rain with night gathering around me. Life is good.