My gut instinct says that Cherry doesn’t love me anymore. I had to agree with it as she plunged the knife deep into my stomach. She hesitates, and I don’t know if it’s because she wants to keep me alive or because she hates that my ice-cold stare is haunting her as she moves to shank me. She’s boohooing, but it’s too late for feelings.
All’s fair in love and knives, I suppose.
This knife inside me is something else. I got it for Cherry on our one year anniversary. Black rubber handle for a tight, non-slip grip and a six-inch silver-metallic blade for an accurate incision. I paid extra to have For My Ch-Ch-Ch-Cherry Bomb! Love, Coop inscribed across the blade.
I never imagined that the first time she’d use it would be to slice my intestines open while I’m tied up, and not in a kinky way. But here I am, blade stuck in me, tied like a fool to a chair while she and some goon loot my trailer.
My hands are tied behind my back, tangled this way and that through an old rocking chair my grandpa made for my grandma days before he was shipped off to fight the Germans. He never returned.
I like this chair.
After the knife took the plunge, she and Goon began to clean out my single-wide of all the cash I had in it. You see, me and Cherry have been robbing people for a while now, so we’ve collected quite the loot. I’d guess around $30K.
There must still be some passion for me inside Cherry’s hoodwinked heart — Goon keeps begging to plug me in the temple with his gun and she keeps screaming that he’d better not. How sweet of her.
I think her plan is for me to bleed out while I rock in this chair. Cold bitch.
Once they get all the loot out and start to leave, the big sonofabitch pushes the chair over. After I crashed on the floor, he kicks me right in the face. As my brain lights start to flicker off, I hear Cherry wail, “Goddammit Wayne, I told you not to touch him!”
When I wake up, it’s night. I feel like I’m on fire. The pain burns my insides, instantly reminding me that there’s still a blade stuck in my gut. My face hurts like hell and smells of dried blood. And I’m still tied to the chair.
If I make it out of this alive -- I swear to Christ -- Wayne, I’m going to make you eat my boot.
This knife has been inside me for at least four to five hours now, and I’m still here and not sure why. Maybe God is keeping me here so I can kick Wayne’s ass. Thanks, Big Guy. I owe you.
I let out a sigh. “Sorry, chair, but you have to go now.” Then I proceed to yell and pull and yank and kick. I have to be cautious — one wrong jerk and the knife could slip out, along with the blood left in my body. I sure could use a head full of rum right about now.
Once the rope around my arms and legs snaps the chair in half, breaking loose is a breeze. My wrists are scratched and bleeding, but I am out of the chair, untied. I liked that chair. RIP.
The knife is still in my stomach. Never thought I’d be so happy that a knife was lodged in my gut, but here I am. I wish I could pull it out, but I’ll be damned if I get any more blood on my carpet.
I need this knife out; Call Red. He’ll know what to do.
I call my pal Red, who specializes in body trauma.
“Yo, Coop! Hang on. Let me pau—Hey, fuck you, little shit, I’ll be back!” says Red. I hear explosions in the background and slapping on a controller, which means he’s playing Xbox and talking trash to 14-year-olds.
“Red, I need a favor.” I’m starting to drift and the world around me is turning white. “I’m at my house, and there’s a knife in my stomach. I need you to—” and then I black out again.
I wake up on my kitchen floor, staring at my trailer’s sad ceiling. Water damage spots everywhere. Bloody paper towels surround me. Red isn’t here, but I know he came by because I’m stitched up, and there are some pills and a note next to my head.
Take two a day with some booze. Wait for it to kick in before you get your revenge, Charles Bronson. Oh, and I took some of your porn. Assablanca and Edward Penishands. — Red
Assuming Cherry and Wayne didn’t thieve my sixer of Pabst from the fridge, I’ll wash one of these pills down and head out to pop me a Cherry. And Wayne. Fuckin’ Wayne. I hope a piano falls on him before I get there.
I get in my car and light it up. Then the sounds of Hank Williams’ “I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry” reverberates through the speakers and my ears. Did Cherry set this up?
Fuck it. I gas it straight for the Spinner Inn.
When working the streets, Cherry always had her clients meet her at this shabby motel, and cops didn’t care to bother with what went on. They knew husbands and lonely guttersnipes were paying to get off there, but they never came around. Too many reports to write up. Donuts and coffee are more adventurous than a pencil and pad. (Or do they type up reports? Don’t care; I’m on a mission.)
When me and Cherry fell for each other two years ago, she found a good man (that’s me) and got out of the business. I was good to her. Gave her a roof over her head, kept her clean, and never put a fist to her face. Sure, we had our arguments, but the only time I put my hands on her was when we were making love.
I knew this was the place Cherry would go. It’s far out of town, and when our business was booming, it’s where we’d lure and rob suckers looking to get their dick wet. Were those abominations going to call the cops or tell their wives they’d just been had by a hooker? Nah. Most of them were so frightened about being exposed; they offered their money.
I stagger up to the front desk, lean in with a crooked smile, and say, “Hi, I’m here to surprise some friends who just got hitched. Did a big fella and little blonde check in recently?”
“You mean Cherry?” the front desk clerk asks.
“That would be her.”
“Yes, but I can’t give out guest information. You’re going to have to call them.”
“I understand. But I want to surprise them — I haven’t seen either in 10 years. If there’s ever a time for you break one rule, let it be this one...”
Front Desk Lady pauses for a minute, looking at me curiously, trying to read my face, trying to guess why I’m here. I do my best to smile while using my jacket to cover the blood seeping through my shirt.
Red’s meds are now blasting through my system. Feels like I’m floating on a rocket to zero motivation. Can't stop now, I still need to remodel Wayne’s face.
“Ko,” she says. “nam doog a flesreh dnuof yrrehC yppaH .em rof stargnoc meht lleT .311 ot srebmun eht wolloF .thgir eht no yltcerid sriats eht pu daeh dna tfel a ekat ,srood eht tuo klaw uoy nehW.”
Shit. She's talking backward. The drugs are in full force. This is bad.
“Uhhhh,” I say, while sweat pours out of me. “Can you repeat, please? Much slower.”
Front Desk sighs. “When you walk out the doors…take a left and head up the stairs directly on the right. Follow the numbers to 113. Tell Cherry congrats for me. Happy she found herself a good man.
“I certainly will. By the way, do you have a payphone I can use?”
“Yeah, payphone’s outside, right by the stairs.”
“Thanks…Oh, and you’ll want to call the cops.” She looks confused, and a tad pissed, but she picks up the phone anyway as I waddle out the sliding doors.
I hook a left and my feet started to drag like I’m a zombie. The pills Red gave me are way too powerful. I feel punch-drunk. And dizzy. That feeling I was going to pass out swooped over me, again. Shit.
I’m not a smart man, but I have a feeling there are zero possibilities this will end well.
I pick up the payphone and dial Cherry’s “work” phone.
“Hi, baby. This is Cherry. Who am I speaking—”
“— it’s Coop. I’m here at your hotel, and I’m coming up.”
I drop the phone and turn to walk away, feeling badass. If this were a movie, I’d be walking in slow motion with Kid Rock’s “Bawitdaba” playing overhead. As I think about this, I realize I am walking in slow motion. Slower than a turtle. Did a turtle just pass me? The meds are now in complete control.
Am I going to be able to shoot straight? Shooting guns while high and dying isn’t a skill I’m trained in. I wonder what Mark Wahlberg would do.
I walk up the stairs and start the trek to 113 — 109, 110, 111, 112. I stop and duck, back against the wall. There’s a big window next to each door. I slide under 113’s and listen. Silence.
Ok, maybe trying to be a badass and telling her I’m coming up wasn’t the brightest idea, but my head is full of what Red gave me.
The stitches painfully pull at my every movement. They are sure to shred open once I start the party with Cherry and Wayne. I can feel the burn, yet I can’t. I know it’s there, but these pills got me high as a kite.
My current plan isn’t the greatest, but it’s all I got: I’m going to kick open the door and start firing.
I get up as fast as a man can with a hole in his stomach. With my back now up against the railing used to stop drunks and idiots and kids from falling over and painting the pavement with their blood, I prepare and gun it forward, kicking the shit outta her door. Once my foot connects with the wood, it explodes open. Both Wayne and Cherry turn to me with holy shit looks on their faces. I charge in like John McClane, bullets flying towards Wayne, making his head disappear. I then pull out the knife and start walking towards—
—“Coop. Coop!” Someone is snapping their fingers.
I open my eyes, and Cherry is hovering above me, seeing if I’m alive. Apparently, after I kicked the door, it opened and then sprung back, hitting me in the head and laying me out.
It’s fair to say it didn’t go as planned.
Cherry helps me up and says, “You could have just knocked. Come in.”
Just like that. Like hours ago she didn’t stick a knife in me and leave me to die. “Sorry about the mess,” she says, gesturing to Wayne lying face-up on the bed, out cold. Snoring and dreaming of money. Cherry, up to one of our old tricks, must have put something in his drink, which means he’ll be out for a few hours. Her plan was to take all the money and bounce. Wayne was a pawn. Smart.
I walk over to him, roll him off the bed and onto the floor. I splayed Wayne how he positioned me when he kicked me in the face and then proceed to stomp on his head with my boot heel.
KAPOW! KLACK! KLACK! CRUNCH!
These are the sounds my mouth makes while my boot bashes in Wayne’s head. (I made good on my promise to God). I don’t stop until the bones turn into mush.
During my bashing of Wayne’s head, most of my stitches burst out, so I’m bleeding pretty bad. I turn around, and Cherry is frozen, horrified. “Ge’ez, Coop, you’re bleeding all over the place. Want me to clean you up?”
“Nope,” I reply. “I just came here to kick Wayne’s ass and drop off something.” Cherry looks at me with bewilderment and fear. “Something you left.”
I pull the knife out of my pocket, flick out the blade (stained with my dried blood for her to remember me by) and turn the butt of it around, placing it in her palm. “You forgot this, Cherry Bomb. Now get out of here.” She smiles, and we kiss.
She asks me, “Don’t you want to know why?” and I say, “No. Go. Cops will be here any minute. Grab the bags and leg it out.”
And just like that, Cherry is gone.
Soon after, I hear the cop cars hootin’ and hollerin’, followed by rapid marching of footsteps.
Is the Calvary here? What the hell did Front Desk tell them?
When they reach the door, I’m sitting on the bed without a shirt, bleeding everywhere. Horrified by the crimson covering me, they yell “freeze!” three times, like I can only understand the command in screams of three.
I raise my hands but not before saying, “The one on the floor won’t be getting up.”
[Note: This was originally published on Street Lit.]