Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Savage Henry Sings The Blues - Keith Rawson

Savage Henry Sings The Blues


For such a hard ass, Savage Henry screamed a lot. Even with a filthy old sock sandwiched between his pristine white teeth and a thick piece of dull gray duct tape securing the gag, his muffled pleas for mercy echoed through out the vacant white halls of the track house Stanly chose as Savage Henry’s final resting place.

The kid’s real name is Charles Metzler, (The nickname stemmed from a beating young Charles dished out to a long hair named Henry Davis. The two had never met before, and the beating was entirely random. Just letting Young Henry Davis know that his kind was not welcomed. Good old Savage Henry skated the charges thanks to a sixty-five year-old Judge who absolutely lived for the local High school football team, which Savage Henry was a member of .The judge simply couldn’t stand the thought of having to ruin such a promising young man’s life, even though said promising young man did exactly that to Henry Davis. Six months probation and time served for an attempted murder beef.) Aged sixteen, a junior at some bum-fucking-no-where high school in a densely populated Southern Arizona Hamlet called Gilbert.

The kid was nothing special. Your average suburban retard; so-so grades; Second string football ball; second string baseball. Savage Henry obviously liked sitting on his ass collecting splinters. Steady girlfriend who Savage Henry managed to rape (Stan doubted that Savage Henry would call what he did rape, but the bruises and bow legged way the girl walked told an entirely different story.) in the back of his SUV on a daily basis. Oldest of six children. Good Mormon family. Dad an orthodontist: Mom stayed at home and sat on her ass all day getting fat and eating V by the handful. Dad fooled around, secretly drank like a fish, and was openly addicted to crystal methane. During the week Stan had the Metzler’s under surveillance, Dad had yet to hit the hay, preferring the sweaty monitor glare of Internet porn sites. Typical good Mormon family. It goes without saying that Savage Henry bullied the entire household, wore his Arizona Cardinal’s hat backwards and loved hip-hop.

Despite all of these obvious character flaws, Savage Henry did possess certain qualities that made him an ideal criminal. High intimidation factor, lots of ‘friends’ thanks to his exposure to high school sports; plus, the not guilty decision proved he had a certain amount of invisibility within the community, no matter how much shit he rained down.

Less than a year ago, a little known small timer Mormon shit heal named Tibit Smith, started taking notice of the boy, and recruited good old Savage Henry to distributed small amounts of high end pot and enormous amounts of Mexican Cocaine that was more baby formula than blow. Product flew out of Savage Henry’s hands; the jocks loved staying up for days on end cruising for freaks to beat the shit out of. Tibit saw the potential of serious money coming from this boy. High school kids were suckers for product. Tibit contacted Stanley’s employers in San Francisco. He didn’t want to speculate on how Tibit had gained his connection to the organization. Old Hippies were weird, especially old chemist hippies, who’d spent the last twenty-five years doing nothing but cooking up acid and other such hallucinogenic drugs. But, it wasn’t Stanley’s place to question. It was Stanley’s place to do, not think. Tibit’s Woodstock generation connections were no business of his.

Tibit wanted X and lots of it. Kids loved the shit. They’d eat four or five caps of cheap wannabe local product and fuck like rabbits. Just think what would happen if they got their hot little hands on the real thing? He could move product by the pound. He could build a little army of jock/dealers with Savage Henry leading the pack. The organization shipped down 20 thousand dollars worth of caps stuffed in a shipment of Bennie babies. Savage Henry and his boys sold it all within a week. The organization sent double, this time smuggled inside the white fluff guts of Cabbage patch dolls, the boys did the same as before.

It was all going very well. The organization kept doubling the product amount and Savage Henry and his boy’s kept begging for more, literally saturating the Gilbert area with caplets of high-grade ecstasy for six blissful months.

And suddenly nothing.

Tibit was incommunicado, no new product was shipped, and none was asked for. The chemist’s first and only thought was that Tibit had employed his own talent down in the desert and had reverse engineered their secret sauce and was marketing it as his own. This simply would not do. So Stanley was shipped down Coach class from Oakland to investigate, report back, and possibly eliminate the competition. Simple enough job, Stanly figured he’d have to kick Tibit’s ass a little, let him know that his lack of product loyalty was unappreciated, and he was now expected to triple his import and he would now be extremely taxed for the time and trouble.
Stanly would of course kill Tibit’s new boy chemist to protect his bosses’ recipes.

Too bad this was not how it played, of course, it never does when your dealing with Redneck’s like Tibit Smith and Savage Henry.

The reason why Tibit had not been in contact with Stanley’s employers—as he discovered after only a single day of tapping his Arizona contacts for info—was because the slick little fuck had gone to mattress. Tibit was running in fear of his life, and not from Stanley’s employers. Tibit had managed to piss off the local tweak kingpin, Clyde Raines. Raines was a plug ugly Irish fuck who was rumored to have taken on the local Mexican and Colombian cartels and actually won. He ruled the State of Arizona; even Stanley’s employers knew not to fuck with this guy. Tibit obviously didn’t know any better.

Raines approached Tibit with a small kick back agreement. Raines didn’t want the whole operation, hallucinogens weren’t his game, Raines merely wanted a taste of the action; a tribute, if you will. Tibit laughed in Raines face. Who the fuck did Raines think he was? Tibit was the shit in the East Valley, untouchable, not even the local PD screwed with his boys. Raines took the rebuff with seeming calm, and Tibit believed that he’d seen the last of Clyde Raines.Wrong.
Raines hit Tibit’s peaceful little suburban home and raped and killed Tibit’s entire family. Apparently only one of Tibit’s wives was kept alive to let the smug little fucker know what had transpired. Tibit ran and ran hard. Raines quickly stepped in and took over Savage Henry and his crew of suburban National Socialists. The current popular product line was dropped, and Raines cut rate tweak replaced it.

Stanley reported all of this to his employers even though 50% of it was conjecture. Stanley’s employer suggested that he extent the olive branch to Raines; perhaps striking up a similar import/export agreement they formerly shared with Tibit. Stanley was to extend said olive branch via Savage Henry.

Stanley’s first contact with Savage Henry was embarrassing. Stanley never lacked confidence, even when he was the perpetual 90 pound weakling in high school, but cunts like Savage Henry sent creepy fingers down his spine and provided flash backs of high school hallways back in his teen years when he didn’t have clue on how to defend himself and wedgies and sucker punches were the order of the day. Stanley knew guys like Savage Henry were nothing more than illusion; small time characters who masked their own under confidence with verbal abuse and violence; Not that Stanley couldn’t easily snap Savage Henry in two if the little shit tried getting too happy, but this was a delicate situation; Stanley’s employers wanted their piece of Arizona profit back, Stanley needed to be discreet and tactful.

He approached Savage Henry inside a local Barbeque place that stank of sawdust and rancid burning fat. He was noshing ribs with his crew, his mouth and cheeks painted red with sauce, strands of beef caught between his teeth. Before Stanley could get a word in edge wise, Savage Henry sneered and spat out: “What the fuck do you want you little four-eyed nigger?” Savage Henry’s crew ate it up, giggling and pounding their picnic bench. Stanley turned on his heel and quickly scrambled away, his cheeks burning.

What the fuck?

Stanley trembled, his forehead popping sweat, his hands shook, he stuffed them his jeans pockets, gripped the smooth handles of his blades; focus; find center. Nigger, so much malice. Not like the brothers in Oakland. Not a casual reference, but a word full of venom; a word like a weapon. He’d be prepared the next time.

Next time was the same night outside of Savage Henry’s family home. Stanley pulled up to the driveway in his rented Honda Accord; John Lee Hooker’s gravel voice rumbling quietly from the speakers, Savage Henry was wheeling out the family trash barrel from the garage. Stanley rolled down the passenger window blowing a sharp whistle between his teeth. Old Henry knew the language, some kid looking to score. He parked the trash can half way down the drive and double time it over to the open window, right hand dropping to the waist band of his pants; he carried his product in his jock.

Fucking gross.

Nothing in the world worse than your dope smelling like balls.

Henry did a double take when he saw Stanley in the driver’s seat. The kid didn’t know what to make of the situation, but he still eased into the passenger seat, pupils like pinpricks scanning the inside of the car; as if his hyper alert tweaker vision could scan out a secret camera or microphone. Stanley rolled up the passenger windows so they could have a little privacy.

“What d’ya want, man?”

“I wanted to-“ before Stanley could continue, Henry cocked his head his head like an expectant dog.

“What the fuck are you listening to? I thought all you niggers listened to was Tupac an’ shit like that? This guys sounds like sounds like he’s been gargling Drano or some shit.”

Stanley’s fluid right hand found it’s way to the back of Savage Henry’s neck and in a single blurred motion slammed his pock-marked forehead into the dash of the rental car. Hooker’s scared voice had been his solace and greatest comfort for longer than he could remember. Stanley could take a lot of shit, but you didn’t fuck with him about Johnny Lee.

So much for finding center.

It didn’t take Stanley long to find some place where he and Henry could be alone.

Southern Arizona seemed to be a constantly expanding, but no one seemed to live in this expansion; this seemingly endless sea of identically flawless track homes. Stanley shouldered Savage Henry’s weight once he’d located a half completed house dead center in what appeared to be 1000 home sub-division. Surprisingly the front door was unlocked, and Stanley dropped Savage Henry on the unfinished concrete floor of the entranceway. He returned to the Honda, popped the trunk and retrieved his roadside emergency supplies. After a decade on the job, he’d learned that no matter how new or expensive a vehicle was, if you were transporting a body—live, deceased, or soon to be—there was a fifty percent chance the car would break down. Stanley chocked it up to the hand of God however briefly working in favor of the victim. So he adopted the Boy Scout model when traveling by car to circumvent God’s assistance.

Tool kit, radiator fluid, gas can, road flares.

Essential roadside repair or portable torture chamber.

Stanley didn’t consider himself the sadistic type, a top of the line cold-blooded killer, yes, but he was never the type who purposely wanted to inflect unnecessary pain.

But he was more than willing to make an exception for Savage Henry. With this boy—whose face mixed and blended with so many of the slow-witted, cruel boys of his adolescence—he was committing career and literal suicide. He kept asking himself if it was worth it as he hog-tied Savage Henry to a rotting patio chair? Was it worth it all because this little shit called him a nigger and insulted a dead bluesman that he felt closer to than his own parents?

The question kept rolling through Stanley’s mind as he walked calmly to where Savage Henry struggled and begged, the freshly opened bottle of Anti-freeze in his left hand sloshing with each deliberate step; his right hand tapping rhythmically against his leg. Stanley set the blue bottle down a few feet away from Savage Henry’s thrashing body but still within easy reach. He stared down at the boy impassive, watching as Savage Henry’s eyes grew huge with panic. Stanley gripped the boy’s throat with the thin fingers of his left hand, feeling the boy’s pulse race at near coronary levels. He ripped the duct tape away, the spit-slimed sock coming away with it.

“Shit, man, come on-“

“Shut the fuck up,” fingers tightening, Savage Henry’s face glowing red with effort to breathe. “I want you to listen to me. I want you to remember what I’m about to say. Nod if you understand.”

The boy’s head bobbed up and down, his face going purple.

“Good. Now I want you to remember, because every time ask you say it, you’re going to repeat it back to me exactly as I told you, understand?” He loosened his grip, the boy’s face was going ashy, no point in him passing out just when the fun was starting.

“Now here’s what you’re gonna say: ‘Boom boom boom boom! I’m gonna shoot you right down.’ You got that?” Another nod, complacent and weak. “That’s real good, because if you don’t get it right when I ask you to say it, I’m gonna cut off one of your fingers.”

The panic hits big and Savage Henry starts squirming like he’s on fire. Stanley tightens his grip to control the boy’s movements and reaches for the anti-freeze. “Open up your mouth, boy!” He tilts boy’s head up and starts to pour. “I wouldn’t swallow none of this shit. All I want you to do is hold it in you mouth and gargle, and if you try spitting it out before I tell you, I’ll cut your dick off.”

The green sweet smelling liquid spills down on Savage Henry’s face; his mouth trying to form words, more begging, he gags again, trying not to swallow. It seems like he’s actually trying to gargle. Stanley figures that if the Anti-freeze doesn’t turn Savage Henry’s pubescent voice into a gravely timber, the gallon of gas should do the trick.

Bio: Keith Rawson Lives in the Phoenix, AZ suburb of Gilbert with his wife and daughter. He has stories published (or Waiting to be published) at publications such as DZ Allen's Muzzleflash, Powder Burn Flash, Flashshots, Darkest Before the Dawn,A twist of Noir, Bad Things, Crooked, and Yellow Mama. He has also completed the first draft of a hard-boiled novel tentatively titled, Retirement. You can also sit and visit with Keith at his Blog, Bloody knuckles, Callused fingertips(http://bloodyknucklescallusedfingertips.blogspot.com/)

1 comment:

Paul Brazill said...

This is really good Keith. I'd like to read more about Sydney.