Sunday, September 14, 2008

Watchtower, Brandon Pitts

“I must kill Steve Jahl! Erase his existence, deny him a future and rob him of his sentience.”

No, that’s not what I wanted to write. I just wanted to tell you that I love you and I’m sorry I didn’t believe in you before. I believe in you now.

It’s funny, in my hour of need; I instinctively reach for you as I fall.

Lord, I was just going to write you a letter, not a confessional. But after he raped my sister, I had an itching need to touch his body and feel it turn cold as his life left him.

In my daydreams, I would murder him slow, nothing crude or hasty. Quite awful for him, but it would be the only beauty he would ever know.

You know how it was with me back then, if there were no God, then I would have to assume the responsibility. Offer a vital judgment so a soul could be dealt with justly.

So I sat down and leaned my back against a rock that would serve as his headstone, pondering life before his acquittal.

The day Amanda got raped; she was hanging out with Steve’s pubescent slut of a sister, Tabby. Though her indiscretions seemed to know no limits, Tabby managed to conjure scruples when it came to her brother Steve.

“Perhaps if he were hot,” she confessed to a friend, but Steve lacked the visage and physique necessary to inspire incestuous attraction.

I pulled up to Steve’s house at 2121 Billiard Street. A piece of crap castle made of wood and plastic siding, hovering over a basement and surrounded by a moat of browning grass. Their father was out front in his wife beater.

“Hey young man,” he said. “Got a new van?”

“I wouldn’t call it new. Just bought it used. I’m here to pick up Amanda.”

“I think they’re around back. If you see Tabby, tell her I’m going to Mickey D’s to bring back supper.”

I walked through the dead lawn to the backside of the A-frame house. There was Tabby, all thick legged with blonde hair and fat ass. I had lusted after her all through school but to no avail - seems she’s gone out with everybody but me.

“Hey Tabby.”

Stepping on her cigarette, she barley acknowledged me, the vibes cutting between us like an unwanted wind.

“Where’s Amanda?”

“I think she’s in the basement with Steve.”

I found this odd. Amanda hated Steve.

“He stares at me in between classes at school,” she would say. “Always cleaning up some mess by my locker. It’s really creepy. I hate going over to Tabby’s. Even her dad is a slime.”

Tabby went to the back door and yelled down for Amanda. My gaze followed her skintight shorts. She stood halfway through the doorway, waiting for a response and then went down the stairs.

I turned to look around their back yard. Artifacts from Steve and Tabby’s childhood were strewn around the property, rusted bikes and toys, and an aboveground pool, half covered, half full of leaves and algae water.

Amanda and Tabby emerged from the dungeon. My sister was crying.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” She avoided eye contact, shaking her head and waving me back with her hand.

“She’s fine,” said Tabby. “Aren’t you?”

“What’s been going on down there?” I said.

“Nothing. She was fooling around with Steve when she shouldn’t be.”

“I’ll kick his ass if he’s touched my sister.”

“It’s her fault, not Steve’s.”

“Let’s go,” said Amanda. “I just want to leave.”

We got into the car and pulled off.

“What was all that about?”

“Look,” I don’t want to talk about it.”

“What are you doing with Steve? You told me you thought he was a creep.”

“Shut up, Deek.” Amanda started to cry.

It wasn’t until three months later that Amanda came forward, stating that Steve had raped her in his basement. Seems his mother; father and sister were watching TV upstairs, ignoring her screams for help.

Even during commercials.

The day after the cops came to speak to Amanda; I met my buddy Ted Buckner at the Toad Bucket Café. He wasn’t so into the coffee thing, preferred beer, but dug on the chicks who worked at the Bucket.

Sure the chicks were cool but I hit that place every day and didn’t want these broads thinking I was a creep. Ted didn’t mind what they thought.

“Wow,” he said, after this one girl, Janet, brought me my cappuccino. “She’s got to be the hottest girl in Fairdemidland.”

“Yeah, she’s pretty fine,” I quickly agreed, hoping he’d keep his voice down or change the subject.

One reason Ted didn’t care about what these girls thought was that he was dying, or so he said, and if his tenure on this earth was to be cut short, he was damn sure that etiquette wouldn’t get in the way of his zeal for a fine girl like Janet. Janet took it in stride and went back to her espresso bar.

Ted had diabetes bad and loved doing dope. The doctors had given Ted six months to live if he didn’t give up the drugs. But he just couldn’t stop himself.

“I sure would like to make it with a chick like that before I die.”

“Yeah, good luck. Better think of something else for your dying wish.”

“There is one other thing I want to do before the devil takes me,” said Ted, looking down at his whipped cream without guilt or concern for his health. “When I know I’m about to go, I’m gonna walk into the Fairdemidland police station with a gun and shoot every cop I see.”

“Not very nice.” I frowned, glancing over at Janet. Ted was a fool but he knew true beauty. Janet was pretty special. “Why waste bullets on Fairdemidland cops?”

“Because they’re a bunch of assholes. They’re supposed to serve and protect, instead they just harass the youth. They’re worthless. You were just telling me about that dick that was investigating your sister’s case. He won’t help your sister. He thinks she’s a slut.”

I was beginning to get angry.

“I say we take the law into our own hands,” Ted said, “and kick Steve Jahl’s ass.”

His words pierced deep. “Or murder him,” I said.

“Or murder him.” Ted sat back into the black leather chair. “A vigilante would be far more effective than the these cops. You could be like a guardian of the community up in his watchtower. Nobody fucks with a vigilante.”

I stared into my coffee, thinking about how much I’d like to kill Steve Jahl.

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  1. Ya got me. Gripping start, excellent detail in that run-down yard and miserable family, reeled me in to identifying (somewhat) with the lead... Right on! No wonder they want a piece of this!

  2. (tenure etiquette stride espresso bar.. vigilante... ) mmmm... nice choice of words, Mr Brandon Pitts.


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