I once learned - at a younger age than I’d care to admit - that there is a very big difference between plunging a knife into a pumpkin and sticking one into a human body. It isn’t the act of doing so; no, and it actually feels quite the same. It’s the act of picking up the knife that seems much different. The same knife feels twice as heavy when you know it will soon be in a persons chest or back or stomach or neck. But a good amount of bleach will clean the thing just fine and you can use it for pumpkins again, if you want. My grandfather kept an old ceramic tub outside behind the shed, and the shed was full of fertilizers and axes and saws and screwdrivers and rock salt and big bags of lye. A bit of a handyman, my gran’dad. Showed me how to dissolve rotting livestock when I was eight…
After rumors got around about what I had done for Billy Stieglitz to Kyle Detogne, I started getting messages on my phone. People I barely knew, friends of friends of people I met in church. My friends. My friend’s parents. Even a crooked cop who I won’t name because he knows people.
Everyone wants somebody dead.
Back then, my price was cheap and my standing with God on questionable grounds, so I took the jobs that looked easy enough and moved into the city once I had enough money.
Gran’dad’s tub got a lot of traffic that summer.
After the stink of wet meat and shit faded from under my finger nails and after I got enough money to live comfortable, I stopped working for the mob. That was back in the days of Eddie Vendetta’s gang. He didn’t like me not working too much, but I killed whatever competition he sent my way, save for one. He took my ear off with a gunshot that was too close for my liking, but he landed a blow so I only cut his arm off and I let him live with the understanding that I was All Merciful God where he and his arm was concerned.
I found a woman some time after that and I loved her passionately. No sense getting into that because Eddie Vendetta’s bastard son had her killed by the one-armed man. No honor among crooks or something like that.
That last job I did was the first one I ever did for myself and the first time I ever used guns to do it. I remember thinking there’s a very big difference between loading a rifle for a deer and loading clips, bullet after bullet, meant to put down fifty men. Of course, they weren’t men. Not to me. Not at my age and not after what they’d done. It was fifty rabid dogs I was putting down that night.
I took two bullets in that penthouse. One in the shoulder grazed me, another in the hip accounts for my limp now. I want to call it skill but honestly it was blind rage and dumb luck why most of those men died. The last one I found in the bathroom had one arm and was cowering by the toilet covered in blood not his own, and I remember smiling and saying “Boy, you look like you could use a bath.”