By Kieran J. Shea

Look at this. That guy. Yeah, muscle boy. Name’s Skinny. I know. Isn’t really skinny at all, is he? Not since a serious bug crawled up his ass about working out. Not juicing either. I know. Just crazy about free weights and this UltaZenith Protein Nitro powder in everything. Morning pancakes, coffee, fucking J&B. Claims the crap has more aminos than a bunch of Mexicans brought in for questioning. Dude is nuking, I swear. Arms bigger than Tom’s thighs which, unfortunately for Tom, are taped to that chair. Shhh. Wait. I think Skinny’s about to say something….

“Before I came up with this? I had to tell Suggs and the Pipe to back off. Imagine that. Me. Of all people. Telling those two gorillas to back off. Took some convincing, believe you me. Them all half-retarded from pounding canned beer and gut rail all day, all glazed up for violence. You always said, better reliable than bright, right? Am I right? Right. Like fucking dogs.”

What’s that? The Pipe and Suggs? Enforcers, just like Skinny here, but total morons. Skinny's different.

“But anyway, hey—look at your big dog here, huh? Me. Guess you never expected a turn like this. Yeah. Skinny. Me. Smartened up and got wise.”

That’s for sure. Look at poor Tom. Pissing his pants, that rag in his mouth, sweating sheets. Poor fucker hating life. He done fucked up.

“Remember what you said when I came to work for you that first night? Remember? You had me beating on some skel for something like, I don’t know, forever, and out of nowhere you told me to stop. And I was, like, hey. D’fuck? Stop? And you said—Skinny—you said—balls I can’t teach you shit but one thing I can teach you and that is this: In our business the most valued skill is the ability to think things through. Remember that?”

Look at those eyes. Of course he does. Tom don't forget shit.

"Suggs was there too that night, rolling his eyes, like he’d had enough of the great Tom gospel. But me, I was just a pup. I listened. And you pointed at my knuckles, how they were all scraped and bleeding from me beating on that skel, and suddenly I was like, whoa. Hey now. No one ever took the time to explain it to me like that.”

Now he’s taking off his jacket and placing it in a plastic garbage bag. Nice. Now the gloves. Oh, man…this is getting good. Like a motherfucking professional.

“I like that coat.”

Oh. Oh-hohoho!

“Where was I? Oh yeah. Thinking through. Good advice. Good business tip. So look. Am I or am I not prepared? Is my shit together or is my shit together? Got the gloves on, got the plastic down. Told Suggs and the Pipe to get a fire going too. Fire they say? Yeah. A barrel fire. Night like tonight, the cold, nobody’s going to mind a couple of guys gathered around a barrel fire keeping warm. They asked me why, but I’ll show them, like you showed me. All about thinking things through. Gonna to need to burn my clothes. Gonna need to burn me a few more things, too.”

Holy shit. Is that a machete?


Oh man, it is. It is. Goddamn, I need a cigarette.

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