Sergio Santiago's Right Hand by W.J. Nunnery

I had just met Javier Ramon the month before. We were friends immediately, two young men running from the same shitty life, looking for the same things, the same power.

This right here happened on, I believe, a Tuesday.

It was just passed noon time and the sun was blazing and I followed Javier as he walked into Sergio Santiago’s Bar. The place was practically empty. It was just some of Sergio Santiago’s guys, real, what Javier always liked to call: weekend thugs. These types spend Monday through Friday working some normal day job; then on the weekend they try claiming the entire city of Ensenda as their personal playground.

Me and Javier had been scouting the place out, thought it’d be a good way to start. Something big to grow into something bigger. Since we were just beginning, a cornerstone type of thing, the first step in becoming a pair of kingpins. Plus it’d bring in a steady flow of cash.

About a week and a half before, we’d asked Sergio Santiago for a price, but he wouldn’t budge. So, that day we were there to nudge him a bit.

The two of us sit at the bar and wait for Sergio Santiago and just when things start to get a carnival kind of spin, after about thirty minutes sitting and an empty bottle of Whiskey, the door squeaks open. It’s Sergio Santiago. He finds a table shadowed in the corner.

“Sergio,” Javier yells to him.

“Javier.” His response is sighed with a ho-hum.

Sort of sarcastically, Javier says, “I want to discuss these bar offers, if you don’t mind and aren’t too busy,”

“I told you I’m not selling.”

“I know, I know. But could we just go to the back, maybe, speak some words? See what happens.”

Sergio Santiago looks at me. His head roams the bar over, grazing the two or three patron, half drunk, under control.

“That’s fine.”

So we make our way to the back. Behind us the door shuts, slow and heavy, like a pair of eyes closing to sleep. No sound.

“Luis do you see that axe,” Bark says once the door is completely closed.

Yes. I nod.

“Grab it.”

The axe is a fire axe. It's heavy and the blade, as I run my finger across it, is a bit dull.

“Put your hands out Mr. Santiago,” Javier’s voice is a whisper that serpents from his mouth and creeps into the office’s thin dust-filled crevices. Both of Sergio Santiago’s hands go out and they are trembling and calloused. Javier places a pen in the right one.

“Sign this contract, Sergio,” he says.

“Mr. Ramon, you know I won’t do that.”

Javier nods and says: “I thought as much. Luis if he won’t sign. Does he need his hand?”

A grim smile stretches across both of our faces.

I take a swing and instantly his wrist splits. A sling of skin keeps his hand dangling from his arm and streams of red spurt from where you check for a pulse and I can see a bone twitch back and forth. It too is draped in a deep theater curtain colored red.

“Luis,” Javier begins his eyes square on Sergio Santiago, “all the way.”

From over my head, I take another swing. The hand falls, hitting the floor with a rolling thud. Sergio Santiago's breathing begins to sink into a pathetic whimper. Like a baby trying not to cry. He just stares at his hand as it lies not moving on floor and without anything close to a word, Javier slips another ballpoint pen into his other hand and says with a snort of laughter and half smile: “Mr. Santiago, you don’t mind signing with the left, do you?”

I live in Wisconsin and go to school in Minnesota. I feel like my writing is influenced mostly by Tarantino films and Faulkner books.

11 comments:

Jim Harrington said...

Ouch! Well done, W. J.

Jimmy Callaway said...

Nice. Short and not-so-sweet.

i.ayris said...

Love the change in mood and tone in this one. Funny, you know as soon as Sergio Santiago agrees to go into the back room it's a bad move, but it's so well written, the inevitability becomes part of the pleasure. And very clever tie-in with the title. Had me grinning like I was holding that axe myself. Which is slightly worrying.

Rey A. Gonzalez said...

“I thought as much. Luis if he won’t sign. Does he need his hand?”

99 times out of 100, losing a hand takes the starch right out of a man...

W.J. Nunnery said...

Thanks all! I definitely appreciate all the comments

B said...

oh, the persuasive power of an axe... nice story!!

Bill Baber said...

oh, the persuasive power of an axe... nice story!!

Kevin Atherton said...

The old ax! I like it when so much pain is conveyed in so few words.

thanks,
Kevin

AJ Hayes said...

Okay, pen mightier than the sword I can see. But nothing trumps an axe. Tight fast and hits between the eyes like an . . . well you know. Very good stuff.

Ben Sobieck said...

Nothing beats an axe. It's as clumsy as it is brutal. There's something innately terrifying about it because of that mixture. Good show. We need more axes!

W.J. Nunnery said...

Thanks the compliments are much appreciated