Eddie Souza hated Christmas. I mean he fuckin’ hated it. Everywhere he went, signs boasted about giving. Bells rang. Hands were cupped. Lights flickered in nauseous, upbeat colors. He saw it all as one big sham, a consumerist’s wet dream. It was a time when little brats poked around in toy stores, trophy wives got new convertibles, and CEO’s gave themselves a raise. People forked shit over to charity to repent for a year’s worth of debauchery. Everyone rejoiced and collectively called the madness “Christmas”.
But Eddie wasn’t celebrating. He was standing beneath a plaque nailed to a wall in a house, which read “Joy to the World”, while busting a guy's fuckin' brains in.
Eddie fired off a punch that landed hard and split the guy's jaw.
The guy Eddie was flailing on just laughed, chops dangling. That pissed Eddie off even more.
"Where is it, you psychotic piece of shit!”
Marbles was a loon. You could smack him around all night and get nowhere. Our troubles arose because he had quick fingers. Marbles had snatched a package meant for Eddie and me—a diamond christened, of all things, “The Star of Bethlehem”. No one knew where it was. We just knew Marbles had it. We searched him, threatened him, beat him, but all the fucker did was laugh. Eventually Marbles got to puking blood. I thought he’d spat up a tooth, but maybe it was just a chunk of tongue.
Eddie slapped him.
“Don’t you fucking play me!” Eddie turned to me. “Bobby. Get our ride. We’re gonna take this fuck on a field trip.”
I left the house, strolled to the car parked some blocks away and drove back, reversing it into the garage. Eddie was waiting. He already had the guy cuffed and gagged so he tossed him onto the backseat floor and clambered in.
“Where to?” I asked.
“The old Francis Tree Farm. You remember that place?”
“You mean the body farm?”
“Tree farm.” Eddie eyed me sarcastically. “Go there.”
I rolled the car out of the garage. Eddie had the remote in hand. He hit the button.
“We’ll clean up later,” he said.
“So what you gonna do?” I asked.
“This guy’s batshit. I’m gonna try and scare him. See if he fucking talks.”
“Ah.” I nodded and gassed the car toward the countryside.
There was fresh snow on the ground and it was colder than a witch’s tit when we got to the farm. Long rows of pine stretched for acres over a hilltop. We pulled off a dirt road. A lone barn came into view as we took a two-track into a clearing. A warm light shone bright from within.
“That’s the spot. Pull ’er in.”
I drove the car into the barn and killed the engine. Me and Eddie jumped out.
“The farm’s closed!” a man’s voice yelled.
“It’s Eddie,” Eddie said.
“Eddie?” An old man rounded out from behind a tractor. “I’ll be damned! Didn’t know you was in town.”
“Francis, I need a favor.” Eddie reached for the old man’s hand and slapped a wad of green into it.
“Anything.” Francis eyed the cash.
“Wood-chipper. You got one?”
The old man’s eyes lit up. “This way,” Francis waved.
Eddie began to follow then turned to me. “Bring Marbles.”
I nodded, went back to the car and popped the trunk. Marbles was still chuckling to himself.
“Alright, fruitcake. Let’s go.”
I propped him on his feet. He dropped his deadweight so I dragged him the rest of the way. A god-awful noise ripped to life as we made for the back of the barn. Past a colossal tractor the wood chipper stood like a dangerous animal. It screamed in hunger as we edged closer to it. Eddie pointed to Marbles then to the chipper. Francis strolled away.
Me and Eddie grabbed Marbles. His feet left the earth. Eddie ripped the duct-tape off Marbles’ mouth.
“Where is it, motherfucker!”
Marbles just kept laughing.
Eddie tipped Marbles ‘til the chipper's blades tore at his hair.
I held on steady.
Eddie yanked Marbles back out.
Marbles just cackled, a one-man riot of mirth and merriment.
“We ain’t getting shit out of him!” I yelled. “This ain’t gonna fuckin’ work! He thinks you ain’t gonna do shit!”
Eddie’s face was boiling.
“Try me!” he said.
He gripped the side of Marbles’ head and bashed it into the mouth of the chipper. He fed Marbles down the grinding metal shaft. The chipper convulsed. It gobbled him up and shit him out the other end. Bits of meat and bone went flying. A hard knock sounded inside the chipper. Eddie killed the metal beast.
“The fuck was that?” I asked, as what was left of Marbles sloshed like vomit to the ground.
Me and Eddie rounded the chipper. Glinting up at us through the body muck was a diamond the size of a toddler’s fist.
“The hell?” I said. “We searched him. Sick fuck must’ve ate it!”
Eddie’s lip curled. “Who’s to say he ate it?”
"Hey, give me your glove." I said.
"These are Italian leather. I ain't giving you my fuckin' glove."
I searched my pockets and pulled out a Kleenex, wrapped the stone in it, then threw it at Eddie.
“Merry fucking Christmas.” I said.
Eddie clamped his hands around the rock.
He eyed me. "Jackass”.
Old man Francis came out from behind the tractor. He looked between the two of us and what was left of Marbles. Then, as if the ground beef on the barn floor sparked the thought, Francis looked up and said, “You boys want some mincemeat pie? Think I still got some left in the house up front.”
Me and Eddie exchanged looks, shook our heads.
Eddie flipped out his wallet. “An extra G for the mess, Pops?”
“Anytime, boys,” Francis said.
We strolled back to the car, six-million-dollars-worth of glistening ice in tow.
You can reach Jaie Maclane at her new blog, Tales of the Gun