Friday, March 15, 2013

Issue #48 -- March 2013

By Mike Monson

Sadie and Earle did not invite Victor Blank to their little get-together.

“Fucker once he gets drinking can’t keep his hands to himself,” Sadie said. She took a shot of Jaeger with her left hand and sucked hard at a joint from her right.

“Is that that dude that was all over my shit on the fourth?” Julie said.

“That’s the one,” Sadie said. She poured a shot for Julie and for Julie’s new husband, Tommy. She passed the joint to Earle.

“What an asshole,” Julie said, taking her shot in one loud gulp.

“Same one that keeps pounding the fuck out of Teresa,” Sadie said. “Bitch won’t leave him. ‘He makes me happy,’ she says. That’s fucked up. Plus I think the dude is going psycho from all the meth he’s been snorting.”

“Teresa will never learn,” Julie said. “Put her in a room full of great handsome guys and one dumbass, homely, wannabe wife beater and she’ll go off with the abuser – every time. I have no sympathy for her.”

“You’d have to admit that your own picker’s been off a time or two,” Sadie said. “I’ve got black eye pics in my iPhone to prove it.”

“That’s behind me now,” Julie said as she reached out and pulled Tommy’s face to hers for a long kiss.

Sadie watched. She sighed. “Uh huh ….” she said, shaking her head and looking hard at Tommy.

“How do you know Teresa won’t bring him?” Tommy said. He didn’t drink his shot, but took the joint from Earl and took a long hit. He passed the weed on to Julie. He was not going to get too drunk tonight. He’d have a little, sure. A couple of shots couldn’t hurt.

“She knows I think the sonofabitch is a rotten sonofabitch,” Sadie said. “I won’t have him here. You know he was actually in fucking prison for nearly beating his second wife to death. I just found that shit out.”

Sadie poured four more shots. Sadie, Earle, Julie and Tommy drank. The joint and the shots went around four more times. Tommy kept smoking but only took one shot.

Earle got up from their kitchen table. He pulled a tray of appetizers out of the oven: Jalapeño poppers, Chung King pork eggrolls, Bagel Bites, chicken nuggets. Earle didn’t talk much. He did all of the shopping and the cooking and the cleaning. Sadie was the talker.

“Bring over a big plate of that shit, Earle,” Sadie said. “And bring another bottle of Jaeger while you are at it.”


Earle and Sadie and Julie all worked Gallo, as laborers in the bottling plant. They’d known each other for years, through the 22-year marriage of Earle and Sadie and through the so far two divorces and now third marriage of Julie.

Teresa was also an old friend from Gallo, though she’d been fired from the bottling plant several years before after getting caught in the parking lot giving a blow job to one of the security guards.

Tommy had moved to Modesto six months earlier. He was an engineer with the Modesto Irrigation District. He met Julie at the White Elephant Lounge his first week in town. She had wild curly blonde hair and a huge ass tucked into the tightest jeans he had ever seen. He couldn't resist. She moved in with him a week later and they got married in Vegas a month after that.

Tommy was trying to control his drinking. Before moving to Modesto, he’d had many nights of drinking tequila when he’d wake up with bloody, scarred knuckles and no idea how they got that way. Several times, the police had knocked down his door in the morning because a girlfriend or the previous night’s date had pressed charges for the beating he’d given her. Luckily, he’d eventually convinced each to let him off the hook, once having to take a beating from a girl’s father and two of her brothers before she agreed to drop the charges.

Julie didn’t know about those nights. Those were locked away in the past and he wanted to keep it that way. He figured if he kept mostly stoned and stayed away from tequila, he’d remain agreeable and nonviolent.


At ten o’clock, Teresa showed up holding aloft a huge bottle of Patron tequila.

“Shit, baby,” Sadie said. “Where the hell did you get that?”

“Stole it from Victor,” she said, “after I kicked his ass out.”

When Teresa talked, she covered her mouth with her hands to hide the missing teeth from Victor’s beatings.

“Woo hooo!” Sadie said. “Let’s drink to you fucking coming to your fucking senses. God damnit. And we’ll use the sonofabitch’s booze. Shots all around. ”

Teresa joined them at the table. She was wearing tight black leggings and a cut-up black Oakland Raiders t-shirt. In spite of her extreme thinness, lanky hair, and missing teeth, Tommy thought she was cute as hell. He got the feeling that she liked him a little too. He tried to be careful so that Julie didn’t see him staring or giving Teresa too much attention or she’d have his ass.

Tommy couldn’t resist taking a couple shots of the tequila. Patron? God, he loved that shit. But two shots turned to four and four to eight and by midnight Tommy – along with everyone else at the table – was totally wasted. Julie passed out, her head in Tommy’s lap.

At first no one even noticed that Victor Blank had joined them. He just appeared, standing at the head of the table, holding Sadie’s tiny Chihuahua, Corny. The dog whimpered and then barked, startling Sadie.

“What the fuck!” Sadie said, coming out of her reverie. “Put that dog down now and get the fuck out of here. God damn it.” 

Victor Blank didn't move. He smiled at Sadie and then at Teresa. He was wearing cut off shorts and nothing else. His sinewy muscles glistened with sweat off of his lean frame. He’d recently shaved his head and there were cuts and drips of blood all over his bare scalp.

“Nice little doggy,” Victor said. He twisted the dog’s neck, and then flung its body at Sadie, hitting her full in the face.

“My Corny!” Sadie screamed as she caught her dead pet after it had bounced off her nose.

Earle charged at Victor. Earle was a big guy, about six foot one and 240 pounds, but Victor pushed him aside like he was nothing. Victor took a pistol out from behind his back and fired it at the refrigerator. The bullet ricocheted off the steel door and hit the TV on the kitchen counter, shattering the screen.

“Don’t want no trouble,” Victor said. “Just came to pick up Teresa. It’s getting late and she has to work early in the morning. Poor thing needs her sleep, you know.”

“Victor,” Teresa said. “I tole you we’re through. Just go.”

“Teresa,” Victor said. “You know I love you dearly, and you know we belong together. Come along now.”

“Fuck you, you fucking asshole,” Sadie said. “I’m calling the cops.”

Sadie reached for her cell phone and Victor shot her in the ear. She screamed. Earle ran over to her and Victor shot him in the ass. Earle went down with a yelp.

“Okay then,” Victor said and reached out his right hand, palm up, fingers spread. “Teresa, are you ready darling?”

Julie woke up and raised her head from Tommy’s lap. She saw Victor and the bleeding, crying Sadie at the table and Earle on the floor. She saw the dead Corny in Sadie’s arms.

“Shit, Teresa,” Julie said. “You sure can pick em. Jesus.”

“Fuck you,” Teresa said. “You aren’t much better.”

Teresa looked at Tommy.

“Present company excepted, of course.”

“Fucking bitch,” Julie said. “Why don’t you go off with your psycho boyfriend before he kills us all?”

“She’s right, baby,” Victor said. “Come on, now, it’s time to go home.”

Victor leaned over Tommy and Julie and tried to grab Teresa by her neck. His hand holding the gun was right in Tommy’s face pointing up to the ceiling. Tommy grabbed Victor’s wrists with both hands and slammed the gun down to the table. Tommy elbowed Victor in the nose. There was a crack and blood spurted out Victor’s nostrils. He dropped the gun.

No one moved or spoke for a moment. There only sound was the dripping of Victor’s blood on the plate that had contained the now long-gone deep-fried treats.

Plop plop plop.

Sadie grabbed the gun. She put the end of the barrel right on the spot where she hoped Victor’s heart was. She shot, twice.

“That’s for killing my dog, asshole,” Sadie said.

Victor fell onto Teresa and Julie’s lap. Julie pushed him off and onto the top of the table.

Sadie got a washcloth and held it to her ear. Teresa helped Earle stand up and lean against the kitchen counter. They all watched as Victor bled from his chest and his nose.

Tommy picked up the Patron. He took a long, long drink straight from the bottle. He slammed the bottle down on the table, leaned his head way back until he was staring at the ceiling and then screamed – long and loud.

Julie put her hands out to Tommy and tried to pull him to her.

“Hey babe,” she said, “maybe you better take it easy.”

Tommy jerked his arms away from Julie and took another long pull from the Patron. He drank until it was empty and then threw the bottle against the wall.

“Tommy!” Julie said. “I told you to stop it now.”

“Fuck you, you dumb whore” Tommy said. He grabbed Julie by the back of her head with his left hand. He pulled back his right arm and made a fist.

“Don’t you dare, you sonofabitch,” Sadie said. She aimed the gun at Tommy.

Tommy looked at Sadie, grinned, and brought his fist down onto Julie’s face.

Mike Monson works as a paralegal in downtown San Francisco and lives in Modesto, CA. He's had stories accepted and/or published in Literary Orphans, Shotgun Honey, Flash Fiction Offensive as well as Yellow Mama. He also has stories included in upcoming anthologies from All Due Respect, Out of the Gutter, and Near to the Knuckle. Visit him at


  1. Whoa, that was unbelievably freakin' awesome, man...LOVED it!

  2. All that fucking Victor's fault. Son of bitch.

  3. That’s a stone cold blast of the good stuff. Great Job Mike!

  4. You know what? Victor Blank IS a sonofabitch. ;-)

  5. Well, Mike, I want to support you but I am the antithesis of a hard-boiled kinda gal. This is very well-done for its genre. But the genre is depressing as Hell.

    FWIW; I don't watch gritty TV, either. It's the old "freight must be proportioned to the groove" thing. I know my limits.

  6. Gate, who I think is Kate: that is so funny, because rather than depressing me stories like this excite me, thrill me, and make me feel happy.

  7. Thoroughly entertaining. A tense piece from start to finish.

  8. "Stone cold" is right. Gritty. I loved it. Part of me wants to take a shot of something strong to help process the moment. It's only 10:45 in the morning here, too.

    1. Doktor nOnsensical: ready for your shot yet?

  9. Glad I dropped by via your site, Mike. Thanks for inviting me. Nice woik. Anonymous-9

  10. Woo hoo. That one was dark in that really good way. Well done. Thanks for sharing.