“I understand, officer. I don’t want to be standing out here either when it’s colder than a well-digger’s ass, especially when the missus and I should be chowing down on some gnocchis at Sabatino’s instead. But, you ask me, the real problem isn’t the submachine gun I’m holding right now.

“You guess right. The real problem is Big Dick.

“You know we haven’t had the most neighborly relationship, this is some next-level shit.

“My missus and his did their best to calm down all this calamity over the years, and to say thanks, his missus left some Wockenfuss on our front door. Of course, chocolate attracts ants, especially seeing as how it’s been so warm. So when Big Dick asks me later if we liked them, I joked the ants seemed to.

“Course, this was just fooling. Obviously, I didn’t mean anything by it and, obviously, any normal person would know I was joking.

“Obviously, Big Dick wasn’t attuned to humor.

“He comes over a couple days later, bearing another box of Wockenfuss. Says sorry about the infestation, says this is the best Valentine’s gift since the one Al Capone gave Bugs Moran’s people. I didn’t know what that meant either, but he fancied himself some kind of gangster. Anyway, later that night, when my missus bit into a cherry cordial, what streamed out wasn’t syrup but goddamned 10W-30.

“She says to me, Hon, just let it go. But I can’t just let that sum-bitch feed my wife motor oil.

“So I run down to Loved Ones, down Fell’s Point, pick up some…ornamentations. See, he’d been complaining about the pigeons perched on his porch crapping all over his stoop. I figured me and my bottle of Liquid Nails could help.

“Yessir, he came home to a rainbow of dongs. Every size, shape, color. Veiny and not. I made sure his front stoop represented every dong.

“Well, that set Big Dick right off. We exchanged some parries. Ever original, he painted a dong on my driver’s side, so I put slices of bologna in the shape of a heart on his hood. Bologna takes off the paint? He hid a can of anchovies under my seat, so I bought ten bags of glitter and dumped them all over his stoops, giving him no way in but through those glitter piles. Childish, maybe. Hard as hell to clean up? You bet your ass. He’ll end up going to work with glitter in his clothes.

“Then he took things too far. Missus and I were headed out to Bengies for a movie when he yells from a window, Hey, lovebirds, Cupid hit you? At which point the motherfucker shoots an arrow at us. Damn thing bounced off my car then ricocheted through our front window, taking the damn tail off the damn cat.

“That put a cap on it. His old lady threatened to cut his dick off if he pulled any more attempted-manslaughter shenanigans. We let things cool, stayed our separate ways.

“Until the chickadee Little Dick had eyes for saw fit to take up with my boy at the school dance. To be fair, he might’ve been courting her just to get at Little Dick, but reasons don’t excuse results.

“Because my missus comes home this afternoon to find a porch full of rose petals. Her heart went pitter-patter as she followed the trail of petals and what she thought was raspberry purée inside the house, up the stairs, and into our bedroom, where she reckoned she’d find deliciousness—or, second choice, me—laid out on the bed. But what she really found, officer, was a heart. A real heart.

“No sir, I do not know where it came from, nor do I want to know how he procured it.

“But a couple days before, I looked up what he meant by Al Capone and Valentine’s, so I gave him that gift, let him feel like a gangster. And I shot his house full of bullets, even made it heart-shaped. But I did make sure not to hit anyone, and I’m real sorry I tagged that guinea pig.

“Because I might be angry, sir, but I’m not heartless.”

~ fin ~

Korpon Headshot 72dpi

Nik Korpon is the author of THE REBELLION’S LAST TRAITOR (Angry Robot, 2017), QUEEN OF THE STRUGGLE (2018), and THE SOUL STANDARD, among others. He lives in Baltimore.