Payback’s a Bitch


I’ve only been in Montana two days, but this ball-freezing cold is killing me. Slapping my gloved hands against my thighs, I lean my bike on its jiffy. I would’ve just blown through this map-stain, but I know that little prick, Eddie, will have a job I can do for some quick cash and adios.

I have to turn to get through the door that catches the uneven sidewalk.  I’m a big guy, the kind that people cross the road to avoid.  Eddie waves me over.  I was right, he has a muscle-job. Fifteen minutes later I’m walking out with a grand up front and the photo of some dumbass waitress who hadn’t seen right to pay Eddie back

Fifty-two miles down the ‘200 and the restaurant’s sign, rolls up on the left.  I pull my Harley into the gravel parking lot.  I park in back.

I push the door open, stomping dust from my boots.  Waitress, Cheryl by the nametag, walks over as I sit. She isn’t tall, but she’s stacked up top, with long legs shimmied into a tight pair of black yoga pants. She’s also my goddamn mark. Fuckin’ Eddie.  While my steak is cooking in the kitchen, she makes some small talk. She asks what brings me to Montana? I say a job in loans, and her face isn’t smiling anymore.

She knows the ropes though and she shouts back to the kitchen that she’s stepping out for a smoke.  We go out the backdoor. I reach into my jacket, pull out the bone shears I carry for these jobs. Her face is unreadable, but she draws half her cancer-stick in one long pull.

“Look Eddie’s getting payment or making an example, and I’ve got the fucked up job of collecting either way. You a lefty or a righty?”

She scowls and clutches her right hand in her left…she’s a righty.  Before she can turn to run, I snatch up her left wrist and her small hand is enveloped in mine. Her left little finger sticks out.  She curls it away as I flip the hook that keeps the shears closed.

“It’ll go quick and easy if you don’t scream.  No one uses their pinky fingers for shit anyway, Lady.”

She squeezes my hand–fucking insane grip for a chick.  She steps closer, rolling her body along the arm that’s holding her, and her right hand slams into my elbow as she pulls back around her torso.

I gasp, hearing the tendons pop and snap as my elbow is bent impossibly backwards.  She yanks her left hand out of mine as my arm drops down, bent at a crazy ass angle.  I reach for her, but my goddamn arm just hangs there.

I jab the shears like a knife.  Her hair flies as she steps around the shears and in close…and what the hell is that?  Her fucking foot?  I stare in disbelief as her white sneaker flashes up and connects solidly under my jaw.  I swear I see her hair kiss the ground, her legs in a vertical splits, as my head snaps back with a massive crack. I feel another palm-strike break something in my right arm and stiff fingers jab into my neck.  The shears drop from my hand. The rest of me crumples like an imploding building.

I must have blacked out, because now I’m staring at the sky and wet snowflakes are catching on my eyelashes.  Cheryl’s holding my wallet, my thousand bucks and the keys to my ride.

I stare at her. I start to get up to beat the hell out of her, but my arms won’t move at all and my neck makes a sound like two rocks rubbing together.  Shit, that can’t be good.

“You tell Eddie I appreciate his loan, but it’d be best for everyone if he considers it a gift from here on out.”

Her steps crunch away. I can’t turn my head to look, but I hear my ride’s engine roar to life and gravel ping off the dumpster before the dust blows over me.

I wonder when that goddamn cook’s gonna take his break, ‘cause this ball-freezing cold is killing me.

~ fin ~

Guy Riessen is an author operating deep undercover in Northern California as an artist for the film industry. He's been provided a cover family, including a cat and a couple fish. His work in dark fiction can been seen in anthologies like Urban Temples of Cthulhu, and the upcoming What Dwells Below and Miskatonic Dreams.