Portrait of an American Family


They thought five bullets would be enough. Idiots. Had they never heard about “Kill the head and the body dies?”

My guts were leaking through my belly, but using my jacket to compress the wound, I found the strength to get up, sit in my car and turn on the ignition. I knew where they were. They went back to the restaurant to have a meal and celebrate a job well done.

The cardinal rule of the game was that you couldn’t attack somebody in his own home. Tough shit, because rules don’t matter anymore when you’ve already lost. They beat me at the game they invented. The best I could do now was to make sure nobody wins.

I parked the Mustang in the shopping mall lot to light a last cigarette and savour the moment, but I choked up and vomited a little blood. Stein was eating baby back ribs, smiling and laughing at Gildoff, who was up, mimicking me, begging for my life a few moments earlier. I didn’t know what was so funny. A few moments ago, I still had a girlfriend and a baby I could go back to; human beings that loved me and relied on me for the future. They were probably home, worried out of their mind, but I didn’t have the strength left to call. Fucking Gildoff, wouldn’t have done better at my place.

A week ago, Stein and Kaminski were telling me how I was like a son to them, and how they had plans for me within the organization. We were going to make money together and it was the most important thing. A week ago, I had dreams to provide. I had dreams not to be an asshole. I had dreams of sticking it to every teacher who told me I would mop floors for a living.

I revved the engine and focused on the window, my target. I stomped on the gas and shifted gears. My ride wasn’t the most subtle; they could hear it from where they were if there wasn’t any music playing. I knew because I’ve been in this restaurant before. Last week, I sat at the same table with them. Worst comes to worst they would survive and remember me until their dying day.

Images came back to me like an MTV video as I sped toward Bob’s BBQ Pit. The first night with Melody; when we were sixteen at Grant Powers’ house party. Our first kiss in Grant’s sister’s bedroom. The first time I shot a handgun with dad, just before he died. I was so impressed. William, of course. Plenty of images of William. All these nights I spent on the couch with him and Melody, trying to shush him into sleep. One last goodbye.

I had a few seconds to appreciate my last stand. My final work of art. They never suspected anything. Gildoff’s face became white like the stucco wall behind him and his eyes grew wide and round. All his certitudes went out the window in the flash of a second. His money, his reputation, everything he loved and lived for. Same thing for Stein and Kaminski. Killed for being creatures of habit. Killed for being fucking cocky about killing.

My car went through Bob’s BBQ Pit’s window like God’s fury on the heathens. They couldn’t avoid it, they weren’t even close. They were too old, fat and slow. I guess the one thing money couldn’t buy was the reflex to survive a suicidal maniac. I heard the thud of soft flesh against the bumper before my car went slamming into the bar at the end of the room with a satisfying squish. My throat hit the top of the steering wheel and broke my windpipe.

Come on, it’s over now. You’re even.

Let go.

~ fin ~

Benoit Lelievre lives in Montreal, Canada. He's been working on his first novel for some time now, but in the meantime he writes short stories and runs a blog, Dead End Follies. Over there, he discusses everything related to literature, cinema and pop culture in general. Hit him up over there or on Twitter. He'll be glad to chat with you.