Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Twist Of Noir 307 - Michael J. Solender


Originally published at The Flash Fiction Offensive and part of Eric Beetner’s FIST contest

Jonas Platt was in Jena’s life for less than three months that summer. That 4th of July was the day they met, became intimate and set the wheels in motion for an escapade that would leave Jena and her unborn child almost dead and Jonas in county lock-up for nearly a year.

Jena could pinpoint the exact date of Zack’s conception: July 4th, 1990. She had intercourse exactly once that year. Jonas was the lucky player.

Jonas was on her brother’s softball team and Jena accompanied them when they went to the Pops-in-the-Park huge fireworks display that holiday evening.

She awoke the next morning with the fireworks still exploding in her head and a naked and snoring Jonas clinging to the side of the bed.

She poked at him. “Hey, get up, I gotta get this place put together. I got peeps coming over later.”

This wasn’t true but she wanted him gone and the memory of the previous night to hurry out of her consciousness.

Jonas rolled over and rubbed his eyes. “That’s ok. Make me some coffee, will ya? I gotta go anyway and pick up my wife from work.”

“Wife?” Jena was already furious at herself for giving in to a one-nighter, but now she tapped into her inner bitchiness and started to seethe.

“Get your own fucking coffee at 7/11 on the corner. I’m gonna take a shower, and you need to be gone by the time.”

She didn’t get another word out before his open fist caught her square on her ear and right temple sending her to the floor.

“Bitch.” Jonas glowered as he stood over her. “You’re a lousy lay and you’ve got a big fucking mouth, I don’t need your shit.”

As Jena got to her knees, she began to vomit from the nausea of too many beers and the violent blow to the head she just received. She saw Jonas, now in her kitchen. He opened her refrigerator, took a swig of OJ out of the carton, dropped it on the floor, and left.


Two straight missed periods. She was pregnant.

She got his address from her brother and staked out his place. She figured the least he could do was help her with the cost of the abortion.

Jonas saw her standing on his front stoop, leaning on his buzzer.

“Bitch, get the fuck outta here! What are you doing coming around my house?” he sneered from behind the screen door.

“I’m pregnant, it’s yours and I need some money to get it taken care of.” Jena was trembling, but holding firm.

Violently, he thrust the door outward, striking Jena in the forehead and knocking her back onto her heels. He jumped on top of her and began pummeling her with his fists.

“Bitch.” He was screaming at the top of his lungs. “Get...” punch “the...” punch “fuck...” punch “outta...” punch “my...” punch “life!”

The squad car was there in minutes. Jena had severe head trauma, a broken jaw, internal bleeding and the baby was almost lost.


Jena decided that day in the hospital to take away something positive from the experience. She decided to keep her baby and turn her life around.

Like the magnificent spring of 18 seasons ago, Zack came in that March like a lion. He was a bruiser, nearly 13 pounds with huge feet, and little-man fists that punched out at the life surrounding him.

Jena remained a single mom and her brother picked up the father figure role with Zack over the years. Jena rarely spoke of his father to Zack, saying only he was scum and not worth discussing.

Zack was a great kid and excelled in school. He was particularly interested in mechanics, taking advanced shop and robotics. He proved to be a wizard and won many science fairs and prizes with his very advanced creations.

The winter after his 18th birthday, Zack pressured Jena’s brother who finally caved and told him the story about his father.


“Be careful driving, it’s really snowing hard.” Jena knew Zack was out to make some money with his snow-blower.

Zack tightened the bungee cords holding the blower to the trailer. Its freshly sharpened auger glistened off the falling snow.

“I will, Ma.” Unlike most snow days when he canvassed multiple neighborhoods, Zack had only one destination in mind today.

He pulled his truck in front of Jonas Platt’s house. Zack rang the bell and a woman with a fresh shiner on her left eye answered.

19 years later and Jonas’s station hadn’t changed much. Still a drunk. Still a cowardly misogynist.

“Take care of your driveway, Ma’am?” Zack asked.

“Jonas!” She hollered for her husband and he rambled to the door. Zack was now face to face with the sperm donor who was his father.

“How much?” Jonas was clearly drunk. It was just 11:00 A.M.

“$20 bucks, I’ll even do the walk.” Zack had him in his sights.

“OK, what the hell,” Jonas belched.

Zack unloaded his blower and loosened the scarf around his neck.

He made short work of Jonas’s drive. As he came up the walk, he bent over and deliberately let his scarf get pulled into the blower.

The auger pulled him to the ground behind the blower and immobilized him, positioning his body just so his hands couldn’t reach the tangled scarf still wrapped around his neck. He did reach the kill switch and the machine shut off immediately, though he remained on the walk, unable to stand.

Jonas, witnessing this from the warmth of his den, came running out and began to set Zack free. As he placed both his hands in the path of the auger, Zack hit a remote control hidden inside his mitten.

The blower cranked back on, severing the scarf with its sharp blades, freeing Zack.

Jonas wasn’t as fortunate.

The blades, freshly sharpened the evening before, amputated both Jonas’s hands at the wrist. Zack had figured with hooks for hands, Jonas wouldn’t be beating women any longer.

BIO: Michael J. Solender shovels his own driveway. He blogs at Not From Here, Are You?


Paul D Brazill said...

Even better second time around.

Laura Eno said...

Nice one, Michael. I liked it. A lot. :)

Tony Noland said...

That's playing a dangerous game, that is.

Jodi MacArthur said...

Zack had figured with hooks for hands, Jonas wouldn’t be beating women any longer. ~ Yowza! I guess so. Great gritty piece!

Anonymous said...

Michael, this was a fantastic story. I couldn't read it fast enough. Having a legal abusive sperm donor for a father made me cry when I read this

Jeanette Cheezm