Monday, November 29, 2010

A Twist Of Noir 633 - Matthew C. Funk


I’m always looking over my shoulder. Even alone. Even in a shithole poboy joint like Clouet Market here.

Even asleep. Always.

The rule to what I do is what goes around, comes around.

I’m picking through the rack of Fritos that expired two years before The Storm, looking for the jalapeno kind my partner Hakk insists on, when the sob story shows up: Kensie.

“Detective Jurgis?” Kensie says to me.

“Kensie. How are you keeping these days?”

One look gets the answer: A rag, stained too much to clean and washed until fading - that’s Kensie Washington.

“I wanted a moment, private.”

“Is this about Deo?” Kensie’s one in a long line of beaten spouses whose husbands I put in permanent traction. It’s more than my off-time from the force. It’s my calling.

I got broken by men once. Never again. What goes around, comes around.

“Yeah.” Kensie wads up the paper bag she’s got in both hands.

“Don’t have to thank me.”

“Ain’t that.”

“Need help?”

Kensie lifts the bag at me. The revolver in it clicks.

“Something like that. You won’t be needing those sandwiches, bitch.”

Sometimes, what comes around, doesn’t come from over your shoulder. It comes right at your face.

Kensie takes me to a playground in the demolished Desire Projects. Swing set is barnacled with rust. Its chains are off.

“You going to get yours now, meddling bitch,” Kensie says as she chains me.

“Over what?”

“What you done to Deo.”

“What about what he did to you?”

She locks me in the circle of the tire swing.

“Deo done nothing but love me from his soul.” Kensie is all tears and creases. I give her a look of disbelief that could slap a bulldog smooth, but she keeps angry.

“A broken arm is nothing? Those knife cuts on your thighs, nothing?”

Kensie taps a carving on the wooden playset.

“This was what mattered - this here.” Kensie traces an initialed heart carving: KW and DO. Kensie and Deo. “We were lovers forever. We were Romeo and Juliet of Desire Projects, bitch.”

“Lovers who killed each other. About right.”

“What his rage done, don’t matter.” Kensie opens my kit bag. My tools. “Rage didn’t stay. He did.”

“He stayed because you were his willing victim.”

“I was his. I am his.” Kensie pulls out my pliers. They still have pieces of Deo’s sinew. “Now he’s nothing but a cripple.”

“He was always broken.”

“You don’t know what true love is-what true sacrifice is.” Kensie pulls out my wirecutters. My wire. My hammer. “You going to know pain, though.”

“Is that what love is to you? Pain?”

Kensie spits.

“More than pain.”

Kensie walks around me, laughing.

“Love is what makes the pain not matter.”

Kensie puts the pliers on my ring finger.

The pliers bite.

They keep biting even when I hear the wet sound of Kensie’s skull sucking a rifle butt.

Kensie goes down; twitches.

I don’t turn to see who did it.

I don’t hear who’s behind me.

I don’t even hear the playground gravel.

His huge hands pull off the tire.

“You need to read your Bible,” Hakk says, unchaining me.

“I need to find out how you keep tracing me.”

“Sermon on the Mount.” Hakk lifts me up. “Don’t put pearls before swine.”


“Or they turn and tear you to pieces.” Hakk steps on Kensie. I step on her to reach his mouth with mine. He gets a full 33 seconds - the degree of a curve, an endless circle.

Hakk’s smiling. I’m not.

Hakk looks at me. I look at Kensie.

I grab my cuffs. Hakk steps to pin her.

“Here’s hoping we break the cycle,” I say, planting the tools I broke Deo with, now covered with Kensie’s prints, on her cuffed body.

BIO: Matthew  C. Funk is a professional marketing copywriter and social media  consultant, a writing mentor and the author of several manuscripts that  illuminate the beauty of human extremes. A graduate of the Professional  Writing MFA at USC, his online work is featured at sites such as A Twist of Noir; Thrillers, Killers and Chillers; Flash Fiction Offensive; ThugLit; Powder Burn Flash; Pulp Metal Magazine and his Web domain.


Michael Solender said...

Very cold and straight up write. Chilling.

Charles Gramlich said...

Brutal. Great characters in this one.

Anonymous said...

Pitch perfect delivery Matt. Like a song in a freezer.

Chris Benton said...

Marvelous dialogue, cruel humor, pinpoint descriptions, what's not to love?

lawdog1977 said...

Great story. Juicy bits in there. Theme of cycle of abuse continuing puts it on a higher level than average pulp fictions.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. And still months early for Valentine's Day.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

The narration was tremendous as was the dialogue. Truly the most was made with the word count limit. Great story.

R.S. Bohn said...

Deo done nothing but love me from his soul

That and the line about giving Hakk the 33 seconds, that was beautiful.

Great story, very well told.

Nigel Bird said...

full of funk soul brother

pattinase (abbott) said...

The quality of these stories amazes. And this is especially chilling.

jrlindermuth said...

Nice. Good dialogue.

sandra seamans said...

Those are some great characters I wouldn't mind seeing again. Excellent story!

Joyce said...

And so the brutality just goes on and on... Great how you showed us so much of your characters in so few words. A chilling picture was painted indeed. Well done.

Paul D Brazill said...

A great world that you created Matt. Very well written

Aj Hayes said...

Ain't no good guys. Never were. But some are a better kind of bad. If this story doesn't challenge your inner dialog about good and evil nothing will. Thanks for slapping my head sideways Matt. Excellent as always.

Unknown said...

"Sometimes, what comes around, doesn’t come from over your shoulder. It comes right at your face." - Jari Jurgis

There is a lot to like in this short piece, but that is my favorite. I can't wait to see more from this cast of characters.

M. C. Funk said...

Thank you all for the extraordinary comments. It's terrific to see that the characters, setting and voice can get such seasoned blood going.

I had aimed to convey a theme of circles within circles, and it's great that came around, too.

Anonymous said...

Masterful..."the degree of a curve..." What a kiss. Yum-my.

chad rohrbacher said...

Getting caught up on my reading and I'm glad I did -- painfully done -- bravo

Anonymous said...

LOVE a woman with issues.
Nice Flash.