SET YOUR HEAD ON FIRE - MATTHEW MCBRIDE
Revenge is a great fucking reason to kill a guy. The best reason I can think of. Even better than money, and money’s good, but revenge means it’s personal.
Well, I’ve always thought killing a guy should mean something. If you’re gonna do it, you should at least take the time to do it right.
Here’s Karl and me, doing it right.
We watched him, just the two of us, Karl and me. We watched the man that hit my dog walk into the liquor store with a handful of cash. I asked Karl if he was ready. Karl was always ready.
“Drop me off around the corner,” I instructed him. Karl hit the key.
I held the .22 in one hand, the other had a bottle of Palm Olive. Except it wasn’t Palm Olive.
Karl asked me, “You sure that shit’s gonna work?”
I nod my head and tell him, no doubt, this shit’s gonna work.
It’s like napalm. I’d gotten the directions off the Internet, made it myself. It was dark brown liquid and it made the plastic warm against my skin. It was a little thick so I kept shaking it.
Karl made a circle around the building then he pulled up behind the guys car. A dark blue Lincoln with a dent in the front bumper. The bumper that hit my dog.
I pushed the door open and climbed out. The cold wind felt like an icepick as it dropped under the tree line and stabbed me in the face.
I pretended to enjoy a leisurely stroll to the back door of the Town Car and I climbed inside. Slid down onto the floorboard and waited.
Bruno was a stranger who showed up at my door with an open mouth and an empty belly. He brought nothing with him, not even a collar. All he required was love and he thanked me with the lick of his tongue or the wag of his tail. I’d never been a dog lover, but I welcomed this mutt with open arms. I even took him with me on a job.
The man that killed Bruno climbed into the Lincoln and pulled the door shut. I sat up from my crouched position and stuck the pistol in his ear. Through clenched teeth I said, “You killed my dog motherfucker.”
The man behind the wheel jumped and our eyes met in the rear view mirror. He was much older than I expected. He was somebody’s grandpa. He was holding a gallon of milk.
I asked him about my dog.
He said he didn’t know anything. But nobody ever knows anything.
I leaned up against the front seat, pistol in my left hand, napalm in my right. I just kept shaking the bottle, my eyes not leaving his.
He began to speak as I raised the bottle and squirted the back of his neck with the fire water. He was rambling on about his grandkids, or maybe his son had borrowed the car. I couldn’t really hear him.
I pushed open the back door and stuck my lighter against his jacket as Karl pulled up.
He threw open the passenger side as the car came to a stop directly across from the Town Car.
Grandpa’s white hair was on fire and burning brightly. He was jumping around.
Then he raised a handgun and I dove onto the ground as the window of the Lincoln exploded and I saw Karl take a bullet that was meant for me.
I crawled backwards on the pavement with the bottle in my hand. I’d managed to spill the napalm all over myself and the burn trail started about the same time the headliner caught fire.
I jumped to my feet, but you can’t outrun the flames. The last thing I saw was the old man’s face melting in the rear view mirror as the napalm consumed me.
BIO: Matthew McBride lives on a farm along the river and one day he will own his own machine gun. He’s been published at A Twist Of Noir, Powder Burn Flash, The Flash Fiction Offensive and the most recent issue of Plots With Guns. He is currently reworking a novel that this editor has seen and thinks is pretty genius. His blog is Got Pulp?
29 minutes ago