Monday, May 10, 2010

A Twist Of Noir 450 - Jimmy Callaway


An entry in Jason Duke’s RED HOT Writing Contest

Gerard and Toddy pounded the hell out of each other on the top floor of the parking garage on Kettner, over by the airport. Their grunts and thuds were occasionally drowned out by a landing plane, engines screaming overhead, almost close enough to touch.

It all started with a girl. Toddy’s ex-girlfriend Kathy had been dropping hints Gerard’s way for a few months—overly friendly hugs good-bye, a phone call out of the blue, an accidental (or was it?) crotch grab. Gerard, to his credit, at first chose to paste a dumb-foreigner look on his face and smile her passes off. Kathy was cute enough, but she was also loud, attention-starved, and almost cripplingly stupid. Besides, Toddy was a friend.

But there are many things on God’s earth that will weaken a man’s resolve. Last call on a Tuesday night is one. Kathy showing up in a blouse with a neckline to her navel is another. And that was about that. Gerard banged the hell out her that night, talking at her in French like she begged for.

Opinion is split as to the propriety of Gerard’s action here. Some say the skirt was fair game, she and Toddy had been broken up for damn near a year. The other camp agrees with this, but also points out that, for whatever reason, Toddy was still in love with this girl and made no bones about it. Never mind that she’d stolen his leather jacket. Never mind that his neighbors had had to call the cops on her, drunk and naked on his lawn, not once, but three times. Never mind all that. Toddy was in love with her, and if Gerard didn’t know that, then nobody did.

And, of course, Toddy was going to find out. Gerard certainly wasn’t going to bring it up, and while it’s still unclear whether Kathy out-and-out told Toddy, she certainly didn’t keep it a secret from anyone else. When Toddy did find out, he immediately went to settle things, first hitting all of Gerard’s usual spots, then leaving an impressive arc of voicemails, which went from frantic to hopping mad pretty quickly. But Gerard was nowhere to be found, so Toddy opted instead to fuck Gerard’s sister.

Gerard’s mother was delighted, as Belle weighed in at 350 and had the personality of a dump truck. Gerard was less than pleased, however. As horrid as Belle was, she was family. Plus, Toddy looked like an amphibian Dennis Franz, and the mere thought of those two rutting like beasts in the mud sent Gerard into spasms of rage.

Things escalated from there.

Gerard spent a whole Saturday writing “Free B.J.” and then Toddy’s phone number on every gas station men’s room wall from El Cajon to Jacumba.

Toddy put Gerard’s name on the NAMBLA mailing list, but instead of putting down Gerard’s address, Toddy put down Gerard’s neighbor’s address. Then Toddy did the same thing for every address within two blocks of Gerard’s house.

Gerard broke into Toddy’s house and took a dump in the tank of each toilet. Then he carefully removed a framed portrait of Toddy and Kathy, punched a hole through the drywall, depositing two dead halibut before replacing the picture.

At the same time, Toddy was breaking into Gerard’s house. He hauled outside, one milk crate at a time, Gerard’s record collection and left them in the backyard under the noontime August sun.

Gerard kidnapped Toddy’s prize parrot. It was anonymously returned a week later, but the only phrase it was now capable of saying was: “Kathy sucks a mean cock.”

Toddy had delivered to Gerard’s house thirteen 16-pound bags of Kibbles ’n Bits, tied in a huge red bow, with a note reading: “Belle: Hope this holds you until dinnertime.”

Gerard smashed out every window in Toddy’s house with a tire iron.

Toddy slit Gerard’s cat’s throat.

One night, Toddy came out to his garage to find Gerard pouring a can of gasoline onto Toddy’s car. They stood there, Gerard with a kitchen match in his mouth, and just looked at each other. After five or ten minutes, Toddy came around and opened the passenger’s side door. Gerard got in without a word. They rode in silence, the gas fumes making their eyes water, as Toddy drove them to the top floor of the parking garage on Kettner, over by the airport.

Nearly forty-five minutes had passed, yet Gerard and Toddy kept pounding the hell out of each other. Gerard’s shirt hung in tatters, and Toddy’s had been torn off altogether, his belly red and splotchy. Gerard had taken so many shots to the mouth, it was like he was wearing a set of wax lips. Toddy’s right eye had swollen completely shut. Sweat poured from them both, and they slipped in puddles of their own blood on the concrete. Arms aching to the bone and reeling where they stood, Gerard and Toddy kept fighting, their punches now mere taps, their kicks feeble shin-grazers.

They stood and wheezed through their noses for a minute. With a grunt, Gerard cocked back a loose fist, and then blinked several times to focus his eyes before lunging forward. Toddy shook his head as if to clear it and spread his stance a bit wider, hands held out like a stuffed bear.

And as they kept on, over their heads, the planes screamed onto the runway.

BIO: Jimmy Callaway would like to thank Cameron Ashley and Josh Converse for their notes, big Garnett Elliott for pulling out some last-minute much-needed edits, Sgt. Jason Duke for ponying up the dough for this contest, and Mr. Christopher Grant for being pure sex. Visit Attention Children, in your grocer’s internet.


Josh Converse said...

Love that one.

Naomi Johnson said...

I never want you to be angry with me. Never.

Al Tucher said...

Opinion is definitely not split about this story. Good, hilarious job.

Chris Rhatigan said...

Fantastic work. That's the funniest thing I've read in a while.

Anonymous said...

Gee, a gentle tale for children about Ratty and Froggie and the riverbank and a motorcar and . . . uh wait a minute . . . that's not Disneyland, that's, that's . . . oh my god! You sick, sick man! One of your best Jimmy. Laughed myself ill.

Jimmy Callaway said...

You are all far too kind. I'm glad I can spread such laughter (or should I be worried?).

Joyce said...

This is terrific. The relationship there is, shall we say, kind of complex, maybe? Great story. I enjoyed this from start to finish.