The lawn guy is coming on Thursday
The lawn guy is coming on Thursday.
"Do you have your ID?" the ticket agent, bag checker lady asked looking more like a diner waitress than anybody working at airports in a movie. Those women were beautiful to him. They were young, brunettes or blondes, didn't matter really. To him they were pretty things.
"Yeah, here you go," he said handing his ID across the counter. He'd never really thought about passing that little piece of plastic across the counter, but today he did. All so that the plane was safe.
The woman took the ID, looked at it, looked at him, looked back at it.
What the hell could you be looking for now? You think I'm a threat to the plane? Seriously?
"Chee... Cheel?" she said making a face like it was the strangest name she'd seen. That with all the Africans and Indians she'd worked with whose names probably needed seven lines to spell. He hated this kind of bullshit.
I bet she works really hard to pronounce their names. Heaven forbid she offend somebody with 45 letters across two names. Send them through this part feeling all nice and happy and then the guys at security would do all but shove their fingers in their asses to make sure they weren't carrying a bomb. Just give me my shit Flo.
"It's pronounced like shell -like a sea shell," he said smiling at her. It was a face that he knew didn't translate to his eyes. Normally it would but he hadn't taken his medicine.
The lawn guy will run over half the girl's toys before he realizes they're there. That guy's really not worth the fucking $45 I pay him. Who could miss chopping up a bunch of ...
"That's me," he said grinning again. He was missing his meds. They made him feel sort of like somebody was tightening a band behind his eyes. It was like something tightened in his head and the only place it physically felt any different was in behind his eyes. They felt, strange - like they didn't belong there.
"You checking any bags today Mr. Gray," she asked.
"No ma'am," he said.
"You're flying to Jacksonville?" she asked him.
"That's right," he said.
That lawn guy is going to mess up every damn thing. The girls won't really care, but I will. Screw that guy and his monster of a mower.
"Have a nice flight, Mr. Grey."
"You too," he said realizing how stupid he sounded.
You too. So stupid. She's not flying anywhere, you are. You're as bad as the retarded lawn guy.
The secret to traveling light was to use FedEx. Chel hated checking his bags. There was too much chance stuff would get lost. Those low paid baggage slingers didn't give shit about the bags they were throwing around.
You remember that one bag they broke the last time you flew? That was like two years ago and you still have that bag. Hillary loved that luggage because her mom bought it for us. It was shitty luggage.
FedEx would ship stuff to Jacksonville overnight. He could pick it up where he was going and he didn't even have to worry about all the hassle of security. Security sucked and Chel told himself that all the time. Overpaid jackasses dressed like cops.
Thank god for FedEx.
Part of Chel's new thing would have him traveling a lot. This opportunity had opened up at work and Chel was all over it. He went out and got a new suit, new shoes, tailored shirts two ties, one red and one blue. It was the type of job that people like Chel never got.
But this one he'd gotten.
Chel worked at a bank. For his entire career he'd been one of those guys that answered the phones. The ones that helped with your balance and stuff. He wasn't bad at his job, but he wasn't good either. He just cruised under the radar. At food days, Chel brought soda or crackers for the older lady who made the spinach dip from the powdered dressing box recipe. Nothing special.
He fancied himself a cracker.
Cracker, that's funny. I'm a white cracker. The black guys I work with would laugh at that. Stupid people.
So back to FedEx.
He would have a small package, or sometimes a medium sized package shipped to wherever he was going. This time he was sending it to Jacksonville. He'd have to see how it worked.
Somebody said something to Chel and he looked up to see who it was. The noise from the plane was too loud for him to hear. He didn't say anything he just sort of made a face that said he hadn't heard her.
He had a headache. It was from missing his pills.
"Do you want something to drink?" the woman stewardess flight attendant person said to him.
Do I want something to drink? Do you want something to drink Chel?
"Um, sure," he said.
"What do you want then?" she asked him. She looked at the other flight attendant across the cart. He was a guy who was as gay as the day was long. Chel didn't have a problem with anybody. Gay, straight, goat-sex, black, white, or Mexican... he didn't care.
This guy is for sure a fag though.
He giggled to himself.
"Sir, what can we get you," the gay man said looking at him.
"Oh," Chel said, blinking at the man, "I'll have a Coke."
You never should have given up using coke, Chel. Always better when you had a little coke.
Fuck the lawn guy.
"Here you go," the fag said handing him the drink.
"Thanks," Chel said. He was in the middle seat and he almost spilled the drink on the fatty sitting next to him on the left. There was this cute blonde sitting to his right. In a few years she'd be old enough to look like the girls who should be working the ticket counters in the airport.
You put your daughter over here beside me lady. Quit looking at me. Not like I'm going to do anything to her. I've got daughters of my own.
Chel turned up the little plastic cup of Coke and drank it down fast, two pieces of coke covered ice fell out across his cheeks. He realized he should have asked for a mini bottle of Jack Daniels to go with the drink.
He looked back to see if the drink cart people were still close enough to ask but they were long gone. Even the ice had melted on his pants.
Did you go to sleep? Stupid.
"We're 70 miles outside of Jacksonville, please stow any portable electronic devices..."
Chel looked at the phone in his right hand. Was brand new to him and he didn't know how to turn it off really, so he just shoved it in his pocket.
If that signal puts the plane down just short of the runway at least your name will be in the paper.
He wondered if he could find anybody who had any coke in Jacksonville. He thought coke would be good.
His head was hurting but that was because he hadn't taken his medicine.
I bet that lawn guy could sell me some blow.
Then he pictured the lawn guy mowing over the girl's Barbies in the grass, blonde hair blowing out the side of the mower all out into the grass. He hoped the guy would clean it up before he got the hose to water the grass.
Shit, the lawn guy comes on Thursday.
"Sir," a hand touched Shel's shoulder, "if you would wake up enough to raise up your seat please." It was the gay man. Chel admired the guy's honesty because he knew living that life had to be tough.
"Oh sure," Chel said and his voice was scratchy from sleeping.
Driving in Jacksonville was sort of like driving through a sweaty version of Hell. It was hot, steamy, full of cars that didn't move enough. When they did move they all seemed to be moving all over the place, like different directions all at the same time.
What is wrong with you?
"Sir," a man's voice said making the fog in Chel's vision clear, "you can have any of the cars in the Economy spaces," the rental car guy said pointing towards the double doors to the left.
"Out there?" Chel said pointing his head feeling like somebody was shoving fat needles deep through his skull. It sort of felt like steel wires were connected from those needles down his arms and connecting to his fingers.
Am I a marionette now? Am I moving those fingers or are the needles?
Chel looked around for someone pulling the wires.
"Are you OK, sir?" an older woman said and Chel realized he was now standing outside in the parking deck lot in front of rows of cars.
God, it is hot out here.
Chel was really dreading driving in the humid heat in Jacksonville. He hoped that he would be able to drive with his head hurting this bad. The office place was all the way across town, but if he could just get there he could pick up his package.
If I fad my meds these needles would...
The car scraped the dirt on the side of the road when Chel let go of the wheel to reach up to feel the needles that weren't actually there. Grabbing the wheel he jerked it back so hard that the car in the lane beside him had to slam on the breaks.
If I get pulled over the people at work are going to get really pissed off at what I've done.
And the lawn guy... Thursday. He won't try to water the lawn until after he's cut it. All the girls' toys, their heads, their arms and legs. Everywhere.
"Sir, can I help you?" a redhead who was barely more than high school age was asking him across a tall desk. Chel spun around.
The bank. Right. He was at the bank.
"I need to make a withdrawal please."
Chel walked outside the bank branch and had to squint because the sun was so bright it was blinding, even though it was like staring through some type of humid mist. The mist sort of danced a little like it should be making rainbows or something, but these were black and white ribbons.
"Excuse me," a box blonde old lady said trying to edge past him.
Yeah, fuck off.
The envelope of cash wouldn't go into the coat pocket inside the jacket of his new suit. He was worried that some white trash swamp rat would run out of the bushes, grab his cash and run back into the woods towards Walmart where they would go buy Busch Lite and Walmart cigarettes if they made them.
"Sir," the woman said again, "Excuse me." The bitch stared at him now sounding irritated. Her eyes looked gross, like makeup had gathered in the edges, matting up with her tears and her eye lashes. There were little spiderwebs of lint criss crossing the mascara across her eyes.
And she had smeared eye make up that went down into the bags.
And she had neck fat. Lots of neck fat. There was a mole on one side.
Then something pulled on the back of his eyes.
Chel rolled to the side while he tried to squeeze his eyes shut. He couldn't see and the light was still blinding even with his eyes closed. He tried again to blindly put the cash in jacket pocket.
He started rubbing his eyes and he could the envelope scratching his cheeks.
When he was finally able to open his eyes he could see again. Luckily he still had his cash wadded up in his fist, holding it tightly like someone was going to pry it away from him.
Swamp rat motherfuckers.
All the money was there. Someone had taken his suit jacket though. He was leaned against the outside of the bank his arm scratched up from leaning against the brick. He only had an under shirt on with slacks and dress shoes. His shoes were new. Thought looked nice, not really like his.
Did you pay the lawn guy?
Hillary? What're you doing here?
Did you fucking pay the lawn guy or not?
I did, but he doesn't come until Thursday, but yeah, he's been paid.
"Do you need help?" a manager from the bank came out and was leaned over to him. He was a black guy - a kid really. "I can go inside and call somebody, I mean, if you need me too."
Chel checked his wallet. Black people stole things.
Fucking Jacksonville is full of swamp rat trash, blackass thieves, trashy whorish teenage girls. Surprised I have anything left.
Chel looked to see if the black guy had taken his jacket.
"Can you get my wife?" Chel said.
"I'm sorry sir, I didn't understand you," the guy said.
"My wife, Hillary, she's somewhere," Chel said and he started looking around for her. She had just been there.
"Sir, I can't understand you," the guy said. "Let me call..."
"Fuck you," Chel said and he stood up straight coughing. "Did you understand that?"
"Yeah," they guy said, "I heard that..."
Chel started walking through the parking lot towards his rental car.
Are you going to work overtime this weekend?
Hillary? Where were you when I needed you over there.
I was taking care of the girls, what I always seem to be doing. If all you're going to do is work you're regular hours Chel I'd appreciate it if you'd not spend so much money playing Xbox.
Xbox? Really? You're going to go there?
I can't go there because you're always there.
Chel sat down in his car and tilted the rearview mirror down. He looked at himself and his eyes were horrible. They looked like someone had been trying to put in contact lenses in with a steak knife. They were past bloodshot and more towards bleeding.
Without his medicine, sometimes the guy in the mirror didn't look like him. Chel knew it WAS him, but it didn't look like it should be him. His right hand was hurting at the knuckles. He looked at the thing and it was twisted in this crag like tree branch of a thing that had grown around a wad of twenties and hundreds. It looked like some sick pale green tree. A fake tree. Like a grandma tree.
It looked like the faded decorative tree he stored next to the water hose bin behind the house. It had this faded green, plasticky sick look. The lawn guy wouldn't throw it away. He never would. He knocked it over every time he went in the hose bin.
"You knocked it over too," Chel said to the guy he was looking at in the mirror. "You're no better than the lawn guy. He's going to make a big mess when he goes in the hose bin."
You know I love you right? I mean, you know that no matter what is going on with you, you can talk to me about it right. Like you did when you had your problem...
Thanks... I'm fine though. Nothing's going on.
Oh I know, but still if there ever was, you could talk to me about it. Me and the girls. We're always here for you. We love you no matter what has happened.
"Fuck you, Hillary," he said, but it sounded like an echo from the backseat of the car.
Chel, go on and get the FedEx thing. I'll be here with you.
You'll stay with me Hil?
Yeah. I told you I would.
What about the girls? Whose watching them?
She shook her head at him.
Chel squeezed his eyes shut and he sat in the darkness for a time.
"I'm here to pick up a FedEx that was sent here," Chel said. He had put on another shirt, buttoned it up. The tie he left in the trunk. It wasn't necessary. White shirt was buttoned up tucked into his slacks. He even had his belt nice and positioned in the front. He had looked like shit when he left the bank.
"I'm sorry?" an older security guard said to him.
"A package, I'm here to pick up a package," he said. His lips felt fake.
Be patient hon, just be patient.
"Do you work here?" the security guard said standing up picking up a clip board with some misc document to sign.
"Yes," Chel said.
"Do you have your ID?" he said.
My ID? Do I have my ID?
Chel reached into his pocket and fumbled around looking for the little plastic badge that had been his way of getting into the office for years. He looked like shit in the picture. They had taken it when he had glasses on and a t-shirt. That was back before he'd figured everything out.
"Give me just a second," Chel said.
The man walked back around the corner whispering something. He was a fat fucker and Chel didn't like him. This was Chel's first time in Jacksonville.
Wonder if this guy has worked here long...
Chel reached into his other pocket, and fumbled around. He started pulling things out of his pocket and setting them on the counter. He had receipts and two wadded up napkins that had rust stains on them. Six quarters and two nickels rattled down, one rolling off the counter towards the security guard.
"Chel... are you OK?" a female security guard said. She was sitting down now behind the counter. The woman's name was Meredith and she was about Chel's age.
"Yeah, I'm just looking for my ID," he said, "can I give you my driver's license?"
"Chel, do you need me to call some..."
Chel sat his wallet on the counter.
It was caked in brown blood. Grass clippings were stuck in the mess so that it looked like some filthy rodent... a bloody rat of some sort. Chel wanted the thing to run away.
He leaned down to look closer at the thing.
There was blonde hair in its mouth. Long strands of blonde hair that were stuck together with blood.
"What day is it?" Chel said, looking up.
Meredith the security guard was screaming, but she had run away, back against the wall and was scrambling to get around the corner. Meredith didn't work in Jacksonville.
Chel looked around him.
He was in the lobby of his office building. On the floor there were foot prints that had the same rusty bloody tinge on his wallet. And his shirt.
"Oh my god..." Tamara screamed out, "Jesus Christ!" Chel had worked with Tamara since he'd started at this office. She had this horrified look on her face like he...
Like I killed someone.
Sweetie... it's Thursday.
"It's Thursday... the guy's done mowing and he's going to pull the hose out and hook up the sprinkler."
Hey! Hey dude! You don't gotta do that today!
Can you fucking hear me!? Goddamn it, I'm going to fucking break my neck on your fucking Barbie Dolls girls!! Get them cleaned the fuck up! NOW!
You don't want me to...
No you stupid fuck! I'll water the grass! Get Hillary to write you a fucking check and get away...
"Sir," the lady cop said, "just sit lay down on the ground..."
"I want my fucking package!!"
Thank fucking god. If that son of a bitch had found this thing I would be...
Hillary... this is not...
Chel... where did you get all that money from?
Work... I got a bonus.
You did it didn't you? You've talked about it all the fucking time. You stole that money from that lady.
Ms. Pingleson said...
CHEL! YOU DON'T KNOW HER!!
That bitch is in a home... she doesnt know where she is. This money is better for us to spend than...
I'm calling the police... me and the girls are not going to get caught up in this. I tried to help you. Tried to talk to you.
If you walk away Hillary...
I knew... KNEW ... that you hadn't been taking your meds. You're back snorting again too. I fucking knew it because you've not been sleeping... at all.
Girls... in the house. Now.
Chel was on his side, in a fetal position, and he could see his shoes. They were covered in grass and blood. And his slacks... almost to the knees.
Hillary... hon... I fucking told you... told you... not to run. And now... you and the girls... you just won't shut the fuck up.
"Oh god..." Chel heard his voice. "my babies..."
Chel slammed the lid to the hose bin over and over, but the latch wouldn't catch. Each time a little spurt of blood would slash out onto him.
I gotta go pick up my package.
"Hillary..." Chel heard himself saying. "My babies... oh god..."
I'll be back in a couple of days girls... yeah... I'm calling you a girl too hon.
He smiled and winked at the hose bin.
I love you guys. Stay safe.
Chel watched himself squirm in their blood it streaking across the marble floor of the office lobby.
I'll be back Saturday.
Hey hon? Did you pay the lawn guy?
Write from the point of view of someone who has just committed a murder/robbery. Don’t mention the robbery/murder until the end.