The Faraway Land by Johnny Zephyr

It was past 3 am. A full moon in the Eastern sky was obscured by fast rolling dark clouds.

When I came in the house the boy lay sleeping on the rough blanket, his hands clenched.  Max walked in behind me and stood at my side. The contours of the high dresser and other objects in the dark room were visible, backlit by the flames in the oil stained yard. The boy looked like an effigy on top of a sarcophagus.

I lit a match and checked the bruises on his face, neck and chest.

Shook him. He started awake flinching when he saw me, then relaxed.

Come with me. We have to finish it.

I held his hand.   Max followed us, breathing on the back of the boy’s neck.  The boy hesitated at the door. I waited.

It’s okay.

I pushed the screen door and led him out.  It banged closed behind us.  The two charred corpses were visible through the flames.  The boy looked up at me.

Okay we just let them do a bit more. Then we bury them.  You will help me. Sit there.

 He sat on the back porch swing.  The wind rattled the metal supports. He stared at the car. Max lay beside him.

After the fire banked I turned to him.

Always let things follow their full cycle. Okay?

Okay.

Come on.

He stood up and followed me.  

We passed the car, the smell of burnt flesh was strong in the cool night air. He put his palm over his nose and mouth. At the barn door I turned to him.

Wait here.

I drove out the tractor which I had reinforced with steel lifting prongs.  Heavy metal plates over the back axles meant it could lift tree trunks, dead bullocks, engine blocks.

 Get up here.

 The boy climbed up into the unframed cab.   The coyotes barked in the desert far off.   The engine idled.

Max looked up at us. 

I drove the tractor over to the car, the boy clutching the gouged metal seat for balance.  

Okay let’s get started.

 I swapped places.  Stood behind him on the tractor’s tow bar.  I showed him how the throttle worked.  The engine responded.  We moved forward. Slowing when the steel prongs touched the car.

Okay a little more gas.

The tractor began to crush the car against the wall of the grain silo.

That’s it.

The blackened skulls toppled off – the bones where they were attached to the neck shone white like the Texas high desert moon.

Back up a bit.

The boy looked back at me.  I leaned over. I showed him.

Okay, forward again. 

The boy pressed the accelerator. This time the car frame crumpled, folding in on itself, the corpses toppling out of sight.

He put the tractor in reverse without prompting. Then he did a sharp fast forward. The chassis collapsed.

The boy whined and writhed like a belly-shot hyena.

Okay – let’s get rid of them now.

The boy nodded. I did the first part, scooping up the crushed car. I showed him the hydraulic controls.

He raised the crushed car to the maximum elevation. It looked like a sacrificial offering to the newborn cyborg king. I directed him to a trench behind the silo.

I tapped the boy’s shoulders to stop near edge.  He held the tractor steady with the crushed car held high.  

Okay just hit this lever here.

It dipped and the crushed car fell into the hole. One end of it scraped against the dry hard soil of the edge before landing on the bottom.

Okay let’s fill it in.

The boy figured it out quickly. I knew he would be one of the great ones later on.   He scooped up and dropped the heavy red clay on top of the car. The hole was soon filled. We drove over the top until it was level.

We got down.

That is when the boy cried. Deep jagged sobs from the faraway land where boys shouldn’t cry.

Max paced beside us, low whines in synchrony with the boy.

I stood there patting the boy’s back.

It’s Okay. It’s Okay. It’s Okay.

But it never was.

The Kray Twins by Johnny Zephyr

It was noon.

We pulled up.

We pulled ugly beautiful shiny black guns out.

We pulled on masks.

Except driver boy Tommy who could use one full time with his ugly Irish freckles.

We scanned Sheriff Street. No sheriffs. No Gardai. No nosey parkers.

Tommy Freckles watched me in the rear view mirror.

Have fun Victor he said.

We got out.

The Kray twins and Johnny Rotten. That was me mask wise.

We ran into the Allied Irish Bank.

Armalite, Lugers and endorphins full bright.

Ronnie and Reggie ran towards the counter screaming and vaulted it in synchrony.

They were fine tuned to the art of aerial dynamics.

They knocked a few money serfs unconscious.

Men only – on first principles.

Three minutes I called out.

I fired into the ceiling.

Armalite work out.

It worked.

The money customers went supine.

Quaked. One did urine.

I was going to shoot him.

Restraint is my middle name.

I shot the monitors instead.

They sputtered out.

They cascaded glass and electronic tendrils.

The Twins were having some bother. Some woman was fighting back.

Knock her block off – I shouted. Second Principles

A sick thud followed.  Followed by whimpering.

Two minutes left!

I sprayed the ceiling.

Not urine wise.

Heavy caliber wise.

Dust and plaster plumed down.

I walked up and down and around House of Pain wise. I danced to the pogo. It made me feel mighty real.

I know that’s disco shit!

Don’t look up at me.

Don’t talk.

Don’t cry.

Don’t piss.

One fucker is enough.

I have OCD.

I have ADD.

They don’t mix easy.

Reggie was shouting at Ronnie -they were like the real twins that way.

One minute left dummies I called.

Then Reggie stumbled over the counter and landed at my feet. The customers screamed. I screamed. But only inside. Restraint is etc.

There was a stiletto stuck in his temple.

Then Ronnie was firing.

I ran over – jumping prone customers as I went – Steeple Chase wise.  It was race week in Galway.

I leaned over the counter.

Ronnie – what the fuck.

He was executing everyone.

What happened?

This fucker stabbed Reggie. He pointed at one of the women’s bodies.

She is one of the Laffey sisters.

The biggest gangsters in Galway.

We are dead fucken meat now in perpetuity.

What?

Forever.

Whatever.

I looked around. Reggie was bleeding out. He was lying face down on the ornate marble floor. Thick black blood flowed away from him. Customers tried to inch away from the blood as it got near them. It would ruin any well tailored material for ever and ever amen.

Ronnie – they are dead 10 times over – throw the bags over here.

Fuck the bags and fuck you.

He was reloading.

Thirty seconds left I said into the void that was Ronnie’s medulla.

That is where I put him then. Shot him in the temple.  It was simple. He and Reggie were on the same ship out now.

I jumped the counter. Not easy with an Armalite. I left it sitting on the counter once I got over. No more heroes left hopefully.

I grabbed the two bags and threw them back onto the counter. They landed in Reggie’s blood flow. I could hear the splash.

I vaulted back. I grabbed the Armalite. I put it under my arm and hauled the two bags as best I could towards the door across the shiny floor. They were heavy.

I got to the front door. Right in time.

Zero seconds left I called out.

I had to OCD wise.   Perfection wise. Professional pride wise.

I opened the bank door.

Tommy was sitting in the car with the window down. He waved over. He jumped out. Not in the rule book. He pulled the bags off me. He flung them into the back seat. I climbed in after them.

Tommy got in and sped away. I could hear a siren singing in the soft clear air.

He didn’t even ask about the Krays.

100% non curious.

100% professional.

He looked in the rear view mirror.

You have fun? Yes.

How did it go Victor?

Some guy pissed his pants.

Gross.

I know.