Only Hate by Phillip James Marker

Criminals are always supposed to be tough, right? Not be afraid of the repercussions of their actions, kick ass and take names, all that bullshit. I’ve been in this gig for over thirty years kid, and in that time I’ve come to realize that there isn’t a whole lot that scares me. I’ve been to prison, been shot at, the whole nine. But there is one thing, one man, that keeps me on my toes. Keeps me up at night sometimes even. Some say this guy is a myth, a legend that some fuckhead with an over active imagination made up. But I know the truth. I know all about Red Sheehy, and the night he made himself famous. How? Well, I was there.

Red was an alright guy, for the most part. Did what he was told, never really asked questions. Loyal, yeah, but also smart. Smart enough to start dealing on his own, on the side. Not smart enough to not get caught though. When the boss found out, well, he was more than angry. Red didn’t mean any harm, just wanted some extra cash on the side for him and his girl. But the boss did not take kindly to this. I think it was because of how good a trooper Red had been for those years. I think the boss saw him as a son kinda, and saw what Red was doing as the ultimate betrayal. Didn’t kill Red, but what he did would make any man wish they were dead.

Boss took him up to that place up state, in the woods. Beat the shit outta Red, and chained him up in that cabin’s cellar. The boss kept him alive, even had the doctor check on him regularly, especially after he’d have some of the boys kick the shit out of him, which they did just about every day. I think the boss even had some of them “have their way with him,” if you know what I mean. I didn’t mind at first what was happening. Hell, I even knocked him around a few times myself, just following orders. They kept him there for over a year like that, locked away in that cellar, putting him through hell. Killed his girl, brought her head to him in a paper bag. But the kid held on. Goddamn, he was tough for holding on like he did. But someone fucked up.

Red escaped. Some guys went up there one weekend, and I don’t know if it was their complacency or Red’s pent up rage that did it, but he got out. Killed them guys too. Found their heads smashed in, one even looked like Red tore his throat out with his teeth. Boss had us hole up after that at his mansion down here. There were 12 of us there that night Red came back.

He didn’t look like a man when I saw him, more like an animal. Didn’t have a gun or anything, just came at us barehanded, right through the front door. I tried bringing my piece up but he was just so damn fast. Had me on the ground, slamming my head into the floor before I knew what was happening. Knocked me out cold. When I came too, the place was burning. As I was making my way out I saw what he’d done. Them other guys, ripped apart. Guts were lying around, Jesus. It was a massacre. One man. Outside, on the fence, I saw something I aint ever going to forget. The boss’s head stuck up on there, like a symbol or something.

I know it doesn’t seem true. But I know what I saw, and it frightens me. Why did I survive? I don’t know. Maybe he let me go just to tell his story. Maybe I just got lucky. Maybe he knows I’m still alive, and he’ll come back. I hope to God not though. A lot of folks think love is what drives a man to do great and terrible things. After that night I realized it isn’t love, there was none of that in Red’s eyes. It was hate. Only hate.

No Bad in Them by Phillip James Marker

Curtis always thought that a criminal wearing a ski mask to commit a crime wasn’t being creative, or original. So when he decided to gather supplies for the robbery his friend and now so called partner in crime Dennis were going to attempt, he purchased two paint ball masks.

“Which of these places is it again?” Dennis whispered.
“It’s the one on the right there with the Santa shit still on the lawn.You don’t have to whisper, unless these dudes have some fuckin’ legit hearing man,” Curtis replied sharply from behind the Ranger’s steering wheel. “They don’t got no lookout.”

Dennis played with the 12-gauge Curtis had commandeered for him from his step-father’s house. He had only fired a gun once in his life, and that was the one year he went deer hunting up north with his grandfather. The gun had gone off accidentally. He had fired plenty with great success in virtual worlds on his Playstation however.

Dennis asked, “So, why is it we’re listening to Amy? I mean, she’s only sixteen dude. This whole “deal” could have been some shit posted on Facebook or whatever.”

“My sister didn’t see this shit on Facebook dude, it’s for real. Besides, what do we got to lose? A shitty apartment and jobs at the car wash aint exactly living the high life. I’d take a chance like this over that any fuckin’ day of the week.”

The two sat in silence for a moment afterward. Dennis actually felt chills from what his friend had said, and came to the realization that maybe Curtis was right. Maybe trusting a sixteen year old girl on the location of a drug deal which could yield grand amounts of money was his golden ticket. Then he thought about how he could just be an idiot.

Curtis wasn‘t waiting any longer, said, “Anyway, they been in their long enough. Get your mask on, let’s fuckin’ roll on em.” The two cautiously exited the truck with their masks on and weapons ready to go. They slowly crept across the gravel towards the trailer. Upon reaching the door, Curtis took the lead. Keeping one hand on his .45 he grabbed the handle of the entrance and without another second of hesitation burst into the trailer like a wild banshee. Dennis followed unquestionably.

“Hands in the air motherfuckers! Don’t fuckin’ move!” Curtis yelled without taking into account the other inhabitants of the surrounding trailers. There were three men inside; a deadlocked hippie, and two older gentlemen. The hippie was seated across from one of the older men at a card table. There were no drugs or money to be seen. The second of the two older gents was already facing Curtis and Dennis with both hands in his pockets.

Everyone stared at each other for what seemed like over an hour, at least to Dennis. His gun was aimed at no one in particular, sweat was pouring out and he was shaking. The standing gentleman was not shaking, or sweating.

“Didn’t you hear me ass holes? I said, hands in the air!” Curtis exclaimed. The standing gentleman calmly removed a pistol with a suppressor attached and fired two rounds, one striking Dennis in the throat and the other piercing the plastic covering Curtis’s eyes, shattering the mask and some of his skull with it. The boys fell to the ground, blood beginning to stain the trailer’s shag carpet.

“Jesus. What was that all about? Vic, see who those punks are.” The sitting gentleman ordered. Vic placed the pistol back in his coat and pulled the boy’s masks off.

“Just a couple kids boss. Early 20‘s maybe. I’ll get it taken care of,” Vic said as he went to the kitchen to grab some dish towels.

“Kids these days,” the boss said to Erik. “I’ll cut you a deal tonight because of this. How about for the next batch we let you keep 30 percent?”

Erik ran his hand through his locks and replied, “Deal.”