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Tom Leins
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MOLOTOV COCKTAIL LOUNGE

by Tom Leins

 

I slowly unwrap the grease-proof paper. Inside is a human hand. It is half rotted, with flaked yellow skin clinging to the bone.

I swallow the bile rising in my throat, and chase it down with some of Marie Andretti’s good scotch.

She grinds out her high-tar cigarette and taps her red lacquered nails on the desktop, irritably.

“Well? Will you do it?”

Her voice is husky and low. I can’t tell whether she is excited or upset.

I nod. Sometimes I really wish I didn’t have principles. They only ever get in the way.

*      *     *

Her ex-husband is a convicted sex offender named Barry Balthazar. It was a marriage of convenience—brokered by her late mother Carlotta in a desperate bid to consolidate the Andrettis’ waning power base. The Balthazar family was old money, and had a lax attitude towards their business associates.

It seemed like they were working towards a common goal, but the relationship was a disaster from the outset. Marie caught him trying to procure a rent boy on their honeymoon, and it went downhill from there. He stuck around long enough to drain a couple of her bank accounts—and find out where some of the proverbial bodies were buried. By the looks of the severed hand, he found out where some of the actual bodies were buried, too. . . .

*      *     *

Marie has something of a scorched earth policy when it comes to revenge – she says it is the reason she has stayed in business for so long. I was surprised when she told me that she had enlisted a smack-addled loose cannon like Frank Cutler for the job. He used to be a pimp, and ran a pair of West Indian girls who specialized in sado-masochism. No one knew exactly when they arrived, or where they disappeared to, but they briefly made him a lot of money.

Frank cradles the Molotov Cocktail like a newborn baby. He is weirdly proud of the fact that he made it himself. His eyes are bloodshot and he is wearing a greasy overcoat. He pulls the rubber Halloween mask over his sweaty face, and grins malevolently.

He trudges across the gravel lot towards the North Atlantic Motor Inn, the missile dangling from his gloved fist.

The hotel is Barry’s pride and joy. He spends every night holding court in the cocktail lounge, surrounded by flunkies and hangers-on. I can see the fluorescent lights flickering behind the frosted glass—until the window explodes on impact.

Then the screaming starts.

*      *     *

 

Later.

Frank peels off the rubber mask and drops it onto the scarred table. It stinks of burned flesh and stale smoke. On the table, it looks even more grotesque—like something you would scrape out of a medical waste container.

His eyes shine with lunatic glee.

“What time is Marie meeting us?”

I wrap my arm around his throat and squeeze. I squeeze so hard I hear his windpipe give way with a crunch.

“She’s not.”

 

 

Tom Leins is a disgraced ex-film critic from Paignton, UK. His short stories have been published by the likes of Akashic BooksShotgun HoneyNear to the KnuckleRevolution John, and Spelk. He is currently working on his first novel: Thirsty & Miserable. Get your pound of flesh at https://thingstodoindevonwhenyouredead.wordpress.com/

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