So Long, Sonny
by Joe Surkiewicz
Hey, Sonny, sorry
I’m late. Beltway was a bitch, the usual clusterfuck around Towson.
Don’t look like I
missed anything, though. It’s still viewing hours. I didn’t make too much of a
racket pulling in. Lady at the front desk was nice, took my helmet.
Look, I even found a
tie, nearly matches my jeans. Not too many other folks here. Guess I missed the
You’re looking good,
man. They did a good job. You know, considering.
I know you woulda
rather gone out different. “Outlaw Motorcycle Club Leader Killed in Hail of
Bullets After 100 Mph Police Chase.” Instead of, “Toyota Highlander Slips Off
Lift, Crushes Grease Monkey During Snow Tire Swap.”
Guess we can’t
choose the way we go out. At fifty-six, I know you were hoping for more. Not
wrenching at a gas station. Honorable work. Shitty pay.
Talking about shitty
pay—remember that warehouse job right after we quit high school? The new assistant
manager, ex-Marine, gung-ho and a crew cut and busting everybody’s ass as we
unloaded a tractor trailer?
That jerk leaned in
close to you, what did he say? Right. Why grow on your face what grows natural
around your asshole?
If memory serves,
that was a fifty-pound sack of fertilizer you dropped on his foot. You mouthing
“Sorry” as that hardass hopped around, me laughing so hard I nearly puked.
Gotta ask, was it
worth it? You fired on the spot, me getting notice a week later? Fuckin’ A, it
was worth it. I learned a valuable lesson that day, Sonny, and I got you to
thank. You can laugh at authority, but you gotta do it behind its back.
I know you feel bad
about that stretch I served, eighteen wasted months out of my life. But it
wasn’t just you. There were other factors. Like that gun. That wasn’t you, that
was me. Shoulda tossed it.
I know the pigs saw
your scooter, and I got collared after they tailed you and found me instead.
But it wasn’t your fault. Anyway, my stature in the club went way the fuck up after
I got sprung—a made man, all that shit.
Then dealing ground
to a halt after the big boys moved in. The club scene just ended up a good
excuse to ride bikes on the weekend and terrorize the countryside.
But it was you, man,
who sponsored me. It was you helped me earn my colors, stood with me when I
bought my first hog, rode with me on club rides up and down the East Coast and
deep into West Virginia. Fightin’ and fuckin’, although that dropped off
considerably the last couple years.
And that other
lesson. I will never, ever, over my dead body, cross my heart and hope to die, knock
on wood—hey, real mahogany—go back to stir. I even got a damn job, nine to
fucking five, service manager at a Harley dealer.
But not you. Not
Sonny Colbrelli. Boozing and selling dope and petty crime and dead-end jobs to
the end. A free motherfucker.
Before I forget, I brought
you something. Nobody’s looking, so I’ll just slip this into your jacket
pocket. This yours? Nice fit. There ya go, a little libation for when you reach
the other bank.
Dude, it’s been
great. Getting to be closing time. In fact, it’s just me and you. Cold as shit in
here. They really got the AC cranked. Joint’s in the left breast pocket, don’t
adjustment. I know you wanna give the world a final send-off. Let ‘em know what
you really think. Wow, cold fingers. I’ll just curl these in, just so. And now
There you go. Two
extended middle fingers, a final fuck you to the cold, cruel world as they
slide you into that furnace.
You didn’t know?
It’s a whole lot cheaper.
See you on the other
Joe Surkiewicz lives in
northern Vermont. His fiction has appeared in
Yellow Mama; Horror, Sleaze, Trash; and Shotgun Honey.
known that an artist becomes more popular by dying, so our pal Steve
Cartwright is typing his bio with one hand while pummeling
his head with a frozen mackerel with the other. Stop, Steve! Death by mackerel
is no way to go! He (Steve, not the mackerel) has a collection of spooky toons, Suddenly
Halloween!, available at Amazon.com. He's done art for several magazines, newspapers,
websites, commercial and governmental clients, books, and scribbling - but mostly drooling
- on tavern napkins. He also creates art pro bono for several animal rescue groups. He
was awarded the 2004 James Award for his cover art for Champagne Shivers. He
recently illustrated the Cimarron Review, Stories for Children, and Still Crazy
magazine covers. Take a gander ( or a goose ) at his online gallery: www.angelfire.com/sc2/cartoonsbycartwright . And please hurry with your response - that mackerel's
killin' your pal, Steve Cartwright.