BETWEEN FRIENDS

BETWEEN FRIENDS

A Story by Hawksmoor

This was a couple of days ago.

I watched the big man move through the hedge on the right side of the massive house as silently as a wildcat, his broad shoulders hunched, his head lowered, his left hand opening and closing with an obscene anticipation. The angular thing that the man held in his right hand as he crept his way into another's personal space was pointed at the manicured lawn.

The moon was a great and shiny potato chip in the sky.

Johnny Sune, meanwhile, sat at an overly lavish kitchen table with a razor phone glued to his ear, talking swiftly. He had the kind if teeth that had to click with every word he spoke. There was a crease between his light brown eyes and a scowl on the lower half of his polished face. On the fingers of the hand that drummed on the table were at least seven rings, all shining so brightly that even from where I sat, a simple camera in front of my face, I could see that none of them had been inexpensive.

To Sune's immediate right, an antique coffee pot percolated into infinity.

The only thing between the pampered community outdoors and Sune was a flashy, flimsy screen, which held in what he called his relaxation cube.

His back porch.

Ahh, to have the privilege, style, and money of a gossip columnist.

I lowered my camera after a soft click and looked for the big man, whom I'd lost to the wave of disgust that had crawled into my head when my vision had fallen upon the scandal writer.

He of the perfect haircut, he of the wit as sharp as an Italian barber's razor, he of the impeccable dress sense.

I couldn't wait to see this boring goddamn a*****e beaten within an inch of his stolen, misbegotten life.
Two weeks before I kneeled in a tree with a camera to spy this situation, a trendy pop culture writer was thrown from the second floor of his perfect home in the dead of night. This was two towns to the south of where I now sat. He'd managed to twist just the right way mid-fall to avoid breaking his neck, but had been away from the office because of this ever since.

A month before this, a balding man in his mid-thirties, who did a daily report on down-on-their-luck celebrities on the talk show HollyWeird Exposed, was punched so viciously in the stomach that his spleen ruptured.

A year before this, a woman who did wonderfully terrible slander jobs on 80's movie icons was found on Labor Day morning with sharpened pencils driven through each hand and foot. She screamed until a neighbor called the police. It took ten minutes to pry the hysterical woman from her kitchen table.

She'd been pinned there by her beloved writing utensils, like an exotic insect on a slide.

Of course, everyone hates this class of people; filthy, no account maggots of who feed on the festering careers of those in the limelight unfortunate enough to stumble into showing all too human qualities.

The truth?

No.

Not a goddamn soul would ever admit it, but everyone loves these people, no matter what's said about them or their ethics. In a strange way, these folks are in the same class with the people they smear on a daily basis. That makes them worth the pain in the a*s for the very same people who hate them.

For five years, stars around the world have been approached by midgets in black suits and dark sunglasses and asked one question.

“Do you want to take the edge off jealousy?”

Ever since then, celeb stalkers, in the guise of news reporters and qualified writers, have been stalked and hurt in unimaginable ways.

A shadow company that hires itself out to celebrities of all types to put a little shine, a little hurt, on those who tried to take the luster of the lime light off of them.

Of course, these people deserve it. The only question is which celebrities and music stars are involved enough with their own public image to sanction such terrible things.

The big man strolled around a trapezoid pool and came within ten feet of Johnny Sune, who was now shouting into the razor phone stuck to the side of his head like tumor.

“A brown butterfly collar paired with a pair of low hipped slacks?” shouted Sune, his eyes bulging from their sockets. The ring-heavy hand on the table closed in cold fury. “Brown adds ten more pounds on television, and butterfly collars won't come back into style for another three years!”

Sune paused, baring his capped teeth. Apparently, the person on the other end of the call was speaking. Through my camera lens, I saw the big man break into a light jog across Sune's back yard. He looked like a Cape buffalo preparing to skewer a foolish lion.

“I don't give a s**t if it'd be a statement to the sinking fashion world, Jim!” said Sune, a positive rage in his voice, now. “If you can't start coming up with better suggestions than this, tell me so! I won't feel so bad then about combing through Cletus William's garbage bins for new agents!”

Sune was silent for a moment. He pretended to listen to the person on the other end of the call.
“Start suggesting sensible and stylish and cutting edge things to me, Jim, or you're fir…hold on a second, Jim,” said Sune, rising from his down-filled chair seat. “I've got company, I think.”

The moment Sune attempted to kill the call, something slipped through the screen of the back porch with a whisper. The next moment, Sune's right arm was pinned to the wall behind the coffee pot. The razor phone dropped to the floor with a clatter.

“I knew…” said Sune, but I couldn't hear anything else he said beyond that, not from where I leaned two hundred feet away. Even the tech I was packing couldn't pick up what he said next, because then the screen holding the back porch in burst open under the weight of the hired help, who, for effect, screamed on his way in.

These people, these agents, are wannabe actors, you see.

They're given a part to make the doing of what they've been hired to do a bit easier, a bit more fun.

Tarzan, finally escaped from the jungle.

A slave, breaking his imprisonment with cruel, incandescent rage.

A lesbian in the middle of the best romp of her life.

Whatever floats boats, you see.

Just beyond the boundary of the back porch, the crossbow dropped and rocked on the teased lawn.

The big man came to a stop in front of Sune, who was trying to pull his right hand free of the wall. My camera clicked. I felt two thousand dollars slide into my bank account, easy as pie. A few more good shots and I wouldn't ever have to work again. Although, I must say, seeing these people get their heads kicked in made my day, more often than not. Ok, there was the one stomach turning time that the cops found a Hispanic celeb chaser with his whole left arm ground to hamburger in kitchen sink's trash compactor, but hell, that was just the one time.

“When I'm done with you, you won't even be able to say a famous name,” said the big man. With that, he charged.

“I knew you were out there,” said Sune, who, in a blur of almost impossible motion, used his left hand to snatch the coffee pot from its hot perch. The big man, in the middle of his charge, wasn't quick enough to dodge Sune's swing. There was a terrific clang, followed by the splash of boiling coffee against floor and skin. The big man screamed, his fingers clawing his face and head. In his haste to beat the boiling heat from his skin, he stumbled into a particularly large puddle of coffee and slipped. He hit the floor with a crash, flat on his back, writhing in perfect agony.

“I knew you were there, you b*****d,” said Sune, who used the dented coffee pot to smash the body of the arrow pinning him to the wall to bits. “A lifetime of paying too much attention to disgusting glory hogs has given me a perfect sense of focus.” With another swing of the coffee pot, the arrow head crumpled and fell to the floor, freeing Sune's good hand.

“I could hear a fly fart in a Texas hurricane, a*****e,” Sune said with a sneer.

He raised the ruined coffee pot above his head, but by then, the big man had regained his bearings and was now sliding backwards on his a*s across the floor like an overgrown child. Sune's second swing missed his head by an inch or so. That was all the big man needed to tear through the screen again and stumble into the back yard.

His right hand was grasping the side of his head as if he had a hole in it. He came to a stop on the edge of the oddly shaped pool. Now, there was fear in his face.
Though on top of the film of fear, a dull fury churned.

“I'm gonna beat the s**t out of you, you little queer!” said the big man. “Look at what you did to my head, you f****r!”

Sune walked, rather calmly, through the ripped screen. His dented weapon was firmly in his grip. “You came into my house looking to harm me, yet, I'm the f****r?” said Sune, a tight, serene little smile on his face, now.

My camera clicked again, though my heart wasn't really in it. The big man buckled and fell to his knees, moaning in agony.

“I watch the news, you big, dumb gorilla. I've seen what's been happening over the last five years. I'm a big name in star news. Did you think I was unprepared? Look at you, kneeling on the ground, screaming like a spoiled brat who couldn't get what he wanted.”

Sune raised the coffee pot over his head.

“You thought I was going to be an easy target, but I fooled y...”

In the instant between the beginning of the word and the end, the big man shot to his feet and closed a meaty hand around Sune's slender throat. His head was bowed and he shook a bit as he stood, but his voice was thick with glee and wrath when he spoke.

“Wrong, you pansy son of a b***h.”

Sune's smarmy smile fell away. His eyes widened. Before he could deliver the coffee pot’s potential energy to the man’s head, a hand as powerful as a vice closed around his wrist and twisted. Now, it was Sune's turn to scream like a stuck pig. The coffee pot hit the edge of the pool with a dull clunk. The big man applied more pressure and Sune was astonished to hear the bones of his wrist shatter like cheap china.

“Let's take a swim, m**********r,” said the big man.

The hand around Sune's neck flexed and then he was flying through the air like a rag doll shot from a circus cannon. With an enormous splash, the two men were in the pool. Meanwhile, my camera clicked again and again and again. My Swiss bank account would overflow with this madness; this great, greasy lunacy under a potato chip moon.

Sune struggled, but of course, the big man was far too powerful for him. Over and over again, a fist the size of a mutant eggplant broke the surface of the melee and disappeared at the speed of angry sound. From where I sat, the pounding of flesh, even under sanitized water in a trapezoid pool, was audible. The two men splashed in the pretentious pool like a shark and a seal in battle, though the seal never really stood a chance.

The big man had played his part well; a nearly witless assaulter who never misses nearly botching a simple job. The part he chose to play. Draw the target in, shut the target up. It worked splendidly.

My camera clicked twenty times in two minutes.
At the end of two minutes, the big man hauled the unconscious Sune out of the pool and onto the lawn. Sun's nose was bleeding, and both eyes were swollen shut. The shirt he wore before the night swim, a slick and perfumed thing of silk and velour, was gone. A pathetic chain, silver and thin, dangled from his neck.

“Mission accomplished,” said the big man, wiping his face. He ran a hand across his bald head, which was now almost black with coffee burns. My camera clicked and whirred as he began to walk away, and it was then that I knew that something was wrong.

Sune, the egotistical little b*****d, wasn't breathing.

I broke cover.

“He's not breathing!” I shouted, my camera swinging around my neck like a pendulum of hate. “He's not breathing!”

Immediately, the big man fell to his knees and began to pound on Sune's scrawny chest. He’d wanted to scare the prissy little f****r out of a career, not kill him. The girly-man would be lucky to live through the big man's boorish attempts to bring him back.

Luckily, he did.

A jet of pinkish water shot from Sune's gaping mouth. He began to cough.

“Get the f**k outta there!” I screamed. With that, I fell from my perch and made my way from the scene of the crime.

The big man stared at Sune for a moment longer. When he was convinced that the gossip w***e would live, he turned and darted through the torn screen and into the house. He wrapped the hem of his shirt around his hand and picked the bent razor phone up. He dialed 911.

A voice spoke to him.

“Ambulance, Ingram Drive, last house,” the big man said. He dropped the cell phone. On the way out of the yard, he scooped his crossbow up.

Needless to say, the 911 people were at the address in minutes.

Johnny Sune would be out of work for a few weeks, maybe as long as a month.

A lesson was hammered home with anonymous pictures sent through the mail to opportunistic rag managers. I was paid a hefty sum for my efforts. I was able to retire from the business with the money I made that night, but I have to be honest. I love seeing some people get theirs way too much to ever give this up completely.

I know, I know.

Call me an idiot, if you must.
The next day, of course, Johnny Sune became what he loved best; a juicy and dangerous nugget of news on the famous, or in his case, the half famous. The news was reported by yet another man-child in his late thirties who wore a brown butterfly collar and a pair of hip riding slacks. Atop this f**k's head sat a store-bought haircut.

In an Orange County hospital, his TV ablaze, Sune, doped to the eyeballs and humiliated, clapped a bruised hand to his forehead and groaned.

In the hazy depths of a sleazy bar in the seediest part of Hollywood, the highest paid star in the movie business sat beside the most controversial beast in the music business. Both men stared at the TV screen above and smiled.

Two beer mugs touched.

“Couple of boozers, he claimed,” the movie star said.

“My a*s,” the musician said.

Thick glasses tipped and all was right with the world.

© 2009 Hawksmoor


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Added on May 14, 2009

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Hawksmoor
Hawksmoor

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A Story by Hawksmoor