*** Warning ***
“Extreme Solution” is a violent story. The main characters are nasty, crude brutes, satisfying their primal desires in the only way they know how.
September 11, 2024. Damn those that demand coddling
Snake, known to his Granny as Lamar, banked the campfire as he prepared for tonight’s job. The woods around the rail tracks were his home now. Cookie and him had been warned – the Lafayette projects belonged to the Big Guy. If Snake so much as sniffed around with a scam, the Big Guy’d be happy to bury him under the cherry dogwood tree in the rundown park near his old stomping grounds.
Everybody had to scramble now, what with the government checks cut in half. Only half as much money available for action.
Fucking politicians! It was a good deal they broke. All Snake wanted was enough get loaded and pick up loose money. Now he didn’t even have a neighborhood to work.
The warmth of the late summer evening always clogged him up, ever since he worked in that nursery, especially in that nursery, but he loved being around all those plants and trees. He pressed a finger against one nostril and blew snot out the other one.
Fireflies awoke as the sun sank. They flashed near the bushes across the rusted tracks from their streetcar. These woods gave him security in the city, especially with Cookie along to do dirty chores.
He knew that the Big Guy thought him and Cookie were nothing to worry about, just something to banish. Hell, Snake had no problem cheating, lying, or roughing somebody up but that was as far as he’d go. He couldn’t kill nothing, not since his dog, Lucky, died that night, the night his old man visited, pretending interest, back when Snake was in the second grade. The old man claimed he was just going to the corner for a fifth and he took the dog. Lucky never had a chance in the fighting pit. Fucking old man!
Even though Snake swore he wouldn’t rob nobody in Big Guy’s territory, the Big Guy didn’t trust him. He kicked Snake and Cookie out of the projects.
With two little bastards from two different bitches, Snake slid away from his Gran’s place with no regrets other than the lost pigeons. He needed to find a new bitch, but the closest he’d come was that whack woman who wandered onto the tracks a few nights ago. No need for another mouth to feed who couldn’t follow orders.
Snake banged the side of their old streetcar. “Hey, Cookie Monster! Don’t put any more shit in your mouth. We got things to do, places to go.”
Cookie’s big head, mopped with black ringlets, poked through the empty windowpane of the abandoned streetcar. A crumble of Oreos fell out of his mouth. He stuck a large arm out the glassless window. “Wha da fu’?”
Jerking his head toward the old streetcar, Snake said, “Bring Paul Bunyan. Time to get real food.” He ambled over to the rail tracks. The tracks lead into the city one way and out to the rich burbs the other.
Cookie came out of the streetcar and followed, swinging a foot-long rusted spike in his beefy hand.
Snake set a steady but slow pace on the gravel sloping beside the tracks. They skirted an old transfer station, quiet these days. They turned north, making better time on the wood planks holding the rails. When Snake finally saw electric lights through the trees that separated the rails from neighborhoods, it took him back to traveling to Gran’s for Christmas dinner.
He stopped. Cookie stepped on his ankle. Snake whacked Cookie reflexively in the chest. “Idiot! Wait here.” He stepped into the side woods, walking slowly through the heavily shadowed brush. Yet in a short time, he peeked at a crossroad station with its nearby little cluster of storefronts. Quiet houses on quiet streets lined the hill behind the station.
Snake returned to the tracks, stooped and grabbed a large white rock. He pointed at the iron spike, “Remember, Cookie. That’s for breaking in, not breaking heads. We don’t want no cops looking hard for us.”
They left the woods, staying in the shadows until they neared a small, unlit grocery store. Snake waited a few minutes, listening. No cars, nobody walking, only a couple of dogs yelping at each other from a street over.
He stepped out of the shade of a bushy lilac into the harsh light of the street corner lamp. He dashed to the storefront and took the darkest spot under the summer awning. He made a large X with masking tape on the plate glass window.
Snake struck the X with the rock. The window broke, the pieces clinging to the tape. He cleared the hole, reached in and unlocked the door. Once the door opened, he waved for Cookie. “Get your fat ass in here.” Electric wires in the glass meant they only had a few minutes before the cops showed up.
In the store, Cookie started loading two grocery bags with hot dogs and Oreos.
“Goddammit, take steak, not hot dogs and cookies.” Snake saw a lockbox safe built in the plaster below the cash register. “Give me the spike.”
Snake swung the spike like an axe, striking the mortar with the protruding edge of the head cap. At the spray of white plaster, he coughed. Turning the spike, he wedged the point in the new gap at the safe’s corner and pushed. No movement. He swung with anger, knocking more mortar out, until the steel safe shifted.
He moved aside. “Your turn, man. Use those muscles.”
Cookie tugged and wiggled the safe until it popped out and fell to the floor. He dropped the safe into the grocery cart.
Snake plopped the bags of food on top. “Let’s go.” He opened the door. Cookie followed, pushing the cart.
They’d just reached the far side of the street when three men rounded the corner, a hundred feet away. “Stop or we’ll shoot!”
Fucking vigilantes! Pistols in their hand. Snake hated them worse than cops. Vigilantes didn’t follow any rules of the game.
“The woods, Cookie.”
A trio of sidearm shots came from the vigilantes. The bullets whistled by, missing them. Snake laughed to himself. Even fifty feet was way beyond their range.
Snake pulled the rock from his pocket, threw it, and knocked out the nearest street light. Him and Cookie pushed the shopping cart into the darkness of the woods. They couldn’t outrun the men lugging the safe, but he would never give it up. Snake hid behind a sycamore with the cart under a bush. He gestured for Cookie to get behind the thick trunk of a large old oak across the trail.
The three men chasing them stopped at the edge of the woods, barely twenty feet from Snake. After a minute of hesitation, the vigilantes entered the woods in a tight triangle. They passed by Snake’s tree.
He kept the trunk between them. As they neared Cookie’s tree, Snake threw a can of beans into a dark spot away from Cookie.
The vigilantes fired shots into the darkness. Their excitement made them careless. The front two guys rushed deeper in the woods. The trailing man snooped closer to the oak.
The man went down to a blow from John Henry. The man screamed with agony. His fellow vigilantes rushed back, grabbed him by the arms, and fled from the woods.
Snake picked up the fallen man’s gun and tucked it in his waistband. Turning to Cookie, he pointed. “The safe.”
Cookie pulled the safe from the cart. He struck it with his bloody spike.
“Not here.” Snake shook his head. They marched back to the tracks, toward their home, their streetcar.
Before they had traveled far with that damn, valuable, heavy safe, Snake heard the siren he’d been expecting. They had to get the money out and dump the weight.
At an old trestle by an abandoned factory, he and Cookie dropped the safe to the stream fifty feet down. It struck a large boulder and broke half open. They scrambled down. With the spike, they pried it the rest of the way. Three hundred and eleven bucks. Ah, smack!
When the glow of horse started to wear off, the streetcar no longer comforted Snake. Worry sneaked into his head. Shit! By now the cops know we used the railroad tracks. But they don’t know which way we came. But there’s only two ways. Tomorrow, better go.
That night, when the sun slipped below the tall pin oaks, Snake felt the woods were too quiet. Then a flock of pigeons flew up and away. Visitors!
Cookie still nodded out in the front seat of the old streetcar. Snake made a decision, grabbed his gun, and slipped out their house and into the woods.
He barely escaped. Big Guy was leading cops down the tracks to their little hideout. Godfuckingdamn! The Big Guy had sold them the smack. Now he sold them out to the cops. Snake wished he was close enough to put a bullet into that black bastard’s head, but Cookie was there for them.
While the cops surrounded the streetcar, Snake slunk deeper into the woods. He walked away until he found an animal path. Following it southward, he stayed in the woods. Maybe he’d go all the way to where sleeping outside in the winter was possible.
Soon the only thing he knew was the tracks and putting distance behind him. He lost track of time. The hubbub of the city life faded away. He felt safer with every step, walking the tracks. Then he crossed a wide stream beyond which lay farmland. He passed on several farm yards. They’d have guns.
At last, a large house, a mansion he thought, high on a hill, lit by moonlight. A resting spot.
Snake made his way up the curved driveway, staying in the shade of the fancy trees which smelled sweet.
Pausing at the last tree, he cased the place. In the side yard, there was a wooden fort with an American flag with a circle of stars. Nothing worth stealing there.
Upstairs one light was on. A young kid bounced into view. He wore a cowboy hat, jumping on his bed.
A light flicked on, in the center window. A blonde descended down steps in a red leotard. Fucking hot. Just like in the movies. Snake strained to catch another glimpse of her. A bright light came on in a glass room attached to the house.
The blonde entered. The glass-walled room held exercise equipment. The long-legged, big-titted blonde bitch started with step-ups, facing away from him, with an exciting movement of her ass.
Carefully, Snake snuck the final feet to a bush by the side of the exercise room. He paused, listening, checking. He checked his gun.
Satisfied, no one else was around, he crept up to the glass door. The woman faced away, pushing against a bar. He knew she was one of those uppity white bitches, but that didn’t stop him from wanting her other, better parts.
The door had a keypad lock.
Hah! He shot the lock, then with the butt of the gun, he crashed a hole in the glass door.
She jumped and whirled to see the cause of the noise. Spotting Snake with a gun in his hand, she froze. Though her jaw dropped, she couldn’t make a noise.
Snake kicked the rest of glass out of the door and stepped in. The blonde regained her senses. She ran for the main house, but the delay was too much.
He ran forward, grabbed her by the waist, and wrestled her to the ground.
She fought until he pressed the barrel against her temple. “I ain’t got nothing,” she said.
“Well, I ain’t got nothing to lose. How about you? You want it dead?”
She trembled and shook her head.
Snake slid his free hand across her chest. Her firmness, so sweet after the skinny tit on that whack woman, left him woozy with desire. She squirmed.
“Stay still.” He set the pistol on the padded seat of the Nautilus behind him, pressing her with his knee and a hand cupping her big-titted breast.
With his newly freed hand, he slipped under her shorts. He’d pay more attention later. Right now he wanted the main course. She was tight and dry. “Warm up, bitch.”
She sobbed, unable to speak. Snake pulled his hand from her breast and grabbed her throat. “It’s going in. Easy or hard?” She stared over his shoulder. At first, he thought it was her nowhere look, but then he realized she was looking at something.
He turned and saw the young boy, wearing a cowboy hat, by the bench, Snake’s gun in his hand.
“Indian!” The young boy yelled and pulled the trigger.
Every night now the little cowboy insists that his mother hug him until he goes to sleep. Try as she might, she can’t forget the anger of the violent man who rests, six feet under the ornamental trees that smell so sweet in the fall.
September 12, 2024. Receive no chances, give no chances
Abandoned streetcar, cover photo courtesy of Tali Mindek, Art by Tali