A Brutal Act of Ketchup, fiction by Gary Clifton

Hadn't ough­ta been no damned trou­ble at all, 'cuz wasn't me did any­thing wrong — well not exact­ly. I'm a false­ly accused man. Then I got this call today. The FBI was lookin' for me…some crap about inter­state trav­el to com­mit mur­der. Hell, I ain't kilt nobody hard­ly ever.

"Son­ny Wil­son Clay­pool," old sher­iff Kebow back home in McCur­tain Coun­ty, Okla­homa, said sev­er­al times. "You're big as Poland, mean enough to eat a live chick­en, and use­less as tits on a tom­cat." Big and hun­gry maybe, but eatin' a whole live chick­en? That's a stretch.

Life slid to hell on three wheels after I'd start­ed four games at left tack­le as a fresh­man at Okla­homa South­ern, livin' with Eula Mae Frakes, the O.S. pro­vid­ed live in. Was her fig­ured some­thing' didn't lay right — me. Word got around I was gay — hell­fire, I didn't know. I lit a shuck for the bright lights of Dal­las to join thou­sands of oth­ers of sim­i­lar per­sua­sion. Found work as a beer joint bounc­er with a new uni­verse of good friends.

This dropout, dirt bag who'd been an O.S. run­ning back, Napoleon Jones, drift­ed into the joint one night. I sold him a $300 bag­gie of grass. But when Napoleon strolled to the park­ing lot with the stash to get some cash, he for­got to come back. In an hour, I found the lit­tle weasel at a top­less joint on Har­ry Hines, smokin' my shit and ooglin' skin­ny women. I abduct­ed him at gun point, duct-tape him up pret­ty good, and start­ed for Lake Lewisville to toss his ass in.

On the floor­board, snot-blow­ing berserk, Napoleon told me if I could see fit to spare his life, he'd put the me onto a $10,000 con­tract mur­der in Okla­homa. Shoul­da gone ahead and let the ham­mer down on the lit­tle rat right then. Instead, against my judg­ment, I hauled Napoleon to Bronkville where he intro­duced me to Fay Leflure, town badass. Fay was a lawyer, bonds­man, real­tor, own­er of Fay's Beau­ty Shoppe and a gen­er­al no-good."

Seems her worth­less son had mar­ried a town girl, com­menced kick­ing her ass reg­u­lar­ly, and her dad­dy fol­lowed South­east­ern Okla­homa eti­quette. He beat the kid's brains out with a Louisville Slug­ger. She attempt­ed twice to kill the old man, but found he took more killing than some. He'd fled to Arkansas forthwith.

That old snake growled: "Napoleon vouch­es for you, the job's yers. Yer damned sure big enough." She was fifty, fat, with gold half glass­es perched on her nose. She didn't walk, she wad­dled. Napoleon didn't rec­om­mend me, I was gonna pull off his head. "You fuck up, boy," Fay went on, "you one dead mu'fucker." Bet she didn't go to church?

The witch walked me down to the cor­ner pawn shop, paid and signed for a Rem­ing­ton .12 gauge shot­gun and a box of shells. She drew me a rough map of where the old man was hid­ing, hand­ed me a Polaroid cam­era to record proof the dude was dead, and front­ed me five large…that's $5000 for Christ's sake. I was on the way to the damnedest mess I ever got into.

Next day, I found the old man easy enough — lit­tle cab­in in them wood­ed hills just east of the Okla­homa line. It was snow­ing to beat hell. He opened when I knocked and I throwed down on him with the .12 gauge.

"I know you're here to kill me," that cold eyed old fart said. "Can you do me one sol­id? Lemme me put my grand­ba­by in the bed­room so he don't see the killin'?" Then I see this lit­tle tow head­ed peck­er­wood kid in a high chair at the kitchen table. The smell of fried chick­en drift­ed out.

The old man hugged the baby and I took a seat at the table. That damned kid hand­ed me a drum­stick and I knowed sure as sun­down I couldn't kill that old man. That baby coul­da froze smooth to death.

"That sumbitch back in Bronkville need­ed killin' and I accom­mo­dat­ed him," the old man said. I was screwed.

So I took the old man out, laid him in the snow, sprin­kled him with ketchup, took a cou­ple of Polaroid pitch­ers, and drove back to Bronkville. Stiffed that old heifer out­ta that oth­er $5000. Dun­no who the hell called the law, but there was sev­er­al who had a dog in the hunt. Guess they fig­ured out I didn't off the old gent.

I heard yes­ter­day them Fed­er­als pulled Ol' Fay and that turd-hound Napoleon out a sep­tic tank just out­side of Bronkville. Get­tin' her fat ass through that lit­tle top-hole was a chore…I bet. Word is they was all bound up good with duct tape. Reck­on they shoul­da let the air out­ta me when they had the chance…not, mind you, that I had any­thing to do with stuff­ing them where they belonged — in a sew­er system.

If the law had any­thing on me, they'd come around three, four months ago. They got a wit­ness, it's got­ta be the old man and I bet they ain't found him nei­ther. Mama always said it only a sin to kill a body who didn't need killin'. Maybe that's why ol' Fay and Napoleon wound up in a sep­tic tank and that old man moved to Alaba­ma. Heard he took the grand­ba­by with him.

Gary Clifton, forty years a cop/federal offi­cer, has short fic­tion pieces pub­lished or pend­ing on numer­ous online sites. He's been shot at, shot, stabbed, sued, lied to, often mis­un­der­stood and is cur­rent­ly out to pas­ture on a dusty north Texas ranch. Clifton has an M.S. from Abi­lene Chris­t­ian University.


This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.