SHORT STORY | THE LAST SUPPER
Published by Ascent Aspirations
The Last Supper
It's deadly quiet in Reno tonight and La Vecchia's is nearly empty. Jake takes a deep breath and stares menacingly across the table at Angie. If she wasn't paying attention before, she is now.
"Listen, Angie, this is why you don't wanta fuck with me. Take my word for it, it's really better this way. You over there and me over here. No dividing up the guilt, playing both sides, me slicing you into mouth sized pieces while you cower under the sheets in horror. Me picking up chunks of burned flesh out of your hair. I duck, you run, the police come, and then the little men in white coats breeze in with their needles and straightjackets. You getting strip searched by a sadistic bull dyke at Vegas PD for that computer scam I know you and your lying, cheating ex-husband Fuck Face pulled. Him doing five-to-ten at Rikers for putting you up to it. You taking it up the poop shoot to spring him. Then him running out on you, leaving you there with the kid, holding the bag. You naked on the bed, struggling with your panties, ripping your new lawyer's zipper to shreds with your teeth, trying to get even. Me and my boss Monkey Dick, sitting in a safe house over in Henderson watching the video. Nobody screams when the razor takes a finger off. Nobody gets hurt."
A pause. The waiter brings the entrees. A Cobb salad for Angie, a still-moving tenderloin for Jake. The waiter catches the look in Jake's eye and evaporates into outer space. Angie could be in a coma and who'd know? Jake doesn't even stop to take a breath.
"This way you don't have to wonder what I'm thinking. Or sue anybody for missing an alimony payment. And no restraining order. I don't have to pretend you care and you don't dream up sick things to do to me. No need for protection. No using your imagination to twist it into anything we want. Ruin everything with it. Two punch drunk lightweights shadow dancing in North Vegas, the dirty rain falling all around us in greasy gray sheets, covering up the spot where I buried all those bodies. Nobody shooting smack between their toes. No kid growing up hating my guts. No dog running off and dying under a bus. My mask doesn't slip during the hit on Lenny the Deuce. No fire breathing witch hiding in the dark, picking me out of the line up. No ten more years at Rikers. No parole for good behavior and time served. No Monkey Dick laying odds on how long before you crack, wondering if he should make you blow him first for ratting us out. No dragging you kicking and screaming, all splayed out like a carp with your legs spread and blood pooling up in your shoes, the moon laughing in your face. Shooting stars crisscrossing every sign you've got. Pluto in retrograde, Mars ascending. A hot rod up Uranus. No coughing up blood. No crying yourself to sleep on a lice infested mattress under the bridge turning tricks for rocks. No laying there next to my squealing snitch bitch of a first wife Norma Jean in six feet of concrete beneath the Desert Falls International parking lot, maggots nibbling on your juicy white bones.
"That's why you don’t want to fuck with me, Angie. Take my word for it, I'm doin' you a favor telling you this. Believe me, it's better this way. Trust me. You give up Fuck Face and the kid, and I let you away in one piece.
A long, ice coated pause. The waiter must have found another job on another galaxy far far away. Angie's apparently coming out of her coma because she's shaking like a butterfly on speed, wringing her clammy hands under the table. Somehow she manages to stomp her pretty pink feet on the cold marble floor and stammer, "Jesus H. Christ, aren't we just full of ourselves today? Who in the hell do you think you are anyway, Charlie friggin' Manson? Get a grip for crying out loud. You off your meds or something?"
Rattled, she fiddles with her purse and slaps on the lip-gloss, warbling away like a canary in a tunnel, sniffing for gas. She's tough, but she's only human, and there's her kid to consider, so she tip toes through the landmines:
"I only agreed to go to lunch with you so I could explain myself, Jake. It's what people do when they negotiate. They have a nice dinner and a conversation. That's why they call it negotiating. What is it with ex-cons these days? They cut your stint at Rikers by a year, thanks to me testifying on your behalf at your parole hearing, and now you go psycho on me? What's up with that? I never said boo to anybody about you being involved in anyway in the computer scam that you think I pulled. You better ask that my scheming sloth brother Sammy who dropped a dime on you for pulling that deal. He'd sell our dearly departed mother's soul to Satan, if he thought he could get a fin for the old coot. I swear to God this lunch is the last bad idea that conniving cockroach is ever going to talk me into, and I mean ever."
Another pause, colder than before. Icicles are forming on the tips of Jake's natty black Ferragamo's. A new waiter finally brings dessert. Strawberry shortcake for Angie. Chocolate Mousse for Jake.
"Whoa, slow down there, Angie," Jake croons, as smooth as a baby snake's skin, while adjusting the fish filleting knife he's got jammed down his sock. Angie's got no clue that Jake knows she was the one who'd ratted him out after his first wife Carlene got smoked, or that Jake knows she was the one who snitched on him for whacking his second wife Norma Jean, or why they never found her body, or what it was like for Jake having to spend two years stewing in stir, his teeth rotting and his bowels twisting up inside like epileptic worms. Or what he owes Tommy Two Toes for taking the fall, and then having Tommy find out later that he's going down for life, thanks to the new Three Strike law that Jake had conveniently forgotten to tell Tommy about.
"Don't get your panties in a wad, "Jake murmurs, lathering on the charm, the bared teeth of demonic malice barely concealed beneath his pink and purple, perfectly knotted polka dot tie. "I didn't mean nothing by it. I was just jerking your chain..." Flashing her an indecipherable grin, he adds, under his breath, "...you two-timing, double-crossing whore." Out loud he says, "Now come on, let's eat. Then we'll take a little drive somewhere nice. How about Montana? You always liked the Garnet Mountains. We can even go visit that old ghost town you told me you wanted to see up in Coloma if you want. It's pretty up there this time of year. Whatdaya say, huh? Here, have some shortcake. And smile why dontcha? What is this, the Last Supper?"