Eskimos on TV

Lane and Blaine were two drug-dealing brickhouse brothers and the truck shifted when they jumped off the flatbed back. Jones got out the front, boxer-squat and goggle-eyed. Their laughter was confident, righteous in their mission. He didn’t know it would be them, but it made perfect sense.

They were at the front door, banging and calling for blood, proud heroes defending the community. It was great to have an excuse. This was it.

He knew then what to do. It would take too long for the police to arrive. Once decided, a calmness over-rode any churning stomach panic. There would be no embarrassment, no hesitation, he was sure for the first time in years.

“Mum, Dad, I need you to go upstairs. Don’t answer the door, I’ll handle this.”

He walked out back into the garage. There were two red Weider dumbbells, rusty and black with cobwebs. He unscrewed the plates on one bar and screwed two nuts onto one end. It made a strong handle with a hell of a finish. He tapped it on his leg. The metal was heavy and solid – it wouldn’t take much of a swing to connect and he still had a good right.

He heard his Dad answer the door. Shit. He raised the garage door and stepped out. Lane turned, gurning and too slow to see what was in his hand. He didn’t say anything. If you wanna shoot, shoot, don’t talk.

He swung the bar hard and it clocked the big lump’s jaw, shattering bone as glass and sending teeth flying. The giant teetered in shock and he brought the bar back on a return swing, smashing the side of his skull.

JUST WILLING TO SEE WHERE THE STARS TOOK HIM

Blaine looked down at his falling brother and he didn’t give him a chance to react. As tall as he was, he still jumped and bashed the bar down on the top of the goliath’s skull. He could feel the crunch rattle his own body and saw Blaine’s eyes swim with blood as he fell.

He turned to Jones – he looked into his eyes and saw the fear of someone who realised they’d made a terrible mistake. Too late. “Wait,” said Jones, holding his hands up. He swung anyway, although Jones moved back fast, so the bar only caught him glancing on the side. It was enough to crack his eye-socket, popping the ball out and rolling it down his cheek.

He looked at the three men at his feet and their truck on the lawn, mud turfed up where they’d skidded. They couldn’t stay there. He dragged them across to the back of the truck and heaved them up onto the flatbed. Fuck, they were heavy. The brothers were dead weights, but Jones was still dribbling, head lolling side to side and groaning farts coming from his mouth. He gurgled when he took the keys from his pocket.

He went back to the garage and found a red can of petrol, then walked back to the truck and emptied half of it over the bodies, stinging Jones’ eye. He was in no rush, he didn’t care if anyone was watching. He didn’t care about anything now. Maybe it was shock, or a new realisation dawning. He got behind the wheel of the truck, started it up and reversed off the lawn.

He was calm as never before, rage had left with Elvis. He was free. Free from the nagging insecurity of caring what others thought. Fuck opinions. It was kill or be killed. Fuck everything.

He was driving in a trance, not knowing where he was going, stripped to instinct. He had no plan, just willing to see where the stars took him.

A whiff of petrol blew with the wind as he approached the traffic lights. On the corner green, he saw Lizzie and Dan sitting under an oak tree, spinning their daily in front of a TV crew. It was meant to be.

OPEN SEASON WORKS BOTH WAYS

He swerved the truck and accelerated. Lizzie was too caught up in her own voice, but Dan saw what was coming. He struggled off the bench, eyes widening as the truck careered over the grass, but Lizzie blocked his getaway. In desperation, he pushed her, but she was too heavy for him and he bounced back.

In his epitaph, Dan would be remembered as a hero, bravely sacrificing himself to save his co-presenter. Lizzie landed in the mud, shocked and clueless. The truck ploughed into the bench, hoisting Dan onto the bonnet and slammed him into the tree, where it halted.

He didn’t rush. He got out of the truck in casual strides, lifted the petrol can from Jones’ groin, splashed the remainder of the contents over the bonnet, before dropping it on the presenter’s trapped body.

Dan looked up at the driver, eyes bulging and struggled to find his last words. Blood dribbled with each syllable. “But… but… you were meant to be open season…”

He looked down at the dying man. The truck pinned him to the ground, a beached whale amidst lapping waves of petrol. He lit the rag and finally spoke.

“Open season works both ways you fucking troll.” He threw the flaming cloth and walked away.

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