Depression sticks. It is a simple thing. A bad mood grabs hold of your throat, and it clenches tight and squeezes, trying to make your veins explode. Depression wants to drink your blood, and watch your eyes bulge; it wants to see you leave this realm of life. But a town like Queensitting – called the poor man's New Jersey, usually only by people from New Jersey – has that effect.
Pierce lights a cigarette, holds in a breath of smoke then lets it slowly flow out of his nose and mouth into a cowl of smoke. He was getting thinner, he hadn’t been reduced to a skeleton but it felt inevitable.
He runs a hand through his hair and pours himself a rum and coke. The clock strikes seven in the morning and he tips his glass. 'Cheers' he says to no one in particular. Stubble never was his thing, but a new razor is too much money, not when he can barely afford new boxers – turning them inside out every three days will only last so long – any way, beards are supposed to be cool.
A bowl of cereal was on the edge of his desk, his slippers were on top of the wardrobe, and a pair of women's underwear were on his ceiling fan, thought he had no recollection of there being a woman in his apartment. Not that he didn't get women, just that they had to be drunk to not mind the mess, clutter, and dead rat in the corner.
There would have been a time, long ago – well three years, but to Pierce it lasted longer – where he would have cleaned up. Instead he looked around feeling kinda proud about the mess. He felt that it took a certain talent to be able to create this much filth. Piles of dishes that were covered spaghetti which in turn was covered in hairy moss like mould. Wallpaper creeping off the walls leaving them bare in places. There was the pair of moth bitten curtains looking more like cabaret act's garb rather than something to cover the windows. But when you spend all of your money on a habit rather than necessity things tend to slide this way.
Rather sadly Pierce eyed his final two lines of coke. He would have to get more, or he would start throwing up and just in general have a rather unpleasant few days. He never used the word addiction, even thought it was accurate. The phrase he much preferred was 'unfortunately dependant' though his parents didn't find the rephrasing any less depressing, well they wouldn’t if they knew.
"Christ all mighty" He says out loud, feeling jittery, he had already had a line of coke, the night before he had smoked crack, it wasn't really his thing but it did the trick. He gets up, soon his door will knock. He puts out his cigarette. He stands right opposite it. Waiting for the rapping, or maybe banging on the wood – chip board –and he would have to get up, and as he predicted three knocks. Pierce pulled his dressing gown rounds him and wished he had put a pair of pants on so he wasn't stood in his boxer shorts and t-shirt.
"Pierce. Open the door. Now." The voice is of a man who Pierce reasons is at least six foot. Who probably has bulging muscles and maybe a base ball bat? Who knows? If he is lucky it will be a knuckle duster, he can afford a split lip, but a broken leg will probably amount to too much.
"Who is it?" He coos in a way that he found amusing, but the man on the other side most likely did not. "I must warn you i am not decent, unless you wish to see my nipples i beg you wait for me to find a nice bra"
"Let me in"
"Oooh we have a demanding one. Ill put my leathers on for you" He mocked openly.
"I will kill you"
"Women love that in a man, someone who will buy them dinner, make love to them, then stab them seven or eight times. You are a real charmer, you should be my wingman, and we could take the night clubs by storm. Get a couple of honeys, romance them, and go to town on them. No crossing swords through, because once you pop you can't stop" It is evident by now Pierce runs off his mouth most of the time.
"That wasn't funny."
"Crossings words rarely is"
"Neither was that."
"Oh i thought it was very drole"
"You will be drole if you don’t open this door."
"You do not know what drole means do you?"
"It means...um...that is...shut up i will kick your ass"
"I aint gonna lie, the doors kinda getting in the way of that." The man hits the door. It was defiantly a baseball bat. "Okay, I'll let you in if you promise not to hit me with the base ball bat."
"I can't promise that."
"Fine." Pierce opened the door, shielding his face. The man was bald, very large, and had a baseball bat, a metallic one, so when he was hit by it, Pierce would hear a slightly amusing 'ding', thought laughter whilst being beaten up is ill-advised, it usually provokes more violence.
"So...are you going to-" The man punched Pierce in the nose, stamped on his foot and pushed him over and kicked him.
"That's for wasting my time you little shit." He stood over Pierce, blocking the door way. "Now you need to pay up."
"Damnit, why did you hit me, you didn't even give me a chance to explain."
"Okay go ahead."
"Okay." Pierce thought for a second or two thinking of a series of words that would help his situation. "Im broke." He said finally.
The man hit him across the face with the baseball bat, not hard enough to break anything, but enough to leave a shiner of a bruise.
"Stop for a second. What do i call you, if you're going to do something like beat me up, then at least do i get your name. How about captain baseball bat? It has a nice ring to it."
"My name is Jeremy."
"I like captain baseball bat better to be honest. And think, you could ditch this job and i could be your trusty side kick, gob shite the boy wonder! So captain, what's the first order of business? Kill the joker? Find Mary Jane? Thwart the ice giants?"
Captain baseball bat hit him square in the balls as a reply then followed it up with. "Where is the money you little prick?!"
"I told your boss. I have no goddamn money yet. Im trying to make-" The man hit the baseball bat against his knee and Pierces grimaced. "Just give me more time, come back tomorrow."
"No. Get up, or i spill your brains"
"You couldn't fucking spill the beans" Pierces made the mistake of laughing at his own joke. "Sorry captain-" Jeremy hit him in the stomach, sending him into a wall and falling back. "I mean Jeremy" He muttered standing up, doubled over still catching his breath.
"Get up" The Jeremy pulled him up straight and threw him into his living room. "Now get your goddamn coke sniffing ass up and get the damn money."
"Christ you drive a hard bargain, i can see why you work in human relations Jeremy." Pierce said as he rooted through his messy apartment, throwing discarded socks and candy bar wrappers around.
"Do you think you're funny?"
"No. I know im funny" He said as he looked under his bed.
"You're not funny."
He stood up, put on an act of being offended and replied. "I am, ill prove it. Knock knock."
"Fuck this. Give me the money. I don't have time for this, just pay up."
"I will, i will, but first. Knock knock."
"Banana" Pierce smiled as he went to find his money box.
"Banana who?" The man was getting more and more pissed off.
"Fucking banana who shit bag."
Through gritted teeth – most of which were gold plated – Jeremy snarled. "Orange who"
Pierce went got his money box and reached inside. He smiled at the man. "Orange you glad i didn't say banana?"
"That was a horrible joke."
"It's a hit and miss" He conceded.
"Hand it over."
"Ok, if you insist." Then he pulled out a 9mm and before you could say 'shit just got real' he put a bullet in-between Captain baseball bat's eyes, sending his brains scattering over the wall behind him, when he fell the apartment floor shook briefly.
"Was that as good for you as it was for me?"
A pretty obvious lack of response followed. Pierce smiled and rooted through baseball mans pockets, he found a couple of fifty dollar bills, an mp3 player and some gum. Someone would have heard the shot, and the ruckus before. Time to find a new place of residence he thought to himself.
He needed his phone, or more specifically he needed to call John to come help him. Not that it would be easy to convince him to do so. John doesn’t do coke, and he isn’t into drinking, and doesn’t like unclean money, cops can be so annoying Pierce thought to himself, overlooking the fact he never did hand his badge and weapon in when he left the police force three years back.
The phone rang twice before John answered. His voice was quite, he must be in public or something.
"What have you done?"
"Why do you always assume i have done something?"
"Because that is how you work, you go for months not saying anything to me, then you O.D or get in dept or you are threatened by big men with crow bars-"
"Base ball bats actually"
"Okay, baseball bats, regardless, you get into some kind of trouble and then i clean up your mess. So, regretful, i ask one more time. What have you done?"
"Well, i guy came, and i didn't have his money, he knocked me around and i shot him."
John began to laugh. "Your joking." Pierces silence made his laughter become more and more nervous. "You shot someone?"
"In the head yes."
"And they are dead?"
"Well the contents of his skull are on my led zeppelin poster." He went over to it whilst speaking and picked a chunk of skull of the face of Robert Plant, he tossed it onto the floor. "I need you to help me clean it up."
"You shot someone, im trying to get my head round that. The fact you still have a gun is mind boggling."
"Not really, it was free, and it is protection, and more importantly it works. He dropped like a sack of fucking door knobs."
"God i really hoped to god that you wouldn’t fucking kill someone, but low and behold hear you are, a dead guy that you refer to as captain fucking baseball bat bleeding into your apartment floor."
"Shag carpeting floor. Anyway, i really wouldn’t ask if i didn't need the help." His voice lost the manic and fast stutter tone it had. He seemed to sober, even if it was only slight. "I'll owe you. After this im planning to move out or something, because they won't get off my back."
"Then borrow money off me."
"No, i don’t need charity."
"You won't take my money but you will allow me to dispose of a body for you?"
"It's a matter of principle."
"Principle? You left the force, and became a fucking coke addict, you have a gangster on your back and you are refusing help financially or otherwise, did i fucking mention i can arrest him with your testimony? But no, you have principles for Christ sake."
"Look, i promise this is the last time."
"I doubt that. How many times have i saved your ass? Got you out of prison a few months ago, got the cops off your back. Now you want me to aid a murder. Sure i take the odd bribe, and i skim a little off the fucking top, but have you ever considered you're asking more than i am humanly capable of? For one second have you thought about what this does to me?"
"Please man, can you help me just this once" Pierce went from sober sounding to needier. Like a drug addict asking for money, like a needy person.
"Against my better judgement, fine. Only because we are friends. I should arrest you for this."
"He was a gangster; i essentially did you a favour, anyway, why would anyone miss captain baseball bat?"
"Captain baseball bat? Are you high?"
"Yes, but regardless, i need to clean up and find somewhere new to stay." Pierce said as he picked up a chocolate bar from the floor, he rubbed it on his shirt, picked off a couple of hairs of it and then inspected it under the light before devouring it hungrily.
"Just get some bleach ready." John sighed.
"I don’t have any." Pierce replied, his mouth full.
"Fine, I'll get some bleach, and the bin bags, and the hacksaw. You just..." He trailed off.
"Do some coke?"
"Yes, that's a great idea, you go get high right before disposing of a fucking body" He replied in a more hushed tone this time. "I have to go, I'll be there in a few minutes, try not to do anything else stupid."
"I appreciate this. Thanks."
"If you were really my friend you wouldn’t kill people and want me to help you dispose of the body."
"I thought it would be a bonding experience." Then he hung up. Pierce tossed his indestructible, near ancient nokia phone onto the floor. He looked at the dead man. He didn't feel too good. Sure he had shot people before but it isn’t something you want to make a habit of, then again neither is cocaine and micro-wave pizzas but it depends on your perspective on life.
Pierce ended up doing another line of coke. I felt a little better. The body was unnerving him less, and now he looked at it, the next time they send someone to collect money, and he can use what he took from captain baseball bat and use it to pay off some of the dept.
"I should wash my face." Pierce said out loud. Lime scale never bothered him; he stood under the shower and looked at the lime scale and soap scum. Television adverts with a woman cleaning it with a product that sounded like a way to make you infertile rather than clean appeared in his head. He let the blood roll of him with the water and he felt the bruising begin to rise.
He sung the theme of ghost busters whilst washing his hair with dog shampoo he stole from his drug dealer's apartment a few weeks back. What can he say? It gives his coat a glossy and healthy look and fends off ticks; which sadly was a danger for Pierce considering the state of his apartment. After finishing his shower he found a t-shirt and threw it on, he found a pair of underwear that looked safe to wear, then found sweat pants.
Cigarette in one hand, the rest of his rum and coke in the other, Pierce just kinda sauntered around his apartment not sure what to do with the remaining time before John got here. Nothing good was being played on the radio. And there was only so many times that he could watch static on his TV; the aerial had fallen of the roof last night.
Then it hit him. Pierce whirled round and pointed at the dead man, hand shaking with excitement, a smile on his face. "Looks like i spilled your beans" He imagined the ba- dum-dum-tss and bowed to an imaginary audience. Maybe he should go a little slower on the coke.
"Good one." A voice came from behind him. Pierce turned around, still kinda paranoid.
"Oh thank god i thought it was the fuzz"
"Well technically it is. But im just picking flies."
"No, that wasn't picking flies. I would say more like stroking butterflies."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"Like when you pick flies, it implies your being all up in my shit." He waved his hands around his face. "And like, um, correcting me. Like being critical, but you're not, it's more gentle correction. So like, your stroking the butterfly, it's like more nice and shit."
"How high are you?"
"Only a little bit. But it's ok i can still help you dismember this guy. I mean like i might be a bit jittery and shit like shaking and stuff but ill be ok burning him with the bleach. Unless it's for his hair and we are doing his hair. He's bald by the way so you kinda fucked up. Why did you bring bleach? Are we doing my hair? Im blonde. So like we can't do that, unless you're going to die it brown then bleach it."
John rubbed his temples and spoke slowly. "Ok. You are going to drink some water, put some ice on your lip. I will do everything else, as long as you just shut up."
"Deal." Pierce said jumping onto his sofa. He watched intently as John got out wire cutters, a hacksaw and latex gloves and walked into the bathroom with his back pack, he came back and dragged the body in. He found a comic under his sofa and red it as the sounds of bones cracking and flesh sizzling like bacon filled his ears.