Colors Ch. 04byJoe Wordsworth©
Colors (1981) - Pt. 4 - Ugly Ties
Seven stories up. Recon. Got tip from reliable source that seven young men die tonight, assuming failure. All seven abducted over course of last three weeks. Random. No pattern. Some from high school three blocks over. Two fresh from juvie. At least one from wealthy parentage. No clues as to why. Only facts concerning how.
All met with school counselor, four to five days prior to missing persons report. All severely depressed about something. Grades dropping. Growing isolation. Teenage angst. Probably nothing important, but only common tie. Too common, really. Like ugly ties. Colorful people clashing with colorful backgrounds. Tug to fit, tug too hard and choke. Tug a kid the right way, get doctor or lawyer or entrepreneur. Tug a kid the wrong way, these days, lucky to survive. Not like it used to be.
All met with counselor over depression. All abducted shortly afterward. All residents of same general area, give or take a few blocks. All seemingly fit, ages range from fourteen to seventeen. No other common ties. Seven ugly ties, nowhere to be found.
Source didn't know anything before tearing ear off. Heard lots of things afterward. Man with one ear still hears questions. Once ripped a snitch's tongue out. Didn't think. Angry. Took an hour to find pen for snitch to write information. Last time mistakes that like were made. One Ear sang like bird, but information vague. No name. No motive. No common ties not already known. But got an address and a time. Third and Urfield St., diner. Midnight-ish. Two days.
Spent first night finding switchbox. Finding phone lines. Finding good crowbar. Broke into diner, had to find out what made place so special. Recon inside revealed nothing unusual. No drugs, guns, books with "Why I Kill Boys" in gold letters across bound black leather. No ugly ties. No way to avoid it... must be here tomorrow night. The show starts around midnight. Must interrupt before final act. Would rather play part on own timetable, would rather direct, but clever persons are producing. Know nothing useful, yet. Have to improvise.
Apartment building across street good enough for surveillance. Door man and weak fire escape. Smuggle myself in during early morning, when people go to work. Hit the roof by eight. Spent most of day sleeping under old tarp left covering furniture. Woke with sunset, moved into position at cornice. Can see it all from up here. Once upon a time, couldn't stand so close to the edge. Afraid of heights. Long time ago. Got over it. Still remember being afraid of falling, though. Wasted youth. Lights cut off in diner. Patrons gone. Owner looks familiar, can't place face. Sure it isn't good. Sure he isn't random good guy. Never recognize any regular people. Always recognize the scum. Scum stands out. Fat owner locks door. Time to go to work.
Men's room window broke last night. Odds are, nobody noticed missing glass while pissing or jacking off in bathroom. Slide in. Dark. Men's room opens to hallway. Hallway opens to door. Door opens to kitchen. Kitchen still dark. Service window affords good view of front. Perfectly still. Wait.
Seven young men sit in a booth at the dark end of the diner. No cuts. No bruises. No fear. Just sitting in nice clothes, talking about money. Owner comes out. Half-expect him to look like counselor from school, but never get that lucky. Never that clean. Owner looks familiar, though. Figure out why. Reminds me of Gacey. Reminds me of child-molesters. Probably psychological. Expect certain things from case like this. Expect single, white male age 24 to 35 abducting young men and fucking them before killing them. Expect debauchery. Expect villain. Want psycho to scare. Want crazy pedophile to cry. But, not tonight.
Seven boys take Owner's money. Two have guns. One looks nervous. Conversation exchanged. Hard to believe.
If this were a movie… plot twist would makes sense. Perfect sense. Crowd would go “oh”, fifteen minutes wraps up the loose threads. Not movie, though. Life makes less sense than movie. Seven boys are friends. Clickers.
Clickers… cross between drug runners and cheap button men. Usually older, though. Usually hardened. Abduction and counselor visits just cover and alibi for major drug run--using diner for place to hide. Owner's family threatened. Owner agrees to keep secrets. Want to tell myself they are kids. Want to tell myself they work for the bad guy I want to rip body parts off of before he falls unconscious. Almost tell myself "Forgive them, know not what they do". But don't.
Gun gets pulled. Owner takes two in the chest and drops straight to the floor. Movies lie. Guns don't throw people back thirty feet into glass windows. Guns punch people in head, chest, stomach... punched people fall down. Owner probably dead. Should jump out and tackle Gunslinger. Should rip ear off. But too patient. Too curious. Mustn't waste the preparation. Nobody is going anywhere. Seven boys sit back down and count money. One me moves back to the switchbox and cuts lights. Seven players on the field, find themselves at the dirty end. Where I play. Terror, first. Crying and whining and praying and pleading, first. A little hope, first. Crowbar lodged between cracks of door. Smart man would see it, pull it, and open door. Seven boys are smart men. Smart men don't notice black iron crowbars against top of door jam in the dark. One me is smarter than seven them. Only advantage at this point.
Hear rustling and cussing. Hear silence and strain as seven boys try to make out why it sounds like someone is knocking on the counter. Someone pulls out lighter. Flick. Flick. Flick. Flash. Like every worst nightmare, flash of light shows me sitting on counter... cracking long knuckles. Smiling.
Men usually take opportunities like this to shoot guns. Throw punches. Even run. But these aren't men. These are seven boys. They freeze like playing red-light-green-light. Wait three or four seconds. Let them try the door. Let them cry. Let them whine. Let them pray and plead. Nowhere to run, little boys. I tug ugly ties for next fifteen minutes.
Good and tight.