A Joke Ch. 02 - Texan's EpiloguebyTx Tall Tales©
The price paid.
In my version of A Joke Ch.2 - Texan's Ending, I explored what might happen if a man is pushed too far. Over the edge. He doesn't have much of a sense of humor, but has to prove he does, and fails, except perhaps for the punchline.
He goes beyond the eye-for-an-eye type of revenge, to over-the-top payback.
Jim, the target of many a bad joke and prank, decides to get his revenge in the harshest way possible, outside of outright murder. He restrains not only the his wife and neighbor, the prank perpetrators, but he gets the neighbors wife to go along as well. Only she doesn't know how far the revenge 'joke' is going to go.
In fairness to Jim, by this time, he's partially unhinged. All he wants to do is get to the punchline, and everything he does up to that point is to make the punchline more 'believable'. He needs his targets to believe that he's gotten to the point where his only 'out' is to end the neighbor's and his own life. To get to that point he does terrible things, and loses most vestiges of his own humanity. All in pursuit of his 'joke'.
His wife is humiliated, if uninjured. The neighbor's wife is coerced into first oral, then full blown sex, in front of both their spouses (spice?). The neighbor, is tasered, shocked, assaulted, shaved bald, burned and has BFF carved into his head. He finally has his life threatened, with a gun, before it's revealed that the whole setup is a 'joke'.
Many of the readers feel that Jim was too hard on Roger. The payback was more than the original offence.
Duh. It was meant to be. That's why it's revenge. Not get-even. Nuclear option to end everything. Payback is a bitch. Big, hairy long-fanged bitch with fleas.
Sorry, if you're part of that crowd, please understand that writing an 'alternative' ending for me, is an exploration of how far you could take something. Hey, I didn't kill anyone, didn't even neuter anyone. Don't I get some brownie points for that?
With that said, numerous readers didn't like how I ended it. Too many questions about the aftermath. Jail time for Jim. Lawsuits.
Since it was a joke, I ended things at the punchline. Leave something for the kind readers to imagine. Dream your own ending.
Sorry, that's not how I see it. I admit, eagerly, he took things too far. Want to know how I imagined it working out afterward?
I held the gun with the little pop-out 'Bang' flag in front of me, quite satisfied with myself. Now who doesn't have a sense of humor? Ha!
Oh well. Looks like nobody laughed but me. I guess some of those sounds coming out of Alice's mouth were laughter, somewhat hysterical, but laughter.
Roger passed out, so I wouldn't expect him to laugh. Flo was gagged and her mouth duct taped shut. No chuckles from her either.
I put the gun away, and dealt with Alice first. I was suddenly nervous. This all went so much further than I intended. I guess I got a little carried away. I did feel for Alice. She really seemed to believe I was going to kill her husband. The little line I had dropped about shooting him between the eyes, after the last prank, must have done it's job.
I retrieved the key off the wall and unlocked her neck and ankle restraints. I handed Alice her panties and bra, turning my head away, embarrassed at her nakedness in the aftermath. After she'd put them back on, I gave her the dress. She glared at me.
"You went too far," she snapped. "Way too far."
"I know. Once I got going, I didn't know how to stop. If I didn't follow through to the end it would have all been for nothing."
She slapped me, hard. "Fuck you. That wasn't payback. If you just wanted to scare him with the gun, you could have left out the torture. You didn't have to fuck me. I might still have something left of a marriage."
I didn't mention her willingness to cuckold her husband. She had eagerly jumped at the opportunity. She didn't have to offer it all up so quickly. I'd have settled for a naughty make out session and a hand-job. Access to those titties of her. I wanted to humiliate him, not necessarily emasculate him. Que sera, sera. I'd let her blame it on me. There was no way this was going to end well anyway.
The adrenaline fading from my system, my anger abruptly assuaged, I felt myself starting to shake. I guess they weren't the only ones who could take a joke too far. I was no better than them. I no longer felt the joy I was expecting.
I went to my wife, and removed the duct tape from her mouth. The vitriol poured forth immediately. "What the fuck is wrong with you, Jim? You think that's funny? Scaring everyone to death? Fucking that slut in front of me? Torturing Roger? What the fuck!"
I untied her hand, and received my second slap. Right on my ear, leaving it ringing. "You are the guys who love a joke," I reminded her.
"That wasn't a joke!" she screamed.
"Handcuffing me to a pole, and fucking where I could hear it was?" I argued.
"We didn't do it!" she snapped, while untying her other hand. I was already working on her foot.
"You chained me. You got naked, and let him get you off. That's cheating in my book."
"God damn it, Jim! You know we didn't mean for it to go that far."
I untied her other ankle. "Neither did I. I figured we'd do what you guys did. Tit for tat. When Alice offered more, I wasn't expecting it. I really thought we'd fool around, maybe a hand-job. I see how these stupid pranks get carried away."
"Carried away! You tortured him! Electric shock? Branding?"
"The shock looked worse than it was," I tried to explain. "I know, I tested it on myself. The conductive pads make it seem worse. His hair will grow back, and the BFF will be invisible but a reminder..."
I looked up at her, and saw her eyes grow wide. She screamed "No!" and my head exploded in pain before everything went black.
* * *
I slowly came to, and felt the clippers slide across my head, my hair tumbling down around me. I heard arguing, but I was still too fuzzy to make out the words.
I was all but naked again, and tied down to the chair. Fuck. This wasn't what I had planned. Not by any means. I felt the clippers cut another swath through my hair.
"He's awake," I heard my wife say.
"Another prank?" I asked. "This is getting ridiculous."
"What did he say?" Alice asked.
"I think he asked if it was another prank." Flo answered. "Don't do this Roger. Please. It has to stop. This is insane."
I felt the razor on my head, pulling at what little remained of my hair. "I guess nobody thought my joke was funny. Don't you guys have a sense of humor?"
"Hilarious," Roger said from behind me. I felt the stun baton at the back of my neck. The pain was acute, and I gasped.
"I think we need matching scars, good buddy. Don't you think that would be fair?"
I had a hard time responding, after the shock. "Sure. Best friends, right?"
"I'll let you choose, burning or cutting."
"Burning works for me. I hate to see my own blood. If your hand's not too steady, you can let Alice do it. She deserves a little payback. None of this was her fault."
"I'll be just fine," Roger snapped.
"Make sure the tip is red hot, then only do about a half-inch at a time. They don't need to overlap."
"You want me to do it?" he asked warily.
"No. But I don't see much of a way out of it. Just do it right. I did."
I felt him apply the stencil to my head. I was kind of wishing I'd made the letters smaller. He had the torch going. "Use the glove. It gets really hot."
"I know. I saw what you did," he growled.
"Just trying to help, buddy."
I felt the first searing pain, and realized it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Sure, it stung like hell, but it was quick. I tried to hold my head still. I really didn't like the smell.
Alice spoke up after he finished the first vertical line. "I don't like this, Roger. This really needs to stop."
"Really? It's fine for him to carve up my head, but I can't do the same?"
"You started this, and you know you did. The two of you."
"So what? Now I'm going to finish it."
I held my head still as he worked on the horizontal lines. "No you're not. This won't be the end. As long as you keep going, I'm going to have to one-up you. You understand that, right?"
"You know what I'm going to do after this, don't you, BFF?" He asked, in between burns.
"No. Why don't you tell me?"
"I'm going to fuck your wife," he sneered.
That got a response from both women. Neither agreeing. Quite vociferously.
"What? He gets to fuck mine, and I don't get to do the same?"
I felt his hand slipping. "Damn it, Roger! Don't fuck up the design."
His hand pulled away abruptly. "Sorry."
"No problem. Just try to keep it neat, alright."
Flo was just staring at me. "You both are seriously fucked up. This stopped being funny a long time ago."
I laughed, and Roger held my head still. "Don't," he said.
"It stopped being funny that first time in the living room. I told you that. Why wouldn't you ever listen, Flo? You know I hated it, but you had to disrespect me, humiliate me, make fun of me. All I ever did was love you and forgive you, and you had to keep going. You and the asshole. You could have stopped it then," I told her.
"Alright," Flo answered. "Maybe we should have. It's too late to take it back. Alice is right, this needs to stop."
"I'm willing," I chuckled. "Fuck, Roger! That hurt."
"Stop moving. This isn't as easy as it looks."
Alice moved behind me. "Give me that. You're going to make a mess of it."
I felt her softer hand hold my head still, and the metal slid down my head. She seemed to have a steady, even hand.
"This is for scaring the hell out of me, you asshole. I really thought you were going to kill him and yourself."
"That was the idea wasn't it? If I didn't make it seem real, it wouldn't have been much of a joke."
She was faster, and smoother. I was a little worried that the three letters wouldn't look alike. Then again, I was planning on growing my hair back. Unlike Roger, I still had a pretty thick head of hair.
Roger was standing at the edge of my vision. I saw he'd managed to tie his shredded shirt around his waist. I was almost naked, wearing only boxers, and Flo was wearing my shirt. I realized I'd torn her dress and panties. She didn't have a lot of choice.
"We're going to be here a while, Flo. Why don't you go upstairs and put something on."
Roger looked over at her. "No! Don't I at least get a blow-job?"
I shook my head, forgetting what I was doing. Luckily Alice was reheating the tool. She smacked my head. "Stop moving."
"You don't get jack, Roger. Do what you want to me. I'm not going to ask you to touch my wife. I'm not a pussy, like you. You'll have to kill me first."
Flo snapped. "Shut up, both of you! Nobody is touching anybody. This has gone way too far." She walked around me, and I heard her bark at Alice. "Give me that. It's my turn. I can't believe the bastard fucked you right in front of both of us."
My head was throbbing. I guess the burning had some kind of delayed reaction. After Flo's first effort I asked for a break.
"Could I get a drink of that Scotch? It's starting to really sting."
Flo had nearly finished the down-stroke of the final 'F' when Alice held the bottle to my lips. I took a couple of deep swallows. "Thanks," I told her hoarsely.
She took a drink herself, and I watched her walk over to her husband. She sat in his lap. "Why would you chase her? Aren't I enough?" she asked softly.
He put his arms around her. "I'm an idiot. It just seemed like fun and games. We got carried away."
"That's a lie. You went after her. Jim was right. You wanted in her pants. You did everything you could. I don't understand why. Can you explain that?"
He was squirming, under the interrogation. He glanced over at us. "She gets me. I don't think you ever have. She laughs at my jokes. She thinks the pranks are funny. That was it. Of course she's pretty, but that wasn't what mattered."
"She gets your jokes. A hell of a reason to end 20 years of marriage," Alice said sadly.
"All done!" Flo announced. "Anything I should do now?"
"Cold compress for a couple of minutes, and then the lotion on the table," I explained. I turned my head to watch her. "Thanks, Flo. You know I never would have hurt you. I couldn't. Didn't take you very long to side with your lover and burn me, did it? You make everything so clear."
She stared at me angrily, but I could see her face reddening. "He's not my lover."
I imitated that little cry she made, when she came.
Alice and Roger had gotten up, and were looking at the finished product. "The B is kind of sloppy," Alice said.
"Hey, I did my best," Roger whined.
I felt the cold cloth against my head. "I don't think it looks half bad," Flo announced. "Can we stop this now?"
"You need some more payback, Roger? The electricity smarts like hell, but if you feel you still need more..."
"How the hell would you know? That was horrible."
I laughed, as Flo re-soaked the compress and held it against my head. "I tested it on myself first. Had to put it on a timer, it's hard as hell to turn it off, once it's going. You should try it at full blast. I damn near bit my lip off."
"Man, you really are messed up, aren't you?" Roger said softly.
"Me? This from the asshole who never knows when to stop. If you just could have left it alone, and not pulled that bottle shit, I could have gone with my original plan. But, noooo, you had to keep pushing."
"Jesus, Jim. That was totally harmless. I was just trying to show you that all was cool."
I could feel my blood pressure rising. "I TOLD YOU TO STOP!" I screamed. "Why couldn't you both just STOP?"
Flo was applying the lotion to my head, and the lidocaine was doing it's job.
"Why wouldn't you ever listen to me, Flo? How many times did I ask you to stop? How many times did I warn you it would go too far? Why couldn't you just stop?" I could feel the tears welling in my eyes. The burning couldn't do it, nor the taser. The thought of what we'd lost? Yeah.
"I loved you so much. I did. Why did you have to do this to us? Destroy everything we had? Why did you have to make me hate you?"
She stared at me in shock. "Why would you say that? You don't hate me?"
"My stomach churns when I look at you. I took you back, because I had to, if I was going to do my joke." I looked at her hard, eyes burning. "We had a chance, a tiny one. In spite of the cheating, the disrespect, the humiliation. I took you back, and I really was going to see if we could get better, get back to where we were before he came into the picture. I made love to you, even though it almost made me throw up. I hoped with time we could past it. The betrayal. The humiliation. Then the very first time we go out, you're back with him. He all but destroyed us, and you went back. Watching you laugh at me, after that last prank, that burned away the last shred of love."
"I wasn't laughing at you. It wasn't me! He used me!" she whined.
"How, Flo? How could he possibly use you? How was it possible that after all he'd done, you were even around him long enough to get used? How could you speak to him? All he ever wanted to do was belittle me in your eyes, so he'd have a better shot at getting in your pants. All you did was help him. You stopped loving me long before I ever stopped loving you."
She was crying. "Where are we now, then?"
"The divorce papers are done. When we're finished playing here, I'll give you your copy, while I decide what my next order of business with Roger is."
Flo slid to the floor, crying. Roger looked up at me. "What business with me?"
"You couldn't let it end could you? You said you would, but you've always been a cheat and liar. Despicable. No more pranks, you said. No more oneupmanship. You swore on your life it was over, if I let you live. Alice stood up for you, said you were a man of your word, even though all of us know otherwise. So here we are. Finish whatever you're going to do to me. Just know, that I was gentle this time. This time it was a joke. The next one won't be."
"Maybe I should kill you now, while I can?" Roger snapped. "How'd you like that ending of the joke?"
I laughed. "You should. You don't have the balls for it, but you should. Because when this is over, your life isn't worth a rat's ass." I glared at him. "Unlike you, I'm a man of my word, and I hope you realize by now I have the balls to do it."
Roger looked furious. He grabbed the stun baton, and started toward me. Flo staggered to her feet and stood in front of me. "You touch him one more time, you'll have to kill me too."
He stopped in shock. "Why? He did this to you too. Your marriage is toast. Don't defend the asshole."
She spit at him. "Asshole? My marriage is a mess because of you! He was right. I never saw it, but he was right all along. All the little digs, the slights, the insults. He was supposed to be your friend, but you were always putting him down, making fun of him, looking for some kind of joke to pull on him. Fuck, I was stupid. You tore him down, and I helped. You wanted to destroy my marriage, just to get in my pants. Well fuck you. He may hate me, but I still love him, and if you do anything else, I swear to God, I'll kill you myself. How's that for a punchline, Roger?"
"It wasn't like that, Flo, and you know it. I was just teasing. It was just a harmless joke," he said, shakily.
Alice had been standing by quietly. She always was the quiet one. Quieter than me. She walked over and stood in front of me. "Let's stop, Jim. Stop it now, Ok? No more payback. You went way over the line with me, and you know it, don't you?"
I glanced at her, but couldn't look her in the eye. I nodded. "I regret that. I do. You didn't deserve it. I wanted to destroy his marriage, just like he destroyed mine. I had to have my payback. I was wrong to include you in it."
She reached up and stroked the side of my face. "They pushed us too far. I forgive you, Jim. I'm begging you, end this." I saw the tears welling in her eyes, one single drop crawling down the side of her face. "I don't know if there's anything left for any of us from here. You three have destroyed four lives, and I've lost a marriage and best friends over it." She started crying harder. "I didn't do anything. Why me? Why destroy my life? Wasn't I a good wife? A good friend? Why? It's not fair!" She was shaking, sobbing before she finished.
Roger reached for her, and she jerked away from him. "Don't touch me! You started everything. Destroyed us all, just for a chance to fuck her. Don't come home. I don't know if I ever want to see you again."
Alice turned toward the stairs, and Flo went after her. "Alice."
"Get away from me. Some friend you were. Goading Roger on, playing up to him, encouraging him. All those God-damned jokes on Jim were jokes on me too. Why couldn't you stand up for your own man just once? Stand up for me, you're supposed best friend. Sure you were always soo sorry afterward, and then a little while later you'd be back at it again. I'm done with you too. I'm tired of forgiving you. No longer."
Flo reached for her. "You forgave Jim. Can't you forgive us?"
"Jim hurt me once. Never before today. He really was a friend. He was hurting, you guys drove him to it. He snapped. I can forgive him because I know he didn't want to hurt me. You two made a fucking game of it."
"Alice, we never intended..."
"STOP LYING!" Alice shrieked. "You knew EXACTLY what you were doing! No wonder he hates you, you faithless, cheating bitch! Let my husband play with your diseased cunt all you want." She turned and ran up the stairs, slamming the door behind her.