Authors: Paul Harry
Paul T Harry
May you find Serenity
This book is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, places, businesses, organizations, events and incidents are
products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance
to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental
This book may not be copied, reproduced,
scanned, or replicated by any means without written permission.
Desert Portal Books
All rights reserved
© MMVIII Paul T Harry
© 2014 Sphere Publishing, LLC
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Once Upon A Shitty Day
The school bus
rolled along the dirt road churning up dust in the hot, dry air. It was late
May, the last day of school for the Trojans, the students of Pahrump Valley
High. Coming to a stop with red lights flashing, the doors of the bus flew
open, giving egress to two young, but eager students who bounced down the steps
with backpacks in hand. With a sense of newfound freedom the two boys, Daniel
Raye and Zac Walker, jumped enthusiastically from the steps, landing in the
soft dirt that powdered the road’s edge. It was officially summer vacation,
their school year at an end. As the bus rambled by, the two teens waved goodbye
to the few friends who remained aboard, yelling taunts and farewells to their
classmates; laughing at those still stuck inside the hot yellow cage of Nye
County’s school transport system. The bus faded into the distance.
shouted Zac, throwing his backpack into the air. “We’re finally free.” He
slapped Daniel on the arm and scooted across the dirt road.
silently and followed Zac, hoisting his backpack onto his back.
God, it was
. He glanced up and looked at the heat waves rippling across the desert
floor and the alfalfa fields that lay beyond. It wasn’t officially summer yet
and things were already drying up.
The two boys
headed across the desert, their footsteps meandering through the sagebrush and
weeds that peppered the terrain around them. As they walked, Zac began to dance
around Daniel like a hummingbird, chirping away as he spoke. “God, it’s over.
Can you believe it?” The exuberant fourteen-year-old threw his backpack again,
kicking it as it landed in the dirt. “Yeah, three months to par-tay!”
Daniel smiled and
said nothing. The weight of the moment, the school year being over, was just
beginning to sink in. It was a dismal thought. He was facing a long, hot, dismal
summer, unless he could get a job.
gonna do over the summer?” queried Zac.
his chin. At sixteen he was just beginning to get a beard. He hoped it would
help hide his zits. “I gotta get a job,” he finally responded. “Got an app in
at the Nugget−bus boy.”
“Yeah, I think
the woman who interviewed me kinda liked me. She said she’d let me know. I just
need some money for the black and whites.”
“How much yah
need?” asked Zac.
“Not much. I saw
some at Goodwill. They were pretty cheap.”
“I could lend you
a few bucks,” offered Zac. “You know, I’ve been savin’ for that dirt bike.”
“Thanks, but I
can’t take your money.”
“Hey, I’ve got an
idea. Why don’t you sell me your comic collection?”
“My Dad hocked ‘em.”
Surprised by the
revelation, Zac stopped dead in his tracks. “What???”
“All of ‘em?”
Daniel nodded his
head. “Yeah, everything... Fantastic Four, Spiderman, the Hulk. He took ‘em and
sold ‘em at some store in Vegas, then placed a bet on the Lakers.”
Zac shook his
head in disbelief. “That really sucks.”
“What are you
going to do?”
“I don’t know,”
answered Daniel, kicking the sand at his feet. “Maybe talk with old man
Walters... see if I can pick up a few bucks cleaning his yard.”
“I hear yah.
Listen... My old man’s got some black and whites hanging in the closet. He’s
gotten too fat for ‘em. I could talk to my Mom. She might be able to take ‘em
in. If that’d help?”
In spite of
everything, Zac was a good friend. He sometimes drove Daniel nuts, but he
didn’t judge, even though his family had money. Then again, everyone Daniel
knew had money. Mostly he blamed his father for that. The man had a major
gambling problem, spending every last dime chasing the dream. His mother, well,
she had died a long time ago−that’s how they ended up out here in Pahrump
sixty miles from Vegas. His father swore that it would help control his
gambling. What a joke.
“Hey! Look!” said
Zac, interrupting Daniel’s thoughts. “Looks like you’ve got company.”
Daniel looked up
to where Zac was pointing, noting the car parked near his home. It was a big
thing, dark and shiny, just sitting there reflecting the sunlight. Daniel
peered at it. At this distance he couldn’t make out much, it was too far away
and the light coming off it was blinding. He shielded his eyes with his hands
to get a better look, brushing aside his shaggy, unkempt hair. It was odd. The
car was out of place. They never had company.
encouraged Zac, jumping ahead of Daniel. “I’ll bet your Dad scored. Maybe he
hit really big and bought a new car. Come on, let’s check it out.”
Daniel, grabbing Zac by the shirt. “You know how my Dad is... sides, he’s never
right,” acknowledged Zac, his disappointment showing. “Later then.”
old turned and headed off for home, his high spirits quickly returning as he
scampered through the desert brush like a jackrabbit−he hollered back to
Daniel. “Call me and let me know if he won. Okay?”
Daniel, with a wave. He waited until Zac was a fair distance off before turning
toward his home−the dark car was still sitting there. Who could it be, he
wondered? Perhaps Protective Services? Maybe it had something to do with the
fight he got into at school last week? He re-adjusted his backpack. Well, there
was only one way to find out.
It took Daniel
about five minutes to reach the house−he felt no sense of urgency.
Something in his gut told him something was off, but he had nowhere else to go.
Besides, aside from the strange car everything looked the same. The place was
the usual mess. Debris and litter were strewn everywhere−tumbleweeds the
only real vegetation. They were growing everywhere, in the yard, around the
house. The ones around the propane tank were huge, over five feet tall
already−nearly as tall as him and beginning to turn brown. Now that he
was off for the summer his Dad would be after him to get them cleaned
up−they were a fire hazard.
A warm gust of
wind hit Daniel in the face, breaking his contemplation. His attention was
drawn to the back of the house where he noted the open windows and the curtains
fluttering in the breeze.
Was the swamp cooler on?
He couldn’t imagine
that, he hadn’t had time to clean it yet. He made a mental note to get up early
and get it done before it got too hot.
The dark car was
parked about twenty feet from the side of the house, not far from his dad’s
beat up Volkswagen. It was a Chevy Impala, brand new, but covered with a layer
of dust. Daniel ran his fingers across the trunk, leaving streaks in the white
soot. The windows were tinted and too dark to see through. Mystified, he
Who, did this belong to?
really don’t want to know the answer to your questions and this was one of
those cases. Just as Daniel finished his thought, he heard a voice coming from
the house. It was garbled, but loud and hostile sounding. All he heard was
“fuckin’ money,” followed by a loud crash.
Bolting for the
house, Daniel ran around the corner to the front door. He jerked it open and
flew inside, assured in his mind something bad had just happened. Unfortunately
his assumption was correct, but before he could find out what, he was grabbed
from behind. The hands that assaulted him were large and muscular, and he was
thrown to the floor like a featherweight wrestler in a heavyweight bout.
Landing face first on the linoleum, Daniel struggled for breath as his
assailant stomped him on the back, knocking the wind out of him. Fighting
desperately for air, he was jerked up by the hair and slammed into the wall,
the impact breaking his nose. Blood ran down his face as his head spun madly.
“Bring the little
piss-ant in ‘ere,” he heard a voice say.
Daniel felt two
sets of hands grab him. They whisked him off his feet like a rag doll and
strong-armed him toward the kitchen, where they threw him to the floor like
trash. He collapsed there in a heap, panting like a dog as he struggled to get
his bearings. Looking up, he saw his father, Steven Raye, sitting in a chair
not more than two feet away. He was bound with rope and
unconscious−beaten to a bloody pulp, and there was a man hovering over
him with a knife in his hand.
y-y-you? What d-d-d-o-o yah wa-nt?” Daniel managed to stutter, spitting blood
with each syllable.
“Shut-up punk!” a
voice yelled from behind−a hard, pointy-tipped shoe kicking him in the
side. Daniel felt his ribs give way and a jolt of searing pain shoot through
his body. He rolled into a fetal position, holding his stomach, crying and
coughing in agony.
“Tie ‘im up,”
ordered the one with the knife.
Daniel felt the
hands of the two thugs grab him. They picked him up and slammed him into a
chair, tying him with a thin, nylon cord. He watched fearfully as they worked
the rope around his chest and arms. Both men were gorillas, violent and
intimidating in every sense of the word and Daniel was scared shitless.
“Make shoore the
knots are tight,” ordered the one in charge.
Daniel looked at
the man speaking. He was the boss−an ugly man with a weasel-like face,
yellow teeth, and beady brown eyes. Uglier still was his long mangy hair and
the scar that ran all the way down his right cheek. His was a face out of a
Daniel was face to face with Mickey, ‘the Spoon’, mob enforcer for Benny Marcos
and the Chicago syndicate. The ‘spoon’ handle came from Mickey’s ravenous
appetite for cocaine. The other two henchmen with him were Sid and Bruno, two
burly Italians who provided Mickey the backup muscle he needed to enforce his
illegal endeavors. Right now they were finishing with Daniel, making sure he
was unable to move.
Daniel over. “So whut’s yur name, piss-ant? This ye fada?”
Daniel looked at
the ugly man, noting his accent. It was thick and heavy, and gnarled like the
man’s face. What did you call it−a brogue? English maybe−no,
Scottish, like that dude on Star Trek.
“Aye be talkin’
tae ye punk,” Mickey snapped, the glare in his eye matching the vicious slap he
Daniel winced and
nodded weakly. “My name’s Daniel. That’s my Dad.”
He glanced at his
father. He was still unconscious, his head drooping down with blood splattered
all over his chest. Daniel could see they’d beaten him good−he almost
didn’t recognize him.
“What do you
want?” asked Daniel feebly.
Mickey walked around Daniel. “Aye that’s whut aye like. A boy who kums right tae
the point. Aye’ve kum for me money piss-ant.”
“What money? I
don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Mickey feigned innocently. “...why wood yur? Aye mean, whut the fock, ‘e’s only
yur god-damn fada. A complete stranger ‘ere in yur own hoose.”
His face only
inches away, Mickey yelled at the boy, “Aye’m looking for the fockin’ money yur
potata-rat fada stole from me boss, boy! And aye mean tae ‘ave it.”
Shaken to the
core, Daniel reiterated his ignorance. “I swear, I don’t know what you’re
“Fock me,” swore
Mickey, thrumming the knife against his open palm. “Listen, piss-ant,” he
threatened, “yur fada ‘ere ‘e wuz given a job−a simple job. Deliver ten
grand from won place to anoth-a. But ‘e never shooed. And now we’ve ‘ad tae kum
all the way oout ‘ere, to this ‘ell ‘ole tae find where our money is. And me
boss, ‘e’s a little pissed.”
Daniel snorted in
disbelief. “You gave my father ten grand? God, what?... Are you fuckin’
comment brought an unwanted response−a fist to his face from Sid. The
henchman’s blow cracked Daniel’s jaw and shattered several teeth. Daniel felt
his head snap back and stars swirl−he spat more blood.
Mickey sighed; he
didn’t like what he was hearing. Leaning against the stove he studied Daniel.
he offered in consolation. “There’s sumthin’ ye better fockin’ kum tae
understand. Aye ken be nice as ‘ell or aye ken be fockin’ Freddy Krueger, the
guy who’s gonna cut off yur fockin’ balls and watch ye piss blood. Now whut’s
it gonna be?”
answer. His head was still reeling from the blow to his jaw. He could barely
understand what Mickey was saying, much less respond, and he felt sick from all
the blood in his mouth. It was gagging him−he spit again.
enjoying the boy’s pain−after all; he had all the time in the world.
Reaching into his jacket pocket, he pulled out a small tin box filled with
coke. Dipping his blade, Mickey placed a good size mound on the tip of the
knife. Then, with an almost religious zeal he snorted the powder, relishing the
rush that followed. His eyes began to vacillate and a look of madness set in.