Life Has a Way


LIFE HAS A WAY
By Matt Burns

“OK. I’ll see her then. Thank you.” Click.

He sat on the edge of the bed’s swanky comforter and dropped the vintage rotary phone back into its lime-green receiver. He was still wearing the same Italian suit he had driven into town with three days ago, but now - of course - it was more wrinkled and also stained from the three-dozen or so White Russians he had consumed over the past few days. Or maybe it was more than a few days. It was easy to lose all sense of time in the dark, windowless casinos of fabulous Las Vegas.

To say he looked “together” would have been a statement that could’ve turned the most stoic poker-face into a Pinocchio. Marty looked like he was - at one time - the all-American man, but at some point got dragged through a (figurative) swamp. His face was pale and powdery-looking and he had Walnut-sized bags supporting his bloodshot eyes. The upper two thirds of his hair was still a healthy-looking brown, but the lower third was a dry gray. Like rings in a tree trunk, the gray hair was an indicator of time, the amount of time in which Marty hadn’t given a shit about how he looked (now around a couple months or so). At a certain point, hygiene and overall appearances stopped mattering to him. It had probably been days since he showered and he wasn’t even sure if he had washed his hands, or applied deodorant or even pissed. The truth was that he had lost all respect for himself and basically life in general. He didn’t give a fuck about anything anymore. What was the point when his life was in the state it was right now?

Marty took a look around the hotel room and realized that he was sitting amidst the last remnant of luxury he was going to experience for perhaps the rest of his life. And he didn’t even earn it in a respectable way! The room was a gift the casino gave him downstairs for gambling so fucking much, a “comp” as they called it. They also gave him a baseball cap, some key chains, and a free breakfast voucher he could use at whatever time he wanted to call “morning” (for most gamblers, it was around four o’clock in the afternoon). Perhaps the casino felt guilty about getting him drunk and taking all his money. At any bar or club, Marty would have been cut off very long ago. But not in Vegas. As long as nobody was causing a scene, gamblers were encouraged to get as shit-faced as possible.

But, yes, the room was nice, especially compared to the smoky carnival atmosphere downstairs. There was a mini-bar, widescreen TV and also a marble Jacuzzi near a window that had a beautiful view of the Strip. Overall, the interior design was very swanky, a tribute to Old Vegas, like around the time when the Rat Pack was doing their thing. Lots of loud patterns on the curtains and furry rugs...foam, cylinder-like pillows on the beds...square lampshades on lamps...martini glasses and large mirrors by the bar - that sort of thing. If it wasn’t for the occasional “Made in China” stickers plastered onto all of the pine furniture, Marty would have felt as though he had been transported to a better time. Or at least a time better than his present reality. That was kind of the point, though. Nobody in Vegas wanted to be in touch with reality. They were there to escape from it.

Marty popped a couple aspirin into his cotton-dry mouth and tried to shake off the sounds of the casino that were echoing in his head, mostly the tacky merry-go-round-type-sounds from the slot machines. He reached down to his leather, Brooks Brothers suitcase and pulled out a freshly-polished Glock that he’d owned for a number of years now. It was one of the very few possessions that hadn’t been repossessed by the credit card companies, or by his fucking wife...or ex-wife was probably the more technical way to put it. That traitorous bitch took everything from him, the kids included, even though she didn’t give a fuck about the kids. She just took them to piss Marty off, like they were another materialistic possession she needed in order to fill the void in her soul. And it’s not like she didn’t have another sugar-daddy lined up for herself, another guy to leech off of for the rest of her life…or at least as long as the guy was making enough money to make her girlfriends envious. If Marty were a congressman, he would be adamant about making gold-digging illegal, especially in the current post-feminist society he found himself living in. Stupid women. They totally fucked up the country. If they had just stayed in the kitchen where they belonged, the economy wouldn’t have grown so fucking big that it had no choice but to explode.

But, alas, his mind was wandering again.

Marty brandished the Glock in his palm for a couple of minutes and thought about the prospect of doing himself in. But it didn’t really seem like a satisfying thing to do. It’s true that he was depressed, but - more than anything else - he was really angry. And it wasn’t normal anger. It was a hatred, not necessarily directed towards anything specific. Just a general hatred towards all things. An appetite for destruction. And although he didn’t really like that he was feeling this way, it was undoubtedly what he felt. And he’d be lying if he said he felt otherwise.

Back when he was happier, Marty used to watch the news and hear about all these bizarre murders and he’d wonder how it was that any man could have the desire to kill, especially in the case of the random murders. But now he could empathize with this kind of man, mainly because he was there...he was actually in that state of mind. It was a hunger for destruction that he never had the capacity to fathom. But now he was drowning in it. He never thought a man like himself could be degraded to the point of feeling this way. But it happened. Amazing.

Marty stood from his bed and took a moment to fight off a head-rush. The aspirin was seeping into his bloodstream now and the echoes of the slot machines began to diminish a bit. Feeling more energy in his muscles, he stumbled his way into the bathroom, flicked on the light-switch, planted his hands into the granite vanity and took a long stare into the vanity mirror.

Looking deep into his eyes, Marty remembered how he’d always prided himself to be a man of good instincts. He’d tell people that he had a sixth sense, that he was able to take one look at a person and - within seconds - know whether that individual could be trusted. This “gift” came in especially handy when it came to making deals in the corporate world, or drawing up contracts with clients, or interviewing prospective employees. The President and CEO of his firm considered him an invaluable asset to the company, a so-called “rising star”. He made the company lots and lots of money with his good instincts...well, with the exception of that one time. He lost them a little money, an amount insignificant in the long run but looked bad on the quarterly statement. The shareholders were pissed and the CEO needed a fall-guy. So Marty got dumped. It was as simple as that. Wasn’t a man entitled to make a mistake here and there? No, not in the corporate world, apparently. The CEO seemed sad about the termination, but he reminded Marty that he had a responsibility to the shareholders. Besides, a man operating from a business mindset didn’t care about the life of one person. An employee was just a mechanism in a machine that could be easily replaced like a broken part. Yes, Marty got dumped like a colon-full of rancid Chinese food. It was gross. Corporate America could go fuck itself.

But, again, his mind was wandering. Where was he? Oh, yes, the sixth sense.

With the help of his sixth sense, Marty could sniff out something rotten like he was a bloodhound. And this is exactly what was worrying him at the given moment. Because now he could sense something unsettling in his own eyes. There was something staring back at him in the vanity mirror and it hadn’t always been there. It seemed like something foreign to his person, but maybe it wasn’t so foreign after all. Maybe this was just who he was now. After all, people can change over time - a man born with good intentions does not always have good intentions. Life had the power to change a man like himself, from something good to something not-so-good. So maybe this was his identity now. In other words, he wasn’t possessed by a demon or other entity making him angry; he WAS angry. Nothing was influencing him to hate. He WAS hate. No schizophrenic or psychotic split-schizoid phenomenon wanted him to destroy. HE WANTED TO DESTROY. And there was nothing more to it than that.

Looking back on it, Marty wasn’t exactly sure when it was his eyes had changed. He was pretty sure that it was a gradual process, not necessarily something that happened at one definitive point in time. Maybe it happened around the time he lost his job. Or when he missed a few loan payments. Or when the collection agencies started calling his phone three times an hour to harass him...and his family...and his wife’s family. Those bastards even started calling his neighbors, just to humiliate him, basically rubbing in the fact that he’d lost the competition with the Jones’. They figured once he was one-hundred-percent humiliated he would somehow come up with the money. Of course, he never did. He simply didn’t have the money. And no amount of humiliation was going to make it magically appear.

But maybe Marty’s eyes changed a little bit later, like when the bank took away his house. Or when his wife left him without hesitation, like he was merely a damaged commodity to be replaced. Or when he increased his daily consumption of alcohol from one beer to about six, sometimes with a little hard stuff thrown on top of it all. He started with the Bacardi, and then worked his way up to the 190-proof Everclear.

Or maybe his eyes changed when - with his wife gone - he developed a raging porn addiction, basically looking at anything with a pussy, some even interracial, barely-legal and outright twisted. He didn’t really give a fuck. It was all the alcohol, combined with everything else, turning him into something monstrous, not to mention belligerent. He’d start swearing at his children a lot more often, especially when they were always “taking mom’s side”. One time he even hit his eight-year-old son in the head with a remote control. Then he’d go out to a bar, get even more wasted, fuck anything that would spread its legs. That kind of thing.

Whenever it was, one thing was for sure: his eyes were very different from what they used to be. There was something evil inside of him now. And while part of him longed for his lost innocence, another part of him liked what he felt inside. It was a very powerful, destructive force. It made him feel stronger than he’d ever felt before. In control. A fearless force of change...

Marty stood there in the bathroom mirror and studied the look in his eyes for what-seemed-like ten more minutes. Then he turned the bathroom light off and returned to the bedroom. He opened the drawer to a pine night-stand and took out a Gideon Bible that looked brand-spanking new, or at least like it hadn’t been touched by any human hands for as long as it had been in the drawer.

He sat back on the bed’s comforter and paged through the super-thin pages of the Old Testament. The Book of Job eventually made its presence known and Marty tried refreshing his memory of the story. Everything was taken away from that Job guy, but he still kept his faith in God. How admirable. What a saint. Round of a applause and pats on the back to you, good fellow! But, really, how realistic was that story, anyway? The story of Job was...well, just a story, nothing more. It was a story that didn’t have any relevance to reality, especially the current reality that was the early 21st century. Job was merely a fictional character written by some man who didn’t really know what the world was going to turn into circa 2011. There was much more at stake these days. Worse economy. Harder to get a good job. A lot more pressure to keep up with the Jones’. Yes, if Job were living in the world today, he would never hang in there and hold onto his faith. No way. No-how. And even if he did, he’d be a sucker. OK, he’d keep his faith and then what? Happily ever after in heaven? Horse shit! Anybody who believed that was a sucker!!!

Marty slammed the Bible shut and tossed the book across the room.

“Hello, God,” he uttered aloud with a hint of aggravation in his voice. “I don’t really get it. Life, I mean. I never had anything but the best of intentions. But the life you created here has a way of pulling us in directions that we never wanted to go in. I wanted to keep working and stay married and maintain a stable family. But everything got fucked up, through no fault of my own. I was forced to go in a certain direction. I never wanted it. It just happened. And now look at me: here I am about to kill some girl I’ve never met before in my life. But this is what I wanna do. What else can I say?”

He rubbed his hand along the barrel of the Glock, like almost masturbating it, feeling his appetite for destruction grow even stronger inside of him. He got some sort of sadistic pleasure out of stroking that tool of destruction, the destroyer of God’s creations. Yes, the gun - the anti-creator - would be his new god now, the only thing in life worth putting his faith into.

“I was born a good person...really, I was. If I had died when I was eight...or even when I was thirteen...heck, maybe even when I was twenty-two, I would have gone to heaven. There’s no doubt about that. Then again, anybody who died at that age would have gone to heaven. It’s not really fair, is it? Only the good die young, they say. Well, of course only the good die young. Because they haven’t lived long enough to become bad. The longer you live, the more time there is to be corrupted by life. Life and time and reality has a way of corrupting us. But, alas, I digress.”

“It wasn’t like I made some bad moral choice. Did I? No, I don’t think so. I never stood face-to-face with the devil and gave into his temptation. At least not that I can see. I WANTED to be good. I set out to be good. But I guess life has a way. It has a way of pulling you in a direction you never wanted to go in.”

“I mean, I went to school, God, and worked hard and got good grades. I had dreams. Positive ones. Dreams of actually bringing some good into the world instead of something bad. But, like I said, life (that you created) has a way. You created a life that has a way with people like me. You did this to me. You brought me to this point. I don’t know why, but here I am, and you could have intervened and done something better. But, no, here I am.”

For a moment, Marty felt his eyes burn and he thought he was going to cry. But he managed to hold back the tears. The Marty who would have cried over shit like this was dead now. The new Marty didn’t feel emotions.

“So let’s get down to brass tacks. I’m not really well in the head, God, if you haven’t noticed. I feel something sinister in my bones and see it in my eyes. Why am I telling you this? I’m not so sure. Maybe I still have some piece of soul left over. Maybe I’m warning you...to keep people who deserve to live away from me. Or maybe I’m just explaining to you why I’m going to kill people. Maybe I’m speaking for all the murderers out there. I don’t know. Whatever it is, I want you to hear me and hear me well: it’s no longer a possibility that I’m going to kill somebody, it’s a fact. I WANT TO KILL AND DESTROY. It’s simply what I feel like doing right now. Whoever this fucking hooker is, God, I am going to kill her and, hell, I’m going to enjoy it. So either you throw a lightning bolt my way and kill me or...well...this girl deserves to die by my hand and that is her fate. I didn’t want it to be like this, God. But life has a way. You led me to this point.”

Marty’s prayer was suddenly interrupted by a light knock on the room’s door. He gave his Glock one last stroke and then hid the weapon under the bed’s pillow.

“God, I hope you have heard my words.” And with that final warning, he closed the prayer.

“Who is it?!” he shouted as he stood from the bed and crept his way towards the door.

“It’s Chyna,” said a muffled voice from behind the door, loud enough for Marty to hear, but quiet enough so that nobody else in the surrounding rooms could.

Marty unlatched the chain lock, opened the door ajar and saw “Chyna” standing in the hotel hallway, hugging a black purse under her shoulder. She was a sexy, black woman with an exotic, dragon-like tattoo on the left side of her neck.

“Hi there,” she said with a great white smile that at least appeared to be genuine.

Marty’s eyes slowly rolled down Chyna’s chocolate-brown cheekbones, traced every curve along her ink-black evening dress and eventually made their way down to her polished, hot pink toes.

“Come on in,” said Marty. “Make yourself at home.”

Chyna strutted her jiggling double-c-cups into the room and took a quick look at her surroundings. She was in the habit of assessing whether she was walking into a safe situation whenever she arrived at a client’s hotel room. Other than looking a little frazzled (who didn’t nowadays?), Marty looked relatively harmless and like he wouldn’t give her any trouble. Yes, everything seemed safe. SEEMED.

“I have some wine here,” said Marty. “Want a glass?”

“Sure, baby.”

Marty shut the door behind him, re-locked it with the chain and walked over to the mini-bar on the far side of the room. He took a wine glass from a wooden rack and filled it with a “Box-O-Wine” he had picked up at some liquor store on the northern part of the Strip. It was about five dollars, essential backup ammo in case all the White Russians from downstairs wore off prematurely.

Chyna saw what she was getting for a drink and tried not to break out of her fantasy-girl persona. ‘Great,’ she thought to herself. ‘Out of all the high-rollers in this hotel, I had to end up with the Box-O-Wine drinker.’

“So how does this work?” Marty asked, walking out from behind the bar with a full glass of sweet, pink wine.

“Well, what would you like tonight, baby?”

Marty handed her the wine and Chyna politely took a sip, mainly so she wouldn’t look rude. It tasted like shit.

“Everything,” said Marty.

“OK, then, baby. We can do that.”

And, without skipping a beat, Marty said:

“Take your clothes off.”

Of course, he knew the request was rather blunt and also rude. But this is how he was going to be from now on. No more manners. No more Nice-Guy-Marty.

Chyna gave Marty an ingratiating smile, even though his bluntness aggravated her a bit. Then again, she’d had customers treat her far worse, sometimes like she was an absolute dog. Especially that last one. That white-ass motherfucker. Come to think of it, Marty’s request was one of the nicest things a client had ever said to her. But still, ‘This guy is definitely going to be my first,’ she reassured herself. There were probably a dozen or so previous clients that deserved it more than this man, but that’s just too bad. Rotten luck.

“I need the money up front, baby. A thousand dollars.”

Marty’s face curled into a Chesire grin and he suddenly burst into a hyena-like cackle.

“Hee! Hee! Hee!”

Needless to say, Chyna was a bit unsettled by the maniacal laugh. But she kind of played along with it. ‘Stay polite and pleasant,’ she thought. Use lots of ‘sugars’ and ‘babies’ and ‘honey ice teas’. At least until she got what she wanted from this weirdo.

“What are we laughing at, baby?” she asked with her warm, maternal-like smile.

“Money...hee hee hee...money!”

“Look, sugar, I just need to have the money in my hand. Then we do whatever you want.”

“Hee hee hee, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Let me get the money. Hee hee hee.”

Marty walked over to the bed, but instead of going for his wallet on the nightstand, he reached under his pillow...and pulled out his Glock.

“Suprise! Hee hee hee!”

Chyna saw the gun being waved around in the air and spilt her wine all over the carpet. Needless to say, she said goodbye to Mrs. Sweet-Potata-Pie.

“What the fuck is this shit?”

“Hee hee hee.”

“Look, mister....”

“Sit down and shut the fuck up!”

Chyna didn’t really know what to do, whether to bail on this whole thing or still try and carry out her plan. She decided to go with the flow and do what she was told. She slowly sat on the edge of the bed, but was sure to keep her purse easily accessible on her lap. This was a surprising turn of events, indeed; but, no, she wasn’t going to let it ruin her plans.

“Hee hee hee.”

“Private joke?” she asked after listening to the lunatic cackle for seven seconds or so.

“Yeah...something like that. Hee hee hee.”

“I’d love to hear it.”

“Well...hee hee hee...see, you probably would never think this. But, you know, this is gonna sound funny, but...God wants you dead tonight.”

“Really?”

“Yeah...hee hee hee. What do you think of that shit?”

“Doesn’t sound like a very good deal.”

“Yeah...hee hee hee.”

“And how do you know…that’s what God wants?”

“Well...see, before you came up here, I was talking with Him...with God. See, I wanted a good life for myself. It was never my intention to be here right now. I went to college. I got a good job afterwards. I married and had a family. But things happened. That were out of my control. And now we’re in this situation. Hee hee hee. A-hee hee hee.”

Sitting on the bed, Chyna couldn’t help but think about insanity and how she was finally witnessing it first-hand after only hearing of it through stories, like in movies or TV. This guy was fucking bonkers.

“That’s all very fascinating,” she said aloud to Marty. “But why am I going to die?”

“Because – before you came up here – I was saying to God, I says, ‘God, I wanna do bad things now and I can’t deny it!’ Hee hee hee. And you, God, brought me to this point. So if you brought me to this point, this must be what you want for me. So I says, ‘OK...hee hee...I accept the fact that I have the urge to kill, so the next person I see I’m gonna kill.’ I warned Him, ya see? And you were the next person I saw. Hee hee hee.”

Chyna felt around the surface of her purse, being sure that a certain item she brought along with her was still easily accessible.

“So what do you think of that?” asked Marty. “God sent you up here knowing full-well that I was going to kill you. He thinks you deserve to die. What do you think of that? Do you think you deserve this fate?”

Chyna did or said nothing, just stared at Marty with her bulging, bloodshot eyes.

“Do you?!”

“No,” she whispered.

“Well, I don’t think you deserve this fate either. I don’t think anyone deserves their fates. But this is what’s happened.”

Marty cocked back the hammer to the Glock...

“Say goodnight, bitch!”

And he stuffed the barrel right in Chyna’s face.

“Wait…” Chyna pleaded. She knew she had to think fast here. “Can I just...can I have some last words? Isn’t that only fair?”

Marty didn’t respond. But he didn’t pull the trigger either. “Hee hee hee,” is all that came out of his mouth. Chyna interpreted these giggles as a ‘yes’.

“See, the last customer I was with...he…he beat me up real bad. So bad that I couldn’t work for a month. He took back his money, he spit on my face…all this after he already fucked me, little piece of shit.”

“Hee hee hee. Does it look like I care?”

Chyna ignored the question and decided to just continue with the story. Keep stalling and hopefully he won’t shoot.

“So once I got outta the hospital, the first place I went was a church. Heh, isn’t that funny? That there’s actually churches in this shitty town? It…it seems so hypocritical. They worship God for what, an hour, and then they go hump a slot machine for the rest of the week?”

“A-hee hee hee.”

“But anyway, I went to Church. And I sat in a bench and I said to God, I said, ‘God, I’ve had it with this life. I wanted better for myself. And I worked for something better.’ See, I WENT to college, a performing arts school. I was gonna be a dancer. I worked hard while I was there. I got good grades. Just like you. But then I got spat out into the real world, this shitty economy. Auditioned my ass off, but never got a paying gig. So I…I picked up a couple waitress jobs, whatever I could get, but still couldn’t make ends meet.”

“A-hee.”

“A friend of mine from dance school…she started telling me about this strip club, paid real good money. I said – what the hell – I’d give it a try. I did a few nights a week here and there, and made more than I made a month as a waitress. But then a few nights a week turned into five nights and then five nights turned into pretty much every night. Then…there was this one time…a customer offered me a thousand bucks to fuck him. A thousand bucks was some good fucking money. So I went for it. And after that one night I was hooked. It was my only sure way to survive in this cruel, dark world. I had to fuck to live! That was MY lot in life. That was where God brought ME. Why? Bad economy, shitty luck, I don’t know. Somehow I ended up here, getting fucked by white motherfuckers like you, just so I could make the rent.”

Marty had no reaction to Chyna’s story, just stood in place with that crazy, cat-like grin. There was probably a time in his life when he would have sympathized. But now he was literally incapable of giving a shit about anybody but himself.

“But, anyway,” Chyna continued, “I was at Church and I said a prayer to God and I said, ‘God, I swear the next motherfucker I fuck I’m gonna kill. I’m gonna kill that white motherfucker, I’m gonna take all his money and get the fuck outta this town once and for all. I don’t care who it is, but it’s gonna be the next one I fuck, so you better send me someone who deserves to die.’”

She slowly unzipped her purse, reached inside, took out a small, silver revolver and pulled the hammer back with her thumb.

“So...you see…God wants YOU dead. White-ass motherfucker.”

For a few moments, Marty’s grin had faded due to the amazing turn of events. But instead of being taken aback or at all afraid, he was actually thrilled. And his grin curled back into its Chesire state.

“Hee hee hee! That may be so. It may be true that God wants me dead, but if it’s money you’re after, God clearly sent you the wrong guy. See, I’m broke as fuck. You’d be killing me for nothing.”

He dug into his pants pocket, grabbed a crumpled wad of paper and tossed it at Chyna.

“Take a look...hee hee. It’s my ATM receipt.”

Chyna unraveled the paper and smoothed it out onto her thy. According to the receipt, Marty was supposedly only worth four dollars and thirty-two cents. ‘Fuck,’ she thought.

“Hee hee hee.”

Part of her wanted to curse the God that - once again - screwed her over for what-may-have-been the billionth time in her life. But she didn’t really care. She just wanted to kill more than anything else.

“It’s not just about the money,” said Chyna. “See, I hate men. Especially white men. And I’d take great pleasure in killing one. Whether there’s money in it for me...or not.”

“Well, this is an interesting turn of fate. Hee hee hee. It looks like God intended for one of us to die tonight. But we don’t know who that person is.”

“Interesting indeed,” said Chyna. “Guess it’s just a matter of who pulls the trigger first.”

For moment, they said or did nothing. Both tried to cast off an air of calmness. But the beads of sweat materializing on their foreheads told another story.

“Well? Hee hee.”

“Well?”

“Hee. Hee. Hee. Are you afraid to pull the trigger?”

“I’m not afraid.”

“Hee, hee, hee. This is kinda beautiful if you think about it. I’ve never felt so powerful right now. So in control of fate. I feel like I’m God right now!”

Chyna’s hand started shaking from the weight of her gun. ‘Don’t be a chicken-shit,’ she kept telling herself. ‘You gotta go through with this.’

“OK, God, hee hee, I’m gonna shoot this fucking bitch right now. Hee hee hee. On the counta three. Unless she shoots first. But I don’t think that’s gonna happen hee hee. She woulda done it already. A-hee hee. One...”

Chyna didn’t want to admit it, but Marty was kind of right...about the whole feeling-like-God-thing. All she had to do was pull the trigger and Marty would be dead. It was the first time in her life that she felt like she had the power, the ability to create radical change in life. ‘Feeling like God’ was a thrill for her, especially when she had gone her whole life feeling so powerless, like a victim of an unwanted fate. The gun in her hand changed everything. Perhaps this is what she needed all along.

“Two...”

Nevertheless, she couldn’t help but wonder what it would actually feel like ending somebody’s time on earth. It was kind of fucked up when she really thought about it - being the means to which somebody’s life flow comes to a halt. This person was a baby (probably a cute one at that) and had a family and vacations on the beach and good times and bad times and now she was putting an end to all that. She would essentially be writing “the end” to this man’s story. All the memories would be gone, like tears in rain, and, over time, it would be like the life never existed. That was an intense thought. Maybe she didn’t want to play this kind of role in a man’s life.

“Threeeee….”

But, then again, this wacko was clearly crazy as fuck, and deserved to be taken out. He was a “white-ass motherfucker” and she was sick of white-ass-motherfuckers like him. They all deserved to die! So she shot him!! BOOM!!!

But…she missed.

“Holy shit!” yelled Marty, eyeballing the bullet-hole in the wall behind him. “Hee hee hee. You probably shoulda learned how to shoot that thing before you came here. You’re a fucking horrible shot! Looks like God wanted you dead, after all! A-hee hee hee.”

And with those words, Marty hardly hesitated a beat before he started pulling the trigger to his Glock.

There was a loud, echoey BANG!!!

But the bang wasn’t from Marty’s gun. It was from the hotel door that had just been kicked in! Two men carrying AK-47’s stormed into the room and quickly shut the door behind them. They were dressed all in black clothes, combat boots and wore black ski-masks over their faces.

“What the fuck?!” yelled the lead gunman through his muffling mask. Tony was his name. He had suddenly realized that they just interrupted something they had no idea was going on. There was a man (Marty) and woman (Chyna) in the room and they both had guns in their hands! Out of all the rooms in that luxury hotel, he had to pick the one that would instantly put him in the middle of a Mexican standoff. Just his luck! God was certainly smirking down on him with his middle finger high in the air.

“Put the fucking guns down!” yelled Tony, deciding that he had no choice but to go through with the plan.

Marty didn’t appear to be the least bit shocked over what was going on. In fact, he was absolutely delighted.

“Oh that’s brilliant!” he shouted into the ceiling with delight. “Are these like my angels of death?! Are you trying to stop me now? Wow, it’s good to see you actually doing something. Is this all I had to do to get you off your ass?! Hee hee hee. Brilliant! Bravo!!! Unless these guys deserve to die, too! Either way, at least you’re finally listening to me!”

‘Great,’ thought Tony. ‘Not only did I get myself into a Mexican stand-off, but the guy I’m robbing is one insane wack-job motherfucker’.

“Put the fucking guns down!” he shouted again. “We want your money and we want it now!”

“Hee hee hee. You’re robbing me? Hee hee hee. Are you seriously robbing me right now?”

Tony said nothing in response. All he could do was wish life had a rewind button.

“Boy, you sure did pick the wrong motherfucker to rob tonight! Hee hee hee!”

“Nobody has to get shot here,” said the other gunman. Sam was his name and he was clearly more nervous than his accomplice. “Just put your guns down and give us your money. We want this to go as smoothly as possible. Nobody has to die tonight.”

“Oh-no, you’re wrong about that! Somebody is definitely going to die tonight! See, I’m God right now, and I have the power to kill every motherfucker right here in this room. Unless you kill me first. Hee hee hee! Here we go! This is fate in action! Anything could happen! A simple pull of a trigger could alter everybody’s life here forever! It’s just a matter of who pulls first and in what order! You should feel blessed by this opportunity, fellas! God’s never been so close. In fact, we’re ALL God right now! We all have the power to alter fate tonight, a-hee hee hee!!!”

And with those final words - POP! - Marty shot Tony in the neck, grazing his jugular but not penetrating it completely.

“Oh, fuck!” yelled Tony, grabbing his squirting neck.

POP! POP! POP! Sam didn’t hesitate to shoot Marty three times in the chest with his AK. “Hee hee hee,” Marty tumbled onto the bed and cackled as he choked on his blood.

So this was the lightning bolt, he figured. God wanted him to die, after all. What a brilliant plan sending those two masked gunmen in. Almost beautifully executed. How ironic it was that he could only appreciate the genius of God when he was bleeding to death on a tacky Las Vegas bed. “Fuck you, God,” he whispered with a smirk as he lost all consciousness.

BOOM! Chyna shot Sam in the head with her revolver and his skull exploded all over the walls. Pieces of brain and gray matter and bone shrapnel instantly devalued the luxury of the hotel room. This time, Chyna certainly didn’t miss. All she could do was hope that there was a white-ass motherfucker behind that black mask. If not, it would be a goddamn shame.

POP! POP! POP! Holding his neck-wound, Tony mustered up enough energy to shoot Chyna right in the middle of her jiggling cleavage. “Aaaaaaaggggghhhhhhhh!!!” She let out a piercing scream that would make the devil shiver. Then she collapsed to the floor and instantly had flashbacks of her days dancing at the academy. ‘How could this have happened?’ she wondered. Life wasn’t supposed to bring her from the dance academy to this hotel floor. She worked for something better. But before she could think any more about the situation, she was gone.

Everybody was dead now, except for Tony, who was trying to stop his neck from bleeding. He applied as much pressure to the wound as he could with his hand, but his efforts were done to no avail. No matter how hard he pressed down, the blood kept gushing out from under his palm. Soon, the room started to go black and his eardrums started sounding muffled, like he was underwater. Then, he lost all motor skills and collapsed onto the blood-soaked carpet. A bystander would have already pronounced him dead, but the truth was that he was still somewhat conscious behind his lifeless-looking eyes. ‘So this is what it feels like to die,’ he thought, and felt somewhat blessed to be experiencing a feeling that no man had ever felt long enough to tell people about. The feeling was sacred, in that sense, and he felt overwhelmed by its awesomeness. If only he could wait for a police officer or paramedic to arrive, so he could tell someone about this amazing experience…but it wasn’t going to happen. Before Tony even knew it, his consciousness completely lifted out of his body. And what happened after that is between Tony and God.

THE END

 


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