Tuesday, June 22, 2010

This Devil's Workyear

In celebration of the new Twilight film, here's a story about Edward and Bella on a trip to New York.

Send Your Hate Mail To Me

He can smell me. He pretends he doesn’t, makes believe this is a romantic evening with his girl, but he can smell me. We’re walking down Union Square towards Astor Place. He has one arm around her, holding her hand as they stroll down the block. I shadow them, giving them their space.

At Astor Place, they stop at the Starbucks with the boarded up window. The one with some pithy anti-corporate slogan sprain painted on planks on the windows. I wonder how many times that particular window has been busted out and fixed. I wonder why they don’t just get better glass.

I stand by the six train entrance listening to a black kid playing drums on an empty garbage pail. I ask him if he knows any Tom Waits. He says no. They come out around 7:30. She’s drinking a vanilla bean latte with cream, a lemon scone in one hand. I’m choking on the smell of bake dough as I across the street. God, why did she have to get lemon? They walk towards 3rd Avenue, a straight shot thorough the east village.

I keep the distance at about a block and a half. Still, every few blocks, he turns around, seeing me but not seeing me. When he gets to 8th street, he stretches his arms. He flickers his finger at the construction nearby. His finger indicating a sign that reads CAUTION: Ahead. I know he means that for me. His way of telling me to back off. Cute, but I’m not listening. I got a job to do, like it or not.

Terry tells me that I got a get familiar again.

-What do you mean familiar?

-I mean not like “familiar” familiar. But, y’know, you got to reestablished connection with your community, man. You gotta show that you stand for the cause. You gotta show that you’re with us. I mean, not like it’s us vs them or that there’s a them or anything. We’re all in this together, Joe, you understand? I mean, you need to do some things to help, you know, because that’s how you build bridges with the community, right?

-Uh huh.

I light a smoke. Since I took this job I’ve been doing these “community building favors” for Terry every other weeks. Most of it is just running errands. Getting blood, collecting contributions from The Count, helping out people newly infected by the Vyrus integrate, shit like that. Once in a while, Terry will throw a job my way that he wants to handle “with care”, meaning he doesn’t want Lydia to know about it.

Since Tom got dead, it’s been a two party show at the Society. Hurley was assigned as the third member of the council, but he pretty much does what Terry asks him, so it’s Terry and Lydia running things. They’ve been making moves to reach out to other Clans under 14th street, consolidating power south of the Coalition. Terry’s been meeting discretely with smaller gangs in order to keep the suits at bay, but Lydia has cold feet. If she knows I’m running around, doing these jobs, she might be wondering what else Terry’s hiding from her.

I know what Terry’s hiding. I know where the bodies are buried. I’m the one that buried most of them.

-This bridge you need building…

I ask slowly

-…does it have a name?

Terry looks at me and frowns. I guess he wanted to string this out a bit, lecture me about my responsibility about community, try to sell me on the idea of the Society having to get it’s house in order before they start the process of assimilation with the wider world. I just sit there, smoking, not humoring him. Not tonight. I got shit to do. I got to call Evie later.

-Joe, I’ll be honest with you, I’m kind of hurt that that’s your first question. I mean, I don’t know man, I guess I’m a little surprised by your cynicism, you know. I don’t think all the negativity is healthy, Joe. I mean, it doesn’t help things. But, whatever, it’s cool, Joe. I understand…

He trails off. He gets up and goes to the counter and leans on it. He rubs the back of his neck and pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose.

-His name is Edward.

Terry tells me a story. Edward and his girl, Becky or Bella or something, are a couple of out of towners from out west. Edward is infected, Bella’s not, but they make it work. They come here on vacation, do the tourist thing, see a show, go to Statue of Liberty (Terry doesn’t how he can go out in the sun.), go to a few clubs. Have a good old fashion lost weekend in the city. They go out last night to a club in The Bowery and things get out of hand. They get in a little trouble with the local color and someone ends up dead. Edward screwed his head on backwards, twisting his neck like a bottle cap.

-Joe, I don’t want to tell you how to do these things.

Terry says before he tells me how to do it.

-Make it look like a robbery.

I nod and get up. As I turn to go, he grabs my arm.

-The girl too, Joe.

They’re at East River Park, walking by the water. The air is cool and the smell of the sea makes my eyes water. The virus is twisting inside me. It wants to eat but I’m down to my last two pints for this week. I don’t need to pop those for another day and a half, but the Vyrus is hungry. It gnaws at me, telling me that it wants more. I suppress it and move on.

I hear them talk. She giggles, says something that’s lost as the waves crashed on the pier. A ship passes in the distance, blowing its fog horn. He points to and she laughs.

I feel the metal of the snub nose revolver against my side. I have a switchblade in my back pocket but I won’t need it. I do this quick, I don’t make a scene and I get home in time for Letterman. I should hide my face or wait until they’re apart and do it to him nice and quiet. I think about the girl and how young she is. I think about what I would do to protect Evie, the people who I kill if anyone wanted to hurt her. I think about Edward snapping some guy’s neck for her. Wonder if Terry would send someone after me if I did the same.

I realize that I don’t want to give her a choice. I realize that I want to slit her throat and drink her blood. I realize that the Vyrus is making me want this. I convince myself that she’ll talk if he disappears, tell the world that her vampire boyfriend has gone missing, run crying to Opera for her fifteen minutes. I decide that it’s better with no mask and I walk over.

-Excuse me, do you have the time?

They look at me. She smiles. He doesn’t. I knew it. He knows what I am. I shouldn’t be surprised. He grabs her arm and moves her behind him. He stands in front of her, guarding her, protecting her. He barks at me.

-What do you want?

I look at him, giving him my best innocent guy expression.

-I just want the time.

He steps in front of her. He points at me.

-You’re one of them

I look at him

-I’m one what?

-You’re not going to hurt her.

I put my hands in my pocket.

-I just want the time.

I step forward

-Stay back!

She looks at me then she looks at him.


I stare at her and then to him and I shake my head.


I draw but he shoots forward knocking the gun in my hand. He’s faster then me, he’s fed recently. He tackles me, drives me back off the path and into a tree. The back of my head smacks the trunk hard enough to rattle me. I feel fuzzy, numb. He swings a left but I duck and he clears some bark off the tree. I try to roll, get some space between me and him, get to my gun, but he’s on me. He climbs on top and starts raining down lefts and rights. I put my arms up to block by the more he hits, the more I feel my bones start to creek. He locks his hand, planning to cave my head in, but he opens up his midsections and I tune him up with some rabbit punches, rupturing a kidney.

He drops his arms and I grab his collar, pulling him off. I get to my feet and fish out my blade but he’s back on his feet, snarling like a dog, throwing haymakers. His arms are lead weights but he telegraphs his punches that I see them coming. I bob and weave, making him matter. He could end this fight if he kept his head, but he’s trying to protect his girl and he’s getting caught up. I would do the same if it were Evie. I circle right, keeping away from his hand and avoiding the blows. He lunges forward with a cross and grab his arm, pulling him towards me.

I punch him where the elbow meets the joint and feel his arm snap like pencil. The bone pokes out of the skin on the inside of his arm and he falls to his knees. He holds his arms, screaming, trying to set the bone, but with the chicken wing poking out of it just dangles useless. Blood pours out of the wound, filling the air with the stench of virus. I flick my blade and stand over him. He’s crying, mumbling something that I can’t hear. I pull his head back and drive the knife down right between the eyes.

I see the lights go out, flicker and fade, and then I hear her screaming his name. I realize that she’s been screaming the whole time; I’m just now really hearing it. I step aside as she runs to him, sobbing and wailing. She screams his name over and over. Edward, Edward, Edward. I feel the tightness in my stomach and I look at her. I look at her and see Evie. I look at Edward and see me.

I decide to look for my gun. I don’t notice she has it until I hear the click of the hammer. I look at her and she’s got the revolver between her hands, shaking. Her eyes are red but she’s not crying anymore. She’s just looking at me, looking thorough me like I’m not even there. She sees me but she doesn’t see me. She’s looking at a ghost. She puts the gun under her chin.


She says and pulls the trigger.

I don’t bother staging the body. I just dump them. Fucking tourist.

Joe Pitt© of Charlie Huston, all rights reserved
Edward and Bella © of Stephanie Meyers, all rights reserved
This work is a work of fan-fiction made for entertainment purposes only

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