When the Vulture Comes


The big brown Chevy Blazer growls turning in the driveway.   It’s lack of muffler and coming to a sputtering stop emphasize his arrival.  The body appears to be held together by rust alone. Groaning open the doors reveal two polar opposite people. 

One barely five feet and hundred pounds, Peggy looks rough by most people’s standards. Her black hair and eyes set back on her.   The other, Russell wearing grimy jeans and wife beater t-shirt.  Huge man weighing 300 pounds and six five tall, ill-kept in clothes and grooming.  They look to the house then each other.   Her tiny hand disappears in his as they drag themselves to the front door.

Julian waits for them. He gives Peggy a big hug. It’s been weeks since she was over.  Day before Celeste’s accident.  

“It’s so good to see you,  both of you guys.   I’m going crazy here.   Not many visitors been by.   Come in. I’ll grab beers.”

Russell and Peggy look him over.  Then follow him inside a small dark house.   The door opens to stairway that splits the house, kitchen to left,  and living room to right.  The living room is a disaster.   Boxes, papers and clutter fill a small room.   The open window does little to move the stale air.  Russell sinks into a recliner. Peggy stands by table with glass characters lined up like soliders marching.

“Julian, I miss her everyday.   You know she has just started selling these. …”crying steals her breath.

Julian appears with beers in hand.  “Honey, she was happiest with her things. You know it was all collectables.   It made her happy.”

“You miss her, don’t you,  Julian” Russell isn’t really asking but telling him. “I mean if that happened to Peggy, I’d kill someone.”

“Big guy,  It’s different when it happens.   You think it will be ok and it’s not.” Julian has lost touch with Russell toying with him.   Russell wants him to know he’s aware of what he did. He’s half believing maybe it was a  accident.   Playing the part of shatter spouse isn’t his best role.

“Son of a bitch!  Look out that window!  Buzzards, walking in your yard.   Watch yourself Julian!  That’s a sign.”  Russell wags his giant mitt toward the scene.

“Julian, come over tomorrow. We’ll bbq.  I’m not gonna stay long, can’t. Hope you understand.”  Peggy’s voice had no life to it.

They quickly drink up and leave.   Julian and his thoughts.   Outside the window fills with a dozen buzzards in the yard.   It’s disturbing.   Not as much as the faint cigarette smoke that drifts through the room.   The house had no smokers in it at one time.   As the smell hits his nose, a fireplace poker strikes the back of his thighs.

“I’m gonna kill you.  I’d beat you until this poker has the outline of your face.   What’s left of your face.  I’ll teach you how you kill someone alright! Do you understand me?!”  Jimmie looking much like the mad man. Looking down on Julian ready to make good on his words.

“Jimmie, whoa. Hang on.  I got your money.  You chaaanged it on me.  I dddidddn’t have itttt then.   Youu was gonna cut me up man!” His eyes are shaking, his voice is quaking.  The pain in his legs keeps him on the ground.   Or the pain he’ll receive if he gets up.

“I’ll get my money.   Not the two grand, but five grand!  You was getting ten thousand, I got my share. But you thieving bastard. .. It was twenty-five.   My cut was with more.   Then you shot me, you piece of shit! “Swinging the poker hard on his chest.  “You’ll pay.   You’ll not know the day or time.  First off, if you don’t have it all.  Consider broken bones.   The difference in money is the number of bones.  Do you understand me clearly?” Striking him four more times on the chest making his ribs black from bruises and cracks.

“Julian, you can’t go to the police. Your a murderer.  They’ll fry you in a chair.   You might want that afterall is said and done.   Get my money.   I’m gonna think of your last day.   I’ll check my schedule and find a convenient time for us both.” Jimmie’s smile is evil.

He’s reaching out to help him up.  Jimmie follows Julian to a closet.  With the poker raised over Julian’s head, Jimmie let’s him open the door.  Julian hands him backpack.

“It’s six thousand.   More than the extra cut.   I’m gonna lay down, try  breathing, wait to die you know.”  Another poker strike to the legs and he’s laying down.  The vulture was gone.

More pieces of puzzle


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