A Very Bad Day

~ written 1/24/2006 ~


That was the sound Caleb Shaw heard while lying on the pavement as he watched a steel-toed boot stomp his left hand—the hand he had used for fingering the fret board of his Les Paul guitar just an hour ago—and the cell phone that was in it.  That was after receiving a few blows to the torso, front and back, which had landed him.  Sure, the various fists, elbows and knees delivered their own brand of hurt, but it was a manageable pain, the kind most men just swallowed with ego, pride and maybe a few over-the-counter feel-good pills and a shot of hard liquor.  The smashing of his hand, though, that delivered something altogether different and new.

Yeah, crunch was what he heard.

But what he felt?

A pain so unbearable that the scream, which his body—hell, his very soul—had mustered got lost sub-sonically in the ether, but only temporarily.  After a few seconds of uncontrolled breathing and the realization of what had just happened, not to mention the hot, throbbing indescribable pain, the banshee’s wail became a little more cooperative and launched unbridled from his gaping mouth along with spittle and unintelligible swear words.  The bits of plastic imbedded in his skin from the shattered cell phone helped add to his misery.

Were the bones in his hand broken?  Caleb was a musician, not a doctor, but his uneducated guess and deduction from the obvious was that they were, or rather they damned well better be to cause that kind of agony.

No, check that: he didn’t want the bones to be broken; hell, he was a guitarist in an up and coming rock band, to get to the crux of the matter.  Besides, a broken hand would likely require surgery, and surgery required, among many other things he didn’t have, insurance.  Probably also meant more pain of an indefinite length of time.  But strangely that was the least of his concerns.

Caleb wasn’t sure exactly who had inflicted such cruelty upon his unsuspecting hand and really it didn’t matter. There was nothing he could do about it.  Encircled above him stood his band’s manager, Manny Napolitano and the band’s four road hands, whose names Caleb never could keep straight.  As he had recently come to understand, Emanuel “Manny” Napolitano was more than a manager, he was a connected guy.  And the guys acting as the band’s road crew, including the bus driver, were all Manny’s boys, all of them connected through him. Manny was probably no more than small time and the other guys, his underlings, likely weren’t even registering on the food chain of the business; mere soldiers.  Still, they took orders from Napolitano as if he was a Made Man.

Taken from my story “Get Gone” © 2006 Brandon L. Rucker.



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