Chapter 6: Chicken Scratch 10-12

~10~

Brooks was in his office waiting for texts from Thompson and Farelly about lunch. Neither of those assholes answered him, which made him think they were not at their branches of the bank. They were out doing something childish and stupid, letting their underlings run the banks. Brooks often wished he hadn’t gone to bat for those idiots, begging Uncle Roy to make them presidents of the banks that were tied in with Brooks bank. 

The office door flew open and Paco walked in. He acted nervous and agitated. His voice was weak, and at times, seemed like it didn’t match his lips when words were spoken.

“Paco! Where the hell have you been?” Brooks was shocked to see him.

“It was a big mistake,” he said, pacing the room. “Man, if only I knew what I was getting into…” he shook his head.

Brooks jumped up from his chair, came from behind his desk. “What are you talking about, Paco? What about the money?”

“Fuck the money,” he started to sob as he closed his eyes. “There’s…there’s more at stake here than fucking money…..”

Brooks sighed.

“Come on man,” Brooks threw his hands up. “What happened? You disappeared—“

“Listen to me, there are things you would never believe….if I told you….damn it to hell…all of us are damned!” Paco screamed, beat the sides of his forehead with both hands repeatedly. Damned! You understand?!”

Brooks stood back. “Yeah…okay…I get it.”

“No,” he continued to sob. “You don’t understand…you…of all people….I have my sins….yes…but you…my friend…you committed the worst sin of all……they are coming for you…..”

Brooks laughed nervously.  His head began to ache. Brooks squinted at the surging pain and then a flash of events entered his mind. A woman’s hand was holding a metal chicken claw, jabbed it into his chest, and carved squiggly shaped lines with thee dots. The image flashed twice more and was gone. Brooks recovered momentarily, shook it off.

“Coming….? Who is coming for me., Paco” Brooks barely managed.

“I make this final warning….because I respect you…..You are damned!” Paco gurgled, his eyes rolled in the back of his head and he fell to his knees before disappearing completely.

Now Brooks was afraid. A man had just come into his office, spouted out some silly nonsense, then disappeared. Brooks stumbled back to his desk, sat down clumsily. He sighed, fixed his tie. “What the fuck just happened. He opened the desk drawer, frantically searched it. “Where is it?!” He screamed. The Adderall was gone. He’d just found a bottle he hid in the safe in his den at home so Debbie couldn’t find it. He knew for a fact he brought it with him. He knew for a fact he put it in his desk drawer at the office.

The image of the woman slicing his chest with a metal chicken claw flashed again and Brooks groaned. The image left. He regrouped, looked up, and saw Connie standing in the doorway, staring at him. She leaned against the doorframe and taped her heels on the floor. She was looking at Brooks from overtop of her glasses, clucking her tongue.

“What?” He asked her.

“As my duty as your secretary, I think you should go home.”

“As my duty as your boss, you should come over here and give me a handjob.” Brooks sniffed.

“I can’t do that anymore, Mr. Brooks. You’re getting married.” Connie said.

“It sure as hell would cure this headache,” Brooks told her.

“You men think that sex is the cure for everything.” Connie scoffed.

“I wasn’t talking about sex, Connie. I was talking about release.”

 Connie stepped inside, closed the door. She walked over, holding a brown bottle of pills, her heels tapping all the way. She sat them on in front of Brooks. “Looking for these?”

“Yeah,” Brooks said, relieved. He took the bottle, knocked the top off, and hurriedly downed a few. “Where did you find these?”

“You walked in the office in a daze, dropped them on my desk.”

“I don’t remember that,” Brooks said concerned.

Connie sighed, came around the desk. “You don’t look good, Boss. Why were you talking to yourself? “

“I wasn’t…didn’t you see a man come into my office…? Brooks stopped, thought about things.

She looked at him with tender sweetness and all the compassion in the world. “Sit back, undo your fly,” Connie got n her knees and smiled. “This is the last handshake before your wedding,” She slid her hand inside his underwear. “You just might get a licking too.

~11~

When Brooks came home, there was chicken feed everywhere in small piles. Rufus was crowing as if to let Debbie know he was home. She came running from the kitchen, her hair tangled and her face and dress covered in flour. She stopped Brooks from passing by, both hands on his chest.

“I have to go to the bathroom,” Brooks said. Rufus walked by, still crowing. “The fuck is he crowing for?”

“Did you get it?” Debbie said, out of breath. Her eyeliner had run down her cheeks, mingling with perseveration.

“Get what?” Brooks said, irritably.

“Chicken feed. Remember, I called you about it,” Debbie sighed, rolled her eyes.

“I remember you called. We don’t need any….”

“Yes, we do!”

“No, we don’t, Debbie. Look around, it’s all over the place!”

“But Rufus doesn’t like that brand! And…I –I was trying to cook some tortillas for him….”

“For a rooster?”

“Yes….he told me he likes them….why?”

Brooks winced as the shooting pain in his stomach rose to his chest and morphed into a hot searing pain. That feeling that he had retained a ton of water came and went when he was driving home, had returned as well.

“Honey, I need to use the bathroom,” he shot past Debbie. “You need to get out of the house,” he called out. “It’s driving you insane!”

~12~

The three of them were standing at Paco’s front door. Thompson was rifling through a box of toys. He found a G.I. Joe, saw that an arm was missing, and tossed it on the ground.

“I don’t believe it,” Farelly said.

“Yeah, Brooks, that sounds far-fetched.” Thompson added.

“A lie, if you ask me,” Farelly cut his eyes at Thompson.

“No one is asking you, dickheads.,” Brooks knocked on the door. “Hey! Paco!” He called out. He knocked again, pounding on the thin wood that may have come from another house or shed. “Paco! You home?!”

The door swung open. They looked at each other, hesitant to pass through the doorway. A horrible smell distributed through the air. All three of them gagged, forced their faces into handkerchiefs before entering. Brooks led the way, with Farelly and Thompson fighting to be second as usual, making a path through garbage and unwashed clothes, and a swarm of flies.

“Jesus!” Farelly exclaimed. “Does the man ever clean in here?”

They came upon the bedroom with the door barely hanging on the hinges. Something didn’t feel right to Brooks. He heard rustling inside the room. Voices whispering. Brooks held up his hand for Farelly and Thompson to stop moving around. He peered inside the room and caught a glimpse of a person in a long flowing gown trying to hide. Brooks gasped, threw himself from view against a wall.

The three of them gave each other frightened glances.

Brooks knew of only one thing to do: rush whoever was in there. He motioned for Farelly and Thompson to follow his lead. They heard glass breaking. A tall woman in black had knocked the glass out of the window and was climbing out. A short round man in black wearing a mask rushed Brooks, pushing him into Farelly and Thompson. Trampling Farelly, the man was fast, out of Paco’s house, leaving the door wide open. Farelly tried to catch up to the man but fell at the door.

 “You son of a bitch!” Farelly yelled, waving a fist.

“What the fuck is going on?” Thompson screamed, pushing Brooks off of him. Brooks scurried inside the room. He stood there, eyes bulging out and mouth gaping. “Why those people in Paco’s warehouse, huh, Brooks?!” Thompson was annoyed that Brooks didn’t answer him. He sighed and decided to enter the room to push the argument further. Farelly followed. “Hey! Brooks! Answer my fucking question—“   He stopped. The same expression crossed his face. 

They were looking up at a body hanging upside down, chest cavity split open. A large puddle of blood was underneath the body and had dried on the wooden floor. Flies were examining the naked corpse, possibly searching for the missing organs.

Farelly stepped back and whispered, ”Ohhhh, shit…..Paco, man……”

Next Tuesday, Chapter 6: Chicken Scratch pts 13+14

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