Army Wives

The man winced as a meaty fist came down again on his lifeless girlfriend.

Four army rangers stood in a circle, preparing to gangfuck her when Frank could stand life no more. He cried out,

“You fucking rotten-ass jarheads! You disgusting pigs! War-mongering shit-for-brains rednecks, I pray to God there’s a hell and you fucking rot there.” Frank’s eyes were hate-tipped daggers.

“Hey, boy.” A fat-necked man with a blond-colored buzzcut turned around. His belt was unbuckled and his puffy cheeks were flushed with alcohol and hormonal rage. His whole body shone with a sweaty glaze under the streetlamp.

“Boy…after we do her, you’re next.”

The sounds of continuous, repetitive smacking syncopated his threat.

Frank stared into the rapist’s cold beady eyes. He spoke again.

“You do me first or I’ll fucking kill you. I’ll kill all of you right here in this parking lot.” Frank screamed hoarsely now through sobs of frustration and pure and total sadness, defeat.

Frank attempted to clamber to his feet but his hips and knees had already been kicked and beaten into uselessness. He collapsed again, knocking his chin on the pavement and cracking some teeth. All he could do is scream. And he did, with blood and bits of teeth dripping and spraying from his beat-up maw. Frank bellowed a throaty, hellish war-cry that could be heard for at least two miles, or three from the direction in which it bounced off the mall walls.

He could not bare witness to the rape of his best friend. It burned like acid on the frontal lobe of his imagination.

He closed his eyes and instead imagined her riding along with him to the grocery store, where they threw cheese at other and made a mess of the place. Then he imagined their hot walks through the Appalachian mountains, and DVDs of cartoons, and cold showers in the summertime. And then — a hot sensation overcame Frank’s entire body as something like pure anti-matter replaced the right side of his face. A crowbar smashed into his jaw, and then into his temple.

Rolling over from the pain, Frank lay on his left side and looked out through the one good eye not swollen and dark, to see the fat buzzcut man standing in his underwear, with the dark cast-iron weapon in hand.

That is when he knew that he recognized the man. Weeks earlier, he’d seen him somewhere. Where was it?

Another blow landed on Frank’s abdomen, making his insides feel like a squishy stress ball coated in pure spongy agony. As the crowbar came down on his guts, he noticed a wedding band on the man’s finger, clenching the tool.

Frank’s girlfriend, he hoped, was dead by this point, so she could suffer no more.

“The coffee shop!” he screamed out. “I know your fat ass from the coffee shop! You were there with your dipshit wife! She’s cheating on you, bro!” Frank laughed out hysterically. “Ha – ha – haaaa!” Frank felt, on some level, that he had won.

“She had a big stupid forehead and was shopping for Us Weekly. Her blond hair looked like shit and even though she’s pregnant you bought her a coffee and cigarettes.”

The fat man stood shocked. Frank went on.

“But that’s not what is so funny! Before you appeared with her, she’d come into the coffee shop with another man, some guy in biker spandex. Ha, she was cheating on you with some shit-for-brains liberal. Ha – ha – haaaa!” Frank laughed again, rolling around in the gravel. Moonlight and street lamps shone into his deep cuts to reveal dirt and rocks wedged into his face and abdomen. He was sure to get an infection from the liquid seeping out of the dumpster where he lay.

“Yeah, looks like she’s been cheating on you for a while, dude, maybe because you’re a meat-headed gung-ho redneck motherfucker. I doubt that’s even your baby. I doubt you can even get it up to rape my girlfriend, or why else would you be standing here watching over me? You impotent fuck. You worthless scum sub-human being motherfucker! Whose war are you fighting here in this alleyway? Will you ever fight your own? Piece of shit. Your wife gave me this look like she wanted my dick, I don’t fuck with bitches who got big foreheads and their hair pulled way back like I’m supposed to use it for a marker board during a presentation. Nah, man. I didn’t fuck your wife. But you go ahead and rape me and my girlfriend. See you in hell, sir.”

Frank lay back and wait, now, for death.

It was quiet. He looked toward his girlfriend’s limp corpse. It lay motionless, bloody and pathetic. He looked back at the fat man, who was gone completely.

Then, sirens.

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