Open For Business by Juana Weimer

The store clerk looked up when I opened the door, jingle bells, jingle bells. Letting the door swing shut behind me, I made my way to the counter displating the cheaper guns for sale, The store clerk watched me, a mixture of contempt and pity on his scarred face. Couldn’t have been older than nineteen, just a kid , flew through my mind.
Down to the business at hand, my revenge, pure, cold, icy, just dessert. No pasty faced kid was gonna stopme, not when I was so close, not now. Three months of planning, I was about to test myself, put my theory through the wringer., Pulling this off would be my piece de resistance, had to be done for my peace of mind.
This dumb-shit of a store clerk was the son of the man who had killed my husband. The gun seller extrordinair. His first time buying a gun, first time in this type of place. Middle of a fucking drug sale, money changing hands between legitamate killing machines, how was he supposed to know? The hanging sign in the window, closed on one side and open on the other, carelessly forgotten or ignored. How was he supposed to know? The face behind the counter, printed in every paper, under blazing headlines, charged with everything from jay walking and tax evasion to stealing suckling babies from their mother’s breast. How?
I had spent countless hours imagining, wondering, the slow sinking realization, paralysis creeping on, what? Cat got your tongue? Wanting to high-tail it outta there. Immobile, fear taking control, a soft whimper escaped from his lips? I know who you are and I know what you do but I’ll never tell. Did he plead? Beg? Or was he a man’s man? The voices whispered the answer while I slept, in my dreams. No begging for this man, maybe just at the start, but the gun went off too fast, cutting off voice and thought. No daddy, no honey-baby-sweetheart-love. No good-bye. Just a hole, jagged and bleeding, above his left eyebrow. A gaping hole in the back of his head. Gray matter. Game Over, The End.
Now this dumb-shit of a clerk was asking ME if he could be of help. What a joke. “Why yes you can,” I tell him, “you can”. Start by coming out from behind the counter. Nice and slow, easy does it." The gun in my hand pointed towards his face, his eyes widening in surprise. The look of contempt, now gone, replaced by one of incredulous disbelief and then fear. I rembered to hang the closed side of the sign facincing the street. I needed the key to lock the door, it wouldn’t be right to involve another, an innocent. Was there such a thing? An eye for an eye, a life for a life. My husband, sweet and gentle Eliot, life taken, murdered in a ‘robbery gone bad’. Really. Now another robbery, another life, just a start in the long haul.
Dunb-shit, his name was Leo, did exactly as he was told. Shaking like Jell-O, face whiter that before, he laid down on the floor. Then he started crying softly, wanting me to let him live. His daddy would do anything. Take the money, take the guns, everything, just don’t hert him. I wasn’t about to shoot him. Not without letting him know why. I guess he realized I was serious because he went very still, quit his incessant whining. I wanted to scream, kick him, blow his brains out. No, stick to the plan, Daddy the killer would br home soon.
So, we waited. In this dirty gun shop, walls worn by the passing years. Shiny new guns and rusty old ones. Rifles hanging on clapboard walls. As I took the gloomy scenery in, a wave of clausterphobia threatened to overwhelm me. Time to make a call. Already I had set things in motion, I had to continue because there was no way back.
“Where is the phone?”, I asked Leo. I made him get up and lead me to a small office in the back. Even worse than I thought, too small, cramped. An old, scarred wooden desk surrounded by four battered metal folding chairs. The smell of old cigars and stale sweat lingered in the room. The scenery reminded me of some old B gangster movie, what was that name? On the desk, seeming out of place, was a newer cordless phone, all sleek and shiny. I made Leo pick up the phone, my gun never wavering, still lined up to his head. I made the unneccassry comment to the effect of ‘wrong move, word and I shoot now’.
His voice trembled whaen he spoke, an easy giveaway. He repeated what I had told him to say, word for word. He was going to die, I was the Angel of Death, come to take away his soul. Daddy needed to hear this and understand. It was too late for salvation. The check had been cashed and there was no money left. Young Leo started crying in earnest now, his words incoherent, tears streaming down his ashen cheeks. My gun had inched closer to his face, now trained on the spot above his left eyebrow. He started begging his daddy to save him, begging me to spare him. Not quite the man Eliot was, I felt sure. I was almost sympathetic to his pleadings. Almost.
As if it had a life of its own, my finger sqeezed the trigger, Everything happened too fast, not like in the movies, where slow motion lets you see the
details. The gun recoiled in my hand, sending a bolt of sharp pain through my arm to my shoulder. Dumb-shit Leo sat crumpled in the chair, head thrown back from the impact with my bullet. The bullet hole was a little high, almost near his hairline. Behind him, blood and brain matter splattered the wall. The thought of my four year old’s abstract painting entered my head. The laughter coming out of nowhere quickly turned into tears. The phone was still lying in Leos’s dead hand. Carefully picking it up with my sleeve, I watch too many movies, I held it up to listen. I could hear the agony in Leo’s father’s voice, “What the fuck!? Leo, oh my God, LEO!!! No, GOD, FUCK. LEO! No, Leo.” Moaning now.
Speaking softly and clearly, I told Anthony Banardi that his only, beloved son was quite dead. “We reap what we sow and I am God’s judgement.” I paused to listen again, hearing him sobbibg and cursing at me. I wiped my eyes and smiled. I laid the phone back on the desk, turned around and walked out of the hole they called an office. I enptied the remaining bullets into the trash and wiped the gun clean and everything I might’ve touched. I unlocked the door, careful to turn the sign back to ‘Open’. In the far distance, I could hear sirens sounding. I let the door swing shut behind me as I walked away, walked towards my car and my peace of mind.

Open For Business by Juana Weimer


Joined April 2009

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Artist's Description

Just a real quick short story about revenge

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