“Hey, Charlie! Hey! Hey, Charlie!! FUCK YOU, CHARLIE!”
She was hanging out behind the skating rink again. He always knew when she was there because every day he worked, he was greeted by the same call.
“Hey, man. Why is that crazy chick always screaming at you? Isn’t your name Brian?” His friend, Ted was waiting at the door for him.
“I have no idea. Maybe she thinks I’m someone else. I never thought to stop and ask. I don’t waste my time on the crazies.”
“Yeah, man. I hear you. Crazy bitch.” Ted shook his head and they laughed as they walked through the entryway.
He came in amidst the bump of the DJ and settled himself into the ticket box. It was the regular customers, tonight. The teenagers he would surely have to chase out of the dark corners later, so they didn’t sticky up the couches. The families looking for something fun to do on a Friday night, and then fighting over the rental skates, the song they wanted to hear from the DJ, who would take the kids to the bathroom, anything instead of what they really should be fighting about. The creepy old guys watching the teens. The couples on dates, awkwardly moving along during the couple’s skate.
And then, she walked in.
The air hung like a tense rabbit as they stared at each other.
Finally, she walked over on stilted legs and slapped the window. Her face was screaming ravens and smoke tendril madness.
“Charlie, I know who you are and I know what you fucking did. You can’t hide from me. I see you.”
He wrinkled his face in disgust as he spat out, “Whatever lady, I don’t know you. Get the fuck out of here.”
She looked him over again and said, “I…KNOW…YOU.”
Then, just like that, she was gone, out of the door and back into the misty night.
The sounds from the rink filtered back in and he went back to work. He didn’t think much more about her until it was just about time to leave and he started to get tiny butterflies flitting in his stomach.
He walked out, eyes everywhere, searching. He locked the doors and just as he was turning toward his car, a hiss in the black.
“Chhhaaaaaarrrrrrrllllllllllliiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeee. HEY! HEY, CHARLIE! HEY! FUCK YOU, CHARLIE.”
He stopped and was suddenly resolute. This ended tonight.
He walked with a quickness unlike anything he’d ever known before over to her.
“Look, let’s talk about this. Do you need a ride somewhere? How about a meal? I can take you to my home and we can settle this. What do you say?”
“Oh, yes. A talk, Charlie. I’d like that.” Her eyes were in slits as she smiled and walked with him to his car.
When they arrived, he set forth preparing a hot meal as she watched him intently. A quick meal of eggs and bacon and they were seated opposite each other, chewing and seething.
Finally, she spoke up. “Sheila was a kind girl, you know? She might have worked the streets back in Springfield, but she was good and she was kind. And, you took that away from me when you took her life.”
She suddenly slammed her fork down and lept from her chair. She was on him before he could swallow,
He shook her off with ease and grabbed her face and pulled it close to him.
“Sheila was a fucking whore, and so are you.”
The knife was out in quick flash murder and just as he was bringing it to her throat,
“Don’t kill my wife, Charlie. Don’t kill her like you killed all of those other girls back in Springfield.”
He turned with loose jaw to see Ted holding his arm.
“That’s right, Charlie Moore. I know who you are and I know what you did. Two prostitutes in Denver, four in Tacoma, three in Norfolk…and finally six in Springfield.
Including my sister, Sheila.”
Charlie/Brian stared wide-eyed from the woman to Ted and back to the woman, “H…how did you know? I was so careful. So professional.”
“We had been keeping an eye on her for months. She was going to get clean, you know. She was going to start a new life. She said she just wanted to turn a few more tricks before she went into rehab.
And then, she got into the car with you.”
Ted removed the knife and began to slowly slash little cuts into Charlie/Brian’s arm. The warm rivulets cascaded down his wrist onto the cold linoleum floor.
Suddenly, the woman burst forth into gales of laughter, “HAHA AND NOW YOU’RE GOING TO DIE, CHARLIE! HAHAHAHAHA”
And with an unerring swipe, Ted brought the knife across Charlie/Brian’s throat. The blood instantly coursed down his neck and over his chest.
Charlie/Brian sank slowly to the floor. He lay there and watched as his life poured out in spurts and stutters.
Just as he was almost gone in death’s icy embrace, the woman’s face came into his view.
“Hey, Charlie. FUCK YOU.”
And her voice carried him into oblivion.