Monday, July 11, 2011
New guest post: Skip Novak
Guest post 9. My close friend and brother from another mother Skip submitted this to me, and I instantly fell in love with the tale. Skip weaves an interesting story with characters you fall for, hate, and empathize with. He is a published author with an anthology and a couple other shorts under his belt, as well as in incredible BLOG. I am lucky to have him, and this story is costing me cigars and brown liquor. It’s well worth the price of admission. Without further ado, I give you:
Freddie Gets Away
By Skip Novak
Jill woke up with a feeling of excitement and anxiousness. Today, she told herself, was going to be a GREAT day! As Jill walked to the bathroom she went through her laundry list of things she wanted to accomplish:
· Arrive at new job early.
· Make good impression.
· Work hard and diligently.
· Have lunch with Mark the GREATEST man in the WORLD!
· Work hard after lunch.
· Come home and make dinner for Mark the GREATEST man in the WORLD!
· Fuck Mark, the GREATEST man in the WORLD’s, brains out!
She got ready for the day like she normally would and then entered her kitchen. She noticed that the coffee was finished cooking, “Thank God for automatic timers.” Jill poured herself a steamy hot cup of bitter deliciousness.
As the coffee coursed down her throat she could immediately feel the effects of caffeinated stimulation to her nerve endings. She leaned against the counter, closed her eyes, relaxed her shoulders and let go of all the emotional tension that had plagued her over the past few weeks. “Ahhhhh… that hit the spot.” She announced to the empty kitchen.
“Meow?” Came the reply.
“Shit!” Jill’s eyes shot open. “Damn it Freddie! I thought you were outside.” The gray striped cat stood in the doorway of the kitchen staring at her. “I suppose you’re hungry?” She asked the cat. “You know, when I found you on the sidewalk last year I thought you would be able to take care of yourself. I always heard how your kind is so independent and yet here I am everyday cleaning your litter box, feeding you and watering you. You got a pretty sweet gig Freddie, I hope you know that. Shit, one day I hope to have someone take care of me like I take care of you.”
Freddie just stared at Jill; his head was cocked to the right side a bit in a look that was both inquisitive and a bit insightful, as if he was thinking about something. It was a creepy sort of look that gave Jill the chills. It was just odd, like he knew her deepest, darkest secrets.
Jill shuddered. She turned towards the cupboard where she kept Freddie’s food. “I suppose you want breakfast?” She felt Freddie brush against her legs.
Jill opened the door to the cupboard, and grabbed a can of Friskies Prime Filets. Freddie jumped up on the counter and started to purr. He rubbed against her arm excitedly.
“Ok, Ok… damn, calm down.” She exclaimed to the now rambunctious cat. “ You act as if you haven’t eaten all week.”
Jill barely got the top off the can before Freddie nudged her hands aside and started to eat the food right from the can. She laughed and went to refill her coffee cup. As she headed out of the kitchen she looked over to see Freddie’s progress on the food. Tthe can was almost cleaned out. “Freddie, you’re gonna get indigestion from eating so fast. Slow down.”
She put on her coat, grabbed her purse and headed for the door. She looked around the living room to make sure that she had not left any lights on and saw Freddie sitting on the couch cleaning his paws. “You take care of the place while I am gone.” She explained excitedly to the cat. “Mark is coming back here for dinner, and he will probably spend the night so I want you on your best behavior.”
Freddie stopped cleaning his paws, looked at her with a blank expression, cocked his head to the side.
Jill laughed and walked out the front door.
Mark had just watched his girlfriend leave her house. He had been waiting a block away from for about 45 minutes now and had gone through seven cigarettes. He only had 2 left in his pack. As soon as he saw the door to Jill’s house open he quickly ducked down behind his truck so she wouldn’t see him. After 10 minutes he felt comfortable enough to walk up to her house and let himself in.
“Here kitty, kitty, kitty.” Mark called as he opened the door and walked through the living room. “C’mon out Freddie… I have some treats for you.” He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a ball of catnip and a horse tranquilizer. “Freeeeeddddiiiieeeee….it’s meeeee Uncle Maaaarrrrkkkkk. I have some tasty treats for you…” Shit, Mark thought to himself, where the hell is this fucking cat? “C’mon out. Herrrrre Fredddieeeeeeee.”
Mark stopped halfway through the living room. As he scanned the furniture he saw evidence of Freddie’s’ attempted takeover of the house. There was cat hair everywhere. It looked as if he had pissed on the love seat and the area rug. There were claw marks on the foot stool. The bottoms of the curtains were a shredded mess. “Fuckin cat. I hate cats. Gonna kill me a kitty today.” He whispered under his breath. “Nothin but trouble.”
He was almost to the kitchen when he heard a tinkling noise from the second floor. Mark stood frozen at the sound. He had heard it before; the sound of Jill’s perfume bottle in the bathroom. It was a custom piece of handmade crystal that Jill’s mother had given to her before she died. At least that’s what Jill had told him after their first sleepover last month.
It had taken three dates and two bottles of 20 dollar wine for Jill to let him spend the night. “We aren’t going to have sex.” She had told him after that third date, “But you can come in and we can talk or watch a movie, but no sex. Those are my rules.” He had agreed to her terms because she had the nicest ass he had seen in a long time and also because he knew that once they got to talking an making out, he could convince her that “Yes, she did want to have sex.”
He managed it too. It had been one of the finest performances of his 28 years.
They talked about politics, to which he agreed to whatever opinion she had. They talked about art and wouldn’t you know it? They had the same tastes in that too. They spoke for an hour on music and movies. Jill was actually surprised that Mark cried at the end of “Steel Magnolias”. This was also, coincidentally enough, revealed at the end of the second bottle of wine. Jill was like putty in his hands by the time he delivered the “Shelby-Bomb”, as he liked to call it. There was a ninety percent chance of sex every time he mentioned that movie and the name of Shelby, especially if he could muster up a tear or two when he told the girl of the moment.
It had been a month since that first night of reckless passion, but Mark was not particularly attached to Jill. He had, however, learned that her father was currently lying in a first rate critical care facility dying of Mesothelioma. This was good news for Mark because there would be a huge check with Jill’s name on it when he died.
Mark wanted that money. Badly.
He knew Jill would do anything for him, especially after he got her a job at his buddies’ construction company. He had to call in several favors to get her the job in the accounts payable department, but it was well worth the hassle. He knew Jill would marry him; she really should keep her laptop password protected as well as her diary file.
Freddie knew that Mark was coming. He had seen the idiot drive by the house at 7:13, hell; he had heard big dumb redneck coming. What sort of mindless piece of shit has a Ford F-150 with glass packs in this day and age?
He knew that Mark was up to no good, he’d known from the second that Jill had started talking about him a month and a half ago. “Oh, Freddie, your just gonna LOVE Mark. He is so sweet and honest and caring and friendly. He’s true gentleman. He even opens the door to his truck for me. He’s not pushy at all and he’s a really good listener. He really cares about me.” Freddie wasn’t just suspicious, he was sick to his stomach. He let Jill find that out the hard way when he left a hairball inside her favorite shoe. No one was that good. Hell, even Freddie wasn’t that good and it was his duty to be good.
When Jill left the house Freddie knew he had an extremely limited amount of time to get ready for Marks arrival. He figured if he sat on the hamper when Mark came into the bathroom he could scamper downstairs and maybe, if he was quick enough, knock over a few of the potted plants on the steps to help block his escape route. That would slow him down.
Freddie didn’t expect to find Jill’s dirty night clothes with the wet towels in the hamper. He just couldn’t bring himself to sit quietly on her soiled underwear, especially since Jill had just finished her period. Some of that had leaked onto her undergarments and Freddie could see the brown, flaky blood and mucous mixture of her monthly purging. Freddie almost choked at the smell of it.
He looked around the bathroom for a better spot to hide; there really wasn’t anywhere else. Then the idea came to Freddie. He looked up at the shelf with the perfume bottles, lotions, creams, ointments and oils. He smiled to himself. The idea formed and Freddie leapt up to the shelf careful not to knock over anything that Jill valued. He eased himself to the edge of the shelf where the baby oil was standing right next to a bottle of after suntan lotion and nudged both bottles off the shelf. They fell onto the hamper with a quiet thump.
Freddie sprang off the shelf with his tail accidently tapping the top to Jill’s perfume bottle. It made a tinkling sound, and Freddie knew he was busted and had to act fast. He grabbed Jill’s discarded morning towel in his mouth and tugged it off the hamper with the bottles of lotion and oil falling to the floor.
Mark heard thumping from the bathroom as he was halfway up the stairs. He could see the door was almost completely closed.
“I got you now you little fucking rat.” Mark said. “I’m gonna drown you real good and then I am gonna get your name tattooed on my arm along with all the other rats I’ve killed.” He smiled to himself and quickened his pace. When he got to the top of the stairs Mark quickly grabbed the glass knob of the bathroom door and pulled it shut. “Got you now you sneaky little overgrown rat! There’s no way you’re gonna get out of this one!” Mark pressed his ear to the door and heard thumping and hissing on the other side. “Whatcha doin in there Freddie? Hmm?” He called out to empty space. “You’re mine.” He had not realized that with each word he was tapping the door with his middle finger.
“I’m gonna kill you Freddie. Kill you good. Drown you.”
“That’s right. Say your rat-cat prayers to your rat-cat God if you have one. I’m gonna drown you in that tub you like to sit on or maybe even the toilet. Yeah, then I’ll shit on you and see if you can be flushed like the shit eater you are.”
Mark reached down and caressed the glass door knob with his fingers, slowly making tiny circles on it, savoring the moment before the kill. Then he turned it slowly, a maniacal grin on his face. “Olli Olli Oxen Free!” He cried. Mark threw the door open and jumped into the room.
The smell hit him before he landed; the bathroom reeked of baby oil. He looked around and saw Freddie on the edge of the tub near the hot and cold water handles just staring at him as his silhouette covered the doorway. Then, movement on the toilet caught his eye. Another cat sat there looking at Mark. Another was on the window ledge and another was sitting on the hamper and another sat on the edge of the sink.
Mark felt his feet hit the ground briefly, and then he was looking up at his feet in mid-air. “Whaaaa….” Was all he managed to get out before his head hit the side of the sink and a sickly throbbing pain started to build at the base of his neck. It spread through the rest of his brain. Something warm started to spill down the back of his head. His arms were flailing and he heard something snap inside him. Then blackness descended.
Freddie jumped off the tub and onto Mark’s chest. He stared into the man’s face and watched the life of Jessup Mark Brewer extinguish itself into a slow painful memory.
Freddie glanced around the bathroom for the last time; he was going to miss Jill and this house. It was a nice place to live and the food was great. But, there were other things he needed to take care of, other people who needed his help.
He leapt off of Marks chest and out into the hallway. Freddie pranced down the stairs, through the living room, and to the cat door in the kitchen. As he stepped out onto the back porch he looked up to the sky and saw a dove flying above the house and a crow on a tree branch.
Skip Novak has an impossibly busy schedule, and yet still finds the time to write and churn out incredible work like this. Let him know what you think by posting a comment here. Check out his BLOG and buy him a cigar and a couple shots of something brown that warms the gullet. Buy the anthology he contributed to, and if you stroke his pony tail just right he might tell you a story…
Oh...ask Mr. Novak about his transgendered Llama fetish.