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Escape by Ray Printer Friendly

Do you ever wonder if you're a good person? I think most of us assume that we are, right? You get up in the morning, you go to work, you come home. You do other stuff, but it's all like that. Mundane and inoffensive.

Maybe you get drunk a little too often. Maybe you see that the cashier didn't charge you for that box of cereal, or gave you change for a twenty when you only gave her a ten, and you don't mention it. Get in a fight with your girlfriend and call her a whore. Or with your boyfriend and tell him that he's just like his alcoholic, deadbeat dad. Maybe you regret it later, maybe you don't.

You do these things, they seem like little things, and you don't consider yourself a bad person. Everyone screws up. Everyone makes mistakes.

You know what I've learned? There isn't much that separates a good person from a bad person. It's like a glass of water, one that's full to the top. You can keep adding water, if you're careful enough, one drop at a time, and the water will actually rise up above the glass without spilling over. That's called something, I learned it in eighth grade. I can't remember it right now. I guess it isn't important. What's important is that you're still adding water and it isn't spilling over the glass. That's what being a good person is, is being that glass.

But there's only so many drops you can fit into that glass, no matter how good you are, no matter how careful.

You keep adding water, it's eventually going to spill.

That's one way for a person to cross that line from good to bad.

The other way is-

Oh, I'm sorry. I have to hang up now. No, I know. I know, Phil. Yes, it would be a sign of good faith if I released a hostage, but I'm not really into those kinds of signs at the moment. I have things to do. We'll talk again shortly, maybe.

Phil? Me again. Yeah, listen, I don't think we really need to talk anymore. If you want, you can watch it all unfold on the website. Yeah, the kid in here set it up for me in exchange for his release. Kind of a dopey looking guy, but sharp as tack.

I don't need you, that's why. No need for a hostage negotiator when you have no intention of negotiating, right? Yes, yes, I realize that they'll want to bust in and shoot me. But here's the thing, Phil, here's the thing that should keep them at bay: I don't plan on killing everyone in here.

Your guys storm in here, it's all over for all of us. I'm not dicking around about that. I let the computer kid take some pictures with his phone, so when he comes out, have him show you. The whole place is wired.

Don't tell me I don't want to do that, Phil. Of course I don't want to. That's mostly to keep you guys out there while I do what I need to do in here.

I'll kill everyone in here if you force my hand. If you let me be, I'll just kill some of them.

No, Phil. Letting them live isn't an option.

Tell you what. I'm going to send this kid out--don't shoot him. Get his phone, it has the pictures of the explosives. And have him tell you the web address. If what he tells me is right, I'll be streaming live on the internet here in about two minutes. You can watch what I have to say to the world, and then I'll call you back, if I'm still alive.

What's that, Phil? What if I'm not alive? Well, that would definitely be an improvement.

Hello there, the internet. My name's Clint. I'll be your host today. If any of you guys are tuning in--or logging on or whatever it is you do on the internet--because you wanted to look at Jason's web page, I apologize. I have temporarily hijacked it.

Here's the deal: I was going to do this all old school--call the news stations and wait for all the vans and reporters to arrive so that my show would be televised. But then Jason told me he had a better way. He wanted to get out of here alive, you see, and I don't blame him.

He said why not put it on the web. He had a site, I could use that, he would set it all up for me, if I would let him go. I agreed, because I have no reason to keep Jason as a hostage. I've already got a bunch of them, you see. Here, I'll lift the little webcam thing, do a panoramic shot so you can see everyone. See them?

Those are my hostages. I'd have them wave or something, but that seems like it would be in extremely bad taste. Because these people, they don't know if they're walking out of here alive today. Plus, you know--they're tied up.

The fact of the matter is, I don't want to kill them. Not all of them. At the moment, I have thirty-seven hostages. Thirty-one of them will walk out of here alive, if things go as planned. I intend to kill six of them.

If the police interfere, I will push this button--see it, right here?--and I will destroy this entire building, killing everyone. I talked to a guy earlier--Phil--and I told him this.

What I'm going to do is, I'm going to kill six people, and I'm going to show it on the internet--to the world--and then I'm going to blow my head off. That's my goal here today. My life goal, I guess you could call it.

I had Jason pick three numbers. In my head, I had assigned numbers to all the hostages I wasn't going to kill. He picked three numbers, and then I explained to him that if for any reason I was cut from the internet, I'd kill these people.

The first number he picked was eleven. This is hostage number eleven. Look into the camera and state your name, please. Hilda? That's a nice name. Where are you from? California? I have a sister who lives out there. Where in California do you live? Yuck. I drove in L.A. once, and promised never to return. Still, though, there are a lot of beautiful people out there. So what brings you to Jersey? A husband. Oh, yes, love will get you every time. I'm sorry you have to go through this, Hilda. Hopefully, you'll be home to your husband by the end of the day. Okay, you can go sit down right over there.

That was Hilda. She will be perfectly fine unless I'm disconnected from the internet. I'm broadcasting from this laptop right now and watching it on another computer in one of the offices. There's a slight lag, but I see myself. That's how I know.

Okay, the next number was eight. You, sir, what's your name? Terry. Tell us a little about yourself. Ah. I hear there's good money in roofing, but there's no way I could hack it. Up on those roofs in the middle of the summer, the sun beating down? You're a stronger man than I, sir. You ever have to do any really high buildings, stuff that scares you? Not afraid of heights? Hunh. You married? Got kids? Happily married with three kids? Hear that, internet? Happily married with three kids. That's Terry. If the police don't screw with me, Terry will be walking out of here alive, perfectly unharmed, and he will see his wife and three kids again. That's a promise. Okay, Terry, please go sit there by Hilda.

Next number is twelve. You, sir. Your name? Jerry? Jerry and Terry. What are the odds? Okay, Jerry, what do you do? No kidding? What station? I knew you looked familiar. No offense, but I didn't ever really watch you. My wife and I usually watched re-runs of The Daily Show which came on at the same time. I've seen you a couple times, though, looking all serious behind your news desk. So what's it like being a television anchor?

I don't even know what that means, honestly. "Anchorman." Sounds good, though. I bet people ask you about if you saw that Will Ferrell movie all the time. Well listen, Jerry, do you want to call your station or something? Will they let you do that, phone in a thing? No, not an interview--I don't have time for that. But if you want to call them and have them record your experience or whatever, that'd be fine. Yeah, just go sit over there by Terry and Hilda, okay? I'll get you a phone in a second. Oh, your cell phone? You'll have to use the speaker phone, though, since I'm not untying you. Or the earpiece, you have one of those? That would be better.

Okay, so those are three people who will die if anyone interferes with my broadcasting. They'll also die if the police crash the party early, just like all the rest of us.

Okay, so where to start? First of all, I was talking to a police negotiator earlier--I think I told you that already--Phil was his name. Phil was doing a great job, but the thing is, I'm not here to negotiate.

I only mention Phil because we were having a conversation. Right in the middle of it, Jason got the webcam up and running, so I abruptly ended our talk. Sorry, Phil.

What we were talking about was good people and bad people. Phil had said something like, "I know you aren't a bad guy."

And the thing is, he's right. I mean, I never considered myself a bad guy. I made my share of mistakes, sure. In high school, I was a jock, and I made fun of the band kids. In college, I ragged on the computer dorks. I've made my share of mistakes. I said that already, didn't I?

Well, I guess it's worth repeating. I wasn't perfect. But I was a good guy. As I matured, I got better. Realized that making fun of people was a dick thing to do. I tried not to hurt people. I never slept around on my wife, I never cheated on my taxes, I never swiped stuff from my neighbor.

I was just some guy. Some guy like a million other guys out there, who just want to live their lives.

Don't warm up to me, though. Don't start liking me. Because the thing is, although I wasn't a bad guy, I am now.

That's what Phil and I were kind of talking about. I made an analogy about water in a glass, about how it could fill up one drop at a time, and it would eventually spill over. That's one way to go from good to bad.

The other way, Phil, is this: You put the glass under the tap and turn the nozzle to full blast. The water's flooding out everywhere in a split second, even though the glass isn't even full. You shut the tap off, you have like half a glass of water.

But the pressure, the force, it fucked up everything.

That's me, Phil. I didn't get a chance to fill up slowly, I didn't get a chance for surface tension--that's what it's called, I just now remembered--to build. I was fine one second, way below my breaking point. And then I was there, exploding.

I'm not a good person.

I wonder. If it had been only my wife, would I have been drops in the glass? Would I have made it through this without spilling over?

Doesn't matter, really. Because it wasn't only my wife. It was my wife Shelly and my two children, Chad and Mark. Chad and Mark were ages three and nine. I'm not going to tell you Shelly's age because even in death that would probably embarrass her.

As you've probably already figured out, they were killed. Slaughtered. Right in front of me. And to tell you the truth, I don't know why.

Right about now, all the cops watching are probably starting to understand. And I hope that someone is running off to tell Victor Bellini that they just saw his wife and child on the news.

That's who killed my family--Bellini. You've probably heard about him. He's in the news pretty regular, usually stuff about organized crime and shady contract deals and blah blah blah. He's never been to jail, but the guy's a criminal. Everybody knows it.

Fucking slime bag. I hope you're watching. If you're watching you can give me a call on your wife's cell phone, we'll talk things over. We'll talk about how your family is now sitting on a pile of explosive and if so much as a bird hits the window, we're all going sky high. You want to talk about that Bellini, you fucking foot rot? You fucking slime?

I hope you do. I hope I get to talk to you like you talked to me when you killed my wife and my children. My sons.

Sorry about that break, folks. I started losing it, I guess you could say. Had to disconnect for a second. Nice job, Phil, keeping everyone from panicking, keeping them from rushing in. That would have been bad.

Oh, and in case anyone watching is wondering why no sharp-shooters have picked me off, it's because we're all in the back of the bank. We've got the front doors locked, and I've got them wired with explosives. Lot of explosives going on in this building today, folks. I don't know much, but working demolition for thirteen years, I guess I know a little about explosives.

Yeah, that's what I did before all of this, was worked demolition. I was the guy who went in and set the stuff, checked everything beforehand, stuff like that. It's not nearly as frightening as people think. You know what you're doing, it's a pretty safe gig. As safe as it can be when you're talking about stuff that can bring down a two-hundred story building in five seconds, anyway.

It's not a huge explosive up front—just enough so that I'll know if anyone comes in. We also have this line of security monitors here, so I can see if anyone decides to try and sneak in. Given enough time, I'm sure the police could thwart me. I'm no evil super genius. I'm just some guy that knows how to blow shit up. Some guy who knows how easy it is to go from being good to being bad.

I don't need much time. I want to explain my story, and I want to give it enough time so that the major news networks can find out about it. Judging by the TV in the lobby, they're already starting to.

Victor's pretty hot shit, and when his family gets taken hostage, it's bound to make news fast. Not to say the rest of the hostages are any less important, but I'm not sure if that would be enough to make national news. Plus, we've got Jerry over there, talking to his news station. Chatting away over there. I've got to hand it to the dude--even under duress, he's sounding very professional. If you have a TV handy, you ought to check out his station. Channel 8. He comes on at nine, by the way, and if nobody gets out of hand, you'll probably be able to see him on the news tonight. Unless he's too shaken up by this whole ordeal. What's that, Jerry? Nope, he says, he'll be there. Balls of steel, that one. So tune in.

Anyway, back to it. I said I was a demo expert. I know it sounds a little conceited to say "expert," but there's a lot that can go wrong when you're blowing shit up, and the day you stop being an expert is usually the same day you get a face full of explosion.

Being an expert entails a lot, and I'd be lying if I said I did it all on my own. I worked with a great team, guys who really knew their stuff. We'd go in and figure out how to set the charges so the building imploded instead of bursting apart and raining down debris on all the spectators. We made sure that all of the explosives would go off--you don't want the clean up crew to step in and start scooping up live explosive along with all the dirt and mortar, right? Basically, we figure out how to make sure everything that needs to get blown up gets blown up, and things that don't need to get blown up don't.

The first time I saw Victor Bellini in real life, I didn't even know who he was. I was doing a final check on everything in a building we were about to blow, making sure wires were attached, making sure nothing had been tampered with. Routine, right before a blow.

It was an old hotel--the Dancing Flamingo, you remember that one? It had been closed for several years, something about a family trust and taxes or some such shit. All I heard was that nobody could figure out who it belonged to when it was still a moneymaker, and as they fought in the courts, it fell into neglect and by the time things were sorted out, the only fiscally-safe option was to blow it and do something else with the land.

Too bad, really--she was a beautiful old beast. Built real. We had to plant all kinds of boom to take the old girl down.

I didn't think anything much of seeing the guys in there--anyone who makes it past the tape is cleared, which means that they'll be checking in and out of the site before detonation. Basically, if they were in there, people knew it, and wouldn't let us sink the plunger until it was confirmed they were out.

I went about my business, and got out of there. Generally, I stick around for the detonation, but I was feeling pretty bad that day--some bad shrimp--and I wouldn't have gone into work at all that day if it hadn't been such an important job.

It really goes to show you what an evil whore life is, that your wife and children can be killed because you had the shits.

I got a call, see. Teddy B. His real name was Theodore Bayer--how ate up were his parents, ya think?--but he didn't go by Theodore, and he sure as hell didn't go by Teddy Bayer. You met him, you'd call him pretty much whatever he wanted you to call him. Six-four, two hundred and eighty pounds of cut muscle. A sweet guy, but he looked like a killer.

He knew as much as me, but I had been appointed senior on this project, which was why I was in doing the final checks. Teddy B and I worked all the important jobs together, and it didn't really matter who was appointed to be in charge because we worked well together. That's why I was rushing home before the demo--I knew it'd be in good hands with Teddy.

I was almost home when the phone started ringing.

"What's up?" I asked him.

"Got some guys here want to talk to you," Teddy said.

"Tell 'em they can talk to you."

"I told 'em that--they don't seem to want to talk to me."

"Tell 'em to piss on an electric fence, then."

"These aren't those types of dudes, hoss."

"Look, man, I'm gone for the day. Not comin' back. If it's something you can't handle, like absolutely can not handle, I'll turn around. But those breakfast burritos we had this morning are about to come out of my ass with approximately the same amount of force as the shit we planted on the first three floors of the Flamingo, so I'd really prefer not to have to turn around."

He laughed and told me he'd take care of it.

What I didn't know then was that the guys who wanted to see me were the same guys I had seen in the building. Two of them, anyway. One of them was Victor Bellini. The other was Ralph Gomez--the bodyguard who has been brought up on charges of murder four times.

What I didn't know then was that Victor and Ralph wanted to find out what I had seen or heard when I had happened by earlier.

You can piece it together, right? They were killing a guy, and I walked by. I'm not real sure if they were threatening him at the time, or still smooth talking him, or what. Like I said, I'm not exactly sure why my family died.

I know it was because they thought I saw something.

They explained that as they beat my wife to death.

My behavior was suspicious, you see. And when you're dealing with organized crime, suspicious behavior isn't acceptable.

Bellini told me I should consider myself lucky. Because he shot my sons straight-out, you see. Sure, he terrorized them for a while first, pointed the gun at them asked them why did their daddy want them to die. But in the end, he just shot them both.

But Shelly…

Shelly was tortured to death. They broke her fingers, they tore her clothes off and put things in her until she bled. They beat her. They cut her.

Your husband, madam. Your husband did this to my wife. He raped her. He abused her. He killed her. And everything he did to her, I will be doing to you. So that's something you have to look forward to.

A monster, is that what you called me? Yes. I am a monster. Your husband made me into one. So when you're being slowly slaughtered, when you're crying and cursing, make sure you throw his name in there along with mine, okay?

Oh, look at that. Looks like that's him calling right now. We'll answer that in just a few minutes.

Okay, internet, here we are, me and my special hostages. These are the ones who aren't going to make it out of here. I didn't want to traumatize the other hostages, so I took them into the vault. There's a pile of explosives in there, too, so if you're the cops and you're thinking you might have a chance of saving them, think again. They won't be shielded by the walls of the vault--they will be trapped in with it. I'm still watching everything, and still broadcasting.

I didn't want the others to have to see this, though. And internet people, you might want to look away, too. This is where it stops being cordial.

Hello? Ah, hello, Victor! Victor, calm down--there's no need to talk like that. Isn't that what you said to me? "No need to be uncivilized about this--just business."

So are you watching on the internet? Fuck me? Tell you what, you pile of shit, here's a way we can tell if you're watching. Might wanna cover your ears.

Victor, are you still there?

Don't worry, the internet--he's still there. Just crying and saying "mamma" over and over. I guess you are watching, you fat piece of scum. Don't cry, Vic--you got lucky. I was planning on kicking her to death. You're lucky I have a temper, otherwise her death wouldn't have gone nearly that quick. But your wife, your sisters, your children…

Well, Vic, you'll get to see how well I can control my temper when I get to them. And you'll get to see how evil and psychotic I can be.

Honestly, I'm kind of curious. I don't have any doubt that I can kill them--they're nothing more than cattle to me at this point, dehumanized and only good for proving a point. But I wonder if I can really do all the sick shit that you and your guy did to my wife.

Oh, and tell that motherfucker he got real lucky. If I could have found out anything about him, I would have done his loved ones in even worse than I'm gonna do to yours. Tell you what--you come down in front of the bank with that evil fuck, and you chop off his head. You do that, I'll let your sisters go. Both of 'em.

Your mom's already dead, your kids are goners, and your wife has a serious bit of hell lookin' her way before she checks out, but I don't give a rat's ass about your sisters. You bring Ralphie down here and kill him, I'll let 'em go.

Yes, Vic, I realize you'd go to jail for killing a man right in front of the police. Your sisters aren't worth it? You're an old pro at staying out of jail. Look at it like this: either you'd do something that'd keep you out of jail--the insanity thing or whatever--or you'd end up going to jail. Look, Vicky, you owe society a little jail time. I mean, you're as crooked as a lightening bolt.

So last chance--you gonna do it? And don't lie to me. If you lie to me, I'll cut out the eyeballs of your children and I will make your wife eat them. I shit you not, Vic.

Three seconds to make a choice.


All right, hang on a sec, I'm gonna put the phone down so I can carry the computer over here.

So...you're Vic's sisters. I gave him the opportunity to save you. He decided against it, because he didn't want to go to jail. So here's what we're gonna do. Each of you tell me a story. About when you were kids. Growing up with Vic.

Here's the thing--you're both gonna die.

But you, what's your name? Sylvia. And you? Gloria. Okay, here's how it goes. Gloria, you tell the mushiest, heart-warmingest childhood story you can. Then Sylvia will do the same. And whoever's story touches me the most, I'll give a choice. Death by bullet or death by bat. A bullet will be fast and painless. The bat will be...well, it will be the opposite of that.

Are you both ready?

Those were both very good stories. I hope you listened to those stories, Vic, I hope you remembered right along with them. I hope you think about those wonderful memories while I destroy your sisters.

Gloria, your story was great--I mean, these are real tears I'm cryin' here. But Sylvia's was a little better. So Sylvia--you want your sister to die by the bat or the bullet?

See that Vic? Your sisters--not facing prison, but facing death--are still more noble than you. Sylvia chose the bullet for Gloria, which means that she--Sylvia--will be beaten to death with this bat.

You could have stopped this, Victor Bellini. You brought this upon yourself and your family.

Hahahahahahaha! Oh! Oh, dear lord, what have I done?! HahaHahahAhaha! Victor, your sisters are sticky when they leak. Or splatter, if you will. YOU DID THIS! YOU FUCK! YOU FUCKING SLIME!

So...I'm back. I wondered earlier if I was ruthless enough and evil enough to do what Victor did to my wife. And the answer is no. Not yet. But I will be. Before this thing is over, I will be. Hey Vic, you still on the phone?

Hang on a second there--I have to go shoot your sister. You listening, Vic, you hear her crying? You hear her begging?

That wasn't nearly as hard as using the bat.

We're two sisters and a mamma down, Vic. How you feelin'? Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey! Is there any need for that kind of language? I know you're mad, Vic. I was mad, too. Hell, man, I'm still mad. This is what happens when you run around killing people. At some point, you have to expect retribution.

Look--you should use this opportunity to think about how this can make you a batter businessman in the future. Better. Better businessman. And frankly, Vic, I think your skills as a mob boss are gonna absolutely skyrocket after this. I mean, everyone knows that you just sacrificed your sisters for your own well-being. Nobody wants to fuck with a guy who is that stone-cold. Plus, you won't have the wife nagging you, or the little boy hounding you to play catch or come to his flag football games. Or the little girl, asking you to come to her tea party.

You won't have them running around hugging you, wrapping their little arms around your neck and giving you a huge wet kiss on the side of the face for no reason at all. You won't be distracted by their laughter floating through the house.

Because they'll be dead, you know?

Because I'm going to kill them. Hear that, kids? I'm going to kill you. Just like I did your aunts and your grandma. And your mom. Can you imagine that? Someone killing your mom?

My boys couldn't. But you know what? Your daddy did it, and he made them watch. And then he shot them in the face. Your daddy, he laughed after he killed my youngest son, and he told me I was lucky.

I'm going to kill your mommy. Because your daddy wanted me to. He asked me to do this. He made me do this.

And do you know why?

Because he doesn't love you.

Look at 'em, Bellini. Your family. Taped mouths, so your wife can't even tell your little children that I'm an evil liar. That their daddy loves them. They don't want to believe, but they almost have to, at this point. I mean, why isn't their daddy saving them? He must want this to happen.

I did my research, Vic. All my hemming and hawing, all my questions, "Who are you, oh, his sister Gloria?" All of that was bullshit. I know more about your family than you do, I bet.

Vic Jr.? I've been to more of his Little League games than you have. Do you know his favorite flavor Sno-Cone? Tell me, Vic. Tell me, and I'll let him go, I swear to you. You have three seconds, but only one guess.

Cherry? Good heavens, Vic. Cherry? Really? People who like cherry Sno-Cones, your boy calls them fags.

It's coconut. When I'm killing him, you can think about how much he loved coconut Sno-Cones after a game. If you need an image in your head, coconut Sno-Cones are blue, for some reason. So picture your boy, he's sitting there talking to the other kids about how his dad taught him to pitch, even though you're a shitty pitcher, Vic. Your boy, he doesn't realize that. He's telling them about how you taught him, he's eating his blue Sno-Cone, and even though you barely make any of his games, you're his hero, and he tells them about how great you are, because he loves you. He loves you a lot, Vic.

That thing I told you to picture, about him telling his buddies how great you are, I'm not making that up, I saw that happen, he really does think you're the greatest. And right now, he's wondering why you won't save him. He's wondering if I'm telling the truth about you not loving him. He's crying and he's hating you, Vic, and that's how he's going to die. A lifetime of love, it's washed out in the final moments, erased by death.

He's going to die hating you. Do you understand that?

There, there, Vic. Calm down. Calm down. It's just business. You should consider yourself lucky that I just shot him straight out. Right? Lucky. Don't you feel lucky, Vic? I asked him, Vic, did you hear, or were you too busy screaming at me?

I asked him why did his daddy want him to die. He just cried. My sons, at least they knew. Even as they died, they knew I would have done anything to save them, there was no doubt there. Did you see your boy, Victor? Did you see the question on his face? The doubt?

I can barely hear you, Vic. Why don't I give you a few minutes to calm down, get your crying under control? We'll talk again soon.

Hey again, the internet. Are any of you still watching? I hope not. The things I've been doing, it's sick, and any person who'd watch this has problems. I'm sorry for the cops, because they have to watch it. Nothing they can do.

I just went back and checked on the hostages. They're all terrified, and I don't blame them a bit.

Like I said earlier, I put them in the vault so they wouldn't see what I was doing, but they can still hear the screams. The gunshots. I'd shut the door--I'm pretty sure it's sound-proof--but I don't know enough about the vault to make sure they'd be able to get out again. I'd hate it if they ran out of air, or if it was a time-lock or whatever.

If I had to do this all over again, I guess I'd take Victor's family into the vault and leave the hostages out here. A timed lock wouldn't matter to us, would it? We're not going anywhere, anyway.

I don't even know what the other hostages thought when I went in to check on them. All covered in blood and brains and puke. I didn't think about that, really, about how sick all this would make me. But screw it, right?

I reckon they still welcome you in Hell even if you've got a little vomit on your shirt.

I'm almost done. Honestly, I didn't think I'd make it this far. I figured I'd break down, send the other hostages out, and just blow the building with us in it. Pushing a button, it doesn't even seem like that's murder. I'd still get revenge, but maybe I'd retain a bit of my humanity.

That was what I thought as I made this plan: "You don't have to rape anyone, you don't have to shoot any children, you can just blow everyone up."

How fucked up is that, that you're consoling yourself by telling yourself you only have to blow up the kids?

I'm broken now, I broke the second I walked in and saw my family tied to kitchen chairs. Blood smeared on the wall next to the telephone. I guess my wife had run for the phone, and someone had smashed her face against the wall. That's theory, of course, because I never got to ask.

I think about that smear on the wall a lot. Because that alone, hurting my wife, that would've have been enough to drive me to kill, I think. If I was in a bar and someone did that to her face, shoved her face into a wall, they'd have to pull me off of him.

But things like that don't happen, not in real life. You stay out of the bars, you take your wife to Olive Garden, right? You live your life right, safe and sound, you don't have to worry about stuff like blood smears on walls.

You don't have to wonder if you have the evil inside of you to cut a little girl apart. That was my plan, was to slice her until she bled out. This cute little girl behind me in the pink dress.

Couldn't get any more cliché, right? Little pink dress, little pink ribbons holding her hair in pigtails. She's shit herself, and that's not too cliché, but I guess that's to be expected. She's only seven, after all.

I'm not gonna cut her, Vic. I'm assuming you're still out there watching, I hear the cell phone ringing. I'll pick it up in a minute, we'll talk again.

But right now, you listen, you piece of shit. I never wanted to be this, I never wanted to ponder on whether or not I could kill a little girl.

You did this to me.

I'm doing it. I'm an evil man. I'll take that blame. I'll take the responsibility for the things I've done today. But I was never this, not until you killed my family. I never had the need to be a monster, Victor.

I wanted to be the good guy. I was the good guy.

I'm not anymore. But I'm not going to slice your daughter apart.

Lucky, right? Victor, shut the fuck up! Answer me, you fuck! You feel lucky? A gunshot to the side of the head, quick and easy. Just business, right Victor? And she didn't even have to suffer, you should consider yourself lucky.

Oh, Vic. You can yell and curse and cry all you want. It's like music to me, you piece of shit. And behind every sob, I hear your laughter, I hear you laughing as you took everything from me. As you slapped my wife in the face while that other piece of shit-

What's this? Hey Vic, you watching TV? A car just pulled up and tossed out the body of Ralph Gomez. It took off again, the cops didn't even have a chance to see who it was.

Don't suppose you'd know anything about that, would you, Vic?

Sorry--too little too late.

No, I understand that it took time to track him down. But you should have said, Vic. You should have said you were looking for him, that you'd deliver him. Instead, what did you do? You called me names and you told me you'd kill me, and you acted tough.

You're not tough this time, Victor. You have no power in this situation. You can throw decapitated bodies out in front of the bank until you're blue in the face, and it makes no difference to me. Not now.

There's no one important to me in the world, don't you understand that? You took everything from me. Everything. Yeah, yeah, you have your people look, you pile of shit.

No, fuck you!

Your guys, they won't find anything!

There is nothing you can threaten me with, not anymore.

But you, you still have this!

The two of you met, what, in high school? She was a junior you were a senior? You've had your girls on the side, and she's had her guys on the side, but one thing I learned is that the two of you really are in love. What? Yeah, she's been fucking other guys, Vic. Get over it. That? That's the thing sticking in your craw right now? I'm going to rape her in a moment, does that make you feel better? No? I didn't think it would. Now shut up.

I've been watching you, Victor. I know I just seem like a regular guy, but you have no idea how good a regular guy can get at things when he's obsessed. I've been watching you every day for months.

At your home. While you laughed with your wife and played with your children. I've seen you as the man you really are.

And you know what, Vic?

You don't seem like such a bad guy. You seem a bit like me. Joking with your wife, slapping her playfully on the bottom when she walks by, kissing her neck when you make love to her.

That's how I was able to do this, Victor. That's how I was able to force myself to go through with what I have gone through.

If you were just some heartless beast who caused destruction everywhere you went, maybe I wouldn't have had to do this. If you went home and screamed at your children and beat your wife.

If you hated everything in life.

But you didn't. You went home to your family, and you loved them

You knew exactly what you were taking away from me Victor. You knew exactly what you were taking away. And you laughed as you did it.

That's why, you piece of shit. That's why.

I'm putting the phone down now, Vic. You looking at the computer? Look at your computer.

All these things over here, I'm gonna use them on your wife. The police kept the exact ones that you used on my Shelly, but I remembered each and every instrument. I remember exactly what brand of spatula you used. I remember what speed you had the mixer on as she screamed.

I remember the sound of her fingers breaking, I remember the sound of her flesh tearing.

I remember.

And you will, too.

This is a dead-man's switch. You've probably seen stuff like this in movies. I had to make my own, because it's not one of those things that they readily sell to the general population.

I haven't activated it yet, because I want to make sure all the hostages get out safe, first.

After I finished with Vic's wife, I hung up on him and then smashed the cell phone under my foot so it'd stop ringing. I don't need to hear from him anymore--it's all just crying and screaming and threats.

I don't blame him a bit, either. That's exactly how I felt after he did the things he did.

I also swore revenge. If you're still out there watching, Vic, don't worry about doing that swearing revenge thing. There's nothing you can do to hurt me, not anymore. You won't even get the satisfaction of killing me. The hostages are almost out--here, let me turn this web-cam thing around so you can see them filing out--and once they are, I'm activating this switch and then blowing everything.

I was originally going to shoot myself, but during the course of all this, I realized that isn't sure enough. I might not do it right. I might end up living.

And after the things I've done today, I don't want to chance it. It's been a while since I've felt like living, but I haven't been scared of it. I am, now.

Not of Bellini. Whatever he could do to me would be nothing compared to what he's already done.

I don't want to live anymore because I'm scared of what I've become, and of the nightmares I'd have, and of the ghosts that would haunt me.

I suppose they can follow me to Hell, but if I really believed in any of that Hell business, I wouldn't have done any of this in the first place.

They're mostly out now, so I'm going to click this little button. Any of you cops out there watching, make sure you stand back--you don't want to be running up on this building just as it blows.

So I guess we're at the end of my story. The news has a picture of Vic's car--he's apparently just down the street, in his super fancy car with the dark tinted windows. The reporter says he can see a faint image of a screen, and they're speculating that he's watching me on the internet. Hey, Vic. Cops want to talk to him about the murder of Ralphie, but I guess they'll give him a little time, I don't know.

I called Phil a few minutes ago. He wasn't near as friendly as he was at first, and I don't blame him a bit. I told him I was sending out the hostages and he said he hoped I burned in hell, which I assume is probably not the usual thing a hostage negotiator tells a guy.

I took it as a--what did Phil call it earlier?--a sign of good faith. Of trust. He believed I'd let the hostages go, so there was no need to be cordial.

Or maybe he just didn't care, after seeing the things I'd done.

Doesn't matter.

Oh, one last thing, before I go. You guys remember Jerry? He'll be on at nine tonight. You should watch him. Channel eight. Even as he left, that man had huge stones.

On his way out of the building, he stopped and said, "I'm sorry for what happened to your family, but that's no excuse for what you've done here today. You're just as evil as Victor Bellini. Perhaps more. You give the human race a bad name."

I wanted to scream at him, I wanted to shake him until he saw things my way. I wanted to explain to him that none of this was my fault, that I'm not a bad guy. But I only wanted to do that because we all want to be the good guy, no matter what we've done.

Instead, I lit a cigarette, and I told him that he was right. I told him that he was a brave man, and I wished him luck in his effort to be a good man.

They're all out, now. Safely away from the building.

So here we go.

Good luck, humanity.

Entered By Reilley From Outside boston
2010-07-07 12:49:58

That was an excellent story, well crafted and with believable dialogue. Sick and sad, but that is why I liked it.

Entered By Trey From Cowtown
2010-07-09 04:29:04


Entered By Ray From Austin
2010-07-09 17:46:39

Thanks, guys. I wasn't too sure about this one, so the positive feedback is even more appreciated than usual.

Entered By andrew From scotland
2010-07-17 13:06:35

wow. i relay liked that in a sort of "i know its not going to be a happy ending but i cant stop reading" sort of way. iv been thinking about writing a story a bit like this except it would be more a sci-fi, dystopian future. it will probably never get beyond random notes... but i liked the glass of water analogy i might quote it if you dont mind? again, well done on this story.

Entered By Anonymous From Austin
2010-08-03 22:12:51

Definately interesting, gives a new perspective as to good and evil.

Entered By Tim From Canada
2010-08-05 05:43:56

Simply amazing

Entered By 16 Year Old Boy From Ireland
2010-08-07 00:07:52

this is sick. that's all. it ticks all the "well-written" boxes and i'm not saying that you are sick, but this story is horrible. i actually want you to not write anything ever again. i can't understand how anyone could admire this. it's fucked up.

Entered By Wade From Georgia
2010-08-16 06:15:37

That was very well done. I stumbled here and was only going to read the first bit but I got pulled in. I like the concept behind this story and the execution was wonderful.

Entered By Anonymous From England
2010-08-18 11:54:27

Isn't this Law Abiding Citizen?

Entered By Anonymous From Unknown
2011-01-16 06:37:10

Our friend, the 16 year old boy, is truly that: a boy. Once you have learnt a thing or two about loss, my Irish friend, you'll understand that once a man loses everything -- he is beyond good and evil. "Good" and "evil," are relative terms; they carry meaning in a world of weighted moral values, where priorities and preferences are balanced against one another, and choices are judged by the merit of what they accomplish. Once you step outside of that world, there is nothing to judge, nothing to balance; no meaning, no truth, no lies -- merely existence devoid of context.

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