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Freedom tastes nearly as good as a Meatball Marinara



 
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Jay Lian

The sky is grey and dreary over Huntsville Unit, thunder rumbling in the distance. At least, that's how Jay had imagined it would be after his release for good behaviour. Unfortunately, the world doesn't conform itself to one's imagination, and even after five years of being locked away, the world simply continued on in his absence without any consideration to his own personal dramatic fantasies. Not that Jay is one particularly given to such things. Call it a moment of insanity.

The road outside the penitentiary is empty ... no. No, that's not technically true either. There are numerous cars parked on the street outside, not to mention the actual parking lots merely several feet away. That plus the park on the opposite of the street with several families lounging about didn't quite equate to empty.

Okay, so, to clarify. It was a lovely, sunny day with plenty of people and vehicles outside, enjoying themselves the day Jay Lian was released. Not exactly dramatic material.

Another point to clarify, however, was that none of these people or vehicles were here for Jay. Running a hand through his scruffily grown beard and equally scruffy shoulder length hair; an appearance entirely unnecessary considering that modern day prisons offer plenty of grooming alternatives, he simply stood at the gates for five minutes, no doubt an unsettling visual for those in the park across the street, before hefting what meagre belongings on his person and strolling, as casual as can be, down the road.

A few hitchhiking thumbs later however, and Jay's normally ever so easygoing temperament was, reasonably, beginning to fray at the edges. How rude can people possibly be? What kind of person doesn't allow a person who is clearly a recently released inmate and thus, obviously down on his luck, to share their personal space for several miles in the privacy of the open road? Especially in a clearly Christian community, if the church right down the road from the penitentiary was anything to go by? Surely that wasn't just conveniently placed to lure any born again inmates into its eternal grasp or anything, right?

That would be entirely too cynical. Jay is not given to cynicism. He is simply disappointed by this utter lack of charity displayed by the locals.

After several minutes of traipsing up and down, temperament fraying and all that, he suddenly stops in his tracks, casting his glance left, then right. It lands on one of the aforementioned parking lots. A man has just exited a Subway restaurant, phone in one hand and a toasted sandwich in the other. Meatball Marinara. Nice. The man is talking into his phone, with a mouthful of sandwich. Rather rude. Of course, what can one expect from a man who looks like some backwards honky?

So Jay traipses over, because rudeness is inexcusable. It's only natural therefore, that he slaps the phone out of that damn redneck's hand. And when the redneck peers at Jay from beneath the brim of his red trucker hat, politely puzzled, blinking like a retarded owl, Jay simply ****s a half smile, displaying his pearly whites ... or, well, rather yellow actually, following a prison sentence and all. What's that then? Citrine yellow? Either way, he simply ****ed a little half smile and held out his hand expectantly.

''What? What do you think you're ...''

He doesn't get any further before Jay's hand flashes up, the ridge of his hand connecting with the rude redneck's columella. The man lets out a startled yelp, falling backward as blood spurts out from his nose. Jay, on the other hand, neatly catches the Meatball Marinara, taking a dainty bite out of it, retrieving a slightly manky handkerchief from his pocket and dabbing at the corner of his lips. He then bends down, depositing the handkerchief carefully back into his jacket pocket, before ****ing a half smile again at the fallen redneck, who is at this point tearing up and crying out indistinguishable pleas for help.

After several seconds of this, Jay is once again fraying at the edges. He is being perfectly clear with his desire, and this man simply isn't accommodating. It is simply, intolerably rude. Another palm strike, and the cries stop. Sifting through the man's pockets, Jay finds what he's looking for.

Several minutes later, he's driving on the highway. He retrieves his handkerchief from his pocket, dabs at the splashes of blood on the ridge of his hand, and several blotches that have travelled down his sleeve. He's not a fan of violence, not really. He's not given to such things. But some people are just ridiculously rude. Call it a moment of insanity. Comprised of moments, upon moments. A lifetime of moments of insanity. That's what his lawyer had plead, wasn't it? That's what they had called him. Insane.

Thunder rumbles in the distance, the approaching skies as he speeds down the open road turning grey and dreary. A loud thump in the boot of the car as he speeds over a speed bump, and he ****s a citrine smile. He was going to have to find somewhere to get rid of that.
January 05, 2018 11:01 pm

Jay Lian

Jay is not sure how he looks in honky redneck clothing. Jay is not a small man, but nor is he exceptionally large, and the plain white t-shirt hangs a little loose on his lean frame. The jeans are also a little baggy, though the accompanying belt helps somewhat. But Jay is not given to vanity, it is not his way. He tilts the brim of the red trucker cap over his gaze and turns away, only a citrine grin visible as the pickup tumbles into the Rayburn reservoir. The thumps are louder from the trunk now, desperation mounting, but the sound quickly fades as the hood of the vehicle delves beneath surface. Now, silence reigns the night.

Jay does miss his jacket though. It was a nice jacket. But he can't be too careful. People tend to grow suspicious when they see blood on someone, they tend to stare. However rude it might be to do so. Jay doesn't want people staring. Jay dislikes rudeness. And although he is fairly certain he has been quite meticulous in the clearing of any evidence of the man's disappearance, it is bound to be noticed sooner or later, and the timeline between this and his release would likely prove too coincidental to the authorities for them to simply give him a pass. So they would search for him, and when they found he was no longer in Texas, he would be a wanted man again. For Jay has no intention of sticking around. He is headed to New York. He has business to attend to, there. So no. He can't be too careful.

He had been quite pleased, therefore, when a quick search of the vehicle prior to its drowning had yielded beneficial returns. A miniature travel kit, which had included within its folds, amongst other innocuous items, a razor, as well as a large tool kit. Jay wondered idly who the man had been; what his occupation had been, for the space of less than a second before forgetting him forever. He patted his pocket where the man's wallet now resided. He was Jay now, and Jay was him.

His first stop is a 24 hour corner shop he had spotted on the way to the reservoir. The neon sign advertising their hot dogs had caught his eye, and more importantly, his stomach. Jay is patient, however, and once there, heads first for the rest rooms. He has no shaving foam, and is therefore forced to negotiate the razor through his scruffy curls and beard with nothing more than hot water. It is painful, terribly so, but it is a relieving pain, moreso as Jay begins to see his old self emerge from behind all the hair. He leaves not a trace of facial hair to be found. Jay is meticulous. The hair itself still leaves something to be desired, but it will do for now.

Once he is finished, he retrieves a dustpan and brush from the corner of the restroom and sweeps the tangle of hair neatly into it, before flushing it down one of the toilets. Jay is not a hypocrite, and would hardly wish for someone else to stumble into his mess, or otherwise tidy it. No. That would be terribly rude of him. The toilet is now clogged from the sheer amount of hair, however Jay does not notice this, so it is not his fault.

He exits the restroom now, and approaches the counter with a cheerful citrine smile, nodding at the hot dog display. His voice is rough, as though it has seen rare use over the past few years, and slightly accented.

''Hot dog.''

He also nods at the cigarette stand.

''Marlboro. Menthol.''

He also places a bottle of Malbec on the counter, staring at the brown man behind the counter expectantly.

Now, to understand what happens next, it may be helpful to see things from Hakim's point of view.

********

It's just another night for Hakim. Night shifts tend to screw with his day, but on the plus side, Wednesday's are quiet, so he can get away with simply being on his phone. He's not paying attention therefore, when he hears the bell ring, announcing a customer in the store, and only sees the back of the man as he disappears into the restroom. He doesn't come out for a while, and Hakim has already forgotten about it in the next two minutes anyway.

He does remember at the sound of the flush about 30 minutes later however, and the length of the restroom stay is enough to catch his attention. He puts away his phone, and leans over the counter curiously. His eyes widen at what they see. A man, of clear Eastern Asian orientation in a red trucker cap and baggy clothing is approaching, face covered in multiple cuts with blood leaking unheeded from them. He has a large, Pan Am smile plastered, his teeth in grotty condition to say the least. The man himself gives off an unwashed stench, and it's all Hakim can do to plaster a fake polite smile of his own. At the request for cigarettes, and the Malbec, he pauses, and forces another glance at the man's face. It's impossible to say for sure with all the blood streaming down, and the teeth, but the face beneath it all does seem somewhat youthful.

''ID?''

************

The question comes as a bit of a surprise to Jay. Jay is in his 30s, and thus far beyond the legal age for any product. Perhaps prison has not deteriorated him quite as much as he thought, however, so he accepts the compliment and reaches into his pocket, with that same cheerful citrine smile, and offers it to the brown man, who for some reason seems to be leaning away from him. He does not account for his own stench however, so does not take this for rudeness. This is a good thing.

The brown man accepts the ID, giving it a cursory once-over, before pausing. His brows furrow, glancing from the ID to Jay, once, before saying skeptically.

''You're Gus Moore?''

Jay stares at Hakim. Hakim stares at Jay, ID held aloft between the two of them.

Jay appreciated the toolbox Gus, as he now knew the dead redneck honky's name was, had left him. The tools inside were of passable quality, but more than enough to handle the work that needed handling. For example, a hammer, whether it's a Stanley or a budget alternative, is still perfectly capable of bludgeoning certain objects. Hakim found this out, to his terrible detriment.

The hammer, which had been tucked in the back of Jay's jeans, whips out from behind him, gripped in Jay's own vice grip. Cheerful citrine smile remains as it connects before the brown man has time to even blink, with Hakim's temple. Jay wrenches it out with a sickening squish, and whips it around a second time needlessly, connecting again even as Hakim already begins to slump to the floor. He had, in fact, noted his own stench, and knew why Hakim had been leaning away. Jay notices all, and it was very rude indeed.

''Racist.''

Jay steps idly over Hakim's dead body behind the counter, helping himself to several packs of Marlboro Menthols, and a bag for his Malbec and hot dogs, also shamelessly looted. He reaches for his handkerchief, but frowns. He does not wish to ruin his handkerchief with the amount of blood and brain on his hammer. Casting his glance down, Jay spots a dusty cloth behind the counter, and so uses this instead. It is whilst cleaning however, that he spots the camera. It moves, focusing on him, and he freezes, mid-wipe. He turns to look fully at the camera, which freezes as well. Jay flashes another smile, wide. He then turns, slowly, towards a drab door marked 'Staff only'.

Hefting the hammer, still only partially cleansed of brain, in his grip, Jay treads lightly down to the door, from behind which he can hear frantic beeping noises now. Reaching the door, he pauses, then raises his fist.

Knock knock.

Jay pauses again, before knocking a bit louder. Still no response, save a few whimpering noises, and after a few seconds, he begins to fray at the edges. What perfectly reasonable person does not answer the door when someone knocks? It is just intolerably. Dastardly. Rude.

The hammer crashes through the rotting wood of the door once, twice, three times, and a hand reaches in, unlocking it. The door opens, and the whimpering noises increase in volume, until they become screams. Then, they become silence.

Jay exits the back door even as the sirens sound loudly, only several blocks away. He is now wearing a chequered green and black collared shirt which smells slightly of incense, which does little to nothing to cover his own odour, and a darker pair of jeans, both now of a tighter fit and making him resemble an overly confident and far too keen gym rat. Blood unfortunately stands out incredibly on a white T-shirt. It is unfortunate, he'd managed to avoid any splash-back from the first brown man. He has also re-evaluated his opinion on budget hammers. Even after destroying all of the surveillance equipment in the office and the hard drive where all the data is stored, the tool has held up remarkably. Munching on a hot dog, he makes a turn into an alley just before a siren whips past on the road perpendicular. He should probably find somewhere to rest. It's been a tiring night.
January 07, 2018 02:17 pm

Jay Lian

Jay is not a paranoid man. He is not given to paranoia. But even so, he realises that leaving a trail of bodies isn't necessarily the best way to evade the authorities. Especially as they are aware of his connection to New York, and the trail is currently on a straight line directly towards it. It is for this reason that he has veered off this route now, driving out in a nondescript Hyundai Electra down to New Orleans with another couple of thumps in the trunk. Jay figures, if he's going to have to take the long way round, he might as well make it scenic.

It has now been over 24 hours since his release, and he has already killed 5 people. Jay is not given to self reflection, he doesn't find it serves much purpose. But even he is forced to wonder what purpose the prison sentence has served. 5 years of his life gone, and clearly it has done nothing to improve him. He finds himself rather disappointed in the whole affair. There is obviously an issue with the justice system. It is this sort of thing that caused Jay to take the law into his own hands in the first place. Clearly, nothing has changed, and he is simply going to have to continue doing so. It would be rude to do otherwise.

Jay is not given to regret, but he wishes he had come to this realisation a little sooner. Or that he had simply had the presence of mind to loot the corner store register. It wasn't as though the two brown men would have been needing the money. As it was, he was living off of Gus, who had no doubt been noticed as missing by now, so he couldn't use any of the plastic. Which left only a few notes remaining in the wallet to actually live off of, including those he'd taken off of the last two. The age of plastic, people didn't travel with paper anymore. It was downright inconsiderate. Downright rude, really.

His thoughts are interrupted by a giggle off the side of the road during cruising. Two girls are looking at him, leggy blonde and stumpy brunette, both who rush off quickly as he makes them. He does not think on this further, does not realise that it is due to the fact that he has lost his red trucker cap and his hair, ala Deryck Whibley circa late 90s, is now on full display. He does not realise how rude this giggling really is.

It's darkening again as he pulls into New Orleans. He has been driving for nearly 6 hours now. Jay is tired, though he is not generally given to fatigue. So he pulls into a motel, the dingiest one he can find. A man has to live on a budget. He stops by the vending machine after checking in, purchasing a pack of crisps for dinner, before heading up to his room to rest.

Two hours later, he's still tossing and turning. Perhaps its the creaky bedsprings, ironically aggravated further by his restlessness, or perhaps its the ghosts of perpetrated penetrations past that haunt his rest. Either way, he rises, abandoning any hope for the time being of sleep. Besides which, he still has to get rid of the two in the trunk. Five years ago, New Orleans was a dangerous place to walk at night, with numerous individuals flocking to the tragedy to take advantage of hapless souls. But a lot can change in five years, right?

So he drives along the night roads, lit by the neon signs of an active nightlife, screeches of laughter echoing through alleyways where people pile in to smoke, clothing barely adequately concealing anything at all. It is all incredibly vulgar. But Jay passes them by. He must prioritise, after all. Another advantage of taking the scenic route, besides throwing off the authorities, is the more than adequate number of dumping grounds for unfortunate bodies caught in his wake. It is towards one such site, Lake Pontchartrain, that he now heads toward.

As luck would have it however, the light on the dashboard flickers up, catching his eye. He is running low on gas. His brow furrows ever so slightly as he regards it for a brief minute, almost offendedly. He had rather hoped to avoid this. How inconsiderate of the previous owners, to not fill up the tank. There was nothing to it however. Transportation was important, after all. He was going to have to fill her up himself.

He recalls seeing a gas station a little while back, and so is forced to drive back into the depths of vulgarity. He pulls up, quite keen to get in and get out. As he's filling the tank however, he sees movement out of the corner of his eye. Turning slightly, he sees the leggy blonde from earlier, surrounded by three leering lads in leather jackets and even more ridiculous haircuts than his own. He hears another screech, but it has none of the jovial tones akin to her giggle from earlier. She appears to be trying to pull away, however two of the three leather clads are blocking her way, while the other appears to advance menacingly.

Now, Jay is no saviour, no knight in shining armour. He is not prone to this. But this kind of behaviour is simply intolerable. So he approaches, his hand slipping behind his back towards the hammer tucked into his jeans. Even as he does however, one of the leather clads notices him, turns towards him, and there is something definitively ... bumpy ... about his face. An alarm bell whistles in Jay's mind, even as the leather clad in question blurs toward him. And before he can even note this, he feels the sudden impact in his stomach which sends him propelling into a load bearing concrete pillar, abruptly and forcibly impeding his flight. He coughs blood, looks up with a red grin as he feels, rather than sees, a torrent of fists and feet crashing down upon him, red grin, red grin ... all the while.

He comes to, sitting up with a wince and an aching everywhere. The lot is empty now, the shop windows splattered with blood, both inside and out. He realises suddenly that he probably shouldn't be here. With this realisation comes another. New York is going to have to wait. This kind of rudeness. It simply cannot possibly go unpunished. In New Orleans he would have to stay, until the proper lessons in etiquette were administered to the wrongful parties.

Silver lining? Free gas. Jay is a glass half full kind of person.

January 10, 2018 05:37 pm
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