29 Chapter Twenty Nine/ The Poker Players Father

“That daddy of yours is becoming a refreshing surprise princess.” The kidnapper had just smashed a cheap cell phone on the weird concrete floor that ran the entire span of the crappy basement that she was being held in. He then walked into the little room he was keeping her in and unfolded a small wooden table in front of her and one a few feet away from that as well and placed a folding chair at each one. She had a friend once who had a crazy grandmother that would sit in a big old recliner and she would always scream across the house to her friend “Bring me my TV tray.” And this was the exact kind of table she called TV tray.

He then walked in with a pizza box and put it on Grace’s new table. It was the kind of generic box that every small pizza place used that didn’t want to order signature boxes; the kind with some sort of red checkered pattern and stereotypical Italian chef that looked more like a Mario Brother than anyone she had ever seen in a pizza kitchen. Her captor handed her a paper towel and a can of Coke and then opened the box and removed a slice and sat down at his little table and chair. He pulled his black bandana down revealing a face that Grace had seen before. It was the tour guide from the Jeep ride. He saw the look on her face and smiled.

“Sorry, I didn’t ask if you liked pepperoni but to be honest I didn’t think I’d need to feed you any more when I was buying this.” He knew just how to say the right things to actually make the flesh on Grace’s back crawl.

“Pepperoni is fine, I can eat pretty much any kind of pizza.” She remembered watching Silence of the Lambs and how someone was explaining to another person how it was important for the kidnapper to see the girl as a real person or as a human and not just a thing so that would make them less likely to want to kill them. She was trying her best to appear human and real and she would be nice and just try to make this monster feel like they were all a part of a deal and that she as well as her father was going along and there would be no need for trouble.

“You’re a good kid; it must be because your daddy loves you.” He said seeming simpler than before, almost childlike. “I’m a piece of shit probably cuz my dad didn’t love me.” He was looking down at the floor and folding and unfolding the slice of pizza in his hands and getting his fingers covered in grease.

“He used to always say that the world was gonna eat me up and shit me out one day.” He took a bite from the slice and chewed it in a strange slow motion like a cow chewing its cud; he had still not looked up. “I decided to run away when I was sixteen; I stole one of his precious fucking cars and I took off towards Vegas, I had taught myself how to play Texas Hold’em and had been taking money from the dumbass jocks at school on a regular basis until one night at a party they got mad at me winning and they beat the shit out of me. I came home with a broken nose and two black eyes thinking that asshole would do something about those guys hurting his boy.” He took a drink from his can of Coke and gulped it down hard.

“You know what that son of a bitch did?” He finally looked up and stared right into Grace’s eyes. “He took off his belt and beat me so bad I passed out; I woke up the next morning in here on the floor.” He pointed his finger around the room to show that he meant this little room that Grace had become very familiar with. “So I kicked the door in; back then it was a hollow wood door so don’t get no funny ideas and I walked right up to the house and grabbed a set of keys to a Plymouth Duster that had a mean engine and a shitty paint job and I took off to make a better life in Vegas as a big time card shark.” He laughed and took another drink and then smiled and looked off as if he was seeing it all in his head as if it was just yesterday. “The two hundred bucks I had when I got there was gone by midnight even though I thought I was playing very tight as they say, but every time I had pocket rockets or a good pair I got beat bad by some asshole who would hit a straight or flush on the fucking river.” He pulled a flask out of his back pocket and took a drink then shook the flask towards Grace as if he was offering her a drink and she smiled politely and shook her head no. “I was broke and pissed and didn’t know what to do, so I pulled out the flask that my father always kept in the glove box drank it down and went on the prowl for trouble, an hour later I hit a tourist in the back of the head with a tire iron and took his wallet. He had five hundred bucks in it; it was a fucking sign from God that I was supposed to be there. I had never even punched someone before that and I had just caved the back of that guy’s skull in and made it look like a hairy ashtray without even thinking twice……and it felt really good.” An evil smile crept across his lips. “I played one more game of Hold’em and got the last bad beat I would ever get and hung up my poker career right then and drove straight back here.”

Grace tried to look understanding but she had no idea how she was supposed to respond to anything she had just heard and she was too afraid to ask what happened next but she knew something bad was coming.

“Dad use to beat the shit out of my mom at least once a week and apparently when I took off with his Duster he had blamed her for it and gave her a really good beating because when I came home she could barely talk, she just stared at me.” I went straight out to the big garage out back and I was gonna hit him in the back of the head like I did that tourist but as soon as I walked in he got me right in the back of the head with a 2×4, I went blind for a minute but got my footing right before I hit the ground and I took off running.” He laughed and took another swig from the flask “He chased me of course, screaming the whole way about all of the messed up stuff he was gonna do to me.” He smiled and finished the flask, put it back in his pocket and then said “The stupid son of a bitch stepped in a hole and broke his fucking ankle, I could hear it snap; it was the most amazing sound I had ever heard. When I looked back and saw him with his foot stuck in that hole and his leg crooked right at the ankle, I knew he wasn’t going anywhere……and he knew it too.” A tear streamed down his cheek as an ear to ear grintook over his whole face “He knew he was fucked and for the first time in my life I saw fear in that man’s eyes. I could’ve talked a bunch of shit like they do in the movies, but he wasn’t worth it. I just walked up and hit him in the face with the tire iron over and over until there was just a big messy pile of goo and hair, I dug a hole right there and pushed him into it and I’ve been free ever since. Grace heard the words coming out of her mouth before she could think better about it because the question was screaming in her head too loud for her to hold back. “Then why do you do this?” Grace’s heart stopped; how could she have said such a stupid thing?

“I’d love to give you a really good answer bout that sweetheart. I’d love to tell you that I do this because if a parent doesn’t pay to get their kid back they don’t deserve them, you know cuz my dad didn’t deserve me or some other real motivated reason. But the truth is……” He stared up at the ceiling and smiled as if he had for the first time realized the answer to the meaning of life. ”I really like killing people, especially when the people are self-entitled bitches.” He once again seemed to realize another piece of the mysteries of his world. “I come from white trash; all of the girls in high school knew that, it was like I had the fucking plague. After I killed my piece of shit dad I wanted money to live on, since I no longer gave a shit about consequences I was open to suggestions.” “One day I was sitting at a light and I saw a group of girls in a convertible Chrysler and with my new found self-esteem I decided to follow them and ask the one I liked the best if I could buy her a drink. They ended up driving to one of those hotels all the spring break kids stay at and I thought I was in luck: I pulled up in the Duster and said I hi and this bitch looked at me like I was dipped in shit, I was so pissed I just drove off. But it stung, it stung so fucking bad I went back to the hotel later that night and waited till I spotted the bitch again. She was drunk and stumbling away from some stupid frat boy that was probably just waiting for her to pass out so he could get some. When she walked right in front of my car I didn’t even think, I just grabbed her right there in front of the hotel and shoved her in the trunk; it was like one sweeping movement.” He stood up and made a move like a man doing a waltz. “I looked around and nobody was even looking in my direction I was a ghost out there in the parking lot of a packed hotel. So with her in trunk I just got back in my car and drove off. I brought her back here and I used her big ass cell phone to call her daddy and told him he was going to pay me or I was gonna cut her up.” He shoved most of a second slice of the greasy pizza in his mouth and chased it with the last of his Coke. “You know what that asshole said? That fucking piece of shit said he wasn’t gonna be threatened; I’m standing there with his stupid bitch daughter in a dark hole in the ground basement and this Jackass tells me he’s not going to be threatened. I put the phone on the table walked right over and cut her fucking ear off so he could hear her scream and that piece of shit said he could maybe come up with twenty thousand. He was trying to fucking Jew me down, fucking asshole. I gave him twelve hours cause I hoped that wouldn’t be long enough and it wasn’t.” She and I stayed down here a week just seeing how long she could stay awake with me cutting parts off of her, her bitching at me the whole time. When she finally died it was kind of sad, you know because she wasn’t gonna suffer in front of me anymore but maybe there is a hell and that bitch is there now.” He smiled and he had the strange look of a young boy talking about something simple like the first time he tried chocolate cake. “You know killings like smoking pot” He paused for effect and then said “the first time is magical and no matter how hard you try you’ll never really get that special high again, but it sure is fun tryin.” He laughed at the wonderful Zen like statement he had made and then stood up grabbed up the pizza box and said “I’ll bring you a biscuit in the morning and thanks for listening I kinda hope your dad does make it here with the money.” He looked confused at his own words then just smiled awkwardly and closed and bolted the door to the little room. Grace just sat there for a minute completely freaked out not knowing what to think about the last 30 minutes. On the one hand she felt sorry for the guy and on the other hand he seemed to be a complete psycho that might start hacking off parts of her body at any second if her dad didn’t come through in time and with no remorse. She could tell that the light was still on outside the two sided window in her little room, it had a strange purple hue to it when it was and she knew he was probably standing there staring at her so even though she wanted to pee she just turned off the hanging light bulb and crawled into bed and covered up with the crappy grey blanket and pretended to go to sleep until she noticed the purple completely fade away from the mirror. As she waited she thought of one horrifying thing, he had removed his bandana, he had seen the look on her face. Even though this happened in one second of time and was immediately passed over it was the thing that told her there was no way that he was going to let her live. She knew where he worked and who he was and no matter what she said she wasn’t going to be set free by the man. Silently, she laid still another 30 or 40 minutes just to make sure he was gone before getting back up and using the toilet. Then with her eyes that had finally adjusted to the dark in the little room she saw it: he had left her Coke can in the room with her. She had seen one of the crazy stoners at her school make a knife out of a coke can by folding it and then scraping it on the ground and she was sure she could reproduce the effect but did she want to? Would it be more dangerous if he found the make shift knife after all he had cut that one girl’s ear off because her dad had said the wrong thing. She got up from the toilet, drank all of the soda that was left in the can and then rolled it under the futon so it would look like it had just rolled under there if he came looking for it. She lay back down on the thin mattress and she could feel straight through it to the metal bars of the futon, she pulled the grey blanket back up and shut her eyes tight and tried to get some sleep, she knew that she would need it for tomorrow.

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