Chapter 3 of a novel that made the rounds with and was turned down by Big 5 publishers. Refer to previous posts for earlier chapters. Let me know what you think! Warning: intense graphic scenes throughout the novel. Intense violence in this particular chapter. For fans of dark fiction only.
There’s a reason there are minimum charges on credit card transactions.
You see, there’s a fee for processing credit card transactions, typically ranging anywhere from 1.8% all the way up to 3%, with various caveats including additional charges, and technical jargon that usually ends up screwing business owners out of profits.
This is no concern for corporate chains. They can afford to eat the loss on each purchase that is paid for with a credit card. The small businesses, however, are put in an awkward position.
Accepting credit cards as payment is convenient for customers, thus attracting a great amount and assuring they will come back. On the other hand, the more customers that decide to pay with these cards the more profits the business owner loses. Small businesses are already juggling with the keeping prices competitive while adjusting for overhead – throw transaction fees on top of this and making a profit becomes difficult.
Thus, many establishments prefer that if a customer is to pay with a credit card, the customer spends at least a certain amount to offset the inevitable loss of money to come.
Now, at least you’ll come away from this book having learned something.
You seriously should have stopped reading in chapter one.
I know the basic details of credit card processing because this is my life. Or should I say my job.
Is there a difference?
Royal Payments is a credit card processing company. It is an affordable alternative to business owner’s banks or current service providers. The combination of the industry’s lowest rates paired with the highest quality of service makes Royal Payments the go to company for any business’s processing needs.
- Nonsense, lies, or exaggeration
Synonyms: Falsehood, Hogwash, Malarkey
I sit next to a homeless man on the bus. He reeks of piss and booze, and his straggly salt and pepper colored beard is mired with encrusted chunks of vomit. He’s asleep in the window seat, and as the bus lulls around a turn his head rolls around and lands on my shoulder. He remains sleeping, and I get a waft of the indescribable pungent odor emanating from his unwashed, lice-ridden hair.
I look to him with mild curiosity. There’s a small stream of drool oozing from his cracked lips and seeping into my dress shirt. A few flakes of skin join the spit, standing out staunchly against the black backdrop of my shirt.
Public transportation forces doctors, lawyers, and executives to interact with the unwashed masses, smelling their smells, observing their appearances, and overhearing their conversations. Egomaniacs, sadists, masochists, alcoholics, adulterers, addicts, convicts, serial killers, and many more come together for a unique shared experience.
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses teeming to be free.
I rise at my stop, letting the homeless man fall to his side. He gasps, sputtering incoherently before giving into his lingering drunkenness and falling back asleep.
I pass the woman who spent the duration of my twenty minute ride berating her child, barking at him in a guttural tone, reminding him of how he was a disappointment.
I knew a boy once who was reminded how much of an inconvenience he was when he pissed the bed. His mother put her hand around his throat, and that hand, which was usually so frail and boney, would become strong and empowered as it squeezed, fingernails digging into the boy’s flesh as his breath was taken away.
“Your penis has to pay for this,” she’d whisper into the child’s ear. Her other hand (always the left) reached into his batman pajama bottoms and grab his penis, jerking and twisting it, not stopping until he nearly passed out from the choking.
Despite this treatment, the boy couldn’t stop pissing the bed. He did it at least once a week. He was a bad boy. Part of him believed he deserved the treatment.
Part of him believed he wanted it.
I exit the bus and face the uninspiring office building before me. It’s squat, dwarfed by the surrounding buildings, an utterly forgettable blot amongst the cityscape.
There are four separate office complexes housed at 421 Bay Street. The second suite on the second floor houses one of Royal Payments’ three telemarketing call centers. The staircase that leads to the door smells of tobacco and disappointment, and the discarded corpses of cigarettes smoked long ago crunch beneath my feet as I ascend to hell.
I open the door and hear the buzz of idle conversation, drifting through the air like the constant hum of some type of electrical equipment. It is disinterested – merely a daily formality.
As I walk in I’m greeted by Dave.
Douchebag, Noun (Informal)
- A small syringe for douching the vagina, especially as a contraceptive measure.
- An obnoxious or contemptible person, typically a man.
Synonyms: Jerk, Asshole, Fuckface
His spray tan is a darker shade of orange than usual. This is highlighted and juxtaposed by the brightest of his bleached white teeth, which spring forth in a rehearsed smile.
“How ya doin’ today man? Eager to set some appointments? You have some catching up to do if you want to keep pace with The Davester.” He points both thumbs toward his body as he refers to himself by the title.
I stare ahead past him, losing myself in my thoughts. He notices this and continues babbling at me.
“You there, bro? You look like you’re somewhere else right now.”
I sigh and reach my hands around to my back pocket. I pull the Beretta M9 out from it and place it against his forehead. His eyes cross as he looks up at the weapon, and he lets loose a pathetic squeal just before I pull the trigger.
Due to the miracles performed by modern medicine, a person’s chances of surviving a gunshot wound have increased significantly. Recent studies show that wounds suffered by handguns have an 80-85% survival rate if proper medical attention is sought immediately. Gunshot wounds to the head are much more devastating, however, with survival rates usually hovering between 5 and 9%.
See, you learned something else.
Chunks of Dave’s brain and fragments of his skull spray backwards, coating the wall of the nearest cubicle. The “Hang in There Kitty” poster takes on a new look as Dave’s head-meat slathers it, slowly dripping down the face of the poster and running its colors.
His body collapses in a heap, blood gushing from out of his head-crater onto the freshly vacuumed carpet below.
There are a multitude of factors to consider when assessing whether a gunshot to the head will be fatal. One factor to consider is if the bullet caused damage to the carotid artery. An average male has about six liters of blood and his internal carotid artery clears about a quarter of a liter per minute to supply the brain. If blood loss is no concern, one must examine whether the wound sustained was limited to one hemisphere of the brain, significantly upping the chance of survival, or both hemispheres, a bleak and dire situation.
Dave’s eyes remain rolled up in the back of his head. He has bitten his tongue off and it lies by his cheek. I try to assess whether he’ll survive the wound.
I don’t fucking know; I’m not a doctor.
I put two more in his chest before moving on to the next victims. My original shot caught the attention of the few workers meandering around the office, but like deer caught in the sight of headlights they are paralyzed.
Cathy is staring at me with the erratic, wide eyes of an owl. She can’t believe this is happening. To her this is a dream.
I make it a reality as I put one through her heart and another through her throat. She lets out a gurgle before collapsing to the floor, dead.
The Beretta M9 is a short recoil, semi-automatic, double-action pistol which uses a fifteen round staggered box magazine with a reversible magazine release button that can be positioned for either right or left-handed shooters. It has been used extensively in the United States military since 1985. Due to its lightweight, general maneuverability, and killing potential, it is a lethal weapon that should be kept far away from the prying hands of criminals, psychopaths, and serial killers.
- The expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.
Synonyms: Sarcasm, Cynicism, Mockery, Satire, Sardonicism
Ramon is sitting at his station, headphones on still listening to his music, his rotund body bouncing left and right as he continues digging the beat. I unload four into his back, enough to make sure the elephant is put down, and he slumps forward without a sound, face buried in his keyboard.
John goes next, his coffee launching up and scalding his face as two rounds slam into his gut. He lets out a mortified scream as the hot liquid melts his flesh and a pitiful whimper as he slides down the wall behind him.
I walk into the break room and see Christa hunkering down beneath the coffee table, as if it was adequate enough to conceal her girth. “No! Please, you don’t have to!” she wails.
I dispatch of her with a shot to the temple, her body crumpling into a heap, a steady stream of blood pooling around her head.
Charlene is sniveling in the corner and I fire a shot her way, the bullet striking her forearm. She spits profanities at me and grabs a ladle from the sink, preparing to fight me off. I then hear the sound of approaching police sirens, signifying the end to my rampage. I sigh, give Charlene a wave, and return to the main room.
I walk over to my work station and stand on my chair, surveying the beautiful scene around me. Never again would I be constrained by the petty rules and protocols of such a backwards, fucked up establishment. Never again would I have to answer to this place to earn a meager living, and never again would I have to put up with Dave and his insufferable self-gratification.
- The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
Synonyms: Liberation, Release, Deliverance, Discharge
Are you sick of these definitions yet?
I hear the lawmen storming the building, charging up the stairs to apprehend me. I put the gun in my mouth, somehow enjoying the strange metallic taste of the barrel.
They open the door.
I pull the trigger.
I am no more.