Can’t Have It All
Betsy Sue was a six foot graying blond. Her hair was like straw and her face was thinned out with pain and worry. Her clothes consisted of hand me downs from a thrift store.
Her days of being a town Madame ended when tragedy had struck. Her home business was a former public washroom that was rebuilt by one of her high roller clients. It resembled a tumbledown halfway house. The walls were paper thin and the roof leaked continuously. This humble establishment was a dozen miles from the nearest major highway. Some in fact considered it a local truck stop.
Betsy was slumped over her desk, reading a harlequin romance novel. “Hello, Jackie Collins,” she thought aloud to herself. Can’t live without it! This is my ideal of freedom. She was presently distracted by a nearby grass cutting machine which hummed aloud from across the park. Just like that, the digital clock clicked to 6:30 am. Her bedroom door was ajar. Through her door, she saw one of the female guests, who was named Carrie Wilson. This boarder had a tanned, slim body with a stomach and nose ring. Her dyed blond hair and rugged look, only added to her reputation of being a burnt out waitress, or stripper. Carrie had long, muscular legs, a strong upper body.
Wilson had risen, glided down the hall way, and entered the bathroom. Before she shut the door behind her, she slipped off her bath robe, revealing a volupious body to the much annoyed Land Lady. “Youth is wasted on the wrong people,” she mused to herself. The old matron then shook her head with disgust and closed the door.
In the meantime, Carrie then wearily shut the bathroom door and turned on bathtub faucet. Meanwhile in the next room, a male roommate named Malone was jarred awake. Malone was a short, pudgy, middle aged man with short hair. Initially, he was in the process of masturbation preparedness. However, the sound of running water brought him back to reality. In a jiffy, he got up, glided to the door, and grabbed the knob, pulling it off. “Shit,” he said quietly. “Cheap old bitch!” He then steered a wicker chair up to a bookshelf built into the wall. He removed some books, and peeked into a crevice. Malone had to rub his eyes to rid the blurriness of his vision. Almost immediately he had a front row seat to the beauty that showered. A smile grew on his face, as he casually stared and enjoyed the morning landscape. Cheaper than a porno!
Also, right at that very moment, a black Cadillac sped along a highway. The car contained three men dressed in dark clothes. Their names were Lewis, the driver, Ned, who sat across from him and George, who was in the back seat. Lewis was the leader of the pack. He was short with an oversized head with a cigar wedged between his lips. Ned, however was tall, wiry, and chewed an ounce of tobacco. They were all dressed up as your usual Hollywood gangster types. George was short, roundish, and had a gut that hung over his belt, obscuring his feet from his sight.
All these men smoked cigars, except for the man in the back, who guzzled a 26er of Jack Daniels and slumped over several bags of luggage. George burped loudly, making everyone give him a look of disgust. “What do we do with the Ol lady,” he quizzed, spitting a fur ball from his mouth. Lewis shook his head and grabbed the JD from George. “Hold the wheel,” he said to Ned, while he took a swig of the bottle. He indulged himself in several gulps of the booze. “This is my ideal of freedom,” he cried to the others. “Freeeeeedooooom and the Ameeeerrrrricaaaan Waaay!” With that pronouncement, the car swerved into the opposite lane and then readjusted.
Out of the blue, they heard a siren from an approaching cop car. In a fright, Lewis, threw the bottle to Ned, who deposited it out the window. In no time, Lewis accelerated the big machine to go 100 to 150 clicks. “What is this? A police state,” roared Lewis. “In a second I get goofy!” He nodded to himself. “Next thing you know, we are being chased by the law!”
“Didn’t you ever know, crime doesn’t pay,” argued Ned.
“Shut the fuck up, Mister!” Unexpectedly, the cop car sped by.
“Must be your lucky day,” observed Ned. Oddly enough, another cop car spun out from behind a bush and sounded its siren. Without much thought, Lewis reluctantly pulled over the vehicle to the side of the road, letting it grind to a halt on the gravel. “Gotta love small town America,” someone said.
“I am a patriot to that,” another added.
“Me too!” As usually, George produced another bottle and started on that one. All through this time, a lone cop walked to the side of George. “Driver and registration please,” demanded the official. Without warning, Lewis wrenched out a gun and fired onto the cop, who collapsed to the ground. In the blink of an eye, the Cadillac sped away. All at once the gas gage started to flash. On the next sign it read: Glen Town next exit. On another sign it confirmed more: Gas up and eat up at Fast Lennies Dinner and Dash Service Station.
“Great,” mused the driver. “We get to fill this baby up, order some food, and still have time to get away!”
“Love the country air,” sniffed Ned with a puff of smoke. “Take it in, boys, for all its worth!”
Lewis chose this next exit and spotted the eatery and station. It looked like it had been closed for years. Once again, they heard another siren. Just like that, an ambulance went by. Surprisingly, their Cadillac developed a robotic voice. “You are low on fuel,” it proclaimed to the masses. “You are low on fuel!”
“Only in America would a car talk to you,” rambled someone. “The women are snobs, but NO! Not the cars!” To add to their woe, they heard another cop car. This one was close. Immediately, they raced through a red light, through a series of allies, and made it into a junk yard.
The Cadillac spun around in circles, its lights shone on a never ending sandwich pile of automobiles that went on forever. “Isn’t there some kind of eco craze?” mused the man in the backseat. “Or is that all sweet bull shit like everything else?”
“No,” came a response. “Just looking for a good hiding spot.” It did take a long good look and a moment of contemplation. Eventually their eyes rested on a single space beside a discarded Harley Davidson motorcycle. The caddy roared to life, its wheels screeched, moving them forward with a lurch. Right before they got to the spot, a beige Honda manifested from the oblivion, crashing into them, sending their bodies forward. “Where the fuck did he come from?” roared Lewis, while he and Ned leapt out of the car onto the pavement. “This asshole has to face the shitstorm!” Both mercenaries sprang onto the honda. “I am going to kick his freaking ass!” volunteered Ned, throwing his fists in the air. “Hey fucker, what is the deal,” he went on, as they both adjusted themselves for physical combat.
“I have every right to park there, sir,” responded their opponent who possessed, a fat face and was sunken into the seat. Both tough guys deemed the stranger to be a midget with an attitude problem.
“You butt fucker,” yelled Lewis. “I want to put you in an ER ward to spit blood and guts!”
“Really?” responded the stranger with a smirk. “You actually plan on hurting little ol me?”
“Looks like a ball sucker type,” added Ned, throwing his cigar away. “He’ll suck my dick for this one.” Lewis immediately examined the damaged caddy with a grimace, trying to find the rage inside of him. “Fucker! Fucker! Fucker!” he bellowed, getting angrier by the moment. “Fucker! Fucker! Fucker!”
“Get ‘em!” encouraged George, as he took another swig of booze.
That did it. The door for the Honda opened up, allowing a huge, never ending frame of a body to emerge from its depths. Eventually a seven foot man in overalls faced them. The stranger nervously fiddled with his suspenders and scratched that pudgy face.
“Kick his ass,” encouraged the man from the safety of the caddy.
“How did you fit that into there?” quizzed Ned, while he hid behind Lewis. “Are you a contortionist, Mister?”
“Foreign Car Makers have a program aimed at accommodating big and tall people,” answered the man with nonchalance. “Something the so called Big, Three American Automakers have failed to do!”
“Lucky you,” responded Lewis, shaking his head at this revelation. “Lucky you!”
“I oughta write a letter,” added the other. Just like that, the hoodlums each produced a silver revolver and stopped the gargantuan in his tracks.
“How would you like me to spit some lead in your gut?” warned Lewis. “It will make you look fucking sharp at your own funeral, asshole!” Meanwhile, right nearby, an elderly woman in a large green raincoat had loaded scrap metal out of her car into a Steele bin. At the periphery of her vision, she had witnessed the whole scene. Immediately, she produced a cell phone and jumped into her car. Unexpectedly, they heard another distant siren.
“Okay, dude,” said Lewis, as he maintained the weapon. “We’ll play the game of switcheroo.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?!” came a response.
“We want your wheels, or you will have a gut full of lead!” Almost immediately, the mobsters forced their opponent to unload ten bags of luggage from the Cadillac and place it into the Honda. In no time, they had the tall man on his knees. As the amount of sirens increased, the felons loaded into the Honda, pulled out, were chased by the Jolly Green Giant, who ripped off two doors before the lawbreakers got away.
Just like that, the threesome drove took the automobile through a series of allies. All around them they heard sirens. The continued sound of sirens forced the gangsters into a quiet residential area, where they stopped, and taking cover behind a rather large hedge.
“What do we do?” begged George from behind his bottle.
“Act like nothing is happening,” barked back his partners in unison.
Just like that, Lewis tossed a cardigan cap to the drunken passenger, who fumbled the catch. “What do I do with this?”
A red-faced Lewis turned his head right around. “I’ll piss all over your birthday cake for this one …” he spat, his voice trailed off.
Almost immediately, Lewis and Ned lurched out of the four seater. Without much ado, they unloaded the baggage onto the sidewalk. In no time, they gave George a cell phone.
“What do I do?” begged the criminal. “I don’t know what to do?”
“Call a cab,” came an answer. “Go a rub and tug, get a hand job, and lay low until things quiet down, and wait for us to call. Without much ado, the Honda pulled away. Soon enough a taxi immediately did come before George and even helped to load the baggage into the car. “Any where specific, Mack?” asked the driver, who possessed a weathered face under a fedora.
George picked his red nose and coughed, thoughtfully. “Please take me to a place to rest.” With that, the customer fainted, making the cabbie sigh.
“I know a good, quiet place, Mack, offered the man. Eventually the taxi stopped before Betsy Sue’s Bed and Breakfast.
As the Gangsters raced by the plaza, their Honda suddenly stalled in the middle of the intersection, causing a loud traffic jam. In a panic, Lewis fought to reignite the ignition, but his actions were in vain. Out of nowhere, a traffic cop manifested from the oblivion to assist the desperadoes. Suddenly the Cyclopes noticed his vehicles was nearby, wedged in the intersection, and he raced towards them. “You son of a bitch,” he raved, grabbing Ned and Lewis by their necks. “You messed with the wrong type of person, assholes!”
Meanwhile, right at that moment, a taxi skidded to a halt before Betsy Sue’s Bed and Breakfast. The Cabbie immediately unloaded the personal belongings out of the taxicab. A dozen cop cars raced by in pursuit of Lewis and Ned.
In a rush, he roused George, who then threw up. With a look of disgust, the Mexican immigrant conveyed the possessions to the front door of the intended destination.
Back at the intersection, five police cars rendezvoused and ten cops began to wrestle the giant to the ground. To add to the drama, several other cars stopped and people clustered together to watch the bizarre fight. Both Ned and Lewis smiled at this unexpected aid. Both men simply glided away unscathed, past the crowd. “Some people, eh?” one said to the other. Like clockwork one pulled the other into a still running bystander’s car, and drove off. Such obliviousness motivated the Goliath to go into a rage. The angry man attempted to a run, while a knot of police still clung to him.
The Cabbie kicked over a luggage bag which fell open, revealing a bag of money. The stunned man looked at George, jumped into the taxi and sped off. The Taxi was in warp speed and was long gone. George staggered, gave the finger, staggered onto the side walk, looked around and saw two city workers with a Garbage Truck doing the rounds. As the truck got closer, George picked up the luggage bags and moved them off the road, and onto the side walk, beside the pile of garbage. He counted the bags and realized that he had only 8 bags of luggage. Two bags were missing.
Meanwhile, back the potential lodgings, George eyed the two bags that were on the verandah. He froze in a stupor, produced a discarded wine bottle from the refuse, and attempted to drink its left over. This led him to pull a face.
Without warning, the Betsy Sue rose out of her rut, and leveled a gaze out her window. She jogged down stairs, and glimpsed through the front door’s peep hole. Seeing no one, she cracked open the door. Just like that, she came across two travel bags that rested on the welcome mat. With an air of calmness, she walked out and discovered a drunken George relieving himself in her shrubbery. He nodded his greetings. This made Betsy go dark and a rage began to smolder. “My Precious bushes!” she roared. “My Precious bushes! You beast!” She hit him with her purse. “With the wrong old lady!” She hit him again with her purse. “Such rudeness!” Again with her pucker. “You are an animal!”
George gave the angry woman a fistful of hundred dollar bills to silence the woman. Yes it did the trick. Almost immediately, she stuffed the money into her bra, and helped the intoxicated man into the home. When the made in into the lobby, he pulled out a cigar, sticking it in his mouth.
“Want a coffee, sir?” she ventured. “A little toast with your pan cakes, sir?”
He fidgeted with his jacket, before making a decision. “I need to sober up fast, hon.”
“Can you preferably make me a non- alcoholic drink,” he commented to himself.
“Coffee, or juice?”
“Make it a double Rusty Nail, hold the ice.”
She pulled a face. “That should do the trick.”
Right out of blue the Gangster manifested a hand gun, almost making the custodian faint. He used the hand gun to light his cigar. When the old lady realized the ornament, she promptly took it away from him. Like clockwork, he then threw up at her feet and fell unconscious. In a panic, the old matron shrieked, took the hand gun, and raced up the stairs, pounded on Malone’s door. She somehow opened the bedroom door, revealing him videotaping Carrie showering. Caught red handed, Malone jumped at the site of the of gun. His movement set off a chain reaction of books to fall, one of which fell into stall, making Carrie and Malone exchange looks of dismay. Yes she screamed in anger. “Are you watching me, asshole!” She vainly tried to cover up her exploding bosoms with a miniature hand sanitizer bottle. “What do you think you are doing?” She eyed the guilty culprit though the crevice. “I hope I am satisfying your fucking urges, freak!” she wailed out loud. This set off more screams and she finally found a larger towel to wear. Thus, in no time, she scrambled out to confront him. This caused a bizarre argument in which the Betsy ordered the half naked woman to her room. Wilson jumped at the glimpse of the Betsy’s pistol and raced off. The whole house awakened from the argument. In came several college students and a set of newlyweds. Some came rushing over, but the LL thwarted them with her weapon. All at once, everyone rushed back to their rooms.
Betsy, who still held the gun, saw her long time boarder/assistant. “Triffen!”
“What is going on?” he asked.
She waved her arms. “Doesn’t matter.” She used her thumb to point behind her. “There is a gentleman at the door—get him!” In no time, her assistant did bend down, hoist the stranger onto his back and improvised a fire man carry up the stairs. Yes, George was oblivious to what was going on around him. Betsy followed them up the steps. In intervals, several of the guests peeked through their doors and watched them mount the stairs. Most suspect that the Betsy was holding Malone as hostage for unpaid rent. “You will place the gentleman on your bed,” she said in a demanding attitude.
“Why my bed?”
“Oh, because you are fired and will be out of my life at 5pm tonight,” she replied with vicious delight. “Welcome to the real world!”
“Fired?” he answered, shaking his head. “I have never been fired in all my life.” The now disgruntled employee dropped the unconscious man onto the bed.
“Well,” she continued, unabated. “Congratulations, this is your first time for everything.”
Triffen spun on his heels and stopped before the old woman. “I can’t be fired because I just quit, lady!”
The results of this argument embolden the students and newlyweds to search for firearms. The two then made their way downstairs. As Betsy followed Malone, her future ex-assistant resumed to carry all three bags up the stairs. Her Guests were now armed and observed Malone with his shoulders stretched as he was followed by his still gun totting employer. “No, I am not going to pay you a penny of severance.”
“Why not?’ he raged back. “I have rights in this country; I am a born and bred American!”
“Then it will have to be declared to the government,” she explained. “And I don’t plan on declaring anything to the government.” Some watched them enter and exit the room and again go down the stairs. “All I know is you better be ready before me and Ralph come back from church.” Just like that, the women leashed up her poodle. “Come on, Ralph.” In a flicker, the bickering had ended and the lady and her pet were gone.
At this juncture, Triffen angrily kicked the luggage bag, making it drop open, revealing the hidden money. True to form, Carrie and the gun packing guests pushed through the bedroom door and faced the surprised man with the loot. “What do you think you are doing?” Carried quizzed the stunned man. Yes, he still held the weapon, accidently pressing a button on, which caused a sound. “This can light a cigar,” he remarked to the look of widespread disbelief. “I picked up a similar one at a country fair ages ago.”
“No one believes you, man,” deadpanned Malone. “I want to see you light it with that thing. The newlyweds stood behind him with a shotgun.
Triffen broke into a short laugh, but sweat began to cover his forehead, as he faced the continued silence. “No one believes me?” He laughed some more. “Do I have to try it on myself for you people to belief me?” Just like that, he produced a cigarette, placed it between his lips, and pointed the pistol at it. He blinked repeatedly, but stopped. Possibly, he ruminated on issues of his mortality.
“Go ahead, sir,” encouraged one of the students. “Light it.”
“Do it,” another raged.
Triffen blinked some more but froze. He then took the cigarette, wedged it between George’s lips, who was lost in a moment of slumber. He pointed his gun at the cigarette. “Not so sure of yourself,” Carrie said, rolling her eyes. Suddenly, Triffen pulled the trigger. Everyone jolted at the two flashes, the firecracker sounds, and back window that shattered. As the smoke rose from the scene, Triffen dropped the pistol.
No one said a word, as blood rivulets formed on the head of the now deceased individual.
“Right between the eyes,” said a future graduate, leading Carrie to faint. Almost immediately, the guests scurried out of the room, where they exchanged observations. Triffen, however, remained to stare and pad the money. Out of nowhere, the phone rang, making everyone jump. “Don’t worry about it,” he said, trying to calm those around him. “I’ll take care of it.” The motley gathering then scattered back to face the corpse and the loot. It didn’t take long for them to empty the luggage bags and dump the money in a pile on the floor. Someone even had time to place the cigar lighter on top of the pile.
“That is a lot of greenbacks, people,” observed the groom.
“What do we do about the dead guy?” another added. “Anybody know him?”
“I think we should bury him out back,” suggested Triffen. “Split the money, go your own way, and leave the town.”
“Hear no evil, see no evil,” Malone added.
Suddenly they heard a loud knock at the door. “Oh, shit,” crowed Triffen. “The old lady is back!” Another knock sounded.
“It could also be her friend,” suggested the bride.
“The post man, or some neighbor who called the cops,” added Malone. Everyone followed Triffen to answer the door. Here they faced two garbage men. “There are seven bags out by the trash,” the official revealed, pointing behind him. “We noticed a drunken guy in the area, leaving them there, and we suspect he came here.” Instantaneously, everyone excitedly went out and grabbed the bags and raced back inside. They scurried up the stairs and intended to place the money in a pile. However, when they returned to the bedroom, the loot was not in a pile, but back in one of the cases. Oddly enough, the murder weapon was even gone.
“What the hell happened?” exclaimed Carrie.
“This place is obviously haunted,” admitted Triffen. “By the old ladies dead daughter. “ A long silence followed. “She used to have séances a long time ago, was into psychics, and was a real nutcase about it!”
In a split second, some pulled out their guns and walked around the room, looking for any places to hide, or secret passage ways. “Now we have a ghost armed with a gun,” Carrie prattled on. “We misplaced it. They all come up with good excuses, but still the gun and ghost is not found.”
Eventually, they came to the conclusion that they should use some of the money to buy shovels and bury the dead gangster in the yard. Triffen however asserted the ground was hard in the back yard, but the group insisted otherwise. Suddenly they heard another knock at the door. “It’s the cops,” Malone suspected. “Some snooping neighbor.”
Triffen looked to the gathering. Another knock hit the door. With anxious looks, they scrambled down the steps and threw open the door. To add to their surprise, an innocent child leapt back at the site of people with guns. He was about to run, when one of the college students seized him. “Wait a minute, kid,” yelped one of the students. A sea of hands searched the child for good, only finding leather bag filled with chocolates. “Kid, you are not a girl guide, or scout? Are you?”
“No,” replied the child. Malone shoved a fistful of hundreds into the young person’s shirt and grabbed the goods. “We are your best customer. Now you can go home to play.”
Immediately, the child scrambled away, allowing the occupants to return to Malone’s bed room. Just like that, they discovered one bags of money was gone. “Where did it go?” squealed Carrie.
“Dunno,” replied Malone.
“I tell you,” responded Triffen. “It is a ghost!” They now began to open the other luggage bags. Finally they arrived at the last two bags. The second last container had some money, but mostly contained a thoroughly cleaned knife and an ax. As they passed around this collection, Carrie opened up the last bag, discovering a dead woman, who was cut up in several pieces. A human head rolled out of the luggage bag, resting at her feet. Once again, Carrie screamed and fainted. “Didn’t she just do that before?” joked Triffen.
Suddenly a cell phone rang from George, making everyone jump. When they noticed a pool of blood had gathered under the corpse, a collective shudder was felt by all that were present. Malone took it and spoke into it. “Hello this is Betsy Sues Bed and Breakfast,” he replied, mechanically. Without warning, the phone clicked. “Hello! Hello!”
“What did you have say where you were?” begged Triffen. “Are you stupid?” A debate ensued amongst the occupants. Everyone pulled out their guns and argued. They were mad at Malone for revealing the name of the place. Suddenly they heard the front door had opened with footsteps and the sound of a dog barking. “She must be back early,” whispered one of the students.” They each pull out a gun, grabbed a bag full of money, and raced out of the bedroom. “It must be one of those drive through services, a fad straight out of California,” mused another, quietly. They stopped at the tip of the staircase, catch sight of Betsy, with two old ladies, and two cops, all walking in to the home. Just like that one of the bags fell open, revealing the loot. Almost immediately, a police officer noticed this scene and motioned to his partner to respond. The police officers and the women stop to face the occupants. “Would you like to join us for tea and biscuits?” she offered with a face etched with sarcasm. “Or else?” Hint, hint, nudge, and nudge…gotcha!