The first time was when I drove down Winnetka, past Saticoy. On the left there’s this little hole in the wall called Emilio’s Empanadas. It’s right there in that same tiny run down shopping center where the Donut shop is at, next to the obligatory corner liquor store.
There’s some kid, fat ass, overweight motherfucker, sitting out there in front of Emilio’s right between the gumball machine and the metal trash can, picking apart his empanada, all the vegetables therein strewn across the ground like shooting stars made of tuber.
“What’s your name, kid?” I ask.
He doesn’t look up. “Suck my dick.” As if showing me how, he puts his meaty thumb into his mouth and laves the chicken grease off of it.
I bend down and grab his chin. “Your name, fat boy?”
“Manuel,” he spits. I smile down at him for a moment…such a nice name, Manuel. And then he mutters, “pendejo.”
I grab a handful of grass from the curb at my left and mash it unexpectedly into his mouth. It mixes with the folding dough, the pollo and the queso from his de pollo empanada.
Then I rub a handful of grass into the knees of his jeans. There. Did the kid a favor. Now his mother will think he went for a round or two of soccer over at Sutter Middle School instead of being assaulted in front of Emilio’s while he adds to the circumference of his middle.
The second time was when I went to the circus with Linda.
“You’ve been acting strange lately,” Linda says to me, her eyes tracking the tiger at center stage’s movement.
I shove a handful of salty-sweet kettle corn into my mouth and mutter, “It’s nothing. Work’s stressful, you know?”
“You haven’t been going to work. And you have been acting strangely. I mean, why the circus, Joe?”
I shrug, but when the ringmaster, a short woman with more curves than common sense, and an ass made for Aphrodite, walks by me, I get up, shove my red and white vertical striped bucket at Linda and make my way toward her dressing room.
I come up right behind her and snap her neck. Baby. Then use the feathers I’ve plucked from her white doves to adorn her body, which I’ve lovingly stripped.
The third time was during dinner when Linda’s cat walked across the back of the couch, padding softly over my shoulder, triceps, elbow, my wrist where granddad’s watch sits and finally the fingers of my left arm. Abruptly I grab the cat by its tail, haul it to my chest as it hisses and spits. I bring my right arm up and jam my fork into its gut, raking it across in a downward-type motion. Entrails, meatloaf and Linda’s tears. Eat up.
The fourth time was after I killed the cat.
A moist sob escapes my lips. “I don’t know, officer. I was supposed to come over. Sh-she said she w-wanted to make me dinner, her mother’s meatloaf and when I got here…” One more sob. “Oh, Jesus… oh, fuck…”
The fifth time was—
Two gun shots to my throat. My mouth makes a juicy gluck gluck sound in my attempts to swallow. I fall forward on the grassy curb and land half on my side, my cheek brushing against a white paper bag with the Emilio’s logo on it. Manuel stands above me, a black pistol in his hand.
BAM! One shot to my groin.
Kid has good aim.