Estimated reading time — 63 minutes
Every morning was the same morning, Happy dressed in faded jeans, a white t-shirt, and ball cap as he grabbed his bag and rushed off to catch the bus. It was more than a ride to him, though, it was a hunting ground. From behind his aviator sunglasses, his brown eyes saw everything, and in his head, Tiny Clown and Rabbit argued with each other about who was going to be right on that day. He sat quietly in his seat and listened to the sound of a band called TOOL in his ear-buds as he watched the houses pass by as he looked for the perfect one for his night’s exploits. This time he chose a simple white home with a large bay window. He chose this one because inside he saw an elderly woman using a walker as she made her way to the breakfast table. This one would be easy pickings.
Happy smiled as he thought about what he was going to do, the breaking and entering, and he imagined what treasures he might find inside. His two friends Tiny Clown, and Rabbit were also excited for the night and the innocent woman had no idea what was going to happen and he liked the element of surprise that he would have.
Happy would have to get off of the bus at the next stop and walk back towards his target to do a little more surveillance, he had to know more about the comings and goings, and the family about the house. He left no stone unturned when he picked a target, he had to have the upper hand and the element of surprise. The day wore on and no one visited the home so Happy walked away with glee and excitement and rode the bus back to his home where he would wait for nightfall and his chance to visit the home.
Happy spent the next couple of hours in a euphoric state, he got this way before he committed his crimes, and dreamed of the fantasy that was coming soon. He exchanged his jeans for a pair of black cargo pants and his t-shirt with a black hoodie. On his head was a black knit cap with Metallica and Justice for All emblem stitched in the front. It wouldn’t be long now.
Seeing that it was mid-August the sun didn’t set until after eight so Happy spent his time in his room watching porno. The images excited him and the adrenaline rush prepared him for what he was going to do. The graphic images (along with the crack cocaine) got him so high that he felt invincible.
Happy waited until after nine before he left his trailer. He kept to the side of the road, along the tree lines and shadows, and moved sleekly like a puma stalking its prey. He enjoyed the hunt almost as much as he enjoyed the kill. Happy arrived at his victim’s home and found the shades of the bay window drawn. There was a slight crack, though, where the two sides met and Happy could see that the living room and dining rooms were pitch black. That was a good sign to him, less time that he would have to wait. Being thorough, Happy walked around the house twice checking the windows for lights from a TV or lamp, but everything had been turned off. On his second round, he found a window in the kitchen that was open with a screen in it. That would be his point of entry.
“There it is, that’s our way in,” said Tiny Clown in Happy’s left ear.
Happy removed the screen with ease and jumped up and through it like a gymnast. He landed in an empty sink as he dragged his heavy boots through the window and spun around and stood prone with the floor. Happy moved about the house as if he owned it. It felt familiar to him although he could only see the one room from the outside. It was a simple layout really, generic in fact, one that he had seen dozens of times and the hallway was lit up by a nightlight.
Happy Boy knew where the old lady was sleeping because he could hear her breathing with the CPAP machine. He cracked her door a bit and looked in.
“She’s ready Happy Boy,” said Rabbit.
The elderly woman was sound asleep curled up in a sheet on her bed. The light from the hallway fell on her partially hidden face but Happy could see that her eyes were covered by a sleep mask. “This couldn’t get any more perfect,” he thought to himself, and was reassured by Rabbit, and he was right. As far as home invasions go, this one was just about textbook.
Happy opened the door just enough for him to slide his slim body through, he led with his Timberland boot and continued until his whole frame was in. He was about three full steps away from the sleeping woman, but he was right beside her dresser. Happy took the opportunity to scan the table for anything of value and was pleased to find a pair of diamond earrings and a pearl necklace. Now if only they were real. Happy put the jewels in the front pocket of his hoodie and shined the light of his penlight across the room in order to get a proper layout. Other than the jewels that he had just taken, the room looked bare so Happy made his way to wake the woman.
“Time to see what the old lady is hiding,” said Tiny Clown.
Before waking her up, he pulled a black bandanna from his back pocket and tied it around his neck and slid it up to cover his nose and mouth making his face unnoticeable. He took his giant two steps and ripped the breathing machine off of the woman’s face causing her to scream out of surprise. Happy did what all thieves do when startled, he took the back of his hand and struck her in the jaw.
“Shut up, you bitch!” but she continued to scream.
Happy balled up a fist and with all of his force slammed her in the temple repeatedly until she stopped making any noise.
Happy took the time to look at her and got excited as she bled. It was a strange perversion of his, this act of violence and had followed him throughout his life. Knocking her unconscious was counterproductive, though, he needed her alert and awake in order to tell him where she kept her money and valuables, so now he just had to wait.
Happy hadn’t come prepared for this, he had only packed a penlight and a pocket knife, he kind of figured that the old woman would be so scared at the sight of him that she would tell him whatever he wanted. He didn’t count on her struggling, so he looked around the room to see what he could find that he could use.
Happy took the bedside table lamp and cut the cord off and used it to tie up her hands in front of her and used a pillowcase to cover her head. “This would be enough to frighten the old bitch enough to spill the beans,” he thought. He then took a seat in a corner chair and turned on the TV and watched a rerun of “Gray’s Anatomy” until she woke up.
She was out for a good forty minutes before she began to struggle on the bed. Happy got up and walked over to her and placed his gloved hand on her neck.
“I am going to ask you some questions and you are going to answer me. Do you understand?”
The old lady shook her head vigorously in agreement.
“Now where are the jewels?”
“I don’t have any jewels.”
“LIAR!” and he ripped the pillowcase from her head and got face to face with her, “Now where are the jewels?” he asked as he placed his hand on her neck and began to squeeze.
The woman was rightfully scared to death and at this point would answer any question that he would ask.
“I swear to you, I don’t have any jewels. My daughter has them all. She keeps them for me.”
“Then where is the money? I know that you have money, where is your purse?”
“My purse is in the living room by the couch.”
“LIAR. I’ve been through the living room and I didn’t see no fucking purse!”
“I swear, it’s beside the couch and between it and the wall tucked away.”
Happy Boy stormed out of the bedroom and went into the living room to look again for the purse. He went exactly where the old woman had told him to look and there was no purse to be found. He marched back into the bedroom spitting mad at being lied to and found the old woman, telephone in hand.
“Oh, really? What do you think that you’re going to do with that?” Happy Boy asked her as he walked over and showed her the cut cord coming from the phone.
Becoming increasingly frustrated with the game she was playing, Happy’s violence increased. He took the woman from her bound hands and jerked her up into a seated position. He took the pillowcase and shoved it into her mouth and tied it up in a gag behind her head and thrust her face down on the bed.
“You want me to hurt you, don’t you?”
She shook her head ‘no’ and sobbed.
“Are you sure? Because you sure as fuck act like you do.”
“Well here is how we’re going to play it and pay close attention because I am only going to say this once. You got it?”
And the old woman shook her head yes.
“I am going to ask you a question and you are going to give me an answer and if I don’t like your answer then I am going to hurt you. Got it?”
Her sobbing increased but she agreed.
“Now where is the money?”
She raised her hands and pointed at the second drawer of the dresser.
“Are you sure? Don’t make me get up and waste my time.”
She shook her head yes and continued to point at the dresser.
Happy got off of her and walked over to where she said she kept the cash. He ransacked the drawers and threw the contents all over the floor. In the back of the drawer was an envelope where inside was a stack of 100 dollar bills.
“There we go, that wasn’t so bad, now was it?”
The woman still quivered frightened to death.
“Now is there anything else that I need to know about?”
She shook her head ‘no’.
“For some reason, I believe you. Now this is what we are going to do. I am going to leave you tied up like you are and leave you alone. Then I am going to get out of here. You are going to stay where you are until I am long gone and then you can get up and free yourself. You are going to remain quiet and never speak of this to anyone ever because if you do, I will know and I will be back. If I come back I won’t be so nice. If I do come back, I am going to kill you, got it?”
And she shook head yes.
Happy Boy took another pillowcase and placed it on her head again so she couldn’t see when he left. He waited a few minutes to watch and see how she would act once he was gone then he left the room and the house and disappeared into the darkness of the night.
When Happy Boy got home he emptied his pocket and looked over the few pieces of jewelry that he found and took the envelope out to count the bills. Inside was four 100 dollar bills 3 fifties and 6 twenties. Not a bad score for what started out to be pretty bleak. Feeling victorious Happy walked to his refrigerator and took out a forty ounce of Mickeys and took a glass stem from the kitchen table and made his way over to his recliner.
“What a night,” he said lighting a lighter under a piece of aluminum foil and inhaling smoke through the glass pipe.
“That old bitch almost made you kill her, I wasn’t in the mood for no killing tonight. She was on a walker for Christ’s sake,” said Tiny Clown on Happy’s shoulder.
Happy’s trailer smelled off burnt plastic and stale beer. There were empty bottles on every table and empty fast food containers littered the floor. A sweet smell also was in the air coming from the bugs in the place that was feeding off of the scraps.
It was five in the morning by the time that Happy Boy was able to unwind and he put his feet up and relaxed before passing out drunk and high.
Happy Boy woke up at noon from the immense heat in his trailer, it was unbearable during the summer. He looked around for the box of chicken nuggets that he had for dinner and ate the last two and washed them down with what was left in the bottle of Mickey’s and sat down in front of the TV to see if he made the 12 o’clock news, but to no avail. Oh well, maybe next time he will be made famous.
Happy Boy changed out of his nightclothes and into his day time attire then walked outside to go and catch the bus. On the way out, he stashed the cash in the seat cushions of his couch and stashed the jewelry in the front pocket of his jeans. He took one more hit of the cocaine in the foil and walked outside.
The heat made him sweat out the alcohol and churned his stomach making him want to puke. He only had a short walk to the bus stop, but when it was 90 degrees outside it seemed like it took him forever to get there. Happy Boy kept checking his watch (the heat made him impatient) because the bus was running late. Fitting that it would on a day this hot and after a night like he had just had. Twenty minutes later the bus finally showed up and Happy Boy was more than happy to get on board and sit in the air-conditioned ride.
Happy Boy halfway dozed on his trip as the night’s sleep was more of a nap than a good night’s rest, but stayed alert enough to be awake when he passed his last night’s victims house. The bus made the right off of Beckley road and Happy saw exactly what he thought that he would, the old lady had called the cops after all. His threats had fallen on deaf ears.
“So, looks like that bitch didn’t listen, Happy Boy,” said Rabbit. Happy would have to hold true to his promise, he would have to visit her again soon. After all, what is a man if he doesn’t keep his word?
Happy rode the bus to Taylor’s Pawn on Strayley Avenue and got off with his spoils in hand. This was where he would always take his found treasures. They were discreet and asked few questions which made it a perfect place for him to fence his items.
“Hey there, Happy Boy, what do you have for me today?” the greasy fat man behind the glass asked.
“I have my mother’s necklace.”
Happy Boy handed over the jewelry through the hole in the protective glass and waited for the man to inspect them and give him a price.
“Looking to sell I assume?”
“Yeah, she died last year. Won’t need them now.”
“I will give you $150.”
“Is that the best that you can do, can’t you do 200?”
“$170 is my final offer.”
“Sounds good, I will take it.”
The fat man took the jewels and dropped them in a drawer and took a stack of $20 bills out of the register and counted out Happy’s money. “Here’s an extra $10 for being so loyal,” he said as he pushed the cash under the window and towards Happy Boy.
“Thanks, Clyde. You have a good day,” he said as he took his loot and walked out of the pawnshop. Now for the first order of the day, scoring more cocaine for the night, so with cash in hand Happy Boy walked down an alley and ended up on the dirty streets of Mercer, or “Murder” Street as it was affectionately known. The high crime area didn’t bother Happy, though, in fact he fit right in. He knew these people and they knew him. It was a matter of who you could trust and just how much you could trust them. For instance, cash and product should always be exchanged at the same time. Never let your money out of sight or consider it gone. The streets were lined with abandoned repair shops and working garages. Rent was cheap so the apartments were all rented with leftover people, drug addicts, prostitutes, you know, the kind of people that were easily forgotten.
Happy Boy knew that he could score some dope down here and pretty quickly, he just had to wait and be patient. It was still early for the dealers and pimps to be awake, so Happy took a walk down the street. As he walked, he looked across the road to a place called Amy Cares (it was a soup kitchen for the poor) and saw a man sitting outside with a crowd of about four gathered around. Curiosity got the best of him so he crossed the street and walked over to see what the action was.
“And that’s where Jesus comes into the picture, he is always there and can be your savior. All you need to do is accept him in and let his blood wash the sins away from your soul. Have you felt lost?”
The crowd whispered “yes”.
“Do you feel like no one loves you anymore?”
“Is it hard for you to fit in?”
“And does it feel like you would be better off just some number in a plot in some cemetery?”
“Then what if I was going to tell you to forget all of that because Jesus cares and loves each and every one of you. He loves us all the same from the Prince to the pauper, his love knows no bounds. Now, are you ready to accept him as your Lord and Savior?”
“Yes,” repeated the crowd in unison as they hung on the man’s every thirst-quenching word.
“Then be at this address tonight at eight sharp, we will be accepting new souls this evening and yours could be one of the lucky ones. Come out tonight and hear the Lord’s words spoken to the fortunate ones who will find salvation,” and the man took his good book and placed it into his box style briefcase and passed out fliers to the crowd. “Here, take as many as you like and bring your friends and your families there is plenty of room on the God train. Come on board!”
Happy Boy smiled as he heard the man’s presentation and Rabbit snickered. It wasn’t the first street preacher that had come down to the slums to rouse up some religion on the homeless. He guessed they were trying to do some good, he couldn’t be doing it just for the money because these people didn’t have any and what little bit they did have went towards their drug habits. He was thinking about going to the revival before he kicked off the night’s activities. After all, everybody could use a little Jesus in their lives, especially a man like him. Lord knows he would have plenty to atone for come his judgment day.
Happy Boy waited in the alleys and watched as the streets began to come to life. Slowly they filled with skeleton-like women dressed in cut off jeans carrying Mt. Dew bottles (this was the sign of a working girl) and if they were awake then the pimps and dealers would be out soon as well. Happy Boy waited until he saw a familiar face exit the beat down buildings that he knew would be holding just what he was looking for. Happy Boy scored his crack for the night using the money that he just got from the pawnshop and made his way back to the bus to get home.
He took an interchange this time and traveled to a different side of town so that he could scout the location of his next crime. Happy normally took a week or two off after a good score and he never hunted on his own route because it was too familiar; but, this time the adrenaline rush was so high he couldn’t wait to do it again. There were so many to choose from, the route the bus took him through the nice part of town. Not too rich, mind you, those houses would be too well protected; but just nice enough to have nice things. The kind of things that he could move quickly and without many questions.
Tiny Clown saw the perfect place on the trip and let Happy know, “That’s the one,” he said.
Tiny Clown had chosen one of the houses on the poorer sides of town but the lady who lived in the home had always been well dressed and wore plenty of ornate jewelry, all signs pointed towards a yes. Tiny Clown repeated himself in Happy’s head until Happy finally acknowledged that he had heard and that he understood.
The woman would be an easier mark because of her enormous size and Happy felt like she deserved whatever she would get during the robbery. She was such a large woman that she took up two seats on the bus and would have taken up a third if there was one. People like this don’t deserve nice things, they deserve to be punished.
Happy stopped by the corner store and bought his liquor for the night and spent the next couple of hours drinking and getting high. The porno on the TV was getting Happy aroused as was the thought of what he was about to do during the night.
Happy was intent on being prepared for anything this time around so after he changed into his nightclothes he went down a checklist of what he was going to bring with him. He packed his trusty penlight, a hunting knife, a handful of zip ties, and this time a .22 pistol, just in case she struggled.
“That should do it,” said Tiny Clown, “looks like we’re ready,” and Happy left the home.
Seeing that the chosen house was on the other side of town, Happy would need a ride so he did his second favorite past time, he stole a car. The dark blue Buick would fit in in the ritzy part of town and he wouldn’t stick out too much so he felt safe. On the way, Happy stopped by the revival looking for forgiveness.
It would be almost impossible to miss the church’s revival as its’ huge tent took up a third of Scooters Field, which was usually reserved for County Fair livestock; but now was replaced with sixty to seventy people looking for salvation. Happy took a seat in the back of the tent and listened as the southern man spewed his religion.
“Do not set foot on the path of
Or walk in the way of evil
Avoid it, do not travel on it;
Turn from it and go on your
For they cannot sleep till they
They are robbed or slumber
Till they make someone
It was as if he was talking directly to him.
“Sounds familiar, doesn’t it Haas?” asked Rabbit.
“Sure does, is that going to save my soul?”
“Your soul is clear, Happy,” said Tiny Clown.
Happy sat quietly and let the service continue. As the man spoke random people jumped from their seats and ran up to the stage. This was their way of finding Jesus; but not his, he just left it alone. After the service was through he found the man who was speaking on the street and made his way up to him.
“Hey, I like what you do,” Happy said.
“What’s that?” he asked.
“Today…on the street. Down on Mercer with the poor people.”
“So what’s the difference?”
“What do you mean…difference?”
“The difference between the two of us. Me and you?”
“There’s no difference. We are all the same in the eyes of God.”
“Oh, I think not.”
“You would be surprised.”
“Maybe you would preacher.”
“Maybe later, preacher, I’ve got places to be. See you around.”
“Yeah, see you Happy.”
Happy was startled, “How did you know my name?”
“I know many things. Like I said, you might be surprised.”
And with that Happy left and got back in the stolen Buick to drive to the other side of town.
It was ten o’clock by now and almost all of the lights in the house were off. In the bedroom, though, there was still a flickering from the TV so Happy stayed back within the trees and waited. A curious dog barked next door and the fat lady inside peaked out of the window to see what had it spooked. Happy could see her clearly and could tell when she went to bed. It was almost midnight when Tiny Clown convinced Happy that it was safe to break in.
Happy walked around the house looking for the easiest way to get in and he found a basement door and thought that it would be the door lock to pick. It was an easy job and within seconds he was at the top of the stairs. The house was an unkept wreck, the dishes were piled three dirty dish high and there were empty to go boxes littering the counter. The sound of flies buzzed about the kitchen and on the counter was an eight inch kitchen knife that Happy took for the hell of it before walking towards the bedroom. The TV was still on; but he could see the woman was fast asleep on her bed.
Happy stuck to his normal routine and snuck silently into the room and made his way to the dresser. There he found a small treasure of gold and silver that he eagerly jammed into the front pocket of his sweatshirt. “Nice score,” Rabbit said to Happy, “I wonder what else she has to give?”
He made his way over to her bed but stumbled over one of her shoes in the floor causing her to wake up before he could get into position.
“Who are you?!” she cried, “What do you want?”
Happy was taken off guard and surprised by her getting out of the bed and took the knife and placed it on the woman’s throat.
“Scream again and I will slit your throat, do you understand?” he asked as he stuffed a pair of her underwear in her throat.
She shook her head yes.
He angrily took her by the wrist and spun her around forcing her face down on the bed. He took out the zip-ties and connected one to another (her wrists were too fat for just one to work) and bound her hands together. Seeing that the whole thing had happened so quickly, Happy didn’t see the point in putting on the bandanna, she had already seen his face.
“Now I am going to ask you some questions and you are going to give me honest answers. Do we understand each other?”
She again shook her head yes.
“Now where do you keep the money?”
Seeing that he wasn’t going to get any answers as long as she was gagged, he took the panties out of her mouth so she could answer.
“There’s a safe in the closet. I keep my money in there, the key is in the jewelry box on the dresser.”
Happy found the key and the box; but there was only two hundred dollars in it, and Happy was irritated.
“Is that the best she can do?” asked Tiny Clown.
“Surely she has more than that,” added Rabbit.
“Alright, where is the rest?” he asked angrily.
“That’s everything. That’s all the money that I have. I keep the rest in the bank, I use my card for everything.”
“Not good enough!” Happy yelled as he took out the .22 and placed it to her head. He could feel his heart rate increasing and adrenaline pumping as his trigger finger quivered.
“I’ve told you, that’s all I have. Take the jewels on the dresser, just please leave me alone.”
“I think that she’s lying to you,” said Rabbit.
“I swear, I am not! That’s everything.”
“Are you going to let her get away with that?” asked Tiny Clown.
“YOU LYING BITCH!” and Happy took a pillow and placed it over the side of her head and placed the barrel of the gun firm to it and pulled the trigger of the handgun. He could almost hear the small-caliber bullet rattle around in the head of his victim following the muffled gunshot. Maybe she wasn’t lying; but considering that she had seen his face, she had to die one way or another. Happy took the money and the jewels, and went out of the back door and made his way to the stolen Buick. He drove the car to an empty gravel parking lot and abandoned it. He lived about two miles away so it wouldn’t take him long to walk home.
“Not the best of nights,” said Tiny Clown as Happy got back to his home.
“Better hope that jewelry is real or that was a wasted trip,” added Rabbit.
Happy emptied his pockets and surveyed his score looking it over to make sure all of it was authentic. “Looks square to me,” he thought before taking his place on the couch with a beer in hand.
“Guess I will find out for sure in the morning, nothing that I can do now but wait,” and Happy took up the crack pipe and smoked until he passed out.
Happy woke up extra early the next morning, almost at daybreak, his dreams were filled with images of that dead woman that he shot and he just couldn’t escape the nightmare. He also kept a recurring dream of the street preacher with that bible verse repeating in his mind. Unable to sleep, he went outside and sat on the porch trying to clear his head but neither Tiny Clown or Rabbit would let that happen.
“Don’t worry, Happy, she had it coming,” said Tiny Clown.
“Yeah, Haas, look at how she lived. She didn’t care about herself, why should anyone else care for her? She probably didn’t even have any family for Christ’s sake.”
Still feeling euphoric from the night before (he tended to get this way when there was a killing involved) Happy Boy decided not to wait on the bus and break his routine by walking downtown.
His entire trip was filled with thoughts of the preacher and with hopes to find him back on the street again. After meeting him at the revival he had many more questions to ask him, especially about how he knew his name.
This time Happy took his jewels to Ten Cent Gold and Pawn, he had to keep it fresh or the owners tend to get curious about where the loot came from.
This time around Happy got $300 for his score, not the best that he has ever done in one night but he needed the money, so he thankfully shoved it into his pocket and walked out onto the city streets.
Midway on the street was a small gathering of the unfortunate people forming a semi-circle around the street preacher from the day before. This time, instead of pamphlets, he was passing out bibles.
“Don’t rush, there is one for everyone.” the man said, “Happy, good morning. It is good to see you, my friend. Wasn’t so sure that you would make it after last night?”
“What does he mean?” asked Rabbit.
“Does he know something?” added Tiny Clown.
“Yes, at the revival. I thought that I had spooked you a little bit.”
“Oh, that. Yeah, you did just a little but we can talk about that when you are done with what you’re doing here.”
“That sounds fine; but the Lord’s work is never done. Why don’t you help me pass out these bibles.”
“And why would I want to do that?”
“Just a hunch that maybe you need a little bit of redemption in your life.”
“Consider your hunch wrong.”
“Alright then, just hang around and when I am through here you can walk me back to the camp. Think you can manage that?”
Tiny Clown and Rabbit conferred for a moment then answered, “Sure, Happy Boy; but be careful, you know these religious types.”
Happy walked down the street and took a roost on one of the apartment buildings stoops and watched the traffic in front of the street preacher. It was a steady stream of pimps, whores, and winos up until after midday. By then Happy had started to get a case of the shakes and got up and went to the neighborhood bar.
“Happy Boy…see you soon?” asked the preacher.
“Sure. You know where I will be.”
Happy sat alone in the corner and smoked on a cigarette while drinking gin throughout the afternoon. He watched soccer on the bar TV and listened to horrible country music being played on the jukebox by the local drunks. But who was he to judge, and what did it matter anyways, that’s why he carried earphones.
It was about four in the afternoon when the preacher walked through the front door.
“Mind if I sit here?” he asked Happy.
“No, sir, have a seat. So how did it go out there, save any souls?”
“A few, I guess. We’ll see tonight at the revival. Will I see you there?”
“Maybe. Got a few things to take care of first; but we will see.”
“Was happy to see you there last night. That was a good start.”
“Always interested in watching the Lord work his magic.”
“Magic? Is that what you call it? Magic?”
“Yeah. Bait and switch, parlor tricks and such. That’s about all that I see.”
“Then you’re missing out on the best part.”
“Oh yeah, will what is that?”
“The Lord’s work, miracles.”
“Right…the Lord’s work. What is that exactly?”
“It’s like how I knew your name. Doesn’t that strike you as odd?”
“Odd but that’s not a miracle. Any one of those hundreds of people there last night could have given you my name.”
“But they didn’t.”
“How do I know that?”
“Because I’m a man of God. Do you think that I would lie?”
“Hell’s yes. I have no doubt about it.”
“So how did you get the name Happy?”
“Nickname as a child. My mother says I was never sad. I think it sort of fits, I am sort of a happy man,” he was making up a story that he told strangers, the truth is that he got the nickname because he was always high or drunk.
“Well, you have a lot to be thankful for.”
“What are you talking about?”
“How about when you were four and had your tonsils taken out?”
“What do you know about that?”
“I know that you died.”
“And how do you know that?” Happy was taken aback at the preacher’s knowledge of this horrific childhood event.
“I told you, you might be surprised. I know lots of things.”
Happy put his guard up now and waited for Tiny Clown and Rabbit to give him advice on how to handle this situation.
“Be careful Happy Boy, he knows too much,” advised Rabbit.
“Never mind that Happy, let him keep talking. See what else he knows.”
“Well it’s been a pleasure talking with you but I think that I had better be going now,” said Happy as he got up from the booth.
“No, don’t leave on my account. Sit, let me buy you a drink,” and Happy sat back down, he could never say no to free booze.
“So tell me about your day?” asked the nameless man.
“Why are you asking me? I thought that you knew everything already.”
“No, just certain things. Not everything.”
“Well, I have no job so my day is pretty much spent staying around the house.”
“Kind of hard to live like that, isn’t it?”
“Not really, beats the alternative.”
“Surely you must have a way of making money.”
“I can make ends meet.”
“Watch it, Happy,” said Tiny Clown.
“Let’s just say it works for me.”
“So I noticed that you walked downtown today, what happened to the car you had last night?”
“It was stolen, wasn’t it.”
Happy still had nothing to say.
“Don’t worry Happy, think of me as a doctor. What I know stays with me and stays private, just between us.”
“Alright then. Yeah, I stole it. It gives me a rush.”
“What do you do with the stolen car?”
“And what do you do when you are done with it?”
“Drop it off in some parking lot somewhere. I don’t damage it, it is left in as good a shape as when I found it.”
“So you sleep all day, I assume?”
“All afternoon, usually.”
“And let me guess, you stay up all night.”
“And what do you do, drugs? Alcohol?”
“So what if I do?”
“Nothing, no big deal. I deal with addicts and alcoholics all day. I make room for them.”
“Oh yeah, what do you do for them?”
“I show them a different light. I would like to show it to you if you would let me.”
“How do you plan on that?”
“How about I give you the night to think it over and you can meet up with me tomorrow with your answer. We are more alike than you know. Deal?”
“We’ll see preach, see you around,” and Happy left the bar with a lot on his mind.
As the night fell, the streets came to life with the hustle and bustle of the night fiends. All of the hookers and drug dealers lined the doorways and waited to peddle their goods to the traffic that entered from the outside. Lurking in the shadows was a tall, lanky figure who moved slowly in the cover of the night and walked with a deliberate pace. He passed the street people as if he had a higher purpose than just to score some dope or cheap sexual act, he was moving with a higher power.
He stopped in front of one of the alleys where he saw two of the homeless men pitching quarters and drinking cheap wine.
“Hello,” he said.
“Yeah, what do you want?” they asked.
“I am here for you?”
“For us? What did we do?”
“God sent me.”
“God? God forgot about us a long time ago!” and the two men shared a good laugh.
“But you are wrong. That is why I am here. He has sent me to deliver you to him.”
“Oh yeah, and how do you figure to do that?”
“Pray with me.” and the figure took a knee.
“Pray, whatever man. Get out of here with that shit.”
“Prayer or not, you are going to go with God tonight.”
“Look fella, just leave us alone, will ya?”
And the figure held out his hands. In his left hand was a shining blade that sliced through the darkness and with one quick strike cut through the necks of each man and they fell where they stood. The figure wiped the blade clean on his dark robe and walked back down the alley and into the light at the end of the street.
Happy was back at his trailer and had thought about the proposition until night fell. He started to feel the itch inside and wanted to get out and rob someone again. He was on such a winning streak he didn’t want to stop, so he did his normal routine and smoked his dope until he fell into a crack cocaine coma and chased it with Johnnie Walker Red.
He didn’t feel like stealing a car tonight and decided to break into one of his neighbor’s homes. He had the perfect place scouted out. It belonged to a shapely brunette that he watched jog up and down the street every day. He knew her routine like the back of his hand, he knew what time she got up, what time she went to work, when she would get home and when she locked up for the night. She lived alone and he thought that she looked pretty helpless. Plus she worked at a local Applebee’s as a waitress so the odds of her having a stack of cash on her was pretty good.
“She will be perfect for us, all that she does is run,” said Tiny Clown.
“Yeah, and maybe we can get a little more than money out of her,” added Rabbit.
Happy dressed himself for a night of mischief and packed for a rough night bringing his pistol along. Tonight’s robbery would be easier for him because he literally was going across the street so he stayed home until he believed that she would have gone to bed. The darkness was in his favor and he sneaked silently in the shadows until he came to her house. Once again he looked around for the easiest point of entry, this time it was a sliding glass door that was left unlocked.
Happy Boy thought back about what the preacher had said about how God worked miracles and here was one. Everything was in place for a simple in and out with no harm and no foul. Happy made his way to the back of the house and used his penlight to find the woman’s bedroom where she was sound asleep.
He entered the room and made his way over to her and stood on top of her and watched her sleep. He took his fingertips and ran them smoothly across the bare skin of her legs and drew an outline of the dragon tattoo on the outside of her thigh. Happy thought that this caressing would get him sexually aroused but it didn’t; in fact, it made him feel kind of dirty. It wasn’t so much that he was invading her privacy, it was that she was so submissive.
He finished with his nights fondling and made his way over to her dresser which was bare having only various types of make-up on it and Happy was kind of troubled. He then decided to go back to her but before he did, he placed the bandanna over his face just in case she was to wake up early. She was too pretty to have to kill and he really didn’t want to have to do it. He then took his hand and placed it over her mouth.
“Don’t scream and I won’t hurt you,” said Happy.
The woman squirmed as any frightened person would but didn’t scream. Her eyes were as big as saucers and beads of sweat broke out on her brow.
“Get the goods and let’s get out. Something’s wrong here.” Rabbit said.
“Where’s the money?” asked Happy Boy. She shook her head no. “The money, bitch, where is it?”
She had no response.
“Forget it Happy, we should just leave,” said Tiny Clown.
“We can’t leave now, we just started,” replied Happy Boy “Last time before it gets rough,” but the threat didn’t work, Happy began to feel a tingling inside.
He took out his pistol and ordered the woman onto her stomach where he planned to bind her hands with the zip-ties but she struggled and began to yell for help. Happy took the butt of his gun and repeatedly struck her on the back of her head until she stopped moving altogether. She fell limp and Happy continued to tie her up and he rolled her over on the bed. Even unconscious she was a striking woman.
“Now’s your time Happy,” said Tiny Clown.
“Might as well, Haas.”
Happy knew what they meant. He had often fantasized about this moment as he sat in his chair and watched her jog by his trailer. Now would be the perfect time and she would never know. He pulled down her shorts and stopped about mid-shin. She was wearing her prettiest pair of red lace panties, just Happy’s type, and he was convinced that she was wearing them just for him. He checked to see if she was still breathing after the blows that she took and Happy was surprised that she wasn’t. He took her by the shoulders and shook her vigorously but she still didn’t flinch. It appeared as if the head trauma had killed the young woman and this bit of knowledge excited Happy even more. He took this moment to fondle her soft hair and breathed in the vanilla conditioner before he raped the dead woman and laid next to her and even spooned with her until he became aroused again. The second time around he raped her from behind and buried her face into the pillow and fantasized about her asphyxiating during her orgasm.
When he finished with his deviant sex acts, he got back to plundering the bedroom for her hidden stash of cash. The honey pot was in the closet in a shoebox where he found over $1000. The day was Saturday so she had already pulled in the weekend tips and Happy just happened to strike at the right time.
Before leaving, he took one of her bedsheets and covered her properly as any deceased body should be. He may have defiled her dead body but he still thought that he owed her some sense of respect. Taking the money, Happy let himself out the back door and went home for the night.
Sunday morning came just like every other morning to Happy. Hot, sticky, and hung-over. Last night’s exploits had him feeling a little bit guilty and a little bit satisfied, both equally tugging at his soul. The girl died by accident, just a little bit too much force; but he told her not to struggle. It was her own fault.
Happy got up and took up his bottle of Scotch and took one long, extended drink until he almost choked, then went outside to get the newspaper. To his delight, his murder had made the front page and the article was two whole columns. Happy was addicted to collecting his news clippings as trophies so he took some scissors and cut out the article and left it on the kitchen table. He would put it in his scrapbook later.
“What’s wrong, champ? Cheer up, you made the news!” asked Rabbit.
“Why did she have to die?”
“Because she wouldn’t listen,” replied Tiny Clown, “You told her not to scream and she tried to scream. If she didn’t do what you told her not to do, she would still be alive now…now wouldn’t she?”
“Anyways, you still had your fun. It didn’t stop you now, did it, tiger?”
And Happy gave an embarrassing smile.
“Come on Happy, let’s get out of here and spend some of that money,” said Rabbit.
Happy agreed and out the front door he went.
What better way for a drug addict to spend his money than to buy more drugs. This $1000 could buy him a shit ton of crack and Happy walked downtown with a spring in his step. It was mid-day by now and the streets were alive with street traffic. Off of the same alley, Happy saw the street preacher speaking his word to a gathering of about a dozen and in front of a news crew. It was busy for a Sunday.
The News Team 6 was interviewing him about the tent revival and was giving him a chance to spread his word across the airwaves, and in true preacher form, he had plenty to say.
“So tell us more about the revival at Scooter’s Field,” asked Melanie Ames, anchorwoman News Team 6.
“We have been there since Thursday and we will be holding services twice a day until this Thursday making it a full week of salvation. Everyone is invited and we urge you to come on down and embrace the Lord’s word,” the preacher said.
”Now tell us what to expect during the revival and what denomination you will be speaking from.”
“We entertain all walks of Christ and preach from the Bible, straight from the Bible, without any spinning or yarns. The word is the word and it comes straight from the good book.”
“Does the string of missing person’s on Mercer Street alarm you in any way and affect your ministries?”
“Not at all. I am aware of the incident and we are offering the homeless a place under our tent to sleep with dinner and breakfast served daily.”
“And there we have it. Be sure to make your way down to Scooter’s Field before Thursday and enjoy a relaxing time in the presence of the Lord.”
“And we’re out,” she said. “Casey, you got all that?”
“Yeah, we’re good, boss.”
“Perfect, let’s get out of here, these people creep me out,” she told her cameraman. “Thank you, preacher, I think that that went well. Good luck with your revival,” and Melanie Ames was in the van and out of sight in no time.
“Well, that was freaking rude, don’t you think?” asked Rabbit.
“It certainly was,” answered Happy. “Hey preacher, what was that?”
“Reaching out to the lost via television.”
“Yeah, but she was talking shit about us.”
“But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t reach someone today.”
“But that was rude what she said, some of these people are good people just down on their luck, you know?”
“That’s true. You know that, and I know that, how do we make her know that?”
“What do you mean?”
“Maybe someone needs to open her eyes to the truth, you know…teach her a lesson.”
Happy was stunned to hear this suggestion coming from the preacher. Did he mean what it seemed that he meant?
“What do you mean by that?” he asked.
“Nothing. Forget that I said anything. So how was your night Happy Boy, you look like a new man?”
“Oh, it was restful, first night in a long time.”
“Stayed in I assume, no stealing of cars?”
“No, not last night. Caught up on some sleep. How did the revival go?”
“Good, good. Missed you there. Thought you might show up again.”
“Nah, maybe tonight.”
“So say, have you heard about these missing persons down here on the streets?”
“Yeah, I’ve heard a little bit about it. Found two of them down by the tracks the other day, didn’t they?”
“Yeah, real shame. Seems like someone is hunting them.”
“Sad. These poor people have life hard enough.”
“Indeed So what are you going to do today? I could use some help going door to door with these Bibles, can I count you in?”
“What’s he trying to pull?” asked Rabbit.
“Go ahead and do it Happy, see where he is coming from.”
“Sure, why not. I will be back in about an hour. Does that work for you?”
“That will be perfect.”
Happy walked off and made his way towards one of his trusted drug dealers to score his stash before joining the preacher and his daily activities. He took the opportunity to get high in the dealer’s apartment and then went back outside to meet the holy man and go on their way.
“Are we ready, Happy?”
“As ready as I would ever be.”
Happy and the preacher left the downtown area and made their way towards one of the outlying neighborhoods. Kids played here and it was safe to let them go out after dark. That couldn’t be said about a lot of places in this town.
Happy Boy carried the suitcase full of Bibles and the preacher did the talking. They went door to door knocking and preaching to those who answered. It was a lot harder than it seemed, it appeared as if the Bible was no longer in need and very few of the houses answered the door to them. But those that did would offer them a glass of tea or lemonade (it was awfully hot after midday).
“You see how easy it is to meet people Happy? Just go door to door with a good message and people let you in to their homes. Great way to make acquaintances.”
Happy Boy had noticed how easy it was to get into their homes and he kind of liked being able to see what the inside looked like during the daylight.
“Think that you might be cut out for a life like this Happy?”
“Maybe, do I have to sell Bibles though?”
“Yeah, part of the package.”
“Meh, maybe not.”
“Well, maybe I can still change your mind. Like I said the Lord works in mysterious ways. Come this way,” and the preacher led Happy back into the slums and down to where the abandoned buildings were falling in.
“Be careful Happy, something’s not right,” said Tiny Clown.
“Why are we down here?” asked Happy Boy.
“I have something that I would like to show you,” the preacher answered taking a white cloth and a bottle from his inner pocket. He poured a bit of liquid on the cloth and inhaled deeply, the liquid had a distinct smell to Happy…it was ether.
“Holy shit, preach, seriously?”
“Yeah, just call it one of my sins. We all have them and mine is this. Now come on, come over here,” and the preacher walked into one of the broken down structures and removed a couple of the boards. Under them was the dead body of one of the homeless men that had been at the preachers gathering yesterday.
“Did you do that?” asked Happy.
“I did indeed. I just delivered one of God’s children up to heaven.”
“Is that how you see it?”
“Sure…that’s how it is. I have been sent here to do His work and this is part of it.”
“If you say so.”
“How is it any different in what you do?”
“Okay, Happy, time for you to get out of here and NOW!” said Rabbit.
“What are you talking about?”
“I am talking about those girls, Happy. Like that girl last night that you robbed…and other stuff. I know all about you and the things that you do.”
“It comes to me in dreams, wondrous dreams. You are one of the special ones that I can dream about and see what you do.”
“Okay, Happy, you know what you are going to have to do,” said Tiny Clown.
“I can’t kill him.”
“You have to, Happy,” added Rabbit.
“Don’t worry, Happy, I won’t tell if you don’t tell. If you just stay silent until Thursday I will be gone and your town will be all yours again. Deal?”
“Deal. But maybe we can help each other out with something.”
“Sure, what do you have in mind?”
“That reporter. I think that she has a visit due to her.”
Happy and the preacher left the rundown buildings and went their separate ways when they got back to the nicer part of Mercer street. The preacher took his Bibles out from his suitcase and took his place on a stoop and returned to preaching the Lord’s word as if the previous events had never happened. Happy walked home with a huge bag of cocaine in his pocket and a smile on his face thinking about what the preacher had just admitted to him. Now he wasn’t the only murderer in town, it kind of felt nice.
Happy got home and looked over to the young lady’s house that he had visited the night before and it seemed so cold and empty. The streets would never be the same without her jogging by. Happy went inside and grabbed his bottle of liquor and began to drink heavily. He had plans for the night, big plans.
First off he had to find a way to locate Melanie Ames’ address. He thought that she was probably going to be living in a rich part of town so he had to be extra prepared for the entry. A simple Google search was able to find her. Public figures were easier to find because of the public’s poor reviews, many of those people were determined to get their address out.
Happy Boy took the rest of the evening to plan his exploits and thought long and hard about the best way to handle this situation. It might just be his imagination; but the preacher seemed in full favor of anything goes in regards to the woman. He was sort of the Patron Saint of the Town Street People and Happy was the Executioner. The cocaine buzz lasted for only so long before Happy passed out.
Happy Boy woke to the excited voice of Rabbit screaming excitedly “Wake up, wake up! We have lots to do!” and he was right. He still had plenty of drugs and alcohol left and Happy hit them both hard trying to get in the right frame of mind.
At about midnight he was about as medicated as he could get so he left his trailer and walked through the neighborhoods looking for the right Sedan to steal. It didn’t take long for one to catch his eye and with a simple jam of a screwdriver into the steering column, Happy was behind the wheel and driving to Melanie Ames’ house. Happy drove around the neighborhood three times to get the layout and case the house for the best way to get in. He parked two blocks down and walked up the street to the victim’s home. It was a two-story ranch and the easiest way in was a window on the second story. There was a room over the back porch and Happy climbed on top of it easily and got into the window without any problems. He took out his penlight and walked down the hall. Ms. Ames’ bedroom was the first door that he came to. It was pitch black and the only way he could see her was from the red glow of an alarm clock on her dresser.
Happy shown his light across the room and searched for anything that he could use. On a chair at the foot of the bed, he found a wool scarf that he grabbed and was going to use to tie up her hands. First he took the duct tape from his bag and wrapped her mouth in it. She tried her best to struggle and scream but Happy had her bound too tight. The look of sheer fright in her eyes was enough for him, he didn’t even have to go any further, he was now doing it just for the fun of it.
“Don’t worry, I will make it quick for you,” he told the reporter.
“Why should you do that, Happy?” asked Rabbit.
“Yeah, take your time,” said Tiny Clown.
The two did their best to convince Happy to not rush into things and to relax, which he decided to do. The end result was not a good one for Melanie Ames as Happy had every intention to kill her. He looked at her and smiled as tears ran down her face before taking his hunting knife out and cutting her down the left side of her face. The sight of the blood running down her cheek excited Happy so he cut her again on the right side. He had decided after reading the paper that he needed a signature for the cops so he decided that he would cut his victims with two x’s on their cheeks from now on.
Off in a separate bedroom, a surprise came to Happy as the cries of an infant filled the air.
“What’s that?” Happy asked as he ripped the tape off of the woman’s mouth.
“That’s my daughter. Please, just take what you want and leave us alone. I have money, just leave.”
“It’s not that simple. How old is the child?”
“She’s six months. Please let me go to my baby.”
“I don’t think so. Sit back down,” and Happy placed the tape back on her mouth. Ms. Ames sobbed more and her elevated sense of fear was obvious as Happy walked around the room scratching his head with the barrel of the pistol trying to figure out what to do. The baby was a new twist that he hadn’t planned for and he wasn’t sure what to do. The more the child cried, the more agitated he got and the faster he paced. Finally being fed up he took the pistol and placed it to the back of the woman’s head and pulled the trigger. She slumped over slowly and the noise made the baby cry even louder. The noise was like fingernails on a chalkboard to him and he had to make it stop.
“No Happy, don’t do it. Not the baby,” pleaded Rabbit, “We don’t kill kids.”
Rabbit was right, kids were off of the table. Happy was so irritated that he left the valuables in the home and let himself out of the back door and ran back to the Sedan just to escape the child’s cries. He drove back to the safety of his home and smoked his dope until the night’s events were just a blur.
Meanwhile, the preacher had dressed for his night out in a long hooded robe. He walked from the tent revival and made his way down to the beginning of Mercer street where his long shadow was cast down the street. Catcalls rang out, alerting all those out that someone was new to the streets and for them to be careful. Since the disappearances of fellow street people had happened over the last few nights, many chose to run back inside and to hide. This figure was the Grim Reaper coming to collect on their souls. The preacher took out his rag and inhaled one hard time before entering the hunting ground looking for the night’s victim.
In an alley was a lone hooker shooting up her night’s supply of heroin and the preacher approached her.
“Hello there, child.”
“Hello, you looking to party?”
“I am looking for you.”
“What are you, some cop or something?”
“Okay, so you’re a smart ass. What do you want, to be sucked off or something? $30.”
“I want to save your soul. I want to introduce you to Jesus.”
“That’s funny, Jesus forgot about me a long time ago.”
“That’s not true, child. Jesus never forgets…” And the street preacher took out the rag and placed it over her mouth and nose and held it there until she stopped struggling. He then picked up her limp body and carried her down the street to the abandoned part of town and dumped her body in one of the buildings. The preacher then made his way back to the revival tent and went to bed feeling fulfilled.
Happy woke the next day and rushed to the front door to see what the papers had to say about the newswoman’s death but the paper didn’t have a write-up. It was probably too early for the body to be found, she probably won’t even be missed until after noon. But he took what money he had and he grabbed the bus and rode to the downtown bar where Happy would often wait for the day to grow long.
“Hey, Earl,” said Happy as he sat down at the bar.
“Hey there, Happy, what are you feeling today? Gin, Scotch, or Jager?”
“Gin, Earl, too early for the others.”
“So what’s new, Happy?”
“Oh, nothing. About to move out of town. Going to hit the road with that preacher and see the sights.”
“Are you serious? Doesn’t sound much like you.”
“I know, right? He just spoke to me one day and it felt right.”
“Well if you say so.”
Happy and Earl made small talk into the afternoon until Happy saw the streets come to life and he excused himself and became one with the busy surroundings. After scoring his coke for the day, Happy got back on the bus and took the ride to the empty part of town. On the way, the bus picked up one of Happy’s least favorite fares. Her name was Gina and she was confined to a mechanical wheelchair because she only had one leg. Her other leg was amputated at the knee. She was a vile looking woman who had slicked back, greasy hair and a bottom jaw that swallowed her top one. He always thought of her as a human slug, disgusting in every way. The only redeeming thing about her was the copious amounts of jewelry that she wore daily. She was flaunting her wealth and with that plus her Social Security check, Gina would be the perfect mark for Happy’s last robbery. And he would do that tonight.
Happy got off of the bus at three o’clock and Tiny Clown and Rabbit were busily chirping in his ear about Gina.
“Can’t wait for this one.”
“She deserves everything that she gets.”
“Come on, Happy, let’s go now.”
But Happy knew that he had to wait at least another couple of hours so he spent his free time like he always did drinking and smoking up. Before he knew it it was eight o’clock and the bus would be making its’ last turn of the night so Happy packed his bag and headed out. This time he left the zip-ties at home and brought a pair of handcuffs, Gina’s wrists were fat enough to bleed butter and he didn’t want a repeat of the other night.
Happy Boy got off of the bus about a half a mile away from Gina’s house and spent the next couple of hours hiding in the woods. Her house was in the middle of nowhere and her closest neighbor was about a mile away, if there was ever a perfect target…this was it. He had packed a small amount of the cocaine and smoked it before it was showtime, just enough to give him the superhuman courage to do what he needed to do. It wasn’t always pretty, like the newswoman, so he came prepared this time.
Midnight came and Happy knew that it was time for action. Surely she would be asleep by now and the house would be his for the taking. He looked at the house and imagined it as being overrun with cats and smelling of vinegar and bleach so he pulled his bandanna over his nose and throat to keep the smell out.
“Be careful, Happy,” said Rabbit.
“She is a wild one, Happy,” added Tiny Clown.
It was an easy entry into Gina’s house, the backdoor was wide open and unlocked. Happy took out his penlight and shone it inside to get a layout of the place, and he was right about the cats. Down the hall was a closed door with a flickering light under the crack from a TV and Happy Boy knew that it must be her bedroom. He placed one foot in front of the other as to make as little noise as possible until he got to the closed door.
He twisted the knob but the door was locked. Not to be denied, Happy gave a little force with his shoulder to the door and it came open. He started with a crack and saw Gina’s wheelchair at the foot of the bed. He opened the door even more and found Gina wide awake and with a shotgun in her hands.
“Who the fuck are you?” she said before pulling the trigger.
Her aim was off and the buckshot hit the wall right beside Happy’s face. It startled him a bit but agitated him a lot and he took the .22 from his bag and fired twice, striking Gina in the neck with both shots.
Gina tried to stop the bleeding by holding a pillow over the wound and tried to scream for help; but the sound she made was only a warm gurgling sound as the blood bubbled from her jugular vein. Happy found solace in standing over his victim and enjoyed watching her slowly bleeding out. Happy turned on the bedroom light so as to see the room better and he looked around the room for valuables.
He found her purse first and inside he found $2000, she had obviously just cashed her SSI check. He then went through her chest of drawers, in the back of the top drawer he found a small fortune of gold, diamonds, and silver pieces that made him extremely happy. He would get top dollar for these jewels.
Happy turned back to make sure that Gina was still dying, and she was. He took his jewels and money and went out the back door. Some of the cats got curious and went outside, too, but they wouldn’t go far because the house was where the food was.
Tiny Clown and Rabbit cheered with joy over the robbery that they had just committed and it put an extra spring in Happy’s step. Now all that was left was for Happy to find a car to steal and to get back home. That was the easy part, though, because it was so out in the middle of nowhere that everyone left their cars unlocked. Happy chose a truck for his joyride and within minutes he had it started and he was headed home.
Happy celebrated for hours and passed out about four a.m. under the heavy influence of drugs and alcohol.
He woke up the next morning and rushed to the front door to look at the morning paper. This time he had made the front page with the murder of the newswoman. Happy took up a full page story and he kept it for his scrapbook. He wondered if anyone cared enough for Gina to be known as missing before the cats began to eat her, but if not; so be it.
Happy caught the early bus with riches in his pocket and went happily downtown. He went into the Five and Dime Pawn Shop with Gina’s jewelry and pawned it for $500. He probably could have gotten more for it, but he took the first offer and didn’t want to draw attention to himself. Besides, $500 would buy him plenty of cocaine.
He walked outside with the fist of dollars and made his way down to see the preacher who was preaching from his normal stoop.
“But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled,the lame, the blind,and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just…Luke 14:13-14, and that’s where you will find salvation. Join us at the revival and share a meal with us and share in the Lord’s saving grace. I hope to see you all there,” the preacher said as he passed out pamphlets and bibles.
“Hey there, preach, getting them all worked up I see.”
“Just doing my calling. And you? What brings you out so early?”
“Just running my daily errands.”
“Find what you are looking for?”
“Not yet, but I will.”
“So does our deal still stand? Are you still coming with me?”
“It does, and I am.”
“Then we will leave tomorrow?”
“Then I shall leave you to your errands and I shall attend to mine,” and the preacher took his suitcase and walked up the street towards his revival tent.
Happy scored his drugs and went home to prepare for his trip. He spent the day packing all of his belongings into two suitcases and one knapsack. It wasn’t hard for him to leave most everything behind, in his line of work it would be easy for him to replace virtually everything. Plus he would be living under a tent with a preacher so he wasn’t going to need much more than his handcuffs, his gun, and his light for his nighttime activities. He began to get excited thinking about all of the new faces that he was going to meet and all of the new robberies he was going to do. Combine that with the preacher’s own perversions and they seemed to make up the perfect couple.
“You don’t have to do this, Happy,” cried Rabbit. “Just tell him no.”
“Just change your mind and stay here,” replied Tiny Clown.
“I am not going to do that. It just makes sense for me to leave. Things are getting too tight around here, pretty soon those cops are going to be putting the screws to the pawn shops and my name is going to pop up. I have to leave before it gets too hot and this is the perfect plan.”
“I’m telling you, Happy Boy, something is wrong with that guy. You can’t trust him,” said Rabbit.
“Just be quiet, I know what I am doing,” and Happy was just about through packing for the trip.
Next, he went down to the revival to meet up with the preacher to make sure that they had everything in place for tomorrow’s exit. Under the tent were dozens of homeless sleeping in makeshift beds provided by the street preacher. No matter what he did in his free time, he was doing good works with the needy in this town.
“Is it like this every night?” Happy asked the preacher.
“Pretty much. They just want to feel human for a while. That’s what I do here, give them a sense of hope at least for one night.”
“And what about those that you find on the streets that aren’t sleeping here. You know, the ones in those buildings.”
“I am delivering them to God. I am ending their earthly pain.”
“Is that what you call it?”
“That’s what it is.
“Is it going to be like this in the next town?”
“It’s going to be like this in every town. Can you handle that?”
Happy got aroused thinking about what he had in store for the strangers in whatever town they were to stop in next.
“So do you have one more in you before we leave town or is the cripple going to be your last?” asked the preacher.
“I think that I am going to end on a high note and lay low this evening. How about you?”
“I have my flock to tend to tonight and will have to be up early in the morning to feed the hungry their breakfast. Can I count on you for some help?”
“I will see what I can do. No promises though.”
“That’s all that I can ask.”
Happy walked home and thought openly about Gina and the noise she made as she tried to breathe. It was like porno to him and he got a hard-on just thinking about it. Had it happened just a bit earlier, he would have blown some of his money on one of the hookers downtown but he was already home now and just had to masturbate it away on his own.
It had become a habit for him to wake up extra early and this was no exception as he was wide awake by eight and on the bus downtown to help the preacher serve breakfast.
“Good morning, Happy Boy.”
“Good morning, preacher. How can I help?”
“It’s easy really, you just stand here and hand out these boxes as this line walks past. You got it?”
“Got it. And what are you going to do?”
“I am going to mingle about and recruit a handful of the stronger men to help us take down this tent and load it up on the trailer.”
“Will they do that?”
“It’s amazing what a full belly and $10 an hour will do,” and the preacher got lost in the sea of people looking for good help.
After the last box of food was given out, the preacher returned to talk to Happy Boy.
“Well Happy, this is it. Now’s the time to say your goodbyes to anyone that you have to say goodbye to. Once these men get started this tent will come down in no time.”
This gave Happy the perfect chance to find his dealer and score hid traveling coke before their road trip. “Okay then, preach. I’ll be back soon,” and Happy was off to find his drugs.
The streets were still empty but Happy was impatient. So much in fact that he went into one of the buildings and knocked on the door where he knew one of his dealers lived. The man wasn’t very pleased by Happy’s boldness but forgave him considering the circumstances. So with a pocket full of cocaine, Happy went back to Scooter’s Field to find the tent completely torn down and loaded onto the trailer behind the preachers F-150. Happy loaded his bags into the back of the truck and got in the passenger side and the preacher and him drove out of town and headed west on the highway. About two hours into their trip, the preacher found what he thought to be the perfect spot for his next revival. It was a little town called Greenville and it had one restaurant advertised…a Cracker Barrel.
“This should do just fine, Happy.”
“So what do we do now? We can’t put that tent up by ourselves.”
“That’s an excellent question. What we do next is find a field big enough for it and then we go and get a permit for the revival.”
“A permit, what for?”
“It’s just a way to make a buck off of me. They are easy to get, though, I have never been turned down. But to your next question, we invite these people to eat a good dinner and in return, they will help us put the tent up. Just like we did getting the tent taken down.”
“So it’s that easy, huh?”
“Believe it or not, yes, it’s that easy.”
Happy and the preacher unhooked the trailer from the truck and drove into town to find the courthouse so that they could get the right permits to hold their tent revival, and like the preacher said, $100 later he had the right paperwork in hand. Their next step was to find the rundown area of town where they could find cheap labor. This part of town was called Selwyn Avenue and the preacher began to drum up a crowd by speaking his scripture. Happy laid back and surveyed the crowd trying to look at all of the ones who didn’t join the horde and decide if they were a drug dealer or not. Happy had years of experience with this so the dealers stuck out like a sore thumb so feeling assured that he had found his men, Happy went back to handing out the flyers that promoted the revival under the tent down at the Greenville Stockyard.
The preacher felt pretty confident that he had drummed up enough hungry men to help him with the tent tomorrow morning and he and Happy Boy got back in the truck and drove around town for a bit.
“So what do we do next?” asked Happy Boy.
“Well, first, we get ourselves a nice hotel room and dinner. It will be our last one for a week. Oh, and don’t forget to shower, we won’t be getting one of those either.”
“So do you think those people will show up in the morning?”
“Oh, the majority of them will, again a free meal and cash says a lot down there. Plus a chance to hear God’s spoken word. Most of these people are looking for salvation.”
“And what about you, are you going to be doing that thing you were doing back there?”
“What’s that, saving people from this cruel world? If the spirit takes me I will. How about you, are you going to go back to your murderous ways?”
“If the spirit takes me.”
“Well, here we are, Happy. This will have to do,” the preacher said as they pulled into the parking lot of a Holiday Inn. “And wouldn’t you know it, the Cracker Barrel is right across the street. I will go over there and order up our breakfasts for tomorrow morning, you go inside and get us a couple of rooms.” And with that, Happy Boy and the preacher were set up for the night.
At ten o’clock the preacher decided to take a little drive to the downtown portion of Greenville to get to know the people a little bit better. He left his cloak in the hotel room (he had no plans on killing anyone this evening) and walked as a man of God. The streets were alive with pimps and hookers and the preacher knew that he would have to visit again to help and save them from their sins. He stopped on the corner and struck up a conversation with one of the drug dealers who was peddling his wares.
“Hello, my son, how are you this evening?”
“What are you looking for? I’ve got it all. Coke, heroin, opioids…what’s your pleasure?”
“Well, I could actually use some ether.”
“Ether? Shit, dude, this ain’t 1970 and you ain’t Dennis Hopper, I ain’t got no ether and don’t know where to get it, either. Your just shit out of luck, now move on. You’re holding up my business.”
“Envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God…Galatians 5:21, you see son? I am here for you.”
“Yeah, that’s great, now move on.”
“I will see you again soon, my child. Have a pleasant evening.”
The preacher continued on his walk and passed the flyers out to everyone that he passed on the street. These were the most downtrodden of the town, the working girls and drug slingers, and the winos. The downtown was as busy now as it was during the day and the preacher felt confident that he had reached enough people to make the revival a success. He then got back in his truck and drove back to the hotel room to get some sleep before the busy day ahead.
Back at the Holiday Inn, Happy Boy dressed in his all-black and knit cap and packed his bag with the handcuffs and pistol. He smoked a little of his last stash of crack and left his room at about midnight and walked through the parking lot and looked for a car to boost. Taking one of the cars from the Holiday Inn was too risky so Happy went over to the Cracker Barrel and stole one of the cars from there, he then took a joyride around the town and looked for the perfect place to break into on this night. Nestled in the culdesac was a wonderful little Victorian with six-foot hedges lining the yard. This would be the perfect cover for him as he walked around the grounds.
The house, though, was locked up tight. He wasn’t used to this as all of the houses before were easy entry. This one would take some effort.
Happy took the wallet of lock picks from his pocket and went to work, it was easier than he remembered and he was inside in just seconds.
The back door led into the laundry room. Happy Boy took out his penlight and searched through the pile of laundry to see what kind of people lived in the home. He was happy to see that all of the clothes were one size and were women’s meaning that chances are there was only a single female living in the home.
He then made his way through the kitchen and opened the refrigerator to see what kind of food she would be eating, inside was lots of greens and yogurts. She was a health food nut, so she was probably in pretty good shape.
Happy Boy continued walking through the house and stopped in the living room and looked at the pictures on the mantle. It was a family of three that must be the owner of the house and her parents. She was a beautiful blonde and Happy got excited. He then walked down the hallway and looked for her bedroom. What he found was all of the rooms were empty, she wasn’t home and Happy had gotten excited for no reason,
Happy still took the time to ransack the home for anything of value and left with a decent amount of jewelry from her dresser.
But Happy Boy had a need for something more violent so with an overwhelming feeling of disappointment, Happy left the home and closed the back door then went back to his stolen car knowing that he would keep an eye out on this place and with the hope that she would come back home before the week was over.
Happy Boy got back to his hotel room and drank from his bottle of Scotch feeling let down that he had broken into the home for no reason but the assorted jewels. Without the killing, he felt unfulfilled and empty.
“It’s okay, Happy, there is always tomorrow,” said Tiny Clown.
“Yeah, you will have plenty of houses to choose from when you go door to door with that preacher.”
“But I needed it now. It’s been too long,” Happy was going through a sort of withdraws from breaking and entering and especially the killing.
Happy slept peacefully that night and was ready to start the day when he woke up. There was a knock on the door and the preacher was on the other side ready to go and pick up the food and go to the stockyard to get the tent raised. Already waiting in the field were dozens of the downtrodden, downtown people and the preacher was more than happy to back his truck up and begin passing out the boxes of food.
After eating their breakfast, the preacher took the twelve most able bodies and began to raise the tent for the night’s events. The hard part was stretching the enormous tent out before walking it off in synchronized steps so that it all went up at the same time. Once the four corners were raised the preacher took three of the men and walked forwards to raise the top of the tent then they went to the outsides to post the stakes that would hold the tent in place. After getting the tent fully in place, the preacher went back to the rear of his truck and took out the platform stands and began to piece them together.
“A little help here?” he asked Happy Boy.
“Sure preach. So when are we going to hit the houses door to door?”
“That will be tomorrow. Don’t worry, you will have plenty of time to do what you do.”
“Great. Just checking.”
“So I take it you struck out last night? There is a sense of angst about you this morning.”
“Halfway, no one was home.”
“Well, I guess the Lord was looking out for her, wouldn’t you say?”
“I guess you would say, I would say that she was gone.”
“Maybe your luck will change tonight.”
“So preach, I have to run into town for a bit.”
“Fencing some jewels I assume?”
“Yeah, so what?”
“So nothing. Just be back in time for tonight’s service. We will start around six. Enjoy your time in town.”
“Yeah, Happy, that’s the first thing that he said that makes sense,” said Rabbit.
“I think that it’s time for us to leave, Happy, we can still go back it’s not too late.”
“Quiet Tiny Clown, we are where we are supposed to be. I can feel it in my bones.”
“We don’t belong here. I am telling you, something is wrong with that guy.”
“I don’t want to hear another word about it. We’re staying!”
Happy Boy left the tent and the preacher and began his short walk into the downtown area of the town. There he went to the first pawnshop that he could find and sold his jewels for $400 cash. He then walked back onto the street and watched the foot traffic so that he could get a proper read on who was holding and who wasn’t. After picking out the perfect man to be his new dealer,
Happy Boy approached the man with cash in hand and asked for $200 worth of coke.
“Are you a cop?” the man asked. “I don’t know you, why are you talking to me?”
“I have been watching you, plus I have been a part of this game for years and you aren’t surprising anyone. Just give me the drugs and I will give you the money.”
“Cash upfront, then I go inside to get what you want.”
“No deal. Show me the dope and I show you the dough.”
“You are driving a hard bargain. Stay right here and I will be right back.”
Happy Boy took a seat on the steps outside of the apartment building and waited for the dealer to come back out. When he did, he had another man with him. This man was much bigger and clearly had been to prison judging from his muscles and tattoos.
“Is this the guy?” he asked.
“Yep, that’s him.”
“So what are you looking for?”
“I need $200 in crack.”
“That’s an awfully big request from a person that I don’t know.”
“Just relax, I am with the tent revival and I am new in town, just give me the drugs and you will see more of me as long as I am in town.”
“The revival, huh? So are you some sort of Jesus freak or something?”
“Nope, I am just along for the ride.”
“So are you running from something?”
“You might say that.”
“Easy now, Happy Boy, he is asking too many questions,” said Tiny Clown.
“Okay then, give it to him,” the bigger man said to the street dealer.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a brown sandwich bag and handed it over to Happy Boy who, in return, handed the bigger man two hundred dollar bills.
“Thanks, pleasure doing business with you. Mind if I get high here?” Happy asked pointing to the alley beside the apartment building.
“Be my guest, looks like you are going to fit right in.”
Happy smoked until a humming sound buzzed about his head and his vision blurred, he stumbled out in the alley and walked down the street. Midway down he found a bar called Spanky’s and he went inside to partner his coke buzz with some booze.
“Johnny Walker Red on the rocks,” Happy said.
“Sure thing, boss,” replied the bartender. “My name’s Skippy. What’s yours?”
“They call me Happy, Skippy, Happy Boy.”
“Pleasure meeting you Happy Boy. Are you new in town?”
“Yeah, I am with the tent revival down by the stockyard.”
“So are you a preacher?”
“No, I am more like a salesman. A bible salesman. I go door to door and try to sell bibles.”
“No wonder you drink so early in the day.”
Skippy and Happy shared stories about each other’s lives as Happy kicked back five or six strong drinks, and did so until Happy looked up at the clock and noticed that it was five o’clock. Happy paid his tab and stopped by the bathroom to get high again before going to the revival. When he got back to the tent, he was just in time for it to start.
Happy stayed off to the side and watched as the preacher did his magic on the stage. He had next to nothing to contribute so he felt it best to just stay out of the way. The preacher’s ability to know what Happy did during the night wasn’t the scariest trait that the man had, it was that he had the words to describe him and that spoke to him that bothered Happy the most.
“For the one authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer…Romans 13:4…and this speaks to you and whatever sin you might have sinned. But fret not, salvation is still available to you and it is in the word that you can find eternal life. Who among you is ready to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior?” he asked and a handful of the people scurried about. “Then come on up and enter into his Kingdom as I will anoint you with the baptismal waters.”
The sinners went forth and the preacher took up his finger bowl of holy water and splashed each one of them in the face one by one. This was supposed to symbolize the baptism when there wasn’t a river or tub available.
“Now go on with your lives and live them for Jesus,” and with that, the preacher ended the sermon and sent the gatherers on their way. About twenty of them stayed behind, though, and took the preacher up on his promise of shelter for the night. All in all, he really was doing good for the community.
“So what did you think?” the preacher asked Happy.
“Pretty well done, you even had me going there for a bit.”
“Everyone is open to the Lord’s word, even you.”
“So what do you do with the ones that sleep over?”
“We give them a safe place for the night and then we give them breakfast in the morning. In return, they clean up around here and they get paid for it.”
“You really do care about these people don’t you, preacher?”
“Of course I do, my son, I love all people. Everyone deserves salvation. Even you. Now get some rest, Happy, tomorrow you will be helping me in spreading the word door to door.”
“That’s enough of his bullshit, Happy. Don’t tell me that you are buying into it,” asked Rabbit.
“Of course not, I am just here for the door to door access that I will be getting tomorrow. It will be easier for me to pick my victims if I can get into their house before nightfall. It’s the perfect opportunity.”
Happy let the preacher go to his small tent first and then went into his a little later. Before he went in, though, he sneaked into the woods and got high off of his cocaine before going into his tent to drink on his chilled bottle of Jager. He was preparing for a long night. It was just a quarter after eight and Happy was intent on wanting to see if the preacher went out on his own before he went into the town.
The preacher, though, had other plans. He had become quite the expert of operating in absolute silence and he left his tent around ten o’clock without Happy being none the wiser. He was wearing his cloak and had been breathing heavily from the ether ever since he finished his sermon and was ready to hit the streets.
Seeing that he was new in town, the downtown people had no idea who he was and the first night was the easiest to find a soul to save. He walked deeply into the alleys and searched for the perfect target when he found a young woman performing fellatio on a man in the darkness. He startled them and the woman stood up straight.
“Say, what’s wrong with you? Are you some sort of pervert or something?” she asked the preacher.
“Not at all, my child. I am here to save you.”
The man was busily zipping up his pants and had decided that he was going to make a break for it while the preacher talked to the hooker.
“Wait a minute, my son, I am here for you too,” and the preacher pulled out his six-inch blade from inside of his long sleeves and slit his throat as he was passing by. This made the prostitute start to scream, but the preacher stopped that by smothering her with his rag until she fell dead at his feet. Looking down at his two victims, the preacher felt elated that he had just sent two souls to heaven and walked back out of the ally and back to the campsite.
Happy had his own plans and left the tent much later and stole his car from the town bar. He drove to the outskirts of town where he knew that he would have privacy to do whatever he felt like doing. He parked it on the street and cased the neighborhood on foot trying to find the first home that spoke to him. He liked the surprise involved in picking out a house cold turkey, and was excited to find out what was inside.
“Look at that one, Happy,” said Rabbit. “Looks good to me.”
“Me too, Happy. There are two Mercedes in that drive-way, they must be rich.”
Happy agreed with them and climbed a tree across from the street of the house so that he could see in the windows of the second floor. The shades were open and Happy could see into them easily. There were two people in the bed and Happy assumed they must be husband and wife.
This got him even more excited thinking about the rush that he was going to get holding the man hostage while the wife would plead for her husband’s life. It was one of the most satisfying parts of his night, this double robbery.
They both looked sound asleep, they had left their TV on so Happy could see them clearly, and Happy crossed the street and went around back to find a way in. The house was locked up tight, though, so Happy needed to use a little force to get in. He looked around the grounds and decided to use one of the bricks from the sidewalk to break the glass of the back door. He wrapped the brick up in his hoodie and smashed the glass out then reached his hand in and unlocked the door.
Little to no sound was made and the sound of Happy’s boots crunched on the broken glass as he entered the home. He looked around the kitchen and found a kitchen knife in a drawer that he took with him for added effect. Just the sight of this large knife would be enough to scare anyone, add that to it being in the hands of a masked stranger and Happy had set the perfect setting for the robbery.
“Plan on using that thing, I hope,” asked Tiny Clown.
“If I need to. Pretty scary, though, right?”
“You got it, Haas.”
Happy took his time as he walked up the stairs carefully listening for any noise coming from anywhere on the second floor. He knew the bedroom to be the last door on the right so he went door to door on the others to see if there were any children sleeping that he would need to know about. There was one office and one spare bedroom that was empty and there were only the two of them at home. This made things a lot less messy for Happy and he went into their room ready for anything.
Happy struck first and yanked the man out of the bed and held the knife up to his throat so he didn’t have time to make any noise before Happy had him in control. His wife woke up and started to scream but Happy directed her that if she did he would cut her husband’s throat. She frantically obeyed and looked to be in shock. Happy took out the handcuffs and cuffed the hands of the husband behind his back and shoved him down on the bed. The wife instinctively took his side to tend to him and then Happy grabbed her by the hair and pulled her close.
“Give me all that you’ve got. I want the gold, I want the silver, I want the diamonds, I want the money, I want it all and I want it NOW!”
Happy could feel her shaking because she was so scared and was surprised that she could concentrate on what he was saying, but without him having to ask twice she was emptying her jewelry box out onto a table and took all of the money from her purse.
“Now I want what you have stashed for a rainy day, I know that you have some somewhere.”
“I don’t know what you mean,” she said.
“Come on, Happy, you know better than that,” said Tiny Clown.
“Yeah, Happy, don’t let her lie to you.”
Happy jerked her husband up from the bed and placed the knife back to his throat and drew blood which trickled down and onto his white t-shirt.
“Okay, okay, okay. Just don’t hurt him. It’s in a safe downstairs. I will get it for you just let him go.”
“That’s not how this works. He comes with us while you get me my money…NOW MOVE!” Happy commanded.
The woman stumbled down the stairs and led Happy and her husband into the living room where she took down a painting revealing a safe in the wall. A few clicks left, and one click right, and the woman had the safe open and a stack of cash in her hand.
“Put it down on that coffee table,” and she obeyed. “Sorry boss, but I don’t need you anymore.” Happy said as he pulled the blade of the knife across the throat of his hostage. The blood shot out and landed on the woman’s nightgown causing her to take a deep breath of shock and giving Happy just enough time to gag her mouth before she could scream.
“Oh I’m not through with you yet,” and the thought of bondage began to excite Happy sexually. After taking a roll of duct tape out of his bag he wrapped up her wrists and wrapped up her mouth before throwing her over the couch so that she was facing her dead husband.
“Do you think that he would mind watching?” Happy asked as he unbuttoned his pants and pulled up her nightgown.
The woman fought him as best as she could but considering how much he had her bound there really wasn’t much that she could do. Happy raped her twice that night before he took out his .22 and thankfully shot her in the back of the head. It was a mercy killing, he thought. It was as if the preacher was already wearing off on him. Happy left the house just as quietly as he had entered it and no one was the wiser that he had ever been there, and no one probably would for at least a couple of days. By that time, Happy and the preacher would almost be through with their revival and on to the next unsuspecting town.
The preacher woke up first and drove downtown to pick up the breakfast trays for the homeless that stayed the night after the revival. Happy didn’t get in until the early morning hours and was in his tent sleeping off the Jager and cocaine buzz. The preacher got back right at eight and everyone was thankful for their meal. So thankful that they eagerly finished and went on to clean up the grounds like they promised.
The preacher went back into his tent and packed his box suitcase full of pamphlets, handouts, and Bibles then went over to wake Happy Boy up so they could begin their first day together.
“Good morning Happy, are you ready to start the day?”
Happy was half excited and half hungover, he couldn’t wait to get out of the unbearable heat inside of his tent, but the morning sun wasn’t much cooler.
“Yeah, preach, just give me a minute and let me sort out myself.”
“Sounds good Happy. I will be waiting for you by my truck.”
“Alright,” and Happy took a few minutes to get high. He stashed the jewels in his bag and stuck the rest of his drugs in his sock, both he and the preacher were fully aware that he would need a fix about midday.
“Okay, preacher, let’s get going.”
“You’re in an awfully chipper mood this morning. Have an eventful night I assume.”
“Come on now, you know that I did. I only did what I had to do though, kind of like you.”
“Like me, you say? How do you figure?”
“After her husband died, she was going to be a lonely widow. I sent them both to heaven where they will be together forever.”
“Well, that does sound like me.”
“Alright Happy, stop it. You are talking too much,” said Tiny Clown.
“I am telling you we have to get away from him Haas.”
“Did you say something Happy?” asked the preacher.
“Oh no, just thinking out loud.”
“Well today we will start downtown and give out these Bibles then we will drive into some of the neighborhoods and see if we can drum up any money.”
“Works for me.”
Happy and the preacher displayed their Bibles and pamphlets on the top of the suitcase and talked with the street people and told them about their ministries. They invited them to join them at the revival and told them about the free food and lodgings that were offered to those who wanted it. It seemed to go over well and the preacher thought that at least twenty of the new faces would take him up on his offer, after that Happy and the preacher loaded back into their truck and left the downtown area and parked outside of a real estate development.
“This is all for you Happy. This is your show, I will follow you.”
Happy was nervous about hearing this because he didn’t have any idea how to sell a Bible, much less sell God.
It took Happy a few houses of rejection to get used to his script but eventually, he found the right words that would get his foot in the door.
“Excuse me, ma’am, might I have a minute of your time to talk to you about the revival that we are having down at the stockyard this week. All of the proceeds are going to feed and shelter the homeless and the needy and I am selling the Lord’s good word to raise the funds. Can you find it in your heart to help us?” and then Happy and the preacher were in the door. Once inside, Happy let the preacher do the hard sell, he knew more about the ins and outs of the revival, so Happy took his time to look over the layout of the house just in case he decided to come back later that night.
The routine worked on about half of the houses (five to be exact) and Happy felt as if he had plenty of intel for his late-night shenanigans.
“So what do you think, Happy?”
“I think that I like this, that beats the bus any day.”
“Thought that you might see it that way. Well, I am exhausted. Going to go back and get a nap before tonight’s service. What are you thinking about doing?”
“Probably going to hit up that bar Spanky’s and grab some lunch.”
“Alright, then. See you tonight?”
“Yeah, see you then.”
Happy walked off in the direction of the bar and kept his eyes out for the dealer that he had used yesterday. He couldn’t find him so he took his stolen jewelry to the pawnshop and walked out with $600 this time. That plus the $4000 cash he got was a good enough nest egg for him to lay low for a while.
Happy enjoyed his drinks in the bar and repeatedly looked over his shoulder so as to not miss the man from where he could get his crack. By six o’clock the man had never shown, so Happy decided to watch the others in town to see which one gave him the right kind of vibe.
For lunch Happy had a bar roast beef sandwich and chips with a crisp dill pickle, it went perfectly with a glass of Jameson’s that he was drinking from. The only thing that was missing was his dealer and it would be just like he was back at home. Happy had already missed the beginning of the revival so he decided to stay downtown and to meet up with some of the more colorful locals.
The streets really began to come to life after eight o’clock and the sun had gone down. Then just about any behavior was accepted and expected. People came in and out of the apartments freely and Happy knew that they were buying drugs so he waited outside of one and waited for the dealer to come out.
“Something I can help you with Boss?” the man asked Happy.
“Yeah, I am looking to score some crack.”
“How much are you looking for?”
“$200 now and another $200 for later.”
“That’s a tall order, you got the cash?”
“You got the dope?”
“I got what you need now come on in, follow me.”
“Careful Happy, you don’t know this guy,” said Rabbit.
Happy followed the man up the dark stairwell and into a cheap and rundown apartment. Sitting on the couch was a half-naked woman with a needle sticking out of her arm.
“Don’t mind her, that’s just Betsy. We call her Betsy Wetsy on account that she gets so high that she pees on herself all of the time. Come on back here,” the man said directing Happy into the back bedroom. On the floor was a dirty mattress and a full ashtray, the dealer went over to his closet and pulled out a book bag where he kept his supply of drugs and some digital scales. They were probably the only thing that was worth any money in the whole place. He weighed out $200 worth of crack and bagged it up for Happy and Happy Boy was more than eager to pay him the money.
“Mind if I smoke up here?” Happy asked.
“Be my guest, and if you want to Betsy is available for $50.”
“Thanks, but I think I will pass.”
Happy smoked his drugs until he became numb and barely knew his name. He had no idea where he was or what he was doing there and he even passed out for a little while beside Betsy. They both came to at the same time and Betsy led Happy down the stairs and out into the alley where he shared his dope with her. In return, she was going to give him head, in his frame of mind it all made sense.
“Be careful, Happy, you don’t know what you are doing,” said Rabbit, but Happy was too high to listen.
He stood in the alley with his pants unzipped and with Betsy sucking on his cock when the alley filled with a long pointed shadow. Happy could hear the distinct, and familiar, clicks of the heels of a boot. As they got closer, Happy sobered up enough to hear the words, “And may God see you through to heaven,” and his nose and mouth filled with the strong stench of ether.
Credit: Brady Sheets
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