BillyShakespeare.com: It’s like Shakespeare...only in English.

“She’s been wrapped around more crazy men than a strait jacket.” ~ B.S.

The Incomplete Worlds Of Billy Shakespeare | BillyShakespeare.com: It's like Shakespeare...only in English.

Who’s Gonna Read This, B.S.?

short short stories

"Cucumber"
a horror story by Billy Shakespeare

Genius. Sheer genius. Absolute unadulter-fucker-ating genius.

He had been so smooth. The way he strolled through airport security checkpoint after checkpoint had been ridiculously easy. Easy for him, that is. Anyone else...nah. They would never have made it. They would have panicked...lost their heads as they were surrounded by barking dogs and as an army of greasy third-world soldiers pointed rifles at their head. Anyone else would have blown it.

He had made it, though. He was cool as a cucumber, and he had kept his head, man.

He listened to the foreign languages fly back and forth through the airport, keeping his eyes on the exit and to the taxis waiting outside. He kept a tight grip on a jet-black overnight bag that hung by a leather strap from his shoulder. Pushing his sunglasses up the bridge of his nose, he afforded himself a quick glance to either side and saw, to his relief, no one.

No one rushed up to him. No one called in a harsh foreign tongue to stop or forfeit his life. No one surrounded him with weapons drawn.

Best of all, his partner was also nowhere in sight.

Two hours later he was lying in bed, his head surrounded by thick bundles of American money. It wasn’t a king’s ransom, but more money than he would ever know what to do with. He would never live long enough to spend it all, especially in this part of the world where an American dollar stretched very far indeed and raised no red flags. It boggled his mind that it had all fit so well into one black leather carry-on bag.

He stared up at the hotel ceiling fan, blades whirring slowly; it was more of a decoration than a functional cooling device. It didn’t matter, of course. Despite the intense humidity in the hotel room, he was too cool. And if he should start to sweat? No problem. He had all the money in the world to fan himself with. Wads of it.

As he closed his eyes, he thought about his partner, probably still waiting at the drop-off point. A million miles away in the States, man. What was the last thing he had said? “I’m trusting you. Don’t fuck me over. Don’t fuck with my head, man, ‘cus I’ll fuck with yours!” Ha. Laughable, now that he was so far away.

But when he had said it then, he had to admit, it was frightening. He almost hadn’t gone through with it. After all his planning – months of it! – he had almost chucked it all away. He had almost kept his word and pissed away this chance. Again, it was all laughable now. He was as untraceable as the American dollars that lay strewn about his hotel room. And as hidden as this hotel was in South America.

He smiled. So sweet. So very sweet, man. He kept his head together and the pay-off was big. Such a beautiful payback.

Still smiling, he fell asleep.

He awoke with a start hours later. Hours? Felt like days. A blanket over his face was blocking the light and making it hard to breathe. His body so stiff he couldn’t find strength or energy to move it. He tried to turn his head away from the blanket and allow himself some fresher, but couldn’t find the strength for that, either. His mind swam quickly up through the depths of sleep as he tried to focus on his surroundings. It was simply too dark. The room’s lights had been on when he went to sleep. And he hadn’t slipped under the sheets, either. The only thing covering his eyes should be American money.

He tried to raise his hands and push the heavy fabric covering his face, but he found he was paralyzed. He could feel his whole body tingling beneath him with life, but he couldn’t move a muscle. Not a goddamned one.

Sweat ran down the bridge of his nose, stinging the corner of his eye.

Oh no you don’t, he chastised himself. Don’t lose it now, man. Just keep your head. Stay cool, buddy. Keep it together.

I can’t move, though. I can’t fucking move!

Sweat now rolled freely down both sides of his head, almost pooling in his ears. He couldn’t move to shake it away.

It was impossible to think clearly. It was insufferably hot under the cloth now and he could feel himself succumbing to his most hated emotional state: blind panic. “I can’t move” was the only thought his mind would entertain...

...until he heard the noise.

Someone was moving in the room. It was hard to believe he hadn’t heard it before, because they obviously weren’t concerned with stealth. He could hear objects being thrown around the room, including what sounded like a chair. The mattress underneath him shook as someone repeatedly bumped into it.

He knew now that he was still in his hotel room. But that wasn’t room service he heard.

It was his partner.

Who the fuck else could it be? He had come for his money, and he was getting it. Every last dime. The mattress shook again as his partner moved wildly about the room. What was his partner looking for? The money was lying on the bed when he fell asleep. He must have gathered it all together by now. So why was the hotel room still being torn apart?

A new priority began to take hold in his mind: survival. How was he going to get out of here in one piece? In one piece and wealthy was probably too much to hope for...but if he could keep his head, he might still get out of this alive.

He tried to speak, but the effort nearly strangled him. The only sound that came from his mouth was a wet gurgling, and it was then that everything suddenly became very clear. He had been drugged. His partner had followed him to this country, maybe even on the same flight. His partner must have know he would double-cross him. Somehow he had crept into the hotel room drugged him, probably gave him a dose of the shit they were selling in the States. He thought they had sold everything...every last gram.

Obviously not. He was their last customer now.

Then why was he still alive? Maybe his partner wasn’t as smart as he thought. If he fucked this one up, he fucked it up big time, buddy. His last mistake would be leaving him alive. He’d get out of this one. He’d get his head together. He wouldn’t make the same mistake his partner had. Two of them alive was one too many.

A crash of glass brought him out of his dark thoughts. What the hell was his partner looking for? Funny to still think of him as a partner when ---

The mattress shook violently. There was a depression in the mattress by his head and he knew his partner was now kneeling over him. A heavy hand came down hard across his face, bringing tears to his eyes. He tried to call out, but was stopped by another hard, stinging slap. As he recovered from the unexpected shock of it, he felt his partner’s hands roaming from one side of his face to the other, feeling his features beneath the sheet from his forehead to his chin. Nobody spoke.

The pressure of his partner’s hands pushed the fabric closer to his face and he felt himself being smothered. As he gasped for air, he felt a cool, metal line running vertically through the heavy fabric...a hard metal line that followed his partner’s touch.

A body bag!

His partner had drugged him and stuffed him into a body bag. An inside joke from their time in the ‘Nam when they had shipped drugs to the States in the body bags of returning soldiers. The sick fuck always had a twisted sense of humor.

Hands rubbed his face harder and harder now. Slapping and beating his head harder and harder. Playing with him. Laughing at him, no doubt. Laughing noiselessly. Making it all the more terrifying to be in this goddamn bag.

GETMEOUTTAHEREYOUSICKTWISTEDFUCK!! OOOUUUUTTT!!

No sound came from his mouth. Just angry flashes of thought and this maddening silence.

Finally, there was a sound: a zipper...roughly grasped then slowly pulled down. An inch lower every passing eternity, it seemed. Slowly, daylight was being allowed back into his world.

All that could be seen at first was the ceiling fan. Still spinning slowly, it was providing no relief from the humidity inside the bag. No breeze to cool the sweat on his body. The zipper was still being pulled downward...an agonizingly slow motion. His partner was toying with him. Taking him to the brink of madness and holding him there.

Wanting to scream, only gurgles escaped his mouth.

Keep cool. Keep cool keep cool keep cool. Keep your head. Keep your head keep your head keep your head.

He caught glimpses of his partner’s hands now. One grabbing the top of the bag, the other pulling slowly downward on the zipper. He tried focusing on the hands and directing his gaze upward from there.

His partner was wearing a white, short-sleeved shirt. Bright white, except for where it was heavily stained by sweat, and blood.

The zipping had stopped just below his neck. When he was able to focus his eyes clearly, he found he could not look past his partner’s shoulders...

...keep your head man keep it together be cool don’t blow it man...

...there was nothing between them.

His head was being shaken hard by the hands now, as a black leather strap fell across his face. He recognized it as the strap from his carry-on bag...the bag that had carried so much wealth to this country. He wondered how many times he had checked on that wealth. How many times had he looked into that bag? The bag that he now looked out of...

The headless man bent over, grabbed him by the hair and pulled him out of the black leather bag. The entire room was spinning now, along with the ceiling fan. He could see that he was being carried over to the far end of the lavish suite, to where a wet bar stood with a mirrored wall behind it.

...keep your head keep your head keep your head...

He swung back and forth as he was carried along, and caught quick glimpses of the suite. He could see his few belongings scattered everywhere along with the suite’s furnishings. There was blood everywhere he looked, but no money. The money was gone, and so was his partner. He knew now that he was alone in the room. Completely alone.

He felt himself being lifted high into the air. He watched his reflection in the mirror. There were blinding flashes of pain now as the hands that belonged to his headless body lifted his head up and brought him back down on his own shoulders. His head wobbled, but the hands caught it before it fell. The hands steadied him, then carefully moved away. He stared in silent horror at his own reflection, still unable to speak. The room tilted suddenly as his head shifted to one side. The hands lifted his head high up and then slammed it back down again and again, harder and harder against his own neck, smashing it there as blood and pulp flew...a last, desperate attempt to keep his head.