THE BASEBALL BAT CINCHED tight in the vise takes a dozen staples from the gun when affixing five or six feet of razor wire. That much wire is right where you want it. Less is too little and more is too much on a baseball bat. The man favors a prime maple Louisville Slugger. She's sturdy, well-balanced, and gleams like a million bucks all decked out in steel finery. The fresh razor wire looks every inch like a tight sexy dress on his best gal, and it sure is nice when that dress is red.
Upon completing the task of constructing the tool, the product of the craftsmanship is beheld with swelling pride. See the pretty girl in all her glory, held aloft like a newborn babe, razor wire so sharp and shining.
The instrument is placed in a specially constructed truck bed-liner case, and the case is placed in the back of a pickup. Letting the engine warm allows a moment to retrieve directions to the destination written on a piece of paper folded up in a back pants pocket. Somewhere on Oak Street, not too sure about the number. In the cell phone's light the address is memorized, paper subsequently folded to original size and chucked among the old receipts and sundry debris building up behind the seat. On the passenger side awaits a black, close-fitting cold weather hood with a slit for the nose and the eyes.
At the end of the street rise a commanding series of stone steps toward the university. Gray and cracked and thick with moss, the old stairs and wrought iron-topped walls give a good feeling every time. The maples are beginning to turn. Crisp brush of the leaves in the breeze with the window down. On a night such as this, a man might walk home his gal and sit on the front porch swing together sipping lemonade, or maybe take a baseball bat wrapped with razor wire on over to Oak Street.
At an intersection looking like a corner in a town straight out of any number of episodes of The Twilight Zone, there she is getting into an SUV: the Golden Woman, the shockingly beautiful brunette with the inhumanly perfect features and otherworldly golden sheen to her bright bronze skin. Beneath the streetlight clearly seen. And once again, eye-contact. Unable to stop, unable to meet her, unable to talk with her at all. Merely another maddening glimpse. This is going to cost Oak Street. He can't wait to get there now.
At a stoplight he checks his phone for the time. "Good good good," he says aloud. The next time he sees the Golden Woman, he determines, he will stop no matter what and speak with her somehow.
"Elm Street," he says, passing it. There was an episode of The Twilight Zone with Elm Street in the title. Wasn't there? Or was it Maple?
Maple Street, he decides. But can't remember the rest of it. Elm Street is the one with Freddy Krueger.
Boy is she a beaut of a bat. True, there is much to appreciate in a kukuri, but he likes being a bat-man. "I'm a bat-man," he likes to hoarsely announce when alone.
Takes the turn, cruises on down a bit, finds the right address, continues on a block before turning. Pulls a U-turn, parks facing Oak with a view of the address. Turns off the lights and the motor, sits and waits appreciating old trees rising around, making fantastic silhouettes against the deep rich blue of the new night sky.
He checks his phone for the time. "Should be any minute now." Thoughts of the Golden Woman creep at the edges of his mind.
Lights coming down the street. Hand moves for ninja hood. The problem with the kukuri is that it's too clean. One good swing severs a leg mid-thigh. For sheer brutality though, ah, a razor wire-wrapped bat.
Sure enough, the car is the quarry. It turns into the correct address. Swiftly flying into action, the man becomes silence, he becomes shadow. He dons his mask, he grabs his case. He opens it just a crack, so that it stays closed only by his holding the handle. Crossing the street quickly, he approaches his prey from the blind-side of the vehicle. His prey has parked in a dark driveway shielded by twisted old trees. Appearing from behind he drops the case and grabs the bat.
It's him, all right. He has the right guy. He has done his homework. "Hey scumbag," he growls, aiming at the knees, "Harry says hello!"
The razor wire bat chops into the kneecap hard, comes back out roughly while the dumpy little guy screams, and goes into the other knee every bit as deep.
No point sticking around now. He tucks his best gal with her pretty red dress back into bed and gets a move on as the screams start to get loud.
He puts the case in the back of the truck, hops in, starts up, and drives off, removing the ninja hood only when safely around the corner. Then, carefully as he came in, he calmly heads out of town to the bridge over the river. There he parks and cleans his hands and the bat and the case in the current.
Only when he stops washing does he really hear the river, and listening to it he thinks of the Golden Woman. Every time they see each other, their eyes always lock.
The bat in the case gets stashed in a pre-scouted spot under a thick clump of brush in the boulders near the bridge.
Dumpy little punk. Never should have screwed around with Harry's wife, dumbass. Got what you deserved, stupid piece of shit. Ya got schooled, hard. Schooled by a professional.
Schooled by the Vindicator...
NEXT UP: Chapter 2 - The Golden Woman