‘A Dish Best Served Cold’ by guest author David Rhodes

Guest Author David Rhodes

Guest Author David Rhodes

Dusk had fallen in the city, but that did not damper the nightlife; it if fact encouraged it, bringing it to life. Traffic retained its rhythm, and those on the street changed from the hurried business men and women to dealers and hookers. It was prime time for business.

A very handsome man, he was, as he strolled along the avenue in his overcoat, catching the attention of more than a few of the whores standing on the curb and leaning against buildings.

Fucking sluts, he thought.

He strolled along the sidewalk in the cool night air, and as he passed several women standing in a group, one of them called out to him.

“Hey, good lookin’. Lookin’ for a good time? I got what you need, baby.”

He offered a quick glance; and saw a woman in a tight jean skirt and pink tank top. Her blonde hair hung down in strands, framing her plain countenance. He said nothing, and continued onward.

“Well, fuck you, too!” the hooker said.

This still spawned no response, only the chatter that ensued among the women, fading away as he distanced himself from them. He thoughtfully gazed around – he never had an exact destination in mind when he embarked on these missions, he relied solely on instinct. Eventually, the destinations revealed themselves, beckoning him.

It was not too much later when he passed by an alley, and abruptly knew there was someone hiding out there. They always did, sleeping in garbage or cardboard boxes – people that had once live in beautiful homes. But life had thrown a curve ball.

Here they were, those that struggled just to live; and if a bottle of booze meant living, then this is the order of the day. Something had interrupted their routine, and difficult as it was, the street people had to find spots that no one knew about.

The man entered the alley, and slowly walked toward the back, watching every pile of garbage along the way. The trash always appalled him, just like the people who lived within it. They were trash.

His shoes crunched over bits of refuse as he made his way down the alley. He did not choose this particular alley out of a secret knowledge, but a presumption that someone would be here. As it turned out, he was right, as usual.

To his right, he saw a figure lying amidst a pile of trash, and it sickened him. He could not believe a human being would resort to such foul options. Regardless, he stood over the figure for several minutes, studying him.

He was about to wake the homeless man when he stirred and sat up. His head swayed a little, and he tried to focus on the man standing before him.

“What do you want? I ain’t got nothin’ you want.”  He hacked up some phlegm and spat it onto the ground.

“Oh, but you do,” the man said. He pulled out a large ridged knife from the right pocket of his overcoat. “You do have something I want.”

The homeless man scuttled backwards in the pile of stinking trash. “You’re that guy killin’ homeless people, aren’t ya’? Killin’ people I know. Why are you doin’ this?”

The man in the overcoat came closer. “Because it was one of your kind that took away my wife. She was everything in the world to me.”

The homeless man, in his ragged clothes, shifted his weight on his bed of trash, and stared at the man. “I think I remember you. Homeless guy killed your wife for money.”

“That’s right. He stuck a knife in her for a measly hundred bucks. Son of a bitch!”

“It was only one man, and quite a while back. Why do this now?”

The man scowled. “Because revenge is a dish best served cold.”

“Why kill me, or anyone else?

“So it doesn’t happen again.” He stepped closer. “You people are scum. Murderers, thieves…this world would be a better place without you.” He spoke calmly, smoothly, as if feeling a mellow satisfaction. “You might as well say goodbye,” he said.

“Ok,” said the man lying in the trash. “Goodbye.”

The man in the overcoat raised the knife, and the smirk on his face suddenly sank into a frown. He looked down at the length of ridged rebar protruding out from between two ribs, about six inches. Blood oozed from the ragged wound, and the perfect hole in his back.

He opened his mouth to speak as the rebar was yanked back; this of course caused blood to flow from both wounds. He grew dizzy, but before he fell, a person whispered in his ear, “Is this cold enough for you?”

The man in the overcoat fell to his knees, and then fell over sideways onto the dirty ground of the alley to die. The man behind him, who had been hidden in a pile of trash against the wall of a building stood tall, and took a deep breath.

“Well, our plan worked out quite well, my friend.”

The other homeless man stood up. “Yes it did. Thank you. We don’t have to worry about this fucker anymore. Just what are we going to do with him?”

“Well, I was thinking – why don’t we put him in that dumpster and give him a taste of our life. Sleeping in trash, anywhere we can find. Digging for food. He’ll know what it’s like.”

“Good idea. Let’s dump this chump right now.”

Shortly thereafter, two homeless men emerged from the alley in their ragged clothes and foul scent, and walked down the avenue in search of another alley in which to catch some peaceful sleep.