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Excerpt for Pussy Cat Lounge by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Pussycat Lounge






By Razor Blade


Copyright 2014 Razor Blade

Smashwords Edition



Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.



Chapter 1

Brian’s tattoo and piercing


Nine thirty in the evening, Cory managed to open the back door of the tattoo shop he was fired from earlier that day, He didn’t make a sound. Dressed in all black, he carried a .232 caliber rifle and a Glock forty millimeter pistol with three full clips, stuffed down the pockets of his cargo pants.  He was also carrying enough loose rounds in his other pockets to keep him shooting for hours.

Through the storage area in the rear, he stepped around boxes and piles of crap crammed in the back. He had worked here for over year and knew his way around. The next door was easy, it was never locked. This door lead to a long hallway with doors on both sides, with tattoo and piercing stations across from each other. His was the second from the end on the left; at least it was till this afternoon, when the owner Brian Richardson pulled him to the side and told him his services were no longer required.

That motherfucker, Cory thought to himself. He kept quiet and pushed the door open. He kept an eye out for any staff or customers that might be present and walking into the hall. He saw no one. Although the evening was the busy time, usually the halls were quiet as the tattoo artists worked on their individual clients. In a moment, he was through the door and in the hallway stepping quietly on the carpet towards his former employer’s office and tattoo station. He was an artist as well. Cory knew he would be in his office, as he was always in his office on his phone.

Fifteen feet down the hall, Cory held his Glock in both hands pointing down in the directions he is walking. He stopped in front of Brian's door and gently gave it a push. The door opened and Cory saw Brian sitting at his desk on his phone as usual. Cory’s blood began to boil as he stepped into Brian’s office and closed the door behind him. It didn’t take more than a second for Brian to take notice of his former employee standing before him, dressed in all black and aiming a gun at his face.

“What are you doing Cory?” Brian asked calmly.

“I’m here to fuck you up, what do you think?” Cory replied, gritting his teeth. His tone was subdued, but he got the point across well.

“This isn’t going to accomplish anything,” Brian said. “Put the gun away.”

Cory moved in closer and pulled up the chair that sat on the opposite side of Brian. He took off his rifle and leaned it up against a filing cabinet, keeping an eye on the man he came to see. Once seated, Cory rested his elbows on the desk. He used it to steady his aim, not that he needed to steady it much, he was two feet from Brian’s face. “You think you can fuck people and get away with it? There are consequences to your actions you know. You thought I’d roll over like a dead dog and take it? Fuck you! I don’t take shit off anyone.” Cory snapped, shaking the gun intentionally in Brian's face to make him nervous.

“I’m not going to argue with you Cory. What I did, I did for a reason.”

“You never asked me my side of the story, you believed that bitch and she got her way. I still haven’t told my side.”

“She said she had witnesses,” Brian said.

“You believe too much. If you took a few minutes to ask around, you’d know she was a lying sack of shit. She lied to get rid of me.”

“She said you told a customer to fuck off and take their business elsewhere, what was I supposed to do?”

“For one thing, you could have asked the customer.”

“They were long gone and no one had their contact info yet.”

“So you believed her why?”

“She said she was standing in the hall when it all went down; she heard the whole conversation.”

“You ever hear of a “he said, she said?” That’s what that was. There was no proof, just her word against mine and you didn’t bother to find out the truth.”

Brian sat for a second and thought about what Cory had said. Maybe he had a point. “Cara has never lied to me before.”

“You are one gullible dumb ass you know that? She walks around here, shoving her tits in your face and letting you play grabass all night during her shift. She plays you and lies to your ass all the time and you eat it up.”

“What are you talking about? When has she lied to me?”

"Fuck are you serious? She comes in late every night and tells you it was because she can’t find a babysitter. She has no babysitter, her momma watches her kids, she’s late because she’s out with her man and doesn’t feel like going to work.”

“How do you know”” Brian asked.

“Jesus fucking Christ! I know him, I went to school with him and she tells me all the time about what they were doing before she came to work. She’s usually at his place fucking around. She hates this place, she hates working here and she hates you, but she plays you and you’re too stupid to figure it out. Then when she wants to get rid of me. She makes up some bullshit story, a story you swallow like a fucking fish, and fire my ass without letting me defend myself. You are so fucked up.”

Brian leaned back in his chair and looked very uncomfortable. It was as if what Cory was saying was making sense and getting through. “Let me call her in here,” Brian said.

“No, that’s what you should have done five hours ago instead of dragging me into your office and firing me. That was your opportunity to make this right and do a proper investigation. ”

“I admit I may have been a bit hasty, I’m willing to look into this.”

“Too late motherfucker,” Cory said, pushing the gun closer to Brian's face. “You only want to make this right because I have a gun in your ugly ass face.”

Brian swallowed hard and had no immediate good reply. He knew Cory was right. “Let me make this right. I don’t deserve to die for making a mistake, we all make mistakes,” Brian said, sweat dripping down his face.

“Yeah, you’re right, we all do make mistakes, I get that,” Cory said. “But you were willing to let me go and have no income to pay my rent or feed my kids. This is no small time bullshit Brian, this is the money I depend to pay my bills. You had no respect for that, and because of that you’re going to pay. You’re going to learn a lesson and I’m going to teach it to you.”

“What lesson? I can’t learn a lesson if I’m dead!”

“Very true, makes the whole learning curve kinda pointless. Maybe I shouldn’t kill you; just make you wish you were dead.”

“Cory, think about what you’re doing. You have a wife and kids to think about.”

“Don’t start that psycho bullshit with me, my kids will be taken care of. You on the other hand won’t be. How many kids do you have Brian?”

Without hesitation Brian replied, “One.”

“What sort of world do you want your one child to grow up in? A world where one man has total control over another? A world where he won’t ever know where he will live, or what he will eat, because some motherfucker took that away from him for no good reason? What kind of father are you? What sort of example are you teaching them?”

“I told you I made a mistake, I don’t deserve to die for a mistake.”

“And I don’t deserve to get fired for one either, but that didn’t matter to you now did it? Why should I give a shit now what happens to you? If I gave you the same respect you gave me, I’d put you down in a second. For some reason, I seem to be a more compassionate man than you are. I have a gun pointed at your head and haven’t used it yet.”

Brian took a deep breath and fought off snapping back at Cory and pissing him off. Any sort of escalation would end bad for him, and he knew he was dealing with a time bomb with an itchy trigger finger. “I’m sorry,” Brian replied.

“Sorry?” Cory asked. “Sorry don’t pay my bills. I had to go home and explain to my wife that I got fired today. You know how hard that is? The first thing she thought was that I was fucking around on her, when she heard the made up shit about me being rude to a customer she threw a fit. She knows what I’m like and that I’d never disrespect a customer, ever.”

“I don’t know what to say if you won’t accept my apology.”

“Little too little and a lot too late,” Cory said with a scowl.

“So you intend to shoot me no matter what?”

“Yes I do,” Cory replied.

“Then why bother with the conversation? Why not shoot me when you first came in the door?”

“That would have taken out most of the satisfaction. I wanted to know that you knew who it was that ended your life, even if it were for only a few minutes.”

“What a sadistic asshole,” Brian said under his breath. He was almost tired of holding back his true emotions, but he also knew that pissing off a guy with a gun was a very bad idea. “I don’t know what to say,” Brian added.

“Let’s start with the conversation we had when you brought me in this afternoon.” Cory said. “Let’s talk about how you dismissed me outright.”

“I told you I was wrong; I apologized Cory.”

“I know. Now let’s have that conversation again, and this time do it right. Show me you’re not the stupid motherfucker you act like. You called me in here, sat me down and what was the first thing you said to me?”

“I don’t remember.”

“Really? Because it’s stuck in my head and I can’t get it out. You said, and I quote, “I’ve got some bad news for you Cory, I gotta let you go.”

“Yeah, I may have said that.”

“Then what did you say?” Cory asked.

“Tell me,” Brian replied.

Cory detected a bit of smugness in Brian's tone and expression, but then he looked a bit razzed and frustrated as well. “You said, 'We’ve had a complaint, a customer said you told them to fuck off and take their business elsewhere. ‘To which I replied, “No fucking way, that’s bullshit. I would never say that to anyone. When I asked you who said it, you wouldn’t tell me at first. I had to beg you to get it out of you. Then you said it was that bitch Cara.”

“Maybe, I don’t recall,” Brian replied.

“Then I asked you what proof you had and you said you only had her word. Only her word!” Cory leaned back in his chair and rolled his eyes. “Now tell me exactly where you fucked up?” Cory asked.

Brian had a great comeback and had to force himself to not say it, then he did, “My first mistake was hiring you in the first place.” Brian waited for the normal reaction, followed by a shot between the eyes; but no, Cory put the pistol in his lap and looked at Brian's face, like he was examining a puzzle. “You got balls buddy,” Cory said, shaking his head. “Either that, or you are the dumbest motherfucker I have ever met. You fire me on baseless accusations, and then at gunpoint insult me. Who does that?”

“A man with nothing left to lose, I suppose. I told you I was sorry, I was even willing to make it right, but all you want to do is punish me and make me grovel. I’m done groveling, shoot me and get it over with.”

Cory continued to hold the gun in his lap, his body language was not threatening, not like it was when he first came in. “You’re taking all the fun out of this. I expected some sort of half ass apology, but your attitude really ruins the effect.”

“You expected me to yell at you? To fire you all over again? I was on the verge of firing you anyway regardless of what Cara said to me. I’ve had so many customer complaints about you that I didn’t know what to do anymore. I had people come to me asking for someone else to finish what you started because they didn’t want to be around you anymore. They said you were creepy, you smelled and that you said some of the most fucked up stuff they had ever heard.” Brian said.

Cory sat dumbfounded looking at Brian. It was a deer in the headlight-one thousand yard stare all mixed into one. “Who said that?” he asked.

“I have a stack of complaints in my desk, do you want to see them?” Brian asked pointing to the drawer by his right leg.

“No, I don’t need to see them,” Cory replied, realizing that Brian was probably telling the truth. This wasn’t the first time he had heard of this sort of thing.

“Tell me Cory, what was I supposed to do? I should have fired you months ago; but no, I defended your ass. I kept you on the payroll, even when Cara was in my office everyday complaining about you making sexual advances at her.”

“What the fuck are you talking about?” Cory snapped back. “I never made sexual advances towards her ever.”

“That's not what she said. She said you tried to hold her hand on several occasions, and asked her out.”

“I asked her to go out after work for a drink once.” Cory replied.

“She has a boyfriend Cory, you know that, you’ve met him.”

“It wasn’t a date. I wanted to talk about some shit that was going on at home.”

“She didn’t see it that way. She said you came on very strong and made sexual comments. She said you were talking about her tits in a very inappropriate manner.”

“Is there an appropriate way to talk about tits?” Cory asked. “I was joking with her, can’t she take a fucking joke?”

“She said you weren’t joking, she said you tried to touch them on more than once occasion.”

“That’s fucked up, I never tried anything like that. That’s another “he said she said”, and once again you believe that bitch. You never came to me and asked me what I did.”

“I was trying to save you the embarrassment.”

“No, you were being a lazy fucking manager. If you had a complaint of sexual harassment, you should have talked to me so I could have nipped that in the bud. Instead, you believed her and waited for a chance to get rid of me.”

“That’s not all,” Brian added. “I had several customer complaints about comments they found offensive.”

Cory started to sweat. He knew he could make people uncomfortable. He never realized why, but he knew he didn’t want to hear what was coming next.

“Did you once tell a customer that the prisons were full of “niggers” and that the “Mexican welfare babies” were ruining America?"

Cory swallowed hard. “Maybe,” he replied.

“Why?”

“You should have heard what he said first,” Cory replied defending himself.

“I don’t give a fuck if the customer comes in dressed in full Ku Klux Klan robes; you don’t talk about politics and religion when you’re putting on a tat. You probably didn’t know, but that guy was half black.”

“Didn’t look black to me,” Cory said flat.

“Point is, you don’t know when to shut your hole. That wasn’t a “he said he said”, that was a legitimate customer complaint and I did nothing to you at all. I let you continue to work here as if nothing ever happened.”

Feeling guilty, Cory had a hard time looking Brian in the eye anymore. He let the gun lay limp in his lap and sulked for a while.

“Now that you know that, and I never wanted to bring it up, are you still going to shoot me?” Brian asked.

“What choice do I have now? I’m committed.” Cory replied.

“What? You are not committed, you can stop right now. Put down the gun and walk out of the building. No one has to get hurt.”

“Then what?”

“What do you mean?”

“Then you call the cops and I’m put in jail. I can’t go from fired to jail in the same day. I swore I’d get my revenge and I will.”

“Didn’t you listen to me?” Brian asked. “There is no revenge to get, you deserved what you got.”

Cory raised the gun again and leaned in, pointing it at Brian's face. “All I know is that you fired me. Nobody fires me and gets away with it. You may claim I deserved it, and in a way maybe I did, but that doesn’t change the fact that you humiliated me today. You will pay.”

Brian had nothing else to say, and in a way realized that he was only postponing the inevitable. He knew in a few moments he would be shot and killed. For a while he thought he had broken through and got to Cory, but Cory acted like a sociopath. Not caring about anyone but himself and having a total disregard for human suffering and human life. Brian sat calmly waiting for the shot. Then for a brief moment, just before he died, he heard the crack of the bullet as it discharged from the gun; then nothing. The bullet hit him in the forehead and he fell face first onto his desk pouring blood from the wound. Brian was dead.


Chapter 2

Pussycat lounge


The television behind the bar showed a picture of a tattoo shop surrounded by police cars with lights flashing. The news feed at the bottom of the screen read, “Active shooter kills three at 'Brian’s tattoo and piercing' this evening; suspect still on the loose. All businesses open in the downtown area are on lockdown until shooter is found”

“Did you see that?” one of the customers asked the barmaid.

“See what?” she asked.

“On the television, it says there is a shooter on the loose and all downtown businesses are on lockdown.”

“No, I didn’t see it, the police didn’t call and tell me anything.”

“Maybe you better lock the doors,” the customer said.

The barmaid turned and read the words at the bottom of the screen. “I don’t know if I have the authority to do that,” she said. “I need to call the owner.” Without hesitation, she picked up her phone that was sitting on the counter and called the owner.  After a brief discussion she hung up and yelled for the bouncer at the door to come over.

“What do you need?” the bouncer asked.

“We need to lock the doors for a while, there’s a guy with a gun running around downtown and we’re supposed to be on lockdown. The owner, Jerry, wants the doors locked.

“What about the customers? And the girls?” the bouncer asked.

“I’ll make an announcement over the intercom. Jerry doesn’t want us getting sued if anyone gets shot.”

“Ok,” the bouncer said and went back to his station. Before he could lock the door, three men walked in and tried to hand him money for the door. The bouncer shook his head and told the three there was no cover on weekdays. The three men found an empty table by the bar far from the crowded stage and sat down.

The music died down for a moment as the barmaid picked up a microphone and explained to the customers and dancers that they had to lock the doors due to a shooter on the loose downtown. Brian’s tattoo was only a few blocks away and the shooter could be anywhere in the vicinity. She assured them that the lockdown would be over soon and that anyone wanting to leave could, but nobody new was coming in. Then she noticed the three men sitting next to the bar and got a shiver down her spine.

The music was turned back up and the girls continued to dance like nothing ever happened. Nobody even really seemed to care about the shooter. All three televisions in the bar were turned to the same channel, showing the same pictures of the bodies being rolled out of the tattoo shop and placed in the ambulance. No one could hear the voice of the woman on the screen holding the microphone, but everyone could see the picture of Cory they put up, identified by witnesses left alive at the tattoo shop.

The three men sitting at the table looked almost bored watching the girls strip on the center stage at the front of the bar. It was almost like they were indifferent to the sexy women grinding up against the poles and rubbing their asses on the floor. And for good reason, one of the men was married to one of the regular dancers at the club and the other two were his good friends.

The husband of the dancer was named Leo. He was tall, over six feet, and lean. His friends were both shorter and stockier, looking like frat boy rejects playing bad boys. Leo was here for a reason, he needed to talk to his wife who was still in back with the other girls getting ready to go on stage. Her real name was Anne, but she went by the stage name, “Pepper.”

“How long till she goes on?” one of the men asked Leo.

“No idea, all I know is that she works till two in the morning.”

The man asking the question was named Paul and was a very unattractive man with little hair on his head and plenty on his thick flabby arms. “Do you see him?” Paul asked.

Leo scanned the bar for the third time trying to find one person. The person who had been leaving messages on his wife’s phone; making the kinds of advances that would turn any husband jealous; even the husband of a stripper. Then he found him, in the front row with his feet up on the stage leaning back in a chair. It was that motherfucker that had been seeing his wife, at least he thought so. “There he is,” Leo said, pointing at the man in question.

“What’s your plan?” the third man asked. His name was Mike and was much thinner than Paul, and had a full head of hair.

“I want to see what he does when Anne gets on stage.” Leo replied.

“Why not go over there and beat the living shit out of him now?” Paul asked.

“I need to see this fucker in action. If he’s as cool as he thinks he is, he’ll get his ass kicked up and down. If I do anything before I see it with my own eyes, he could deny it was him leaving the messages. I have time, I took tonight off just for this.”

“How did you know he would be down here tonight?” Paul asked.

“I didn’t, I took a chance.”



Forty five minutes later and a pitcher of beer down, Anne took the stage dressed in as little as she could find. She wiped down the pole and signaled for her music to start. Once the music was going, so was she. Spinning around the pole and grinding against it like it was human. She was hot with nice tits and a soft, smooth round ass to die for. Leo was a lucky man, but then so was that asshole in the front row who was now leaning forward in his seat tossing dollar bills out to her. The entire time Leo had been watching this guy, this was the first time he had tossed anything on stage. Leo knew something was up now.

“Let’s get closer,” Paul said.

“No, wait a while, I want to see if this guy does anything else.”

“Like what? He’s not going to get on stage and fuck her.”

“Anne would never fuck anyone, she is faithful,” Leo said.

Not wanting to piss off his friend, Paul and Mike agreed with him and continued to watch Anne on stage. It wasn’t long before Anne was on her hands and knees taking dollar bills from this guy’s mouth. They got very close together and she whispered something in his ear. For the first time, Leo was getting pissed and a bit jealous.

“Now?” Paul asked.

“Not yet,” Leo replied.

Anne continued to give this guy special attention, even after he quit tossing dollar bills onto the stage. By now she was topless and rubbing her breasts in this guy’s face. To Leo and his friends, it looked like more than just stage play, it seemed a bit too real. Then her session was over and she left the stage followed by the strange man.

“How did you know who this guy was?” Mike asked. “From phone messages.”

“He sent two pictures of himself, one with no shirt, the other of his ass,” Leo replied. “I’ll never forget his face,” Leo said pissed as he watched his wife sit at a table with this unknown man. The two seemed to flirt and get along like a couple dating for the first time. It wasn’t a stripper/customer relationship. This was more. Now Leo was ready to act. Then he saw the guy lean in for a kiss and waited to see what Anne would do. She kissed him back. Not a peck on the cheek mind you, but a long, deep sloppy kiss, the kind of kiss Leo used to get, but not anymore. “That’s it, do me a favor and go get him,” Leo asked Paul.

“Go get him? Are you fucking nuts?” Paul replied.

“Tell him there is someone that would like to speak with him.”

“And when he asks me who?”

Leo knew Paul was right, nobody would ever come over without a decent explanation. He would have to go over to their table. Only he didn’t want Anne to see him, he wanted to confront this guy alone. Maybe Anne would leave and go back to the dressing room to change outfits. If he waited long enough, he would get his chance.



Ten minutes later Anne left the table. As she stood up, Leo could see that they had been holding hands for the entire time and his face turned red with rage. The second she was through the door to the dressing room, Leo stood up and walked over to the table where Anne had been a few moments ago. Leo sat down to the surprise of the stranger who was now sitting alone. “Hi,” Leo said in as friendly a tone as he could muster. “What’s your name?’ he asked.

The stranger replied, “None of your fucking business.”

Leo held back ripping this guy’s head off his shoulders and asked, “Do you know that girl you were sitting with?”

“Yeah, she’s Anne,” the strange man replied.

“How long have you known her?”

“What are you? The fucking police?”

Leo squeezed his palm tight and bit down hard till his jaw hurt. “I’m a friend of hers, I was just checking to make sure she was safe.”

“A friend? She never mentioned any friends, just an asshole husband.”

By this time Leo was ready to explode, but he needed a little more. “Asshole husband?” he asked.

“Yeah, always getting in her business, telling her what she can and can’t do.”

“I take it you’ve never met her husband?”

“Fuck, if I ever met him, I’d teach him how to treat a lady. I’d kick his ass so fucking hard. Anne deserves to be treated like a queen, not like a bitch, like he does.”

“What do you know about her marriage? Sounds like you get all the gravy, maybe her husband is out busting his balls making money so she can spend it on shit she don’t need.”

“You seem to know a lot for a friend.”

“You seem to know a lot for a customer.”

“I’m not just a customer, she’s my girl.”

“What do you mean she’s your girl?”

“She’s my girlfriend, you know.”

“You just said she had a husband.”

“It’s all on paper, she hates the fucker.”

Leo stood up and walked around in a circle trying to cool off. It was then he saw Anne walking towards the table.

“Leo, what are you doing here? You should be at work!” she snapped.

“Who is this asshole?” Leo asked pointing at the stranger.

Anne paused and tried to change the subject. “You can’t miss work, you haven’t been there long enough, you don’t have any vacation time saved up yet.”

The stranger piped in, “Anne, who is this guy?”

“Leo, my husband,” she replied.

Immediately, Leo jumped on the stranger and pounded on his face repeatedly, then bashed it on the table top. He pounded hard and fast until he was winded and had to stop. The stranger flopped his face on the table and bled in a pool of red next to his beer. The bouncer did nothing, he was a friend of Leo’s.


Chapter 3

Shooter at Large


Cory hid in the alley three blocks from the tattoo shop where he had killed Brian the owner, and two customers waiting at the front counter. Four shots down in his clip, he pulled rounds from his pockets and topped off. He kept his rifle strapped over his left shoulder, but found it to be more of a bother than it was worth. He took it off and leaned it up against a brick building.

A police car sped by, full lights and sirens, and was quickly out of sight. Cory knew they were looking for him and needed time to think. He did what he intended to do, but killing the two customers made him feel even better. He felt like he was in charge for once and liked the power it gave him. Knowing his time was short, he decided to make the most of his new found power. Now, how to get the best bang for his buck.

It was a Thursday night and this was a college town. The kids who left for the weekend partied downtown at the bars and he knew his best chance was to find one that was packed. The police would be out, and the public would be looking for him. But he was willing to try again, with the taste of blood on his hands, and this time feed his need to prove to the world he was someone.

Slowly, Cory walked down the alley staying in the shadows until he stepped onto the sidewalk at the end of the block. There was a huge crowd of college students standing out in front of the bars down the street looking for the killer. They were idiots he thought. He placed his pistol in the back of his pants and took off walking down the sidewalk towards the crowd of students. The closer he got to the downtown bars, the more his heart raced and pounded in his chest. He had no plan on what he was going to do, just that he had three full clips and wanted to take out as many students as he could.

At the end of the block, he blended into the crowd and made himself invisible. He pulled his shirt down over the pistol and pretended to be nobody. The crowd was whipped into a frenzy of excitement with people talking about the shooter all around. For a moment, he wanted to raise his hand and say, “Here I am!” but he wasn’t ready yet. He wanted to find the right time and place to open fire. A place where he could get off all three clips before being taken down.

Then he saw it, it was the most popular bar on the street. There must have been a hundred students crammed on the sidewalk and bleeding into the street. Police were driving up and down calling over the speakers for the students to get back inside. Cory casually stepped into the street where he had a clear view of everyone around and planned to pull his gun. Then he had second thoughts and chickened out. Again he thought about pulling his pistol and shooting randomly into the crowd, then two thoughts crossed his mind. How quickly could he change clips and what would he do if they got to him? Would he let them take him or would he shoot himself in the head?

He stood there in the street for a few minutes and walked back up onto the sidewalk. He didn’t feel like he was powerful at all now and definitely not in charge of his own destiny. The only way this was going to work was if he was up high. At this hour, all the local businesses were closed. He had no way to get where he needed to be. In a way, he did feel power. He finally realized that all these people were out on the street because of him, and what he had done. Without the shooting at the tattoo parlor, these kids would be in the bars drinking and dancing. Instead they stood around like a bunch of idiots at a rock concert waiting for the show to start. He wanted to give them a show, but in a way making them wait gave him a thrill. He had the power to start the show or make them wait. He was fucking awesome.

For the next twenty minutes, Cory strolled through the crowd, drawing no attention. Still dressed in all black, he actually blended in with the crowd more than if he had worn something else. No one batted an eye at him and he had full access to anywhere he wanted to go. Then he decided he wanted to go into that bar, the one that was over packed with students to the point of them over flowing into the street. He stepped across the street and walked down the sidewalk sliding between people until it got so tight he could hardly move.

Now stuck, he had no choice but to stand and listen to the comments from the crowd blended with the pulsing dance music coming from inside the club. He heard comments about him as if the people in the crowd knew him personally. They called him a coward, a psycho; they called him all sorts of things and he had to bite his tongue to shut up and not respond.

One girl called him a sociopath to Cory’s dismay. He had no idea what a sociopath was, but figured this girl was probably a psych major or something. Maybe she would make a good target for a sociopath. Another couple talked about Cory as if he was a child molester that had escaped from prison. They had him diagnosed from what they saw on television and added a few behaviors in for good measure. Cory was no psychologist, but he knew he wasn’t nuts. He knew he was fucked over by his boss and put on the street. He also knew that nobody fucks with Cory so he made them pay for what they did.

He pushed further and made it closer to the door. He saw there was a doorman taking a cover charge. 'Who charges a cover charge for dance music?' he thought to himself. There was no band, no DJ; nothing. Just a laptop hooked up to a sound system. This club was pissing him off more and more. He searched his wallet and found two dollars. Not enough to get into the club. He knew his gun would get him inside, but he wanted to be knee deep in students before opening fire from atop the bar.

'Now what?' he thought. He was more stuck than ever and unable to pull his pistol. He knew with a crowd this large, even from an open space, he might get off one clip. There would always be one asshole willing to jump in front of a bullet to take him down. Back to the street for plan b, he thought, whatever plan b would be. Then it came to him, the perfect spot, the place where he had been before and knew the layout well. A place where his best friend used to work as a bouncer. The Pussycat Lounge.

Four blocks away and less crowded, he would have the time to fire off his clips in a smaller space allowing him to trap people and give him a chance to reload. It was time to go. Off he went down the sidewalk to the Pussycat Lounge in search of a target. Once he got past the bouncer, he was home free and ready to open fire.



Back to the alley Cory went to dodge the police as they drove up and down the streets looking for him. The trip was way easier than he thought it would be, with all the college kids out and about, it made the job for the police very difficult. Once he arrived at the Pussycat Lounge, memories came back from when he and his friends would go there and check out the girls. Never did he think he’d be back to shoot the place up. The front door was all you could see from the street. It was as if the owners didn’t want anyone to know there was a club there at all. The building was black with no sign. He knew where he was going though, he didn’t need directions

After crossing the street and darting through traffic, he stepped up to the front door and pulled hard. The door was locked and the handle scraped his hand with a sharp pain across his palm. “What the fuck?” he asked aloud. He looked in both directions to see if anyone was watching him. Then he heard a voice from the other side of the door.

“Nobody’s allowed in,” was all he heard. He knew why. He didn’t understand, although he was there to shoot up a strip club, who would ever think he would shoot up a strip club? Now pissed, Cory backed away from the door and thought about trying the back exit in the alley. He knew it was pointless. They would lock all the doors if they locked the front door. But then, people are stupid animals and make mistakes all the time. Around the block and down the alley he walked till he came across the backdoor of the club. This time he didn’t pull so hard but he got the same results. The door was locked.

Realizing that he couldn’t run forever, he tried to devise a plan. Maybe there was a way in through the roof? An air conditioning vent? But then he had no tools and no desire to shimmy down a vent to wherever it may lead. He could wait until the customers left the building, but by then it would be light out and his chances of getting a lot of kills would be nil. He had to get in tonight, and he had to find a way.


Chapter 4

9 inch back up


In the dressing room of the Pussycat lounge, a few of the dancers gathered together at one of the make up tables to talk about the shooter when another dancer, Angel came running in. “You won’t believe this, Leo just beat the shit out of some guy out front.”

“Who did he beat up?” Jenny asked.

“Some dude that was hitting on Anne.”

“Um, I think he was doing more than just hitting on her,” another dancer spoke up.

“What do you mean?”

“Anne has been seeing this guy for months,”

“How do you know?”

“She’s been letting him take art photos of her at his studio. One night they got too close and he fucked her.”

“Leo didn’t know.”

“Leo is very possessive, if he knew, she’d be in the hospital.” Angel said.

“Is that all they did? fuck?” the other Jenny asked.

“They’ve been hooking up two or three times a week since then. The pretty much fuck, eat, sleep and fuck some more. I think this guy was trying to talk Anne into leaving this place and Leo for good.”

“How did Leo catch on?” Jenny asked.

“Phone pics she forgot to delete. Once he saw her tonight, he was fucked."

The women were stunned and didn’t know what to do. “Do you think it’s safe to be here?" Jenny asked.

“It’s either stay in here with Leo, or go outside with the shooter.”

Just then Leo, Paul and Mike walked into the dressing room unannounced.

“Excuse me, this is a dressing room,” Angel barked at the men. They either didn’t hear, understand or care.

“Where’s Anne's locker?” Leo asked. The women gave blank stares and refused to answer. Leo stepped over to the lockers and looked at the pictures taped to the front of each. It only took Leo a few seconds to find Anne’s locker. On the front was a picture of her and the guy Leo had just beat up.

“What the fuck?” Leo asked. “Have you known about this?” he asked the women.

None of the women replied. It was as if they were protecting their sister. Then Anne rushed in shouting, “You get the fuck out of here! You hear me?”

Leo grabbed the picture off the locker and tore it to shreds. “How long have you been fucking this guy?”

“Longer than you’ll ever know!” Anne barked back.

Livid, Leo stepped in close and slapped Anne across the face. “You fucking cunt, how dare you do this to me!”

Anne looked up at Leo with a red mark across her face. She wasn’t crying, but she was visibly upset. “How can you do what you did to me?” she replied.

“What are you talking about?”

“You never loved me, you left me for your friends a long time ago. All I was to you was a paycheck. You never checked on me to see if I was alright, you never called me to ask me how my day was, you ignored me. What was I supposed to do?”

“You weren’t supposed to hook up with that bastard and cheat on me. I have a job, I earn money for us, I can’t be around you twenty four hours a day to make sure your getting all the attention you want. You’re twenty two, not twelve, grow the fuck up. This is a job, he is a customer, there is a line and it is not to be crossed. You fucked up and crossed that line a long time ago.”

“He was there for me,” Anne replied.

“I don’t have a job that allows me to socialize like you do, if I treated the women where I work like you treat the men, I would be fired. Isn’t there some sort of policy here about socializing with customers after work?”

Jenny spoke up, “No, what we do on our own time is our business.”

“I wasn’t talking to you bitch, shut the fuck up and go wax your snatch.” Leo addressed Anne again, “You know damn good and well that you were socializing on the clock. You’re supposed to dance and take their money, our rent money, not fall in love with every loser that walks in here.”

The women gathered closer to the makeup table as if forming a military unit, the men took notice and waited for the women to do something. Jenny spoke up, “She made a mistake, and you got your revenge, now get out.”

“Not until I see what’s in her locker, I’m getting a lawyer in the morning and I need evidence.”

“The lockers are owned by the Pussycat Lounge, so are the locks, you can’t touch them” Jenny added.

Leo turned and grabbed the lock on Anne’s locker. It was average size but he had no idea how to open it. He had no bolt cutters or any other significant tools. “Where’s your bag?” Leo asked Anne. Anne didn’t reply. He stepped in closer, “Where is your fucking bag?” he asked gritting his teeth.

“It’s in the locker dumbshit,” Anne replied.

“Dumbshit?” Leo asked. He had the look of total shock. “You have the balls to call me a dumbshit?” In a rage, Leo pulled back and punched Anne in the face knocking her to the floor. The women jumped in like a group of soldiers trying to help. Leo stood and watched them like goats in a petting zoo. He knew he had the power over them and anything they did would require a huge effort. “Where is the key to the locker?” Leo asked.

“You’ll never get the key!” Anne yelled back from the floor.

Leo turned and kicked Anne’s locker with all his strength, he struck at it over and over until he made a dent large enough that he could slip his hand in the hole created on the side. Reaching inside the locker, he pulled on her bag until it tore and came through the hole in shreds. The contents spilled on the floor and Leo quickly scanned by his feet to see if anything now or interesting could be found. He found nothing out of the usual. He then rummaged through Anne’s bag tearing out parts in shreds

“What are you looking for?” Anne asked.

“I’ll know when I see it,” Leo replied tossing the empty bag on the floor. He turned and reached inside the locker again, this time he pulled out a notebook. “What is this?” he asked as he flipped the pages. He saw page after page of handwritten notes in Anne’s handwriting. All the notes were dated and placed neatly on separate pages. Leo paused randomly for a second to see what the book was about.

As he read, he became red, and his breathing got heavy. “What the fuck Anne,” Leo said. “How many guys have you fucked?”

Anne looked away, not embarrassed, just away.

“Tell me,” Leo said softly, yet angrily.

“I don’t know, a dozen or more” she replied, not making eye contact.

“We’ve been married less than two years, how can this be?”

Anne turned and looked Leo in the eye. “I was fucking two of them while we were engaged. It's not my fault if you can’t pick up on the signs.”

“You fucking whore,” Leo said almost whispering. “We have kids.”

“I have kids. They're not yours!" she shot back.

Then a knock at the back door. Everyone turned their attention to the sound and shut up for a moment. The knocking happened again and all anyone could think of was the active shooter.

Paul stepped over to the wall next to the door and shouted, “Who is it?”

“Let me in,” a voice called back.

“Who are you?” Paul asked again.

“There’s a guy with a gun running around out here, let me inside, please.”

“I can’t, we’re on lockdown.”

“You can’t leave me out here to die!” the voice called out.

Paul looked to Leo for direction. Leo shook his head no. “I can’t let you in,” Paul yelled again. “Go hide somewhere,” he shouted back.

Then silence as the voice stopped talking.

“You should let him in,” Jenny said, “There’s a killer out there.”

“Yeah, and he might be the killer,” Leo replied. “If you want to go give that guy a hug and a kiss that’s your business. Ain’t nobody coming in here while I’m in here.”

“If he dies, it’s on your head.”

“And if we all die, it’s on yours,” Leo replied.

The room was silent. Everyone was listening to hear if this guy would call out again. He didn’t. Then a crack from a gun was heard from outside, then another.

“Holy shit,” Jenny said.

“Either he just shot someone, or he got shot,” Leo said.

Again a long period of silence and then a knocking on the back door. “Let me in!” the voice called out.

Paul, who was still standing near the door yelled back, “Are you alright? We heard gun shots.”

“I’ve been shot,” the voice yelled back. “Let me in before he comes back. I don’t want to die out here in the alley.”

Paul looked to Leo again for instruction. Leo said nothing but instead walked over to the side of the door keeping away from anything that could fly through it.

“Who are you?” Leo shouted at the top of his lungs, trying to scare the shit out the guy on the other side.

There was no response. It was as if they guy was stalling.

“You tell me your name or forget it!” Leo screamed.

“My name is Brandon,” the voice yelled back.

“Brandon?” Leo said in a whisper to the others. “Brandon who?”

“Brandon Harrison.”

“Sorry Brandon Harrison, I still can’t let you in. Not with gunshots so close. I have fifty people in the building, it would be a prime target for a freak with a gun.”

The group listened to hear if Brandon Harrison would reply, he didn’t.

“What happened to him?” Anne asked.

“Must have got scared and ran off,” Paul replied. “I feel sorry for the fucker, I wouldn’t want to be out there with some psycho with a gun.”

“Not unless he is the psycho with the gun,” Leo replied. “Let’s get back to the bar...”

Before he could finish his sentence, a shot rang out and a bullet pierced the door striking Jenny in the side. Then another shot and another, both missing anyone and striking the wall.

“Get down!” Leo yelled. He was a former marine and knew how to handle situations like this. “Is she ok?” Leo asked.

Anne crawled over to Jenny and took a look at the entrance wound. It was small and bled only a small amount. The thing that got Anne’s attention was the way Jenny was breathing. “Jenny, talk to me,” Anne said.

Jenny had a hard time catching her breath, “It hurts,” was all she could say between labored breaths.

“What is it?” Leo asked louder.

“It hit her in the chest, I think it went into her lung.”

“Fucking great,” Leo said. “Someone go out front and find a doctor, or a nurse or somebody that works in a hospital.”

Mike scrambled out of the dressing room and into the bar section like Leo instructed.

“Will she be ok?” Leo asked.

“I don’t know, I’m not a doctor.”

“Did the bullet come out the other side?”

Anne turned Jenny gently and looked for an exit wound. There was none. “The bullet must still be inside.”

“Ok, lay her on her back until we can get help.”

“We can’t leave her here.  What if he shoots through the door again and this time aims lower?”

“Fine! Drag her out of the dressing room and out into the bar section. Try not to alarm anyone, we don’t need a panic.”


Chapter 5

Basement



“No, get her in the basement!” Anne yelled, "there’s a lock on the door.”

“There’s a lock on the outside door too,” Leo said, “If he can get in the back door, what good will a lock on a door leading to the basement do?”

“Fine, you stay here and wait for him, I’m taking Jenny downstairs.”

Leo quickly understood what Anne was saying, there were fifty people in the main bar area the shooter could have his way with, if they were in the basement, they may stand a chance. Leo grabbed Jenny by the shoulder and helped Anne slide her to the door leading to the basement.

“You got a key?” Leo asked.

“No, go ask the bartender, she has the keys in the register.”

Paul took off out of the dressing room telling them he would get the key. In what seemed forever, he returned and handed the key to Anne. She unlocked the door and helped slide Jenny down the stairs. Mike had now returned without any help. Seems doctors didn’t frequent this particular strip club.

“How is she?” Mike asked.

“She’s still breathing, hard,” Anne replied.

Jenny slid down hard on the wooden steps, the basement had a few sixty watt bulbs that seemed to always be on, no one was brave enough to turn them off. The basement itself was a hodge podge of turn of the century brick and stone work with old construction supplies strewn everywhere. Hanging from the rafters were old ropes, on the floor were broken bricks and tiles covered with dust. This place was rarely used, even for storage.

“Find something to lay her on,” Anne said.

Mike looked around and found some old cardboard and blew off the dust. He laid it back down and set it under one of the dim lights. Together, Leo and Anne placed Jenny face up on the cardboard as gently as they could. Mike and Paul stood watching, helpless to lend a hand.

“Now what?” Paul asked.

“We wait this out, and hopefully Jenny makes it ok,” Anne replied.

“What if she has a collapsed lung?”

“I don’t fucking know, but I know another bullet won’t be much better.”

“You don’t have to be such a fucking ass,” Paul said to Anne, who in her frustration was becoming a bitch.

“I don’t like the idea of sitting here doing nothing,” Mike said. “If I die, it’s going to be defending myself, not hiding in some basement.”

“Don’t be such a hero. Nobody’s going to care what you thought when they leave your funeral. They will say goodbye and you will be gone. It’s best if we wait this out.”

“Does it bother you that we’re leaving fifty people upstairs vulnerable to this guy? They have no idea he’s at the back door,” Mike said.

“No, my therapist says I’m a sociopath. You couldn't tell that from the beating I gave my wife’s boy toy upstairs?”

“What’s a sociopath?”

“Let me explain it this way, If you and Paul were drowning and I had the only extra life preserver, I’d keep it for a pillow.”

“That’s cold,” Mike said.

“So is Jenny from the looks of it,” Leo said.

“What?” Mike said.

“Look at her, she isn’t breathing anymore and she’s sort of grey.”

Anne sat back on her hip and looked down on Jenny who was staring at the rafters with a blank look in her eye. It didn’t make sense that her friend was dead. It didn’t register. “What do we do now?” Anne asked.

“Sit here and wait this out, didn’t you hear me the first time?” Leo asked.

“Jenny is dead,” Anne said flat.

“I see that, maybe we should use her to block the door.”

“What?” Anne asked in a daze.

“We could haul her body up to the top of the stairs and push her against the door.”

“What good would that do? The door opens out, not in? The worst that would happen would be her slumping over on his feet.” Paul said.

“Yeah, I didn’t think that one out too well did I,” Leo asked. “Well, the obvious solution is for someone to call 911 and tell them where the shooter is.”

“Good luck with that, we’re in the basement, we are surrounded by dirt in all directions.” Mike said digging for his phone. He pulled it out and tried to get a signal. Nothing, not even Wi-Fi. “What kind of cheap bastard doesn’t even put in Wi-Fi?” he asked. “Anybody else got signal?” Nobody said yes.


An hour passed and everyone was on edge. They could hear the muffled sounds of the music from the club upstairs but had no idea if anything was going on. They hadn’t heard shots and were thinking that maybe either the shooter left or was caught.

“I’m going to check upstairs,” Mike said.

“Go for it,” Leo replied playing with the rope that hung from the ceiling joist. “Why is there a rope hanging here?” Leo asked.

“From the looks of it, it’s been her for fifty years. Back then they did things different,” Paul replied.

Mike climbed the stairs and made his way to the top. He paused for a moment and put his ear to the door. He heard muffled music and that was it. Pushing the door open, he peeked out into the dressing room and saw nothing but makeup tables and costumes strewn everywhere. Strippers where such slobs he thought to himself. Then out of the corner of his eye he could have sworn he saw someone move. In a flash the figure was gone, and Mike had to question whether or not he was seeing things.

Then he felt a cool breeze blow through his hair and realized someone had opened a door. Before he could close the door to the basement, he felt the sting of a bullet hit him in the jaw. It hurt like hell. In a panic, he stepped backwards onto the staircase and fell backwards down to the bottom. The door at the top was wide open.


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