“More bullshit meds, that’s all these V.A. quacks know how to do, is issue pills. They don’t know jack shit about how to deal with post traumatic stress disorder” Randal told Zeke as they left the Veterans Administration clinic and walked towards the bus stop.
“You got that right,” Zeke agreed. “You got any plans for tomorrow? He wanted to know as Randall read the instructions on the bottle of pills that he had been issued.
“Yeah, I was planning a trip across town tomorrow, why what do you have in mind” Randal asked.
“Thought we might go over to the D.A.V. tomorrow. They have bingo on Wednesday and the place is packed with middle aged housewives. We might catch a little action,” Zeke told him.
“Maybe next time Zeke. I’ve got some business to take care of tomorrow.”
They sat on the bus bench and Zeke asked how Randal’s short story writing was going.
“The lady that teaches creative writing at the public library says she likes my style and thinks I have some pretty good ideas, but I can’t find an editor or publisher that agrees with her. I must have at least thirty rejections by now, but she gave me an A plus on a short story I wrote for a class project,” Randal said as he watched for the bus.
They rode down Grand Avenue together and Randal said goodbye to Zeke at the corner of Baker Street.
He watched as Zeke walked across the street to the homeless veteran’s shelter.
“Hell of a way for a decorated combat marine to live,” Randal said to no one in particular, as the bus door slammed shut and he stood in the hot sun looking at the beat up travel trailers.
There was the usual assortment of deadbeats, meth- heads and hookers living in the trailer park, but no one bothered the retired Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant.
Randal did not have to tell them to stay out of his way. The residents of the trailer park knew by the way he carried himself. The scar that ran from his left ear to his collar bone told them that this man was not to be messed with.
Inside his tiny trailer he lit a cigarillo and reached into the cupboard above his seat for the bottle of Anisette.
Randal poured himself a shot, sat down and re-read the letter from the editor of Hollow Point Detective Stories.
“Bullshit,” he said as he read. “Dear Sir, Thank you for your recent submission to our magazine. At this time we will not be able to use your story. Our editorial staff finds that your story needs more polish and is over the top with both the scene and dialog. Your description of the black street thug is stereotypical and a one- time encounter, such as the one you write about very seldom works for detective stories. This story will not fit our magazine.
We would re-consider your story, if you were willing to re-write it, changing the characters, dialog and length of the story. Please feel free to re-submit your story to us with the recommended changes.”
The letter was signed Otis Smyth, Editor.
He didn't want to mix the booze with his meds, but he swallowed one of the pills, drank a glass of water and hit the sack.
Randal did not take his morning meds after he woke up. He wanted to be on his game and didn't want any meds to possibly change his mind today.
He apologized to Cinnamon, his next door neighbor for waking her up early. It was eleven in the morning and he needed to borrow her car.
“Sure sweetie, just have it back by five thirty. My shift starts at six and the boss is being a real dick-head,” the topless dancer told him as she handed him the keys to her purple Buick.
“I just need to go into town and deposit my retirement check and pick up a few groceries,” he told the kind hearted hustler.
Once he arrived downtown, Randal didn’t have any problem finding Chester Ave. He did a quick recon of the area around the strip mall and parked in back of the office of Hollow Point Detectives Stories, LLC.
He was standing next to a dumpster watching the front door of the magazine office. He saw the woman that he assumed was a secretary by the way she dressed walk out of the office. She looked at her watch as the door shut behind her.
Randal checked his watch. 12: 15 pm. Lunchtime he figured. He was right as he walked into the office.
A little bell rang as he opened the front door and a man called out, “hello, is someone out there.”
“Yes,” Randal answered as he walked into the cluttered office.
“How may I help you,” the man with the wire rimmed glasses wanted to know as he stood up.
“Are you Otis Smyth?"
“Yes”, the man replied, as he offered his hand.
“I want to discuss this rejection letter with you,” Randal said as he gripped the man’s hand and squeezed until the man’s knuckles turned white.
Randal handed the letter to Otis and watched as the blood drained from his face when Otis looked at the scar on Randal’s cheek.
“You understand that this is just a, uh, well uh, let me say,” the man mumbled until Randal told him to shut up.
The Editor sat down in his chair and began to reach for the Tom-Cat .22 pistol in his desk drawer. Randal was too fast for him. He slammed his open right hand into the editors Adam’s apple, knocking the wind out of him.
Randal released the man’s neck and pulled his Taliban Takedown knife from a sheath in his back pocket before Otis knew what had hit him.
“Now that I have your attention, let’s see if you like this re-write,” Randal said as he held the blade against the editor’s jugular vein.
“The pissed off retired Gunny Sergeant had all of the bullshit rejections he could take. He watched the pencil necked geek/Remington typewriter raider piss in his pants, as he slit the useless desk jockeys throat from ear to ear, after he rammed the knife into his heart. The End.”