Tom watched through the kitchen window as the truck came to a screeching halt. He turned to Brandy, then kissed her on the cheek.
“Everything is going to alright. I love you.”
She nodded then looked away.
Tom searched the kitchen drawers until he found what he was looking for – the meat cleaver. He took it with him, opened the front door, then walked out to his front porch. He clenched one fist and kept his expression stern as he waited for Mike to step out.
Mike slammed the door closed, took three hard steps in Tom’s direction, then stopped.
The only sounds between the two men were the rushing wind and rolling tumbleweeds. For a while it seemed like neither of them would speak, until Tom finally opened his mouth.
“Give it up. She’s mine now.”
“She only went to you because I left her heartbroken.”
“You’re wrong.” Tom swallowed. “She ran away from you.”
“And why do you think that is,” said Mike. He pulled out a switchblade from his pocket, then moved closer.
Tom took a step back then reached behind his back, where he’d tucked the meat cleaver into his jeans. He pulled it out and held it with as steady a wrist as he could manage.
Mike started laughing. “A meat cleaver? Wow, wouldn’t have expected that out of you.”
“Stay back. Get in your truck and leave, then no one gets hurt.”
Mike stopped, then shook his head. He hacked spat with fury at the ground. He ran a hand through his hair then pointed as he commanded his words. “I leave without Brandy, then i am the one who gets hurt.”
“C’mon,” said Tom. He flipped his blond lock back with the rest of his smoothly combed hair. “You don’t care about her.”
“Bullshit I don’t.”
“You cheated on her.”
Mike stopped. The two were six feet away from each other. Outside of striking distance, but steps away from the circle of death. The sudden gust of wind swept Tom’s curls and brushed Mike’s rolling beard.
“You just don’t get it.”
“What’s to get? You broke her heart, Mike. You left her in shambles, and I’m the guy who picked up the pieces. Now you expect to come back here and steal the puzzle?”
“The box said age ‘don’t be a cunt and up’.”
Tom scoffed. “Very funny Mike. You always were a jerk, you know that?”
Mike raised his voice and gestured to his chest with both hands as he spoke. “You ever ask yourself why, you idiot? Haven’t you ever wondered why Brandy is crazy about me, and not about you? Why she is doing everything she can to keep from loving me, and everything she has left into trying to love you??”
“What are you saying?”
“Do I really gotta say it?”
Tom buttoned his lips. He breathed heavily through his nostrils, then raised the meat cleaver over his left shoulder and grunted loudly. He took a hard swing at Mike, who jumped back and narrowly avoided it. Mike flipped out his switchblade and backed away as Tom continued to chop after him.
“Hey, what the fuck!”
“I love that girl Mike! And she loves me! Stay out of our lives! Get away from here!”
Mike tripped and fell back. The blade fell out from his hand and went spinning along the ground. He crawled after it as Tom hurried behind. Tom took chop-after-chop at his ankles, but his attempts to de-foot him were all near-misses. Mike reached his switchblade, picked it up, then twisted around. The tip of his blade was pointed at Tom’s neck. Tom loaded his meat-cleaver down by his hipside, preparing for a woodchop-like swing.
Both men stopped at the sound of a door swinging open and the shriek of a frantic woman.
It was Brandy.
TO BE CONTINUED…
– Thomas M. Watt
– Author of A New Kingdom