Maybe an opportunity for fun with the kid later. If all his errands went well today, he would have a free night to spend however he wanted, and he knew just how he wanted to spend it. The kid was a lot more like Zig than he had given him credit for. He had the same posture, and the same curiosity. And he wasn’t afraid of much, the kid wasn’t. Fuck if he didn’t go after those folks in the house on Clover Street just like Zig would have. He saw the mess afterward.
Twisted little guy. And since Zig’s last younger brother was such a fuck-up, maybe it was time to try again to pass on his insights.
Speaking of. Errand one.
Zig let himself into the prison. It wasn’t a big deal. The bars had plenty of space, and the crack under the door had plenty of space, and the gaps between the eyes of the guards had plenty of space. Those eyes didn’t see half of what they looked at. They just skip right over it. Zig knew. Close your eyes and cover them with your hands. Move your eyes left to right – you can feel that the motion isn’t smooth. Eyes jump from spot to spot. So Zig just hung around where the eyes weren’t, and walked right in. And like he said, the bars and the doors weren’t a big deal.
“Hey Jake,” he said when he saw him. Jake didn’t even jump. He looked like a sack of shit. He told him so. “You look like a sack of shit,” he said. Jake turned to look at him despondently. Not much there when the pills aren’t in him. Zig guessed that there wasn’t a lot going on inside either.
“Hey, Zig,” Jake said. He smiled a dopey little smile. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m just checking in on you, man. Just checking in to make sure you’re all there. You all there, Jake?” He poked him in the chest. Jake stumbled back.
“Oh yeah, Zig. Oh, yeah. I’m here. Oh yeah. I’m doing okay.”
He was very clearly not doing okay. Zig smiled at him.
“Alright, man. They treating you alright?”
“Yeah. Yeah, Zig. I mean, they – yeah, Zig. Definitely.”
“Okay, good. They fucking you at all?”
“Nah. I-I-I – nah. I’m too quick for them,” Jake said.
“Oh, yeah, Jake. I hear you’re real fast,” Zig said. He laughed and hit him in the shoulder. Jake laughed too. “You know I’m not gonna leave you in here too long, right? You know? Man doesn’t like your fucking self in here.”
“You gonna be thankful? You gonna be polite to me when I get you out of here?”
“Yeah, Zig. I’m gonna – why? What do you want me to do?”
For a moment whatever haze Jake was stuck in cleared up. He looked straight at Zig, and maybe realized who he was talking to and why he was there. Zig saw every muscle in Jake’s body tighten up. Feline spine, his friends used to call it. That darting cat look. He patted him on the shoulder, got real close to him.
“Nothing, man. You sure you’re okay? You look a little pale, man. You okay, man?”
Jake was trembling.
“Yeah, Zig. Yeah, I’m okay.”
Zig grinned. “You know if somebody was fucking you,” he started. He moved very suddenly, delivering body blows to an invisible opponent inches in front of Jake. “I’d have to fuck them up.”
Jake nodded. He had probably shit himself. Ha ha.
Ha ha ha.
Jake was boring. He was good for a scare, but he was boring. He was really fucking out of it, but he was doing okay. Probably had everything he wanted in here. Faggot. As long as he was okay Zig didn’t have much to do. Because Jake was fucking boring.
The man had put him in charge of keeping Jake safe, and nobody wanted the man to be happy more than Zig.
Maybe the new kid would be better. Maybe he’d be fun. Zig sighed. It would be good to be a big brother again. This time it would work better than with the sack of shit he was helping out now. Zig and Matt. Yeah, maybe. Zig and Matt.
Hey kid, let’s go go get some girls. Ha ha ha.
Hey kid, let’s go shoot somebody. Ha ha ha.
Hey kid, let’s go fuck somebody. Ha ha ha.
Ha ha ha. Ha ha.
Hey kid, let’s go kill your friend. Hey kid. Hey kid.
Let’s go kill your friend.
Let’s go kill Izzy, Matt. Let’s go kill Izzy. Come on, Matt, I want to show you something cool. Don’t you think Izzy will want to play too? Hey Matt, let’s go get her. Come on, Matt. Ha ha. What are you, Matt? Are you chicken? You aren’t chicken, are you, Matt? Let’s go, Matt, come on. Let’s get her, Matt. Ha ha ha.
She hates you. She never loved you. Let’s go get her, Matt. She’s not your friend. I’m your friend now. I’m your friend. Let’s go get Izzy, Matt. Let’s go kill Izzy and then you and me and the man can go play somewhere. Let’s go, Matt. Let’s kill Izzy, Matt.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
So they tried it out. They walked right out of that bitch’s house, and she couldn’t do a thing to stop them. Sam or Nina or whatever she called herself now. Couldn’t do a fucking thing to keep them in. They weren’t breaking any rules, the man said. The man said so. Zig sat in a van outside the house with the kid and tried to keep awake by thinking. Not really about much of anything. Zig was a philosopher. He thought about whatever he wanted. He had popped a few of his pills about an hour ago, and he was crawling real good. Right across his scalp, right across his forearms. Crawling all over, crawling real good.
The kid was cool. He had been right. Not like Jake at all. He was a cool little dude. Real smart. Real smart, in fact. He knew a lot about stuff, and he never needed to be told stuff more than once. Real calm in the face of it, too. Zig remembered the first time he brought Jake out, and Jake was sputtering all over the place. Puking and sweating and shit. No joke. Jake didn’t have it.
A couple days ago Zig had dropped a dead bird in front of Matt and told him to take it apart and see how it worked. He handed him a knife and watched the kid work sloppy, so he corrected him and told him how to do it right. Matt wasn’t quite strong enough to open it up, but he was very careful, and he was curious.
Afterward, he had asked Zig if next time it could be a live bird.
So there they sat in the van, watching as people came and went. For three days, in different vans, in different spots every day. Matt fell asleep and curled himself up in the back seat. Zig wondered vaguely what he was dreaming about, before nudging him. Matt opened his eyes drowsily.
“Ready?” Zig asked him.
“Mm-hmm,” Matt said. He rubbed his eyes. “Mr. Zig?”
“I’m glad you’re finally playing with us.”
“Hey, thanks, kid. Glad I’m playing too,” Zig said. He turned the van off and opened the door. Matt hopped out and walked up to the door of the house. Zig took his position by his side, with his back to the siding. Matt rang the doorbell, and a young man answered. Zig leaned out, shot him in the chest, and kept shooting into the living room. They let themselves in. Zig kept shooting at anything that was moving, and then at a few things that looked like they might. He hefted a body onto his shoulder and set it down on the couch, where Matt practiced on it with a little knife. Serene and wonderful.
Zig went into the kitchen and looked around. On the carpet next to the back door were four pairs of shoes, all different sizes. He had shot three people. He looked back at the bodies – one on the couch: woman, small feet. One near the chair: man, big feet. One at the door – man, big feet. The remaining pair of shoes were small and colorful. Probably a kid. He walked back into the living room and tapped Matt on the shoulder. He put his fingers to his lips. Matt nodded.
Zig crept up the stairs and kept his ears open. He pushed open a few doors and looked inside. Bathroom has the bathtub – no. Bedroom has the closet, a nook in the corner, under the bed – there. Zig knelt down and put his ear to the ground. A little boy was hunched in the corner, trembling.
Zig shot him too, and walked out of the room. He closed the door behind him.
Matt was doing pretty well for himself. Starting to learn his way around a body. Zig knelt down next to him and put his hands on his elbow. He pivoted him a bit, showing him where to cut and how to turn his wrist. Matt smiled up at him distantly. Zig patted him on the back and let him get back to it.
“Good job, kid.”
The next house was the same. So was the next.