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The International Writers Magazine: Dreamscapes Life Stories

Trench Mouth
• James Leonard
George opened the front door and went straight into the kitchen where his wife Edna was sitting, drinking a cup of coffee and doing a crossword puzzle. He carried a bag from Wal-Mart.

"Hi sweetie,what's in the bag? A present for me?"
"Sort of, you know all the break-ins we've been reading about in the newspapers? Well,last night over on Parker Avenue an old lady was sitting in her living room watching t.v., when all of a sudden her cat starts freaking out; yowling, walking around in circles with the hair on it's back standing up. When the old lady looked up she saw this huge disheveled guy standing there staring at her."
Edna put her hand over her mouth."Oh my god."
"Yeah," George continued, "Anyways she screams and the guy runs into the kitchen and dove head first thru the window and ran off."
Edna's hand was still covering her mouth."Oh my God."
George reached into the bag and took out a cardboard box. He opened it and pulled out a small revolver. I got this for you."
"Put that thing away!", she screeched. "You know how those things scare me."
"I know, I know, honey. I'm not trying to frighten you, but when I'm not home I don't want to worry."

Edna took a sip of her coffee and tried to light a cigarette but her hand was trembling. George took a lighter out of his shirt pocket and lit it for her. Then he sat down, wrapped his hands around hers and held them tight.

George looked Edna straight in the eyes. "There's some things about this maniac that didn't get put in the papers, the cops don't want people to panic." He proceeded to tell her the ugly details.
"Where in the hell did you hear this from?" Edna asked incredulously.
"You know my friend Billy, down at the Veterans of Foriegn Wars club? Brothers a cop, well he gave me the lowdown on this sick bastard, the cops even got a name for him, they call him Trench Mouth."
"Jesus Christ George, Trench Mouth!"
"Why did they give him that name?"
"Because his victims said that he's got a mouth full of rotten teeth that stink something awful, one old lady said he smelled like a dead animal."
"Ugh, what a creep, I feel sick just thinking about it,"

George continued,"One lady said his teeth reminded her of a graveyard, you know, with the headstones missing chunks, leaning from side to side, gaps, and green moss covering it."
"George, did anything happen to that poor woman?"
"Thankfully no, what happened was she threw up and he took off. Look Edna this is no joke. Look at me, you need to learn how to use this pistol. Parker is only three streets behind our house, please."

Edna turned away, staring at the stove for several minutes while drumming her fingernails on the kitchen table. She seemed to be visualizing something that caused her eye lids to flutter and face to grimace. She turned to George and said,"Ok, ok, but I only want to learn how to scare someone away. I don't believe in harming another human being, or any living creature for that matter, and another thing".....

That was all George needed to hear. He held a hand out in front of him palm up and said,"Oh, no, no.I wouldn't want that to happen either. Obviously the man's a very disturbed individual who belongs in a hospital where he could receive the proper treatment, I agree there's no need to harm him."

He secretly wanted to blow this nut away and hoped in a similar situation Edna would do the same, but he'll teach her how to send this psycho packing while he's trying to keep his nads from falling down on the floor. If Trench Mouth tries breaking into my house he's in for a surprise.

George handled the pistol like an expert; loading and unloading, demonstrating how the safety works, explaining that it's name is,"saturday night special," how to aim and shoot, and that it is a .25 caliber low velosity round etc. Then George reached behind his sport jacket, fumbled around for a few seconds then produced a .38 snub nosed revolver.

"This one however is the granddaddy." he announced. George held it inches from his face, his eyes gleamed and he fondled it as if a mystical icon. He stood up and put one foot on the chair. Edna became alarmed at the sudden change in his demeanor; the gun in his hand and the possibility of violence has transformed George from an unassuming milk toast of a man into a cocky gunslinger who is itching to have a showdown with that ogre Trench Mouth.

George aimed his .38 at the front door and said,"Pow!"
"George, stop that right now!"
"Edna, would you like to learn how to shoot this one? It's bigger and more powerful?"
"No, just teach me how to defend myself with the small one in a non-violent, dignified manner. Let's get this over with."

George seemed disappointed. "Basically, all you need to do is aim this pea shooter at his crouch."
She waited for more instructions. "And?"
"That should do the trick. Well actually, since this guy's a psycho that alone probably won't be enough to scare him away. Scream as loud as you can, and if that doesn't work pull the trigger and keep on pulling it as fast as you can. Hey, I have an idea, let's practice. I'll go out on the front porch and in a minute I'll come back in. Just aim the .25 at the best part of me, ho, ho, and yell the cops are on the way, get out of here! Ok? Sit on the couch and I'll be back in a minute."

Just as he approached the front door George heard foot steps coming up the stairs, he went over to the window and pulled back the curtain, it was his buddy Frank the mailman. George flung the door open, then slammed it shut behind him.

"Frankie baby!" he said in a booming voice.

Frank immediately noticed that George had a commanding presence which was out of character for him. He smiled and dug into his mail sack, pulled out a stack of letters and handed it to him.

"Georgie you seem pretty pumped today, what, you just get layed or something."

George stepped forward and yelled,"Hey mother! that's my wife ya talkin about." Then he thrust his knee between Frank's legs, stopping an inch away from his balls, in an instant Frank leaned forward and clamped his legs around George's knee.

George gave him a bear hug, then took a step back."Ha, ha,ha,ha,ho, ho, ho."
"Jeez George, ha,ha. I thought you were serious.Woooo! What's got you in such a good mood?"
"Aw, I'm teaching Edna on how to deal with Trench Mouth in case he slithers into the house."

He showed the .38 to Frank. They talked about Trench Mouth, guns, local gossip, then the conversation turned to baseball. Before they knew it 30 minutes had passed. Frank looked at his watch,"It's been good talkin to ya George, but I gotta go and finish my route, see ya."
"Alright, Frank, take it easy."

Meanwhile, Edna had become very nervous while waiting for her husband to come back in. First, she turned on the t.v. and the game show was interrupted by a special news flash advising residents to take extra safety precautions due to the recent attacks in town. She switched the t.v. off and turned on the radio, almost immediately the talk show also had a we interrupt this broadcast type message to caution citizens about Trench Mouth. Edna picked up the pistol and while her hands shook, she clumsily loaded it, then flicked the safety off, then on. Suddenly, the front door opened very slowly. She swung her arm with the gun in it toward the doorway and aimed it at the half-way point. What happened next was a blur; a voice screamed something about Trench Mouth, a figure appeared, then in a fraction of a second Edna closed her eyes and pulled the trigger; bang!

George later recalled it; "Everything was in slow motion, I could see the hammer go down and the bullet come out of the barrel." He instinctively used both hands to cover his crouch. The round deflected off the top off his hand taking a quarter sized chunk of skin with it, as well as fracturing the bone after which it ricocheted into the bathroom, shattering wall tiles until it came to rest in the bath tub with a clang.

Neither one of them said a word. The smell of gunpowder hung heavy in the air. George leaned his head forward and when he saw the blood, jerked it back toward the ceiling, then attempted to assess the damage again. Next, the pain set in.

"Wooooooo, wooooooooo! Jesus Christ! ohhhhh shit! no, God, please," he pleaded as he did a lurching, toe walking dance around the room, periodically looking down between his legs, still unsure if the bullet penetrated his hands and blew off..... George didn't want to even think about it.

He did look awful funny prancing around. Edna couldn't help herself."George? George? Ha,ha, er, I'm sorry, you ok? Sit down, I'll call an ambulance." He sat on the couch rocking back and forth, moaning softly and muttering to himself.

The dispatcher took down the information, then called the police and cautioned Edna to put ice in a towel and apply pressure to the wound.

Minutes later the EMT's and police arrived. George was loaded onto the gurney then whisked away in the ambulance, while the police took Edna's statement, after which she was driven to the hospital.

The crowd that had gathered were assured by the authorities that this was not related to the recent rash of break-ins and was strictly a domestic issue. Shortly thereafter they dispersed. Across the street from George's and Edna's was a vacant lot, overgrown with trees and grass, and littered with discarded washing machines and construction debris, in which Trench Mouth had been hunkering down observing the whole situation. Hours later when the only sound that could be heard was the hum of street lights Trench Mouth planned his next move. He smiled, and at that moment a strong breeze blew from the east and in a nearby house a window opened. "Phewwww! what the hell is that stink?" the woman asked. Oh, that's probably just a possum or something that got run over and crawled under somebody's porch and died," Forget it," the husband said."Just go to sleep."

© Jim Leonard December 2014
Jim Leonard lives in Worcester,Ma. He is a 59 year old beginning writer and loves underground literature. This is my second story.
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