Jimmy wasn't too sharp. He once knocked himself out in the parking lot of the restaurant where we both worked. We'd just gotten off when he pulled out a set of nun-chucks and started them up as if he knew what he was doing. Almost instantly he was out cold on the ground. Wooden club to the face.
But for all his density, he was one cocky son-of-a-bitch who could stand up for himself… when he wasn't on the ground out cold. He once served a drive-thru customer who had crossed him, with a frozen patty in his burger. When the guy came into the restaurant threateningly, Jimmy just stood behind the counter taunting him with a hot, greasy spatula.
Every night after closing, one employee would stay on a late shift and deep clean the restaurant. Everything from vacuuming the dining room to scrubbing the frying vats and flushing the ice-cream machine. Jimmy was a regular closer.
One night William and I hid in the cubby space above the walk-in freezers and waited. From up there we had access to most of the one-level building. It was simply a matter of peeling up the false ceiling. At about midnight we started our assault.
Picking up the ceiling tile in the men's bathroom, we lowered a broom down and hit the knob on the hand-dryer. By the time he came over to investigate, the WHOOSHing of the dryer had stopped. After he left, we hit it again.
From above the salad bar island we, again, pulled up a tile to shake the line of beads that hung over it.
We dropped ketchup packets onto the floor he'd just mopped.
Eventually, he started yelling as he stalked the restaurant, asking, "WHO'S THERE! MOTHER FUCKER, SHOW YOURSELF! COME ON!"
Before we could come down from the cubby, he charged up there, adrenaline flowing and a large knife in his hand. We tried to stop him, but in the darkness, he stabbed down onto my accomplice's hand. The blade went through the boney appendage and into the wooden floor. When he realized who we were and what he'd just done, he backed up, jumped down to the restaurant floor and stomped out the back door into the night. We never heard from him again. William never came back either.
Soon after that, I quit and went to art school.
Bender. Originally published in issue #42 of Monster Children. 2014.
Illustration by Travis Millard.