Fiction: The Feud
By Mike Zone
Kurt stared in the mirror at the milky white orb wedged in the socket where a glass eye should be. He dabbed the wet dead useless thing pretending it was some great star illuminating the immediate galaxy. It was dark in his world. He needed something and it had been missing for a while now but soon it’d return and there’d be a reckoning and it would be lost forever either way and then what would he do either here or the other side of eternity?
The feud hevhad was a boyhood passion which had morphed into adult middle-aged obsession.
A schoolyard brawl over stealing a couple of marbles from little Nancy, the cutest golden-haired girl in first grade. Dylan had to be a hero, as Kurt held them hostage for a kiss. A bit of shoving here and there with cruel giggles and sly snickers until tiny brittle Dylan reached through a hole in the fence and took a piece of glass to Kurt’s eye.
At 17 Dylan’s family won the lottery. His dad invested in several local businesses because that’s what you do when you get out of the trailer park… start a business or buy someone else’s as the big local hero. Dylan was skateboarding and getting girls, playing bad music believing he was going to be the next big thing alongside his brother Jason, a square jawed football player type with a full ride scholarship on his way to Duke for basketball and football, didn’t matter how smart he was, just how smart he could play and he knew how to play with plenty of practice until one day leaving the bar after a bit of drinking, ‘cause you can do whatever you want from a family of money and being the hometown hero, something hard cracked him along the base of his skull.
Jason was left mentally disabled, barely able to process the simplest concepts. No scholarship. No sports. No glory.
But don’t worry, the culprit got caught and was held accountable. Kurt would be spending some time in county and state for it. Before he went to prison, Kurt took a picture of the tire-iron he used and used it as his social profile pic as a wicked reminder. Being disfigured and poor didn’t leave Kurt with a lot of options for friends or job opportunities, he learned from his crowd that the best way to avenge a wrong was to hurt your enemy through their loved ones.
When he got out, he saw Dylan at the same tavern and put an arm around that cleaned up grunge puppy and grinned maniacally.
“Yo’… Jason still a fuckin’ retard?”
Dylan clutched the unloaded gun he kept in his waistband. It was his gimmick. Being the tortured artist he was, liable to shoot himself and deprive every one of his words and sounds as life was just unceasing pain. He learned well from Kurt and let a sadistic smile spread across his face.
“I got places to be.” He responded to the dark complected buzzed cut, toned figure wearing the same shabby clothes the night he did the deed.
Kurt got loaded and walked to the nearly empty parking lot to find his sister, pants down being taken from behind by Jason as Dylan held her down, smacking her with the butt of his pistol. She was screaming like a stuck pig, unfortunately before Kurt could do anything the cops arrived.
Turns out even with being a big deal with a substantial amount of money, you can’t always get away with everything, then again… Dylan’s dad couldn’t manage a business worth shit and the financial status quo was fading, and Jason wasn’t in his glory days while Dylan was just… whatever.
When Dylan got to state, he met a friend of Kurt’s, who wrote him a letter and Dylan became the stuck pig.
Like any good midwestern state, there weren’t any mandatory minimums for violent crimes, so seven years later on the day Dylan was about to get out, Kurt’s sister Carrie was feeling guilty wanting to end the bloodshed.
Her brother’s son drank weed killer and Dylan’s puppy now a full-grown dog waited for him with a nail through his head on the front door. Carrie wrote a note after sticking her head in the oven, but her mother burned it to avoid further shame on their “trailer trash terror family” as they had been labelled.
Both men were too remorseful to continue their feud until Dylan’s first day of work. See, Dylan’s father did the worst thing a poor person could when striking it rich…buy businesses people don’t really need during a pandemic like half a dozen donut shops and nail salons… so much for a small business empire. Losing all that money, quite the fall from grace, Dylan found himself side by side almost with his old enemy at the Cluck Bucket Chicken Factory.
Kurt was the Fryer Lead.
Dylan battered meat and mashed spuds.
Nancy the one who allegedly started it all was the manager, inheriting the franchise from her dead husband, a veteran with honors.
Dylan never really grew up and plucked her wedding ring from her finger, giving chase around the kitchen.
Kurt went into the bathroom looking in the mirror at his milky white eye, mulling over this full circle situation. He took the boxcutter from out of his apron and thought about where it all went wrong.
Eye for an eye.
There was never a reason for it to escalate the way it did.
It was time to set things right, to finally see…
Eye to eye.
Mike Zone is the Editor in Chief of Dumpster Fire Press, the author of Shedding Dark Places (almost), One Hell of a Muse, A Farewell to Big Ideas and Void Beneath the Skin, as well as coauthor of The Grind. He is also a frequent contributor to Alien Buddha Press and Mad Swirl. His work has been featured in: Horror Sleaze Trash, Better Than Starbucks, Piker Press, Punk Noir Magazine, Synchronized Chaos, Outlaw Poetry and Cult Culture magazine.