*NOTE* This is weird, slightly creepy, and not for everybody. I would say it's PG or PG-13 (it contains some social drinking of alcohol and a very bizarre plot that I won't tell you because it would spoil it) Anyway, please critique!
A man walks into a bar. He glances around him, his eyes probing the dim lighting. He recognizes someone; a middle-aged, large framed woman with dark, limp hair pulled back into a pony tail. He sits down next to her.
“Hey, Carole, how are you?” he asks.
“I’m great. Hey, get me two beers,” she calls to the bartender. Two beers slide down to them. Carole catches one and the man catches the other.
“So, Joey, how’ve you been? Meeting anybody?” Carole inquires.
“Fine, I guess. Actually, I’m meeting Carl and Dina here. I was hoping to find you,” Joey replies, then takes a swig of his drink.
Carole smiles. Her smile is lopsided and her eyes bug out like a fly’s.
“There he is!” a man’s voice cries jovially, clapping Joey on the shoulders.
Joey laughs and turns to shake the man’s hand. A thin woman with curly blond hair comes up behind him fawningly and puts her hands on his shoulders.
“Have a seat, now, have a seat,” Joey tells them cheerfully. They do, and order their beverages of choice. After several moments of no speech, Joey speaks.
“Carole, Carl, Dina, I have an idea that I want to run across you all,” he says in a low voice, leaning in towards his group of friends conspiratorially.
“Yeah? Go ahead, shoot,” Carl says, leaning an elbow against the counter, his eyebrows raised in question.
“I think Burt needs to go,” he says. Carole lopsidedly smiles again, Carl’s eyelid twitches oddly, and Dina has a hand over her gaping mouth.
“I mean honestly, he doesn’t do anything useful for this community. We had that delightful activity—you know, the one where we painted the playground for the children! And he didn’t even bother to participate. His garage has that dent he inflicted and never got fixed,” Joey snorts, “Heck, ever since his wife passed away his yard has been a disaster zone. And there is no excuse for a yard to become a disaster zone.”
“You know, I have noticed that his yard has become a disaster zone,” Carole says after a pause.
“Precisely, Carole, thank you for seeing my point,” Joey says, patting Carole on the back appreciatively.
Dina raises her eyes anxiously to the ceiling and twiddles her thumbs. “Well, I suppose nobody would really notice his absence, would they? I mean, no participation in community activities……that is very offensive.” She tugs at the sleeves of her purple sweater.
Carl nods thoughtfully. “I guess you’re right, Dina, he doesn’t have anybody to notice that he’s gone.”
Dina groans. “But we just finished the Holmes’…..do we have to jump into another one so hastily? Besides, I’ve always liked Burt. Shouldn’t he get another chance?”
Carole shrugs and takes a sip of her beer. “He isn’t properly active in the community, Dina. We have to do what is necessary.”
Dina rubs her arms as though she’s cold and says, “I suppose you’re right, Carole.”
“So, is everybody in on this?” Joey asks. There is a collective nod, although Dina’s could be mistaken for a nervous twitch. “Great. Anybody have any ideas on how this plan should be executed?”
Dina tugs at her bleach-blond curls. “You all know that knives have always made me uncomfortable. Perhaps a rifle? Carl has one hanging up in our house.”
“It would be far easier to conceal a knife,” Carole argues, her eyes bugging out further.
“I agree with my wife. Rifle, it’s the more humane way to go about things,” Carl says good-naturedly.
Joey nods slowly. “Carole, we don’t want him to feel too much pain. Just like one wouldn’t stab an injured deer, we will not stab Burt.”
Carole sighs, her eyes retreating into a more normal place in their sockets. “When are we going to do it, anyway? Where? Who?”
“The who and the when are the first to be figured out. Who wants to do it?” Joey asks. “Could I see a show of hands?”
“Not me!” Dina cries, then claps her fragile hands over her mouth and squeaks a “sorry”.
“I’d do it, but I couldn’t guarantee that I’d get the right shot,” Carole says. “Now, if we used a knife…….”
“I’d rather not. You’ve seen me around this sort of task, Joey. You know I get,” Carl pauses, his eyes squinting as if he were thinking deeply. “Queasy,” he says slowly.
“I understand, Carl,” Joey says kindly. “I will perform the actual task. I will need some assistance in the background, as usual. But we can sort that out at a later date—for now, we need to decide when this task will be performed.”
“Are we certain about doing this at all?” Dina asks, pressing her palms together.
“Quite certain, my dear,” Carl supplies, throwing a strong arm around her thin shoulders.
“Excellent,” says Joey. “Now, this event will need some planning. At what date do you believe would be appropriate?”
Carl strokes his chin thoughtfully. “Perhaps in about two weeks’ time? Would that be enough time, do you think?”
Joey nods. “That should be a perfectly appropriate amount of time, Carl, I appreciate your input.” Joey turns to focus his gaze on Dina.
“Now, Dina,” he begins, “I understand your hesitation with this sort of task. But you must consider that Burt is simply a hindrance to this smoothly functioning community. If we let him slow us down, then others will believe that it is acceptable to be a ‘non-participant.’ Do you want that?” he asks, his eyes intensely keeping her gaze.
Dina takes a shaky breath and fiddles with her polka-dotted hair band. “I do understand,” she says. “I’m just not built for this sort of thing.”
Carl wraps his arms protectively around her and kisses the top of her head. “I know, dear, I know. Joey understands.”
“I am very understanding, Dina, I assure you,” Joey agrees. “But if you begin to slow down on your duty within this community, I’m afraid that there will be no place for you here anymore.”
Dina yanked her head up from Carl’s chest, her eyes full of tears. “Oh, Joey, I would never….Oh, my, I would never hinder our—oh, I’m sorry if you misunderstood me, Joey.”
Joey nods and smiles, patting her on the back. “I wouldn’t doubt your dedication for a second, Dina. I just wanted to remind you of your responsibilities.
So, is everyone ready? In two weeks time, we will be saying goodbye to Burt.”