: Punchinello Chapter One by Brett Matthew West
Artwork by Lilibug6 at FanArtReview.com
Like a beacon, the Daniels' house lingered ten glorious steps away at the cobblestoned intersection of Cassandra Boulevard and Forsythe Street. The sight of the blue Victorian filled Punchinello with admiration. Overcome with strong emotions, he clapped his hands together in sheer delight. With a boney finger, he brushed chestnut bangs, that draped over his forehead, out of his eyes. A happy expression lit the upturned corner of his puckered lips. For a moment, Punchinello stood in eerie silence. His lengthy sojourn at an end. He'd come to murder the sheriff and stake his claim to fame.
Out of the blue conversations with himself commonplace, Punchinello said, "No more hiding, Brock. It's time for confrontation."
Poikilothermic, The cold-blooded assailant chafed to get his hands around the sheriff's throat. Eighteen wasted years gnawed him. He felt like the fat and juicy rats that climbed the steel bars of his cell in the North Annex of the Columbia Creek Work Farm. His debt would be collected in the spilled blood of the lawman who'd placed him inside the catacombs of the penal colony. Punchinello longed to garrotte the life out of his arch nemesis. But, that was not his intention. Punchinello had something far worse planned.
The thought of watching the sheriff's eyeballs explode out of his head made Punchinello laugh out loud. "Soon, Brock, soon," he vowed, "you will suffer intense indignation for every hellacious moment I was locked up; all nine million, four-hundred-and-sixty-thousand, eight hundred of them!"
Mentally, Punchinello danced the Watusi from where he stood to the structure's front door. His knees bent, Punchinello shifted his weight to his right leg and extended his right hip. Meanwhile, he bent his arms and glided them to the same side. He shifted to his left and swung his arms in that direction. Then he repeated the process...back and forth, back and forth. While he sashayed, he pointed his hands upward and bobbed his head. Punchinello stopped dancing. His blind hatred for the sheriff returned.
"I know every single move from this point to the end regardless of how the climax plays out, Brock. I've rehearsed them at least a hundred thousand times. Have you?" He snarled. Silence answered his veiled threat.
In the bright light of the noontime sun, Punchinello stared across the two dirt lanes of Cassandra Boulevard. He knew very little traffic ran through the small town. He darted his steel grey eyes from window to window. Every crisp detail etched into his mind. Unbeknownst to the sheriff, Punchinello had been there before. He remembered a hummingbird feeder hung on a rusty nail in the far corner of the front porch. He noticed an Avengers box kite dangled precariously above the eave, just out of reach of the iron gargoyle that adorned the roof. No doubt, Cody's kite. Little boys liked their action figures, and the young peckerhead was no exception. Punchinello shuddered. How he loathed well-manicured lawns. It would warm his frigid heart to set this one ablaze.
"Good things only come to those who wait, and time is all I have," Punchinello told himself.
What pleased Punchinello the most was the distraction he observed in the cozy den of the residence. In Punchinello's world, diversions were such convenient inconveniences. For a brief moment, he beheld Ralph Steiner, Channel 13's meteorologist. The weatherman graced the idiot box. A stylish toupee precariously covered the climatologist's receding hairline. Steiner swaggered like a peacock in heat flashed its plume. The camera lens captured his prance. Punchinello imitated Steiner's movements.
Steiner's arrogant big timbre resounded. He smiled at the newscaster and stated, "Two hundred miles to our north, a series of early morning tornadoes ripped a swath of destruction through the Denrock neighborhood of Dalhart. The cyclones tore the roof off the Brownstone Retirement Home."
Steiner looked at his esteemed colleague. He knew his story well. Robert Trumby epitomized the positive fruits of dedicated labor, Raised in the Highland Oaks Projects of Waco, he rose above his circumstances to become a product of the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University. He was also a two time winner of the prestigious Peabody Award for News Reporting. Thereafter, Trumby earned his stripes at small TV stations across the Lone Star state, as well as Arizona and Southern Utah. His time put in, Trumby fast approached the end of his illustrious career. Steiner was pleased the seasoned newscaster would go out on top of his profession.
Trumby inquired, "Was anybody injured in the storm, Ralph?"
With a slow head shake, and expressed empathy in his voice, Steiner replied, "Unfortunately they were, Robert. Eighty-six-year-old Hilda Hoolihan was pronounced dead at the scene and six other residents of the facility were hospitalized with life-threatening injuries."
"That's chicken noodle soup to my ears. Yum! Yum! Make sure you throw some delicious croutons on top," Punchinello cheered.
In no hurry, Steiner sauntered to the news desk and reported, "But, the news isn't all bad, Robert. Ten local impoverished families became the proud recipients of shopping sprees to Estelle's Boutique last night in Channel 13's Clothe-A-Child community service project that I speakhead. Each of them received a hundred dollar gift card to purchase new clothes for their disadvantaged youngsters. Appreciative hearts abounded."
Contemptuous, and condescending, Punchinello mocked Steiner's remarks, "Aww, ain't that sweet you pompous ass!" He decided he did not like Ralph Steiner, and, as he did with all others he despised, Punchinello placed the weatherman on his list of those to delete.
Trumby looked into the camera and said, "Channel 13 would like to thank our local sponsors Hayden Feed and Seed, Tori's Motors, and Davis Farm Equipment. Their continued support helps make Clothe-A-Child a huge success. Be sure to visit them today and say thanks." He picked up a stack of papers, tapped them together on top of the desk and grimly announced, "in other news, the Astatula Assassin remains at large."
Punchinello mouthed Trumby's alert. He gyrated like the world famous Italian conductor Tuscanini brought an orchestra to an intense crescendo with his baton. His slender wand twirled with large downbeats. Precise indications set the tempo. Articulation relayed the maestrom's vision. A choppy hand motion ended Punchinello's performance. Genuflected with his arms fully extended behind him, Punchinello shivered as a cold chill raced down the middle of his spine.
"You are so good!" He praised himself.
Exasperated, Sheriff Daniels straightened the rigid collar of his fresh-starched uniform shirt. Beth had ironed the garment before she made their lunch. The lawman was flustered by the sea of folders scattered on top of the table where he labored. He picked up the remote control unit. Ambidextrous, the scepter felt smooth in his hand. As the eminent sovereign of the house, the device afforded him dominence. He aimed the clicker at his wall-mounted Emerson. Swigging his half-emptied glass of iced tea, he depressed a button.
The sheriff returned the remote to its rightful location and groused, "Bye-bye boob tube. Always the same ole same ole, but never anything informative.":
Punchinello beheld Beth Sorenson as she strutted past the kitchen window. Her tank top exposed bare shoulders. Passing by, she snatched a platter off a Formica-topped counter and held the plate in her hands. His mouth watered. He imagined carving the angelic features of her face to shreds with his serrated hunting knife. The thought brought elation. He chuckled. Maybe he'd gut the doe.
Evil intentions filled Punchinello's mind as he slithered across Cassandra Boulevard. He disappeared behind the cherry blossoms that lined the front yard and momentarily hesitated to smell their almond-like aroma. Afterwards, he resurfaced in the back of the dwelling. Soda apple weeds overgrew the cellar door. Punchinello yanked them off. A splinter appeared in his forefinger. He plucked the agitator out with his teeth and spat it on the ground. A drop of blood appeared. Punchinello licked his finger. He noticed a simple padlock secured the hasp that sealed the subterranean room.
Punchinello grasped the hasp. In disbelief, he asked, "Daniels you brain-dead imbecile, is this the best you can do to keep carnage like me out of your casa?"
Punchinello gained entry with a lock pick and illuminated a halogen flashlight. He surveyed his surroundings and palmed folded laundry in a basket on top of the dryer. The sensation made him feel like a scrote. Punchinello tingled. He almost creamed his drawers. Silently, he eavesdropped on the conversation that came through the closed door. Once upon a time not so long ago he'd been a famous murderer. Soon, the headlines would scream he was again.
|© Copyright 2011
Brett Matthew West
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