I finally managed to finish George early this morning. I was going to try for it last night after I got home but after therapy (my final session!) and shots and Walmart, I was… Well, frankly, stupid. MCS sucks, folks. And when you add in lidocaine shots my brain turns to mush.
So, here it is. (You can blame The Boyfriend for the title.) George is sweet as pie, except when he’s not. I had no idea that he was that much of a sociopath until the very end. And I have to tell you, that is not the way I want to die. Nope.
I really did try to keep it at present tense. I may have screwed up here and there. As far as editing goes, it’s had one really quick read through but that’s about it. Writing George’s nasally speech pissed me off. *laughs* I figured he’d sound that way with a broken nose AND a handkerchief stuffed up there.
Enjoy! And have a delightful Friday. Today begins Girlkid’s final dance competition season. It’ll be fun. I look forward to seeing the dances I’ve watched her practice as full productions. Her solo is quite amusing.
“Gorgeous” George Grigoraki is a mechanic, well, he’ll tell you technically, he’s a watchmaker. A magician with a wrench. The glorious, gorgeous caretaker and time keeper of the entire factory. If it weren’t for him, he’ll say while in his cups, the whole factory would miss a step and never right itself. The truth is that the only machine Gorgeous George works on is the very large shredder that breaks down scrap metal, (miss-cut pieces, damaged ones, scrap), into much smaller pieces that can be melted and reformed into other parts, after the company sells it to other metal working places.
“George! Could you come here a minute?” Al appears on the catwalk that surrounds the big shredder. He’d come over from the offices of the main building, using the skywalk to cover the space between buildings.
George is under the shredder, trying to fix a belt that’s come loose for the eighteenth time. There’s a two tonne load to shred and it’s only nine in the morning, so it makes sense that she’d break. The somewhat cavernous building that houses the machine, just off the main building, is nearly silent with the shredder standing as unmoving as stone. “Sure, Al, just give me a minute, almost got this.”
“No problem.” Al is George’s immediate supervisor though he leaves George alone most of the time. He thinks the world of George, even if there are rumours that he drinks to much at home and …well, his cousin’s wife has seen George’s wife at the ER with injuries much too often. “Does that work?” Al smiles as he calls out the question.
“Does what work?” George slides out from under the machine and rises.
“Alternating between cussing and praising the machine.” He meets George at the stairs to the catwalk and together they walk to the small table tucked into a corner. There’s a mini fridge there and he watches as George reaches in to grab a bottle of water.
George laughs. “Sometimes. She’s getting old though, and ornery. Sweet talk doesn’t work as well as it used to.” He takes a pull from the water bottle and watches his boss. He knows Al hates the building, calls it creepy and weird. Apparently, Al and several others think the building is haunted by the people killed in the shredder.
“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.” Al swallows nervously. “I just got word that they’re bringing in a new shredder and they want this old girl in as many pieces as you can get her by the first shift tomorrow.” He stands up as George’s eyes turn molten. George really is kind of a big guy at six feet with broad shoulders, muscular arms and chest and a beer belly. How he manages to squeeze that gut under the machine, Al will never know. “And then, well, George, they’re bringing in someone who can operate the new shredder. It’s full of computers.”
George leaps to his feet. “What?” he bellows. “I’m fired?”
“No. No, not that, George. They want to keep you on, you’re a valuable member of the team, George.” Al tries a friendly smile but lets it slip as George’s glower becomes fiercer. “You’ll have a new job, if you want it. Good references if you don’t. Work for another couple of hours, go home. Get a few hours of sleep and be back here by seven. They’re giving you a full twelve hours to break down the machine, along with two extra men.”
“I don’t want your men,” George snarls. “I’ll do it myself. I get to pick the department I’ll be moved into, not them.” George knows he can’t afford to lose the job.
“Whatever you like, George.” Al flees.
George grabs a chair and throws it as hard as he can. It bounces off a wall, hits the catwalk and tumbles to the floor, where the metal-on-concrete sound echoes around the room. Cursing to himself, George stomps back down the stairs to undo the fix that he had just completed, purely out of spite.
At eleven, George sets down the pen and stares at the plan he’d just finished. He had the manuals and spec sheets for the shredder spread out over the table that served at his desk and lunch station. “I think that will do.” He rubs his face. “And I may need those two assholes Al said would be here.” He cusses under his breath and heads home.
George lives fully with the belief that a wife is a mother and a homemaker and nothing else. He expects a Cleaver standard of living even if he is a grubby blue collar worker. So when he gets home and finds the house in chaos he is furious.
“What the fuck is going on in here?” he shouts over the din, scaring his youngest son, Jimmy, and his wife badly.
The living room table is littered with dishes, toast, half melted ice cream and soup in a cup, along with a coffee cup and a cereal bowl. The TV is blaring a Disney musical that is making his head hurt. Thelma leaps to her feet, gets tangled in the blanket she’d been cuddled under with Jimmy. “G-G-George! Wha-What are you doing here?”
“Wha-what is Jimmy doing here?” George mocks her. “What the fuck is that mess? Why isn’t my house clean?”
“I’m sick, Daddy.” Jimmy, six years old, speaks up to defend his mommy.
“Did I ask you?” George glares at his son.
As soon as his daddy looks away, Jimmy slinks from the couch and starts to creep from the room. George stalks toward Thelma and she holds her hands up. “It would have been clean by the time you got home! I swear! I just wanted him to feel better!”
George backhands her. “This house is to be clean at all times,” he snarls as he grabs her by the forearm and drags her to the kitchen.
Jimmy runs behind them, screaming. “Don’t touch my mommy!” He pummels his tiny fists on his father’s hip.
Turning, George releases Thelma and picks up Jimmy, wrapping big hands around skinny biceps and shaking him hard. “Mind your business!” He tosses the boy toward the living room. Jimmy hits the doorframe and lies there.
Thelma screams and tries to rush to her son’s side. She’s stopped by a strong arm thrust in front of her. It catches her in the throat and she bounces back. George grabs her by the hair and drags her further into the kitchen. The morning’s breakfast dishes are in the sink and there’s a coffee spill on the counter, the same one he’d made when he left earlier.
George slams her face into the counter and Thelma screams again as her cheekbone cracks. “Look at this mess! It’s a simple little spill that would have taken you three seconds to clean up.” He drags her to the sink and plunges her face into the dirty dishes hard enough to break a glass and slice her face. It carves into her just below her eye. “Five minutes and you’d have had these done but what do I find you doing? Lazing around on the couch with that lazy boy!”
George hauls her out of the sink and shakes her. “I don’t know why I married you. You’re lazy and shiftless. And look at you, you’re ugly too.” He punches her in the soft, but nowhere near fat, belly and slaps her breasts as she tries to bring her hands up to defend herself.
As always, he blacks out and the violence escalates. He comes to sometime later to find himself sprawled across his bed. He stretches, pleased that he’d slept so well. “Ow! What the hell?” He studies the hand that refused to open or close all the way and finds it bruised, swollen and that at least one knuckle is probably cracked. “Thelma!” he bellows. “What the hell happened to my hand?”
Thelma doesn’t answer and he tries again a couple more times before rolling out of bed and storming into the kitchen. There’s blood everywhere and both Thelma and Jimmy are in piles on the floor. “Shit.” George’s eloquent statement comes after prodding Thelma and the boy with his foot and finding them unresponsive. He hadn’t found a pulse on either of them either.
Just then, the front door opens. “Mom?” Nine year old Jake walks in as George hurries to the front door, surprising his son. “Dad? What are you doing home? Is everything okay?” Jake spies the dirty dishes on the table and drops his bag. The word shit explodes from his mouth before he can think about it and he hurries to the mess. “Don’t worry, Dad, I’ll clean it up. I’m sure Mom was just busy doing other stuff. I know Jimmy wasn’t feeling well this morning. Maybe she was cleaning up barf or something.”
George watches the boy, every word like a hammer to his skull. “Your mom is a lazy whore.”
Jake turns to George, his mouth hanging out. Fury fills his expression and he throws whatever he has in his hand at his father. “She is not! You’re an asshole!” Jake watches his father’s face turn purple and nearly pisses himself. “I’m sorry, Daddy. I’m sorry!”
It’s too late. George pounces on his son and beats him to a pulp, just like his mother. Afterwards, George cleans himself up. He showers, cleans under his fingernails and puts on clean clothes before going to the pub for dinner.
Alma, the fifty year old waitress is surprised to see him. “Hey, George sweetie. How’s it going?”
George smiles winningly at her. “The boys are sick and I have to go back into work tonight. Thought I’d give Thelma a break and eat dinner here so she doesn’t have to cook.”
“Well, isn’t that nice? You’re a sweet man, George.”
At seven, George walks into the shredder building to find two silent men waiting for him. “Good. Let’s get to work,” he says cheerfully. “You,” pointing to the one on the left, “start with the large access panel on the right. And you,” now to the other man, “come with me. I’ll give you an idea of our plan.”
George leads the way up the stairs and the silent man follows. Halfway up, George starts to hear whispers. It sounds like a dozen people whispering his name. He stops and whips around, nearly falling. “Did you say something?”
The man merely shrugs.
George looks at him closely, thinks he looks vaguely familiar but he can’t place him. “Do I know you?”
The whispers start again. George spins around. “You!” he shouted at the other silent man. “Did you say something?” When the man stops trying to loosen bolts that had long since rusted to frame and shrugs George scowls. He listens but nothing else happens.
He continues up the stairs and goes over the plan with the other man, who says nothing, just nods along. This makes George happy, he dislikes working with chatterboxes. Men who think that just because they’re in the same room with another person they simply have to tell their life stories, or discuss the last football game (although, really, George will expound on his Lions, given half a chance).
As they turn from the table, there’s a long screech like a key on the side of a car. George runs down the stairs. “What the hell are you doing? This may be going to scrap but we still need to treat it with respect!”
The man just stares at him curiously and George hesitates. He looks at the machine and doesn’t see anything. “Ahh… maybe it was the other guy.” He moves around the corner of the shredder, looking for marks. There’s a long scratch mark in the paint and rust and George bends down to investigate.
As he does, someone grabs the back of his head and slams his nose into the metal. He feels a pop then hears a crunch as his nose explodes. He cries out in rage and pain and straightens up as the hold on his head disappears. He turns, fists up, but there’s no one there.
George grabs the handkerchief he keeps in one pocket and gingerly presses it to his nose to try to contain the flow of blood. His eyes are watering and he can’t see very well. He blinks rapidly to try and clear them. “Who’s there? Come out, you bastard! I will show you who’s boss!”
He runs back the way he came, every step a lightning fork of pain in his face. The man there had moved to the next bolt, further away from George than he had been and he’s got a small torch in hand. The metal is hot around the bolt he’d been cutting through, it’s obvious he’s been there a while.
Stumbling to a halt, confused, George looks for the other guy and finds him at the top of the catwalk, studying the top of the shredder. George convinces himself he tripped and jams the handkerchief up his nose. “Cudding the bold oud is good, id’ll be fasder,” he says before pointing at the other guy. “Come down here! We need do ged sdarded on de chude.” His head is screaming but he has a job to do.
George heads for the long tool bench and suddenly drops to his knees when something slams across his the middle of his upper back. It feels like a baseball bat. “Hey! Whad de fuck?!” he cries. He awkwardly spins around, arms raised defensively, but, again, there’s no one there.
Confusion turns to fear as he climbs to his feet and stumbles toward the bench. Maybe he can defend himself with a wrench. He feels eyes on the back of his head, cold breath on the back of his neck. He shivers and realizes the entire temperature of the room, which is normally kept at sixty degrees Fahrenheit, has dropped much lower. His breath fogs out in front of him.
George grabs a heavy wrench and turns around. He gasps and lets out an involuntary shriek. Standing in front of him are a dozen or so people. “Pedey?” he says with a small boy’s voice, still nasally from the handkerchief stuffed up his nose. He hasn’t seen Petey since he died when they were seven years old.
The crowd parts to allow three people to come forward. “Thelma? Jimmy? Jake? But you’re… you’re…”
“Dead?” she asks, though he swears her mouth didn’t move. “Oh yes, you fucking cocksucker. We’re all dead.” As one, they go from looking normal to their condition at death.
Petey looks like his face had been smashed in with a baseball bat. He has leaves and dirt in his hair, scrapes from being dragged through a wooded area.
There’s a man who has very obviously been run over by a car. A teenage girl with her face beat up, torn clothing and strangle marks on her throat. Another man whose throat is open in a jagged cut.
George shrinks back against the bench. “But you’re all accidents. I didn’t mean to do it.”
Jake steps forward. “I’m an accident, Dad?” he sneers. “Felt pretty on purpose.”
As George protests again, the crowd closes in on him. He is punched, kicked, and cut. They tear him to pieces and continue to do so long after his death.