And the tongue

by James

Edward was a nice kid, quick with a smile, quick to crack a joke. All in all, one of the better grade of assholes that haunted Stu’s life, which made it a real shame that he was up on the bridge over the river having his forehead hit repeatedly against the stonework.

Stu was standing a couple of feet away, smoking his cigarette and looking out over the river. He liked the cool feel of the night air, how fresh and clean it felt in between drags on his cigarette. Each dull meat slap was followed by Arnie asking the kid a different question – you get it now, why we don't cut rocks? Stu couldn’t see the point in Arnie wasting his breath, the kid too dazed to do anything but mumble.

‘I think he gets it,’ Stu said.

Arnie smiled thinly. ‘Just making sure.’ He grunted with the effort of laying into the kid one more time. Arnie lit up, came over to join Stu in looking over the river. They smoked in silence for a minute.

‘Boss said to make sure he gets the message,’ Arnie said.

‘He also said not to send him to the dentist.’

‘Hey, if a job’s worth doing.’ Arnie flicked his cigarette butt into the darkness then wheeled around lazily to where Edward was flapping his arms feebly. Arnie kicked the kid's legs apart, then packed another one on the guy, right in the balls.

‘Bernice not up for it at the moment,’ Arnie said. "So why should this dink get his rocks off?’

‘You guys know what you're having yet?’

‘Please God, a boy.’

They both smoked another each, talking about the ball game, then Arnie wrinkled up his nose at the smell. Steam was rising from the dark patch of yellow spreading from Edward's crotch.

Arnie began to laugh. ‘Kid's pissed himself.’

Stu didn’t think it was all that funny, especially given the way the kid's hands were twitching, how his tongue was hanging out and how he was drooling.

‘I think you hit him too hard,’ Stu said.

‘No way. Front of your skull, toughest part.’

‘Tougher than stone?’

The shaking was getting worse, the kid’s tongue still hanging out, Stu not thinking to do anything about that till after the kid bit it and sent blood washing down his chest

‘Shit,’ Arnie said. He began to grin again. ‘His girl will be pissed, can't even eat her out now.’

They both drew back as the kid's feet started kicking.

‘You're clearing this mess up,’ Stu said.

‘Nae problemo laddie.’

Arnie went for the feet, the farthest point from the cappuccino mouth, tugging at the boots, getting the legs up and over the side of the bridge, pulling further until the kid was balancing on his butt, back hanging in mid-air, blood still dripping.

‘You want to say anything?’ Arnie said.

‘Just do it.’

‘Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today,’ Arnie said, leaning over the side bridge, tugging the kid’s belt till he was past the tipping point. ‘We commit the body of this sinner’ – he paused for the splash, grinning about it – ‘to the loving warmth of your side.’ He looked round at Stu. ‘Happy?’

‘And the tongue,’ Stu said.