“Mr. Black? I have uh, ..Gunther here to see you? ..Hes not on your list of appointments for the day, and I’m finished cleaning up for the night and was about to go, sooo…”
Erik looked up and motioned for her to send him in, “yes, yes – Send him in Lauren, and you can call it a day.”
She thanked him and closed the door behind her and Erik poured himself another drink of Grey Goose as the door opened back up and Gunther slowly walked in. Erik stood up with a smile on his face, “Gunther!”
Gunther didn't look good, he walked slow with a limp and had his left arm in a cast. He didn't return Erik’s smile as he walked over to the desk. Erik extended his right hand and Gunther accepted it and shook
“Have a seat” Erik motioned for him to sit down. Gunther pulled the chair out and sat down wincing in pain.
“How have you been Gunther?”
He sighed and looked down at the floor as he talked, “Erik…” he sighed again “I, ..I don't understand why you did that to me. We were friends all through out high school, I helped you – you helped me.. ..and then you send those goons down to my grill telling me that you wanted my business? …You put me in the hospital Erik, why?”
Gunther seemed disappointed and hurt his friend had done such a thing. Erik took a drink of the Grey Goose, “Well, I didn't anticipate on Jaymz pushing you through the window, ..thats just the way he conducts business. I told you we would pay for you hospital bills, did they not get the payment?”
“they did” Gunther nodded, “But its not about that Erik. ..Why? ..Why did you do it Erik?”
“Gunther, I helped you with that Bar and Grill. I got you the building, I set everything up – and once you got what you wanted, I never heard from you again. When we moved down here to Memphis I came by to see you – and you blew me off. Fuck, you even made me pay for my meal!”
“I was busy Erik, really!” Gunther pleaded
“I'm sure you were.” Erik agreed, “but things have been tight for us since we moved down here. Drache’s been on our ass, and the payments for this building here are through the roof. I set you up, ..and I want something to come back to me.”
Gunther looked as if he was going to cry, “Well don't take it from me! Please! We can be partners, I’ll cut you a percentage – it’ll be just like the old days when we ran together before you got into wrestling then moved to Detroit.”
There was silence in the room for a minute before Erik spoke back up, “No, ..we cant be partners. Tristan is my partner, and ‘Gunther’s Bar and Grill’ is part of Zero Tolerance now; its just another piece of something that we own to pay the bills.” Erik stood up and got another glass for Gunther and poured him a drink as well. “Now, if you would like to work there – then we can arrange something. But your name comes off the building and your no longer the owner – I’ll pay you well, you wont be making as much as you were as the owner – but better than nothing..”
Gunther looked back down without ever touching his drink and shook his head in displeasure, “I cant Erik. I cant go from being the owner to serving drinks – that's a slap in the face!”
“Then I guess your turning me down?”
“Yes, I am! ..Whats happened to you Erik? ..Youve been hanging around these freaks and criminals for so long that you’ve changed - you're not anything like you used to be!”
With that Gunther stood up from the chair and turned away without looking at Erik as he walked out of the office. Erik sat there as he watched the door close and took another drink from his glass…
It was a long ride home for Gunther; he drove with his hands at Ten and Two and a blank look on his face and had you asked him what street he was on he prolly couldn’t even have told ya. There were still alot of cars on the streets of Memphis as he hit a red light and took a left and drove down to the entrance to the highway. He merged on with the traffic without even looking behind him to see if the lane was clear and luckily it wasn’t. Gunther was devastated, his good friend Erik had taken his life line away from him and he was left with nothing but a massive stack of bills and debts. There were black circles around his eyes and he wasn’t even aware of the fact that he had begun to cry as the tears rolled down his face. He thought of his wife, his daughter and his two twin sons that had gone out of town to Florida to spend a week at the beach before summer vacation was over and school began. But there were other reasons for Gunther sending them away as his wife was distraught with the beating he had taken and he figured it would be good for her to get out of the house for a while and away from his broken body. Gunther was four yerars older than Erik but looked to be forty-five as his hair line was already receding and the years of smoking and drinking had taken a toll on face with the wrinkles and the veins that had popped up in his nose.
Gunther looked down at the radio and pushed the "4" which turned to the local rock station that was playing Guns N' Roses' Paradise City - but he didn’t seem to notice and wouldn’t have even if it was sports talk radio. He became aware that he was crying and wiped the tears away with the forearm of his non-broken arm as he pulled off the highway minutes later and followed the road into his neighborhood. Gunther lived in a nice quiet place and the only thing that had ever bothered him was that all the kids who lived here were little - and there were a bunch of them. The kids didn’t bother him now, but what when they were sixteen? When they were driving their fast cars with exhausts the size of stovepipes through his neighborhood and beating on his door to get a date with his daughter. That what was going to piss him off and he didn’t like it because he didn’t like teenagers and he put up with enough of them at the Bar and Grill. ..'The Bar and Grill' ..The thought rolled through his head and more tears spilled down his cheeks. He was proud of that place even though Erik was the one who had set the whole thing up, but he had put all his effort into it and what money he had at the time and business took off. Saturdays in the fall were the best, Tennessee and Memphis fans came in to watch their teams play on his HD Tv's and the money would roll in being his best days of the year - but now?
Now it was gone, it was his pride - and it was his get away from life, from his family and all his troubles. On Friday nights when he worked late he would call Rachael, his "friend with benefits" and she would do him a service and be on her way... Kathy, his wife, never knew and assumed he loved her and only her. ...And she was right, he didn’t love Rachel because she was nothing more than a play toy on Friday nights when he needed it the most. Gunther pulled his car into the driveway and took a deep breath, sputtered as he tried not to cry and turned the car off. He sat there for a moment and looked at the BMW logo in the middle of the steering wheel before snapping back into reality and opening the door and stepping into the muggy, warm humid night of Memphis. He looked up and down the street at the houses and saw no signs of life other than the glowing yellow hues from the windows inside; he turned and faced his own house and saw none of his lights were on other than the one over the porch which had attracted every bug this side of the Mississippi river. He slowly dragged his feet up his walkway and up onto the porch where he went through the swarm of insects and didn’t mind the one that went in his mouth as he pulled his keys from his pocket and unlocked the door. The beeping sound of the alarm rang as he switched on the light and closed the door behind him.
He pushed in the four digit code and the light on the alarm face went green; Gunther tossed his keys down on the entry table and slid his shoes off - they didn’t wear shoes in the house and it was a habit that his kids hadn’t picked up on yet even though he yelled at them everyday to take their shoes off and put them in their rooms. He walked through the house and turned on the kitchen light and the fluorescents buzzed in the silent house as he looked at the pile of opened and unopened bills that lay on the kitchen table before turning and going to the fridge and pulling a beer from the top shelf - just high enough out of the kids' reach. He sat down at the table and popped the top, waited for a moment and took a drink of the beer with the still blank look in his eyes. The fridge was full of alphabet magnets that were arranged in a note from his daughter "DADY (missing a 'D' as it had fallen under the fridge) FEED SHASTA" it read. Shasta was their dog, he was an old German shepherd that had seen better years as the arthritis at away at his joints; and he had fed Shasta this morning before he went driving around aimlessly. Gunther looked away from the sign on the fridge and back down to the table that was covered in bills; the mortgage on the house, the payment on his lake house, his BMW payment and his wife’s Escalade payment that she HAD to have even though he had advised her against it because money would be tight.
He began to cry again and slammed his cast down on the table in frustration as the tears streamed down his face; he downed the rest of the beer and put the empty can down on the table next to the piles of bills that was now debt. He sighed, wiped the tears from his face and stood up from the table, left the light on and exited the kitchen into the dark hallway which led to the staircase. He took the stairs one by one and slowly made his way to the top where he went down the hallway to the end bedroom that he shared with his wife, turned the light on and looked at the west wall that she had decorated with picture after picture of their children. A small grin, the first of the day, appeared on his face as he took one of the pictures off the wall - it was of his two twin sons that had just been taken several weeks ago after their seventh birthday party. The grin stayed there as he looked at the picture of the boys who seemed so happy. They had his blue eyes and their mothers brown hair, they were stocky boys and his grin faded as he wasn’t sure how he was going to pay for all their expensive new football gear for this season. He ran his thumb over the picture of the two boys and admired his two children that he had been soo proud of when they were born, claiming they were going to be next great Offensive Tackles for the University of Tennessee one day.
The grin came back at the thought as he put the picture down on the side of the bed, stood back up and took the picture of his daughter off the wall and stared at it for a moment. She may not have been the prettiest girl, but to him she was beautiful and there wasn’t another girl in the world who could compete with her beauty. She was a skinny, rail thin girl who had lots of freckles - she got that from his side of the family - and had a birthmark on her neck that she got teased about in school a lot over. She had her glasses on in this picture and he had wished that she had taken them off cause he believed that she looked better that way; but he loved her all the same - and loved her more than anyone ever would. Gunther then sat the picture down next to the one of his sons as he stood up from the bed and went over to his side, the man side, and pulled out the bottom drawer from his nightstand. He stuck his hand in behind the drawer, felt the carpet beneath and paused his arm as he found what he was looking for. He pulled the baggie between his fingers as he pulled his arm from the drawer and placed it back in the nightstand. He set the baggie down on the bed and paused as something caught his attention; there was a tap at the window. He looked out in the pitch black night and saw nothing but one of the branches from the tree close to the glass "that must have been it" he though, "just the tree."
He opened the baggie of the white powder and sat it down on the bed as he pulled his pocket knife from his back pocket, flipped the blade open and stuck the tip in the white powder and put it to the end of his nose where it quickly disappeared. He sniffed a few times with his eyes closed, shook his head a bit and sighed.. He felt better, not great – but better. He looked over at the baggie and once again took a little more with the tip of his knife and repeated the process. He rubbed his face with his uncasted hand before bending over as he sat on the bed and reached for something under the bed skirt – there was a ripping sound as he pulled something from inside the box springs; it came free and he pulled the .357 into the light of the room. It was clean, shiny and loaded – as always. Gunther had torn a hole in the box springs and hid the gun inside so the kids wouldn’t find it had they been messing around in the room. He held the gun in his one hand and admired it in the light; he had never actually shot anything with it before – but he had waited for that one dark night that an intruder would come in and Gunther would unload every round into the body of the silhouette with an adrenaline rush he could only dream of, but thankfully, that had never happened. He set the gun down on the bed next to the pictures of his children as he looked next to his leg on the other side of the bed and stuck the end of the knife back into the baggie again.
He inhaled the powder as he had done for the last thirteen years of his life and wadded the rest of the baggie up and began to put it back in the nightstand s he stopped. “No, …not the nightstand” went through his head, the police might find it, then say I was a crazed drug addict and Kathy would think the same - …better to flush it down the toilet.” Gunther got up and walked to the bathroom – not wanting to look at himself in the mirror and tossed the baggie into the water and watched as it swirled down the shitter, ”All drains lead to the ocean” He though, Brandon’s, his sons, favorite movie and he said it every time he flushed the toilet. Gunther went back into the bedroom and sat back on the “man” side of the bed facing the window; he picked up the .357 and stuck the end of the barrel in his mouth. His hand was shaky and his stomach turned; he gave the trigger a squeeze and…
He almost screamed as he dropped the gun from his mouth and looked at the window; his heart slowed down and his eyes lookin in amazement at what he saw. There was a bird, a small bird sitting on his window sill. It looked to be a shade of green and yellow and it seemed to be looking in at him
It tapped on the window with its beak again and a faint smile crossed Gunther’s lips; he stood up from the bed and as he took one step the bird flew away. Gunther stopped like a Chicken that heard a hawk – one foot still in the air, and then he went back down to the bed and sat there, …waiting for the bird. A few minutes passed by and the bird never came back as Gunther took the .357 back in his hand and for a second time stuck the barrel in his mouth. There was no fear this time, no shaking or crying – now was the time to end all this
The tapping didn't surprise him as it did the first time, he wasn't expecting it but wasn't fully shocked. He looked on at the small green and yellow bird who had taken its spot back on the window sill looking in at him with its black eyes. Gunther sat the gun back down on the bed and cocked his head to the side in amazement, ..and as he did the bird flew away. Confused, and high, Gunther didn't understand, but took it as a sign. He waited for a few more moments and looked back at the .357 and wondered if the bird knew what he was gonna do, ..or if someone was trying to tell him something. Another few minutes past as Gunther picked up the .357 for a third time, ”Ok, ..One minute – if he doesn’t come back in one minute, ..I’ll do it” he told himself. Gunther picked up the gun and ran his fingers across the shiny barrel
He thought of Kathy, and their first date and how she had given him a blowjob back at the movie theatre and how they had almost been caught. Her eyes, she had beautiful eyes – and it was the first thing that he ever noticed about her
Gunther opened the chamber and looked inside, he knew it was loaded but he was double checking – if he had to do it, he wanted to do it right. He was never one for failure and fucking up something like this would be a terrible thing to do, ..you never wanted to be a failure at killing yourself..
..What would his kids think? …How would their friend react to them knowing that their father had put his hair, brains and blood all over the ceiling of their mothers bed room? ..or would they even have any friends after something like this? Would they be the outcasts of the school then?
His heartbeat picked up as he spun the chamber back and clicked it back to its natural position. The steel was cold as it touched the roof of his mouth, …he glanced back over to the window waiting for the bird that could end this whole mess, the bird that carried the message he needed to see once more, …just once more
Please, ..please come back… oh please The shakes in his hand came back as he closed his finger over the trigger
Gunther glanced back over to the window hoping he would see it as the time on his last minute was running out
Gunther looked back out the window and thought he saw something coming from the tree branches
Erik woke up that morning to the sun beaming down in his window; he blinked a few times as his eyes adjusted to the light and stretched in the bed letting out a yell. He looked over and saw his stunning wife had already gotten up for the morning. He threw the sheets back and stood up from the bed, stretching once more before walking out of the bedroom and down the stairs and into the kitchen where he could smell the morning coffee. He came around the corner and saw his wife wearing one of his t-shirts and watching the news on the small kitchen TV
“Honey?” she asked
“Didn't you go to school with that Gunther guy?” Her face seemed kinda pale
“yeah, I did - ….why?”
Anarchy, …It didn't go as I had planned it but I never plan on losing – cause anyone who does is a fuckin failure and doesn’t need to waste our time by setting foot in the ring. …That fuckin knee of mine gave out and had I only planted him down a second sooner with the Silence it would have all been over with, ..but no – I had to show off a little and it got the best of me. Oh, I'm sure we’ll hear Wecks huge mouth come a-runnin this week about how great he is, but he damn sure didn't look all that good layin there as the EMT’s came to his assistance.. He gave me a helluva a battle though, and it wasn't anything like he said it was gonna be. It wasn't his hours upon hours of training that got me, it wasn't his great athletic ability that got me either - ..it was all my fuckin knee and I guess that time has taken its toll on it between Pain beatin on it for several weeks and Weck goin in for the final move on it… Ive faced lots of guys that’ve thought the way to chop down this tree was to go for the knees and very few have succeeded; but that wont be my last Global Title run – and the next time, ..well, ..I’ll make damn sure that I go in for the kill and instead of fuckin around. But its time for me to change gears and to go a different division and I don't see how the timing could fit any better cause a week from now it’ll have been a year since Crazy J and myself took the tag belts from that moron Goth and his runnin buddy Fang.
…Well J isnt in this match and neither are those two of guys who Ive stomped over and over since we've been in the GWA. Now its Rex and everyone knows what Rex and I can do in ring as they watched two weeks ago when we took out the Global Champ and Pain and left ‘em layin there on the announcers table that shattered into a million pieces. A year later and I'm lookin at my second round of Tag Belts and shit aint nearly the same as it was with J cause these two men’s styles don't even compare to each other. J and I ran from one federation to the next slaughtering team after team and finally taking our first loss here to Krusher and who….? Oh yeah! Chaos, ..but his brother carried him and that's something our GM hates to admit.. But things are different now and its Rex who stands in the same corner as I do, and like J and myself – we've already established our dominance with one match, ..and now? Well, its those Tag Belts that were comin after. If ya ask me our Tag Champions are weak, pathetic men who don't deserve to have them - men who cant get the job done in the ring by themselves, and one man in particular – Bill Barnhart. Good ‘ol Bulldog Bill – a man whos taking his beating after beating by Zero Tolerance after calling us cheaters and every other name in the book, but it didn't help the man any in the last match that we had. Bill told me that I won all my matches by cheating, but that showed me and the rest of the world the man didn't know what he was talkin about,
..I came out and fought a clean match and pinned the piece of shit in the middle of the ring. My boy Sin, who isnt with us anymore but Bill down time and time again – and it was only last week that Rex continued the ZT dominance over Bulldog Bill and set ‘em back in his place. …So where are ya now Bill? You gonna hold yer chin up high this week and call me a cheater? Tell me that every win that Rex and I have in the ring is nothing more than a loss that should have an asterisk by it? ….Well that's not the way its gonna be this week Bill, when you and your friend Molvolvo Kohut, or whatever his name is, thinks that putting those Titles on the line against Rex and myself is gonna be a match that you can come out victorious; ..but I hope your not that stupid Bill and I hope that your accepting the fact that Rex and I may not even break a sweat when the bell rings and the beating begins. Somehow you two managed to take the Titles from Mason and Havok and for you two that has to be the greatest victory you two have ever had, ..no matter how the match was won. You’ll hang your hats on the fact that a victory was achieved from one the better men that the GWA has to offer, ..but well, ..that wasn't Zero Tolerance that you were going against and this here is a whole different story, ..but Bill’s read the chapters before and I think this is the first time that his little friend Volvo HoKut, ..or whatever – has faced Zero Tolerance,
..but then again I'm getting old and remembering when losers such as him have fallen to the best in the business. Now, I'm sure that you two will think that I'm a little down and maybe a little beat up from my match with Weck last week, ..but you couldn't be more wrong if that's what your thinkin because now I'm fired up and I'm ready to slaughter someone. I'm not sure if the guys upstairs knew what they were doin when they put you guys in a match with me this week, knowin that I was gonna need to take out some of this frustration on someone, …or maybe they did and that's why it’s a tag match in hopes that maybe Rex gets a little more time in the ring so I don't kill either one of you, ..well, that's if Rex decides to spare either one you too. Right here, for me, its time to start fresh, ..sit back and take things in while Rex and I take over the Tag Division and hold it to a level that it hasn’t been upheld to in quite some time, ..but what do you expect? ..We are Zero Tolerance and losing is unacceptable, is was unacceptable last week when I went down and this is gonna be the week that I redeem myself and show my Zero Tolerance brothers why last week was nothing more than a fluke, ..and with Rex at my side theres nothing that can hold us back from taking the Gold, ..and were gonna get it…