New Paradigm

Frank was sitting on an overturned oil drum smoking a cigarette when the other members of the club arrived at the abandoned factory they used for meetings. It was almost midnight, early for a club meeting; but Frank had told them that he had found something special and they had to come and see it right away.

The club met in a windowless room with one doorway in the basement of the building, where they could not be seen or heard. Most other ultra-violence clubs changed locations frequently; but Frank thought they’d found the perfect place and they’d been using the old factory building for almost a year. As the others shuffled into the room – Mel, Jude, Larry and Bill – Frank grinned at them. Frank didn’t smile much so they knew whatever it was he’d gotten hold of, it had to be good. Bill shut and locked the big metal door behind him.

The others looked around the room and saw nothing but the same old junk they’d never gotten around to clearing out.

“What’s the deal?” Mel – the big mouth of the group – said.

Frank flashed the grin again and kept smoking his cigarette.

“Come on, just spit it out!” said Larry. “I could be bangin’ my old lady right now.”

“Yeah, I skipped a party for this,” Jude said.

“A party,” Frank said and the way he said it silenced the others. “Well, Jude, I’d hate for you to miss a party.” He tossed his cigarette and pulled his legs under him, watching them from his perch on the oil drum.

“You got something or don’t you?” Bill said. He was the biggest of the group, six foot tall and two hundred fifty pounds of muscle.

Frank imitated him in a whiny kid’s voice, “You got something or don’t you?”

The others knew Frank well enough not to push him. They’d seen what he was capable of.

“Well what is it?” Mel said, just to break the tension.

Frank shook his head. “You shit-heads don’t even deserve something this good.”

“You gonna show us or not?” Bill said.

“I’m gonna show you, alright,” Frank said, finally coming down from the oil drum. “I’m gonna show you a lot.” He wandered over to a corner of the room and switched on a second light, revealing a tarp laid over an object. “But if you want a piece of this you’re gonna ante up, understand? I’m not talking dues. I mean respect. You want some of what I’ve got here and this club’s mine.”

“You wanna be prez?” Mel joked.

“What if I do?” Frank said. “I’ve got plans. One day this whole chapter’s gonna be mine; first I’m gonna go national, then I’m gonna go mainstream. Why should we always be running and hiding? We should be on TV. In schools. We should be getting free money from the government. Any of you bozos gonna make that happen? Didn’t think so. I’ve got the key – the key to the whole beautiful thing – right here, under this tarp. And it’s mine. So no more bullshit outta you. You want in, you do what I say from now on, understood?”

“Sure, sure, whatever you want, just show us what you’ve got,” Jude said.

Frank wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “What I’ve got . . . what I’ve got.” He shook his head again. “Good lord, what I’ve got here.”

Frank pulled the tarp away and stood to the side so the others could see.

“Jesus shit!” Mel said, taking a step back.

The others just stared. Crouched in the corner, chained by his ankles and wrists, was a naked man. He was youthful, physically fit with close cropped dark hair. He was looking down at the floor but his whole body was tensed.

 

(C) 2014 Vincent Asaro

 

The complete story will be included in my upcoming short story collection Something In the Dark, to be published December 2014.  For details visit my webpage:

http://vincentasaro.weebly.com/something-in-the-dark.html

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