Amber Hawthorne and Jolene Morris, roommates and business partners at
the Hawthorne Funeral Home,are drowning in debt. Because both young
women have trouble keeping their partying habits in line, they start selling
body parts on the black market to keep their business alive – and their new
buyers seem friendlyand trustworthy enough at first. That is until the dead
gangster they’ve recently parted up turns out to have been full of disease.
Now Amberand Jolene’s buyers want something else to make up for lost
profits, leaving the two undertakers to learn sometimes running your own
business can cost you an arm and aleg.Literally.
Frank Goode was having a nightmare about being back in prison. Even if it was a client ringing his doorbell that woke him up, he was fine with that. He sat up, his throat sore from sleeping with the air conditioner going full blast all night. A hangover blossomed in his skull as he sat up, blood moving back through the booze-burned parts of him.
The doorbell rang again. Three quick pulses.
Growling at lower back pains, Frank kicked his feet into his slippers and stepped out of his bedroom. He ducked through the hanging plastic sheets that kept his dining-room-turned-operating-room mostly sterile, and approached the front door. He leaned in, keeping quiet, and used the peephole. In that fisheye view of his front porch and patchy lawn, there stood a girl pacing from foot to foot, twenty to twenty-five, cracking her gum, looking over her shoulder three times in the couple seconds Frank stood watching her, estimating her, trying to think if he knew her.
He didn’t open the door. He asked through it, “Can I help you?”
“Yeah, hey, I was told you take care of people here.”
“Yeah, hey, I was told you take care of people here.”
“I take care of my friends, that’s true, but I don’t know your face.”
“I’m Simone Pescatelli.” She didn’t need to say more than her last name – and knew it.
He couldn’t see her baby bump through the peephole since all of her looked so distorted then. But when he opened the front door he sure could.
She cracked her gum. “So, yeah, I’d like to not be knocked up anymore. My uncle says you patch up the boys so I was wondering if…you know, you do girls too.”
“Frank waved her in. She clicked onto his living room’s hardwood floor on four-inch leopard-print pumps, leaving a trail of perfume that dragged a knife across his brain. His wife wore that. Wore it on their wedding day.
Before closing the door he surveyed the street, the row of little houses across from his. The cars parked there were all family-man minivans and Mexicans’ pickup trucks with the Old English script of their fallen loved ones’ names across the back glass. He was familiar with each of these vehicles; the only one out of place was the sky-blue Honda at the curb at the end of his walkway directly ahead.
“Yeah,” she said. Gum crack. “Ain’t pretty, I know, but it’s like a disguise you drive instead of wear. The Slavs don’t know it.”
“I see.” Frank closed the door, threw all four deadbolts.
She stood in his living room watching the TV he’d left on all night for the company. Standing as she was, he got a good look at her in profile. Her baby bump was peeking out from under her thin, spaghetti-strap tank top. “At a guess he’d say she was five months along, but wasn’t sure, so he asked.
She shrugged tanned shoulders. “Dunno.”
“When was your last period?”
She stopped chewing her gum. “Kinda personal, don’t you think?”
“I won’t be able to help you if you’re past your first trimester.” He stepped into the kitchen to get the coffee started. He lit a cigarette and stepped back into the small, bare-walled, low-ceilinged living room and sat on his stained Goodwill couch. “Have a seat.”
She sat on the other end, eyes glued to the TV again. He shut it off. She blinked, and finally looked over at him, jaw working, denting her cheek in time with each slow grind. “What? I
don’t know, okay? It’s not like I got a fucking journal for every time I bleed. Me and Joey started going without, you know, using rubbers and shit. He says he used to work around magnets a lot at the car-crusher place and he’s shooting blanks because of it – but here we are, right? So, you gonna fix it or what?”
“I don’t fix. I treat. And if you’re past your first trimester, which it appears that you are, I won’t be able to help you.”
“Won’t or can’t? My uncle says you sometimes drive a hard bargain, so if that’s what you’re doing, you ain’t gotta worry, I brought cash.” She clicked open her leopard-print purse. A knot of dough the size of Frank’s head could barely be held in her one hand, clutched hard with her eagle-talon nails the color of strawberries. “Name your price. I gotta be at the salon by noon, though.”
Thank you, Andrew Post and Random Things Tours.
About the author
Andrew Post was born in Erie, Pennsylvania(imagine
Eraserhead but in color). While he was honing his craftas a
writer (those early stories were awful) he worked in a gift
shop in one of the scuzziest hotels in the Midwest, he
cleaned rental cars (also gross), he was a butcher (despite
being avegetarian),and in 2013 his first novel, the cyberpunk thriller,
Knuckleduster, was published. No one really seemed to care much but he
keptat itand has since published a handful of other works to varying
degrees of resulting public interest with afew seeing translations and one
almost became a movie (that litagent has since been fired).
For Chop Shop, Andrew was inspired by the (early) films of Quentin
Tarantino, Guy Ritchie,and Martin Scorsese,as well as the deliberately overthe-top horror films of the 80s like PeterJackson’s Braindead. That was the
goal with Chop Shop:acomedic crime caper with buckets of gore.
Andrew lives in asleepy river town in Minnesota where he may or may not be
planning aquatic “accidents”to befall the many otherauthors who live in the
areaand he has been mistaken for Rob Zombie on no less than ten separate