Sacrifice by Alexander J. Richardson

Big Mike and Jose are on a mission to rough up Tony Luchini, to defend the honour of Big Mike's little sister; by Alexander J. Richardson.

Big Mike leaned back in the front passenger seat of the SUV, his bulk straining the seatbelt's reach. He wore an unzipped hoodie over a Metallica t-shirt, sweatpants, and Nikes. A Louisville slugger rested between his knees and a printout from MapQuest was on his lap.

He wiped sweat from his lip and turned to Jose.

"Think you can drive any slower, chump?"

Jose gestured at the light. "It's a red, man. You want me to run a red? Can't do anything for Jamie if we get sideswiped running a red."

"I want to get there fast. That a complicated request? None of you Brazilians can drive."

Jose shook his head. "That's not even a stereotype, man, and I'm getting us there quick as I can. I don't control the lights."

Big Mike wiped his lip again and scratched his beard. Harrah's and Hard Rock shined in the distance. Someone blasted off fireworks from the pier. He knew the boardwalk would be packed, even this late in the evening.

Atlantic City, man.

The light turned green. Big Mike looked down for a minute and pointed ahead as Jose accelerated.

"Next left."

"Sure we're going the right way, Mikey?"

Big Mike frowned. "You gonna question me about it now? Why wouldn't I be sure?"

"Didn't you say you've only been there once? Some holiday thing?"

"Fourth of July barbecue," Big Mike said. "What difference does it make?"

"That was four months ago!"

Big Mike's face was red. He scratched his beard.

"Doesn't mean I don't know. It's the corner house on Bill Street and Clancy Avenue. I got the directions right here." He wiped his lip. "Stop asking questions. We just need to teach this guy a lesson."

Jose took the turn. Big Mike guided him the rest of the way, and about ten minutes later they parked up the street from a gray house.

The neighborhood was dark. Dead grass in the lawns. The house next door had children's furniture scattered across it, and a bicycle with the front wheel missing in the driveway. All the houses had chipped paint and broken shingles.

"I don't like this neighborhood," Jose said.

Big Mike shrugged. "It looked better during the day."

Jose turned to him.


Big Mike scratched his beard. "The hell should I know? I'm not a night specialist. What does it matter how things look? We aren't here to look. We're here to punish that creep for what he did to Jamie."

Jose shook his head. "Look, I get it. He cheated on her. I'm real sorry. Nobody's sorrier than me. Honest."

"You got a point other than nutting over my kid sis?"

Jose sighed. "Do you think this is worth it? You get busted again, you're looking at ten years easy. You think Jamie and your ma want to keep visiting you in the slammer? What if you can't get your medicine again?"

Big Mike stared at Jose for a long moment, and then grabbed the collar of his shirt, jerking him close. Jose yelped.

"Listen here and listen good, Jose. Tony Luchini got my sister to quit her job, break her lease, and move down here from Philly, only to cheat on her three months later. That's disrespect. That's so much disrespect."

Jose strained against Big Mike's grip, but couldn't pull himself free.

"If I get busted, I get busted. That's sacrifice, see? It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make for my kid sis. Grow a spine, chump, and let's get this done. Won't take more than a minute once I'm in the house. Got it?"

Jose nodded, and Big Mike shoved him away.

"Jesus, Mikey, Jesus. I get it. No need for the rough stuff, huh? I'm not Tony."

"Get out of the car," Big Mike said. "Go check around the house. Make sure he doesn't have any friends here."

"Yeah, yeah."

Jose paused.

"You want a kiss before you go?" Big Mike said.

"No, Mikey. I just... if you get busted, I get busted, you know? What does that mean for me?"

"Nobody's getting busted," Big Mike said. "Go check out the house. Let's get this done."

Jose stared at him for another moment, sighed and got out.

Big Mike sat in the car, one hand gripping the slugger, and fumed.

Luchini. That sorry prick. Jamie had given up everything for him, and how did he repay her? Raw-dogging strippers. He even made her give up the cat. Jamie had adored that cat. Noodles was a good little meow. Luchini said cats gave him the sniffles. Like the goddamn world revolved around him.

He thought about how she'd sobbed when he answered the phone. Ma had picked her up and taken her back to Philly. Jamie hadn't called him until then. Big Mike knew why. She wouldn't want him to stick his neck out for her. She knew if Big Mike picked her up, he would've beaten Luchini to a pulp on the spot.

"He ain't worth it, Mikey," Jamie had said between sobs. "I don't want you to do nothing crazy for me. He ain't your future."

Well, tough titties. Big Mike was the man of the family. Had been ever since Dad died. It was his job to make this right.

Jamie didn't get a say. She didn't need one.

Big Mike would handle it.

Jose came back to the SUV and got in.

"Blinds are open in the kitchen window," he said. "You can see past it into the living room. He doesn't have any buddies over. Not that I could see."

Big Mike nodded. "Good, good. Great. Grab the pie."

Jose didn't move.

"What's the problem?"

"I heard a kid inside," Jose said, rubbing his hands together. "There was a kid crying."

Big Mike scratched his beard. "Luchini doesn't have a kid."

"I'm telling you, Mikey. I heard one. There's a kid in there. I don't want to do this in front of a kid."

"You heard wrong." Big Mike undid his seatbelt and opened the door. "Come on."

He got out of the car. Jose followed him, straightening his Pizza Nation polo as he walked. He opened the backseat and pulled out the large pepperoni.

"It's gotten cold, Mikey."

Big Mike adjusted his crotch with his free hand. "So? Nobody's actually eating it, chump."

"You don't need to be rude. I didn't fuck any strippers while dating your sister."

The two of them walked up to the door. Big Mike stared at the house.

"Wow," he said. "This place looks a lot different in the dark."

Big Mike pressed his back up against the house, out of the peephole's view, and Jose knocked on the screen door. They waited thirty seconds, and Jose knocked again.

No response.

"Try the knob," Big Mike said.

"Jesus, Mikey. You want to add breaking and entering to the list?"

"Try the knob, Jose, or you can eat some of this bat before we're done."

Jose pulled the screen open and tried the knob. It turned in his hand.

"Let's go," Big Mike said, starting to walk in.

Jose shook his head. "I can't do it, Mikey. I'm here in my uniform. Anybody could see me. I'll just wait in the car, okay? In case we need to roll out in a hurry. Okay?"

Big Mike waved his bat at him, making Jose take a step back and drop the pizza.

"Do what you need to do, chump. I'm making things right for my sister."

Jose stared at Big Mike as he walked in, not knowing he would never see his friend alive again.

Big Mike stopped in the living room and looked around. Shag carpeting, an old sofa with duct tape covering some of the holes. A TV that looked like an old box. None of this was familiar, but Big Mike hadn't spent much time in the house before. They'd all been in the backyard.

He shuffled through the room and into the back hallway. There weren't any pictures on the wall. Just a large painting of men with goat heads standing around an upside-down cross. Big Mike passed a closed door and reached the end of the hall.

Had to be the bedroom.

Big Mike patted the bat in his hand. This would be some wakeup. He took a deep breath and pushed the door open.

And gasped.

There was no bed in here. Candles covered every shelf and lined every corner. Several hooded figures stood around, their backs to him. A crude pentagram had been spray-painted on the floor. In the center of it was a young boy, maybe eight years old. He was naked, his eyes closed, and the hilt of a knife stuck out of his chest.

"Jesus Christ!" Big Mike said.

The hooded figures turned sharply. Each of them held a knife of their own. Big Mike raised his bat.

"Back it up, chumps. Back it up."

One of the hooded figures took a step towards him, and Big Mike hit her across the head with his Louisville slugger. There was a soft crack as she dropped.

"Who else wants it?" Big Mike said, his face beet red. "Anyone else want it?"

No one responded, but a cult member who had been in the bathroom when Big Mike arrived came up behind him and stuck a knife into his back. Big Mike gasped, and another cult member rushed forward, stabbing him several times. The others joined in, and in no time at all Big Mike was more pincushion than man as the cult members stabbed him again and again and again.

Elsewhere, in the corner house of Bill Street and Clancy Way, Tony Luchini had unprotected sex with a stripper from Centerfolds in the bed he and Jamie had shared.


  1. Wow! Quite a sacrifice! Bad luck, Big Mike -- details matter;). A well-written story with a surprise twist at the end.

  2. A delightful short story, from a delightful new author.

  3. I found myself rooting for Big Mike at the end. Great characters and a fun twist ending.

  4. There was no way this was going to end well. Dread built into every word.

  5. Jose tried to warn him. Good story.

  6. Great way to carry most of the story with dialogue. Not sure why Jose would have gone along with it, but maybe he was scared of Big Mike too. Good ending: rough justice in action.

  7. This is a great story with a surprise ending. Excellent character and scenery descriptions.

  8. Didn't see that ending coming! Very well written with great descriptions and dialogue.

  9. Even if you expected a twist coming, there was no way to anticipate what it was going to was hiding in a dark room in a random house. Well done.

  10. Was not expecting the twist! I really liked the way the dialogue was written. I actually felt attached to Big Mike and Jose and cared about their fate!!