Free Market Morality

Donald Dorrier checked his watch. It was 9:30.

This was to be his last job.

His assignment was likely standing on this train that was now screeching to a stop overhead.

He pulled his giraffe mask over his face, tightened his gloves, and gripped his brass & aluminum Mjölnir hammer. He hid underneath the stairs of the subway station. The 39th & Beebe station was the second stop in Queens when coming from Manhattan on the Q train, and it ran above ground after going through the Queensboro tunnel. People seldom got off at this stop, and the area around it was virtually deserted at this time of night.

Tired and heavy steps started coming down the stairway. Donald looked up through the openings between the stairs.

It was his assignment.

Donald looked at his Mjölnir hammer affectionately. He had just cleaned it an hour ago, and it was looking brand new. Twirling it around in his gloved hands, he admired the horns of Odin on one side of the metal, and the written message in runic-styled script on the other: “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” He had purchased it from a year and a half ago for his business. A regular bat would have worked, but he had an unidentified image to uphold.

His assignment finished his trek down the stairs and turned the corner. He was walking down 39th Avenue towards 21st Street. He would turn left on 28th Street, where his studio apartment was, and there would be a few precious moments of relative quiet.

Donald waited. He knew exactly where his assignment was going, so there was no need to risk ruining the $5,000 job by following too closely.

Without fail, he had done three jobs per week for the past year and a half. He could squeeze in more jobs if he wanted to, but he preferred to keep his volume low so that he could concentrate on each assignment. It always took him at least two weeks to study the habits of his targets.

His business was simple: He beat the fuck out of employees that bosses didn’t like.

The boss would send an e-mail to an account, which forwarded that e-mail onto an unrelated account, which forwarded that e-mail onto an unrelated account, which would bounce the e-mail through random IP addresses, and then it would finally end up in his inbox. It would state the name of the person that he was to beat the fuck out of. Donald would in turn respond with a location at which the client was to drop off the $5,000 cash. He also gave a phone number to call once the client reached that destination. Donald would always give them the runaround once they arrived and called, making the person walk to a location down the street, call him when they got there, make them walk to a location down another street, call him when they got there, and so on. Donald would be watching them the whole time from a roof with his binoculars, making sure that there was no funny business going on. After the person was completely lost and he was sure that they weren’t being tailed, he would have them drop the money behind a trash can. He would watch the bundle for an hour before picking it up. And then the assignment would begin.

He would stalk the person for two-to-three weeks, and find the best time to get them. It always had to be in the streets, as Donald had morals: He didn’t believe in breaking into peoples’ residences.

His morals also kept him from beating the fuck out of people on weekends. People worked too hard, and they really needed to enjoy their two days off.

Donald cracked his neck and began his walk to 28th Street. A natural New Yorker, his steps were very fast-paced. He would catch up to his assignment in no time.

Sometimes his assignments were women. In fact, more than half of them were women.

Donald saw his target in seconds. He was walking very slowly on the sidewalk with his head down, oblivious to his surroundings.

When his assignments were women, Donald treated them no differently than men. His moral code held people of either gender to be equal.

Donald’s steps were still quiet as he crept up right behind his target. He would wait for the assignment to feel his presence, as it always added to the fear element.

His assignments were of all races: White, Brown, Yellow, Black.

His clients were always cowardly bosses without morals. The bosses usually wanted to fire the assignments, but were unable to for whatever reason. Often the employees were actually very good people, and it was the bosses who were assholes. Whatever the case, the boss figured that the best way to get rid of an employee while also making their life hell would be to give them an off-the-clock disabling. That was when they would e-mail Donald.

Donald’s assignment slowly turned his head and saw a giraffe-masked man standing directly behind him, brandishing an odd-looking hammer. Goosebumps seemed to rise from everywhere on the victim’s body. His underwear immediately became heavy and damp.

With a sideways heaving motion that was lightning-fast, Donald shattered the assignment’s left rib cage. The target crumbled to the ground, the only sound coming from his mouth being a sputtering set of gasps. Donald knew that the act of breathing for his assignment would probably be painful for quite a long time.

The victim groaned, rolling to his side without the broken ribs. Donald stepped on his right forearm, planting it on the ground. Then he raised his Mjölnir hammer high above his head and brought it crashing down on his assignment’s hand.

At that point, the assignment passed out.

His morals kept him from striking his assignments after they lost consciousness.

Donald quickly walked further down the sidewalk to where he’d hidden a camera behind a tree. His bookbag was also hidden there. He detached the camera from its tripod, took off his mask, and stuffed his bookbag with these items. He wrapped his Mjölnir hammer in bubble wrap and jammed it into a separate compartment of his bookbag.

Then he walked back to his target, who was still knocked out on the sidewalk. He wheezed through his open mouth with uneven breaths. Donald took the assignment’s cell phone from his pocket and dialed 911. When the operator picked up, Donald simply answered, “I’ve struck again.” And then he hung up.

His car was parked underneath the subway on 38th Street and 39th Ave. Steps away. He slipped into his car and sped away.

Without fail, he had done this same exact routine three times a week for a year and a half.

His house was in Canarsie, deep in Brooklyn. Once he got there, he ran down the stairs to his bottom floor apartment.

The whole one bedroom spot looked like an office. There was buzzing computer equipment, DVD players, and an old copier machine. There were ten thin packages in a stack on his desk, none of them sealed yet.

There was one more piece to be added to each of them.

Donald connected his camera to his computer. He then made ten DVD copies of the three-hour long video that the camera contained. Putting these copies into hard DVD covers, he placed each of them in the packages.

The contents of the package were print-outs of the original e-mails from his clients, with IP addresses written on each one of them. There was also a sheet that contained the username and password to his e-mail account.

The DVDs contained footage of his clients going through his obstacle courses to drop off their respective bundles money. The audio from the phone conversation served as a narrative to the darkly humorous scenes. Each of the scenes from these transactions was accompanied by the connected incident of him beating the fuck out of the victims. For comedy relief, Donald had also videotaped the bosses on the days after the beatings, usually out during lunch, with big victorious smiles on their faces.

Donald sealed the packages.

Each of them were addressed to different media outlets: CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, CNN, the Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The LA Times, and The National Enquirer. There was also a return address on each of them: The house that he was now in.

He placed them in the mailbox in front of his house. The news outlets would have them in a day or two.

And then Donald opened his freezer and took out a large duffel bag. In that bag was $1,170,000.

His morals kept him from depositing that money into the bank.

His morals also kept him from giving that money to charity, as it was money that had been earned in an uncharitable manner.

He walked the bag outside and threw it in the trunk of his car. There were already a few changes of clothes in there for him. And some hotdog sandwiches.

Leaving the Mjölnir hammer, the giraffe mask, and the fake identity of Donald Dorrier in the house for the police to soon discover, the vigilante started up his car and sped off. His work here was finished.

He looked one last time at his garage. He had spray-painted a special message for the people who would soon be crowding the apartment of the hammer-wielding giraffe man.


The Era Corrector – Part 6: Birth Control

When I woke up, the taste in my mouth told me that it had been an interesting night. It was the shitty aftertaste of whiskey and too many cigarettes.

My head was pounding as I looked up at a dorm room ceiling that wasn’t mine. I was in a bed that was comfortable enough, but the girl sleeping next to me had taken all the sheets. I shivered in my nakedness. As soon as I remembered who the fuck she was and where the fuck I was, I was going to snatch those sheets right back.

No luck. My mind was moving like a glacier right now; I could only remember that it was a Sunday morning and that I had gone to some frat party on 12th last night. And that it was 1999.

She stirred next to me. I looked at her eyes as they shot open and darted to me. They were still wide as she scanned my 19 year old body, and by the time those eyes returned back to mine they were warm, recognizing, and horny.

Glad she remembered who I was; I was still struggling to reciprocate.

“Hey,” she murmured, smiling at me sleepily.

I took that as an opportunity to snatch the sheets back, bringing her closer to me. I could now see that she was naked as I was, with a soft body to which mine quickly reacted. Her skin had a caramel color, void of blemishes. She was effortlessly fit in the way that only a college freshman could be. I grabbed her right breast.

She giggled and cupped her hand around my occupied one. I looked back into her dark brown eyes. She was smiling in earnest now; her excitement seemed to be waking her up more by the second. Her other hand reached between my legs.

Now I remembered. A group of us had walked home from the party last night. Except I’d never made it to my own dorm. I was able to talk this pretty nameless girl into letting me spend the night at her place.

She was on top of me already, her lips locked to mine while her legs straddled me. My arousal was instant as she began to grind her hips. I squeezed her butt.

Then the deja vu returned.

I’d always had bits and pieces of deja vu, but for the past two weeks it had been constant. Something was going on inside of my mind; it was as if I’d been in a walking dream lately.

“Wait,” I said to her, my wits trying to control my lust. “Lemme get a rubber.”

She grinded harder on top of me, straightening her back and inclining her chin with her eyes half open. Her contorted face was rapt with bliss. Both of her arms reached up to tousle her wavy hair, and her medium-sized breasts bounced in rhythm to her thrusts. I kind of felt like a spectator…which was cool, because the more pleased I felt, the louder her moans got.

I decided that the rubber could wait until we were finished.

Suddenly my body was overcome with that familiar sensation. My eyes shot open at the realization that I was about to finish quicker than usual.

“Oh shit,” I said under my breath, preparing myself for the pop.

That was when the door of her room burst open, swinging back hard to bang against the wall in back of it.

The girl on top of me gave a bloodcurdling shriek at this invasion of privacy. OK, I’ll admit it…I also shrieked like a pussy, and I would have fainted had I not been laying down. That shit was crazy. I pulled the girl down as I glared at the door, expecting it to be God himself.

Even worse. It was Nadifa, my girlfriend.

She was planted in the doorway, seemingly unable to move. I guess she was pretty surprised herself. She was like a statue, and I watched her facial expression slowly change from a heart-wrenching “You’ve broken my heart and I’m shattered within” to a terrifying “I’m going to violently murder both of you”. A guttural growl started to develop deep in her throat.

Fuck that. I wasted no time. I jumped out of the bed, grabbed as many of my clothes as I could snatch in one scoop, and was racing for the door as soon as Nadifa’s growl had evolved into a full-blown scream. She was still blocking the doorway, so I pump-faked left. Her claws raked at my face…had I really gone left I would have lost an eye. Now she was off balance, and with a swimming motion I was past her, out of the room, and darting butt-ass-naked down the hall.

Doors were open. I was in Canfield Hall, one of the all-girls’ dorms here at Ohio State University, so being publicly naked didn’t bother me too much. What bothered me was my likely-ex-girlfriend who was now running behind me, yelling accusations at the top of her lungs. She was pretty easy to lose, since it’s difficult to run and shout at the same time.

I threw open the stairwell door and bounded down the cement stairs. Somehow I yanked my jeans on while running (I’d missed my boxers in the frantic scoop), slid on my shoes, and was pulling on my shirt by the time I made it out of the building.

I stopped for a second to catch my breath. I was bent over at the waist, my hands on my knees, heaving like I’d just run a 400. My heart was still beating fast, and if I weren’t a teenager I probably would have experienced cardiac arrest.

I started walking towards North Campus where my own dorm was, cutting through buildings and watching my back the whole time. I would have to make sure the lobby people in my dorm never let Nadifa into the building again.

The deja vu returned. Strong this time. So strong that I wasn’t surprised to see Lisette running towards me on the sidewalk.

I’d met Lisette about two weeks back during class. I’d been daydreaming and doodling during the Biology lecture, filling up my notebook with ADD drawings instead of notes. I’d heard some soft female laughter next to me, looked up, and saw this heavenly-gorgeous young lady intently admiring my work. A tad embarrassed, I’d smiled back at her self-consciously and stopped doodling. And then, astonishingly, she gently took my notebook from me, flipped through the pages and studied each one carefully. Confused, I’d tried to start a whisper conversation with her. She gave me her name, and that was as far as I’d gotten. I couldn’t draw her attention away from my notebook, especially one page in particular. I grabbed the notebook back, ripped the page out, and gave it to her. The resulting look of genuine gratitude in her eyes creeped me the fuck out.

Now here she was jogging toward me as if she’d been expecting me. Her black hair blew in the air behind her; that dark mocha skin of hers was splendid in the sun, and at that very moment I realized that it was a beautiful day. She was smiling apologetically as she came nearer, her maple-colored eyes gazing at me with that damned reverence.

“Sorry about that,” she purred in her sing-songy way of speaking. “I called your girlfriend Nadifa and told her where you were and what you were doing. Let’s go back to your dorm where it’s safe.”

She started to walk in the direction that I was going, but I stayed planted to the ground. What the fuck? Not only was this crazy ass chick stalking me, but she was also disrupting my player life? And how the fuck did she know anything about me, especially who my girlfriend was and who I was cheating on her with? I didn’t move.

After a few steps she turned around, her wise eyes digging into my willpower. Sometimes when she looked at me, I felt as if I were taking a warm bath.

“Come on,” she sang. “I’ll explain when we get some privacy.”

Fuck it. Maybe I could get some consolation ass, too, since I just lost two chicks at once about ten minutes ago.

I went with her, giving her hell the whole time about being a cockblocker and a player hater and a stalker and a borderline bugaboo. She giggled at each insult, occasionally echoing the words back as if harmonizing them.

This chick was crazy.

When we finally stood before my door, I paused before opening it. Wait a minute.

“Hey, Lisette. Listen. Seriously. Who does that shit? That’s seriously fucked up. How did you know these things? Why did you tip off my girlfriend?”

Her head was tilted to the side as she touched my bottom lip with her index finger.

“You told me to.”

I looked at her as one looks at a handicap when trying to understand how to even begin humoring them.

“Please open the door, Sir,” she hummed.

It was the ‘Sir’. I opened the door, let her in, and closed it behind me, locking it.

When I turned around, she had a piece of ripped-out notebook paper in her hand. I instantly recognized it as the one that I’d given to her; my doodles were beautiful chaos all across the page. Why she was showing me now, I didn’t know. I was beginning to feel as if I’d been made to care for a mentally ill person. My eyes were glaring inquiringly at her.

“I wish you would stop looking at me like that.” Her voice was like a blues swing for this statement.

I plucked the hallowed paper from her delicate hands, crumbled it up, and did a skyhook to shoot it into the trash. I missed.

Without betraying any emotion, she walked past me over to the floor and picked it up. She concentrated on the paper as she unfolded it slowly and meticulously. Like a ritual, she examined every corner of the paper to make sure that she had un-crumbled all of it, and then began to smooth it out on the wall.

I couldn’t take it anymore. “Hey Lisette. What the fuck are you doing?”

She walked over and handed the paper to me. Her eyes were fastened to it with muted fanaticism. My gaze slowly unlocked itself from the spectacle of her and moved to the holy piece of paper.

There were my doodles. A drunk guy with a crooked tie, a woman with medium-sized tits in a nice dress, some crazy looking woman yelling at a crudely drawn naked couple (with a “censored” sticker drawn across the dude’s crotch), and some fucked-up-looking machine that resembled nothing. I should’ve given her another page.

Then I noticed the numbers.

Well, “numbers” is a vague way to put it. It was more like a formula, with a mixture of numbers and symbols that I didn’t entirely recognize. It was a beautiful formula, but I had no idea what the fuck it was. I was struggling in my Statistics class as it was.

I did this?

I looked at her, my eyes questioning. The deja vu was running strong now, and I was beginning to feel some anxiety.

She threw her head back and laughed. It sounded like an alto solo in an opera, and for a second I forgot about everything else and just wanted to have sex with her. She returned my gaze, still teehee-ing.

“Those were your orders, and I followed them to the ‘T’,” she intoned.

The word ‘confusion’ took on a whole new meaning for me right then. I looked at the formula again. What the fuck was going on? With my fingers, I touched each of the numbers and symbols, trying to make sense of them.

“And now, Sir,” she continued, in the tone of a dirge, “it is time to say ‘Goodbye’.”

When I looked at her this time, I realized that both of us must be retards. She took the paper from me and leaned her face close to mine. She whispered a lullaby into my ear. Her lovely words were pure gibberish. At first.

But then, as I looked down at the paper, I realized that she was reading me my forumla.

Her voice began to choke up as she read on. For some reason, this formula was sad to her.

Suddenly the room got bright. Fuck, everything got bright, including her. Like blindingly bright. It was like light was filling everything around me; even her voice became like a beam of light, a vibrating photon.

And then there was nothing but light, and I was alone.

How long this lasted, I don’t know. But it felt something like forever.

It seemed like ages of nothingness had gone by, and then I heard her voice reading the formula again.

Except it wasn’t her voice.

In an instant, my senses returned. I was looking into the faces of two beautiful young women who were very familiar to me. They were both petting my head as they read me the formula.

My body was no longer 19. Shit, none of me was 19 anymore. I looked around at the high-tech room, remembering everything again.

The ladies were finished reading the formula. One of them was handing me a strong elixir, which I grabbed and gulped down like a madman.

“Welcome back to the Sintex Era, Sir,” one of the ladies said. “You are back in A.R. 1, in the year 2050. You have successfully altered the undesired result of A.R. 364,854,588.”