Smokey of the Migraines by Michael McInnis

Smokey and Lefty are down at the union hall talking to Sully.
They want no shows. They want Sully to pay up, Sully to
arrange for Lefty’s brother-in-law to work. Sully can’t do it.
Smokey says to him he says you can’t or won’t you bastard.
Smokey sees Sully ain’t going  to oblige them ain’t
playing along. No matter the reason Smokey don’t like
people who can’t or won’t. Smokey don’t find their recalcitrance
funny. Lefty looks longways, his mouth is always drooping, when Smokey
says recalcitrance. Where’d ya learn that? Father Xavier. He says
to me he says ya know Smokey your boys, the boys you sent me last week
they wouldn’t kneel and pray with me pray with me on the
hard floor of the rectory mudroom. Ten Hail Marys
an Act of Contrition nothing difficult nothing no Catholic boy
growing up in the projects couldn’t recite after confession.
Recalcitrant they was Smokey he says to me. Lefty doesn’t care what
a pedophile junkie says, the pervert fucker. He wants a job for the
bastard his sister married that no good half polack half Irish dipshit.
At least he ain’t no dagowop bastard Lefty had whispered to his
mother at the wedding. But now this jerk, this recalcitrant
Sully he ain’t giving forth what he’s s’pposed to, he ain’t letting go of what
he has and Smokey ain’t  liking this. Lefty senses it. Lefty feels the heat from
Smokey, feels the steam rising, knows that if Smokey don’t act soon,
don’t kill this fucker leave his body in the mud  of the bay then Smokey’s
migraine’s gonna go supernova.
What’s worse, Lefty can sense that Smokey is ready to explode he can
smell the sulpher and feel the heat coming from Smokey.
The migraine explodes inside Smokey’s head.
The light of the room shatters at the edge of his
visible spectrum. Sully’s whiny voice pile drives deeper
into Smokey’s head. Outside, a commuter train whistle blows
and rattles Smokey. The migraine takes him outside his
body where Smokey exists far from the reach of
life, of love, beyond the polished black metal of the Glock 9 he shoves in
Sully’s mouth, chipping a tooth and cutting his lips. Smokey smells the
piss soaking Sully’s pants. But the migraine gets Smokey thinking
of Tony Two Thumbs that motherfucker who thought he knew
better, who wouldn’t give up what he owed. Why does every
fuckhead think he can do what he wants, hold on to what
he owes, what he’s obligated to give up whether its
jobs or money, drugs or pussy. The migraine is a
killing field, manured with the blood of men like Tony Two Thumbs.
But Smokey can’t squeeze his head the way he likes when he’s
home in bed, pressing his palms into each temple like the
book press that Uncle Fester used to cure his headaches
on the Addam’s Family. All the kids used to laugh at
that. But Smokey knew it worked, knew it helped shut out
the explosions that threatened to overwhelm him,
threatened to send him down a pit where only pain
and nausea and fire and eternal damnation waited.
Smokey don’t notice he’s lost in the migraine, back with
the witch at Topsfield Fair who told him he had the
longest life line she had ever seen. That was when
Smokey started to believe he couldn’t be touched, that bullets
would pass through him and the Feds would look the other way while
he and Lefty raked it in. The Glock smells and tastes like a
greasy clam from Kelley’s in Sully’s mouth. Smokey says to
Sully, he says I can’t be touched. I am un fucking
touchable you hear me you fucking fuck motherfucker.
But the migraine needs more than a long life line, it needs pressure,
it needs quiet and darkness. Smokey had once asked Father
Xavier whether the migraines were penance, punishment from God
for Smokey’s sins. For turning a blind eye to the priest’s preying
on the lost boys from the projects and the shots of smack
he gave the priest whenever Father Xavier came back from
Suffolk Downs broke and dejected, straying from the protection of
Mary the Mother of God. Smokey wonders if he might find
salvation in the migraines after all. Free the pain,
do penance for all the killings, for letting the Feds
take Johnny Longneck and for sticking his gun in Mairead’s cunt
after she slapped his face. But a migraine won’t change the sound
mud makes when it sucks a body in with a watery gasp. Smokey always
liked that sound, amazed by the way the mud acted like a vacuum.
The Feds would need back-hoes to dig up the desiccated bones
from the oily muck. Smokey liked searching for new dump sites.
He felt like a great movie producer scouting locations
for the next shoot. Once, while he ate lunch downtown where
all the  businessmen and big money investors lunched.
He overheard one of them say location was everything. The pols
on Beacon Hill all said the same thing. They were always
happy to see him when Smokey gave them all fat envelopes. When
we kill this fuck, Smokey says to Lefty, he can’t go in where everyone
else is. Don’t want people to think we’re lazy or dumb or something.
We can run him out to sea. Go fish for cod off Nova Scotia. Lefty smiles.
Why not smuggle him into Nova Scotia. Guns, drugs and
bodies, a smuggler can handle anything just like a salesmen
should be able to sell anything, like a man of the cloth can absolve
the sins of murderers, thieves and housewives all on the same day.
Each says an Act of Contrition. Each ready and willing to commit
more sins. But no absolution, no dispensation can cure a
migraine. Smokey feels nauseous, his skin is paper
white, but his hand is steady. The gun in Sully’s mouth recoils breaking
the remaining teeth as the bullet shatters the back of Sully’s head.
The lights shimmering around Smokey go dark,
the noise of
the gun shocks
the migraine loose.

Michael McInnis

Michael McInnis lives in Boston and spent six years in the US Navy sailing across the Pacific and Indian Oceans to the Persian Gulf three times, chasing white whales and ended up only with madness.




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