Day by Day

Benjamin Goodman
Day by Day

” I peer behind the curtains to make sure that there are no hot pink hearses in the parking lot. When I do, I find multiple hot pink hearses, which means I am being followed. I don’t know by whom or why, but I know that my life’s in danger.”

I put my suitcase on the bed and look around the room. I peer behind the curtains to make sure that there are no hot pink hearses in the parking lot. When I do, I find multiple hot pink hearses, which means I am being followed. I don’t know by whom or why, but I know that my life’s in danger.  

***

It all started when my girlfriend Taylor was murdered. The night she was murdered, we were partying and drinking. She had taken me back to her place on 21 Wall Street, which was close to mine. One nightcap led to another, and before we knew it, we were both very drunk, and we passed out on the floor for a little while.

I heard her get up. “Where are you going?” I asked.

“Urghh. Have to get into bed,” she said.  

I must have opened the window to let in some fresh air, because the next thing I knew, I had been pushed out the window onto the street.

“Taylor!” I whimpered groggily. I heard no response. I wasn’t quite sure where I was at that moment because I was too drunk to even stand up, but I was worried about Taylor.  

I looked up and found a man standing in the window staring at me.  He was wearing all black so I couldn’t see his face all too well. I blinked, and he was gone. I used all of the strength I had left to stand up and figure out how to get back into Taylor’s.

The door was surprisingly unlocked, and there was no sight of Taylor or the man in the window.

“Taylor! Taylor, where are you?” I found some mud on the stairs leading up to Taylor’s bedroom, which was not there when we first walked in the door.  I didn’t know what to do, but at least I wasn’t as drunk as I was 30 minutes ago. I walked up the stairs and went to bed, not knowing where Taylor or the man at the window was.

When I woke up, I was in the kitchen, dazed and confused. The fridge was open and there was a glass of water right next to it. I started to think how I got down there, but I still had no recollection of going to the kitchen.  

When I went back upstairs to Taylor’s bedroom, I put on all of my clothes, ready to leave, not knowing what time it was or what had happened last night. For some reason, I didn’t just leave. I turned on her bed side light, and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. After I turned the light off and on about three or four times, I just couldn’t bear to look at her anymore. What the hell happened in this house?

Taylor was covered in stab marks, and blood was everywhere. I mean everywhere.

And now I am here in a cheap motel on the outskirts of Miami, and a fleet of pink hearses are following me. How has my life come to this? The world had been at our fingertips. I was a young lion on Wall Street, and so was Taylor.

I sit on the bed, trying to fight back the tears. I was a coward — I had just driven to the airport and hopped on the first available flight to Miami. A normal person would have called the police. An innocent person wouldn’t have run. I am innocent, aren’t I? I couldn’t have killed Taylor.

The crowd we run with on Wall Street works hard and parties hard. You had to keep up, but I had started blacking out on occasion, whole periods of evenings wiped from my memory. I didn’t know what I was capable of. And so, I ran.

I grabbed my keys and left Taylor’s house as fast as I could because I didn’t want to be a part of something I may or may not have done. Just before I left her house, I looked for any possible murder weapons around the bed and in the kitchen, but couldn’t find anything. I got in my BMW and drove back to my apartment, where everything was quiet and peaceful.  

But I couldn’t rest. I grabbed my suitcase and started dumping my clothes in it. My phone beeped, letting me know I had a voice message. It was from Taylor.

“I just want you to know, the answer is yes!”

Yes to what? Yes to coming to my parents for Thanksgiving? Yes to a movie on Saturday night? Or had I proposed? It was all too little, too late. I shook off all of my feelings, closed my suitcase, and left my apartment.

It wasn’t until I got to Miami that I suspected I was being followed, and not just by the police. Pink hearses…

***

I can’t run anymore right now. I lie back on the crappy motel bed and turn on the TV, flipping around stations until I see a picture of Taylor.

Taylor had very blonde hair even though she dyed it, and she was very thin, about 150 pounds and stood 5’9” tall. She was wearing her favorite white dress when she got killed — just like the picture.  I turn up the volume.

“Funeral home heiress and financier, Taylor McCormack, was found murdered yesterday in her home on Wall Street. She was last seen at a bar with her boyfriend, John Flynn. People at the bar said that they witnessed a beautiful proposal, but that they hadn’t heard her say the magic word, “yes,” although she was indeed wearing an engagement ring when she was found. No witnesses were on the scene on 21 Wall Street, but the police have been searching for John.”

Then, a big picture of yours truly appears on the screen. It wasn’t my favorite black suit with my red tie, but I still looked dashing in it. I look dashing in every suit, with my brown hair and brown eyes. I do have some gray hairs coming in, so I use “Just for Men,” which gets rid of the grays, but not permanently.

“We’re at the home of her father, Mr. McCormack, owner of thirty funeral homes in the tri-state area. Mr. McCormack would like to make a statement.”

The large, round face of Taylor’s dad appears on the screen. “John,” he said. “If you are watching this, please come home. We know that you didn’t do it. And for anybody else with any information on John’s whereabouts or anything at all regarding my sweet Taylor’s murder, I am offering a 250,000 dollar reward.”

I start to think about the pink hearses out my window and Taylor’s father. I then wonder why they are pink instead of black, like a normal hearse should look like. Maybe I am not being followed by Taylor’s father, but by someone else. I then hear a knock on the door and nearly shit myself, I’m so scared.

“Who is it?” I say quietly.

All I hear is, “Open up.”

I don’t know what to do. I have no weapons, no hiding spot, and no escape route.

The knocking grows louder. “Coming!” I say in a high pitched voice, trying to sound more feminine, trying to throw whoever is on the other side of that door off.

I close my eyes and focus on the breathing techniques I had learned back in college when I maintained my black belt in mixed martial arts. Since I’ve been on Wall Street, I’ve been practicing less and am a little rusty, but I’m hoping that I can find my fighting skills again if I need to.

The knocking is relentless, so what do I do? Mr. MMA Fighter cowers in the bathroom. This is the end, goodbye world…

But I finally walk over to the door and pull it open, as if it’s a bandaid I need to pull off really quickly. There, I find three armed men and one woman smoking right in front of them. They all have the yin and yang symbol on their leather jackets, so I think they must be part of some gang or something like that.

“Who are you?” I ask.

The woman smoking takes a long look at me, and I squirm. “I am Li Na which means “elegant,” and this is Liu Wei which means “great,” Wang Lei which means “rock pile,” and Li Jun which means “army.” We are part of the Chinese mafia. We need you to help us.”

“With what?”

Li Na blew a smoke ring in my face. “You’ll find out if you come with me.”

What the hell do I do? I can’t take all of them down, especially Wang Lei because he is the muscle of the group.  

Just man up and take them down. You took four years of MMA, you know how to fight.

I start for every single one of them by sending flying kicks and punches to the kidneys, while being punched and kicked harder from all of them. I take Li Na’s cigarette and use it as a weapon by putting it on the men’s skin and hear the sizzle of their skin being burnt.

When did I become so good at fighting so many people at the same time? After having all of the men on the floor in pain, Li Na isn’t in sight, which is worrying. The next thing I know, I’m in what must be a hearse, handcuffed to a seat with everyone squished in. They have put a sack over my head so that I can’t tell anyone where we are going, or who any of them are.

I ask Li Na, “What the fuck am I doing handcuffed to a seat?”

“If I were you,” Li Na snarls. “I would shut your fat American mouth before the boss comes.”

I almost roll my eyes. This can’t be serious — it’s almost as if I am in some cheesy gangster movie. Okay, I better shut up, so I don’t die. But now I can’t stop thinking about Taylor — she’s gone, she’s really gone. Then, my thoughts turn to her father.

***

I had met Taylor’s father about five times, and each of those times, he had always said to Taylor, “Why him? Why him? You could have picked any other guy, and you picked him. Why?”

Taylor always said, “Dad, stay of my life. I just brought John here so that you would get to know him, and maybe even like him.”

Every time Taylor and I left and went home to talk about what happened, she’d always say angrily, “Don’t worry about my father.” And I would completely ignore her and go to bed.

Back at the Chinese mafia HQ, I’m tied to a chair with the bag still over my head. I hear loud footsteps coming directly at me.  At this moment, I don’t know if I’m going to die or if “the boss” is coming to talk to me.

The bag is ripped off of my head, and I see a very fat man, most likely the boss, in front of me.

“Do you know who I am?” the fat man says.

“No, and what the fuck do you want with me?” I reply harshly.

“I am Greg McCormack.”

How is this happening? How did Taylor’s father find me? How is he involved with the Chinese mafia? These are all reasonable questions that would probably never be answered.

I then say in the calmest voice possible, “Mr. McCormack, I am truly sorry for your loss. I know Taylor meant the world to you, and she did to me as well. That’s why I couldn’t have killed her. Please don’t kill me! I still have a life to live for.”

“John, I know that you didn’t kill Taylor,” Mr. McCormack says and pauses dramatically, “even though your fingerprints were everywhere at the crime scene. You were gonna be my son-in-law, but I knew that you would run away because you were always afraid of me. So I sent all of my hot pink hearses after you in every possible state that you could have gone to.”

I want say something, but then, Greg stops me before I can even get a word out of my mouth.

“All I need you for is to help me find Taylor’s killer.” I breathe a sigh of relief, but then a feeling of dread follows. How am I supposed to know who killed her? I watch McCormack as he opens a tool box and pulls out a hammer. What’s that for?

“And I also need to interrogate you, or I beat you until you die.  Do you understand?”

“Yes sir,” I say in the most secure voice I can.

“Ok, let’s start. Where were you the night Taylor died?”

“Taylor and I met downtown at a restaurant.”

“What was it called?” McCormack asks.

“I can’t remember right now because Taylor picked the restaurant.”

“Where did you and Taylor go after dinner?”

“To her house,” I said.

“What did you do at her house?”

“We drank a lot, watched TV, drank more, and then, we were both passed out on the floor. About 20 minutes later, we woke up, and she went up to her room, and I was looking out the window to get some fresh air.”

“What happened next?”

“I’m getting there!” I yell. “Okay, so I was looking out the window for a couple of minutes, still drunk, when I was suddenly shoved out the window. I landed on the ground really hard. When I looked up, all I saw was a dark male figure looking at me, and when I blinked, he was gone.”

“John, what happened to Taylor?”

“So, I was looking around the street for ten minutes trying to find where I was. I then realized I was still at Taylor’s place, and the door was unlocked, so I walked in and looked for her. I went upstairs and went to bed. After that, I woke up in the kitchen, and I didn’t have any idea how or why I was in the kitchen. I then went upstairs to check on Taylor, and she was covered in stab wounds, and I ran as far away as I could. And that’s my story, Mr. McCormack. Please, don’t beat me to death.”

“Okay John,” he says. Thank you for sharing your story. I won’t kill you or hurt you. Now, I need your help to find Taylor’s killer. Are you with me?”

I have no choice, but to say yes because if I say no, I’ll be hammered to death. So I say, ‘’Yes!”

“John.”

“Yes.”

“I need to ask you a few personal questions about Taylor and what you know about her. Okay?”

“Yup, that’s okay,” I reply.

Now McCormack is pacing the room in front of me. It makes me even more nervous. My wrists still really hurt from the handcuffs, but I don’t dare to ask to have them taken off.

“Do you know what Taylor did for a living?”

“Yeah, she was a financial advisor, just like me.”

“Okay. Did she ever mention side jobs?”

I frown. “No, she was just as busy as me. There was no way she had any time for another job.”

“Did she ever mention anything about a younger brother?”

“No,” I said, frowning deeper. They must not have been close. “But why? Is he important?”

“Listen John, Taylor was next in line to take over all of my funeral homes. Her younger brother, Greg McCormack Jr., wanted the business so bad. He always begged me and begged me to be in front of Taylor. He said that it wasn’t fair, that Taylor was always my favorite and that she got everything. Blah, blah, blah. Kids,” he chuckles. “They never stop being kids, do they?”

“Taylor never told me. Wait, do you think your own son could have killed his sister?” I ask. What kind of family had I gotten myself involved with?

“That’s why I need you to talk to him and interrogate him, just like I did to you.”

I don’t like this idea at all. I just want to move somewhere very, very far away and drink myself into oblivion.

“Hold on,” I start to protest. “You never said anything about finding someone and interrogating someone; all you said was to help you find Taylor’s killer.”

“John, this is helping me find Taylor’s killer. He’s a possible suspect. He needs to be thrown off guard. You can’t be a nice guy here. You are the grieving boyfriend. Don’t you care about Taylor? I need your help, or you die.”

Just as he says “or you die,” I hear a gun being cocked back, and I nearly shit myself.

“Oookaaay,” I say. “I’ll help you, but only if you promise never to hurt me or kill me. Deal?”

“Deal,” says McCormack.

“And get these goddamned handcuffs off me.”

We fly back to New York on a hot pink jet. I ask McCormack, “Why all the hot pink?”

He chuckles again. This guy either chuckles or uses a hammer in stressful situations. I am glad I have him chuckling.

“Hot pink is a manly color.”

“Okay then,” I reply and stare out of the window.

The flight is about two and half hours, so I decide to sleep the whole way in order to rejuvenate myself to find Taylor’s younger brother, the possible killer.

“It’s time to wake up, Sleeping Beauty, we have a long day ahead of us,” I hear Greg say.

I scream at him, “I’m getting up.” I get really cranky if I don’t wake up naturally.

“Pipe down, Princess.” Greg glares at me.

When we get off the private jet, it’s about seven o’clock — three days after the murder.  I am still dreaming about holding Taylor’s hand and being with her all the time, like we did when she was still alive. Oh how I miss Taylor. She was so beautiful.

A hot pink limo is waiting for us, which is probably the nicest limo I’ve ever been in, even though it is hot pink.  

Greg is talking to all of his mafia friends in Chinese so I can’t understand what he’s saying, which really bothers me because he could be talking about me the entire time, and I would have no clue what he is saying.

Then, a thought occurs to me. “What about the police? What are they doing about this investigation? Aren’t they coming after me?”

“Yes John, but I told them I would handle everything since there was no evidence that you killed her,” McCormack tells me in a reassuring voice.

“Oh well, that clears everything up about the police then.” The cops must be really dirty.

We’re at Greg McCormack Jr.’s house, which is pretty big, I have to say, for him being the only person who lives there. It’s in a really nice neighborhood; I think it’s the Upper East Side or something like that, but there’s definitely a lot of nice houses and apartments.

“What’s your son’s job?” I ask.

“He works in real estate.”

“Then why would he want to possibly kill Taylor?” I ask again.

“Because all of those funeral homes have great value, real estate-wise.”

“Well now, it all makes sense,” I say, getting out of the car. I press the buzzer for Greg Jr.’s apartment.

“Come in.” Seems like a nice guy. How could he commit a murder?

I know that everyone else is downstairs waiting in the limo or hiding right outside of the apartment, so I start talking.

“Hi, I’m John Flynn, and you must be Greg McCormack.”

“Yes, how do you know who I am?”

“I know your father very, very well,” I try to speak in the creepiest voice possible. I’ve never tried to intimidate anyone before. “I’m Taylor’s boyfriend, John.”

Greg turns paler than he already is. “What do you need or want with me?”

“I need to ask you a few questions, is that okay?” I ask, noting that he looks nothing like Taylor. He’s short and fat, just like his father, while Taylor was willowy and blonde.

“I guess so. Would you like to come in?” Greg Jr. gestures to the couches in his grand living room with floor to ceiling windows and a view of of the East River. Why does he want more than his fair share of what he already has?

I don’t sit down. I need to keep the upper hand. “Okay then, where were you the night that Taylor was murdered?”

“I was downtown at a bar.”

We were at a bar downtown as well. Had he been following us?

“Were you alone at the bar?”

“Yes, I was.”

“Where did you go after that?”

“I went up to Wall Street to look around.”

Oh shit! He was at Wall Street, and so were we. Things are getting a little creepy.

“My ex-wife is planning on moving there with my kid, and I wanted to see the building she is moving into.”

“What building is that?”

He takes a deep breath. “21 Wall Street.”

“Did you know that was Taylor’s building?”

“No,” Greg said in a really high pitched voice. “Not then!”

All of a sudden, glass is breaking, and Greg McCormack Jr. has just jumped out a window and landed on the limo. I really hope they caught him.  

“YOLO,”  I scream and jump out the window to chase after him. I feel like Batman. I know that Greg Jr. must have taken some fighting classes because his dad is in the mafia, so he must know something about fighting.  

Since he’s short and fat, I catch up to him really fast, and I mean really fast.  

I scream, “It’s over. Greg, it’s over! Stop running, you’re screwed either way.”

“Catch me if you can,” he says sprinting away. For a fat dude he can sure move it.

But then, I’m right next to him, and I tackle him so hard that he lands on the ground, and I hear a crack. All I see is blood coming out of both of us. I don’t know where at the time because I’m in shock that I actually tackled him, and that I won. I really, really, won.  

I hear loud moans from Greg Jr. and I’m just lying on the ground face up, thinking back to what I’ve done with myself these past few days.

I then look over to Greg, and he isn’t there anymore. That’s when I start to fear for my life.  I see a shadowy figure that looks just like the man in the windows.

That’s when I know Greg McCormack Jr. killed his sister, just for real estate purposes.  

“This is the end for you, John Flynn. Man up and fight me, and we’ll see who really deserves to die today,” I hear Greg say.

“Is that what you want, a fight? You shall receive the beating of your life!” I exclaim.

We are both in ready-position, trying to psych the other person out, but it would not work, whatsoever.  

“Come at me. Or, are you a pussy?”

I almost laugh. My life has gotten so ridiculous that someone is calling me stupid names.  

“No one calls me a pussy,” and that’s when I go all ape shit on his ass, and give him the beating he deserves.

Punch, kick, punch, kick, punch, kick, is all that happens for a while, until he blocks one of my kicks and throws me in the air like a rag doll. I land with a thump and hear a crack on my left shoulder. He’s broken my shoulder; he really has no mercy.  But since my uncle is a doctor, he taught me how to reset a shoulder back in place, and that’s exactly what I do.

“Is that all you got, Mr. Flynn?”

“No, I’m just getting started!” I exclaim.

The pain is unbearable, but I know that I have to take down Taylor’s killer because that’s what she would have wanted. I just have to think of killing him, and the pain starts to go away.

I get up and try to be like Batman, and start to fight just like him: catching and blocking all of the punches and kicks, throwing him on the ground over and over again, hearing cracks upon cracks, taking all of his fingers and breaking them one by one, and snapping his arms, legs, feet, and toes.  

Just when I start to punch him again, I hear a voice say, “Have mercy John, have mercy.” That voice is Greg’s.

“For you Greg McCormack Jr. you get no mercy.”

I start to punch his face, both sides, until he’s bleeding and about to pass out. Then, just as I’m about to snap his neck, I scream,“Any last words, you son of a bitch?”

“Fuck you, John Flynn, fuck you, and everyone in the world.”

I then say, “Goodbye, Greg McCormack Jr.”

Right after that, I take his head, bang it on the ground gently, and then snap his neck so hard that I could spin his head around like an owl. I have such a great feeling inside of me, a feeling of relief, that I am able to avenge Taylor by killing her killer. I hear the sound of hot pink limos and hearses pulling up to see what is going on. I tell Greg exactly what happened.

He is crying. “I’m disappointed that you killed my son, but you did what you had to do. So I forgive you.”

“Thank you, sir. Thank you so much for understanding.”

I see Li Na again, and I notice that she is a very sexy Chinese woman.

Li Na says, “Nice job killing the boss’s son. I never liked him anyways.”

“Thanks, I guess… It took a lot of work to actually kill him, but it was totally worth it.”

“True, true” she says.

I take her hands in mine and look into her eyes. They are a deep brown, just like mine. I take a deep breath.  

“Li Na, do you wanna come live with me and be together forever?”

“Ummm,” she says. “Let me think… Of course, a million times yes!”

I am so happy to know that she really likes me and that we can be together forever.

I then look again at the voice mail that Taylor sent me… “Yes.”

I remember the news reporter said that the witnesses said that the man proposed, but they didn’t hear a “yes” or “no.”  Then, I think the answer must have been yes. I did propose to her, and she said yes. Well that’s good to know, but she’s dead.  Now, I have Li Na to spend the rest of my life with.  

Somehow, one of the mafia members finds my BMW and brings it to me. Li Na and I drive off into the sunset back to my apartment.

A few days later, I return to work after the news clears everything up. Everyone is so happy to see me and tells me, “Sorry for your loss.”

It may sound stone cold, but I haven’t lose anything. I’ve gained confidence in myself and a badass new girlfriend. Everything is back to normal, just how I like it.

 

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