:: Article

Samurai Avenger

By Jonathan Woods

I am the samurai avenger.

By day I work as a performance cook in a Japanese steakhouse.

I’m on my break in the back by the service entrance when I see two men robbing a woman in the parking lot. I recognize her. For the last hour she sat alone at my grill top and polished off a shrimp & chicken combo special, two dry martinis and an Asahi Black. She is one of those half-pretty women who always seem slightly out of focus. Her fitted gray pinstripe suit makes her look corporate and malnourished.

Back in the parking lot one of the thugs holds a high-tech Beretta against her forehead. She’s on her knees, giving him a blowjob. When he comes he almost pulls the trigger.

The second felon rummages through her Balenciaga handbag; finds a fat wad of cash. The bag and its other contents decorate the pavement. Next he yanks the woman to her feet, throws her over the fender of the dark blue Impala parked behind her and fucks her like a porn star.

She falls to the gravel-covered tarmac. The two sociopaths bound into the Impala, back over the woman twice, then blast out of there, spraying a comet’s tail of gravel in their haste. At the last moment one of the men leaps out of the passenger side and fires a bullet into her head.

My cigarette gripped between my vengeful lips, cigarette smoke burning my eyes, I write the license plate number of the Impala on the palm of my left hand. Then I go back to work.

My shift ends at 11 p.m.

By then my friends on the Internet have given me the name and address of the Impala’s owner. I shed my work clothes and don the leather samurai outfit I keep in the trunk of my car. My razor-edged sword leans across the passenger seat within easy grasp. Before I start the car I chomp down a couple of breath mints because you never know whom you may run into. An old girlfriend. The girl of your dreams.

When I get to the address, it’s a vacant lot.

Maybe I wrote the license plate number down wrong because of the smoke in my eyes. Maybe my friends on the Internet fucked up. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

Life is full of excuses.

I drive around for a while, but nothing turns up. A couple of loners out walking their dogs. Everyone else is hunkered down behind locked doors and drawn shades, masturbating on the living room couch, tripping on shrooms, passed out in a pool of vomit perchance to dream.

Passing a cluster of strip clubs, I consider going in and looking for the two killers. These are the kinds of places where guys like that normally hang out killing time. But the management will look askance at my samurai outfit. And they’ll never let me in carrying my sword.

A dull orange light seeps over the eastern hills. It’s getting late.

Flummoxed, pissed off, aced out, I head back to my neighborhood. The neon beer signs in the windows of Randy’s Tap are turned off. Not even a tomcat is strutting the streets.

I park in my usual slot next to the dumpster. Stash my samurai suit in the trunk. In my apartment I brush my teeth, urinate and hit the sack. Tomorrow is a workday.

But I am the samurai avenger. Justice will be done.

Jonathan Woods is a writer living in Dallas Texas. When not writing he works part time at a small art gallery: Dahlia Woods Gallery.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Tuesday, January 6th, 2009.