A lot of people create Bucket Lists. But not too many of them create one like this one.
“Childhood Problems Solved”
A Short Story
Darrin jumped. Then he delivered a roundhouse kick to Kevin’s head. The impact caused his head to jerk back slightly. He started to lose his balance. But he only staggered a few inches before he regained control.
Kevin counterattacked with some forward rapid fire front kicks. Most aimed at Darrin's head. But some struck his chest or arm. The rapid firing caused Darrin to slowly back up until he hit the wall as he tried to fight back. Darrin blocked some of the kicks. But they were coming too fast to deflect more than about a dozen of them.
After hitting the wall hard, Darrin did a split and dropped to the floor. As he hit it he did another roundhouse kick that struck Kevin on his leg. That time Kevin fell hard on the mat beneath their feet.
While starting to get up Kevin said, “You are getting a lot better. Within a month or two you should get your black belt.”
Darrin finished getting up. Then he helped Kevin up. “I don’t need your black belt. I’ve already got one.”
Kevin looked shocked. “You already have one! Why did you do my training if you already have one?”
“You don’t recognize me, do you?” Darrin asked.
Looking at Darrin, Kevin shook his head no. “I’m sorry, but I don’t know you.”
“Yes, you do. At least you should remember me. We grew up together.”
A few seconds later Darrin continued. “From kindergarten to graduation, we went to school together. “
Darrin sighed. “You still don’t recognize me, do you? Maybe you just need a little hint. You were one of the boys that helped me bully Darrin from the third grade on.”
“I’m starting to remember you now. You’re Mitch, right.”
“It’s good to see you again. But I still don’t understand why you did my training when you didn’t need it.”
“I have been thinking a lot about what we did to Darrin. And I think that we should pay for what we did to him.”
Darrin smiled wickedly. “I took your training so that I could see how you fought so that I could kill you as painfully as we treated Darrin. I’ve already killed four of us. And you’re the next one to die on my Bucket List.”
Steven watched as Darrin walked around the chair he had Steven tied to. “If you are here to steal from us, you have come to the wrong place.”
A few seconds later Steven continued. “And if it’s for ransom, that’s an even bigger wrong.”
Darrin stopped beside Steven and looked at him angrily. “I’m not here to steal from you or kidnap you.”
“Then why are you here? What do you want?”
“I’m here to humiliate you in front of your wife and your three daughters.” Darrin looked over at Steven's wife and daughters, all under eleven, sitting across from him. They were also tied up and gagged. The wife was shivering and trying to get untied. While the girls just cried.
“Just like we did to Darrin when we were growing up. You don’t remember me, do you? I’m not surprised. The other five didn’t either.”
“No, I don’t. Who are you?”
“I’m Mitch Pollack. Do you remember me now?”
Steven didn’t do anything for about a minute. “Mitch, um, Pollack. No, I still don’t… What a second, I do remember you now. We did grow up together.”
For several minutes Steven didn’t say anything. Suddenly he stiffened up. And his face turned a pale white. Steven looked at Darrin in shock. “I also remember what we did to Darrin. That’s why I didn’t recognize your name. It’s a part of my past I want to forget.”
Darrin took a deep breath. “It wasn’t too long ago that I found out my daughter is being bullied too.”
A few seconds later Darrin looked at Steven’s daughters. “Tammy is about the same age as your oldest. She wouldn’t be one of the ones bullying Tammy, would she?”
Steven looked at his eldest daughter. All three girls started shaking their heads ‘no' vigorously. “Please don’t do this, especially in front of my wife and children.”
“Why shouldn’t I? We did it to Darrin in front of everyone.”
Suddenly, Steven looked at Darrin sharply. “What are you going to do to me?”
Darrin smiled wickedly. “I know exactly what’s going to happen to you. I’m just not sure where I’m going to do it.”
Norman hit the button. A red light started flashing next to a couple of desktop monitors with multiple views of both the interior and exterior of that building. Darrin hit a button under the center section of the desk he sat behind. The flashing stopped. And Norman entered his office building.
“Are you the one that called me? Someone did, but I couldn’t understand what they were saying. Only a few words got through. And they were: emergency, your office building, and need to come now.”
Darrin smiled wickedly. Norman didn’t appear to notice it. “Yes, I’m the one who called you.”
“Why did you call me? What’s wrong with my office? Did someone break, or try to break, in?”
“No one broke into your office or tried to do it. And there is no emergency. I just said that to get you here.”
Norman looked confused. “I don’t understand. Why did you do that?”
Darrin glanced at his pistol on his hip as he got up. “Let’s go up to your office. I’ll explain on our way up there.”
After walked over to three elevators around the corner. Norman walked right beside him. When they got to the elevators, Darrin pushed the button to summon it. A few seconds later the doors slid open, and they went into it.
“I’m going to need your floor key. That’s one of the reasons why you are here. I need it to get to the top floor.”
“Why do you need my key? Are you the one trying to break into my office?”
“Of course, not. I’m not a thief. I have another reason for taking you there.”
“Who are you? Why are you doing this to me?”
“You don’t recognize me either, do you? I’m not surprised. No one else has either.”
A few seconds later Darrin continued. “You should know me. We grew up together. You’re one of them that helped me bully Darrin all through school from third grade on up.”
Darrin continued a few seconds later. “This is my Bucket List. Most Lister list things like skydiving, getting married, having a baby, etc. I didn’t do that. My list is a list of the bullies that bullied Darrin throughout his childhood.”
The elevator doors slid open, and they stepped out. “Is that what this is all about? You’re about to turn thirty-five. And you wanted to look us up.”
“No, of course, not. I brought you here to kill you. And make it look like you killed yourself.”
Oliver mumbled as he looked over the resume in his hands. “Darrin Pollack, I see here that you are working in security right now. And you are making very good money doing it. Why would you want to give that all up and work for me at a lot less pay?”
Darrin started laughing. “I wouldn’t. A few might think I’m crazy, insane, or a lunatic. But I’m not.”
“I am confused. What are you talking about? If you’re not here for the job, then why are you here?”
The wicked smile returned. “I’m here to see an old friend. No, wait, that’s not right. It’s more like to see an old enemy.”
Oliver looked shocked. “What does that mean? Who are you? Do we know each other? What do you want?”
“Look at my resume. Doesn’t my name look familiar to you?” Oliver looked at Darrin's resume. Then back at him shaking her head no.
“You should. All those years of humiliating and bullying me. And you don’t even know my name.”
Oliver looked at Darrin. Then at his resume, twice. And then back at Darrin. “We did know who you were. In fact, we used to tease you about it.”
“Yes, you did. And that only goes to prove you were bullying me. After all, with names like Oliver, Warren, and Hector you should have been teasing each other.”
“We only did it because you look like Darrin from Bewitched. And I mean exactly like him. You could be his twin, if not for the age difference. We teased you a lot about you being his son.”
Darrin sighed. “Do I still look like him?”
“No, you don’t. That’s why I didn’t recognize you.”
After getting up, Darrin walked over and looked out the window into the antique store beyond. “You have a lot of antiques. It too bad most of them are going to be broken when you accidentally kill yourself.”
Oliver looked confused. “What are you talking about. I’m not going to die like that. I am very careful around my antiques.”
“Oh, yes you will. I just haven’t decided how you are going to die yet.”
Mitch was shocked, his eyes bugged out, and his jaw dropped. He struggled violently trying to get the ropes tied to his wrist and ankles free. But the ropes that tied him to the old antique electrical chair didn’t appear to budge. The only thing that Mitch could see as he looked down at his wrist was a little blood. A few seconds later Mitch looked up at the eight television screens in front of him. On each one, it showed the aftermath of the death of one of his friends from childhood.
“Why are you doing this to me, to them?” Mitch asked.
“You know why I am doing this. It because of the way you treated me growing up.”
A few seconds later Darrin continued. “You were the leader of the bullying.” Darrin thumbed behind him at the televisions. “They only did what you told them to do.”
“That’s why I saved you until the last. I wanted you to watch them die before you did.”
Mitch continued trying to free himself from his bonds. “You’re crazy.”
A few seconds later Mitch continued. “Do you really think that you are going to get away with killing anyone?”
Darrin did a snorted laugh. “Ah, but that’s the best part. I didn’t kill anyone. You did it out of remorse for what you did to me.”
“That’s not going to work. And you are crazier than I thought if you think that it will.”
“Oh, it will work. And even if it doesn’t, it doesn’t really matter. Even if the cops figure it out, it’s going to be too late. I’m going to be dead in a few months.”
“Norman was wrong. He thought that I made my bucket list because of my age. It was because I’m dying. I have cancer. The we-can’t-do-anything-about-it-kind-of-cancer.”
“You have cancer! Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Why should I? We haven’t seen each other since graduation.”
A few seconds later Darrin continued. “That’s one of the reasons why you are all dying first. I want you all dead before I do.”
“I was right. You are crazier than I thought. Dying or not, there’s no way anyone is going to believe I killed anyone. Darrin, you left witness when you killed Steven.”
“Sure, I will. And those witnesses will help me. I was using your name when I made the killings. So, when the cops find your body, they will identify you as the killer. And your suicide note will cinch it.”
“What suicide note? I didn’t write one.”
“No, you didn’t. But I did. And your handwritten is like mine. So, it was very easy to duplicate. I have had my whole childhood to perfect it. And it wasn’t that hard to do. After all, we are identical twin brothers.”
Word Count = 1,992