Hollywood Hack Job

By: Nathan Allen

If there were no other celebs of her stature to leech off she would have to rely on her tried and true selfie fallback. She extended her arm, gazed into the phone’s camera, and snapped off a quick dozen shots.

Scrolling through the results, she was horrified by what came up. The pics were ghastly; she looked about thirty. The lighting in the club accentuated the bags under her eyes, her hair looked like it was a strong breeze away from falling out, and almost every shot gave her a double chin. She looked hotter in her mug shot than she did here. She tried fixing a couple of the better ones with filters, but this did little to make her any less of a hot mess.

She would need to bring her A-game if she was to post anything Insta-worthy tonight. So after a quick fix of her hair, makeup and cleavage she sucked in her cheeks, pushed out her lips, did that squint thing with her eyes that made her appear more alluring, and flashed a peace sign with her left hand.

She had taken a handful of shots when a dark figure appeared in her peripheral vision.

After taking a moment to examine the mystery package left on his doorstep, poking and prodding it in an amateurish attempt to determine if it was potentially dangerous, Fr. Gerdtz lifted it up off the ground and carried it inside his house. It was slightly heavier that he expected. He placed it on his dining room table, then carefully removed the crumpled magazine pages used as wrapping paper. Inside, he found a plain brown box with an envelope attached. The envelope contained two things – a VIP pass to a West Hollywood nightclub, and a handwritten note.

The note read: I trust you’ll know what to do with this.

He used a letter opener to slice through the tape sealing the box shut. He pulled the flaps open, just as the sky exploded with a sharp clap of thunder.

Inside was a .500 S&W Magnum revolver and a box of ammunition.

Fr. Gerdtz instinctively backed away. His hand went to his mouth in shock, and he collapsed into a kitchen chair.

He didn’t move for a full five minutes.

A range of possibilities raced through his head. A deadly weapon had just landed unannounced on his front door. Who on earth would do such a thing? Was this meant to be some sort of warning? A threat? A prank? If it was a prank, it was quite an expensive one. Even though he knew next to nothing about firearms, he did know that guns like this one, the type Harry Callahan used in all those Dirty Harry movies, didn’t come cheap.

He debated what he should do next over a strong cup of tea. This was such a bizarre event, coming so out of the blue, that he really had no idea of the correct course of action. He assumed he was supposed to report this to the police. He could see no other sensible option.

But then the note caught his eye. I trust you’ll know what to do with this. The words rattled around inside his head as he attempted to decipher their true meaning.

He couldn’t explain why, but something compelled him to reach inside the box and pick up the gun.

An otherworldly sensation ricocheted through his body as soon as his palm made contact with the rosewood grip. His entire being vibrated with a kind a euphoric energy. It was a phenomenon unlike anything he had ever felt before, and the closest he’d come to a purely religious experience in a long, long time.

A moment passed, and the pieces of this cryptic puzzle gradually shifted into place. There could be only one reason why this gun appeared on his doorstep at this exact time. He knew where it had come from, and he knew what he was meant to do with it.

Several hours later, he made his way to a nightspot on La Cienega Boulevard called Aubaine Manor. The name proved to be a slight misnomer; “Aubaine Manor” brought to mind a sophisticated establishment frequented by classy patrons, not an overcrowded and overpriced den of sin and sleaze that inflicted actual physical pain on him as he entered. He found himself surrounded by people one third his age, many outfitted in Halloween costumes more befitting the red light district than neighborhood trick or treating. Worst of all was the excruciating noise assaulting his eardrums. When he first came into the club he assumed a fire had broken out and they were sounding some sort of evacuation alarm. It soon became apparent that this was the actual music these people were voluntarily exposing themselves to. Fr. Gerdtz tried to maintain an open mind about what young people enjoyed these days, but this was one thing he’d never quite understand. The music, if you could call it that, was more like something riot police would blast in order to disperse large crowds rather than anything an entertainment venue might play to attract one.

As he wandered through the club he noticed just how much things had changed since he was a young man. The dances he had attended were a great deal more wholesome than the debauchery he was witness to here. In his day, a gentleman would signal his intentions by respectfully approaching a young lady and asking her to dance. Now it seemed acceptable for a man to show his interest in a woman by stumbling towards the dancing area and grinding his crotch against the unsuspecting target of his inebriated lust. The fact that this all occurred on the holiest day of the week only compounded his revulsion.

The VIP section was situated at the rear of the venue. He attracted a number of puzzled looks from the burly security staff, one of whom called him “bro” and complimented him on his “freaky dope-ass costume”, before his pass granted him access beyond the hallowed velvet rope.