4 Down to it
Damn that Brawler. He was hurting, Bodie was running with sweated pain. But he’d been listening in too. The dude was twisted, not right in the head.
Nothing better than a bar-room brawl. Until now. It seemed Brawler was taking his thing on to a whole different level.
He got off on besting another guy. Especially over a well-built dude. All the better when the man couldn’t hit back. Brawler had got the others to make sure of that .. getting him strung-up .. upside-down .. helpless.
Then the perverted bastard had gone to town. Beaten the hell out of his guts. Slashed the crap out of his back with his hard-leather belt. And since Morrow had turned up, he’d been twisting his boss into ideas of torturing Bodie. Offering the chance of revenge.
Well, two could play at that. Bodie didn’t have Brawler’s mean streak. He didn’t go looking for trouble. But when others hunted him down .. when a dude was offering to take Bodie out and fake an Indian torture .. well, a guy like that would bring out the worst in any man …..
Bodie could accept he’d got off on the wrong foot with Morrow Junior. That urge to get his own back .. understandable. But this Brawler …..? He was sick in the head. What did this dude have in his veins for blood? Ice? Poison? And Bodie was having none of it. Sick dogs got put down. And Brawler sure was sick.
There’d be more beatings, for sure. The other guys would return after their chow. They’d be encouraged to do their bit. And sure-as-hell, like Brawler, they’d want to be seen to please. They weren’t about to let their slighted Boss down. Jobs might depend on it.
And in-turn, what was the betting that Brawler wouldn’t want to be out-done either? Bodie ’d get a thrashing all right .. more than that. They’d beat the hell out of him. Not going to be out-done by that Brawler. And Brawler would be out to top the others too. Competing to stay in Morrow’s favours.
Bodie got that. He was man enough to accept that. In their eyes, he deserved it. He was gonna have to take all they could dish out. Man-it-out.
But after ……? Brawler’s thing about faking an Indian torture …..?
Bodie imagined …… at dawn they’d take him out. Ride him out to the county line. Morrow would want it kept quiet. Probably just Brawler …. No, he’d need some help. Even in the state after their beatings, Morrow wasn’t going to trust Bodie to take this quietly. Morrow would send Curly along .. two against one.
Stake him out .. that was Brawler’s idea. They’d have to untie him first .. whatever bonds they had him in, they’d have to release them. He’d surprise the fools, he’d have kept enough back for that. He’d have fooled them, though. On the walk out to the country line, Bodie would have given them the idea he was done-in, that he couldn’t raise a fist for the life of him.
He’d have played along .. looking half-dead. Out to the county line, Bodie would have stumbled, tripped, fallen. He’d have to get kicked to crawl to his feet. After a night of beatings, looking done-in .. not going to be a hard job, Bodie reasoned.
Getting stuck-in .. in this barn .. all evening .. Brawler would have made sure Morrow got everything he desired. And more. Brawler would certainly have done his best. He’d want to think he had Bodie beaten. Guy like that .. he thought himself unbeatable, always the winner. Guy like that .. in his head, he always came out on top. .. Brawler would have convinced himself, Bodie was crushed, done-in. Beaten. Broken. Bodie would play along. Putty in his hands. Brawler had every faith in the power of his fists. He’d never think Bodie could still have it in him.
But he would. Bodie was gonna make god-damn sure he had.