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A Factor of Fear
“Is that the way you think he should go?” Michelle asked, after she read it directly, word for word from the dictionary. She kept her dark brown eyes locked on April to read her initial non verbal response.
Michelle and April have been friends for a few years since they first met at the New York State Supreme Court House while serving on the same jury. “This is all kind of spooky, why do you continue to associate with these kind of people?” April asked. “Never mind about that, don’t you want to help me decide the best way for him die?” Michelle asked in an even lower tone as she moved her body forward in the mahogany chair, and placed her elbows on the library desk to emphasize the dominance she has assumed in their friendship.
“It’s not just the administration of pain, length of suffering, the time or place of occurrence” Michelle calmly stated to her friend, looking side to side as she spoke, “most importantly it’s the fear in his heart and making him shit in his pants,” she continued. With that, April just shrugged her shoulders and said, “Oh I don’t know, I guess that sounds…good.” Michelle grumbled under her breath “some help you are.”
Ricardo Katzen, a 45 year old, thin, salt and pepper haired “businessman,” was whom April was referring to when she would say “these kind of people.” Michelle and April were on the jury that acquitted Mr. Katzen on an array of charges, including drug conspiracy. After the trial Riccardo found out that it was Michelle, who was the tenaciously lone holdout that turned the jury around to the not guilty verdict.
Riccardo sent Michelle flowers, took her to lunch and discovered she was quite an interesting character whose company he enjoyed. Michelle was excited about her link into Ricardo’s oleaginous world dominated by people April called third world savages. Michelle would politely, but condescendingly inform April that Mr. Katzen’s father was Jewish, his mother Hispanic and April’s anti-immigrant views were not befitting a New Yorker of the twenty-first century. She would sternly add “And April, Stop watching Fox News!”
Michelle was a source of good advice for Ricardo. This began when she suggested Ricardo would be wise to send every member of the jury that had just acquitted him something special and expensive. The next jury, if there is one for Ricardo, (and there probably will be) will find out about the gifts to the previous jury and that might help in the long run towards his hopefully next not guilty verdict. “You are some smart lady,” he said and was immediately deciding what to send to Michelle’s fellow jurors.
Ricardo became another friend added to Michelle’s eclectic circle. They began a causal sexual relationship, meeting twice a month, but talking or texting almost every day. Ricardo was captivated by Michelle’s loyalty to her friends and numerous political and social causes. A true mutual fascination and friendship ensued that would overlap their seemingly separate worlds.
At first glance, it appears that Amber Albert, a tattooed, pierced, twenty-five year old confluence of Goth, biker bitch and heroin sheik, like many other women, was wronged by a man. The man is identified as Henry Harriman Burtzholtz, aka Beast Burtzholz, a thirty-five year old, six footer, sporting a blonde crew cut, reddish long beard and sunglasses. The Beast (as he likes to be referred to) is an independently wealthy individual whose source of income is derived from his large family trust fund.
The Beast, unlike his family, has forgone his Westchester society roots for the seamy and socially undesirable underbelly of rural Tennessee. He is the leader of a cult like group of individuals situated on a farm pursuing a disturbing alternative lifestyle. As wannabe’s go, these people historically glorify and are striving to replicate their vision of the Charles Manson family, (right down to the mandatory and constant listening of The Beatles song, Helter Skelter) but have not made the jump to multiple murder, as of yet.
Amber met The Beast at a truck stop on Interstate 95 when returning down south after a mule trip she took up to New York City on her bike to Ricardo for some quick cash. Unfortunately, she had fallen under the alluring initial sexual powers of The Beast during what was supposed to be a quickie sexual bathroom encounter.
Amber quickly left her shithole apartment in Buckroe Beach, Virginia with the anticipation of being The Beasts Bitch (his words.) She looked forward to becoming a member of the new family he described.
Amber unknowingly got deeper and deeper into the mix of family things (including the realization she was now part of a harem); until her pea brain figured out this was not for her.
Against the will of The Beast, Amber was able to extradite herself before involvement in any real dangerous shit. Unfortunately and unwittingly she shared information with The Beast about her family.
The Beast was especially interested in Amber’s younger teen age sister. “My reach is far and my powers are absolute, if you leave me and my family, your sister will be drawn to us and replace you,” The Beast menacingly informed her. This threat was underscored using a style of an assurance and authority that would be employed by a highly placed governmental autocrat issuing an official communiqué.
Amber immediately hits the road on her bike and heads to New York City to clear her head and think. She has made friends with Ricardo the drug connection there, maybe he can help her?
Some might respond with a loud cachinnation at the first sight or meeting with Amber Albert. She can easily be considered an existence to be dismissed, holding no serious place or opinion in any type of intellectual discourse. Although, she has one shred of commonality with the majority of humanity: The safety and well being of what is left of her family.
Amber and her sister Stacey were orphaned early in life and lived with their Uncle Elmo and Aunt Gert in Roanoke, Virginia. Amber left their home on cordial terms and realized their type of family worked for Stacey, but just didn’t cut it for her. So Amber hit the road, with the assurance that her little sister will be safe in the care of her Uncle and Aunt.
Amber believes the threat of The Beast is real and immediate to her sister. She wants the situation resolved a soon as possible. Amber has an awakening in her overall being. Sure, she probably can get Ricardo to kill this asshole; but she wants more. She wants to have him suffer. Amber wants him to experience fear, the worse fear imaginable. The fear she is now experiencing living with the horrible threat that self assured scum bag The Beast has instilled in her. Amber is focused on making The Beast experience the ultimate fear, at her hands.
Amber hooks up in New York City with Ricardo and tells him what’s going on. Ricardo informs her he knows just the person who can creatively determine what true fear is. This is Ricardo’s way of getting Michelle to vicariously experience his reality. Not just to kill, but to kill with a purpose that serves a cause. Ricardo wants to help. He has the desire, talent and juice to get it done, so why not?
Michelle got the call from Ricardo and immediately set up a meet with Amber. The two women met at a lower east side coffee house, (Michelle spotted her as she entered the shop from Ricardo’s description). The two sat at an isolated table in the rear where Amber, in between sobs and fits of rage spilled out her story.
Michelle’s pseudo-cosmopolitan smugness registered a first impression. Here was another lost person, running away, as they all do, to New York City. They all need help, my help. ‘Ricardo could have easily set up a hit on this guy, but he wanted a woman’s prospective, my prospective on fear’ She thought as she listened to Amber.
Ricardo’s referral meant so much to Michelle, especially the part when he so sincerely stated:“You are the only person, Michelle, that can creatively determine what will make this guy not only experience total fear in his heart, but also what will make him shit in his pants.”
Michelle looked into Amber’s desperate eyes and said,“Don’t worry, leave it to us, we can figure out what will work for what you want. Let’s meet with Ricardo."
Michelle had urged Riccardo to move his office out of the Bronx and to start to diversify his business interests as well. His new office was located on the second floor of the innocuous loft building on West Eighteenth Street off of Seventh Avenue. Ricardo’s legal and “other” business ventures reached the outer boroughs of New York City, Long Island and parts of New Jersey and Westchester. This is where they decided to meet.
They sat around Ricardo’s desk as Michelle began the meeting. Her research has shown that the delicate balance between ultimate fear on the victims part and the overwhelming satisfaction, the up close and personal experience, the sensual feel of life slipping away on the killers part. It is especially enhanced by using ones hands and “appliances” to kill. The best way to experience this is by the intentional time consuming administration of death by choking, suffocation and smothering, with the victim as an active participant.
Michelle believes that detailed and graphic knowledge on how one is going to be killed, when explained in detail as cold and clinically as possible to the subject, is an effective tool.
“There is no greater fear, than the fear created in one’s mind, you and you alone as the victim can generate your greatest fear better than any media or person can.” This Michelle believes will make The Beast “shit in his pants.” All the attendees at this meeting nod in agreement.
Ricardo then gets up out of his leather chair behind his desk. “I’ve got all the Intel on The Beast to set this up. Leave it to me Amber, within 48 hours The Beast will be in The Bronx.”
Amber was so excited and jumped up to ask how Ricardo would get The Beast to The Bronx in just 48 hours. Ricardo smiled, paused, tilted his head as he lifted his right hand and softly blew on his manicured fingernails, buffed them on his suede jacket and said in a New York Yiddish accent, “As my father used to say, don’t ask” then he looked up and smiled and continued "Yidisha Cup" pointing to his head.
In an isolated industrial area of the Bronx, Ricardo owns a building he inherited from his father Seymour Katzen. At one time in the mid 1950s’, Seymour and his brother Hyman made miniature kosher apple pies.
As the Bronx fell into the burning chaos of the 1960s’ and the decay of the 1970s’, the business just died a natural death. The brothers couldn’t sell the business or the building and it remained in the family. The old sign on the building remains: SY AND HY’S KOSHER APPLE PIES. This was Ricardo’s old Bronx Headquarters. This will be the place The Beast will take both his last breath and bowel movement.
The Beast regains consciousness. As he opens his eyes he realizes he is gagged, chained to a chair and sees two men just staring at him. They are two of Ricardo’s boys, DeShawun and Bermudo. They were given the task to bring The Beast to The Bronx.
DeShawun makes a call on his cell phone and says into the phone “he ready.” Bermudo then smiles at The Beast, pointing his index finger at him as he and DeShawun exit, turn off the lights and leave their new friend in total darkness. The Beast is now at the beginning of his own self generated continuum of fear.
For the Beast, it is only fifteen minutes that pass, but it feels like hours. The lights come on, and as he adjusts his eyes he can’t believe it, there standing right in front of him is Amber, along with three others whom he does not know (Ricardo, Michelle and April). Michelle has choreographed the entire sequence that will ultimately lead to the slow and painful death of The Beast.
Her first question directed to him: “Is the saliva building in your mouth giving you a slight sensation of choking? I certainly hope so, it’s all part of the plan.” The Beast is still staring at Amber and tries to yell obscenities, but he just makes his choking saliva situation more uncomfortable, also part of the plan.
Amber just smiles and remembers the times he would make her swallow the copious amounts of his juice of life until she gagged. “Oh, this should be good; he will shit in his pants by the time Michelle finishes up with him.” Amber thinks to herself.
Michelle then takes out her numbered and highlighted index cards, moves within inches and waves them in front of the Beast. “You are no longer The Beast, from this moment on you will be referred to as Amber’s Asshole or maybe we will call you AA.” Michelle whispered in his ear, but loud enough for everyone to hear. “Yes, AA for the twelve steps asphyxiation to death you will be taking.” They break out in laughter as the beads of sweat continue to break out on AA’s forehead.
April, in the past few days, has become excited and thinking about this entire situation. She has recently made a momentous life changing attitude adjustment. Michelle has noticed a growing independence in April, which started a few days ago when April met Bermudo and he slipped his beef burrito into her fish taco.
This becomes more apparent when April decides to exert herself and become a more active participant in AA’s demise. Never a feminist, she is empowered by Amber’s situation to do something to help.
April decides she would like to handle phase one of the process. Michelle is happy to see her friend come out of her xenophobic shell and hands over the index cards.
April begins reading to AA what is going to happen to him on his continuum of self generated fear. The new April adds her own twist, reading it as Drew Carey would on her mother’s favorite TV game show, The Price Is Right. Michelle lets it slide, she is enjoying April’s coming out of her shell.
As April reads each one of the 12 steps, she reminds AA that “you will be clinically near death by the administration of each step and will be revived at the brink of death”, pointing at Roberto. “Roberto was a certified EMT in High School so he will revive you, only so you can experience more pain, agony and near death by administration of the next step. Please do not forget, you will constantly be experiencing horrifying self generated fear, which is, by popular consensus, the worst type of fear.”
April also reminds AA, “If you survive all 12 steps of asphyxiations, which is highly unlikely, you will then be tortured, severely beaten, hung by a meat hook like the Neo-Nazi cock breath you are. Just another friendly reminder."
"Either way, when you finally die, your sorry ass will be taken to a Brooklyn kosher meat processing plant, ground up in the chop meat and eaten by elderly Jewish occupants at the Half Moon Home for the Aged in Coney Island. They will more than likely shit you out, and you will become what you had been in life, a piece of shit. Hey, reincarnation does exist!” April laughingly states.
The entire crew breaks out in laughter. DeShawun and Burmedo return to gladly help out with the 12 steps of asphyxiations. Amber’s Asshole aka The Beast aka Henry Harriman Burtzholtz immediately dumps a load in his pants, as the others in the room are aware of because of the odor that has filled the air. Michelle, with mock amazement, says, “Wow that was way ahead of schedule.”
DeShawun looks at Burmedo and says, “Shhhhhhhhhit man, I tolds you we shoulda grabbed his sorry ass before he went into that hillbilly greasy spoon.”
The fear in AA’s eyes excites Amber, but she suddenly feels a sense of calmness and relief. AA sees Ricardo taking out items like a knotted rope, a blanket, marbles, various liquids, stainless steel medical devices and other appliances meant to make an individual choke; suffocate; or be smothered. These items will painfully and fearfully take AA through Michelle’s 12 steps of asphyxiations, and even if he doesn’t make all 12, he can look forward to dinner time at Coney Island and reincarnation.