Bowlesian! – Jack the Hammer’s Online Identity Crisis

Jack the Hammer’s Online Identity Crisis

by Jeff Bowles

*This story and others like it can be found in my collection, Fear and Loathing in Las Cruces, available on Amazon now.


{CLICK}
Welcome back to mysecretdiary.com, Jackson! Your personal online diary is open and ready for more secrets!

January 18
Mood: sad
Outlook: cloudy with a chance of misery
Jackson Palmer ain’t my name no more. I realized that today, diary. Pissed me off royally. They been calling me Jack the Hammer for nearly twenty years. Twenty goddamn years! Frustrating. Infuriating. I fix problems for people. Pretty good at it, too. Least I used to be. Mafia, Triad, I don’t judge. But what’s a hard case like me to do when I’m the one in need of fixing?
Here’s my secret for today, diary: I been doing this lousy work so long, I often forget there’s places out there where nobody gets shot, or extorted, or wrapped up in garbage bags and dumped in the Hudson River.
You should see what they been saying about me over on thugieslist.com.

{CLICK}
Welcome to thugieslist.com, the world’s premier consumer review site for mafia thugs, hit men, and muscle. You have selected to display the latest reviews for Hoboken, New Jersey’s Jackson “Jack the Hammer” Palmer.

wiseguyforlife36
Jack the Hammer is a total joke. I used to like the guy. I used to respect him like crazy. But he’s gone soft. There just ain’t no getting through to the guy. I specifically told him to keep an eye out.
“Jack,” I says to him. “You stay in the car and keep an eye out. Rosco and I will make the deal.”
So me and my boy Rosco went to make the deal, only the deal went south. They started shooting at us. We shot back. Rosco and I high-tailed it to the car.
“What the shit is this?” says Rosco.
Shit you not, Jack the Hammer was napping behind the wheel! You believe that? KEE-RIST!
One star for services NOT rendered!

collegegradmike
gradulated comunity college with Jack. hlped me improv my english, He’s an ok dood I guess. but I hav to say, the guys lost his edge. Same dood worked muscle for Boss DiMaggio for 17 yers. Imagine that guy going soFt! Its like he dont care no more. Not a profeshinal. Real slippery eel. and have you sen his face LaTeley? Talk about an major SKIN CONDITION! 2 stars.

{CLICK}
Welcome back to mysecretdiary.com, Jackson!
Diary,
I got two fists like Texas T-bones. Got a pendant for Saint George and a rosary around my neck. Got a stomach ulcer so big and bad it’s got its own mailing address.
Had to work over Ricky the Rat today. Poor old Rick was a broken, bloody wad of hamburger before I was through with him. I brought him down to the meat plant ‘cause the boss said to tenderize him.
He cried, “Don’t hit me no more, Jack!” and, “Not in the face! Mother of chicken lasagna, not in the goddamn face!”
But I couldn’t help myself. Used to have better control, you know?
“Look at you!” I said. “Bet you think you look better than me, Rick. So damn handsome. So debonair. I got a skin condition, understand?” I socked him in the eye. “I got a skin condition!” I slammed his head into a big suspended steer carcass.
“Awwwwooooow! You’re crazy, man! You’re fucking crazy! You look fine!”
Horse shit! Most people’re so flashy. Know what I’m saying? So damn flashy and sassy. And me. Look at me. Grade A, prime-cut loser. With a side of special loser sauce. And loser steak fries. So you can dip the fries into the . . .
Ah, what does it matter?
I worked old Ricky over pretty good. Too good, actually. The boss gets one good look at him and says, “I can’t use him like this. Poor bastard ought to be in traction.”
I could’a been a doctor, you know? Or even like a politician. Governor Palmer. Senator Palmer. The Hammer always got so much respect. But what if I don’t want to be the Hammer no more? Ah, hell, what if I don’t even know who the Hammer is?

Incoming message from friendtracker.com instant messaging

{CLICK}
—Jackson? Are you online?
Yeah.
—Payment didn’t come through, Jackson.
Jesus, doc, you know I’m good for it.
—I know you’ve been good for it in the past. I also know you’re having an existential meltdown at the moment.
So what if I am?
—Jackson, we’ve talked about this. Anger is always healthy. But what do we say about rage?
Come on, doc . . .
—Jackson, reinforcement is key. It really is. What do we say about rage?
You can’t spell discourage without rage.
—And?
You also can’t spell discourage without disco.
—And?
Disco is the prefix of both disconnect and discord.
—And?
Christ, doc, I gotta tell you, it gets fuzzy for me after that.
—Hmph. That figures. Where the fuck’s my money, Jackson?
Yeesh. I’ll get it to you.
—Huh?
I said I’ll get it to you. Next week. All right? Fair enough? Aren’t psychiatrists supposed to be, you know, more nurturing than this?
—Perhaps. Most psychiatrists don’t pay alimony to three different women, though. Good afternoon, Jackson. Onward towards mental stability!

{CLICK}
I think the doc means business this time, diary. I wonder how my cash reserve situation is looking.

{CLICK}
First Bank of Hoboken Online Branch: we are open and ready to serve you, Jackson.
Checking: $4.21
Savings: $0.02
We notice your funds are a bit low. Consider applying for a personal loan today!

{CLICK}
Note to self: sigh

{CLICK}
Welcome back to thugieslist.com. Previously viewed profile loaded.

DarthToughGuy
Hang on, hang on, hang the frig on. You guys want to tell me you’ve got nothing good to say about old Jack? Nothing at all? Hell, man, I’ll go to the mat for him. Maybe’s the guy’s lost his edge—and I ain’t saying he ain’t—but whatever’s bothering him right now, he’ll get it sorted out. Trust me. I grew up with Jack. Some’a youse wise guys know that 😉
He was a good kid, man. Good to his mom, good to his friends and his baby sister. He was smart. Real smart. I mean, his dad was a loser—put the belt to the poor guy, oh, three, four times a week—but I really do think Jack’s done well to make the best of a bad situation. How many of you bellyachers has this man bent over backwards for? How many times, whether you invited him to or not, has he bailed your assess out and pulled your scorching nutsacks from the proverbial fire?
When the boss says push a button on a guy, good old Jackie pushes the button. When the boss says take out that armored car containing kilo after glorious kilo of White Bunk, hell, man, he’s the only guy on the job don’t powder his own nose. We go way back, Jackie and me. He’s never let me down. At least, he never used to.

collegegradmike
earth to DarthToughGuy: Up yours, DINGUS LICKER! I don’t give a holy SHIZ whts “bothering” Jack. darth, plese. the guys a expert screw up! I wus with him the other day, Freakshow started crying in the middle of Dr. Hoo. I mean, we wer just sitting there, watching Dr. Hoo, and the looser starts bawlin like a little girl! I askd him what was wrong and all, Jack just wipes his eyes and says, “watch you’re fcking Dr. Hoo! Stop asking so many stoopid fcking questions!”
Fcker totoally ruined BBC nite with THE DOCTOR! Wht a jerk! My 2 star review has been downgraded to a very pissed off 1 STAR!

{CLICK}
Welcome to jobfisher.com! Reinvigorate your life with a new career from JobFisher today!
Search listings for: “thug” AND “hired gun” AND “gentle heart” AND “good with children”
Searching . . .
No jobs found.

{CLICK}
DarthToughGuy
Listen here, collegegradmike, you don’t know jack about Jack!

collegegradmike
I know he shits all ovr Dr. Hoo! Thats what I know!

{CLICK}
I just can’t understand where my life went off the rails, diary.
Yeah, I cry. Ain’t no shame in that. Show me a guy who don’t cry at all, and I’ll show you a real cold fish. My old man never cried. Not in front of me, anyhow. I am absolutely convinced he never shed a single tear in his life, neither.
I’m drinking too much. Maybe that’s the problem. What was that country song from back in the day? Beer full’a tears or some crap? Something like that?
Don’t know. Don’t care.
Hey, I got reasons to cry, all right? I got some shit wrong with my life. And I don’t just cry every once in a while. I cry a lot. More than a lot. I cry all the damn time. I’m a wreck. I’m a time bomb. I’m a—
Hold on. Pizza’s here.
. . . . . .
You see what I mean? You see how I just demolished that entire pizza by myself? Who the fuck does that? ‘Cept fer like chicks on the rag and super fat dudes and—
Aw, man, what the fuck is wrong with me!

Incoming message from friendtracker.com instant messaging

{CLICK}
—Jackson, it’s your psychiatrist again. 2nd wife late on Jaguar payment. Next week not soon enough. Going to need that money from you, guy. Pay up.

{CLICK}
DarthToughGuy
Hey, collegegradmike, go fuck yourself! How ’bout that, wise-ass? Go fuck yourself, you fucking SKIN FLUTE GUZZLER!

collegegradmike
Hey, fck you, pal! Fck you and fck you’re fcking hole lcking stupid fck face!

DarthToughGuy
Really? That’s nice. Umm, how old are you?

collegegradmike
the Fck dose it matter how fcking old I am?! Old enogh to stick a fcking candelabra up your fcking ace and lite it on fire with a fcking WWII flame throwr!

{CLICK}
Stop, STOP, STOP!
It’s too much craziness, diary. It’s too much insanity. Is a little peace and calm too hard to come by these days? Is catching just one goddamn break every now and then?
When I was kid, man, oh, I had everything figured out. I knew what the world was. Better yet, I knew who I was. How come I was so much wiser then? How come I feel so stupid now?
I’m forty-nine years old. I have no children. I have no significant other. Hell, man, most of the time I don’t even have a proper pad to crash at. I had chances to be happy. I had shots at the golden mile. But I blew ’em. Each and every last one of them. I feel ugly. I feel old. I hate myself so much it’s hard to breathe sometimes.
Ugh.
I guess you don’t understand.
‘Cause you’re just a stupid online diary.
And I substitute you for actual human companionship.
And I’m acting like some lovesick-puppy sixteen-year-old girl
Ugh.
Well that’s it. That’s decided. No more fucking around. Here we go.

{CLICK}
Welcome to jobfisher.com! Search listings for “entry level” AND “on-job training” AND “good with children” AND

{CLICK}
No, no, you know what, diary?

{CLICK}
Welcome to partyoftwo.com, the hottest spot for relationship hunting on the WWW!
Search for: “40’s-something” AND “warm personality” AND “generous spirit” AND

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No, that’s not it either, diary. A chick is the last thing I need right now. I know what I have to do. I know how to get my life back on track.

{CLICK}
First Bank of Hoboken Online Branch: consider applying for a personal loan today!
{CLICK}
You have selected Apply for a Personal Loan. Do you wish to continue?
{CLICK}
. . . Processing . . .
. . . Processing . . .
Personal loan approved! Congratulations, Jackson!

{CLICK}
Doc, are you still there?
—I am
Good
—You got my money?
Yeah, doc. Payment’ll be on your way real soon.

{CLICK}
Welcome to contractkillers.net!
We make people disappear, capicé?™
Search for: “Hoboken” AND “psychiatrist hit” AND “money no object” AND “make it hurt”

{CLICK}
You know something, diary? Maybe all I need is a little house cleaning. It’s not like anybody’ll be able to trace it back to me.
It all comes around. It all comes around, man. Where you been, Jackson? Where you been hiding?
Just like that, diary, I am feeling much, much better. 🙂

END


Jeff Bowles is a science fiction and horror writer from the mountains of Colorado. The best of his outrageous and imaginative work can be found in God’s Body: Book One – The Fall, Godling and Other Paint Stories, Fear and Loathing in Las Cruces, and Brave New Multiverse. He has published work in magazines and anthologies like PodCastle, Tales from the Canyons of the Damned, the Threepenny Review, and Dark Moon Digest. Jeff earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing at Western State Colorado University. He currently lives in the high-altitude Pikes Peak region, where he dreams strange dreams and spends far too much time under the stars. Jeff’s new novel, Love/Madness/Demon, is available on Amazon now!

Love Madness Demon Cover Final

Check out Jeff Bowles Central on YouTube – Movies – Video Games – Music – So Much More!

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