Sitting here, I couldn’t escape the constant state of paranoia. This bar’s just like any other bar, except for one important factor. It belonged to the Marsellus Wallace. I’ve never met the man before, but everyone has heard the stories. Marsellus Wallace, the man who ripped the eyes out of an employee just because he looked at him funny. Marsellus Wallace, the man who threw an associate over a balcony, four storeys high just for giving Mrs Wallace a foot massage. Perhaps that may be the reason why the walls in this bar are smeared a deep red. The red lights, the red stools, the red candles, hell even the bartender’s wearing a red suit. Suddenly, I felt as if I was trapped in a state of unease, an unsettling realisation. I’ve been waiting too long; maybe I don’t even need the money. Maybe he’s going to kill me. Oh God, what a time to be freaking out.
“You Brad?” asked the stranger.
My mouth was quivering and continued to do so as I tried to respond yet no sound emitted. The stranger appeared to be a monstrous mammoth of a man, towering down at me. I could not breathe, nor could I speak. At this very moment, where fear has taken hold of my body, I now knew perfectly who was standing before me.
“It’s Brett sir. It’s great to finally meet you, Mr Wallace.”
He sat down. The man I knew to be Mr Wallace wore a large charcoal grey suit with a crimson collar shirt.
“Now, what can I do for you kid? Make it quick, I don’t got all day.”
“W-well, Mr Wallace, I want … I-I mean, I need uh–”
“I need nine hundred dollars to pay off my college fees!”
“College huh. Listen here Brad, Bread… or whatever the fuck your name is, you can have your nine hundred, hell, you can have a grand. A thousand dollars, in your pocket. And on your graduation day, when you smile for the camera like a pretty motherfucker… you’ll throw your little hat in the air and you’ll be thinking to yourself, Mr Wallace did this. My pasty white bread ass is here because of Marsellus Wallace.”
I didn’t know what he was going to do to me. Kill me here? Right here? He stepped closer, closer as he lifted his arm into the air. I close my eyes in fear and desperation. A tight grip on my shoulder. Oh thank you merciful God, he’s not going to kill me. I open my eyes.
“You got balls kid, I’ll give you that.” He said in his deep tone.
Mr Wallace walks toward the bar, and enters a room at the back. The grey steel door read, ‘KITCHEN.’ I could hear the faint murmur of two men talking in that room. The door creaked open; I see the bundle of cash in Mr Wallace’s hand. The other man gently placed a black leather briefcase on the table and opened it. Even if it was only for an instant, I saw it. I saw what was in that briefcase. The sheer sight of it caused my whole body to freeze in awe. It must be worth thousands, no, millions. Mr Wallace returns with the bundle of cash and flings it at me.
“A thousand dollars, cash. I want it back in two weeks at precisely 2:00pm. Not 2:01pm, not 2:00am. 2:00pm. With interest. So let’s say, fifteen hundred if it’s on time. I don’t need to tell you how much it’ll cost you if it’s late do I? Now get the fuck out of here.”
“Thank you sir! I won’t let you down!” I yelled frantically.
Upon leaving the bar, the brisk fresh air hit me like a wave of freedom, a huge aching weight being lifted off my shoulders. I had just survived a meeting with the most dangerous man in the city. I felt invincible. I felt like I could take on the world and come out unscathed.
* * *
A week later, I attended one of the last classes I’d ever have to attend. The room grew dim and the professor began to speak. He always gave off subtle hints that he got shit-faced the night before, with the most overt signs. Wearing his ridiculous white lab coat embedded with the same coffee stains as last week, and the week before that. Oh and the bottle of Jameson whiskey, no, not the one sitting on his desk, the one he’s holding in his hand with an iron grip. Though I don’t blame him, if I was a sixty something year old man teaching Business Ethics to three out of forty two students at a community college, I’d probably be shit-faced every night as well. From way up here, he looked like a tiny white rat with four gigantic blackboards looming over him. He continued to teach but all I could hear was the sound of that black leather briefcase being clicked open. Just thinking about it made me shiver in excitement.
“You there, down the back with the blue shirt. Mister…?” The professor asked.
I shrugged in confusion and pointed at myself blankly.
“Your name, kid. I’m asking for your name? Perhaps you’d do well to pay attention. If you don’t want to be here, there’s the door.”
So I just got up and left. I returned home to find my roommates in their usual places. Marvin was sitting down eating his breakfast while Roger was laying down on the couch with absolutely no fucks given. Marvin’s friend whose name I had never learnt and most likely never will was taking the shit of a lifetime. Or so that’s what it sounded like. Marvin always dressed as if he’d never left middle school, as if he had a wardrobe packed with polo shirts. To make matters worse, he’s always had the knack for rubbing people the wrong way. Marvin, the guy who always does the right things, but always says the wrong things. I swear one of these days he’s going to get shot in the face. But if there’s one thing he’s got going for him, he’s always had my back.
“Hey Marvin, how’s breakfast?
“It’s the same old breakfast yesterday, and the same the day before that. How do you think it is?
“So… it’s shit then?” I asked, confused.
“Nah it’s actually pretty fucking great.”
Roger on the other hand, never got on anybody’s nerves, probably because he was almost always asleep. On the rare occasions he would be awake, all he’d do is complain about how much of a drag everything is.
“Guys, listen up. I have an opportunity for both of you, something that, if done absolutely correctly, will make us filthy fucking rich.”
Roger rose up instantly at the sound of that word.
“How rich we talkin’?” Roger exclaimed.
It was the first time I’d ever seen him wide-eyed. Greed always did get the best of all of us.
“Beyond your wildest dreams. But it’s not exactly legal. And… this stunt could get us killed.”
“A bank job?”
“Marsellus Wallace’s briefcase.”
That shut the both of them up. The name itself is power. It conjures up fear and panic around the weak and feeble.
“Alright listen up, I have a plan. I have to meet with Mr Wallace at 2:00pm exactly one week from now. He hides the briefcase in a room behind the bar, it’s the door labeled, ‘KITCHEN’. But it’s not really a kitchen. Obviously. It’s where he leaves his most valuable possessions. Every time he gives somebody a loan, he grabs it from that room. He also checks up on the briefcase regularly to ensure everything is still in one place. I thought it would only be logical if he’d go do the same after I return the loan he gave me. That will be the perfect time to steal that briefcase. You guys in?
“Screw it, I’m in!” Roger yelled.
“Marvin. Why’re you standing all the way over there? And why are you so quiet? You’re just scared man, don’t you worry, you’ll be the driver. All you have to do is wait for us in the back alley. Roger and I will do the rest. Got it?”
“Got it.” Marvin muttered.
* * *
Today was the day. It’s 1:36pm as the three of us sit in a worn-out gunmetal silver van in the back alley just outside the Red Bar. Roger’s taking his pre-heist nap and I keep most of my attention on my watch. The seconds needle continued to move at a slow, excruciating pace. I noticed Marvin sweating like a pig, his hands trembling as he tried his very best to maintain a solid grip on the steering wheel. 1:55pm. Deep breath.
“Time to go! Roger, wake the hell up. Marvin, don’t you worry, everything’s going to be okay. Okay?”
Roger and I stepped out the van and walked towards the front entrance. We enter the bar, and for the second time, I see Mr Wallace with his back turned sitting down on one of the red bar stools. I didn’t notice the last time, a Band-Aid stuck across the back of his neck. A wound maybe? As he inhaled and puffed out a waterfall of cigar smoke, he finally saw us.
“Well if it isn’t White Bread! You here to return my money?”
“Y-yes Mr Wallace.”
I turn to Roger, and whisper, “go to the bar, order a drink and wait for the right moment. You know the plan.”
“Who’s this lanky motherfucker?” He stared coldly at Roger. Mr Wallace continued his unyielding glare and for what felt like an eternity, I really thought Roger was going to die.
“Mr Wallace, I– ”
“Ahahaha relax, I’m just fucking with you man, go get yourself a drink. Now… down to business. Just you and me Bread. Sit.”
I place the money on the table, and my eyes continue to go fling back and forth from Mr Wallace and Roger who had made it to the bar. I need to distract that bartender.
“Ha, stay right there.” Mr Wallace said, as he stood up.
“Mr Wallace! Could I trouble you for some water? It’s scorching hot out there, it’s so hard to breathe with such a dry feeling in my mouth.”
Mr Wallace, reverting his attention back at me, signalled the bartender over. At that exact moment, Roger had entered the room unseen. Perfect.
“You all good?”
“Yes, thank you so much sir!” I said as I gulped the water.
Mr Wallace continued to walk to the room labelled; ‘KITCHEN’, the cash in his right grip and I knew there was only one thing left to do. Roger needed a way out.
“Goddammit, what now?” He said angrily.
I shoved my hands into my pockets in a flustered manner until I had the paper in my hand. “I’m sorry sir, please forgive me. I was desperate.” I said, as I handed him a hundred dollar note. At this point, I thought I was actually going to be killed in this bar. I thought I was going to contribute to the bloody paint on the walls. No, wait. He’s smiling, he proceeds to walk towards me. At the exact moment, I saw Roger slipping out of the room unnoticed.
“You really do got balls kid. I admire your honesty. Your loyalty. Two things you can’t buy in this world.”
I shake his hand firmly, and we parted ways from there. Sprinting towards the back alley to find Roger throwing himself into the van.
We got in and yelled in unison, “Drive now!”
As we drove off, I could see how frightened Roger was, so was I. Though it was exhilarating, adrenaline pumping, putting our lives on the line for riches beyond our wildest dreams. As I recounted our goldmine of a success, I peered into the rear-view mirror and saw a man with a long mullet in a black suit having a cigarette just outside where the van was parked. I turned around to get a closer look and he was gone.
“What is it Brett? Did you forget something?” Roger yawned.
“Nah, it’s nothing.”
* * *
I woke up in a daze. The alarm read 6:48am and screeched its heavenly music for the whole street to hear. I was awake but not angry. Why? Well because I had just pulled off the greatest and simplest heist in the world. It’s been a week and I’m still alive and well. The man whose eyes were supposedly carved out for looking at Mr Wallace funny probably should’ve had his eyes on something else. The briefcase.
“Brett! Breakfast!” Marvin yelled.
Entering the living room, I was blessed with an intoxicating smell. The Big Kahuna Burger. There’s Roger lying on the couch comfortably and Marvin, just standing around. Marvin’s mate is probably taking another glorious shit by the sound of it. Everybody’s happy. Everybody’s happy because we all know we’re going to be fucking rich.
“Do you guys hear something?” Marvin asked.
“Nah man, it’s nothing. Go eat your breakfast, you worry too much.” I said.
Suddenly, there’s a knock on the door. It creaks open. Two men enter. A black man with a fuzzy afro and a goatee. A white man with a long mullet and a face that seems too big for his neck. They were both wearing baggy black suits like those bodyguards you see stationed out front of a nightclub.
“Hey kids. How you boys doin’?
His eyes examined the entire room while we all remained silent and still.
“You know who we are? We’re associates of your business partner, Marsellus Wallace… you do remember your business partner, don’t you?”
He’s waiting for an answer and I can’t muster up the courage to speak. It’s just like that time with Mr Wallace when fear took command of me.
“Now let me take a wild guess here. You’re Brett right?” He asks, pointing at me.
I nodded feebly.
“Looks like we caught you boys during breakfast. Sorry about that. Whatcha havin’?
“Hamburgers! The cornerstone of any nutritional breakfast. You mind if I try one of yours? This is yours here right?”
He takes a monster of a bite out of my burger. Hell, at this point, he can eat whatever the fuck he wants. As long as we can get out of this alive.
“Mmmmm! This is a tasty burger! I do love the taste of a good burger. You know what they call a quarter pounder with cheese in France? Tell em Vincent.”
Vincent, I remember him now. I wasn’t just seeing things. He was there that day, in the back alley having a cigarette as we drove off. I have never been so sure of anything in my life. As he shuffles around the kitchen, he answers, ‘royale with cheese’.
The man with the afro closes the door shut, nods at his associate and paces towards me.
“Royale with cheese! You know why they call it that?”
“Uh, um… because of the metric system?”
“Check out the big brain on Brett! You’re a smart motherfucker, that’s right!”
Pointing at my drink, he continues his unyielding torture.
“You mind if I have some of your… tasty beverage to wash this down?”
He drinks to the very last drop. I died a little each time he slurped up the remains of my drink. I was fucking scared. Scared to death.
“Why don’t you tell my man Vince where you got it?”
“I-It’s in the cupboard bel-” Roger says timidly.
“I don’t remember asking you a goddamn thing!” The man interrupted.
Vincent retrieves the black leather briefcase we worked so hard to obtain and opens it. The gold light shimmers brightly and illuminates his face. He had the exact same face I had as I watched him gawk at it. The face that screams wonder, awe, and takes you to a fantastical dream of riches. Seeing it again, and the feeling of losing it to these… these lunatics, I couldn’t let that happen.
“I-I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name. I got yours, Vincent, but … I-I didn’t get yours.”
“My name’s Pip. And your ass ain’t talking its way out of this one.”
“No, no, I just want you to know,” I said, as I began to stand up.
The power this man holds in his palm! With the slight movement of his hand, he brings me back down to where I belong. And my body is so fearful that it obeys without question. This is the moment. No turning back, we must make amends. I must make amends.
“I-I… I just want you to know how sorry we are, that things… got so fucked up with us and Mr Wallace and we–”
A sudden sound of a gunshot fired and blurred vision. I shut my eyes in fear only to realize that I was not harmed. Roger had been shot. Still lying there on that couch, probably not so comfortably now. These two associates of Mr Wallace are the real deal. They’re not fucking around. What do I do, Oh God tell me what to do! He shot Roger, without even flinching, without taking his eyes off me for a second. His gaze transforms into a glare.
“Oh I’m sorry did I break your concentration? Please, continue. You were saying?”
At this point, I could hardly breathe let alone form any words. Clutching onto the chair that supports me for dear life, hoping, praying, that these men would just take the briefcase and leave. But he and I both know that’s not going to happen.
“Oh you were finished? Well allow me to retort. What does Marsellus Wallace look like?”
He ferociously flings the table across the other room probably just like the associate who was flung over a balcony for having a foot fetish.
“What country you from?
“What ain’t a country I’ve ever heard of. They speak English in What?”
“English motherfucker! Do you speak it?!
“Yes!” I shrieked.
“Then you know what I’m saying. Describe what Marsellus Wallace looks like!”
He continues to raise his voice to volumes still unexplored and I can do nothing but tremble in fear with my arms up like a fucking imbecile.
Now he’s had enough. He points the gun directly at my face unwavering.
“Say what again! I dare you, I double dare you motherfucker! Say what one more goddamn time!”
“He… H-He’s black! He’s bald!”
“Does he look like a bitch?”
Without warning, the gun blares and my shoulder is swimming in a pond of blood. My body immediately goes numb. The last thing I see as I fade into nothingness is the face of my killer and his final words as he raises his weapon.
“… And you will know my name is the Lord! When I lay my vengeance upon thee!”
The deafening blasts of gunshot after gunshot after gunshot attacked my ears as each bullet punched holes into my body. As I lay dying, my vision blurring, the taste of blood, tears and death on my lips, the two men leave with the briefcase. I hear my killer utter the last words I’ll ever hear on this earth.
I saw the pig one last time. Only this time, he wasn’t sweating any longer.
I hold no claim to any part of acclaimed director, Quentin Tarantino’s (1994) Pulp Fiction film franchise. This endeavour is solely a story adaptation as a fan of his work which is presented in a non-profit personal blog format.