Big Jim by Nicola Belte

February 9, 2012 Comments Off on Big Jim by Nicola Belte

Big Jim isn’t himself. He won’t let anybody read his newspaper, and sits in the corner by himself, drinking pint after pint; a constant layer of froth on his down-turned lip. He keeps playing ‘Against all Odds’ on the jukebox.

Everybody knows why.

Big Jim sees them looking, and whispering, and closes his eyes. He used to fucking hate Phil Collins. He clenches his fist in his pockets, and storms out before the last chorus.

Nobody makes a fool of Big Jim.

He waits in an alleyway that smells of decomposing rats and soy sauce, watching the tiny locked flat above the massage parlour as men scurry by with their collars up tight, and scuttle back with their flies down low.

He could wait all day. And night. He’s got it coming; and he deserves everything he gets.

Big Jim remembers the first time he met him. Top off, toga on, walking around like he owned the place; with all the Corleone confidence but none of the style. Fat. Sleazy. Sneaky.

He got him when he was weak. Spiked him.

The sweet curare from his arrow paralysed his thought, demolished his defences, made him as meek as a kitten beneath the hand that would strangle him, still purring as he was tied in a sack and flung into a filthy, bottomless canal.

He’d tricked him. Made him say things. Things that no man should say. Things that have seared his tongue, the jeer of a chilli he couldn’t handle.

All this cunt’s fault. Not hers. Never hers.

He punches the wall. A Morse Code of bloody knuckle prints on the white, crumbling bricks.


Finally, he’s there, climbing the rusty stairs and struggling to find his keys beneath his robes, cursing and throwing his bow and arrow to the ground. Dirty rainwater falls from the broken guttering, marbling his ragged white wings, making his greasy blond quiff fall flat over his face.

Big Jim taps him on the shoulder.


The cherub’s blue eyes open wide in surprise and confusion; his full red lips part.

He doesn’t even recognise me.

“Who the fu–?” the cherub splutters, but the question is stopped, knocked back down his throat by the impact of Big Jim’s forehead smashing into his face.

A broken nose and a few cracked ribs. Big Jim thinks he got off lightly. At least all that will heal. Not like a heart.

He wipes his hands on his t-shirt. He’s going back to the pub. Big Jim will show them. Will shut them up. Nothing breaks Big Jim.


© 2011 Nicola Belte

Nicola Belte lives in Birmingham, U.K, and writes fiction. You can find her at her blog, here:

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