"The Max Payne Easter Special"
Written by Joseph "Maniac" Cirillo III
Writers note: Ever notice that I have to write a disclaimer before everything I write? That should really tell you something about me personally. Anyways, I just wanted to say HAPPY EASTER to everyone who visits the site, and for all you Athiests out there (like me) I'd like to say, "Happy Sunday" so enjoy your days off and lets get to the story
The hard-boiled egg was cold in my hand. I couldn't quite understand the point of this holiday, but I had to admit the word 'hard-boiled' was pretty damn cool and this holiday was my favorite simply because I had an excuse to say 'hard-boiled' without getting smacked by a woman.
But here I was, alone for another Easter. No family anymore, no friends, no enemies, no love. I had all this once, but it left a long time ago. Like a song bridge, it only came in the middle and was not present in the end. Instead, here I was, all alone in my apartment, drinking cups of coffee and trying to forget the hell that had been my life a few weeks ago.
Like the beep of an angel my answering machine chirped a tune. I had a message. I walked across the hallway and felt like Washington crossing the Delaware River, not knowing what will come from this crossing. I pushed the button on the machine. I prayed it would be the voice of an angel was on the other end.
"Mr. Payne, this is Mona at 1-900-GIRL. Our records indicate that you haven't yet paid your bill for the month. Please contact us at your earliest convenience so we can discuss a method of payment. Our billing number is 212-555-0639. Oh, and Happy Easter."
It was a bad line or a prank call. But the voice sounded oddly familiar. I erased the message and walked away from the machine. I went through my barren kitchen looking for some food. I was so pathetic. All of a sudden, something from the TV caught my ear, as if this message was playing louder just for me.
"…and Happy Easter to everyone. You're watching NYCNN and this is Kyra Silver. Our first story tonight is a shocking mystery or an incredible mix up. A corpse was discovered missing a few days ago at the Memorial Hospital in New York City. The victim is believed to be Mona Sax, a woman wanted for questioning in the assassination of Senator Sebastian Gate and Detective Winterson of the NYPD. The records of the body's transfer were oddly mixed up after no person came in to claim the body and two days ago it vanished from the city morgue leaving no trace…"
Suddenly there was a knock at my door. This just could not be a ghost. I opened the door to find not a ghost but a man holding a bouquet of flowers.
"I don't swing that way, I'm sorry."
The man looked at me funny for a second.
"Delivery for Mr. Payne."
"Yes. A stunning young lady paid me three hundred dollars to send these to you today on my God given day off. You're a very lucky man."
"You caught me on an unorthodox day."
"We'll see. Sign here please."
He held out a clipboard with a signature page on it. I signed it carefully, making sure not to smudge the ink. The man left and I closed the door. I put the flowers on my table and took a close look at them. There were a dozen red roses here, a very expensive delivery. Who would send me flowers? I looked closely into the flowers and out popped a card. I pulled the envelope out and opened it carefully, as if expecting the danger of the Lost Ark to attack me after I opened it. All it had was a few lines on it. Handwriting all pretty curves.
JOE'S DINER. 12 AM. DON'T BE LATE.
"…and for our second story we have documented proof about useful news reporting coincidences during close proximity to a television…"
That was all it said. I checked my watch, it was 11:30. Easter was almost over and I still had nothing to celebrate. I figured what the hell. You couldn't outrun the devil, even if it was a woman like Mona.
I took a Taxi to the diner, kept looking behind my shoulder every few seconds, just like they taught you at the police academy. But there's nothing the academy could teach you to prepare you for what happened to my life. Dealing with loss, love, hate, and losing yourself somewhere along the way.
I walked into the diner, playing it Bogart like I had done a hundred times before. The hostess looked at me.
"Table for one?"
"I think someone is waiting for me here."
"Yes, how did you…"
"Sit right over there."
She pointed to a table and I sat. On it was a cup of coffee with a note under it.
LOOK BEHIND YOU
Behind me stood the femme fatale who appeared only in my dreams at night and in my nightmares during the day. It was Mona, in the flesh. I studied her intently, looking for where she kept a weapon. It looked to me like she wasn't wearing a bra.
"They were all out of whiskey. Sorry to disappoint you, Maxie."
"My whole Easter's been a disappointment. Until right this second."
I sipped at the coffee. I couldn't taste a mickey, and I didn't care if there was one. She smiled at me.
"No drug this time, promise. I think you passed the loyalty test. That's why I'm so mad about you. I take it you got my flowers?"
"Couldn't miss those."
"You did miss my phone message though."
I did a double take. "You mean the phone sex operator?"
"Of course, I figured you would get the message and call to complain that you didn't make any calls to that number…I mean you don't do you?"
I said nothing, my face must've given everything away. She didn't really look like she cared though, although it was an embarrassing revelation.
"My shrink says I needed more people to talk to then just him."
"Sure Max. Whatever you say."
Something inside me told me this wasn't right. There had to be a reason I was here.
"What happened at the morgue?"
"I guess there were no more open spots in Hell. I came to in a body bag about a day ago. After I was able to scrounge up some clothes I up and left. I figured the morgue was no place for a living person who wasn't a pathologist."
"You're a wanted felon again."
"No, I'm dead. You can't want someone who's dead…unless you love them. The check's on me Mr. Payne. Maybe we'll see each other again."
She kissed me on the cheek and got up out of her seat.
"Oh, and Happy Easter."
And even though she was walking out of my life again, for the first time all day, I smiled.