I tossed the axe handle in Jimmy’s car, jumped in the passenger’s seat, and grabbed a beer. Another Saturday night without dates and we were off for a night of bum-busting. It was our civic duty: find some homeless drunks and beat the crap out of them.
Jimmy squealed the tires and said, “Let’s check the bridges and overpasses downtown, good hunting there last week. Since they’ve started tearing down the old monastery, the bums can’t sleep inside the old buildings anymore, they’re back on the streets.”
I chugged the beer, tossed the can, and said, “I’m glad it’s being torn down, it creeps me out. The wall carvings and statues belong on the gates to hell instead of decorating a church.”
“Yeah,” Jimmy replied. “When I was a kid, I was terrified a gargoyle would jump down and kick my butt. Mom said gargoyles steal bad children.”
We found a wino asleep or passed out leaning against a pile of bricks from the monastery. His head and face were hidden by a filthy hooded sweatshirt.
Jimmy drew back and swung the ax handle at the bum’s hoodie-covered head.
The bum reached out, caught the axe handle with one giant hand, and snatched Jimmy toward him. He grabbed Jimmy’s throat, ripped the axe handle free, and pushed Jimmy onto the pile of bricks. He put one foot on Jimmy’s chest, pointed the axe handle at me, and said, “I’m keeping this one. I’d run if I were you.”
The cowl slid back and his chiseled marble reptilian features reflected the moonlight.
I was too frightened to move. I didn’t see his stony fist move before it crashed into my face.
I woke up and found myself face down in the rubble from the monastery. The Sun was rising, and I was alone; Jimmy and the creature who hit me were gone. I ran all the way home.
After the demolition, the city opened a park where the salvaged statuary and gargoyles were displayed. The smallest gargoyle’s face is frozen in a scream. It looks just like Jimmy.
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