”That was when we realized that they had seen through our act. They started shooting and we shot back. When a number of us had taken lead to the skull, we survivors managed to escape, and we lived happily ever after in a castle of chocolate and rainbows,” finished Dan Lewinsky.

“Bullshit,” said Dick Living, who ran the whole operation.

“Alright, I made the castle-part up,” Lewinsky confessed. “The rest is true, though.”

“Five of my men were gunned down by goddamn heroin addicts!” Living was losing his cool, as he always did when things didn’t go according to plan. “How many were there?”

“Seven billion.”

“And the actual number?”

“About twelve.”

“Dear God, my men are amateurs!”

“I daresay you’re right, boss. We did a poor job at convincing them that we were Russians. Maybe it was the accent. We probably shouldn’t have mimicked the villains in Hollywood blockbusters. The American movie industry takes some artistic liberties.”

“They’re going to fucking pay for this, you hear me?!”

“Everyone hears you, boss. I’d wager our dead buddies hear you, too.”

“How can you be so calm about this, Lewinsky? They were your family!”

“I had no emotional attachments to any of them,” Lewinsky replied. “They never even invited me to their homoerotic orgies in the cafeteria. Not that I would have wanted to go, anyway. I don’t give in to temptation, and that’s true even if the temptation is a morbidly obese dude’s hairy ass.”

“You’re out of line!”

“It was a joke.”

“Nobody’s laughing,” said Living. “Just fucking go and leave me to sort this out!”

Lewinsky had been in this line of business for far too long, and it was starting to take its toll on him. He had seen far too many friends die to shed a single tear when it happened anymore. It was just a fact of life that people who involved themselves with underground trade were never safe from a violent end.

Death came when it pleased, and you could either cry in a corner or learn to accept it. Lewinsky had chosen the latter, and having to be apathetic all the time had given him a twisted sense of humor. He just couldn’t take any of it seriously anymore, and that attitude bothered everyone in his “family”.

As he tread through their hideout, formerly a toy factory, he didn’t really pay any attention to his surroundings, because none of it actually mattered. He had walked the factory floor hundreds of times in the past, and would continue to walk it a hundred times more.

“Nothing ever changes,” he recalled the words from his childhood.

His father told him that, Lewinsky remembered. Tom Lewinsky had been his name, and like so many other immigrants, he had grown up in poverty. The man truly did his best to earn money and care for his son at the same time, but it was ultimately too much for him to handle.

Tom Lewinsky was stepped on at every turn by those with greater power than himself, and in the end it crushed him. Dan’s father became nihilistic, not believing things would ever get better, and his attitude rubbed off on his son.

When Tom Lewinsky got fired for sexual harassment (against an employee he had never even heard of), he was pushed over the edge, and the night before he committed suicide, Tom told his son: “Everything is predetermined. There’s no point in trying, and there’s no point crying. Nothing ever changes. Please remember that, boy.”

And not only had little Dan remembered it, he had taken it for a universal truth and made it the very foundation upon which he would sculpture his future self. He never even bothered to look for an actual job, because why should he, knowing that he could lose it for any reason or no reason?

At least he was safe here, as odd as it may sound. Criminals couldn’t afford to lay off their henchmen, because that would often upon up a can of worms, seeing as how you’d have to kill them and all that.

Everything was predetermined, and that couldn’t be changed.

“Except,” Lewinsky had a revelation and stopped in his tracks. “Sometimes, bad things are predetermined for good people, and good things predetermined for bad people. Happiness comes sporadically, and the only way to stay happy, like the bastards on top, is by leeching on the happiness of the helpless on the bottom, like my father.”

For someone not prone to deep thinking, this was a magical moment for Lewinsky, and in his head, he began to make plans for something great and terrible. Something that would teach not only the rich assholes of America, but also the people of the entire world that no one was safe from theft of happiness.

He did not intend to let his “family” in on his plans, because they wouldn’t understand the grandiosity of the act. It would be a piece of art, a message to those who cared to study it. He might not be able to change the world, but he would expose its flaws to everyone.

It was easy to get his hands on plastic explosives, and he already had an assault rifle, because this was America. With great care, he picked out the places he would attack, and his reasons for choosing each of the localities were more or less incomprehensible to anyone but him.

When all was ready for the grand display, Lewinsky got in his shitty pickup truck and hit the highway – on the wrong side of the road. It was a fun little game dodge cars, and what risk was he taking, since everything was predetermined?

An asshole on a motorcycle turned around and started riding after him, but when he got to the window by the driver’s seat, Lewinsky pulled a handgun and shot through his helmet. “Objects are closer than they appear,” he read in the mirror as the motorcyclist was mangled by passing drivers, who just wanted to escape the scene and cared none for the man’s life.

This was hilarious, Lewinsky thought, and predetermined.

He got off the highway and headed for the first target on his list: a café that refused him service once many years ago. He jumped out of the truck, not even bothering to turn off the engine, and he kicked the unlocked door in and started firing at random customers with the rifle. There was an open carrier in the café, but it was a senile old man, and he got shot through the stomach before even having a chance to flick off the safety.

Lewinsky could hear the noise of sirens and figured the police were finally showing up, and just in time, too. Lewinsky reached under his jacket and pulled out the plastic explosives, which he carefully placed just behind the doorframe, and then he sought refuge behind the counter.

As he heard the cops entering, Lewinsky pressed the detonator, and body parts went flying everywhere. It was kind of beautiful, actually. Also: predetermined.

He ran up the stairs of the café and climbed down the fire escape on the other side of the building, and he fled into a manhole he knew led far away. The stench of piss and shit reminded him of home, and the nostalgia of it made him smile.

“Just half a mile more, and I’ll be there,” Lewinsky was eager to arrive. “I’ll be remembered for this, that’s predetermined!”

He climbed up just the right place and made it to outside the elementary school. The handgun he had used to kill the motorcyclist was tucked in his belt and crying for a chance to shine. He allowed it the opportunity, and hurrying inside the school and again kicking in an unlocked door, he pointed the gun at the teacher and said: “Everything is predetermined. There’s no point in trying, and there’s no point crying. Nothing ever changes. Remember that, kids.”

Then he shot the teacher.

Written by Resident DeVir
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