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Billy the Kid Between a Rock and a Hard Place: A Short Story

Updated on November 11, 2015

Thanks for Returning to the Next Installment

This, really, is a story that will not die. I enjoy the protagonist and can’t seem to let him fade from view. My fault entirely and I hope you’ll forgive me.

Billy the Kid is back! He is a product of my fascination with the concepts of good and evil, and how there is a little bit of both in most, if not all, of us. Some would argue that point, but those are the people I try to stay away from. J

I hope you enjoy the latest installment.

The deception of natural beauty
The deception of natural beauty | Source

Settling In

Bouncing at a bar ain’t tough. It’s all in the attitude. I’m not a huge guy. On a good day I stand six-one and weigh one-ninety, but you wouldn’t want to face me one-on-one when I’m pissed, and that shows in the way I present myself during working hours. When I’m working I’m six-five and two-hundred and ninety pounds of bad attitude. Hence the nickname, the crazy Mick bastard.

No, bouncing ain’t tough, not like collecting a drug shipment off a banana boat in the dead of night when the sky weighs down on you and every shadow threatens to blow your heart out with nine millimeters of lead. All the attitude in the world can’t keep your knees from shaking and your bowels from turning to yogurt when you hear that motor droning in the distance and you know some distrustful Mex has you in his sights with a night scope.

Tiny Momma has me collecting a load of black tar on this particular night and the damn mosquitoes are eating me alive while I wait for a bullet or a payoff. It’s fifty-fifty how it’s going to go. Seems like I’ve spent half my life running such errands for crime bosses with more money than brains. It’s just the way life is, Darwin’s pecking order at its finest, with yours truly scratching and clawing at the bottom of the heap.

Two-hundred yards offshore a light blinks on and off twice, the signal that all’s clear. I respond with my flashlight. I hear the big Mercs start up, their throaty growl dripping menace, a dark predator on a darker night, as they approach. I wade out to meet them, the warm waters embracing my legs. I hold the suitcase with the half-mil high above my head so they can see it and also to keep it dry. Just a crazy Mick bastard wading in the water at three a.m., facing twenty years in Raiford if it all goes bad. If that goes down I’d be better off if the Mex shot me, save me from being a yard bitch for a double dime.

Meanwhile, Tiny Momma sits on her fat ass twenty miles to the south in Key West, not a care in the world, and yes, that pisses me off.

The Situation

Here’s a dose of reality for you: I hate drugs. I hate the dealers, I hate the users, I hate the whole damned business. Never used them, never will, it disgusts me and that’s just the real of it, and yet here I am, a part of it, and my actions will result in more misery up the coast and that, too, is the real of it. I make no excuses, I shuck no jive, I’m sliding nothing by you with greased fingers and promises of redemption. The money is good, I need the money, simple as that. Tiny Momma pays me three large to nursemaid these Mex cartel boys and that’s all the justification I need.

The boat comes into view with a driver and three greasers, all holding Glock 18 machine pistols with special mags that hold thirty-three rounds of nine mil Parabellums. Not a one of the idiots could hit a target from fifty yards, but at twenty feet on full auto, well, chances were pretty good they could rip you to shreds. Mex’s love their machine pistols.

I’ve got my own Glock tucked in my pants behind my back, just a simple pistol, one bullet at a time, eight in the sleeve and one in the chamber, and I’m hoping I won’t need it. Nice and smooth is the prayer of the day. Hand over the money, take the tar and get my ass back to Key West before sun-up. This is a monthly transaction so it should go without a hitch. They lose a buyer by shooting me, and if it ain’t in their best interests they won’t do a damn thing, so I figure I’m safe.

I hand up the suitcase, they count the money, nod their heads in satisfaction and one fat ass reaches down for the goods. That’s when it all turns to shit.

Walking down the beach, thirty yards to the north, I see, by the light of the moon, a woman. Long hair, long legs, wearing shorts and a loose shirt tied off at her waist, flashlight in hand, hell of a time for insomnia and a stroll in the sand. Who the holy hell takes a walk on the beach in the middle of the night?

About the time I see her, they see her, she sees us, and time stops.

Death on the water
Death on the water | Source

Decisions to Be Made

People say that time flies but not in those situations. There is a very real clarity at that moment, a stoppage of time, and I know I have two choices, let her die or intervene. Pablo’s boys only have one choice, kill the girl, drop the product and race out of the bay. She means nothing to them, a simple obstacle, one that will disappear with a squeeze of the trigger.

Unfortunately, for me and for the greasers, it’s not that simple. I don’t know the woman but that doesn’t lessen her value. She didn’t ask for this. Someone shouldn’t die because they can’t sleep. Business is business, I get that, and my old man would have told me the world revolves around commerce, but he also would have told me that right is right and there is no gray area. Sweet Mary and Joseph!

My business partners begin to raise their pistols and I reach behind my back. They pay no attention to me and, in the end, that’s what saved me and the woman. Right to left, one, two, three, easy as fish in a barrel, even I can hit someone from five feet. Two fall in the water. The stillness of the setting is shattered with the sounds of death, the soft breeze carries the smell of cordite as I duck into the water and under the boat as the driver realizes, too late, that the woman is not his biggest problem.

I come up on the other side of the boat, arm and gun extended, and the fourth Mex dies in the cockpit.

Then silence.

The Woman

She’s frozen in place as I pull myself up into the boat, stand and look over at her. There is ozone in the air, a storm brewing for sure, the story of my life.

“You can’t stay here, lady,” I shout to her. “Wherever you came from, go back and never mention this to anyone. If the Mexicans know you exist, you’re dead. It’s as simple as that.”

“You saved my life,” she says. “Why did you do that?”

I grab the money, grab the drugs, slide over the side of the boat and carry my packages to shore. The woman hasn’t moved. Either she’s brave or in shock. As I get closer to her I realize just how damn good looking she is, maybe late twenties, early thirties, dark hair, caramel skin, large, doe eyes and full lips.

“Why did you do that?” she asks again. “Why didn’t you just let them kill me?”

A fair question. I wasn’t sure I had a fair answer.

“This may sound odd, but my daddy didn’t raise me that way. He’s dead now, but he’d be pissed at me if I let you die. This wasn’t your game, you had nothing to do with it, so no reason why you should pay for it. Simple as that!”

“What happens now?” she asks as the sky explodes with lightning, illuminating the bodies that fell overboard, their blood appearing to be nothing more than an oil slick to the untrained eye.

Another fair question. I could take the money and drugs to Tiny Momma, but that would be signing my death warrant. If Tiny didn’t kill me the Mexicans would. Tiny doesn’t like failure or complications, and no explanation by me would spin this into a positive. Choice number two sucked as well. Run with the money and drugs and hope to hell Tiny and the Mexicans couldn’t find me. Either way I was screwed.

The woman needed an answer. Shit, man, so did I.

Could this be Billy's future?
Could this be Billy's future? | Source

The Answer

She was frightened and she was looking to me for an answer that would make everything all right. I didn’t have one. She was shaking noticeably now, her eyes locked on the bodies floating in the water.

“Did anyone see you walking the beach tonight? Lady, look at me. Did you see anyone on your way to here?”

She pulled those large, doe eyes away from the human flotsam and nodded her head. Her coffee-colored skin glistened with the light rain that was falling.

“My neighbor was on her deck. She couldn’t sleep. She saw me and waved. She lives in that big house down there, the two-story clapboard. I rent next door to her.” She pointed north to a home a half-mile in the distance. She didn’t know it yet but she was screwed and so was her neighbor.

“Okay, listen to me. You can’t go back to your home. By tomorrow the Mexicans will have people walking every inch of this beach, and your neighbor will be one of their first stops. After they talk to your neighbor they’ll knock on your door, and that’s a knock you don’t want to answer. These drugs have a street value of four million bucks, and that is all the incentive they need to turn this beach upside down for answers to what went down here. You need to disappear and do it in the next three or four hours.”

She was shaking her head. “But, I can’t just leave. I have a life here. Where would I go? Why don’t I just call the police and explain it all to them?”

“Because, lady, the drug cartels are bigger than the Key West police department or the Highway Patrol. You’d be dead within a week. I can’t help you. I need to get my ass down the road as fast as possible.”

“But please. There must be something you can do to make it right.”

What would daddy say to that?

I looked at her. I looked at the dead Mexicans as they prepared to become a meal for the denizens. I looked at the skies as they unleashed fury.

“Do you have a car?” I asked her.

To Be Continued

Oh my goodness, the crazy Mick bastard just seems to gravitate towards trouble, and now he has a fetching young lady in trouble too. What will he do?

Stay tuned!

2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Shanmarie, safe travels and thanks for making the effort to catch up.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 18 months ago

      You do have a way of getting us hooked on your stories. Too bad I might be away from the internet for the most part for a while. I'll have even more catching.up to do!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Missy, it's an environment I'm aware of in a periphery sort of way....brutal to say the least....very little compassion or allegiance to a call. Darwinism at its best on the mean streets.

      Thank you for your kind words. I've worked hard over the years to paint a picture with my words so the readers feel like they are actually there...so your affirmation is appreciated.

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 21 months ago from Florida

      Hey Bill, I'm backtracking a little on this story. I think I have read up some, and I wanted to make sure I have the whole story in. Even though, you keep us well up to date no matter where I pick up this story. It's such a good story; I don't want to miss a part of it somewhere.

      It's funny that Billy doesn't do drugs, and in fact, loathes them. I have often heard that a lot of drug dealers actually despise drugs. The money is the only pull to what they do. I wonder if that's why it is easy to kill the ones that become useless to their cause? Like, around here, if a person gets so bad on drugs, and they can't even pimp them out for their money, they just kill them. I know this, because it happened to my aunt and my cousin's ex-husband.

      Back to this type of drug dealing, which is much more elaborate of a business than the two-bit drug dealings around here. I always get enthralled in your scenes. You capture every single little detail so well, it's like we are watching a movie. It's truly thrilling to read.

      Like Alicia, I'm off to find and read the next installment. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia. I love it that so many enjoy this character. Thank you!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 22 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Billy certainly has some major adventures! I'm off to read the next installment now.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Lawrence. I'm glad you enjoyed!

      bill

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 23 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      I've been saving this for when I had the time to enjoy it. It didn't disappoint

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, as always, you summed it up perfectly. The perpetual struggle of good vs evil which we all face. That is why I love this theme so much. Thank you, and blessings always.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 24 months ago

      Yeah Bill my friend, concepts of good end evil constantly waging war for human souls. We are meting a 'real life' craftly woven both natural and supernatural moments in your story; but then they couldnt kill her since for them she has been wrapped in invisible-ghostly- spiritual person resulting in future unprerdictable conclusion. Surely, this would be possible in your writing. Never disappointing.

      Good night. Peace with us.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      They do for sure, Deb! LOL...shitcakes...love it!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 24 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      The shitcakes pile high wherever that boy goes, don't they?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 24 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sha! I'm enjoying writing this one. I don't need to weave too many deep meanings into this one....just shoot and move on. :)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 24 months ago from Central Florida

      I love the suspense! You weave this tale well, Bill. I pictured the entire scene from start to cliffhanger. I'm excited to see what happens next!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww, shoot, drbj, thank you! I'm remembering the old serials we used to watch as kids...and even the radio serials that would leave you hanging for a week until the next show....that's what I thought of when I was writing this. :)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      I have a new title for you, Bill, based on this gem of a story: 'Master of the to-be-continued mystery series.' You and Billy are DOPE - and I mean that in the most positive way. (shivering)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rasma! I'll try to have the next chapter done by Friday.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 2 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Well this certainly would make a great movie. Part one you stay up all night watching and nail biting and then you have to wait for part two. Make it quick.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mel. I will do exactly that. Have a great week!

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      Love it. You introduced some intriguing bumps in the road. Keep cranking them out.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kailua, thank you so much! The Eagles rock!!!!!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Genna, thank you. I absolutely love your comments. You invest so much to make sure the comment is exactly what you want it to be...so thank you my friend. Billy the Kid will ride again.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 2 years ago from New York

      Gotta love those cliffhangers! Listening to the Eagles jam was great too. LOL.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      "The money is good, I need the money, simple as that." This is why, "Just say no," falls apart in a world the just sayers couldn't possibly know or understand. Take no prisoners means exactly that, depending which side of street you're on. Kudos to the kid, our reluctant hero, who just added to his list of enemies. And romance might be on the horizon. I said it before -- I just love this guy. Great writing, Bill; we all await the next installment with relish. :-) .

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Larry! You couldn't have said anything nicer to me.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad you're enjoying this one, Mama. Thanks a ton for being here.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      On the edge of my seat. Great read!

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen Szklany Gault 2 years ago from New England

      Loving the continuation of the story and looking forward to the next installment!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Charu! I'm very happy that you enjoyed it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad you enjoyed it, John! I'll keep it going for a little while simply because Billy demands that I do. :) Happy Weekend, my friend.

    • Charu Bhatnagar profile image

      Charu Bhatnagar 2 years ago from India

      Such intriguing story and I am hooked. I have not read any of the previous related stories, but now that I may be more active on HP I plan to read them asap. This story is heady mix of action and emotions it seems.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      You certainly left us with a cliff hanger here and wanting more, Bill. I think they'll both take off in her car...and some exciting chase adventure awaits. Just have to see if I'm right. Great new chapter in the story.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Manatita! Like the old serial movies when I was a kid...a new one every month at a theater near you. :)

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Just as it happens, Bill. Can be as scary as this, apparently, and the Mexicans will come, all right. Run fast! Find a safe haven.

      Like an action movie, Bro, and he rode of into the sunset with the beautiful damsel :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I mentioned to Bev last night that I seem to do dark very well. I wonder what that says about me? LOL Thank you so much!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate your tweets, DDE. Thank you so much.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      Well, seems like our friend Billy is a magnet for trouble. Also seems like another road trip coming up, but this time not alone.

      You do have an amazing mind with surprises for us around every corner. Can't wait to see where these two wind up and what happens to the money and drugs.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi billybuc I often Tweet your hubs. You always leave a great message. This time I got wait on that note. Thank you. Tweeted!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Eric. I'll be by to read your latest very soon, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You will indeed, Zulma. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Agusfanani! Thank you very much and blessings to you always.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Makes me wonder what a real hero is. This complicates the thought process. Sometimes we have to look past the who and only at the what, and then circle around back to the who. Good and Evil are well treated here, thank you.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      True, Bill, that is the beauty of fiction, you never can tell. Although I'm more interested in the 'why' more than the 'who'. I guess I'll find out soon enough. :)

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 2 years ago from Indonesia

      Very interesting story to read, I even held my breath to know what tragic thing would happen when that young woman showed up. Look forward to reading the next part and find out what will happen.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Clive, I do believe there is a show down a brewin'...stay tuned and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Billy appreciates you standing near him, Dora. :) Hopefully the woman and Billy will make it out of this mess.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What a great thing for you to say, Linda! Exactly what I want this to be like. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ruby! I'll try not to disappoint you with the next installment.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 2 years ago from Nibiru

      billy the kid is at it again....mmmmm....looks like we out for a SHOW DOWN BILLY

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, only in your story would I stand so close to a drug dealer and watch all the action. You had me standing there from start to finish. The woman and her plight makes it easy to continue the story. Good!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Trouble is his middle name. This is kinda like going to the movie house on Saturday for the latest installment of the Cisco Kid. I can't wait for the next episode.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Wow, if I were that girl I would run like the wind and never look back but I'm sure that won't happen. Great suspense, waiting for the next installment.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad, sparrow...thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marlene, like the old song, this guy was born under a bad sign. :) I'm glad you're enjoying it. Thank you!

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      rdsparrowriter 2 years ago

      I wonder what will happen next? Waiting to read :) :)

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Man-oh-man! This guy can't win for losing. Leave it to Billy to fall into stuff. I am totally enjoying this series.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ann! Veteran's Day here so much reflection about freedom. A good day of remembering for all.

      I hope your Wednesday is all you want it to be. So glad you are enjoying this crazy Mick bastard.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you PS. I'll be by to read your latest very soon. You are appreciated, my friend.

      blessings to you, today and always

      bill

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Talk about a cliffhanger, bill! This is the best instalment yet, in my view.

      I love the good/bad aspect of this character and I'm itching to know what he decides to do.. BRILLIANT story-telling!

      Armistice Day here so we're all wearing our poppies; there is a camaraderie in the air on days like these.

      Have a wise, whizz-bang of a Wednesday evening, bill.

      Ann

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      And Mick getting his tail in trouble is what makes him interesting and keeps us coming back for more ...and, no doubt, helps to keep him alove.

      Superb, Bill.

      can't wait to read more

      Angels are once again on the way, my friend. Blessings aplenty too. ps

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Venkatachari M. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very interesting story with great thrill and excitement.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Reynold Jay. Desperado has always been one of my all-time favorites. I'm glad I finally got a chance to use it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...good one, Pop! There is hope for all of us. :) Thanks for the chuckle.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 2 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Hi Bill, loved this installment and wonder what the heck is in the future? Desperado is a great song. Listened while I read. Well done.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      I look at it this way... no one is perfect!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, you never can tell who's going to show up on a lonely beach. That's the beauty of fiction. :) Thanks for following along. Hopefully Billy will find a solution.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hmmm...lady shows up in the middle of the night? Something not right here. I'm not sure I buy that 'insomnia' thing. Something not right. Let's see what the next instalment brings. You really know how to lure us in, don't you Bill. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Carol. I really appreciate you stopping by to read my stuff. Best wishes to you with your projects.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 2 years ago from Arizona

      Love this guy. Yes we are all a mixed bag--sometimes we can be so kind and giving and other times..well we are human. Love your writing Bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine! I never know what Billy is going to do, so we'll find out together next week.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      Truly can't wait to see what he will do next and loved this latest installment, Bill! Have a wonderful Wednesday now, my friend ;)