Four restaurant employees are stalked by a killer in a pig mask. If only the innocent can survive a horror movie, none of these employees are safe!…
Written by Gregory Patrick Travers
The golden, foamy lager crashed against the inner rim of the glass pint as Michael, or Mikey as he was known in the kitchen, stopped the mugs’ momentum mid-slide, no longer equipped with the patients to sit through another one of Banksy’s flair performances she put on so often. Yes, usually Mikey would be more than happy to sit at the wood and watch the young brunette’s firm, supple breasts bounce around loosely in her black tank top whilst she shook a Martini, or stare at her tight, plump butt as she bent over to grab a beer from the cooler—but it had been one of those long, killer nights. Ten hours in a hot kitchen with only a couple two minute smoke breaks, party after party with a short novel of order modifications for each seat, chef yelling, “Hurry up!” at everyone and yet no one in particular while he stood by expo with his arms crossed, causing Mikey to walk the thin line between wanting to impress his boss and wanting to punch his boss in the teeth for doing nothing but yell useless motivational tripe while much needed physical assistance went undelivered…No, all Mikey wanted, all he had to show for his troubles, was that golden trophy of beer poured fresh from the taps; that single drop of water over the cool, foggy condensation seducing him as it slid down the spine of the glass onto the bar.
He lifted the mug and put it to his lips, drinking more foam than beer in the process, but savouring the moment nonetheless. Resting it down on his faded coaster, he wiped his wet mouth with the sleeve on his free arm before lifting his eyes back up to Banksy, who stood behind the bar staring back at him with her hand firmly pressed against her hip, as if waiting for some sort of an explanation.
“We’re all dead,” he said.
This statement made the other two servers sitting beside him at the otherwise deserted bar–a boy, Donnie, and a girl, Brianne–peak their heads up with a new found interest in the conversation.
This was a somewhat regular occurrence to find the four of them sipping drinks at the bar after the last table of campers had long since left and Tony, the dishwasher, had finished cleaning the mountain of dishes left for him by the serving and kitchen staff who had finished long before. The only other staff member that stuck around as late as them after the restaurant closed was the dorky floor manager Dave, who would be frantically typing away the final cash-out by himself in that tiny closet they called an office. But, as usual, the four of them had forgotten all about Dave…
“What do you mean, ‘we’re all dead‘?” replied Banksy, offended.
Mikey sighed, “It’s common knowledge that people like us do not survive very long in horror movies. The characters that drink, do drugs and have a lot of sex are always the first to get axed.”
“That’s like everyone here,” said Brianne, playfully stirring her sour kiwi Martini which she had ordered more for fashion than for flavour. The pink colour of the drink matched her new pink sweater perfectly.
“Exactly,” Mikey replied. “We’re all dead.”
“Wait,” Donnie said, joining in, “I thought the black guy always dies first in scary movies?”
“First you have to find one,” said Brianne. “There’s like six black people in Vancouver.”
“Thank God for that…” Mike muttered into his glass as he took another sip.
Banksy laughed, “Mikey, you’re dead for sure, you racist fucker.”
Donnie agreed, “Mikey would totally be the first to die.”
“Hey, fuck you, Donnie!” Mike fired back. “If I’m not mistaken, didn’t you cheat on your girlfriend with Brianne over there?”
Both Brianne and Donnie tensed up right away, obviously uncomfortable with the new chosen topic of conversation. A victory smile spread across Mikey’s stubbly face. “Yeah,” he continued, “Adultery is a death wish in a horror movie. You cheat, you die–simple as that.”
“I would definitely be the one who survives at the end,” said Banksy, confident that no one, except for her bestie, Brianne, had enough dirt on her to challenge her.
“Oh, whatever!” laughed Brianne, rolling her eyes. “You know that’s not true. What about the whole Dave situation?”
Banksy’s smile dropped like a sack of potatoes. “Sssh!” she scolded. Then in a whisper, she said, “He’s in the office right now. Are you dumb?”
The two boys looked at each other and smiled.
“What exactly is ‘The Dave Situation’?” Donnie chuckled.
“It’s complicated,” answered Banksy.
“It’s not complicated at all,” told Brianne. “Dave writes the Front of House schedule, Banks wasn’t getting the prime shifts, so she fucked him. Now she’s lead bar every Friday, Saturday.”
Banksy dropped her head in shame while the two boys threw theirs back in laughter.
“Thanks, Bri…” Banksy scowled.
“Sorry,” Brianne replied.
But Banksy wasn’t buying Brianne’s flaky apology. She retaliated quick, saying, “Well, listen to this! Donnie got Bri pregnant and she aborted it!”
The laughter stopped on a button. Everyone turned to Donnie, who, by the look on his face, clearly had not been informed of any of this until just that moment.
“That’s not true,” he said, turning to Brianne, “…is it?”
She sunk in her barstool, ashamed, while Banksy stood tall and proud behind the bar.
“It is…” Brianne admitted regrettably. She turned to Banksy, “How could you say that?”
Banksy stepped back and put on her “innocent” look; the look that had gotten her out of hot water for as long as she could remember. “It’s not my fault!” she said, “If you hadn’t told them how I fucked Dave then—”
Her defence was cut short by a sudden scream from the back, where Dave had been working. It wasn’t an angry scream like Dave had when Mikey forgot to put a chicken breast in the oven and the rest of the food was up in the window ready to go, nor was it a surprised scream either, like when a server came barrelling around the corner with a stack of plates and nearly trampled over Dave whilst he stared down at the reservation clipboard constantly in his hands. It was a terrible, fearful scream that made the four of them freeze up in their seats. They remained still and silent, waiting for something to follow…
“What the fuck was that,” Mike finally whispered.
“It sounded like Dave,” said Donnie.
Banksy’s eyes widened, worriedly, “You don’t think he heard us talking about him, do you?”
They stopped and listened for a sound, hoping to see Dave come around the corner to bust up their gossip circle and tell Banksy that she was about to get some serious shift cutting–but there was nothing.
“Someone has to go back there,” said Mikey.
“Are you nuts?” whispered Banksy. “It’s not me.”
“Well, it’s not fucking me, I’ll tell ya that!” stated Mikey.
Brianne got up from her seat, annoyed. “Holy fuck, geese, fine, I’ll go!” she said, throwing her arms in the air. “What are you guys so afraid of? It’s Dave, for Christ sake! He has a cat!”
“Two cats actually,” Banksy corrected.
Brianne stormed off into the back, leaving the three of them at the bar by themselves. They started to think about what Brianne had said and slowly calmed down. It was ‘just Dave’ after all. It was fully possible, knowing Dave’s chronic over-sensitivity, that the scream they heard was just a loud whimpering sob he released after he had overheard the real reason Banksy had slept with him.
A few minutes went by, but Brianne did not return.
“Where is she?” asked Banksy, starting to worry again.
“She’s probably just trying to scare us,” Mikey deducted. “To get back at you for that abortion bomb you just dropped on us.”
“Fuck you,” barked Donnie, “Stay out of my business.”
Mikey kissed his teeth, “Bite me, bread runner. Banksy over here made it everyone’s business.”
Another loud scream came from the back. This time it was a girls’. It was Brianne’s. Again, they all froze and sat in silence, waiting for something to happen.
“Okay, I’m officially freaked,” sobbed Banksy, crossing her arms as goosebumps ran down her exposed skin.
Mikey saw her fear and stood up from his stool shaking his head.
“She’s fucking with us,” he said. He began walking toward the kitchen entrance where the screams had originated. Battling their curiosity and their fear, Donnie and Banksy followed, stepping quietly close behind him—not too close, of course.
Inside the kitchen, it was empty and dead silent. When the loud hood vents weren’t humming, Tony’s dish sprayer wasn’t spewing, and the cooks and servers weren’t yelling obscenities back and forth at each other, the back of house was as quiet as a graveyard. It didn’t take any effort at all for Mikey to hear Banksy whispering, “Holy fuck…” over and over as she followed just behind him. He turned around and glared at her.
“Sorry,” she whispered. “But seriously…Holy fuck!”
They passed the kitchen, the clean and polished silver looked naked now that the nightly cover of cutting boards and sanitizer buckets had been removed and the shiny silver covers on the fridges hid the half-full inserts that Mikey didn’t care to stock or change over into clean inserts for the morning guys. “Those guys don’t do shit anyway,” he had been heard saying on more than one occasion. They stopped at the office, the door was open but there was no sign of Dave.
“Dave, where you at?!” Mikey called out. But there was no reply.
“This isn’t funny, Bri!!” Banksy yelled, trying to hide the shakiness of her voice.
Mikey stood at the foot of the office and thought for a moment. He turned his head and looked down the prep-hall, passed the prep tables, passed the meat slicer, all the way to the fridge door which was open, though only slightly.
“There,” he said, pointing to the fridge door. “I closed that before I left. They’re probably both in there, hiding, laughing at how fucking stupid we are.”
He grabbed the doorknob and pulled the office door towards him to close it shut and as he did, something large and heavy dropped from behind the door and landed on the floor with a hard thud. Banksy looked down and screamed at the top of her lungs.
It was Brianne.
She laid on her side–dead. Her throat was slit from end to end and hanging open loosely, like an unzipped backpack. Blood flowed freely and heavily from the wound, staining her new pink sweater a dark, shimmering crimson red. The blood gathered in a pool on the ground, spreading fast around her face, which stared back up at them, lifeless and ghostly pale. Her blond hair soaked in the burgundy mess like a mop head. But this wasn’t a broken bottle of wine that Banksy could call Tony the dishwasher out from the pit to clean up—this was their friend. And she was dead. Someone had murdered Brianne…and, whoever it was, the killer was still somewhere in the restaurant.
“It was Dave!” yelled Banksy, her hand running through her frizzy mane of hair as she paced back and forth with tears in her eyes. “It had to have been! He killed her! He killed Brianne!”
The two boys, Donnie and Mikey, looked at each other with uncertainty. They both had their doubts that Dave had the necessary balls or the dark disturbed side one would need to commit such a violent act. But until he had been accounted for he remained the prime suspect, simply for the fact that he was nowhere to be found. The doors were locked at the front and the back; no one was getting in from the outside. Whoever the killer was, it was someone who was in the restaurant before it closed. Dave, it seemed, was the only one who made sense…Except to Mikey. Mikey had another idea.
“Maybe it was YOU!” he said, pointing his finger in Donnie’s face. “Did you do this? Huh? Did you kill Bri ’cause she aborted your kid?”
“Are you completely fucked?” asked Donnie. “I was with you at the bar the whole time. How could I have killed her?”
“Well, maybe you hired someone. I’m not stupid, I watch Forensic Files! You hire someone to kill Bri while you sit at the bar with us so you have an air-tight alibi, am I right?”
Donnie was started to get angry, “No, actually you’re fucking wrong!” he screamed. “I just found out about the abortion tonight, you genius.”
“Yeah, sure!” Mikey scoffed. “That’s just what you want us to believe. I bet you knew about it all along and—”
“Guys!” Banksy yelled. “SSSH!…I think I heard something coming from the fridge.”
The boys looked back at the fridge door, the cold air streaming out from darkness into the prep hall like smoke from a cigarette drifting into the night sky.
“Someone’s in there,” Donnie whispered.
Mikey called out, “Dave? Is that you?”
The fridge gave no response.
“Come on,” said Mikey. “We’re going in.”
“I’m not going,” Banksy said right away.
“Yeah, fuck that,” said Donnie.
“Fine,” said Mikey, “Banksy, you stay out here. Donnie, fuck you, you’re coming, you pussy.”
Donnie groaned, “Fine. Fuck…Gonna get my ass murdered in there…”
The two boys tip-toed towards the fridge with caution, the tile floor beneath them still damp and slippery from Tony the dishwasher’s final mop of the Back of House. Even in such a dreadful situation, Mikey reminded himself to give Tony shit as soon as possible for his shitty dry job on the floor. When he looked up he noticed one of the chef knives was missing from the knife rack.
He nudged Donnie and pointed to his find, “I guess we know what he used…They just got sharpened today too.” Then he slid one out of the rack for himself.
They approached the fridge door and Mikey peeked inside the opening but the light was off and it was too dark to see. For some reason unknown to Mikey the light switch to the fridge was located in the back, so when they would come in for the opens in the morning they had to use residual light from the prep hall or the glow from their smartphones to navigate their way to the back of the fridge. Mikey had tripped over pots of stock or a box of peppers many times on the days he came in hungover after a long night of getting shit faced with the boys.
They opened the fridge door and took a quick step back…but nothing jumped out at them. Perhaps the fridge was empty after all.
They stepped inside and, still on high alert, moved quickly to the back of the fridge where the light switch was located. Suddenly they heard Banksy scream and the fridge door behind them slammed shut, surrounding the boys in darkness before they could reach the switch. They rushed back to the door to get to Banksy, but it was forced closed and wouldn’t budge…the boys were trapped.
Meanwhile, just outside of the fridge, Banksy was in tears. It was like something out of a nightmare.
Standing by the fridge door, his cold eyes staring back at her behind a blood-speckled, plastic “Pig-Man” Halloween mask, was the killer. He was covered from head to toe in black, from his hooded winter jacket to his jeans, right down to his boots. Even his hands were covered in black gloves. One of those hands held the missing chef knife covered in blood. Brianne’s blood.
“Please, god…” Banksy whimpered, putting her hands together to beg. “Don’t hurt me…don’t kill me, please…I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die…”
He stared back at her, tilting his head slightly as if analyzing or perhaps appreciating some sort of painting on the wall of an art gallery. Then, he lifted the knife and stepped towards her. She screamed and turned to run, but slipped on Tony’s poor dry job and fell hard to the floor of the prep hall, knocking her head off the edge of one of the prep tables. She lied on the floor, dizzy and her head throbbing with pain. Though her vision had been blurred from the hit, she could not mistake the Pig-Man mask looking down on her…examining, analyzing….enjoying.
Then, he stepped away and was out of sight. She wanted to get up and run, her body screamed to get up and run, but her mind was paralyzed with fear and she couldn’t move. From behind her, she heard a click, followed by the familiar hum of the meat slicer starting up. She started to cry even harder when she heard the terrifying clack of the killer’s boots against the tile approaching closer, step by step. He grabbed her by the roots of her hair and dragged her across the floor, kicking and screaming towards the slicer.
“Please…” she begged. “Please don’t kill me…”
But all that could be heard was the squeal of the meat slicer as the razor-sharp blade spun around and around at deadly furious speeds….
Mikey stumbled through the darkness of the fridge, feeling around for the light switch, cursing the construction workers who built the place for their senseless design. He moved fast knowing Banksy was in danger. She was way too hot to die without Mikey getting at least one on-shift handjob in the handicap bathroom before she kicked off. Far too much groundwork had been laid to see it all go to waste now. Finally, he felt the switch touch his fingers and he flicked the lights on.
“Oh fuck!” screamed Mikey, dropping the knife in his hands as he jumped back and knocked a Cambro of spicy seafood sauce off the racks, sending it crashing open all over the floor. Donnie turned around to see Mikey hugging a bag of Alfredo sauce, staring down at Dave lying dead on the floor with an eleven-pound portion bag pulled tightly over his face. Even with the fridge’s florescent lights glaring off the plastic bag, the look of terror on Dave’s face was unmistakable. Overdramatic, even in death, but now definitely crossed off the list of suspects.
From outside they could hear the meat slicer begin to hum. Mikey recognized the sound immediately. They heard Banksy begging for mercy, and felt sick they were helpless to aid her. Her screams stopped suddenly, followed by a distinct crunching sound and then—silence.
“What do we do?” asked Donnie.
“Get the fuck out of the way,” said Mikey. “We’re getting out of here.”
Donnie stepped to the side and Mikey charged at the door, but this time the door swung right open and Mikey, with such momentum, flew out of the fridge and lost his footing. He tried to regain his balance but a streak of splattered blood on the tiles sent him slipping to the floor. He hit the tile hard. Lying on the tile as well, staring back at him, was Banksy. But it didn’t look like Banksy anymore—she was no longer recognizable. The blade had split open the entire left side of her face and from her lips, all the way up to her nose was only ribbons of shredded skin and blood.
Above her, the slicer’s motor snorted as it struggled to continue spinning. A piece of cartilage was wedged in between the blade and the guard. The walls were showered with blood. It had been an utter massacre…Mikey boiled with anger, enraged Banksy had been taken from him. He wanted to cry, he wanted to be sick to his stomach right there beside her, but he didn’t because, more than anything, he wanted to see the person responsible for all of this die slow.
“Oh fuck…” Donnie whispered. Mikey looked up to Donnie, then down the prep hall by Brianne’s body, where Donnie’s eyes were fixed. The maniac in the pig-mask stared back at them silently for a moment…as if to introduce himself. Then, suddenly, he took off around the corner, back out into the dining room.
“Let’s get the fuck out of here!” said Donnie making a break for the back exit.
Mikey grabbed him by the collar of his shirt before he could turn the corner. “Where do you think you’re going?”
“The fuck out of here for starters!” Donnie said plainly, almost offended he even had to explain himself.
“Nah, fuck that!” Mikey replied. “This motherfucker just killed Banksy and Brianne!”
“And Dave,” reminded Donnie.
“Yeah, him too… The point is this asshole ain’t walking out of here!”
Donnie frowned. He wanted no part in any of it but he knew Mikey would kill him before he let him walk out of there without him. And so, like he had done so often in his life, Donnie gave up control and put the ball in someone else’s court.
“Well,” said Donnie. “You better go pick up that knife you dropped in the fridge then…”
Mikey reached behind a prep table and drew the large machete the day prep used to cut the prime rib roasts. He swung the heavy metal through the air to test it out…it felt right enough.
“Come on,” said Mikey, taking a big breathe through his freckled nose, “Let’s go kill this pig-faced fuck!”
The two boys stepped out into the dining room among polished wine glasses and cutlery that sat patiently waiting on each table, prepared for the busy lunch the following day. Mikey gripped his machete tight, expecting the killer to jump out at any moment…but there was no sign of him. He was gone. Slowly they made their way back to the bar, both of them on high alert, looking by every booth, under every table, and in every poorly lit corner—but there was no one.
BAM! BAM! BAM!
The boys spun around. Someone was banging on the front entrance doors. Carefully, they made their way over to the hostess stand and peeked around the corner…it was Tony, the dishwasher. He had his hand pressed against the glass, gazing inside, looking for any sign of people still in the building as he continuously brushed his dark bangs out of his face. Both Mikey and Donnie let out a sigh of relief. Mikey didn’t like Tony all that much; he thought he liked to cut corners and blame all his problems on other people, but at that moment he could have kissed him. He rushed to the front door and let Tony in.
“Dude, what the fuck is going on in there?” Tony asked. “I came back because I forgot my wallet and some guy in a pig mask comes ripping out of the restaurant and takes off down the parking lot! I mean, I know you guys like to stay and drink after work but shit…What kind of freaky shit are you guys up to in there?”
“Oh, thank god, he’s gone,” said Donnie, putting his hand to his chest.
“Listen to me, Tony,” said Mikey. “That guy in the pig mask just murdered Brianne and Banksy.”
“Dave too, goddammit!” Donnie added.
“Whatever, Dave too!” Mikey yelled back.
Tony’s eyes went wide. “No fucking way,” he said. “You guys are fucking with me, aren’t you?”
Donnie shook his head. “They’re dead,” he sobbed. “All of them….dead.”
“Get in,” said Mikey, motioning Tony to follow them back into the restaurant. “We’re calling the cops.”
Tony did as he was ordered and followed the two back to the bar. “Where are they?” he asked.
“In the back,” said Mikey as he went for the phone at the hostess stand.
Donnie headed in the opposite direction, going behind the bar and pulling down an unopened bottle of Bacardi 151 from the display. He twisted it open and slammed a shot glass down beside it.
“What the fuck are you doing?” called Mikey from over at the phone.
“What the fuck does it look like?” Donnie replied. “I’m taking a fucking shot!”
“Don’t they count that stuff?” asked Tony.
Donnie rolled his eyes. “Tony, don’t be a fucking idiot,” he said. “There are three dead bodies back there. I think they might have some bigger fish to fry.”
He tried pouring the shot but his hands were trembling, getting the expensive rum everywhere.
“Jesus, you’re shaking,” said Tony. “Here, let me pour it for you.”
He took the bottle from Donnie and poured the 151 into the shot glass. Donnie picked it up and threw it down the hatch, cocking the glass hard on the bar, signaling for another. At the same moment, Mikey had gotten off the phone with the police and joined them back at the bar.
“Are they coming?” asked Tony, pouring Donnie another shot.
“They said, like, fifteen minutes,” Mikey answered.
“Thank God…” Donnie sighed, beginning to feel a little safer.
“Yeah,” said Tony. “I thought I wasn’t going to have enough time to finish the job…”
Donnie turned, “Huh?”
The bottle of 151 shattered over Donnie’s head, covering him in shards of glass and soaking him in the highly flammable alcohol. Tony stood there with a grin, holding the busted bottleneck in his left hand as he pulled out a Zippo from his jacket pocket with his right and, with a click and a spark, put a flame to Donnie’s shirt.
Fire erupted, shooting upwards to the roof, engulfing Donnie’s entire body in a massive fireball. He screamed in agony and started throwing his arms around in a panic, knocking down more bottles from the shelf, which smashed onto the bar floor and created even more fire. In just a moment Donnie dropped to the floor, his dead body burning like a bonfire.
“Four down…One to go,” said Tony, glaring passed the flames, to Mikey. Tony reached behind his back and pulled out a pistol he had hidden in his waistband, pointed it at Mikey and motioned with it towards the kitchen. “Back to the kitchen where you belong,” he ordered.
Mikey put his hands up and did what he was told, walking back to the kitchen while Tony pressed the barrel of the gun hard into his back. Inside the kitchen, Tony ushered him into the line. They walked past the grill, he turned Mikey around and pushed him up against the steamer door. He raised the gun and put it to Mikey’s forehead saying, “I wanted you to see me without the mask. I wanted you to know who killed you—so you would know that you deserved the punishment you got!”
“What the fuck are you talking about, Tony?” said Mikey. “What did we ever do to you?”
Tony frowned, “The fact that you even have to ask that question just shows what a selfish arrogant prick you are, Michael. What do you whores and drunkards do to me? Let’s see, hmmm…how about everything! The whole time I’ve worked with you, you all have treated me as nothing but a slave! I am a dishwasher, Michael! A dishwasher! But for some reason, you people think that means that I am available for every puke, piss or wine spill you need cleaned up! Am I the only one who knows how to use a fucking mop? Huh?! I’m not a janitor, I’m not an exterminator—so why am I mopping up shit in the bathroom? Why am I setting mouse traps in the garbage area that snap on my fingers and cut my hands? And do I get a thank you? No! Do I get a raise? Nope! Sorry! I make the least amount of money here and I do the most amount of work! How does that make any sense at all!”
Mikey scoffed, “You? Do the most work? Yeah, right. Okay, buddy.”
Tony snarled and knocked Mikey across the side of the head with the barrel of the gun.
“You shut the fuck up right now,” he growled. “You, Michael are the absolute worst of all of them. You put chef knives in the cutlery bin, you give me inserts that still are full of sauces, you throw plates wherever you want and without any consideration of the way they are organized, you wait an hour after close to give me all your dirty pans which are burnt to a crisp! Every! Single! Time! And for all this Michael…you are going to die here tonight! And may the devil have mercy on your soul!”
Mikey smiled. He knew something Tony did not. While Tony had been going off on his self-righteous tangent, Mikey had felt his back become extremely hot as it pressed against the steamer door. This signaled to Mikey that it must have switched on when Tony had pushed him into it moments ago. It was an incredibly high temperature in that metal steam box; Mikey had burned himself many times when trying to take out the bagged vegetables during the dinner rush.
“You forgot one thing…” said Mikey.
“And what’s that?” asked Tony with an arrogant grin.
Mikey jerked to the side and batted the gun out of Tony’s hand. Then, with his other hand, opened the door to the steamer and forced Tony’s head inside the box of scalding smoke. Tony shook wildly and howled, trying desperately to break free from Mikey’s grasp—but Mikey held on tight. In just a few moments the screams stopped and Tony fell limp. Mikey let go and watched him drop to the floor, his face burnt red and disfigured with blisters. Still, the look of fear on Tony’s face was unmistakable. Mikey snorted up a ball of phlegm from all the grill smoke and cigarettes that had built up in his lungs and spit a large goopy brown glob on Tony’s still sizzling face.
“You forgot that I’m a line cook,” said Mikey. “And we ain’t got no souls.”