What Doesn’t Die By Lothar Tuppan

What Doesn’t Die

By Lothar Tuppan

Delve deep into the dark and twisted mind of Alex Chortling, a man consumed by a lifetime of misfortune and betrayal. 

Alex Chortling was dying. Or, perhaps, I was being born. No. That’s too dualistic. It was a chrysalis that he entered and I was in the process of emerging from. The maggot was becoming the botfly and my “cradle of becoming”—Alex—was going to make sure that he completed his transformation by feeding off the remains of David Galleon’s life.

Alex reclined on the motel room bed, Gideon bible in his hands, 9mm Beretta next to him on the bed. He was reading from Psalm 94, “The Lord is a God who avenges. O God who avenges, shine forth. Rise up, Judge of the earth; pay back to the proud what they deserve.”

Damn straight, thought Alex as he could feel me stirring, shine forth, come forth, smite them all.

Alex looked up as he heard footsteps on the stairs leading to the 3rd floor of the motel. He calmly closed the bible, put it on the nightstand, picked up his gun, and waited for the door to open.

A light, perfunctory, knock and the electronic sound of the key-card granting access signaled the next stage in my becoming. As the door opened a bright, cheery male voice said, “All right you sexy little minx, are you ready for—”

The smile on the face of the man fell as he looked at the gun that Alex pointed at him.

“Hello Mr. Galleon,” Alex said coldly. “Please come in, close the door behind you, and toss the key card on that table.”

Mr. David Galleon was already sweating and looked extremely nervous. Alex looked at him with seething anger in his eyes. Galleon was one of those incredibly attractive, successful, and wealthy people who luck seemed to whore itself out to, always begging for more. His clothes were casual but expensive and immaculately put together. This pissed Alex off even more.

“Chortling,” Galleon said nervously. “I don’t know what you’re thinking but this isn’t going to go well for you. Just put the gun down, I’ll walk out of here and agree to not call the cops on you.”

“Shut the fuck up Galleon. Or maybe I should call you David and you can call me Alex. We should be on a first name basis since we have so much connecting us together in such an intimate fashion.”

Galleon realized that Alex wasn’t willing to be reasonable right now and that made him sweat more. “Where’s Selena?” Galleon asked.

“Oh, Selena—my wife—couldn’t make it. Something came up, upset her greatly, and well, she kinda lost her head over it. I promised her I’d meet you at your fuck-nest in her stead though and give you her regrets.”

What the fuck has he done? Thought Galleon.

“Look,” Galleon pleaded. “I swear it’s just sex. I’ll cut it off, completely, and never bother her or you again.”

“Heh… I’ll remember you said that. Maybe I’ll take you up on it.” Alex stood up from the bed and motioned with his gun for Galleon to sit down in a chair by the bathroom.

Galleon sat down as Alex stood far enough away so that Galleon would never be able to close the distance without Alex shooting him. David Galleon was well built, over six feet tall, with broad shoulders, and was drop-dead gorgeous (at least that’s how most women described him). Alex Chortling was, well, I really hate to say this about my larval form, but he was smaller and handsome-ish at best. Alex had always mused, I don’t know what Selena saw that made her want to marry me. Now, he wondered that more literally.

Alex, pulled out his cell phone and asked Galleon, “David, on the table next to you is a pad of paper. On it is written a phone number. Do you recognize the phone number?”

Galleon’s face went even whiter as he looked at the pad of paper, “That… that’s my wife’s number.”

“Correct!” exclaimed Alex. “I’m impressed! I wasn’t sure you would have memorized it. I guess you do really love her.”

“Of course I…” Galleon stopped speaking when he saw the unconcealed rage on Alex’s face.

“Perhaps you should just shut up and listen Davey. Let’s see how pretty little Jenny is doing.” Alex called the number.

“Yeah, it’s time.” Alex said to whoever picked up. “Put her on.”

Alex placed the phone on the dresser and put it on speaker.

“David! David are you there?” came the voice of Galleon’s wife.

“Jenny! Are you ok?” Galleon was frantic now.

“He’s got me David!” he heard Jenny say through tears. “He’s got me and little Charlie!”

“You motherfucker!” Galleon yelled. “Let my family go.”

Alex ended the call, placed the phone back in his pocket and calmly said, “You should have thought of that before you cheated on your wife and young son, started an affair with my wife, and caused this wondrous chrysalis.”

“Chrysalis? What chrysalis.” Galleon was realizing that something—other than pain and rage—might be wrong with poor Alex.

“Never mind. It’ll all become clear in time. In the meantime, you and I are going to go for a little drive. You’ll get to see Selena and Jenny again soon enough. Trust me.”

“I’m not going anywhere with you, you fucking psycho!”

“Yeah, you are.” Alex smiled. “You took my everything which means, now, I’ve got nothing left to lose. Janis Joplin called that ‘freedom’ if I remember right.”

Alex picked up the extra key card, he’d return both and check out tomorrow morning before having the biggest steak and eggs breakfast he could find. “See Davey, my colleague on the other line is expecting us and if I don’t show up, or check in, your wife will die and we’ll see if we can sell your son for some spending money somewhere.”

“And if you don’t believe me,” Alex continued. “If you try to fight, run away, or do anything other than what I say, I will shoot you dead, then shoot myself in the head, and let my partner do whatever seems fun to your family. Capisce? I mean, what the fuck do I care at this point?”

David Galleon’s shoulders dropped, tears fell down his cheeks, and he nodded as he walked through the open door that Alex held for him. They walked down the back stairs toward the corner of the motel where the rented cargo van was waiting.

“Open the back doors.” Alex commanded.

Galleon opened the doors and then felt the Beretta slam into the back of his head, knocking him unconscious. Alex quickly used some zip ties to secure his limbs. He pulled Galleon into the van then, finally, he pulled out a syringe and injected something into Galleon.

“That’s to keep you under until I’m ready for the end you fucking scumbag!” Alex said before spitting a huge glob of phlegm into Galleon’s face and then closing the van doors.

As he drove off, I could feel myself behind the wheel instead of just watching Alex drive.


Approximately two hours later Alex pulled into the parking lot of an abandoned sausage factory. It had closed down three years ago and had just been left there to rot. He checked on Galleon, his breathing was still deep and regular. Alex got out of the van, opened the steel roll-up door that led into the factory, returned to the van, and drove inside.

After closing the roll-up again, Alex opened the rear van doors.

“Ok, Davey, now onto Act 2!”

He cut the zip ties around Galleon’s hands and feet, cracked open an ampule of ammonia and placed it under Galleon’s nose. As Galleon started to cough Alex stepped back and trained his gun on his victim.

“Wake up Davey boy,” Alex spat. “Time for you to be reunited with your lover and your wife.”

“What… where?” David Galleon croaked out.

“Get the fuck up, get out of the van, and come over here.”

David sat up. He took a few deep breaths while his throbbing head stopped spinning, and looked around. He saw his wife’s car parked near the van. He saw an industrial nightmare of a scene with vats and other strange, forgotten, equipment. A dim fluorescent light illuminated the darkness, and in a large open space was an extremely large plastic tarp, with a metal chair sitting in the middle of it.

“It’s a sausage factory Galleon. Haven’t you ever wondered how sausage was made?”

David didn’t answer. Alex waved him over to a large vat, connected to some sort of boiler. As he got closer, he could smell something horrible.

“Go ahead Davey,” Alex motioned with the gun. “Take a look inside.”

Galleon cautiously looked over the rim of the large vat. Inside was the dismembered remains of Selena Chortling. Her decapitated head sitting on top of the pile of limbs. Galleon began to black out. He stumbled back and fell on his ass.

“What the fuck did you do!?” Galleon wailed, beginning to hyperventilate. “What the fuck?!”

Alex just stood there, smiling, and waited for Galleon to calm down. Finally he said, “In case you’re thinking of making a break for it, remember that I still have Jenny and little Charlie.” Galleon’s head shot up at that, he turned away and vomited a few times before sitting back on his butt, crying into his hands.

“David, you’re understandably upset. And not just because of what you saw and what you are fearing. It’s because of something far more fundamental to your life. A ‘sea change’ if you will.”

Alex cocked the gun for effect. “We’ll talk about the change in your existential paradigm in a minute, but right now I really need you to get your sorry ass up, and sit in that chair over there.”

David knew he had no other options so he got up and walked to the chair. As he approached he saw that there were two sets of handcuffs on the chair.

“Sit down,” Alex instructed. “Put one set of handcuffs on your ankles. Then, put one cuff of the second set on your right wrist and place both hands behind your back.”

David complied with Alex’s instructions perfectly.

Alex carefully walked behind David, fastened the second cuff to David’s left wrist, and said, “Good boy Davey.”

Walking back in front of him, Alex continued.

“What you’re feeling is all of that good luck that has supported you all your life turning into bad luck. That’s what I’ve done to you now.”

David Galleon just kept his mouth shut as, what he now realized was a psychotic looney, kept rambling.

“I know all about bad luck. You see, for all of my life I’ve been plagued with not only bad luck, but the kind of bad luck that causes other people to make things even worse. I won’t bore you with all of my tales of woe, but a few might be illuminating.”

Alex, closed his eyes for a second and I could feel him start to quake inside. I reached out my essence to him and calmed him. I let him know he wasn’t alone, and that I would always be there for him as long as he believed in me. We both opened our eyes and smiled, knowing that all of this would soon be over.

“When I was born, my mother got a serious case of postpartum depression. Didn’t want to be around me or my father, cried all the time, thought her life was over. Etc. etc. At least that’s what my dad told me years later. That was my first instance of bad luck.

“When I was about one year old she started having an affair with a friend of her and dad’s. Dad found out, confronted her with it and gave her an ultimatum to choose what she wanted. She told him that she would end the affair and was willing to go to counseling to try and fix things.”

Alex paused for a moment. “Dad was saddened by the whole event, but glad that she wanted to make it work. But then, my bad luck started to kick in again. Whether she met with her lover to break it off with him, or for one last rendezvous, they were driving in a car together when an old man in a Cadillac suddenly had a heart attack, mashed his foot on the accelerator, and t-boned my mom’s car in an intersection. Both were killed instantly.

“More bad luck kicked in. During the investigation, their affair came out and ruined the reputations of my mother, her lover and his family, and my father felt like a loser cuckold. He started drinking and, as the years went by, hating me because I reminded him of her and his lost life. I left home after high school and haven’t talked to him since.”

“I’m sorry you went through all that,” David said, hoping to seem sympathetic.

“Oh, I’m sure you are. You see that was just the first set of dominos falling. And it obviously set a pattern that I would reenact in most of my relationships, unable to see that I was drawing those situations to myself. I realize that now. But even beyond that my luck has always been extremely bad. My whole life is filled with crappy incidents like that. The reason I didn’t get that sports scholarship, the reason why most of my promotions were shot down, and finally, the reason why you’re here. You see, if it wasn’t for my bad luck, you wouldn’t have ever fucked my wife.”

David wanted to ask what Alex was talking about but didn’t dare.

“You see, the office party that you and her hit it off at? The one where, according to your emails, you both, in an uncontrollable burst of lust, fucked in the storage room? The only reason she went alone to that party was because I got a bad case of food poisoning from that shit-head Leland Grosser at work. Fucker brought in free food and I seem to be the only one who ate the Kung Pao Shrimp that wasn’t cooked right.

“So, while I’m puking up my guts and wishing I was dead, all of my other co-workers were having great nights, untroubled by gastrointestinal trauma, and without having a spouse use it as an excuse to fuck around.”

Alex was about to hyperventilate so I gave him a gift to keep focused. I aimed the gun and, careful not to hit the handcuffs around his ankles, shot Galleon in the foot.

As Galleon screamed in pain, Alex regained a bit of composure and continued.

“That’s just because of all the pain you’ve caused me asshole. Now, after I found out about your ongoing affair, I came really close to killing myself. But then, I realized something. The problem was that I was fighting against my nature. I kept trying to live a life that was full of good luck, or at least neutral luck, but that’s not my destiny.

“The problem isn’t that I have too much bad luck… it’s that I am bad luck. I’m the living embodiment of bad luck. Once I realized that, I heard a voice in the back of my Self. One that told me everything would be ok now. He said his name was Mallory and that it should be my name too as it means ‘unlucky’.”

It felt good to hear him acknowledge me out loud to someone else. It made me more real. I loved Alex then more than I ever had.

“Now, we know what we have to do,” Alex said. “We have to be the harbingers of bad luck, the bestowers of bad luck, we are the vengeance and justice of those wronged who will now restore balance.

“We will be eternal, because you cannot kill what doesn’t die… and the only thing that doesn’t die is bad-fucking-luck.”

Galleon knew he was fucked. There was no way Galleon was getting out of here alive. He just needed to do what he could for his wife and son.

“What are you going to do to my family?” Galleon asked.

“Perfect segue!” Alex exclaimed cheerfully. “See, once I accepted my role, my luck (or should I say the luck of my mission and purpose) got a whole lot better. I found those secret email accounts that you and my unfaithful wife shared your rendezvous info through as well as having a great serendipitous moment with your wife!

“I was trying to decide what the best next step would be when she called me out of the blue and asked if I knew of you and my wife. I said I did and she explained that she had you under investigation and wanted to really get back at you.”

The high-heeled footsteps approaching caused the blood to drain from David’s face as he realized what Alex meant by all this.

“Hi Honey.” Jenny Galleon said with contempt as she walked over to David, spat in his face, and stepped heavily on his wounded foot, causing him to scream like a little boy. “As you have probably figured out, Alex never kidnapped me. We did this together to fuck with you the way you have fucked with us.”

David started blubbering, this was all just too much for him.

“And yeah, Charlie’s fine. He’s at my mother’s for the night.”

Alex walked over and stood by Jenny. “The long and the short of it is Davey, Jenny’s going to drive home, you and I will conclude our business here, and a year from now both Jenny and I will file for our respective divorces with ‘abandonment’ as the cause. We won’t have to give you or Selena a damn nickel, Jenny and Charlie can try and find a good man who won’t cheat on them, and I can get on with my life’s mission.”

“I’ll open the door so you can leave now Jenny.” Alex walked to the roll-up doors and did just that.

“David,” Jenny said. “I’ve thought long and hard about what I want to say to you and I don’t really have anything. So, I’ll just leave you with ‘fuck you’ and ‘I hope you rot in hell you son of a bitch.’ Actually, I also want you to know that the next man I marry will be Charlie’s real dad. You will be a forgotten footnote of a sperm donor. Hell, considering what Alex has planned, there’s not even going to be a grave where someone can leave flowers. You’re nothing asshole.”

As she started to walk to her car, I remembered something and reminded Alex of it.

“Jenny,” Alex called. “I just remembered something that David offered. Something you might like more than I would.”

Jenny paused and turned around. She loved the plan that Alex came up with but I could tell she was a bit nervous about our “mission” and all that. I’m the first one to admit that neither Alex, nor myself, are completely sane. She held her shit together though, we both respected this lady a lot.

“When he was pleading with me in the motel room he said that he would end the affair and ‘cut it off completely’ or something like that. What do you think? Do you want to ‘cut it off completely’ before I kill him and destroy the bodies? Just for irony’s sake?”

Jenny looked horrified for a minute and then composed herself again. “Alex, that’s a very sweet offer but I don’t want any of his filth, blood, or anything to touch me ever again. Do what you need to do. This is all because of you anyway my friend.”

I could tell she was laying it on a bit thick but Alex needed that kind of support so I just let it slide.

“I understand Jenny,” Alex smiled at her. “Thanks for everything and I hope you and Charlie have fantastic lives from now on.”

“Jenny! Please! You can’t leave me here with him like this!” David yelled hysterically after his wife. She just flipped him off as she kept walking to her car.

Galleon watched helplessly as she started the car and drove away, waving out the driver’s side window. After the car left, Alex closed the door again before walking back to David.

“I’m not going to cut your dick off David,” Alex laughed. “That would be overkill and anyway, I don’t want to ‘press my luck’ so-to-speak. Time to end this.”

David didn’t have time to say anything as Alex and I shot him in the head.

We then retrieved our tools and hummed our favorite songs as we cut manageable sized parts from his body and threw them into the sausage vat. We cleaned up the blood on the tarp, wrapped that up, and secured it in the van. We would burn that completely later. Seeing that the initial clean up was good for now, we added the lye to the sausage vat and turned it on. At around 300 degrees Fahrenheit, human bodies will turn into a brown goopy paste in just about 3 hours when cooked in lye. Selena and David would now spend eternity united in goop.

While we waited, we continued to clean any additional blood and was able to even retrieve the bullet that lodged in the cinderblock wall. The key would be never having anyone think to look for foul play anywhere, let alone here. I made sure that Alex did everything right, I couldn’t take a chance on him subconsciously fucking things up and bringing more “bad luck” down on us.

After the three hours was up, we removed the goop for disposal, did one last pass and left the factory. There would be more literal and metaphoric “clean up” that we’d have to do but the lion’s share of the work was complete.

Now it would just be a waiting game. Alex would pretend to be the distraught cuckold who mourned his wife’s abandonment of him (not a difficult role to play) and after the divorce is final I, Mallory, will come forth by force and will bestow my gifts upon those deserving of such blessings. It’s a good thing to have a purpose in life, lucky even.

Did you enjoy the story?

If you did and would like to read more, What Doesn’t Die By Lothar Tuppan was featured in our anthology, Born Under A Bad Sign: Stories of Bad Luck