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Authors: Richard Laymon

Cuts

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CUTS

RICHARD
LAYMON

LEISURE BOOKS
NEW YORK CITY

This book is dedicated to Don Cannon.

Thanks for the many years of
encouragement and support.

You keep selling them,
I’ll keep signing them.

Contents

COVER

TITLE PAGE

DEDICATION

PART ONE OCTOBER, 1975

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

CHAPTER NINETEEN

CHAPTER TWENTY

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE

CHAPTER THIRTY

CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE

CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO

CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE

CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR

CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE

CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX

CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER THIRTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER THIRTY-NINE

CHAPTER FORTY

CHAPTER FORTY-ONE

CHAPTER FORTY-TWO

CHAPTER FORTY-THREE

CHAPTER FORTY-FOUR

CHAPTER FORTY-FIVE

CHAPTER FORTY-SIX

CHAPTER FORTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER FORTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER FORTY-NINE

CHAPTER FIFTY

CHAPTER FIFTY-ONE

CHAPTER FIFTY-TWO

CHAPTER FIFTY-THREE

CHAPTER FIFTY-FOUR

CHAPTER FIFTY-FIVE

CHAPTER FIFTY-SIX

CHAPTER FIFTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER FIFTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER FIFTY-NINE

CHAPTER SIXTY

CHAPTER SIXTY-ONE

CHAPTER SIXTY-TWO

CHAPTER SIXTY-THREE

CHAPTER SIXTY-FOUR

CHAPTER SIXTY-FIVE

CHAPTER SIXTY-SIX

CHAPTER SIXTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER PART TWO AUGUST, 2000

SIXTY-EIGHT

PRAISE

OTHER LEISURE BOOKS BY RICHARD LAYMON

COPYRIGHT

ONE

NORTH GLEN, ILLINOIS

“Do you want to get in the backseat?”

“Hmm?” Albert asked, not listening, too entranced by the smooth feel of her breasts against his face.

She pushed him away. “The backseat. Do you want to get in the backseat with me?”

“What for?” Albert asked, wanting only to get back to her breasts. They looked pale in the darkness, their nipples almost
black.

Though seventeen and a senior in high school, he had never seen actual breasts until tonight. He’d seen them only in photographs
and paintings—except for his mother’s breasts that one time when he was just a little kid. He hadn’t touched them, but he’d
wanted to. In spite of the blood. Or maybe because of it.

But he was sure touching these. They felt even more wonderful than he’d imagined. So smooth and soft and springy. The nipples
weren’t smooth. They were rumpled and hard and the way they stuck out…

“So we can
do
it, stupid,” Betty said. “You want to do it, don’t you?”

“Sure. I mean, I guess so. Of course I do.”

“We aren’t gonna do it in the front seat, that’s for sure.”

“Okay.”

She looked at him and didn’t move.

“I’ll get the door for you.” Albert leaned across her. Pressing the side of his face against her breast as he reached for
the handle, he felt a nipple slide into his ear. It tickled and made him squirm.

She gripped his arm.

“What’s wrong?” he asked. “Somebody out there?”

He looked out the windows. He was parked at the end of a dead-end street. In front of the car was a small patch of woods,
the trees nearly bare of leaves, their branches reaching into the October moonlight. If anyone was lurking among those trees,
Albert couldn’t see him. Nor did he see anyone on the sidewalks or lawns of the nearby homes. Except for a few porch lights,
most of the houses looked dark.

“I don’t see anybody,” Albert said.

“That isn’t the problem, darling.”

“Huh?”

“You’re really something.”

“Don’t you want me to open your door for you?”

“Not yet. I want my twenty dollars first.”

“What?”

“Twenty dollars. I never do it for a penny less. It’s more for lots of guys. I’m giving you a break because I like you. You’re
a little weird, but I think you’re
awfully
cute.” She put a hand into his shirt and rubbed his chest.

“If I’m so cute, you shouldn’t make me pay.”

“I wouldn’t, but I’ve gotta go to college next year.”

“So what?”

“That’s a lot of cost. The dorm, the books, not to mention tuition.”

“Twenty dollars, though. That’s a lot of money.”

“It’ll be worth a lot more than that,” Betty said. She pushed a hand down the front of Albert’s pants. He moaned at the cool
touch of her fingers. “Ooo, no underwear. You
are
a naughty boy.”

“How about ten dollars?” he asked.

“Twenty.”

He felt her hand glide slowly up the length of his penis.

“But I’ve only got…I don’t know, maybe fifteen. On me.”

She pulled her hand away.

“Let me see.” He dragged his wallet out of a seat pocket of his jeans, spread it open and removed the bills. He held them
close to the windshield and peered at them in the dim light from outside. A ten and four ones.

“How much?” Betty asked.

“Fourteen dollars.”

“Not enough.”

“Come on.”

“No dice, Albert.”

“I can give you the rest tomorrow.”

“Sure. You do that, and maybe tomorrow night we can get it on.”

“Let’s do it now, okay? Come on, I’m only like six dollars short. Please.”

“Didn’t Stan tell you the price?”

Stan hadn’t mentioned anything at all about paying her. He’d said, “She’s hot to trot, man. I already talked to her. She
wants
you. Told me so. Man, this is your chance to score.”

“What do I have to do?” Albert had asked him.

“Just invite her out. Call her up, take her out for some pizza or something and a movie, then just stop somewhere good and
private on the way home and have at her. She’ll be all over you.”

Frowning at Betty, Albert said, “He didn’t say I’d have to pay you.”

“Well, he should’ve. The dork. It’s twenty bucks and not a penny less.”

“Come on, Betty.”

“If you don’t have it, you can take me home now.”

“Take you
home?
Why should I take you home? Shit! You can
walk
home.”

“Don’t be a bastard.”

“Just get out of my car,” Albert said.

“Are you kidding?” She bent her arms behind her back and fastened her bra. “Don’t be ridiculous. Just drive me home. Dig up
the rest of the money tomorrow and give me a call.” She buttoned her blouse. “We’ll have a great time tomorrow night.”

“Shit,” he muttered.

“Be nice. It isn’t the end of the world.”

Feels
like it, he thought.

He started the car and backed up with a sudden lurch that threw Betty forward. “Hey!” Her hand caught the dashboard. “Damn
it, calm down!”

Albert didn’t calm down. Speeding along the narrow road, he took the curves so fast his tires sighed. Betty held tightly to
the dashboard.

As he raced around a bend, his headlights gleamed on the rear end of a parked Porsche.

He jerked the wheel.

Not quite fast enough.

With a grinding scrape of metal, he sideswiped the Porsche.

“Now you’ve done it,” Betty said.

“He shouldn’t have parked there,” Albert said, flooring the accelerator.

“Aren’t you gonna stop?”

“Why should I?”

“Christ, Albert! You’ve gotta. It’s against the law.”

“Fuck the law,” he said, and raced past a stop sign.

“Okay,” Betty snapped. “That’s enough. Let me out. Right now!”

Albert didn’t stop.

“Let me out
please!

He looked at her and made a smile. “No.”

“Albert!”

He came up fast behind a station wagon, crossed the double yellow lines and rushed past it.

“You’ll get us killed!”

“So?”

“Damn it!”

He swung around a corner, the car skidding, the tires shrieking, and sped up a sloping street. On both sides were houses with
wide driveways. Expensive, two-story homes.

“Which one’s yours?” he asked.

“The middle of the block. The white one on the right.”

In front of it, he jammed on his brakes. He said nothing. Staring straight forward, he didn’t move until the door thudded
shut.

Then he watched Betty walk up the driveway. Her skirt was very short. A breeze fluttered it. Her legs were pale in the moonlight.

“Bitch,” he muttered.

Nothing but a dirty whore, he thought. Nobody but a dirty whore wants money for it. She’d probably give me the clap or something.
Lucky I
didn’t
have twenty bucks.

But if I’d had it, I’d be screwing her right now.

He watched her enter the house and shut the door.

“Good riddance,” he muttered.

Then he gripped the steering wheel tightly with both hands and threw himself forward. His forehead hit the top of the wheel.
He did it again. Again.

For a long time after that, he sat without moving. Then he started the car and drove slowly away. When he reached Washington
Avenue, he turned right and drove into the business district.

The North Glen Theater must’ve just let out. Its marquee announced the same double-feature that Albert had seen last night:
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
and
Race
With the Devil
. He supposed that most of the people heading back to their cars were probably feeling a little freaked.

He’d
loved
those movies. Both of them, but especially
Chainsaw
.

The audience had screamed like hell last night.

But not Albert.

He’d wanted to be
in
those movies, chasing down those gals…

Albert suddenly realized that if he hadn’t gone to the movies last night he would’ve had enough money for Betty. His ticket
had cost two fifty and he’d spent at least four dollars more on snacks.

He let out a sour laugh.

Then he noticed a dog trotting along a sidewalk. It seemed to be alone.

He parked his car and climbed out.

The October wind was strangely warm for this time of the year. It felt good blowing against him, and carried a faint, tangy
aroma of burnt leaves.

He walked quickly, watching the shadows and listening.

He knew what he wanted to hear.

A few minutes later, he heard it.

The collar tags jangled like keys on a chain.

At first, he saw no sign of the dog. Then it appeared from behind a tree a few yards ahead of him: a shorthaired, spotted
dog like a Dalmatian except for its short legs.

Albert walked toward it.

The dog paid him no attention. It wandered through the grass by the roadside, nose low, sniffing loudly.

When Albert walked up behind it, the dog glanced over its shoulder.

“Hi, fella.” Albert crouched. “Come here.”

The dog watched him but didn’t move.

Albert looked all around. A car passed him on the street. Another pulled away from the curb and drove off. The nearest pedestrians
were a couple of blocks away and seemed to be walking in the opposite direction.

He smiled at the dog. “Come on, fella,” he called softly. “Come here.” He patted his knee. “Come here, boy.”

The dog took a step toward him, then hesitated.

“It’s okay, fella. Come on. Come here. I’ve got something for you.”

He reached toward it with a closed hand.

An empty hand, but the dog didn’t know that.

It stepped closer.

“That a boy. That’s a good boy.”

When it started to sniffAlbert’s left hand, he reached out with his right hand and scratched the fur under its chin.

“You like that, fella? Huh?”

Then he opened his left hand. The dog pressed its wet snout against his palm and snuffled as if trying to locate the mysterious
treat. Albert used the hand to rub it behind the ears. It hung its head low, eyes half-shut. Its tail swept slowly from side
to side.

“Yeah, you like that, don’t you.”

Continuing to pet the dog with his left hand, he lowered his knees to the wet grass and worked his right hand into a front
pocket of his jeans.

Tail wagging, the dog flopped onto its si de.

Albert scratched the fur of its chest. When he scratched its belly, its left hind leg jerked in quick circles.

“Yeah, you like that.”

He pulled the switchblade knife from his pocket. It had cost him twelve dollars from a Mexican kid on the Chicago subway.
He pressed the button. A six-inch blade snapped out, making the handle jump in his grip.

The dog, suddenly alarmed, tried to flip over.

“Oh, no you don’t.”

Albert held it down with his left hand.

With his right, he jammed the knife into the soft flesh below its ribs.

The dog’s shriek split the silence.

Albert pulled out the knife.

He was excited, tight and hard and aching.

He punched the knife in again.

The dog’s shriek stopped.

He pulled out the knife and plunged it again into the animal’s belly and this time his tight ache broke, throbbing with heat
and wetness.

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