-Warning: sexual situations, strong language and graphic violence-
Howie Parker smiled his gap-toothed grin as the whore went down on him. She was too old, probably a teenager with her perky tits and dead eyes, but she’d do in a pinch. He’d had a close call last week on the playground when that cute freckled slut told her bitch mommy he’d looked under her dress. He had to play it safe, even if it meant making do with the cunts who walked the street corners and back alleys.
“Hurry up, damn it!” he swore at the pink pigtails bobbing back and forward. She ignored him, focusing on her twenty bucks. The jazz filling the dirty van was interrupted by a news break about the Killer Smile, some vigilante asshole tearing through the drug dealers and pimps in the city. Fucking pyscho. Howie flicked cigarette ashes in a coffee can on the floor in the back. He finally came with a grunt; the girl pulled away and he slapped her hard. His little babies didn’t disrespect him like that…
A thud sounded from the roof, rocking the van in defiance of the ‘don’t come knocking’ bumper sticker. Howie angrily wrenched open the door, looking up into the cold drizzle as the cigarette dangling from his cracked lip fell to the pavement. Someone was standing there, a thin man in a black hoodie, head bowed. Howie had a few heartbeats to notice the combat boots, leather gloves and spiked belt glistening with beads of moisture when the hood snapped up, and Howie saw the mask. A black smiley face with Xs for eyes and a too-wide smile… “No” he whimpered, before recovering some of his composure. “Get off my van, shithead, before I call the cops.”
The Killer Smile giggled like a schoolgirl. He spoke, his voice thick and muffled. ‘The cops? Not likely, pig. That girl is only 13 and you’re a registered sex offender. I’m sure the police would be thrilled to know your whereabouts, Howie. Tell you what? I’ll call them for you.’ He dropped off the van, landing in front of Howie and startling the girl back inside.
The masked man was smaller than Howie, himself the target of bullies all his life. He shoved the wannabe away from the rear of the van, fumbling for his keys. “Get lost, you-” a brutal side thrust kick sent Howie to all fours, followed by a series of punishing blows to his ribs. He curled himself into a ball to protect the soft spots, a lesson learned long ago. The kicks and stomps rained down on him until he was allowed a moment of respite to drag himself upright.
The underage hooker looked scared, but couldn’t take her eyes off the beating. Howie slumped against the van, and the Killer Smile cracked his neck. The girl opened her mouth in warning when Howie yanked out a hidden pistol, but before she could find her voice the man in black lashed out with a collapsible baton, breaking his wrist and rendering him harmless. The Killer Smile threw him to the ground and snatched his wallet, pocketing a credit card and tossing the cash to the shivering teen.
‘Get yourself something hot to eat. Do you have someplace to stay?’ “Um, yeah… Yeah, a friend” she stammered. ‘Good. Take a day off, then go back to school, Jessie.’ Her eyes went wide. “My name is Candie” she protested, shaking her head. ‘Be good Jessie. And no drugs’ he said, wagging a bloody finger at her. As she walked away, he called out to her ‘Don’t forget to smile!’ And she did, despite herself.
‘A smile is just a frown turned upside down’ mused the Killer Smile as he turned back to the van. He rummaged around until he found the inevitable digital camera, full of evidence. He took a selfie with Howie, tucking the camera in the pervert’s shirt pocket. ‘Now, you are a very bad boy. And bad boys need to be punished… I know the things you did to those little girls. I know you won’t ever be punished the way you deserve to be punished. And you’ll never stop. I’m going to help you with that!’
Howie tried to crawl away, but the Smile just chuckled softly. He pulled the garden shears from under the back of his hoodie. The child defiler started to cry, so the masked avenger smashed a fist into his mouth, shattering teeth. ‘You kissed them’ he said. ‘You touched them’ and he began snipping off fingers. ‘You hurt them’ and his prey howled as his balls were crushed like a roach under the heavy boot. ‘You were always watching them’ and he retrieved the forgotten cigarette, relieving the pedophile of the temptation he felt every time he gazed on one of those little angels.
The man assessed his work, nodded to himself and plucked the sobbing wretch’s cell phone from the cup holder. He dialed 911 and reported the location of the van and its occupant. He washed the blood off his gloves and tools, then slipped down an alley, pausing to scratch a stray dog under the chin before merging with the shadows of the city.
Several blocks away, a teen named Jessie smiled sweetly in her sleep. “Smile, and the whole world smiles with you…”