Uncollected Stories 2003 by Stephen King

“Please, Daddy,” Jacky moaned. “Whatever I said … I’m sorry I said it…”

“Come down! You come down out of there take your fucking medicine, you little cur! Right now!”

“I will…I will if you promise not to…to hit me too hard…not hurt me…

just spank me but not hurt me…”


“Get out of that tree!” his father screamed.

Jacky looked toward the house but that was hopeless. His mother had retreated somewhere far away, to neutral ground.


“Oh, Daddy, I don’t dare!” Jacky cried out, and that was the truth.

Because now his father might kill him.

There was a period of stalemate. A minute, perhaps, or perhaps two.

His father circled the tree, puffing and blowing like a whale.

Jacky turned around and around on his hands and knees, following the movements. They were like parts of a visible clock.

The second or third time he came back to the ladder nailed to the tree, Torrance stopped. He looked speculatively at the ladder. And laid his hands on the rung before his eyes. He began to climb.

“No, Daddy, it won’t hold you,” Jacky whispered.

But his father came on relentlessly, like fate, like death, like doom. Up and up, closer to the tree house. One rung snapped off under his hands and he almost fell but caught the next one with a grunt and a lunge.

Another one of the rungs twisted around from the horizontal to the perpendicular under his weight with a rasping scream of pulling nails, but it did not give way, and then the working, congested face was visible over the edge of the tree-house floor, and for that one moment of his childhood Jack Torrance had his father at bay; if he could have kicked that face with the foot that still wore its loafer, kicked it where the nose terminated between the piggy eyes, he could have driven his father backward off the ladder, perhaps killed him (If he had killed him, would anyone have said anything but Thanks, Jacky”?) But it was love that stopped him, and love that, let him just his face in his hands and give up as first one of his father’s pudgy, short-fingered hands appeared on the boards and then the other.

“Now, by God,” his father breathed. He stood above his huddled son like a giant.

“Oh, Daddy,” Jacky mourned for both of them. And for a moment his father paused, his face sagged into lines of uncertainty, and Jacky felt a thread of hope.

Then the face drew up. Jacky could smell the beer, and his father said,

“I’ll teach you to sass me,” and all hope was gone as the foot swung out, burying itself in Jacky’s belly, driving the wind from his belly in a whoosh. as he flew from the tree-house platform and fell to the ground, turning over once and landing on the point of his left elbow, which snapped with a greenstick crack. He didn’t even have breath enough to scream. The last thing he saw before he blacked out was his father’s face, which seemed to be at the end of a long, dark tunnel. It, seemed to be filling with surprise, the way a vessel may fill with some pale liquid.


He’s just starting to know what he did, Jacky thought incoherently.

And on the heels of that, a thought with no meaning at all, coherent or otherwise, a thought, that chased him into the blackness as he fell back on the chewed and tattered grass of the back lawn in a faint: What you see is what you’ll be, what YOU see is what you’ll be, what you –

The break in his arm was cleanly healed in six months. The nightmares went, on much longer. In a way, they never stopped.


The murderers came up the stairs in their stocking feet.

The two men posted outside the door of the Presidential Suite never heard them. They were young, dressed in Ivy League suits with the cut of the jackets a little wider than the fashion of the day decreed. You couldn’t wear a .357 Magnum concealed in a shoulder holster and be quite in fashion. They were discussing whether or not the Yankees could take yet another pennant. It was lacking two days of September, and as usual, the pinstripers looked formidable. Just talking about the Yankees made them feel a little better. They were New York boys, on loan from Walt Abruzzi, and they were a long way from home. The man inside was a big wheel in the Organization. That was all they knew all they wanted to know. “You do your job, we all get well,” Abruzzi had told them. “What’s to know?”

They had heard things, of course. That there was a place in Colorado that was completely neutral ground. A place where even a crazy little West Coast hood like Tony Giorgio could sit down and have a fancy brandy in a balloon glass with the Gray Old Men who saw him as some sort of homicidal stinging insect to be crushed. A place where guys from Boston who had been used to putting each other in the trunks of cars behind bowling alleys in Malden or into garbage cans in Roxbury could get together and play gin and tell jokes about the Polacks. A place where hatchets could be buried or unearthed, pacts made, plans laid. A place where warm people could sometimes cool off.

Well, here they were, and it wasn’t so much – in fact, both of them were homesick for New York, which was why they were talking about the Yankees. But they never saw New York or the Yankees again.

Their voices reached down the hall to the stairwell where the murderers stood six risers down, with their stocking-covered heads just below line of sight, if you happened to be looking down the hall from the door of the Presidential Suite. There were three of them on the stairs, 133

dressed in dark pants and coats, carrying shotguns with the barrels sawed off to six inches. The shotguns were loaded with expanding buckshot.

One of the three motioned and they walked up the stairs to the hall.

The two outside the door never even saw them until the murderers were almost on top of them. One of them was saying animatedly, “Now you take Ford. Who’s better in the American League than Whitey Ford?

No, I want to ask you that sincerely, because when it comes to the stretch he just The speaker looked up and saw three black shapes with no discernable faces standing not 10 paces away. For a moment he could not believe it. They were just standing there. He shook his head, fully expecting them to go away like the floating black specks you sometimes saw in the darkness. They didn’t. Then he knew.

“What’s the matter?” his buddy said. The young man who had been speaking about Whitey Ford clawed under his jacket for his gun. One of the murderers placed the butt of his shotgun against a leather pad strapped to his belly beneath his dark turtleneck. And pulled both triggers. The blast in the narrow hallway was deafening. The muzzle flash was like summer lightning, purple in its brilliance. A stink of cordite. The young man was blown backward down the hall in a disintegrating cloud of Ivy League jacket, blood, and hair. His arm looped over backward, spilling the Magnum from his dying fingers, and the pistol thumped harmlessly to the carpet with the safety still on.

The second young man did not even make an effort to go for his gun.

He stuck his hands high in the air and wet his pants at the same time.

“I give up, don’t shoot me, it’s OK – !”

“Say hello to Albert Anastasia when you get down there, punk”, one of the murderers said, and placed the butt of his shotgun against his belly.

“I ain’t a problem, I ain’t a problem!” the young man screamed in a thick Bronx accent, and then the blast of the shotgun lifted him out of his shoes and he slammed back against the silk wallpaper with its delicate raised pattern. He actually stuck for a moment before collapsing to the hall floor.

The three of them walked to the door of the suite. One of them tried the knob. “Locked.”


The third man, who hadn’t shot yet, stood in front of the door, leveled his weapon slightly above the knob, and pulled both triggers. A jagged hole appeared in the door, and light rayed through. The third man reached through the hole and grasped the deadbolt on the other side.

There was a pistol shot, then two more.

None of the three flinched.


There was a snap as the deadbolt gave, and then the third man kicked the door open. Standing in the wide sitting room in front of the picture window, which now showed a view only of darkness, was a man of about 35 wearing only jockey shorts. He held a pistol in each hand and as the murderers walked in he began to fire at them, spraying bullets wildly. Slugs peeled splinters from the door frame, dug furrows in the rug, dusted plaster down from the ceiling. He fired five times, and the closest he came to any of his assassins was a bullet that twitched the pants of the second man at the left knee.

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Categories: Stephen King