The variations change, but the results remain the same.
More than all the grains of sand on a beach and all the stars in the sky are the variations. More than all the beads of water in the tallest waterfall heading to the sea.
This story has nothing new to tell you. You've already read it a thousand, thousand ways. And yet, here it is. Some variations on a theme.
Where. Where. Where.
Where when Jim was a boy, his Da was the strongest Alpha in all a Dublin. He was powerful 'nough not to have to go by somethin' as common as the name his useless Meg of a Ma gave him.
Now, when Jim was a boy there weren't a crime South, North, East or West of the Liffy that went down without the Brigadier getting his cut. Got his cut, and did his own cutting. Got so the banks ripped out all their brand new ATMs out of their banksides, on account of Da's boys popping them out of the walls soon as they went in.
Da lit a cig and leaned over their balcony to plume smoke out into the cold summer rain. "Too bad. Was easy as takin' candy from a sleepin' baby. Buncha slicktailed Megs."
Time was, Da'd put the arm down so strong that the authorities got spooked. They'd put a car on every street of their neighbourhood. He sent Jim out with a knife. Jim had slashed every tyre on the street, and then did his Da's for good measure just to see what he'd do.
Da thought it was that Beta inspector, O'Carroll. "Dammed Betty ain't got the knot that God gave me, God Damn him, but he don't." Da gunned that inspector down on the street like they were takin' a walk.
It had seemed like a lark for Jim to tell his Da that it's been Jim that slashed his tyres all along. Got the backside of Da's hand and the sharp end of his belt. Made Jim laugh it did.
Da said, "You're a damned peculiar boy, but an Alpha for sure. Taking your blows like that."
Jim grinned and didn't say a word to disagree.
He never said a word when Da got a liberal with his belt on account of the misfortunes that business sent his way.
He didn't say nothin' at the backhand when some useless Betty sold Da a palate of crap paintings, which Da couldn't a sold as firewood, much less used them to clean the funds that came from all of Da's ventures.
There was only so much cleaning his Laundromat front could do.
He didn't say anything when the boys Da sent to get his funds out of the Betty and her Meg forger's hides disappeared with the money. Not a word when he got a backhand and then the belt.
He just laughed at the taste of blood on his lips. Nothing he loved more than seeing his Da growl like a mad dog.
Jim maybe shouldn't a let the IRA think that Da'd shorted them on the money they'd given him for guns just because he wanted to hear his Da howl.
His Da gunned down like a mad dog on a quiet street in Ranelagh of all places. Not even North of the Liffy. Just a quiet street in front of a house with a red door. Jim frowned from behind the garden wall he'd been waiting behind and didn't say word.
Didn't say a word when his useless Meg of a Ma took him to London to live so they could get away from what they'd known. She gave him this worn smile and said, "Jimmy, we're going to have a fresh start." As if his name was Jimmy.
He was Jim Moriarty. The Brigadier's son.
He was the new boy in a new school where no one knew him. No one knew that only his Da was allowed to shove him about.
He didn't say a word when Carl Powers, so proud of the red shoes that his slick tailed Meg of a Ma had purchased on discount. So proud of those shoes and so clumsy in walking in them. He'd pushed Jim, and Jim wouldn't stand for that.
Carl Powers' voice had a high squeaky noise that grated on Jim's ever living' nerves. He was a mouth breather besides, which was just disgustin'. He had cracked hands that would bleed and leak clear fluid on a cold day, which was all winter and most a the spring. He was always slathering' on cream onto his bleeding' hands. Jim could hardly stand the idea of this mouth breathin', squeaky lout walking the crust of the Earth. Not when he was meant to be six feet under it.
Now when the Brigadier had taken a dislike to a soul, that soul ended up meeting their maker.
The Brigadier was gunned down like a mad dog on a quiet street.
That was boring.
His Da had been the top dog and he'd been boring.
Jim was not going to be boring.
Jim put his mind to it. He wanted Carl's death to be elegant.
It wasn't actually that hard to make the Botulinum toxin. All he needed was some sausage left out for a day or so. Well, and a few petri dishes once he had a batch. The bottoms of bottles scrounged in alleys and some simple syrup did the trick. He experimented on cutting the paws of rats and cats and dogs first and giving' doses.
When the St. Bernard down the street died, he knew he was ready. He injected the stuff into a tube of cream.
Then there was the timing. He didn't just want Carl in the hospital with everyone wondering' where his food had gone off. He wanted him dead. He wanted him face down in the river. A pool would do.
He made himself wait. All the while smilin' in his classes and to his stupid Meg of a Ma when she asked him if he'd made any friends.
A day before, he slipped Carl the cream. Then he waited. Ah, it was hard thing to do, this waiting'. He could see why Da had never went in for it. But it was delicious too. So delicious having his secret close to his heart and not a one of the fools around him knowin' it.
He went to the school swim competition. He watched while the crowd gasped and that cockless Beta coach of theirs jumped into the water to try to save someone who was already dead.
It was wonderful. Except for the fact that he had no one to share it with. No one to brag to over what he'd done. No one to see the things he saw. He sat alone on the bleachers for hours. He waited for anyone to notice anythin'. But no one ever did.
Carl was his first. He wasn't his only.
He got in touch with a few of Da's old friends, who put him in touch with other like-minded folk.
He presented as an Alpha, and that was only right. By then he was well on his way to being the Spider King in the centre of his own web. Surrounded by fleas sucking on the blood of the world. So much better than a mad dog on the street.
So when an Omega, lovely as a fierce dragonfly, flew through a party of fleas and saw the world as it was. Well, a course, he had to take notice. It was true love. To be seen like that. To burn at his Love's touch.
They circled each other for hours at that party. He saw the delight in his Love's eyes at the destruction Jim'd caused. Oh, the cleverness of Jim.
Except, his Love didn't really see him. He didn't even notice Jim when he was right behind him.
Jim wasn't going to be standin' for that sort of shite. He was the king here. He might be in love, but his dragonfly was just a slick tailed Meg in the end.
Colonel Moran fussed. He said, "Sir," Beta talked like he had the Beeb stuck up his arse, "are you certain that this is a good idea?"
Betties were all the same. Bunch of drones.
He couldn't understand what would drive an Alpha to put a little gamma hydroxybutyric acid in his Love's biscuits to show him who was in charge.
Jim brushed back the hair from his Love's face and smiled at him lyin' on the floor like he was dead. But for part where his chest was moving'. Jim lovingly finished carving his love note in the wood floor next to his Love's head.
He traced the letters like a fool. "My love, I'm going to fuck you up." Course he had to fuck Colonel Moran afterwards to show who was in charge. He said, "Do. Not. Ever. Question. Me. Again."
"No, sir," grunted Colonel Moran, who at least understood the need for a chain of command. There could be only one spider at the centre of the web. Spinning strands with pretty puzzles for his Love. Thefts in impregnable rooms. Murders in locked rooms.
He could afford to lose a few clients. Jim smiled like a foolish boy over the texts his Love sent him. Oh, they were poetry.
He waited for his Love to fail. It was bound to happen sooner or later. He was five minutes late with the answer to Jim's latest gift. He did a little dance. He went himself to shoot a General of the tongs, who'd gotten a little too big for her britches. It felt heady to hold the gun in his own hand and pull the trigger himself. Feel the blood splatter on his face. Smell the little Bettie die. He did a little rotary waltz around the room while his boys and girls waited respectfully.
He didn't hear a peep out of Colonel Moran.
Nature took its sweet course.
His Love went into heat like a slick tailed Meg, and Jim, oh they rutted in the most beautiful little insane asylum like animals. It was perfect it was. His Dragonfly couldn't have picked a more romantic spot. Rusted water dripping' down his back while they clawed at each other.
But his Love kept holding back. His Love gave him a dozen names, but he could tell none of them were the one written on his heart, the heartless bitch.
Sometimes, he wanted to pluck his Love's eyes out so he'd stop lookin' at the city of London like it was a lover. Like he loved it more than Jim, which shouldn't be true. Not when Jim was putting' so much effort into their relationship.
He blew up a building to see the expression on his Love's face. It felt good. It felt as good as anything his Da might have felt. He understood then why his Da had used the sharp end of the belt. There was nothing like hurtin' the one you loved.
So there he was, one fine day sitting with his Love at his feet. Thinkin' that maybe it was time to start a family. They weren't getting' any younger after all. Maybe a child of theirs, if raised right, would see Jim gunned down somethin' beautiful.
He was just thinking that when his Love's boring bitch of a Ma came a visitin', because it was her baby's birthday. She made tea and blathered on and on about this and that. He wondered what the expression on his Love's face would be when he carved a new smile into the Meg's face.
That was when he fell over onto the floor and he looked up at the face of True Love, and knew that he'd had it all turned around.
He could see in her eyes that she really saw him as he was. He tried to get the words out, but they came out curses, which was only right.
She knelt on top of him like a spider about to eat her prey and he recalled as she slipped the needle into his vein that it was the Omega spider who ate her Alpha after they'd mated.
He hadn't even seen her, and she'd been in the world all along. He wished they'd had more time.
Still, it wasn't a bad way to go.
He felt her pressure on his chest as he slipped away into the dark.
Death found him with a beat of her wings.