In 1974, STIHL Incorporated began manufacturing the 015 chainsaws at their new facility in Virgina Beach. I, myself, had always been a fan of their products. They don't just make a good chainsaw, but a variety of equipment that comes in handy for a guy like me. A guy who doesn't tolerate standing.


I took a part time job as a security guard back in the fall. It was honest work, but the hours were long and the pay was for shit. Still, it put steaks in the freezer, and that's the name of the game when your a family man. Family is important. So are things like values, respect, and common courtesy.

It all started with a fight, late one night on a Saturday. I was working the side stage at a mixed martial arts event just outside of Franklin County when the trouble began. My job was clear and the task was simple. Keep the isle clean and don't let any audience members stand up. Those were the rules and they were simple enough that anyone could follow them. Anyone but Chad Cooper that is, and that's what lead me to do what I did.

So this whole thing is Chad's fault you see. All of it. In the end I'm sure you'll agree that I did what was best. I did what I had to do. Maybe next time he'll listen.


A chainsaw is more than just a tool used by farmers out in the country. For some it's a way of life.

Whether you're a logger, a landscaper, or a tree trimmer,  there's a product out there for you. For instance, STIHL makes a variety of products that are sure to meet all of your outdoor needs. Take their  hedge trimmers for example. When you're looking for a good quality hedge eliminator, look no farther than the HL 90 K hedge trimmer, with 20” blades that offer both double sided performance, and maximum comfortability. Perfect for knocking off the top of any overgrown hedge. As well as cleanly removing a finger with minimal effort. Cutting through a wrist requires a little more elbow grease. Or perhaps a bigger hedge trimmer. Might I suggest the HL 100 series, a top of the line unit with a 0 degree adjustable head and commercial grade power. Guaranteed to chew through the wrist or ankle of even the biggest boned man.


It's important that you know I've had problems with Chad before. Always in the front row, always running his mouth. At first, I accepted this as all part of the fun. Just an enthusiastic spectator getting carried away in the heat of the moment. For a while I tolerated his mouth and his obnoxious comments, and let it be said that I believe in giving everyone a second chance.

And then he stood up. Something that changed the whole dynamics of our relationship. I knew all at once that something must be done about this situation to prevent it from ever happening again.  Then things got worse. 

It was getting late and the big fight of the night was fast approaching. This was the one the crowd had come to see, and the audience went wild with applause. I couldn't blame them. I was a fan myself, but I resisted the urge to clap as the local hero made his way down toward the ring.

The lights were bright and I could feel the heat they put off, as the hometown boy drifted into what they called the octagon. The fighters name was Danny. He was hard and proud, the embodiment of confidence with a thousand yard stare of determination chiseled across his face.

The speakers blasted something heavy and powerful, and heads were tilting back as ice cold beer slid down their throats. They were there to see a fight. Willing participants in a social experiment of sorts, and the tension in the gym was so thick you could chop it with an ax.

When the announcer began his announcing, the crowd began to find their place, and the lights began to dim as everyone found their seat. Everyone but Chad.

I looked over at my partner Little Stevie and I could see that, he too, had had enough of Chad Cooper. Our eyes met just long enough to share a mutual nod, and then I gave Stevie the command to take him.

So down the isle we went, getting closer to Chad Cooper with each and every step. Little Stevie got there first, and I stood back a few feet to give him plenty of room to operate. It took everything I had, every ounce of energy in my body, to restrain myself from grabbing Chad by the head and slamming his face into the floor. I wanted to snap his neck in front of everyone, but that would be too quick. He'd never have time to learn anything that way. I needed to teach him a lesson about courtesy . I wanted him to learn the importance of sitting down.

I watched the two exchange insults until Chad forced Little Stevie's hand and I saw him make a move for Chad's throat. Before I knew it, I found myself in the middle of this business and my arm was tightly wrapped around Chad's neck. I was squeezing him as hard as I could, testing the strength of his zygomatic bones as I tried to make his eyes burst from their sockets.

At some point the fight in the ring must have ended, and now all the crowd’s attention was on the three of us. Even the fighters in the ring had stopped fighting as the bout was over, but still I had Chad locked in that violent embrace. I was sweating and he was trying not to cry. His face was bright red, and Little Stevie told me later that I'd been laughing.

By now reality was beginning to sink in and I was starting to regain my senses. With assistance from a few of the other security guards, I was finally able to turn Chad loose. But this was just the beginning.

I walked to my place in the back of the gymnasium, but inside my mind I was sharpening tools. A plan was coming together as the shopping list came to life inside my head. The first item to acquire was rope.

I felt my muscles relax with the fading sensation of adrenaline as I considered my options, and the consequences played through my mind like a broken song. Chad Cooper must die. That's what I told myself, and I knew all at once which would be the preferred method of his disposal. It was true he must go, but he must also learn a lesson first. A lesson that I was fully prepared to teach. That's where the chainsaw came into play.


I have a long history with STIHL products and STIHL has a strong reputation for standing behind them. After much deliberation, I decided to go with the MS 270 STIHL Wood Boss. The perfect saw for any serious lumberjack. I considered a few of the alternatives, such as a Husqvarna XP, but after much research, I felt the STIHL was just an all round better saw for my money. Besides, deep in my heart, I'd always considered myself to be a STIHL man.


I began preparing for Chad's lesson the day after the fight. A Sunday drive late in the afternoon with the wife and daughter. We went to another town, in another county, and we stopped at an ice cream shop that was next to a hardware store. They went in one establishment while I went in the other.

When I emerged, I saw them over by the swing set. The wife pushing the daughter, and there was a daffodil in her hair. I watched the flower in the gentle breeze of late October, as a butterfly floated across my vision. The daughter was trying to hold onto the chain that supported her seat and lick her ice cream cone at the same time. It was all over her little nose and chin.

The wife smiling at me with a radiance that I'd not seen before, as the brown and pink sun burnt leaves danced above her head. The butterfly was gliding on an invisible wave of air and the only sound I could hear was the slow, rhythmic creaking of the old swing set. I watched my daughter swinging higher and higher as the wife’s lips came together slowly, giving me a perfect kiss.

I thought about the contents of the bag.

Rope, with a 5,000 lb. strength capacity, and drywall screws. When asked about my purchase I can speak with honesty and confidence about the drywall screws. I won't mention the rope. Nor it's intended use.


When in the market for a good quality rope, one must consider such characteristics as tensile strength and flexibility. You don't want your subject to slip out of the knot you tied because you grabbed some cheap rope off the dollar shelf. As an educator, this would only create problems for me if this happened. Superior quality is what I demand in a binding rope, and a thorough knowledge of knots is an absolute requirement.


A few weeks went by and then a month. Maybe two, and I'd not heard a single word about Chad Cooper. I stopped working security and I took another job working at a box factory. It was worse than the security job, but at least the hours were better and everybody knew their place. Besides, at the box factory everybody stood.

I began to learn Chad's routine during my free time. He was a pretty easy guy to follow really. He wasn't too smart and he wasn't too stupid, but he was just dumb enough to ignore the red Monte Carlo that always seemed to follow him from a safe and comfortable distance.

As a casual observer, I learned some interesting things about Chad during this period. For one, he didn't have too many friends, which was not all that surprising for a guy who could talk all night, but never really say anything.

He also had a hard time attracting girls it seemed. On more than one occasion I bore witness to the door getting slammed in his face by some disappointed young lovely. The more I followed, the more I realized I would probably be doing the world a favor by making this guys life, and legs, a little shorter. When you get right down to it, the truth is plain and simple. Nobody likes an asshole, but Chad Cooper wore that asshole tag like a badge of honor and he polished it with his uneducated rhetoric every time he opened his mouth.


In the end, my decision to go with the STIHL Wood Boss proved to be a wise one, and the MS270 offered me  the freedom of an 18” bar along with the knowledge that it was sure to start by the third pull. The 270 is a smooth running, mid-sized saw. Lightweight yet durable and able to withstand a hard day’s work even under the most strenuous of demands. I'd used this model before during a previous engagement and found it to be well suited for the task.


There's just something remotely fascinating about cutting off another man’s legs with a chainsaw. Especially if he's still alive. No, he won't like it much, but sometimes these things must be done. All that's required is a trusty saw, some good quality rope, and a little strong will.

I might also suggest a bottle of  Percocet for the pain. Not for him of course, but for you. Operating a chainsaw is tough work and it can play hell on the lower back. A room with dense walls can be quit handy as well, and thick insulation is a must. I prefer R13 myself and you can find it at a good price if you take your time. You see, patience is the key to a successful leg removal.

I went over the check list I'd created in my head to ensure this experience was everything that it could be. I wanted this lesson to be perfect. I wanted him to appreciate the trouble I was prepared to go through in order to offer him my services. Unsolicited as they may be.

Chainsaw, check. Good quality rope, check. Percocet, check.  


Any physical act that requires you to perform considerable feats of manual labor is an open invitation to self medicate. For times such as these, I suggest Percocet .

I acquired mine through the wife's father. The poor bastard fell off his roof earlier in the year trying to retrieve a football for one of the grandkids. I never had the heart to tell him I threw it up there.

When he emerged from the Hospital, I wasted no time replacing his oxycodone/acetaminophen with a handful of old Bufferin that I'd had laying around the garage. Chances are he'd never take them anyway. Even if he did, there was that loan he turned me down on for that boat I'd always wanted. So that erased any guilt that I may have felt. Maybe next time he'll cut me a check.


There was an old slaughter house out in the country and they were only open on the weekends. In previous lessons I used a soundproof room with insulated walls, but the clean up started to become a real issue. I began wrapping everything in plastic, and that too, became a pain in the ass. That's when I began scouting for a new location. After many venues were considered, I decided upon the slaughterhouse for obvious reasons, the blood stained floors being one of them.

Built in the late 1950's, the Jenkins processing plant sat at the end of state road BB outside the city limits of Mt. Sterling and you can follow the pavement all the way to the parking lot. I practiced this drive on more than one occasion and found the desolate location to be the perfect setting for the lesson I had in store. When I thought of the other subjects I'd shared my knowledge with over the years, I felt a warm, subtle wave of satisfaction wash over me.

All of them were troubled individuals that needed more than life could give and I ended their suffering without payment or compensation. Nothing but the wisdom gained in knowing I'd done something worthwhile. These were my true intentions with Chad Cooper. I was offering him a gift, if only he had the strength to accept it with an open mind. Something I highly doubted.


Before attempting to correct others behavior, it's important to realize the consequences that can befall an educator in this situation. As a general rule, society tends to frown on such dubious forms of behavior modification like the kind that I'm suggesting. It's also important to stress the significance of stealth whenever you abduct your subject. Carefully thought out plans, executed with military precision are necessary when contemplating an undertaking such as this.


It was a normal Wednesday evening when I decided to take him. It was late in the day and the sun was just beginning to set when he parked his beat up truck next to the Rosebud General Store. There was an old car wash located next to the property and that's where I was waiting.

It seemed to be Chad's routine to stop at this gas station after he got off work. He always parked up front, like an asshole, right in the one and only handicapped spot. This time however, the spot was taken, and that fact alone became the determining factor that would eventually seal his fate.

With the other spaces taken, he was forced to park around the back. That's where I was waiting for him. Behind the dumpster with a stun gun and a trash bag. We were just out of range of the security cameras and the sky was just dark enough that I was able to hide in the shadows unnoticed. I was waiting for my student with unparalleled enthusiasm as he rounded the corner with his finger in his mouth, pulling out a wad of chew and flinging it on the ground.

With the effortless movements of a guy who'd done this before, I raised the stun gun quickly and shoved it into his chest. His body made a quick jerking action as I drove him down into the gravel, my finger heavy on the trigger. I then drug him into the nearby bushes and slipped the bag over his head, rolled him onto his stomach and tied his hands behind his back. He was still unconscious, but I zapped him one more time just for the hell of it.

Back on highway 50 and I popped open a cold Bud Light so I could wash down one of my father in law's Percocet. Under normal circumstances I'd never condone such unnecessary risk taking, but I'd worked up quite a sweat manhandling Chad's body into the back.

He'd finally come to, and by the sounds coming from the trunk I could only assume that he wasn't very happy about his current situation. He could punch and kick and wrestle all he wanted, but he was never getting out. I'd seen to that.

I thought about the series of events that unfolded in order to lead us both to this perfect moment, and I caught my reflection in the rear view mirror as I raised the can and took a drink. I could feel my pulse race and a lone drop of perspiration rolled down the left side of my face, landed on the door panel and ran all the way down to the carpet. I thought about my daughter and my wife. I thought about Chad in the trunk as he continued to thrash about, and I was reminded for the first time, in a long time, just how important my work really was.

The chainsaw is indeed a powerful tool, but can prove to be quite dangerous if safety precautions are not followed. Many chainsaw injuries are the result of improper use, recklessness, or simply getting distracted with the work at hand. There are a few important safety features on a chainsaw one must familiarize themselves with before they consider a project such as the one which I'm describing.

First you have the chain brake, which is designed to stop the chain immediately if you run into trouble. There's also the chain catch, which catches the chain should you find it jumping off track. Next is the rear handle, designed to protect the hand if the chain were to snap, and the throttle interlock release will prevent inadvertent operation of the throttle if it's not properly engaged.

I parked behind the slaughterhouse and exited the vehicle at a leisurely pace. I'd heard nothing from Chad for the last fifteen minutes, but I was pretty sure he hadn't fallen asleep. I hoped he hadn't suffocated either considering the trunk was lined with plastic. Not to mention the trash bag over his head.

I've learned from previous experience that the subject in the trunk is immediately prepared to respond as soon as the car comes to a stop. Usually with a failed kick of some kind since escaping one of my constrictor knots has generally proved to be impossible.

Still, I give him plenty of time, knowing he expects me to let him out right away. Knowing he's prepared. Instead, I sat down on the end of an old wooden bench and have another beer as I wait for the Perc to kick in.

A knot is one of the most basic yet essential tools that I use in my educational lessons, but a knot is technically not a knot until it has been Tied, Dressed, and Set.

"Tied" means all the parts are in the correct position and order. "Dressing" is when you arrange, or straighten the knot, and you must remain focused at this task because the knot and rope strength can be significantly reduced if the knot isn't properly dressed. "Setting" a knot is the act of tightening all it's parts so they connect and rub against each other to create friction. Friction is the key to a successful binding knot.


After a visual inspection of the work site, I gather the tools I will need from the back seat and place them all on a metal work bench inside the butchers room. There's a longer and much taller bench beside me which I have converted to a crude but effective operating table. 

I acknowledge it's not the most sterile environment, and while I admit the risk of infection is great, I also realize it doesn't matter because attempting to prevent an infection of any kind would prove counterproductive in relation to what I'm trying to accomplish.

I walk back outside to the trunk. I'm quiet and I take my time. I've let an hour pass and I am now dressed in a green rubber apron with bloodstains that have long since began to fade.

The sky is dark and unforgiving as the dead fall leaves crush under my boot heels. I hit the button on my key chain and the trunk pops open. Dropping quickly, I press the stun gun into his chest. Click click click click click, and Chad's body jumps around violently.

I could let off the trigger any time, but I choose to light him up for an additional few seconds just for shits and grins. I grab him, pull him out, and let his limp body fall onto the cold, hard dirt. I close the trunk and smile into the darkness, working up a sweat, and contemplating another beer.

The Perc finally kicked in and I felt my body growing warm, a ripple of heat climbing my spine as I drug him into the building where everything smelled like meat.

Once he was securely in place, I removed a CD from my medical kit and slipped it into the boom box that was behind me, hanging by a hook that was fastened to a support beam directly overhead.

I put on the plastic mask which attached around my head and dropped my chainsaw on the table. It made a loud and threatening sound that echoed in the empty room. Chad began to stir.

Lowering the mask, I patted him on the leg as Pink Floyd began to play.


When teaching a lesson I've always found it works best if you can set the mood with some background music. Provide a little ambiance. In this case, I decided to go with Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon.

Released in March of '73, The Dark Side of the Moon is perhaps one of the finest recordings known to man and was immediately embraced with commercial success. Loved by both fans and critics, it remained on the Billboard 200 for over fifteen years, longer than any other album in history. An impressive feat to say the least.


Using my right thumb, I slide the on/off switch down into the choke position and engaged both the Throttle Trigger and the Throttle Interlock Release. I gave the saw a good shake, then I yanked the cord. The powerful little 3.4 bhp motor whined beautifully as the motor turned a full revolution and I saw Chad's head raise up off the table He appeared pretty disoriented, and rightfully so, especially when he realized he was strapped to a metal table without any pants.

I gave the STIHL another pull, and this time the carburetor quickly filled with gas as the choke did its job, and it almost turned over.

Chad was wide awake by now and I could tell by the way his Fruit of the Looms turned from white to yellow that he was finally beginning to realize the full potential of this lesson. I hoped he wouldn't suffer the indignity of shitting his pants, but if experience is any indicator then it was still just a bit too early for that business. That usually came next. Right after I make the first of several cuts.


A chainsaw cuts best when it's operated at full throttle and it's always good form to bring the bar in straight and even. If you cut using the top of the guide bar, it's important to exercise caution because the chain tries to push the saw back towards you, and failing to utilize proper form could result in a kick back.

If you use the bottom of the guide bar to cut, the saw pulls itself toward the muscle and bone, and the front edge of the saw provides a natural rest while cutting. This action gives the operator better control of the saw and is generally considered the preferred method among lumberjacks and arborist  alike.


The STIHL roared to life on the third pull and the sound of the 50.0 cc engine penetrated the still night air as I dropped the splatter shield on my face mask and pushed the MS 270 WOOD BOSS into the soft meat of Chad Coopers left quadriceps. The Wood Boss sank further into the muscle and a brilliant flash of red colored my splatter shield in quick bursts as I sawed through an artery and the bottom of the saw blade bit into the outside of the bone.

Chad's body was jumping and bucking, which created a challenge to say the least, but his lack of cooperation was certainly understandable. I offered him a look that implied my deepest sympathies and then I pushed the attack part of the bar deeper into the exposed femur.


It's important to understand how reactive forces relate to the different areas of the guide bar when cutting into an object. Whether you're felling a timber in the big woods or severing a limb in a processing plant, there are four terms used to describe these type of forces and some of them bear repeating.

Push – Cutting with the top side of the bar

Pull – Cutting with the bottom of the bar

Kick Back – Occurring when the bar contacts a solid object, such as another tree. Or a metal table.

Attack – The lower quadrant used to initiate the bore cut technique.


As I felt the teeth chewing away at the femur, the severed arteries were pumping so much blood that I had to let off the trigger and clear my mask. Squatting down gave me the opportunity to closely inspect my work and the quick powerful spurts continued to disperse copious amounts of his blood with a height that was quite astonishing.

That's when I looked over my right shoulder and saw my wife. She was watching me watch her with the chainsaw partially in my hand and partially in Chad's leg. I was shocked. She was supposed to be at her mothers.

I realized she was screaming and she had a gun in her hand. My gun. The S&W 460 revolver that I kept under the front seat of the Monte. The one I carried for protection, capable of putting a hole in a man the size of a kitchen table.

I let go of the chainsaw and I raised my mask. That's when I saw the gun jump up in the air. Once, then twice, and I never realized what happened. Never realized she was shooting me full of holes.

I never realized anything until I found myself on the concrete beside the operating table and Chad's blood is still shooting into the air, painting everything it it's path a brilliant shade of crimson.

I can't feel anything, but I can hear the radio above me playing the beginning of On the Run. My ears are ringing and I'm cold. I can see Chad still moving around up there, and it looks like that STIHL is still running. Goddamn that's a good saw. It just sat there in the center of his leg with the handle vibrating fiercely against that metal table.

She's above me now, and she's crying. Screaming. Says that I'm a monster and tells me we had a life together, but I can't really see her. All I see is the blood shooting into the air and raining down on me, it feels like I am drowning. She raises the gun once more, points down at me and pulls the trigger. I don't understand any of this. She is my everything. I thought she loved me.



Matthew McBride has been published in Plots With Guns, A Twist Of Noir, The Flash Fiction Offensive, Darkest Before The Dawn, Powder Burn Flash, Thrillers, Killers, 'n' Chillers, Deer & Deer Hunting, as well as the upcoming issues of CRIMEFACTORY and Yellow Mama. He lives outside the beautiful wine country of Hermann, Mo with his wife Melissa and his bull Hemingway.




Copyright 2010 Matthew McBride