It was dark. Then there was a pinpoint. A pinpoint of light. It
was far away. Peaceful. Wake up. No, it’s peaceful here.
The light started to move. Slowly closer. Wake up you fool.
Faint noises. Echoing. Closer the light came and it was picking
up speed. Like a freight train. The light was getting bigger and brighter. Faster
and faster. Crashing noises.
Blinding light filled the space and my head exploded.
I opened my eyes. My skull felt like it was split open by an
anvil. I closed my eyes and fell away. Back into the dark.
I woke up. The taste of blood and vomit in my mouth. Minutes
passed. Slowly, I rolled over and got to my knees. I felt doing that was a
major achievement. My head was killing me. On all fours, I made my way to the
I reached the sink and with my right hand pulled myself up. I
let out a yell. Agony torpedoed throughout both sides of my chest. Those damn
kicks in my ribs. I turned on the cold water.
I buried my head in the porcelain. The chill of the water did
little to null the throbbing pain in my head.
I looked up. In the mirror I saw a face. I knew my nose was
broken. My left eye was completely closed, surrounded by colors of black, brown
and orange. The white of the right eye was fire red. My lips looked like two
fat sausages and between them both front teeth were chipped. The right side of
my jaw was as large as a catcher’s mitt.
And then I remembered Vera.
I stumbled out of the bathroom.
She was laying in the kitchen between the table and fridge. Her
legs were bent at odd angles and her eyes bulged out glaring at me. The piano
wire cut into her neck causing it to swell and forced her tongue out.
Crap. I failed.
Vera Sobieski came to my office yesterday. Said she needed
protection. A Private Cop. She worked as barmaid at The Double Deuces. It’s
owned by the Wojcik brothers. Four of them. She saw something. Something they
did. And they saw her see that something.
She wouldn’t tell me what she saw. But she pleaded with me to
She had cash and I had twenty-six dollars in my savings
I wrestled putting on my overcoat and shoved my .45 in the
pocket. It was dark when I got outside. Dark as black oil. I grabbed a gas can
from the garage and lifted it. Almost full. I got into my car and drove it slow
over to The Double Deuces.
It was 4 A.M. when I stopped the car in front of the joint. It
was closed, but lights were on and I knew they were in there. Grabbing the gas
can, I made my way to the back of the building. I splashed gas all over the
back, making sure I got the rear door good. Then I lit a match and hurried out
to the front. I waited at the sidewalk with the .45 in my hand.
Frankie came out first. My first shot took half of his jaw off
and spun him around. The second shot slammed into the back of his head.
Big Stan was next through the door. He had a gun in his hand but
he never got the chance to raise it. I put two into the center of his chest.
When Luke came out I didn’t even care if he had a gun or not. My
.45 blasted a hole in his throat. He just stood there with his blank eyes as
big as two headlights. I placed the next shot between them.
Walt started spraying bullets before he came through the door. He
managed to put a couple of them into my heap. Once his face emerged through the
smoke I emptied my gun. I didn’t know how many bullets were left in my .45, but
the coroner would never identify Walt by looking at his face.
It’s done. Over. The roof collapsed and flames shot twenty feet
up in the air.
Two visions of Vera entered my mind. One of life when she first
walked into my office. And one of death laying on my kitchen floor. Then I remembered
a repulsive face in a
I’m done. It’s over for me too. No one would hire a detective
that couldn’t protect his client. Especially a detective that got his client
I shoved the .45 in my coat pocket and headed east down the
I spotted a pinpoint of light down there. But it seemed far
P.K. Augustyn was born and raised in
Buffalo, N.Y. He is a U.S. Navy veteran and has worked at a leading
high tech company in Rochester N.Y. When you don’t see him walking the streets
of Western New York, you will find him kicking up dust in the deserts of the
American Southwest. He has authored numerous short stories and is
presently completing his first novel, featuring a Polish-American private
detective operating out of Buffalo N.Y.