Shit like this is a pain
in the ass. I don’t
think I really ask that much of my people. Loyalty, that goes without saying.
The ability to keep their yap shut. That’s just common sense. A little job
knowledge and the willingness to learn. I mean, c’mon, we’re all in this thing
together, right? Ya take a fall, ya don’t talk to the cops. That’s why we have
lawyers on retainer all the time. Yeah, tell ‘em yer name, address, fine. Date
a birth, yeah, fine. They’re always gonna tell ya, “Hey Vinnie, yer not a
suspect, okay? We just need some background, here…” Yeah, fuck that. You lawyer
Then they give ya that bullshit
“Hey, if ya didn’t do nothin’, whatcha need a lawyer for?”
it’s a matter of principle…we
don’t talk to cops without legal representation.”
It always amazes me on these
TV shows like The First 48, how stupid people can be.
I watch the way the cops work ‘em and it’s so silly. They sit in the little
room and blab their ass off. I just wanna scream, “Get a lawyer, stupid!”
I mean, what da fuck, right?
We all know what’s
goin’ on, right? I mean, the cops know who they’re dealin’ with. They know when
a guy’s mobbed up. They like ta act like they don’t, but it’s all bullshit.
So, then there was this
Charlie idiot. Yeah, I
know, he wasn’t a made guy, so I shouldn’t expect that much. Wasn’t family or
nothin’. But, I mean, hey. Gave him a simple task. Get rid of this foreign prick
that runs that grocery over on ninth. Asshole didn’t understand that when ya
run a business here, ya pay. That way nothin’ bad happens and ya get a lotta
custom, right? And nobody fucks with ya, right? Ya never gonna get robbed or
nothin’. And if somebody tries some shit, they gotta deal with us. Way it works…Nope.
Fucker wouldn’t pay. First one in a long time. Gotta make an example, right?
So, I decide to let Charlie handle it. He was vouched for, somebody’s
brother-in-law, that kinda thing.
I never said, “Make
it look like a robbery.” If
this Charlie fuck had half a brain, he woulda realized that would look bad,
because of the protection thing. He shoulda grabbed the asshole off the street
and disappeared him. Not that hard to do, but no, he hasta go for the big
Next thing he screws up,
he uses a semi-auto,
instead of a revolver. Leaves shell casings all over the place. Fuck that. Use
a wheel-gun, no ejected cases, everything stays in the piece. Use an
unregistered piece, wear yer gloves, tape ‘em on so ya don’t screw up, heat of
the moment and take ‘em off. Make it look like a robbery and get it done.
Simple, in-and-out deal, if that’s the way yer gonna go. Gimme the money. No!
Pop. Pop. Pop. He’s dead. Toss the weapon and split. Hardest killing to solve.
Stranger murder. Simple. Right?
Now, this idiot Charlie
doesn’t anticipate that
the wife is gonna be there, too. Why the hell do ya think they call it a ‘Mom
and Pop’ store? Of course she’s gonna
be there. He pops the guy, she’s staring at his face, cause he’s too dumb to
wear a mask and she’s screeching like a bad wheel bearing, so he pops her, too.
Bad news. Now the whole neighborhood is up in arms and they’re looking to me to
do something about this shit. Not the cops. Me.
Cause I’m the one they’re payin’ protection to. Makes my goddamn head hurt.
Second screw up, the dumbass
uses his own car.
And he can’t drive a Ford Fusion or a Chevy Cavalier. Naw, this mope hasta
drive an Audi A4 that he damn sure can’t afford. A Ford or a Chevy, there’s a
million of ‘em ta look at, but how many A4’s are zoomin’ around that part a
town, especially drivin’ like a fuckin’ maniac. So, he gets nabbed about four
blocks from the scene with the gun in the car. Gunshot residue, foreign guy’s
blood spatter on him, the works. We hear about it, get our lawyer on it and the
lawyer finally gets the idiot to shut the hell up and at the arraignment, he
actually gets bail. First offense, ties to the community and all that. Now he’s
out and we gotta do something about him, because if it goes to trial, we
already know this guy’s gonna spill his guts. Not that he really knows that
much, but we don’t want any undue attention. As soon as they mention the lethal
injection, he’s gonna sing like a fuckin’ bird and there goes the ball game.
I think about this shit
for a while, then I
walk outta my office and out inta the club. It’s two in the afternoon and the
place is dead as a shitbug. I see Big Paulie and Tony Gee sittin on their fat
asses, drinkin’ coffee. So I walk over and sit with ‘em. I’ve already made up
my mind I’m gonna handle this myself. Never ask any of yer people ta do
anything you wouldn’t be willing ta do yourself, right?
I tell Paulie, “Hey,
I gotta go see a guy in
fly clear up inta where his
hairline useta be. He says, “What da fuck’s in Kansas, Boss?”
I say, “that’s the point. An I wanna
take that new guy, that Charlie guy with me. Get me some plane tickets ta
Kansas City. I wanna fly out in the morning. Okay?”
Tony Gee is head-bobbin
like a race horse at
the gate and he says, “On it, Boss.” Doesn’t ask me shit. Just does what I ask,
without any bullshit. Good, reliable help.
Fifteen minutes later he
taps on my office door
and sticks his head in. “Yer booked on American, first class, six forty-five in
the mornin’, Boss. Flight 2284.” I smile at him and wave him out, then pick up
my phone. I call this Charlie nitwit. He answers on the first ring. By now,
even an idiot like him probably knows he screwed up, so he’s bein’
“We gotta go ta Kansas
City in the morning,” I
tell him, “Pick me up at the house at five A.M.” He starts to ask some shit and
I hang up. He doesn’t have enough balls to call me back. If he has questions,
he can call somebody else.
Five in the morning, I look
outside, and the
mope is sittin’ in my driveway. Guy on the gate called the house at a quarter
till and told me he was there. I let him wait. I give it another five minutes
and walk out with my carry-on bag and wave him off as he starts ta jump out to
get my door. “Let’s just go,” I tell him, “Goddamn TSA wants ya at the gate two
hours early. What bullshit. I look like a fuckin middle-eastern terrorist?”
He pulls outta the drive and cobs
it and I tell him, “Hey, Charlie, cool yer jets. Let’s not get pulled over or
some shit. That would just make us later.”
We put the car in long-term
and I see we’re
gonna make the flight with no sweat. Before we leave the car, I ask him if he’s
strapped. He pulls a little Taurus revolver from an ankle holster. So, he
actually has learned something. I tell him, “Lock it in the trunk. Otherwise we
gotta declare it and they will run a
check on it.”
“Good idea, Boss.”
Yeah, no shit Charlie, like
I been doin’ this shit a long fuckin time and never been to prison. Not
planning on it now, either. Not over your worthless, skinny ass.
On the plane, they keep
bringin’ booze and
snacks and Charlie’s suckin’ it up and actin like a movie star, flirtin’ with
the flight attendants and all that shit. Actin’ like he doesn’t have a dumpy
little German wife at home. I know when this is all over, I’ll hafta console
the grieving Frau and keep her quiet. My guys tell me she’s tired of his ass,
too. I figure a hundred grand and a plane ticket back to the Fatherland should
do the trick. They got no little kinder,
so that’s a blessing.
By the time we land in Kansas
City, he’s about
half bombed, not quite staggering, but close. He’s really intrigued when a car
meets us and takes us to a private air service on the other side of the
And that’s why we’re
in a helicopter, cruising
over the Kansas countryside at two thousand feet. The chopper is leased to a
Medevac outfit outta Kansas City and we’re on a ‘test flight’. The pilot is my
nephew. He flew for the Army and came home from Desert Storm with his own set
of problems. Keeping his mouth shut is not one of those problems, though.
Dickie is a good kid.
Charlie The Idiot is strapped
into the patient
cot and we’ve chloroformed his ass. He’s in happy land and we’re lookin’ for a
likely spot to put this moron. Lotsa empty space out here. It’s called the
Flint Hills and it’s land that was open prairie for thousands of years, Indian
tribal hunting grounds, and not much good for farming. Sink a plow into the
topsoil here and you’ll just break it on rock. It’s good for grazing cattle,
though, and it’s the perfect time of year, too. The ranchers burn the grass off
every year. Kills a lotta insects and scrub cedar trees and shit like that. The
ashes are good for the soil and the fresh grass comes up tender and green.
Fattens the cattle and makes them better for McDonald’s or whoever.
On the horizon to our left,
we see smoke and
lots of it. Dickie banks the helicopter that way and I get Charlie unstrapped. We
watch the fire front and I know Dickie is watching the wind, too. There are
bound to be thermals above the fire front, rising air currents that might mess
with the ‘copter and make it hard to control, plus the air above the fire will
be oxygen-deprived and could cause an engine stall. Dickie puts us a mile ahead
of the fire and I slide open the side door.
Dickie tilts the machine
into a left bank,
heels it over pretty hard, and it takes hardly any help at all to get Charlie
out the door. We watch him all the way to the ground. There’s a puff of dust,
almost like in a Road Runner cartoon and I slide the door shut. The damage from
the impact, along with the burn-over of the fire will make an interesting case
for whatever sheriff hasta handle that shit.
Most of the counties in
Kansas don’t have much
in the way of enforcement and no investigative people at all. If and when old
Charlie is found, they’ll call in the KBI, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation,
to handle it. I know they’re spread pretty thin and it may take a long time to
identify Charlie. Or it might never happen at all.
I originally had the idea
that I’d take the
dummy to a meat packing plant. There are several of those in western Kansas.
Put him through the process and people would be eatin’ his dumb ass two days
later and never know it, but then I figured, could be some of my good people
chowin’ down at Burger King and get a Charlie burger with their fries, so I
decided this was better.
The other down-side to that
plan was that too
many people would know about it. Out there in Dodge City and Garden City, they
employ a lotta Vietnamese and Mexicans, and they don’t know about how things
work. Somebody was bound to talk, right?
This way, there’s
only me and Dickie. And
Dickie’s family and he’s good, reliable help. Dickie talks to Kansas City
Center and gets a vector and we head back. Gonna be in time for a late lunch…
Kenneth James Crist is Editor
Emeritus of Black Petals Magazine and is on staff at Yellow Mama ezine. He has
been a published writer since 1998, having had almost two hundred short stories
and poems in venues ranging from Skin and Bones and The Edge-Tales of Suspense
to Kudzu Monthly. He is particularly fond of supernatural biker stories. He
reads everything he can get his hands on, not just in horror or sci-fi, but in
mystery, hardboiled, biographies, westerns and adventure tales. He retired from
the Wichita, Kansas police department in 1992 and from the security department
at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita in 2016. Now 74, he is an avid motorcyclist
and handgun shooter. He is active in the American Legion Riders and the Patriot
Guard, helping to honor and look after our military. He is also a volunteer
driver for the American Red Cross, Midway Kansas Chapter. He is the owner of
Fossil Publications, a desktop publishing venture that seems incapable of
making any money at all. On June the ninth, 2018, he did his first (and last)
parachute jump and crossed that shit off his bucket list.
born 1958 in Alton, Illinois where he still resides. He has degrees in
Political Science, Classics, and Art & Design. He has been freelancing
illustration and cartoons for over 25 years. He has done editorial cartoons and
editorial illustration for local and regional newspapers, including the St. Louis
award-winning work has appeared in numerous small press zines, e-zines, and he
has illustrated a few books.