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Christopher Davis
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alibis2.jpg
Art by Steve Cartwright 2015

Alibis

 

Christopher Davis

 

 

 

The door of the motel stood ajar, exposing a darkened Travelodge room 213. Except for a few cars on 101, nothing in Santa Laguna stirred at this late hour. Fog moved inland sheltering most of the town from view.

          Mother fucker, Rob Reese thought as he approached from the parking lot, his car was still there. Cat…? His wife Catherine had scheduled one of her beach yoga sessions earlier in the evening, if she wasn’t back by now, she was probably still fucking the instructor somewhere.

          Two weeks in the shit-hole tourist town was becoming a vacation in hell for Robert Reese. Florescent lighting cast odd shadows on the second floor landing.

          First it was those kids, Reese thought, and now this? He knew that he should report all of this to the police, let them handle it, but the thought of catching those kids in his room was too hard to resist. Besides, the little fuckers took his phone.

          Navigating a sand berm earlier separating the sea-side Travelodge from a local watering hole, Reese had to empty his pockets for some of the local hoodlums. The dumb shits settled for a wallet and cards but didn’t think to ask if the tourist had any cash. Reese had already scolded himself throughout the evening for not taking his CCW Colt when he left for the bar. Hell, he was on vacation here right? No need to carry the .45 in this sleepy little town.

          “Cat,” Reese asked pushing back the door of 213. “Cat are you in here honey?” High pressure lamps cast enough light to make the bed and bathroom doorway recognizable.

          Whether she was fucking the yoga instructor or the waiter at the restaurant, Reese knew his wife wouldn’t be here. She wouldn’t bring them back here to their room.

          His suitcase stood out in the dim light across the room near the dresser. If I can get my hands on that Colt, Reese thought. It was one thing to call the bank to report stolen cards, but a firearm?

          Something moved in the bathroom dressing area. Reese dove for the suitcase, hitting the dresser and stopping against the wall. Silence enveloped the room. Unzipping the Samsonite, his hand felt for the cold of steel. It was still there, they hadn’t found his gun. Listening for any movement in the bathroom, Reese slammed the magazine home and stood in the darkened room feeling for the wall switch.

          An unfamiliar perfume wafted in on the cool ocean breeze. Was it Catherine?

          Always the protective husband, Reese yelled, “Cat, if that’s you honey, stay outside.” Reese cleared his throat, “I’ve got my forty-five and I’m turning on the light.”

          Movement in the dressing area brought a flash from the open doorway. Reese dropped to the floor clutching his side as the room spun out of control from whiskey and lead. Fuck.

          Another shot rang out, the flash highlighting the figure of a woman in a hooded sweatshirt.

          “Cat, is that you?” Reese asked of the figure.

          “Don’t shoot,” The voice of a young man pleaded from the bathroom. A woman’s heels trotted away down the steps outside.

          Reaching the wall switch, Reese squinted to focus. Room 213 was in shambles. After two shots from the small caliber pistol guests in the neighboring rooms were beginning to stir.

          The bathroom door opened. A young man bolted for the safety of the open door and the outside world, straight-arming Reese. Instinct gaining the upper hand, a wounded Reese thumbed the hammer of his Colt and fired.  

          His world beginning to spin, Reese felt himself slipping as a Policeman asked, “Do you know the shooter, Mister Reese?”

 “Yes…no. No, I don’t think so.” Reese said, closing his eyes to remain focused. Could the assailant have been Cat, his wife of twenty years?

“That’s it,” A young paramedic said in a soothing voice, starting an IV, “Just stay calm.”

“Mister Reese, was the shooter a man or woman?” Another policeman asked, scribbling notes on a yellow pad. “Did you see the shooter?”

“I…I don’t know,” Reese said, “It was dark.”

Some would have truth, others their lies. Robert and Catherine Reese each had alibis.



conveniencestorerobbery.jpg

The Night Shift

 

Christopher Davis

 

 

 

 

 

There she stood in the aisle, right between day old bread and dirty magazines, my savior. She must have been twenty-five… twenty-seven? A nine-and-a-half if she wasn’t a ten. Pretty. Short dark hair and olive skin, I’d never seen her before.

          It was midnight. No, it was later than that, the bars were closing. It must have been one-thirty, two?

          Anyway this guy comes in, Puerto Rican maybe? I’m from California, so they’re all Mexican to me. He mulls around the store by the coolers for a while. I didn’t like the way he stalled. He was up to no good, but fuck what was I to do? I’d just started college, first real job working at the all night mini-mart, ten to six and free hotdogs.

          This douchebag comes up to the register with a twelve pack and starts making small talk. I’d done crank and coke a time or two and I could tell this cat was on a bender if there ever was one. He was nervous, fidgety.

          A car pulls in and some old guy gets out. This border brother pats the beer and says something I didn’t understand, starts for the back of the store. So this old black dude walks in and grabs a forty, walks up to the register and asks for pack of menthols. I thought that shit was a Hollywood stereotype.

          Meanwhile this chick pulls up in a new car, stops by the gas pump. She gets out and then kind of gets back in. Once she started toward the store, this black dude and I lost track of time man, we both watched her walk across that lot. Nothing distasteful really, just two guys admiring a young woman’s beauty.

          She walks in flashing a smile, carries herself like she’s a daddy’s girl, you know? This other asshole says something and she rolls her eyes. She goes into the bathroom in the back of the store.

          I make change for the dude with the beer and the smokes. Fuck, I wish he would have stayed all night. Nice guy really, had just finished his shift at the plant.

          After the old guy leaves, my fuck-head buddy with the twelve-pack comes back to the register, wants a pack of Shesterfields. I don’t know what the fuck he wants, I get like three or four hours of sleep a night man.

          He points and argues. I give him a green pack and he points at the blue one. He’s going to rob me, but when?

          Finally I say look dude, take the smokes. Take the beer, it’s on the house.

          This dumb fuck pulls out this shitty little pistol, some rusty relic that’s been bought and sold on the streets of Reading since World War Two. Don’t get me wrong, I knew it was going to hurt if he shot me, but it wasn’t some bad-ass semi-auto. If he missed, he wouldn’t get a second shot. Honestly, I would have been surprised if he knew how to use it.

          Distracted with the matter at hand, we had both forgotten about the chick in the bathroom. I saw her come out, but didn’t really look her way. I’d hoped that she would see what was happening and call the police.

          The sound of a hammer locking into place is a terrible sound man, when it’s pointed at you. This Puerto Rican crack-maniac puts one into the cigarette display over my shoulder and starts yelling something I can’t understand. Rust from the barrel found my cheek. I knew I was bleeding.

          I tell him, fuck man…you can have the whole god-damned store. Over his shoulder I see a beautiful leg peeking from her black dress as she leveled the barrel and fired. I fell toward the window and a spray of red plastered the cigarettes behind me.

          Never did get to really thank her. It seemed like the cops pulled in as the guy slumped to the floor.

          The police asked questions about what happened. Others walked her to her car and took notes. She drove away and my boss tells me to go home.

Go home? Fuck that. That was my last nightshift.

         

 

End





Christopher Davis is a central California native and grandfather of three rambunctious little ones. When not tending the herd, he'll try his hand at writing crime & western fiction. His stuff can be found in the usual places. Chris lives with his wife and a dog that has totally lost his mind. Find out more www.christopherdaviswrites.com

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