Jimmy stuck the gun in the
woman's face. "You weren't supposed to be here," he said. The woman
didn't look too thrilled about it either. "But long as you are, show us
We already knew the woman's name. Deborah Backlin. A blonde and glossy
trophy wife. She raised an eyebrow. "'Safe?'"
Jimmy cracked her across the
mouth. "Sure, we can play it that way," he said. He cocked his hand
for another go but I stopped him.
Jimmy glared at me. "You
got a death wish, Frank?"
Hearing my name was a bad sign.
It meant Jimmy planned to put a bullet in the back of Deborah's skull once we
popped the safe and grabbed the coins.
Jimmy squared off against me. He
was bigger, but I was faster. "How 'bout we just get the job done," I
said. "Get paid and get out."
It was past midnight. The house
was an oversized mansion in a gated community. Lucky for us we knew how to
climb walls and break windows.
Deborah had already recovered
from the slap. The defiant glint in her eye told me she'd been hit before.
"Your husband's been set
up," I told her. "We know he's sitting on a pile of Krugerrands.
Payment from one of his money laundering clients."
Deborah folded her arms.
"I'm sure I don't know what you are talking abo--"
Pistol shots popped from
somewhere nearby, the rounds chewing up the raised hood of a grand piano. We
all spun around.
A hand holding a pistol
stretched out from behind an archway. The hand was busy pulling the trigger.
But whoever it was had forgot a couple things. Like bothering to look. Or aim.
Jimmy had a fondness for
hand-cannons. For this job he'd picked out a forty-five Colt. He let loose with
a couple rounds. The hand dropped and we heard a groan as blood trailed out,
making a tiny red river on its way to a blue Persian rug.
Jimmy grabbed Deborah by the
arm. "Who the fuck was that? Who's here?"
Deborah barely flinched.
"It's just a neighbor. His name's Arnold."
We all went to the archway. I'd
never known Jimmy to be a good shot. But both rounds hit their mark. Arnold
breathed his last.
"So what was Arnold?"
I said, "An accountant?"
Deborah took a breath. "An
I stated the obvious: "He's
not wearing pants."
"He's been drinking. I was
just about to kick him out."
"Sure you were." It
was Jimmy again. He gave Deborah a shove. "Come on, let's go."
The safe was in the library,
behind a painting.
We went to work. But Deborah
stopped us. "If you want the Krugerrands," she said, "they're
not in the safe."
Jimmy pointed a crowbar at her.
"Okay, fine, I'm a liar.
But the only thing in that safe is a lot of worthless paper, unless you know
how to buy and sell Ukrainian oil derivatives."
"The gold," Jimmy
said, "just tell us where the fuck it is."
Deborah hesitated. But Jimmy and
the Colt won out. "I moved them. They're in the pie room."
Me and Jimmy exchanged a look.
"You have a 'pie room?'"
I've lived a life of crime. No
way I'm getting into heaven. But even if I did, it'd come in second to Deborah
Backlin's pie room. It smelled like Christmas and looked like something out of
a French chateau.
Deborah noticed me staring at
the multiple racks of goodies. "I like to bake," she said.
"Besides, it goes to charity."
"Well you're looking at
charity right here," Jimmy said. "So, bring out the gold."
Deborah moved one of the racks
and pulled out a heavy bag from a cubby hole. Jimmy grabbed the bag and dumped
the contents out across a butcher block table.
His eyes gleamed at the sight of that much gold.
Deborah shrugged, "It's
only about a hundred-k."
"For us," I said,
"that's a damn good night."
"Not for Arnold." She
looked a little sad as she said it.
"Fuck Arnold," Jimmy
said. "I feel like celebrating." He walked up on Deborah and dropped
his voice down to a low growl. "Tell me something," he said.
"What's your best?"
I had blueberry. Jimmy had the
pumpkin. I kept a close eye on him as we shoveled it in. I didn't like the way
he was looking at Deborah. Halfway through he whispered: "I think I'll
have a private little party with wifey over here."
"She's done enough," I
said. "Let it go."
"Yeah, two things about
that. First: Fuck no. And Second: Fuck off."
"And I say we leave."
Jimmy's eyes narrowed as he
leered at Deborah. "Not until I get a second slice."
I didn't have to think about it
all that much. I was carrying a smaller caliber pistol. But it didn't really
matter. The bullet still went straight through one side of Jimmy's head and out
the other. He face- planted straight into a pile of whipped cream.
Deborah gasped but didn't run.
I stood up from the table.
"Okay, here's how this is gonna go. I'm leaving Jimmy, taking the
Deborah gathered her thoughts.
"And pie," she said. "Don't forget that. I'll wrap one up for
Dave Kunz is an
emerging writer who recently had a flash fiction story published in the Mystery
day job is working
with databases in the legal field, although he was recently furloughed due to
Covid. He lives just outside of Minneapolis and is married, with two
Fawcett has been writing for fun or money since she
was able to hold a pen. A Jersey Girl at heart, she got her journalism degree
at Marquette University in Milwaukee and now writes mostly technical articles
about hydraulics and an occasional short story or poem on any other subject.