Two thugs are driving in a car,
“What’s so special
guy?” The Fat Thug says to the Skinny Thug.
“Actually, nothing. He’s
normal guy. Kinda short. Bald. And…notoriously hard to kill,” said the Skinny
“Really. I bet I could kill
“I heard the last guy was
But this guy, he blew him away,” said the Skinny one.
“Yeh. The funny part is
this guy, he didn’t even make the hitter for a hitter! He thought he was being
mugged!” The Skinny one chuckled.
“Yep. So, he don’t
there’s a legit contract on him! He still thinks he shot a mugger!” Skinny thug
choked on his own laughter, coughing.
Fat one scratched
“That’s right. We
pick him up
for the fake job, take him to it. And put him in the ground. No fuss, no muss.
Easiest 50 g’s you’ve ever made.”
“Damn right. Work smarter,
harder,” said the Fat one.
They laughed, driving on.
Wake up. Pee. Shower. Shave and
dress yourself. Make your bed and…
Henry sat on the edge of the motel
mattress and reached for the drawer next to the bed. He pulled the revolver
from the drawer and opened the cylinder, carefully sliding a bullet into the
chamber. He closed his eyes, and snapped it shut.
The phone rang.
Henry paused for a moment, trying
to decide what to do. He opened his eyes and put the gun in his jacket pocket.
He’d taken the job for these two bozos, he just needed the money. So he
answered the phone.
“I heard about you before.”
fat one said from the back seat. Henry sat quiet. Great, he thought. Talkers.
“I heard you had like a
breakdown or something. Something about you shooting some kid.” Henry saw the
skinny thug glance at his cohort through the rearview.
Henry sat still. The fat one sat
deeper into the backseat, slouching. “Yeah, something about your—”
“My wife left me.”
“She left me so I just retired.”
The fat one
scoffed. “I didn’t know there was a retirement plan. Besides, the pay is good,
“I just need the money right
now.” Henry sighed. This guy’s not gonna shut up, he thought. “I shot
some punk who tried to rob me. It was nothing. But my wife never saw me the
same so…one day she just left. That’s it.”
The skinny one could feel the
tension in the car. Why pester the guy? Just get him to the drop point and put
him in the ground! Christ…
Henry said. “I just
need the money, that’s all. Then I’m done.”
The fat one snickered. This guy
ain’t so tough.
“Fuck wives.” He said
back seat. And that’s all it took.
Henry pulled the revolver from
his pocket and shot the driver. The windshield turned red as the splatter
filled the car with eerie red shadows from the freeway lights.
“What the fu—”
The fat one didn’t
finish as Henry turned and pulled the trigger, but the gun only clicked on the
empty cylinder. He could hear the engine winding up as the dead guy’s foot sank
into the gas pedal.
The fat thug scrambled to pull
the automatic from his belt and in his hurry, accidently discharged it, blowing
off his genitals. He shrieked, pulling the blood-stained weapon with both hands,
trying to aim it, but Henry grabbed the gun as it slipped and slid in his fist.
The man screamed, firing holes in the roof as the vehicle sped off the shoulder
and into a tree.
Henry was the only one wearing
seatbelt. The two thugs, torn and mutilated, had been thrown out the windshield
and their bodies crushed against the large tree, lying against it and the
smoking wreck like bloody, broken marionettes.
Henry pulled his face from the
deflating airbag and tore off his seatbelt, pushing his way out of the
now-burning wreckage. His body began to hurt, the adrenaline was wearing
I’m too old for this shit, he thought as he limped
into the forest away from the crash.
“How the hell did he know?!
could he?!” The Boss slammed his fist into the table, hurting his wrist and
trying not to show it. “Somebody talked…”
known, baby. He
ain’t smart like you.” The woman came around the table to massage his
“You tell me. You were married
to the guy for ten years.” He glared at her.
“Don’t give me that
look. He’s a
moron. He’s clueless. Ten years I’m with this guy and he still thinks I
dunno what he does for money. Thinks I think he’s a freakin’ traveling
salesman.” She came around him to sit on the edge of the table, pulling him
“You’re the boss,
why I’m with you. He’s a nobody.”
There was a knock at the door
and it swung open. A bouncer entered followed by the pounding bass of the club
“I said knock first, dammit!
busy here!” The Boss shoved the girl onto the nearby sofa.
“Uh…I did, though.”
“Whatever. What do you got
me?” The Boss settled into his chair.
“That ex-cop you was talking
about, the investigator, he’s here.” The bouncer motioned to the doorway.
“Yeh. Send him in.”
Henry stumbled out of the brush,
tripping on some roots and vines and falling face-first onto the very same. He
cursed, then stopped himself. Inwardly kicking himself for being so weak and
impulsive. Why kill that asshole? He thought, you could be getting paid right
now. But now those thugs are dead and you’re just running. Either from their people,
or the cops.
Either way, you’re dead,
thought. Stupid, stupid!
He crossed a small river at a
shallow point, slipping on the round stones. It was getting on to be late
afternoon and with the sun to his right, he saw the city in the distance, peeking
over the trees. Maybe you could head over to the club where Wendy works, he
wondered, not wanting to return to the motel.
The investigator, a man named
Gomez, plopped the accordion folder onto the table. “I got school records,
medical records, financial records, military records, and a short resume. Plus
some of my own research.”
couldn’t hide his surprise. Rubbing his fist.
“That’s correct. What’s
with your hand?” Gomez asked.
“Nothing. Whaddya got?”
Gomez pulled a small notebook
from his jacket pocket. “Naval Academy… speaks four languages, trained
“What?” The Boss whirled
the girl on the sofa, who shrugged.
“Yeah…I thought you
guy was a moron.” Gomez looked at his notes, flipping through. “Turns out, your
boy Henry was a pretty highly-trained counter-intelligence agent. He speaks Spanish,
“That’s only three.”
“Three languages. That’s
three.” The Boss looked again at the girl.
“English is a language,
Remember?” Gomez walked over to the desk, leaning his weight against it,
hearing it creak. “Jimmy, we go way back. I know it’s none of my business but,
what’s your beef with this guy? I thought he worked for you at some point.”
“He never worked for us.
sort of a, um, free-agent type. And you’re right, it ain’t none of your
business.” He stared at the girl on the leather sofa. “He’s a…a loose thread.
That’s all. I’m just tying up loose ends.”
The club music was pulsating so
loud that even from the outside Henry could feel it in his stomach. His suit
was in disarray, and he tried to blend in but when he got to the door the
bouncer simply let him past the velvet rope with only a strange look, no
charge. He didn’t pause to think about it as he knew Wendy would be working tonight.
She owed him a favor from a previous lifetime, in which he had killed a man
who’d assaulted her sister. She would help, he kept thinking. Maybe give him
some money or a safe place to go. Either or, he’d get a couple drinks and be on
his way. He wormed through the crowd of dancing people who jumped and shoved
one another, reaching the bar and securing himself a spot. He saw Wendy down at
the end and he waved, calling out to her over the music. He caught her
attention and she recognized him, making her way down the bar towards him.
“What?! Don’t lie
The Boss screamed into the phone.
“I ain’t lying, boss!
He’s at the bar, ordering a drink! Right now!” The bouncer shouted over
“I knew it! I knew he knew,
now he knows that I know! Now he’s here for payback!” The Boss scrambled over
to the small safe in the corner, hidden behind some file boxes. He entered the
combination and pulled a small automatic pistol from inside.
“Whoa, whoa, take it easy.”
“I’m gonna take care
myself. And you’re gonna help me.” The Boss waved the weapon at Gomez. Gomez
sighed, drew his pistol from an ankle holster. “He’s unarmed, right?”
On the dance floor, Henry drank
the soda water Wendy gave him. She asked if he was alright, told him he looked
terrible, he just nodded and drank. The music was giving him a headache, and
the strobe lights…
Then he noticed the two men
coming down the stairs from the VIP area. One was the owner of the place, that much
he knew. The other one looked like a cop. But not a cop.
Then he saw the gun.
The cop-looking guy raised his
hand and in the split-second before he fired Henry dropped to the floor. The
shot rang out and there was a scream from someone in the crowd who was struck
by the stray bullet. The club owner aimed his weapon and Henry rolled into the
crowd of confusion, automatic fire ringing out as people around him started
Chaos erupted, and the music
played on. The bass pumped as panicking, screaming club-goers trampled each
other in their mass hysteria, running for exits, bathrooms, any cover around.
Henry rolled to his feet and
scrambled behind the bar, seeing Wendy slumped over. She was wounded but alive.
And it’s your fault, he thought. Something inside him snapped.
He grabbed at the heavy glass
Vodka. The two men continued to
shoot indiscriminately in their general direction as the mass of people pushed
away from the dance area, the annoying music continuing to pulse on an endless
loop. Cheap bastard couldn’t even afford a decent DJ, he thought. Henry
flung the vodka at the men, winding up and heaving them over the bar like
grenades and hearing Gomez shout in anger as a bottle shattered next to him,
covering him in alcohol. Gomez fired and his pistol clicked empty and Jimmy
tried to run past him but they fell over each other and tumbled down the
stairs. They crashed into the dance floor at a funny angle, and there was a
dull crack as Gomez’ neck snapped under Jimmy’s weight.
Henry fashioned a Molotov
cocktail, stuffing it with bar napkins and lighting them with the bar
matchbooks. He threw the flaming piece like a quarterback, and it exploded
against the two men on the floor, setting them both aflame.
The boss howled, waving his arms
and running around the dance floor as the beat dropped, setting other stools
and tables on fire as he ran headlong into them. Henry pulled the fire alarm
and the sprinkler system doused the boss and he came to rest in a steaming pile
of smoldering flesh, mouth agape with the lips and eyelids seared black. The
alarms shut off the music and Henry finally got some relief.
Remembering Wendy, he ran back
over to where she was laying. The bullet had gone through her love handle, but
it had exited the other side and aside from the bleeding she should be okay, he
told himself, hoping. If I get some supplies…
Henry pulled her up slowly,
getting her to her feet. “Let’s get to your car,” he said.
Wendy stopped him, squeezing his
shoulder. She reached under the bar for a small lockbox. It wasn’t locked, and
inside were rolls of twenties and fifties that hadn’t yet been changed from the
“Jimmy was always a lazy
Henry grabbed up the box, smiling. “Let’s get the hell
out of here.”
was born in San Antonio, TX. He served in the Army for four years as an
Infantryman stationed in Vilseck, Germany, and was honorably discharged. He
enjoys playing guitar, and anything guitar-related. Late in life Richard
developed a form of epilepsy and today, he enjoys working from home with his
two cats, writing in his spare time. He had the joy of working on The
Sagebrush Review on one of its earliest editions at UT San
Antonio. “He’s Nobody” is his first published story.
Rosmus is a Jersey
girl who looks like a Mob Wife & talks like Anybody’s from West Side
Story. She works out 5-6 days a week, so needs no excuse to drink or do
whatever the hell she wants She’s been published in the usual places, such as Shotgun
Honey, Hardboiled, A Twist of Noir, Megazine, Beat to a Pulp, Out
of the Gutter, Mysterical-E, and Rock and a Hard Place. She
is the editor/art director of the ezine, Yellow Mama. She’s a Gemini, a
Christian, and an animal rights activist. She has recently been branching out
into photo illustration, under the guidance and mentoring of Ann Marie Rhiel.