“They’ll kill him, Smitty. They’ll kill my son. He won’t tell’em where the money is. He can’t tell ’em. He knows nothing about it. I stole the money. And I can’t give it back to ’em. I used every dime of it to pay the medical bills we racked up while he was in the hospital. Funny, isn’t it? I steal money from the mob to pay off my son’s medical bills. And my son dies anyway. Funny. Really funny.”
That was two hours ago. The confessions of a small-time hood, who actually loved his family. Loved his only son. The world is cruel, son. Nothing fair about living if you’re piss poor and there’s no one around to help pull the strings. You’re just another chump in an ocean of chumps. A fool in a graveyard of fools.
The kid was ten years old. A thin, sickly kid with the smile of an angel.
His only sin was his father was a small-time cog in a big city mob. A small time hood with not much brains.
“Where they hiding him?” he asked, eyes as black as stellar black holes boring into the face of the grieving father.
“Over on Vermont in that empty gas station there on the corner.”
Smitty nodded, slipped dark shades over his eyes, and left the grieving father standing in the middle of his apartment. The drive across town in a light falling rain was almost surreal. Neon lights from a thousand different signs reflected off the wet streets in vivid splashes of brilliant color.
A half block away from the corner of Vermont and Rose he pulled over and turned the engine off and sat in the dark for a moment.
Swift. Harsh. Ruthless. That’s how you succeeded in this line of business, Smitty thought to himself. Show no mercy. Offer no excuses. Walk in—do the job—leave and don’t look back. Never look back. In the darkness of the car a thin snarl of an unseen grin bent his lips back. Reaching inside his coat he pulled out a Remington .22 caliber semi-automatic. From a different coat pocket he withdrew a bulky-looking fluted silencer and screwed it onto the end of the four-inch barrel. And then he opened the door and rolled out of the car in one fluid, cat-like motion.
He had a knack. A talent. A natural gift. He moved like a feral animal from one shadow to the next in the brief walk it took from his car to the empty gas station and not once did a sliver of light reveal his presence.
Gripping the bulky weapon casually in his gloved right hand he moved up to the back door of the gas station and lifted his left hand and rapped twice on the door.
The door opened just a sliver—a bright lance of light flooding into the dark night. And into the sliver of yellow light the shoulders and head of a semi-tamed gorilla drifted. He didn’t hesitate. Lifting the weapon up in one smooth motion he put a slug directly into the man’s right eye and then stepped back and used a foot to kick the door wide open.
Inside were three other gorillas. All three were scrambling to their feet and reaching for their weapons when Smitty stepped in and pulled the trigger three more times. Puft! Puft! Puft!
Two dead. One almost dead. Walking over to the one living Smitty kicked the man in the face to get the man’s attention and stared down into the man’s pain-wracked face.
“Tell your boss he’s an idiot. Kidnapping a kid of one of his most loyal soldiers and thinking he’s going to get his money back is stupid. I took the money. Your boss weaseled out on paying me for my last job, so I decided to pay myself. Got that? Yes? Make sure you tell your boss when you see him.”
Just to make sure the wounded gorilla did remember Smitty slammed a foot hard into the side of the man’s face again.
Be ruthless. Never look back.
BIO: B.R. Stateham writes hard-boiled noir. He’s almost as old as dirt, but it doesn't stop him from thinking up dark, mean stories to entertain the little kiddies in the dead of night.