One Down, Two to Go by Alan Peden

The cemetery was old and gray. I placed the rose on the grave and turned round. Walked back to the gate to wait.

The car pulled up in a hurray. An old Volkswagen.

“Get in.” Weasel had wound the window down. I noticed a thin line of sweat along his upper lip. He was shitting himself already.

I walked round to the passenger side and slammed the door shut.

“Fuck sake, you trying to break my car?” he said, hammering away before I had a chance to get my seat belt on.

“Looks to me like you could do with a new one,” I said.

“Did you talk to Tommy on the phone?” Weasel headed up through town.

“I talked to him earlier.”

“What did you tell him?”

“I told him to fuck off.”

“What?” Weasel screamed at the top of his voice. “Are you fucking insane?”

He moved about the seat as if he’d just pissed himself. “Do you have the rest of his money?”

“No.”

“You’re fucking jesting of course!”

“Watch your driving,” I told him.

“Fuck the driving!” He shook his head. Almost hit a cyclist. “He’s going to rip your fucking head off.”

“Is he now?”

“Oh, man, is he ever.” He looked over at me. “Tommy’s the hardest bastard I’ve ever met, you know that?”

“I didn’t know that, but thanks for sharing it with me.”

“You’re a mental bastard. You’re going to die.” He started mumbling to himself.

I watched the world go by, thinking he had finished ranting, but he hadn’t.

“The way it works, I get the stuff from Tommy, good stuff mind, no shite. I get it, give it to you, you hand over the money. I give the money to Tommy, he gives me my cut. You do not, and I’ll repeat myself here, do not, fucking ever, give me a bag of money that’s only half there!”

I tilted the seat back a bit.

“Are you fucking listening?!” he screamed at me.

“I hear you. But can we listen to the radio instead?”

“Fuck off. He’s going to cut your dick off. He’s going to make you feel so much pain. He’ll batter any bastard that gets in his way.”

“Really?”

“You don’t get it, do you? He’s kicked the shite out of hard bastards, so just think what he’ll do to an old bastard like you.”

I looked at him. “How old do you think I am?”

“Fifty five.”

I laughed. “Forty three. I went gray early.”

“Forty three my arse. Old bastard.”

The traffic thinned out the further West we got. Then we hit the schemes.

“I’ve seen him do so much damage to people. Even the fucking Police are feared of him. He could kick the shit out of anybody.”

“I’m sure we can have a talk, sort things out.”

“You told him to fuck off. You think that you’re going to walk out of there in one piece?”

I shrugged. He stopped the car. We got out and I shut the door hard.

“Fuck sake, could you slam it any harder?”

We walked into the stairway. It smelled of piss and puke. It was dark in here, like we’d entered another world. Which we had. Scum World

Top floor. Weasel knocked twice. Then four rapid. A code. Not the Police with their battering ram.

The door opened and a figure slipped away back along the darkened hallway.

We walked in and Weasel pushed me into the living room.

“You the bastard who ripped me off?” Tommy asked.

“Julia Coffey.”

“What?” He sat in a scabby old chair. Had torn jeans on, and big boots.

“My daughter. The sixteen year old who OD’d because you got her hooked.”

He stood up. “You’re dead, old man.”

I took out the silenced gun. “This is for Julia.” Shot Weasel in the forehead. Shot Tommy in the kneecap. He went down screaming like a girl.

I shut the front door and took my combat knife out. The one with the serrated edge. Big black fucker.

He was going to take a lot longer to die than my daughter.

Alan is Scottish but lives in New York State. He’s currently working on a crime novel. He has a story coming out in the Summer edition of Demolition magazine

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