Category Archives: Alan Peden

P71 by Alan Peden

P71   by  Alan Peden

Officially, it was a Crown Victoria P71 Interceptor, but to Jake McCallum, it was a black beauty. The paintwork shone, the dark glass hiding its inner secrets. He imagined the many faces that had been sitting in the back seat, some looking for a way to escape, others resigned to their fate.

‘Move your fuckin’ ass, grease monkey!’

Jake turned at the sound of his boss shouting across the garage ‘I’m goin’, boss!’ he shouted back. Old fuck. He’d wanted to be a cop, but had failed the exams, so now he worked on cars. And as he wasn’t properly trained, he’d ended up in this crap-hole.

The P71 looked even better up close. Get it cleaned up and runnin’ proper his boss had said. Al Capone’s Used Cars couldn’t function without used cars, so get your fuckin’ ass workin’.

Jake worked on cars all day. Al – my real name’s Kowinski, but don’t tell no fucker – Capone’s used car lot did a fair turnaround, but sometimes an old cop car would come in, and get sold online, where they could mask the paint chips and the smoke shooting out the back.

The P71 looked like a mean fucker. Jake turned round to see if the old bastard Kowinski was looking, then opened the driver’s door. Jesus, it even smelled good. Cop sweat, prisoner fear and maybe a hookers last trick. He sat down behind the wheel. It felt solid. Like it would run a tractor-trailer off the road.

This was one serious car. Of course, he’d worked on other Police cars too, but they were usually ones that were dead on their wheels, with only enough work done on them to make them run for a couple of thousand miles until the sucker who bought it got it home.

This one was different. It wasn’t anything Jake could put his finger on, but the car just spoke to him.

‘What? You sittin’ on your fuckin ass again?’

Jake jumped. ‘I’m just checking the car out, Mr. Capone.’

Kowinski walked away, shaking his head. Fuckin’ boy would have him in the gutter, speed he worked.

 

Five days was all it took. P71 looked a million dollars. Of course, he could have had it finished long before now if the old man hadn’t had him working on other cars. The old fuck was busting his balls. Now Jake had decided that enough was enough, and Kow-fuckin-inski could take his job and stick it right up his rectal passage.

Darkness was his friend. He’d heard that line in a rapist movie, but for tonight, it suited Jake down to the ground. The night was clear, no sign of rain. He opened the chain-link gate round the back of the garage. Despite the warning sign, their was no big, fuck-off Doberman to chew his nuts off.

He closed the gate again. Not that there would be much traffic in this part of town. This wasn’t just a one-horse town, it was a fuckin no-horse town. The only time the police acted was when the local donut place didn’t open on time.

P71 was waiting for him. Just like he’d left her. He had the keys in his pocket and sat in the seat, running his hand round the wheel. She sounded good as he revved her hard. With a car like this, he’d be revving Sara Moore hard. The thought made him smile. She thought he was a loser, with no car and no prospects. A boy who lived with his mother. But he’d told her in the diner, I’m 21, and my mother lives with me. Big difference. But she didn’t believe him. Just walked away and served more coffee.

Tuesday night. Nine o’clock. She went to line-dancing over at the Old Time Tavern. Old Time Shithole, more like, but in a town where the only other source of amusement was a game of bingo in the local firehouse, the Tavern was their Manhattan nightclub.

The P71 roared up to the gate, and Jake smiled as he left her idling, waiting for him to get his ass in gear and get the fuck out of there. He left the gate open as he drove out of Capone’s parking lot.

Cruising in this car felt natural to him.  Especially when he was packing some ice. Or heat. Or whatever the fuck it was. But daddy’s old .38 tucked into his waistband made him feel good. Now he felt like a cop, like the man he should have been.

How in the name of sweet fuckin Mama could Sara not be attracted to him now? She had been seeing a cop from the next town over, a big bruiser with a square head (and probably a small penis), but the last he’d heard, they had broken up. So now he would cruise and see if Sara would care to step out with him.

He laughed in the darkness of the car. Step out with him. Fuck him raw, more like.

The Tavern was emptying out when he got there. He only just spotted Sara’s car leaving the busy lot. He followed her along Route 15K. He knew where she lived.

Jake had made sure all the lights and electrics were working, and switched them on now. The siren blared, the red-and-blues behind the front grill flashed menacingly.

Sara pulled over. Jake got out, and walked up to the driver’s side. She rolled her window down. He flashed her a smile as he bent down. Saw the bruiser in the passenger seat. The real cop. Fuck.

Jake pulled the .38. Shot the cop in the face before he had a chance to open the door. Jake pulled Sara from the car. Put her in the back of the P71. She screamed in fear, calling for the cops.

Tonight he was a cop. And she was going to show him she loved him. And tomorrow?

There would be no tomorrow.

Old School by Alan Peden

Detective Inspector Frank Miller looked at the knife in the assailant’s hand and thought his whole day was fucked.

‘Put the knife away, Darren.’ Miller kept his eyes on the man, seeing the still form of the cashier lying in the corner. She hadn’t moved since he came in, and Miller hoped she was just unconscious.

‘Shut the fuck up, Miller!’ Darren shouted, lifting the blade. ‘I only allowed you in here because I was getting fucking bored. And because that bitch won’t get up. So don’t push me.’

Miller wished he’d put his name down for the Lothian and Borders Police negotiators course at Tulliallan, their training school.

‘Take it easy, Darren. I’m only here to talk to you, see if we can get this resolved peacefully. There’s no pressure here.’

‘Sure, sure, it’s all fucking talk. Of course there’s pressure here.’

Miller looked around the stock-room, at the cases of booze all stacked up. Cartons of cigarettes had been knocked over in the struggle, presumably when the cashier had fought with Darren.

Her name was Suzanne and she was 23 years old. Not a match for Darren – if that was his real name – who looked to be in his early forties. He was in need of a shave and a haircut.

Miller was standing in his shirtsleeves, rolled up, showing Darren that he wasn’t armed.

‘Do you need anything, Darren? A drink? A smoke, perhaps?’ Christ, Miller felt like a prick when the words came out.

Offer them something to make them comfortable,

the negotiator outside had told him. Let him think you’re his friend. Gain his confidence, but don’t make him think you’re going to try and get the better of him. We have armed response teams for that. ‘Are you trying to be fucking funny, Miller?’ Darren screamed.

Miller wished he smoked, but he didn’t and couldn’t fake it. He was sweating like a bastard now. He kept his hands in view and reached over to a box of Carlsberg Special. He popped the tab and took a swallow. Fucking hell. He passed it over to Darren.

The air was hot in here. There were no windows. There had been years ago, but they’d been boarded up after one too many break-ins. Now there was only a fire door.

Darren threw the can down and the brown liquid rushed out at Miller’s shoes. ‘You think you can make me let her go by giving me a can of Carly Spesh?’

Then Darren did something that took Miller completely by surprise: he laughed. ‘You don’t remember me, do you, Miller?’

Miller edged slightly sideways, trying to get between the girl and Darren. Just like he’d been taught. Darren moved too. Move and counter-move.

‘No, Darren, I don’t remember you. Should I?’

He smiled at Miller. ‘Darren Holmes. 1993. Hibs versus Hearts. I was a casual back then. Loved the fucking fighting, I did. Then some old bastard copper got me round the back of Rose Street Lane, and kicked the shit out of me. A young copper stood and watched. Now it’s payback. It’s why I’m here, why I asked for you.’

Miller remembered now. That’s why they were here; the back of this stock-room opened up into that same lane.

He remembered the old school copper; Bobby something, long-retired, maybe dead now. Bobby had given a man a hiding after he’d caught him. Miller had stood and looked at him, not believing what he was seeing. After watching for a few moments, he ran up to stop it, but the man was unconscious.

‘He fucking fell, okay?’ the old copper said, staring hard at Miller.

Miller had nodded. And now it was back to haunt him.

He looked at the girl. Saw the blood now. No sign of life.

He moved with the stealth of a street fighter, better than Darren ever was. He grabbed the hand holding the knife and head-butted him.

Darren went down hard, his nose broken. He lay unconscious in a heap, and Miller thought he knew how old Bobby felt all those years ago.

Sometimes the old school ways were better after all.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Alan Peden

Fate. Sometimes you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. It happens every day in life. You decide to take the later train and it jumps the rails and the next thing, you’re wife gets asked to come down to the morgue to identify your body.

Or you pop out late at night, just down to the 7-Eleven to pick up a six-pack and the guy who just got fired from his job is in there too, only he’s in there with a .38 and an attitude. You hold your hands up just like he says, but he’s not having any witnesses left to put him away. So he pulls the trigger and gets lucky with a head shot after taking down the cashier.

Fate can step out of the bushes and ruin the rest of your life with a flash of steel, or it can play around with the brakes on the tractor-trailer sitting behind you on the Thruway just as the traffic starts to back up.

Liam O’Neil didn’t believe in fate.

Things happened to people because he made them happen. Pure and simple.

* * *

Eve Lennon had two hours and twenty-eight minutes left to live. She had entered the crossroads in her life two weeks ago, and fate had dealt a hand for her. If she had left her office five minutes earlier, she would have been further along the line in Starbucks. Instead, it took her that little bit longer to get served. Five minutes was all it took. She was looking at her watch when she walked out the door and bumped into Liam O’Neil.

It wasn’t fate that led him there that day. He was hunting. And he found his quarry. She apologized. He smiled.

Eve was going to die tonight because of attention to detail, meticulous planning and Liam’s ability to do the job with the minimum of fuss. Nothing to do with fate. She was dead whether she had chosen to drive the Lexus to work or had hopped on the Metro-North Railroad.

* * *

 

He lived in an abandoned house in the woods. It was more of a cabin really, but the track leading to it was overgrown. Nobody had been there in years.

He didn’t bring them in here. He would let them go, then shoot them in the woods. Then hang them up on the frame he used to cut up the deer, then he’d open them up and let what blood was left, drain out. Then he’d place them to be found in the city.

He wanted to get some more practice in before going to abduct Eve.

He put on his camouflage outfit and went into the woods to practice his hunting skills.

* * *

The shot rang out, loud in the quiet of the woods. The bullet found it’s mark. The stamp of running feet on the forest floor. Hands swiping branches out of the way.

This was what it was all about. The hunt. The kill. The feeling of victory.

‘Holy shit,’ Ray said, stopping dead in his tracks.

‘Mother of God,’ Jack said, stopping beside Ray. He took his cell phone out.

Ray put a hand on his arm. ‘This isn’t hunting season, friend: we call this in, we go to jail.’

‘What do we do now?’

‘Let’s take him further into the woods. He won’t be found for a long time. By then, we’ll be long gone.’

They each grabbed an end of Liam O’Neil and lifted him further into the density of the trees. The shot had been a good one, right in the head, and if it had been a deer like he thought, Ray would have been proud.

Liam O’Neil didn’t believe in fate. He would have thought that two hunters out shooting at exactly the same time he was honing his skills was mere coincidence.

Eve Lennon locked the back door to her office and opened the door to her Lexus. Looked at her watch. She had thirty-two years left to live.

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

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

Payday by Alan Peden

‘Hurry up, for fuck’s sake!’ Reg’s arse was hanging out of the window, his boots slipping on the brickwork.

Dan was pushing Reg’s arse but he seemed to be stuck. ‘Pull yourself through!’

Reg gave a grunt and suddenly disappeared into the house with a thump. ‘Fuck me. I hope they don’t have a fucking Doberman or something.’

Dan looked through the window with a torch, shining it around the room. They were in the back of the house, and this room was a sitting room, the one that was probably reserved for entertaining guests. Reg popped his head back up.

‘Are you going to stand there all night?’ he asked.

‘Can you not shut up for one fuckin’ minute?’

‘Get in here before somebody sees you, or else we’ll both be spending time in one of Her Majesty’s holiday camps.’

‘Yeah, and the only game you’ll be playing is in the showers.’

‘Keep your fuckin’ voice down,’ Reg said through gritted teeth. His arse was tightening at the thought of playing a parlour game behind bars. Let’s-nob-Reg-after-lights-out wasn’t spurring him on.

Dan climbed up onto the window ledge and Reg pulled him the rest of the way in. This was one of the oldest houses in the village, and one of the biggest. Some rich bastard had moved in six months ago, and nobody knew who the hell the family were. Which only served to get the rumour mill churning at full blast.

‘Maybe he’s a drug baron,’ Dan said, shining the torch around again. Reg has his out too, sweeping the room.

‘He’s not, he’s just a rich fuck that needs us to take some stuff off his hands.’ His light caught some large paintings on the walls, but nothing with titties in it, like his calendar back home.

‘Check some of this shit out,’ Dan said.

‘Shit’s the fuckin’ word. Who would have tat like that on the wall?’

‘Some of those paintings go for a load of money.’

‘Well, if our pockets were the size of of your mouth, then maybe we could take a few of those shitey things, but we’re here for one thing; jewelry.’

‘How do we even know he has jewelry in here?’ Dan asked.

‘Fuck me; you never listen, do you? I had a drink with their gardener last week. Pished he was. He was running off at the mouth. Saying how they were loaded in here, and how they had all this jewelry stashed away.’

‘How would he know?’

‘He fucking works here. He knows everything. He told me they’d be out tonight.’

‘If you say so.’

‘I do. So let’s get the fuck upstairs.’

‘Why won’t it be down here?’ Dan asked.

‘Because the lady of the house is not going to keep it lying down here in the fuckin’ bread bin, is she?’

‘I don’t know about this,’ Dan grumbled.

‘Look, we take their bling, we off load it, they get the insurance money, everybody’s happy.’

They went upstairs. The owners of the house weren’t out for the evening. They were in bed. Their blood soaked the bedcovers, and the old man still had the knife sticking out of his chest.

Dan and Reg both heard the click of the shotgun. ‘Thanks for coming round lads,’ the gardener said.

‘What the fuck?’ Reg said.

‘I knew you would take it in. Come round here and steal their jewelry. But I caught you after you’d murdered the pair of them. Shot you both dead. However, as I’ve only got two shells, the third burglar fucked off with the gems before I could reload. So now the Police will be hunting a fictitious third killer, and I’ll have my pension well sorted.’

‘You can’t do this,’ Reg said, just before the gardener fired the first shot. Dan didn’t say a word before he died. The gardener smiled. Laid some jewelry on the floor, as if it had been dropped in a hurry. The rest was safely stashed.

He went over to the phone by the side of the bed and dialled. He wouldn’t be cutting anybody’s grass ever again, that was for sure.

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