Let's welcome Chris on his TKnC debut...
The car rolled into the mall parking lot, headlights off. Dmitri took a long slurp of coffee and smacked his lips a few times.
The sound burrowed into Lamar’s brain, rattled around, repeated itself over and over. Lamar curled his gloved fingers into fists. The busted vents in Dmitri’s Geo spewed frozen air and dust.
“So that’s your genius plan? That’s what you couldn’t tell me before?”
“What is wrong with it?” Dmitri said. “It is, what do you call it? A smash and grab?”
Trusting Dmitri seemed like a passable idea when they were guzzling Bud Lights a couple of nights ago. Lamar needed money real bad. Asia, the stripper he was shacking up with, had expensive tastes.
Dmitri said he could get him a few thousand, easy. “You show up Wednesday morning,” Dmitri said. “Five o’clock. You will learn more then.”
Lamar figured that whatever Dmitri had up his sleeve was sketchy. But he figured it would be more along the lines of petty crime.
“Your plan is fucking stupid. That’s the problem.”
“It will work, my friend.” He took another nasty slurp of coffee. Lamar clutched his fists tighter. “I know many others who have done this but in the daytime. We do our work under the cloak of night. See? It is better that way.”
“First of all, the sun is rising. And second, I thought you’d done this before?”
“Not me exactly, but people I know. They tell me how this works.” He drummed on the steering wheel, his smile showing teeth the color of margarine. How he could be so relaxed in this situation was beyond Lamar’s understanding. “You worry too much. You trust Dmitri. Everything will be ok.”
They pulled in front of the automatic doors that led to the food court and Barrister’s Jewelry. Dmitri nearly coughed up a lung when they got outside and hocked a loogie onto the ice. Lamar wondered if Dmitri could go five seconds without making a disgusting noise. The man was like a walking wet fart.
Dmitri popped the trunk. He handed Lamar a sledgehammer. Of course, Lamar thought, he makes the big guy do the dirty work.
“That window. Next to the door. You smash that.”
The wind kicked up the powdery snow, stinging Lamar’s face and neck. He trudged over, planted himself by the window. At least the jewelry store was inside a heated building.
Lamar saw the reflection of headlights as he shattered the window.
He whirled around. A police car circling the edge of the parking lot. He dropped the sledgehammer, grabbed Dmitri’s sleeve and pulled him into the bushes. The cruiser pulled into the lot and shined a spotlight on them.
“The cops do rounds here? You didn’t check that out?”
“This is not a problem.”
“What the fuck are you talking about? What could make you worried?”
Dmitri shrugged. Pulled a handgun out of an inside jacket pocket and loaded it. “You see? I handle it.”
“What is this shit? I didn’t agree to this.”
“You would rather spend twenty years in jail then?”
“It wouldn’t be that long. A couple of years for attempted burglary—tops.”
“Maybe for you. But you do not have the priors.”
“So you think you'll get less jail time by killing a cop? Are you fucking insane?”
Dmitri exhaled, aimed. Lamar couldn’t believe it—he was actually going to do it. He always knew Dmitri was full of dumb confidence. But this?
“Don’t do it, man. I’m serious.”
“Shut up. You are killing my concentration.”
Lamar didn’t have to think about it. He reached behind him and grabbed the handle of the sledgehammer, lifted it from the snow.
He swung and the metal head struck Dmitri’s bony chest. The strike rang hollow like Dmitri had no organs. Sent him flying into the brick wall with a thud.
Finally, sounds Lamar liked. Dmitri colored the snow pink with the blood he coughed up.
Lamar leaned in, whispered, “You worried yet?”
Chris Rhatigan’s fiction has been published in A Twist of Noir, Mysterical-E, Yellow Mama and Pulp Metal Magazine. He also has work upcoming at the brand-spanking-new Pulp Carnivale. His blog, Death by Killing, is all about the world of short crime fiction.