Friday, 18 March 2011
NO LOOSE ENDS by Charlie Wade
No Loose Ends
Bill was getting too mad.
We’d been set up. I was annoyed too, but he was flipping his lid. Dangerous thing that is.
“What are we gonna do with her?”
I looked down at the trussed up policewoman. He’d tied her up pretty good. A bit too good. I found myself wondering who else he’d tied up like that before. And what for.
“I’m thinking.” It’s true, I was. Weren’t no ideas coming though.
“Fucking bitch,” said Bill. A trickle of spit rolled down his chin. “How did she find us? She couldn’t have followed us. Weren’t no one following us.”
I shook my head. He was right. We’d checked twenty, maybe thirty times after the robbery, no one was behind us. One hell of a job it was. Bookies in the middle of night, hundred grand in the safe. Good tip off that was. Damn good tip off.
“Maybe she’s telling the truth,” I said. “Maybe she did just see the cars and wonder what was going off?”
Four cars outside a deserted farmhouse at night. It would attract attention. Especially if you knew it was empty. A local cop would. And she was the local cop.
“We gotta do this now.” Bill was sweating hard. I knew he had it in him though. I knew he could shoot her.
“Yeah. Reckon we outta. They’ll be finished divvying up soon.”
Al and his brother Ray were in the kitchen, dividing the money into four piles. Neither of them wanted to shoot her. I knew they wouldn’t. I didn’t want to neither. Didn’t seem right, shooting a defenceless woman. It had to be done though, had to be. She’d seen our faces. She could identify us. We couldn’t have that. There could be no loose ends. She had to die.
Bill walks towards her. Sweats pouring off him now, like he’s in some sauna. He holds his gun out, pointing it at her face. His hands shaking but he’s only eight feet away, he ain’t gonna miss.
He pulls his trigger.
I pull mine too.
The crack of Bill’s pistol was overpowered by the roar of my shotgun. My ears rang, felt like they’d exploded. As the smoke cleared, I looked past the barrel. The body was full of shot. A pair of eyes stared at me, pleading, questioning. Slowly the colour in the eyes faded as life flushed from them.
I couldn’t stay in that room long. I felt sick, needed some air that didn't taste of cordite. I went in the kitchen. Ray and Al had finished counting. They were smoking the big cigars we’d found in the safe. They offered me one, but I shook my head. I needed fresh air. I stood by the sink and ran some water, cupping my hands under it.
“All done?” asked Ray.
I nodded. “Bill’s still in there. God knows what he’s up to now.”
They laughed. They knew Bill was a sick bastard, none of us would put anything past him.
“We better clear out,” I said. “Someone might have heard the shots.”
Right on cue, it happened.
The policewoman burst into the room and pointed the shotgun at Ray. He reached for his gun but was too late, she opened a barrel on him. She turned straight away and emptied the other barrel into Al. He’d already picked up his gun, aimed it and pulled the trigger. His gun's blast was tiny though, like no bullet had actually come out.
She looks at me. Both of her barrels empty and two dying people sat at the table with a pile of money on it.
She nods her head. “Not bad was it?”
“Very believable,” I said. “Very, very believable.”
You see, just before Bill pulled the trigger I turned round. Pointed the shotgun at him. He looked surprised, even more surprised when I pulled the trigger. He might have shot at her with his gun full of blanks, but mine had the real thing in it. After that I untied her, gave her the shotgun and a few more cartridges. All I had to do then was keep the boys in the kitchen and wait.
She lowers the shotgun. “Do you know how fucking scary that was, him shooting at me?”
“Sorry,” I says. “I told you they’d be blanks.” I’d gone out back, dug up the guns and swapped the bullets this morning. She knew I was going to do it, but had to trust me. Must have been real hard.
“Come on then,” she says, “we’d better hurry. You got the live bullets?”
I nodded and grabbed an old coffee tin from under the sink. I replaced the bullets in the guns, the gloves on my hands making it awkward. Then I fired off a few shots to make it look like they’d missed her and threw the cash into a holdall.
The money wasn’t going to be missed, you see. It should never have been there. The owner of the bookies was not going to report the break in. The bookies’ CCTV only showed three people going in, too. I was the driver, and I made sure I was out of sight of the cameras the whole time Al cracked the safe. No one knew I was involved in any way. It was Ray and Al’s job, see. They picked me and Bill and didn’t tell no one else.
Going out to the cars, I got in the newest.
“See you then, sis. Give us quarter of an hour before you ring in, eh?”
She nodded. Her patrol car stood behind her - Fighting Crime And The Causes of Crime - written along the side.
“Are you coming to Jenny’s birthday party next week?”
I shrugged, but her stare forces me to turn it into a nod.
“Good,” she says. “You are her only uncle, you know. You really ought to make more of an effort.”
“Yes sis,” I replied, starting up the car.
Charlie Wade lives in Derbyshire, England and has written two unpublished books, a comedy spy thriller and a post credit crunch dystopia. He's had a few short stories published online places and his story, Pleading and Bleeding, will be in Out Of The Gutter Magazine issue 7. He blogs at www.spiesliesandpies.blogspot.com