|Bill in Richmond, London.|
Thanks to all the entrants, readers and a big shout to the organizers, Eric Beetner, Holly West, Steve Weddle and the other good folk at Do Some Damage who also published the winning stories - and, of course, a thumbs up from the late, great Bill Hayes...
by Angel Luis Colón
Hank and Annie were about as good a pair as lit dynamite and an orphanage. They met at dirty little rub and tug just outside Dallas. He was tired after a long day of drug slinging. She was wearing a Walmart kimono and enough pancake makeup to kill a man twice her size. Only thing they loved more than pawing at each other was that damn methamphetamine—and maybe good old fashioned violence.
Old Nelson Hauer found out about the violence first hand with a rock to the side of the head. He made the mistake of being the Good Samaritan for what looked to be a nice, young couple hitching on the side of Interstate 15, a few miles south of Las Vegas. Last thing he saw was those two kissing the way teenagers would and speeding off in his ’62 Chevy II Nova.
“There’s Vegas up ahead, baby.” Hank ran his arm under his nose—narrowed his eyes at the red streak running from wrist to elbow. “Excited?”
“We’re getting married,” Annie sing-songed.
“We need some money.” He looked over to his lady love. “That old man have anything in the glove? Revolver or something?”
Annie kicked the compartment open and shook her blonde mop. “Nothing but maps and bullshit pamphlets.” She lifted one of the pamphlets and grimaced at the title, Chlamydia: Do’s and Don’ts.
“Gotta make a pit stop, then. Buckle up.” Hank took his own advice—for a change—kept that pedal down like he was trying to touch the asphalt with his boot.
Two lefts and a right outside of town and he found what he was looking for. Big old sign said ‘Gun Garage’. “Hold tight, lover.” That Nova bull charged into the storefront. Wasn’t a soul in the store, so nobody was hurt—not like Hank would have cared. “Stay in here and give a holler if the law shows up.” He booked it out of the car.
Annie nodded and lit a smoke.
Hank was back lickety-split with twin shotguns—one pink—“For my lady-love.” He offered it like a bouquet.
Annie was all smiles. “That is so god damn cute.”
Back on the road they went.
“So we get money…” Hank paused to light a cigarette. “…then we hit up that fancy chapel you talked about.”
Annie bounced in her seat. “The Little Church of the West Wedding Chapel? Oh, you’re the best.”
“Like I said; we need to hit an ATM.” He pulled the wheel hard and came to a skidding stop in front of a local bank, the lights popping to life inside. “Man the fort. I’ll be out in two minutes.”
Annie loaded her shotgun and winked. “I’ll keep the motor running, baby.”
Elena stripped off her wedding dress. A bright pink shotgun between the eyes was all the provocation she needed.
“Thank you, sweetie.” Annie lowered her aim and clenched the dress in her hand, her press-on nails raking against the delicate polyester mesh of the hem. “Give it right back when I’m finished.”
Hank took hold up duties with his own double barrel while Annie stripped. He took a second to admire that well-rounded derriere of hers and licked his lips. “Hurry on up—need to get out of here and get you into a hotel. Some place higher end like that Days Inn a few miles out.”
“You spoil me.” Annie forced the dress over her waist. She had a full head height over Elena—who stood there mouth agape and shaking like a lapdog.
Her fiancé, Bill, was busy nursing a shoulder full of buckshot—Hank’s way of telling him to stop being a fucking hero. Hank gave him a little kick and smiled. “Fucking flesh wound, champ. Man the fuck up.”
The dress on, Annie lifted her shotgun and aimed it over at the Reverend Joseph Love Parrish IV. “Alrighty—get started, Rev.” She turned to Elena. “You think you and your boyfriend can sign the license as witnesses?”
Two “I do”s, forty miles and thirteen squad cars later—there they were—surrounded on all sides by the boys in blue with a score of gun barrels trained on their sweaty heads.
It was easy enough to find the newly christened Mister and Misses Kapowski. One dead senior citizen, an obliterated store front, five bank tellers and a crying bride in a stretched out dress led the coppers towards I 15 South. No telling the tax payer dollars wasted in all that time.
“Shit.” Hank dumped a sloppy rail on the quivering skin between his thumb and index finger. He brought it to his nose and snorted. Sweat beaded across his brow and made trails down the side of his face. “Shut up,” he muttered.
The police were very insistent the pair came on out with hands up, but truthfully, not a one of them really wanted that to happen. That many itchy trigger fingers needed work to do.
Annie—well—Annie was a little too preoccupied covering up her half naked body and coming down from her high. “Maybe we should listen to them.” She tossed that one into a suggestion box had a hole in the bottom.
“No.” Hank’s eyes were saucer wide. He raised the shotgun. “I’m sorry lady-love, but I ain’t going back.” He turned the barrel, slid that bad boy between his lips and leaned his fingers down against the trigger.
Boys in blue would later argue over whether the sound of that gun popping Hank’s head like a zit was louder than Annie’s screams.
Poor Annie Kapowski—alone, bloodied, and with a ringing in her ears that would take weeks to leave. She raised both hands and a few deputies did her the favor of escorting her out that ruined Nova.
A few steps towards the waiting squad car and she stopped short with a wince. “Damn, wait a sec. Think I got something in my shoe.”
Angel Luis Colón has landed ass first into crime fiction and is taking a shine to it. His work has appeared in WeirdYear, Red Fez and Fiction on The Web with forthcoming work due out in Shotgun Honey, Out of the Gutter, All Due Respect and Big Pulp. He hails from the Bronx and works in NYC, but is currently exiled to the wastelands of New Jersey with his family—thankfully; he has access to good beer and single malts.
You can follow his grumblings on Twitter @HeckChoseMe or be audience to his useless ranting over at http://angelluiscolon.com/.