TK'n'C is pleased to welcome Gary with this hardboiled piece...
THE SCHEME OF THINGS
Harry The Rat gave the job to that dick, Primo. Yeah, I was still on the payroll for the piss-peanuts The Rat paid, but an assigned hit paid big bucks - what the crap-head straight world called an incentive bonus.
The Rat kept Primo around because he was big, stupid and knew how to act like a real bodyguard - like my ass. Primo was one of those jack-offs who was mean, not tough for shit. The kind who actually enjoyed offing a mark for the sadistic high from the last seconds of terror and gore.
The deal had a helluva hitch. The Rat had a chick on the payroll, Mary, if you can swallow that alias shit. Red hair, beautiful blue eyes, with legs all the way to the floor. She was The Rat's pussy deal. She'd also done a couple of hits. Blew the suckers away like quail hunting in Nebraska . You look that good, no problem walking up on the mark.
Rufus Freeman, dude who ran a pawnshop on Troost, had been hosing Mary - at least The Rat thought so. Funny about some guys. In The Rat's mind, Freeman had to go, but good pussy is hard to find - especially the kind with legs that good. So Mary earned a pass. But Freeman was a dead man and that mope Primo got the contract.
Big problem: I'd had a little of ol' Mary - twice actually in the front seat of her 'Vette. I figured the combinations. I was in deep shit. In this damned business, a man does what he has to do. So I figured I better watch and play the whole symphony by ear.
Freeman's Pawn stayed open until 10 P.M. - damned cold and dark in January. Freeman had a habit of sending home the hired help around nine, opening a nice window of time. Primo liked to use a blade, but he was way too chickenshit to take on an old boy like Freeman with a knife.
The Rat was impatient. He'd insist Primo do the job ASAP. So I only hadda sit on Freeman's two nights before, sure as hell, I spotted Primo in his Lexus parked a block down. At just past ten, Freeman flicked out the lights, fumbled with the front door and stepped between snowplow drifts to cross Troost to his Cadillac in the bitter, north wind.
Primo, like a true dumb bastard he was, whipped the Lexus beside Freeman at mid-street and gave him four in the midsection with that .45 he loved so much. Freeman went down like a wet towel.
Then, She appeared. Even the long trench-coat couldn't hide those legs. Primo had stepped out of the Lexus to put a finale in Freeman's head. From behind a snow-heap, Mary swayed off the curb and put five in Primo with that little S&W she carried. He hit the pavement, dead as last Easter's ham.
Well, what the hell. I cranked my ride and was beside her in seconds.
She started to run, but when she recognized my mug, she stopped and whipped up one of those million dollar, toothy smiles. "We mustn't leave loose ends, she said softly."
She was right. Primo must have also visited the front seat of her 'Vette, I figured. Freeman probably hadn't, but I by God had.
I capped her between those lovely eyes. Her head exploded like a bursting watermelon, the force knocking her ten feet, the S&W skidding across the deserted street. I started back to The Rat's. One more in his brain, if he had one, would take care of business.
Survival, that's all it is in the end. Mary lay sprawled on the pavement. "Sorry baby," I looked back. "But even good pussy ain't really that hard to find."
Gary Clifton, forty years a cop, has over sixty short fiction pieces published or pending with online sites. He's been shot at, shot, stabbed, sued and is currently retired. Clifton has an M.S. from Abilene Christian University.