Here’s a snippet from the fourth chapter in my soon-to-be released novella, Loose Ends. I hope you enjoy!
Saturday Night Special by Lynyrd Skynyrd started playing on the jukebox. This was the five minute warning to patrons to finish their drinks and pay their tabs. Usually by ten after two the place was empty. It was a bit busier tonight so it was about quarter after when I noticed everyone was gone. Everyone except for one.
I watched the monitors as I saw Rebekah talking to the man at the end of the bar; gesturing to him that it was time to go home. The man didn’t budge. Rebekah’s face said it all when she looked at me through the security camera.
I walked out from the back; the man’s heavy face was hovering over a half empty beer mug.
“Hey buddy!” I yelled with a commanding voice. “Time to pay up and get out.”
The man seemed a bit startled by my presence but slowly got off the stool and dropped a twenty on the bar. “My mistake,” he remarked with a cold unregretful tone.
Half way to the door, he dropped a quarter on the floor. He bent down to pick it up; pausing to look around the empty bar. He quickly spun his body back up and turned to Rebekah, then me, brandishing a small thirty eight special.
“Don’t move!” he shouted. “Hands up in the air. Try anything stupid and I’ll blow your head off, I swear to God,” he added.
Rebekah looked over at me for an instant; her face stricken with fear.
“You!” he pointed at Rebekah with the gun. “Find a bag, and dump the money from the register,” he said. His voice was surprisingly steady; probably not his first time knocking off a pub.
Rebekah started to tremble, and for good reason. The man’s hand was steady, like a surgeon’s. He was eerily calm, and his gun fixed on Rebekah’s head.
I nodded to Rebekah to comply. “Go on Rebekah,” I said with my hands up. “Just do what he says.”
“Smart man,” the robber replied.
Rebekah crept towards the register. The robber had angled himself so he could keep both of us in his sight. As she approached the drawer, I saw her eyes snap to the .380 semi auto beneath the counter. She quickly glanced back at me; I discreetly shook my head.
Rebekah opened the register; the robber’s gaze switched to the stacks of tens and twenties inside. I guess he figured I wasn’t a threat to him being on the other side of the room. Big mistake.
“Put it in,” he said, gesturing with his gun. “Hurry up! I’m not very patient.”
As she handed the bag over to him, I reached into my jacket. I felt my gun’s coarse handle; my fingers gripped her strong frame. Instantly a peace had encompassed my entire body. Several scenarios were running through my head, but they all had the same outcome. I removed the pistol from my shoulder holster.
“I hate to run, but I’m a busy man,” he said as if we gave a damn. He raised the gun and took aim at Rebekah.
Rebekah was paralyzed from shock. She hadn’t even noticed he had pulled the hammer back; lowering the weight of the trigger’s pull. Unfortunately for him, I already had his head sitting in front of my three dot tritium sights. I squeezed the trigger just once. The powerful forty-five kicked back in my hands, but I kept my focus on the target. When I saw the spray behind him I knew my aim was true. I watched the spent cartridge roll underneath one of the tables, making a mental note of its whereabouts. The man’s body fell to the floor; his hand still grasping the old revolver.
Rebekah’s eyes looked over at me, but her body was still frozen. As I lowered the gun, she came back to reality.
“Dear God!” she gasped. “Did that really just…” she trailed off, bewildered at the unexpected events that had just unfolded in front of her eyes.
“Go get some bleach from the back. I’ll dig the lead out of the wall and figure out what to do with this body,” I said with somewhat of a casual tone; disregarding how she was feeling.
I bent down to collect the fallen brass from beneath the table. It was still warm to the touch. Something about that sensation of hot brass was incredible after a kill, though this was anything but an ideal situation for me.
Rebekah walked to the back rubbing her eyes with the palms of her hands. I looked at the few windows we had in the place. Fortunately it was late, even for New Yorkers, and there wasn’t any foot traffic outside. I crouched down and checked the man for any belongings. He had very little; just a wallet, which lacked an ID card, and the gun.
Rebekah walked back in with some cleaning supplies. Thinking ahead she also brought some rubber gloves. God knows where this man has been, and what diseases he might have. The last thing we need is to get his blood on us.
Rebekah started scrubbing on the floor with a scouring pad and some bleach as I wrapped the man in tarps I found in the back. I dragged him to the rear door. What the hell was I going to do with this body? I hate surprises.