By Steven Lempriere
Shit! He’d only meant to pistol-whip the guy, rough him up a little, a warning from on high, not blow his fucking head off. Not only had he forgotten to engage the safety, but he’d hollow-points in the gun for his next job.
Jesus. What a fucking mess. The mark lay slumped over his spaghetti, and it was difficult to distinguish where his brains ended and the meat sauce began. Still, it was only a matter of time. Pond-life like this punk soon reach their use-by date. He had it coming, if not now, then sometime soon. So, no loss as far as he was concerned, but to keep his client onside, this one would need to be gratis.
He sighed to himself and glanced around the restaurant’s dining room, checking for any loose ends. At least he’d remembered to turn the door’s sign to “closed” as he entered the restaurant, and what customers there were had hoofed it along with the staff, leaving behind the proprietor, who cowered in the corner behind a counter. It was time to vacate the premises; he’d already overstayed his welcome.
He returned the .38 to its holster, made for the door, and lobbed a bundle of dead presidents to the owner. the price of silence in a part of town where it paid to be short-sighted. Generosity made him reach into his wallet and peel off a couple of Franklins, more than enough to cover some wallpaper and a few cans of paint, which he dropped on the counter as he exited onto the street.
Outside, on the sidewalk, he pulled a pair of shades from an inside pocket of his coat, took a lungful of what passed for air in those parts, and listened for the sound of an approaching black and white. None came. All he heard was the noise of everyday traffic. Hopefully, his day would continue to improve. God knows it couldn’t get any worse, he thought to himself as he walked a couple of blocks and hailed a cab.
“Where to?” The cab driver inquired as his fare jumped into the back, scrutinising him in the rear-view mirror as he waited for a response.
“How about the nearest Starbucks? I could murder a coffee,” he replied, as he gazed with cold, emotionless eyes at life on the other side of the passenger window.