Friday, March 1, 2013

Issue #47 -- March 2013

by Bruce Harris

The last time someone had me by the balls, he asked me to cough, wrote me a prescription and sent me a bill two weeks later. This time was different. This time was short hair hell.

I was in the locker room on the scarred wooden bench bent over tying my spit polished boots.

“We need to talk, Jack.”

“’bout what?”

My partner straddled the bench. “Look at me.”

“Jeez. This must be serious, Figgy. What?”

Officer Manny Figueroa rubbed his hands together. Sixteen years on the force. Four years away from a pension. “I saw what you did to that girl yesterday. Jesus Christ, Jack, you need serious help.”

“What?” I stared into Manny’s eyes. “What’s so bad? She was dead. Didn’t feel a thing. I guarantee it. Hell, did you see her body?”

Manny got up and slammed his meaty fist into my locker. A couple of the other cops looked up. Manny lowered his voice and got in my face. “It’s sick. You groped her. I fucking saw you. You wouldn’t stop. I’m telling you I fucking puked all last night just thinking about.”

“Forget it. What’s done is done. If it bothers you so damned much, request another partner. C’mon Manny, we’ve been together too long for something like this to come between us.”

“I can’t forget it. I’ve got a daughter about the same age. Jesus, you’re sick and you need help. You need to report what you did to the captain.”

“Are you shitting me? No way Jose, let’s just forget about it and move on. No harm. No foul.”

“No!” Manny was beginning to raise his voice again, caught himself and lowered it. “If you don’t go to him, I will. He’ll help you get help. You need it!”

I grabbed Manny by his blue t-shirt and brought him closer. “What are you, a fucking doctor? What’s this really about? All of a sudden I’m no good? What about the times you watched me take money from these scumbags. You never said a word about that!”

Manny ripped my hands away. “That’s different. This is different. Totally. That was dirty money. You touched a girl, Jack. A victim. An innocent child, it’s too fucking much. You’ve got until Saturday. I’m not going to look away on this one. It’s for your own good.” Manny stormed out of the locker room.

One of the other cops shouted, ”What the hell was that all about? Everything okay?” I went back to tying my boots. “Yup. Everything’s going to be fine.”

My nuts were in a vise, but Saturday was two days away—plenty of time to relieve the pressure. I had no trouble finding Needle Mark. His skinny ass was parked, as usual, in front of Al’s check cashing store. Mark sat there, begging for dollars from Al’s highbrow clientele, who for whatever reason, didn’t or couldn’t do business with banks. Mark figured when they left Al’s, they were flush and might be in the mood to part with some of their good fortune. Despite the heat, he wore a long-sleeve flannel shirt. He stood up when I approached.

“I didn’t do nuthin.”

“Relax, I didn’t say you did. I’ve got a proposition for you. Two grand if you do what I say.” I pulled two bricks of $100 dollar bills, still crisp, still wrapped, and shoved them under Mark’s nose. “Smell good? It’s yours just as long as you do as I tell you. Sound good?”

Needle Mark licked his lips and looked down at the grungy sidewalk. “Whadda I gotta do?”

“It’s easy. Tomorrow, be here at six a.m. sharp. Can you do that?” He nodded. “Good. When you see my squad car, flag me down. I’ll be with Manny. Got it so far?” He nodded again. “Good.  Start screaming or jumping or do whatever, and wave us out of the car. When Manny gets out, make a play for his gun. That’s it. Then, the money is yours.”

The crack head’s body stiffened. He didn’t say anything.

“Don’t worry about it. Just go for his weapon. There’ll be an accident, to Manny. Nothing will happen to you. Do as I say and you’ll get the two large ones tomorrow.”

Mark was stuttering. “I-I’m not so sure. I-I d-d-don-n’t mess with guns.”

I brought his stinking nose next to mine. “I’ll lock your ass up so fucking deep the fucking catfish won’t be
able to see you. You better do what I tell you. Now get lost. I’ll see you here tomorrow at six sharp. Don’t fuck this up.” I was a little worried about Needle Mark showing up in the morning, but the look in his dead eyes when he saw the money had me thinking he’d be able to keep it together long enough to keep our date and follow my instructions.


“Lovely neighborhood,” I said as we began our shift. Manny sat shotgun and stared straight ahead. We passed a number of tattoo parlors, three different bail bondsmen offices, and a few strip joints before I saw Needle Mark in front of Al’s, waving and screaming for us to stop. Manny and I jumped out of the car. As planned, The Needle went for Manny’s gun. I pulled mine, aimed and fired. Down went Manny in a heap. I fired again for good measure. No son-of-a-bitch gives me an ultimatum. My gun still smoking, I looked at Needle Mark. He was no dummy. He knew what was coming. “Oh, I forgot to tell you,” I said, “change of plan. Instead of the $2,000 I promised, I figured I’d pay you off in bullets.” I aimed at his chest and fired. He screeched like a little girl. I fired again. The druggie just stood there, with a dumb look on his face. I looked into the barrel of my gun.

Manny stood up. “I already told the captain about your problem, Jack. Two days ago. It was his idea to put blanks in your gun. And, I have his blessing, Jack. Sorry partner, the captain really would have found help for you. But, like you said, what’s done is done.”

He aimed low. I saw a bright orange-blue flash before crashing face first to the pavement. My balls were splashed all over the street. I never felt the second bullet, the one they removed after opening up my skull later that night.

Bruce Harris is the author of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson: ABout Type ( His fiction has appeared (or will appear) in A Twist of Noir, Flash Fiction Offensive, Yellow Mama, Shotgun Honey, Over my Dead Body! and Out of the Gutter.

1 comment:

  1. Real as a fast kick in the tellagas and the twist is the left hook out of nowhere that takes your head off. Love the economy of style that still paints the picture clean and sharp. Cool.