(From the Pulp Crime stories)

Billy didn’t really think of his prison experience in a bad way. It was horrible, but it was like it happened to someone else and he was just watching. Being on the other side of that prison wall probably had something to do with it. He didn’t really know. After arriving at Angola, he knew he couldn’t cut it. The other inmates would see him and see a punk. Being young and having a baby face never help, and all he could do was keep his mouth shut. That doesn’t work. If you’re small and weak, you might as well be wearing a bulls eye.

Trouble found him, and fast. The skinheads saw a young white boy who needed a place. They offered him membership, but Billy declined. Being alone in the joint is hard, because the clique mentality rules. You can’t trust anybody, but all these assholes act like long lost brothers. Your pal won’t piss on your foot if it’s flaming but you guys are watching one another’s backside. It didn’t make sense. Billy’s cell mate inducted him into the "life". A giant black man who went by the name of "Jelly", he had a fondness for young white boys.

Billy’s spirit was crushed. Jelly didn’t just keep Billy for himself. No, he believed in sharing. They passed Billy around that cell block like a pack of smokes, using him up until there was nothing left. Almost everyone got a turn, but there were three who were particularly brutal. Jelly, and his two pals, Tuna and Rabbit. The three weren’t just a crew in the joint, but out in the world as well.

After a while, Billy wasn’t even a person any more, just property. Just a tool for some con’s satisfaction. He hit bottom and was gonna ride a shiv into hell until "it" happened. Jelly, Tuna and Rabbit had been thrown in Angola for armed robbery. The three had been dropped in the clink with one more score in mind. They openly talked of there plans in front of Billy. They didn’t even notice him until it was time to fuck. The score was special only because nobody had ever thought to hit it.

Billy was at a crossroads. The prospect of starting over appealed to him. The only question was the one of whether Billy had the constitution to do what needed to be done. He already had the desire. He fashioned a shank out of his toothbrush and stole two of the razors they were allowed for shaving. He welded one of the blades onto the toothbrush and kept the other hidden. In the shower, it happened. He hid the shank as best he could; hopefully they’d be too involved with fucking to notice it. When Jelly forced Billy to go down on him, that was it. Billy took the cock in his hands. He started massaging it and before Jelly could get hard, Billy put the dick in his mouth and bit down. Hard. Billy pulled the severed cock out of his mouth, then spit out a razor blade. Jelly’s face was locked in a silent scream. He fell over clutching his groin. All the cons in the place turned towards them. Rabbit rushed Billy, screaming, "You’re dead, you little white faggot!" Billy slashed him across the arm, opening him up to the bone. Tuna stepped over Rabbit as he fell, and grabbed Billy by the throat. Billy slashed at his middle, but Tuna held strong. Billy grabbed Tuna’s sack and slashed. Tuna finally fell and Billy slashed his throat. He did the same to Rabbit. Then he turned to Jelly. Billy picked up the severed dick and placed it in Jelly’s mouth. Billy was gonna walk away but looked down at Jelly and said, "Your turn."

That was day one of Billy’s life. Everyone knew who killed those cons in the shower. Nobody was talking because you don’t do that. So Billy got away with it. He had respect, the only commodity worth a damn. People avoided him after that. Those who didn’t, learned quick that they fucked up. He had to chop off a skinhead’s hand and sodomize another with a broom stick, but that was all behind him now. What’s done is done, right? Time to hook up with some pros and take down a score. That’s all Billy was thinking.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


Carter was back east when he got the call. He was at his home base getting into debt. Debt that was growing by the minute. Gambling had almost gotten him killed in the past, but Carter could never leave it behind. More importantly, he couldn’t leave cheating behind. He fancied himself a card mechanic, even though he could only perform a few rudimentary tricks. He knew a couple of high stakes games out in The Kitchen and Red Hook and money wasn’t the only thing he put on the line. When he arrived at "the spot", he recognized some guys who he knew were mobbed up. Carter got on a roll, and wouldn’t quit when it came down to him and small-time capo, Nipsy Gazzara. Carter thought he would send this dumb guinea home with empty pockets, and that would be that. But an hour later, Carter was caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Sort of.

"Let me tell you something, hotshot. You don’t play unless you can pay. That’s why we’re all here. Because we can pay the price to be here."

Carter looked at Nipsy, then over at the two giant enforcers who stood behind him.

"Don’t be a pussy and try to buy me out of this pot. You scared to play me, old man?"

"No, fuck rat. You better come up with some more scratch or the boys here will fucking waste your deadbeat ass. Nobody wastes my time."

"Ok, Nipsy, how about this?"

But before Carter could continue, Nipsy raised his hand, letting Carter know it was time to be quiet.

"That’s Mr. Gazzara, fucko."

Carter took off his Rolex. It was the most expensive thing he owned.

"This should cover my end."

Gazzara stared blankly at Carter.

"Ok, put that Rolex in the pot and I’ll take it."

Carter was dealing and forced the Ace that he needed to the top of the deck. When Gazzara flipped his four jacks over he let out a deep, throaty laugh.

"Beat that, you lowlife punk."

Carter put his cards on their back one by one. The Ace he forced was the Ace of Spades and when added to the rest of his cards gave Carter a Royal Flush.

"It’s beat."

Nipsy flipped the table over on it’s side.

"You fuckin’ cheat! I heard about you!"

Carter sat with a cold look on his face.

"Maybe I just out played you. You ever think of that?"

Nipsy started yelling, saying some shit about respect that Carter didn’t catch. Carter sat there quietly, thinking of his next move.

"Hey! You dumb shit, what the hell are you doing? YOU think you can disrespect Nipsy Gazzara and just sit there like some damn mute? Talk to me!"

Carter didn’t say anything. He didn’t have his piece, he had to check it at the door. He bet Nipsy didn’t have to do that. Carter finally said, "Why you giving me a hard time? Did your copy of the Godfather get erased?"

Nipsy’s face went blank.

"Ok. Tony, Nicky, fuck this mutt up."

Tony and Nicky grabbed Carter, lifting him out of his chair.

"Whoa! Ok, Mr. Gazzara, hold on!"

The two heavies kept walking, taking Carter towards the back door. Carter’s cell began to ring as Nipsy got up from his seat.

"You let me answer my phone, and then I’ll square things here. You listenin’!? You don’t get shit by killing me, do you?"

Nipsy stopped and then called out to Tony and Nicky.

"Hold on boys. You know what I get by killing you? A good time. Ok, let’s go."

They took Carter through the kitchen and outside. The alley looked like any other alley. A bum sat in his waste by the dumpster. The two thugs started to go to work as Nipsy watched. Carter’s phone continued to ring as he got worked over. Nipsy edged passed his flunkies and grabbed Carter.

"That damn phone is pissing me off. Where is it, shithead?"

Nipsy searched Carter’s pockets and pulled out a cell. He flipped it open and listened.

"Carter? It’s Billy Clovis. I met you once through my Uncle Vin."

Silence.

Then, "He’s the one that gave me this number."

Nipsy looked at Carter and said, "I think I’ve gotta way for you to smooth things over with me. Take this phone and talk to the stronzo on the other line."

Carter collapsed to the ground as Nipsy backed away from him. Nipsy held out his hand, offering the phone to Carter. Carter took it and said, "Hello."

"It’s Billy Clovis. You did a thing or two with my Uncle."

Carter tried sifting through the fog for a Billy Clovis.

"Ok, I remember who you are. I thought you had down syndrome or something when I first saw you."

The three wiseguys looked at each other, Nipsy whispering something to both of his goons.

"Yeah, that was a long time ago. I’ve changed."

Carter said, "I bet you did. Did a stint in Angola, right?"

Carter looked at the three men in front of him. They looked pretty big from the gutter. Nipsy said, "Finish up, dickweed. Find out what the score is so we can get on with life."

Carter picked himself up off the ground and said, "Ok Billy, tell me what you got."

A couple of minutes later and Carter was making travel plans.

"You listen up, Carter. You’re gonna do this thing with your boyfriend Billy and then you’re gonna pay me. I know what you’re thinking. You’ll be halfway across the country, how can I find you to get my money? Well guess what, assface? These two minchias are coming with you. They’re gonna follow and make sure you do what you have to do. You may have pulled some big scores in your lifetime, but I tell you this, you’re nothing. I make a phone call and I can have a team of hitters on you in a heartbeat. I want your cut. That’ll make us square. You don’t keep nothing from this thing, capisce?"

Carter threw Nipsy a "fuck that" look.

"What the fuck you talking about? I’ll get you some green, but…."

Nipsy broke in saying, "You’ll do what I tell you. What are you, fuckin’ retarded? I just get through tellin’ you I can bring hell down on your ass, and you wanna get smart? Get outta here, already!"

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -


A couple phone calls later, Carter and Billy were both headed to a little roadside motel outside of Dallas. Billy had no idea about the two friends Carter was bringing along. Carter wanted to shake them. The hard part was, the three all drove down together. Carter woke up as they eased off the highway and pulled into the parking lot of a real dive. The neon sign above the car said "The Highway Hilton". Jesus, Carter thought. This is about as far away as you can get from a Hilton. Getting out of the car he noticed "The Highway Hilton" looked like it had just been firebombed. Yes sir, if you wanted to find some lowlifes this was the place to look.

Billy peeked through the blinds as Carter got out of the car. Who the fuck were these two bone-heads with Carter? He was going to greet Carter but now he reached for the gun he had under the bed instead. Billy picked up the piece from some old couple’s house a few miles off the highway. Those farm types always have guns laying around, and Billy figured he was going to need something. He was glad that he had the foresight to stop and pick up a piece. Billy stepped through the doorway with his shiny revolver raised shoulder high. He sighted Carter, calling out to him, "How you doing?"

Carter stopped cold as he saw this guy come out of his room with a nickel plated revolver. What the fuck was this guy’s problem? The luck I’m having, Carter thought.

"I was doing fine until just now," Carter answered back.

The two goons, Tony and Nicky, instantly jumped out of the car with guns drawn.

"Whoa, hold on you two," Carter said. "This guy’s just mistaken me for someone else. No need to go and kill anyone."

The two looked at Carter, and kept their guns on Billy. Carter motioned for them to put their guns away.

"Be cool, guys. This is just a misunderstanding. This isn’t the place for murder."

The two guys stuffed the guns back in their coats. Billy wasn’t taking any chances. Carter didn’t have a gun drawn, so fuck him. Billy shot the two dagos. He then brought the gun back to Carter who was reaching into his coat.

"You don’t have to shoot me. Believe it or not, you did me a favor. Those two were cramping my style. I’m not reaching for my piece, I’m grabbing my smokes." Ellis just looked on, watching Carter pull out a lighter and cigarettes.

"Thanks for not shooting me."

"Don’t thank me yet. When I agreed to meet you, you didn’t say anything about bringing anyone along."

That’s who it was, thought Carter. Damn, this guy had changed. Last time Carter saw him, he looked like a high school punk. Looked like he should be in a high school bathroom somewhere, getting his head flushed down a toilet. Now he looked hard, like he had seen it all. And done it all.

"Ok, hold on, I just recognized who you are. You look a lot different now. Angola must be rough."

"You have no idea," said Billy.

He stuffed the revolver in his pants and looked over at Tony and Nicky.

"I guess we better do something with these two and then you can fill me in on what’s going on."

Carter motioned to Billy and said, "I’ll take care of these two; I brought ‘em with me, so I’ll get rid of ‘em."

Carter put the two into the car and drove off. About an hour later he returned to the motel. Alone. Carter came into the room and sat down.

"Look, before you say anything about those two, I can guarantee that they’re not gonna be a problem."

Billy sat down on the bed and pulled his revolver out and laid it in his lap.

"I know they’re not gonna be a problem, I killed them. What I wanna know is why they were here in the first place."

"Ok, ok," Carter said.

He then proceeded to tell Billy about the poker game that had landed him in trouble with Nipsy Gazzara.

"Look, I can understand if you don’t want me on this job. The reality is, that guinea fuck could be getting some guys together to do this thing, I don’t know. I doubt it, though. He wanted to keep it quiet. Didn’t want his betters getting wind of it and cutting in on the action. That was my impression, anyway. We can do it if we act fast. And I think you need me."

Billy sat on the bed stoically, deciding whether or not to shoot Carter and go dump him in the bush somewhere. He probably did need him, because Carter was a damn good thief. A seasoned pro through and through.

"Ok, let me get on the phone with my Uncle. We’re gonna need some gear and maybe one more guy," Billy said.

As he talked to his Uncle on the phone Billy thought he would kill Carter when it was all over with. They had to go in fast now, and Billy didn’t like it. He wanted to see the place for himself, get a feel for it, and then go in strong. His Uncle said he could come up with what they needed. They dumped the wop’s car and came back to the motel to wait for Uncle Vin to call back.

Uncle Vin finally phoned and gave them the name and address of a man in Dallas. This man would provide them with any equipment they would need and then join them for the job. They packed up everything they had and headed to Dallas to meet a man who went by the name Patty Mitchell.

"How do you know this will be such a cakewalk?"

Billy just looked straight ahead and said, "I have a feeling."

Carter pulled out his smokes and lit one. He took a drag and said, " A feeling, huh? If there’s as much money there as you think I’m willing to go on a feeling."

Carter took another drag and placed his cigarette in the ashtray. He lit another one and went to work on it.

"You’ve already got one in the ashtray," said Billy.

Carter took the smoke out of the ashtray and put it in his mouth with the fresh one.

"You happy now?"

Patty was an older man, probably in his mid-forties. He had no hair on top, but was holding on to a patch or two on the sides. He wore G.I. issued glasses and looked like he had no business being involved with criminals, let alone being one himself.

"Vin gave me the rundown over the phone. I think I’ve got everything we’re gonna need."

Patty led Carter and Billy into the cellar of his pawnshop. Patty had an impressive arsenal up in the shop but down here was another story. Carter thought that some police outfits didn’t get this kind of gear. There were M-60’s, RPG’s, and numerous SMG’s and pistols laid out on tables and mounted on walls.

"Jesus. You believe the fuckin’ arsenal this guy has," Carter said.

Billy didn’t respond, he didn’t even seem that impressed. Patty led them even deeper into the cellar and into an office. Patty had three duffel bags laying on the floor and motioned to Carter and Billy to grab one. He said, "There you go, those bags got everything we’re gonna need. You guys can go back up front and pick out some pieces."

They stayed at a small hotel near Patty’s pawnshop for the night. First thing in the morning they would head for Rosebud. Until then, the two had some time to kill. They did what they might’ve done in the joint, play cards. Carter was way ahead, cheating his way to the top.

Billy started to catch on, and on one hand said, "You wouldn’t happen to be base dealing, would you?"

Carter smiled.

"I don’t even know what that is."

Billy snatched the deck from Carter.

"If there’s a Jack at the bottom of this deck, I’m gonna introduce you to my boot."

Carter waited for it.

"You motherfucker. I thought we were playing a friendly game and you go and cheat me."

Carter grabbed his coat and headed for the door."I’m out." Billy tensed, ready to drop Carter, but it was to late. In the second it took Billy to sit up, Carter brought his foot into Billy’s chest. Billy slumped to the floor. Carter knelt down and struck a match. He lit his smoke saying, "I don’t give a shit if you were in prison, you don’t scare me. You think that makes you hard? If that set apart hard men every baby raper and crooked stockbroker would be one, and we both of us know that isn’t the case. Christ, even Martha Stewart’s been to prison. Just breathe slow, you’ll be fine." Carter walked out of the room.

Billy sat in the hotel room steaming. He was angry until he realized that he had to be patient. He needed Carter for the time being. After the job, take him out. Not before. Patience. If the joint had taught him anything, it was to be patient. Let Carter have his moment. You don’t like me, motherfucker? That’s fine, I don’t like you either. So when Carter walked in, everything was cool. Neither of them mentioned it. They got on the road before sun up. Carter and Billy ditched what they were driving, and Patty Mitchell got them a huge white van to ride down in. Patty and Billy sat up front and Carter slept in back with the gear. Why’d they have to get up so early, Carter thought. Are they expecting us? That’d be funny. If they had an appointment to rob the bank. He didn’t see what the big deal was about getting there early. They weren’t gonna hit the place today, so why not get a little more rest? Go on, Get this shit over with, he thought. Have to watch Billy. Thinks he’s slick. I know what you’re thinking motherfucker. Try something and I’ll finish your ass.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -


They arrived in Rosebud around dinner time. It took longer than expected because the van they rode down in was junk. Two flats before lunch. Then the son of a bitch broke down and it took Patty an hour to find out what was wrong, and then another hour to fix it. It was time for supper so they found a place to eat. It was a mom and pop place, but it was packed. It was the first place they ran into, so they stopped. After waiting about fifteen minutes, they were seated directly across from a family. They all ordered and didn’t say anything until Carter noticed Patty eyeing the young boy who sat across from them. "What’re you lookin’ at?" Patty didn’t answer; he just sat there and mumbled something under his breath. Carter looked over at Billy and said, "Can you believe it? This guy’s got short eyes. I should’ve known, what with the van he drives. That’s the kind of vehicle those molesters like to use." Billy looked at Patty who was sitting next to him with a spaced out look on his face. "As long as all he does is look, what do I care? When he acts dumb like you is when we have a problem." Carter smirked and said, "I was wondering when you were gonna bring that up. I know it’s in the back of your mind. It was nothing personal, but you look like you want to make it exactly that." Billy looked at the waitress as she came over. He motioned for her to leave and said, " Who’s running this, me or you?" Carter answered, " Look, I don’t–,"

"You don’t need to think so hard, ok? I set this thing up, I’m in charge. And yeah, I haven’t forgotten about what happened. We’ll settle it. Don’t worry about Mitchell, ok? As long as he doesn’t–," And with that the father of the young boy called out to Patty. "What the fuck’re you staring at?" The father got up and walked over to the table. Patty was finally snapped out of his dreamworld and said, "Your kid, you hillbilly motherfucker. It’s been years since I had an asshole that young. Society shuns what they don’t understand; I’m not weird, Roman emperors used to do it all the time." Carter couldn’t believe this guy. Not only did he have short eyes, he didn’t care who knew. Carter thought that he would have to put this dad down. He didn’t really want to, but he didn’t think Patty could. They hadn’t even eaten yet. Billy said, "Look, the guy has a problem. He can’t help himself. Just sit back down and we’ll move." The father then looked over at Billy and said, "I don’t remember sayin’ shit to you, cocksucker. This guy’s gonna leave after I kick his ass." Carter thought ok, I’ll let these two clowns handle this. Patty kept looking at the boy, whose mother was shielding his small eyes from what was happening. The father slugged Patty Mitchell in the face, crushing his glasses and breaking his nose. Patty became more animated than he’d been all day, screaming out and getting everyone’s attention. Billy jabbed the guy in the neck and staggered him a bit. As he got up to finish off the father, other locals jumped in. Carter just sat and watched, smoking cigarettes as Billy and Patty got the crap kicked out of them.

Carter was getting up to leave when a couple of locals turned their attention towards him. "Where do you think you’re goin’, fella?" Carter turned towards them and said, "What do you care?" The big father walked up to him and said, "Those two cow turds are your pals, right? I reckon you’re trash, just the same as them, so you don’t get out of a beating. "Carter reached in his pocket and pulled out his flask. He took a swig and said, "Those two aren’t friends of mine. I don’t care if you beat them up or not. I thought it was funny." The father then grabbed Carter by his lapels, lifting Carter off the ground. "Don’t try and talk your way out of this, city boy." Carter kneed the father in the crotch, breaking his grip. As the other locals came forward to defend the father, Carter splashed the contents of his flask all over the man, using an up and down motion of the arm. He then lit a match.

"You smell that? It’s alcohol. Alcohol is flammable. That’s means it’ll catch fire when I throw this match on you. Now the rest of you stay back or I turn Billy Bob here into a campfire." Carter then walked out to the van and waited for Billy and Patty to clean themselves up and come out.

On the ride to find a hotel, the trio was silent. Billy’s left eye was swollen shut and Patty held a rag to his nose. They found a cheap place and decided to bed down for the night. When they woke in the morning, they ate and then got together to come up with a battle plan. Billy wanted to go to the "place" and look around, get a feel for it. Patty wanted to hit it A.S.A.P. and get the hell out of Rosebud. Carter finally decided that he’d be the one to take a look at the place.

Carter walked up to the doors of the bank. Before he could reach out and push the door open, a guard on the other side did it for him. Obstacle #1. He stopped in what could be considered the lobby and looked around. There were people waiting in line to cash paychecks and some employees behind a partition occupying a dozen or so desks. It was a pretty big place. Before he walked behind the partition, he noticed another guard coming in to view. Obstacle #2. He walked out of the bathroom to Carter’s right and gave him a quick appraisal. "How you doing?" Carter looked him dead in the eyes, and putting his best foot forward said, "I’m fine. Could you direct me towards new accounts?" The guard took him behind the partition and introduced him to a Mr. Helmut. Carter bullshitted Helmut for a while, making a mental note of the layout and the number of employees in the bank. After what seemed like an eternity, Helmut finally gave Carter an opening to finish their conversation. "So will you be opening an account with us today?" Carter got up and said, "No."

When Carter stepped out of the bank Billy and Patty were waiting for him. He got in the van and they drove off. "So?" Carter said, "Let’s find a bar and we’ll talk." They found a little watering hole named "The Sleazy Irish Bar." They went in and grabbed some space at the counter. No one was inside except an old, Mexican-looking man. They looked around and waited for a bartender to appear. "Ok, I don’t think we can just smash and grab this one. I mean, how’re we gonna open the vault?" Carter spoke, but the other two didn’t appear to be listening. "Where the fuck is the bartender? No wonder there’s nobody here, the service stinks."Patty kept it up, and Billy soon chimed in. "I was in prison for the last seven years, can I get a BEER HERE?!" Carter turned away from them and reassured himself that the money was worth this grief. Patty said, "Where’s the fuckin’ jag-off that runs this place? Come get us a beer, shithead!" The old man finally looked up from his game of pool and slowly sauntered over to the bar. "Who you calling a jag-off, gordo?" Patty got off his stool and into the old man’s face. "What do you care, you old-fart?" The old man shoved Patty back into his stool. "This is my bar. I won’t let someone who looks like my vieja disrespect me here." Billy got into the old man’s face next. "Just get us some beers, OK?" The old man walked around the back of the bar and started pouring. "What’s your name, old man?" The old man took a swig of his pint and said, "It’s Seamus." Carter looked at him and said,"You don’t look like a Seamus. You look Mexican to me." Seamus handed them their beers. "I’m part Irish and part Mexican. The names Seamus Hernandez."

"So you’re the one who ones the bar, then. You don’t get much business, huh," said Billy.

"What powers of observations," said Seamus.

Carter said,"You’re a surly old fuck, you know it?"

Patty cut in, saying, "Go back to your pool game, old timer. Or go change your diapers. We got business to discuss." Seamus took the last swig of his beer and said, "If I was just a little bit drunker you’d be fucked." Seamus walked away and started up a game of darts. "I like the old guy," said Carter. "Fuck him. Tell us about the bank."

"Ok, ok. I don’t think we have enough people to do this. The real money’s in the vault and you haven’t said how we’re gonna open it. We could empty the drawers, but that’d only be a couple thousand. I’d be happier with one or two more guys, though."

"We don’t have anyone else," said Billy. Carter walked around behind the bar and poured himself another beer. "How many times have you done this?" Billy looked at Carter and said, "You wouldn’t be here if not for me, so don’t preach. This is my job, we do it my way." Carter came back around and said, "I don’t think you get it. You’re still green when it comes to shit like this. You went into the joint for seven years, had a rough go of it, and now you think you’re a criminal mastermind."

"I don’t like where you’re going with this."

"So?"

"So think before you speak."

Patty said, "Carter, you think too damn much, that’s the problem. Keep it simple; you get too complicated that’s when you fuck things up."

"I forgot, you’re the seasoned pro, right?"

"What’s that mean?"

"It means the only thing I think you’re seasoned at is being a child molester."

"Fuck you. I know what I’m talking about, and unlike you, I don’t throw shit in the face of the man who set me up with this dream job."

"I’m starting to think that maybe this isn’t a dream job. I mean, putting up with you assholes is more trouble than it’s worth."

Billy got up off his stool and walked over to Carter. "Sit back down, Bill. You’re about to have deja vu’." Patty got up and circled around behind Carter. Carter swung around and smashed his glass into Patty’s face. Billy came in hard with an elbow to the back of Carter’s head. Carter buckled over, using Patty to brace the fall. Billy then drove his heel into Carter’s kidney. "Fuck you, Carter. I don’t need you anymore." He planted his knees in Carter’s back and grasped his chin, a second away from snapping his neck, when he heard the sound that could stop anybody cold. It was the sound of instant respect, the sound of someone racking the slide on a shotgun. He looked up and Seamus was holding a twelve-gauge pump gun on him, point blank. "Get off him, poota." Billy slowly stepped back. "Put the gun down, you dumb mick. Or do you prefer spic? Come on, you talk all that shit earlier and now you grab a gun to protect yourself. Fight me." Billy kneeled down to check Patty’s pulse. There was blood gushing from a cut in his neck and his pulse was faint. "You have the stomach to shoot me old man? You better, pull a gun on me. You pull a gun on me and don’t use it, well, you’re just asking for some hurt." Billy picked Patty up and slung him over his shoulder. He edged toward the door and was about to head out when Seamus stopped him. "I almost forgot, you owe me for the cerveza."

"Yeah, right." Billy grabbed the door handle. "Boy." Ellis turned back towards Seamus in time to be met by a spray of buckshot. Patty absorbed the brunt of the blast, and both were blown through the door. "Think you’ll leave without paying, think again."

——————————————————


The faint sound of footsteps echoed in the distance. Carter opened his eyes and was staring at a blank ceiling. He sat up as Seamus came into the room. "What happened?" Seamus ignored him, looking around for something. Carter fumbled around for his smokes. He pulled out a pack of Luckies and came up empty. "I guess I should quit, huh?" Seamus turned and threw Carter a beer followed by an ice pack. "Were’d my two buddies end up?" Seamus finally talked, saying,"The fat one is in the cooler. The smaller one got away."

"How long have I been out? Never mind, it doesn’t matter. The job’s shot to hell but Billy won’t just walk away. I’ve gotta find him, and I think I know where he is."

"What the hell are you talking about, boy? I figured you all for the criminal type, but if he’s smart, he’s gone. In other words, you best get lost too." Carter walked over to the door and stopped."That’s the thing, he’s not smart." Carter gave Seamus a quick, appraising look. "You want in on some long green, old man?"Carter laid out everything that had happened. "So you’re telling me that this Billy fella came to you with this wet dream of a score, but you didn’t actually do it." Carter finally found a loose smoke but couldn’t find his lighter. "Yeah, that’s about it." Seamus looked at Carter sucking on the dry smoke.

"So where is this blockhead Billy, then?" Carter finally gave up and threw his cig away. "He’s at the bank. I’d bet the skin off my nutsack that he’s gonna go in hard and get what he can." Seamus walked out of the room and came back with two pistols and two pump guns. "Ok muchacho, I’m in."

Carter and Seamus pulled up in front of the bank. They noticed the dead silence in the air. Carter looked past the front door and noticed a couple people sprawled out on the floor within the bank lobby. "I was right, he’s here. Here’s how it goes. We walk in, Kill Billy, take the swag, and get in this car and drive off. He plays Jordan to our Pippen. Billy does all the work and we ride his coattails." The two exited the vehicle. At first Carter was thinking they should take it slow, don’t make themselves to vulnerable. He quickly changed his mind and decided to go in hard and quick. Carter went in first and Seamus followed close behind. It was almost as quite as a morgue. A woman looked up and said,"Help me." Carter ignored her. A bank guard was sprawled out on the partition, a huge hole where his face used to be. A couple more bodies were strewn about, bloody reminders to those who were still alive to cooperate. The two men walked toward the vault door and were caught with their pants down when Billy popped up from behind a teller’s desk. Seamus caught a load of buckshot. His head turned into a jelly-like substitute. Carter fired instinctively, missing Billy, and killing a man who had tried to make a break for it. Carter opened up. People ran like crazy, heading for the door and wading through buckshot to do it. Billy returned fire and Carter quickly dived behind a desk, falling on top of a fat woman. Carter grabbed her by the neck and hoisted her up. She was screaming but it didn’t matter because she would be dead in a minute. Bill hit the woman dead center, spilling her lunch all over the floor. Carter slowly lurched forward, the woman becoming pulp as he did. Finally, there was the empty click of a spent shotgun. Carter let the woman drop to the ground. His forearm was covered in blood. For a moment, Carter and Billy were the only two people in the world. Carter brought the butt of his gun into Billy’s mouth. Billy fell in a heap, blood pouring from his mouth. Carter touched the barrel of his gun to Billy’s head. "Not a bad little plan, Bill." Carter pulled the trigger and got brain on his boots. He then picked up the bag full of money and walked away.

At first he thought it was the cops. Two greasy looking guys were coming into the bank. Who else would come into the bank now but the cops? Then it hit him. Nipsy. As soon as Carter realized this, he started shooting. Greasy guy number one went down easily enough, but the second guy had some moves. Carter caught a bullet with his shoulder and dropped to the ground. If there was anything he hated, it was getting shot. It was the only time in his life he felt truly out of control. Greasy guy number two walked over and planted another slug in Carter’s knee. Carter laid there and reached in his coat for the pistol Seamus had given him."Whoa, pal. I wouldn’t do that if I was you." Carter said,"Just let me have one last smoke. I’m done." Greasy guy number two shrugged and kneeled down to pick up the money. When he was close to Carter, the barrel of a .45 left powder burns on his face. Greasy guy number two had his pea-sized brain blown out all over the lobby. The brain and skull rained down on Carter like a nice spring shower. Bleeding out on the floor Carter thought about how dumb he was for getting involved in this. Not that there was much of a choice. Carter took a square off of greasy guy number two, lit it, and enjoyed it more than any other in his life. Nipsy walked into the bank and that was that.



Dante Galioto is 22 and finishing up his criminal justice degree. When he’s done with that, he’ll head off to bootcamp. He’s also a mutt; dad’s Italian and mom’s Mexican.




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