The Triggerman watches disdainfully as the scumbags in the parking lot fight it out with brass knuckles and switchblades. The temperature is still below zero. The mood is grim and sleazy. My overcoat collar is turned up to offer me some protection from the early morning chill.
“There’s nothing like the sight of spilled meat to help you unwind after a job, right?”
The Triggerman grunts noncommittally, but I’m used to that. He doesn’t talk much these days. Not since his brother sucked on a shotgun down South. The skinny palm trees on the edge of the parking lot twitch in the pale morning light. I wonder if they remind him of California?
The Triggerman proffers a crippled cigarette for me to light. He looks tough, impenetrable, but he’s got an inch-long bullet scar on his belly. He squealed like a bitch when that security guard in Pasadena took him down with a gut-shot back in ‘95. I dragged him out of there. Left half of the fucking loot on the sidewalk. Cold motherfucker never even thanked me.
The Triggerman smokes his cigarette in silence, before grinding it out with his boot heel.
“Where’s Carver?” he asks.
“He didn’t make it.”
His grey eyes flicker with surprise.
“Neither did you.”
He doesn’t see the blade coming. Doesn’t expect it. It punctures his scarred belly, and I twist it savagely, expertly. In the half-light he almost looks impressed. I twist the metal even further, and his eyes bulge, slightly, but noticeably. His piece clatters uselessly to the asphalt. Rust-coloured blood begins to pool at my feet. I sniff curiously. We’re close to the meat-packing district. The strays will turn him into dog-food before sunrise.
I wipe my blade clean in his hair and walk back to the car. Another life, withered and fucked. The Triggerman got cocky. The Triggerman brought a gun to a knife-fight.
Tom Leins is from Paignton, UK. His short stories have appeared online at 3am Magazine, Dogmatika, Straight From The Fridge, Beat The Dust, Savage Manners, Hit & Run Magazine and A Twist Of Noir. He is currently hard at work on his first novel Thirsty & Miserable. Get your pound of flesh at: www.myspace.com/tomleins