6 / MARCH / 19*7

The first time, I'd cornered a punk I'd been tagging for a sleepless week in a dive tavern's restroom.
He'd been picked up a few months before on a Murder One for a despicable and senseless series of perversions he'd enacted
with an unwilling ten-year-old boy who had passed from this earth in a manner which no child deserved.
On the street five weeks later on a technical, the blues had tried to wave me off, but they knew better:
what a technical meant to me was that it was my turn.

I'd been hired by the boy's father, who could not afford me.
The anguish that sat in that man's eyes, my contempt for all things "technical," and my lack of sleep
had all combined into a rank stew which had fouled my mood, to put it mildly.
When the fuck realized he'd walked in through the only door and saw me behind him blocking it,
when the steady labored pump of my breathing spelled out a-t-l-a-s-t,
when he'd counted the third bead of cold sweat roll off my chin,
he tried to run through the back wall, and failed.
He was trying to claw a fast hole through the plaster when I caught him up by the scruff
and brought him down hard and screaming on the toilet bowl.
Droplets of blood spattered the water.
His mouth fell open around the rim, and a low moan came creeping out.
I pushed my heel through the back of his head,
heard teeth dropping with a gentle clatter to the floor,
and the bowl was awash in red.

I smiled.
I did not bill my client.
Really lovely.


21 / JULY / 19*2

I threw a forearm into his neck, banged him into the bricks, grabbed him where he lived, and yanked.
He got all tensed up and silent and all expression left his face.
He wasn't even there.

My gun weaseled through his lips like a playful finger
and when his bulk slid down the wall
an essential part of him had stayed.

I was pissed.


3 / AUGUST / 19*3

A few moments after I'd clamped my hands around his doughy throat, he started gurgling.

It was the kind of sound you'd hear if you snatched up the chicken's head with the hand that wasn't holding the axe
and held it up quick and close to your ear.


14 / JUNE / 19*9

The case I was working on had gone head over heels to hell.
Everything was wrong.
The leads shook, the connections were weak, the logistics lacked logic. Even my street-mouths had clamped shut on me.
I couldn't even get close.

Then someone nailed a tag to my back, and losing him made a mess of my suit, his career, and a handy eight-ball.

I'd gone sulking into Frankie's Green after another everything-for-nothing day.
The place was close enough to empty that this snake tried to shake me down in the middle of a three-cushion jewel I would've made
if not for the blade at my throat demanding attention.

"Friend," he called me. I put both hands flat on the warm felt and exhaled so slowly I stopped my heart.
"Let's talk, friend."

I raised an eyebrow at the rack boy, spooned up the eight-ball he cued me and caught my new pal full in the cheek.
His mouth filled up with raw hamburger, I heard enamel tearing through his tongue,
clapped another handful into the bridge of his nose and watched his head explode.

I let the eight-ball roll off the ends of my fingers
and it drew a thin line of blood into the corner pocket,

The tag hit the floor, the rack boy hit the can, and I hit the road.

I was home in ten minutes.
Found a broken tooth in my vest pocket, sucked it clean, wrapped it in tissue paper, and tucked it into my billfold.



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