WEASEL HEAD - RICHARD GODWIN
Weasel Head stood by the juke box and put on the next song.
It was The Beach Boys crooning Help Me Ronda and I felt like smashing a chair over his head. He’d been inflicting song after song on us for an hour while we waited for the twister to die outside, and all we had to drink in the tiny cramped café was draught beer as warm and weak as cat piss.
Weasel Head. I’ll tell you how he got his name.
Remember a weasel is a small predatory animal and predatory summed him up.
He liked to find vulnerable shopkeepers, loan them money and destroy them. Payments were demanded in the form of sexual favours from the owners’ wives or the owners themselves if they were women and their daughters weren’t out of bounds, either.
He’d taken over many businesses and was hated and feared in the same ratio.
He burned one shopkeeper to death. He only owed him a hundred dollars.
So here I was stuck in the tiny café with Weasel and a trucker and the owner, a short pretty lady who was looking so nervous whenever he walked up to her that I was sure he’d been pressing her for cash.
And that was when it happened. I had what you might call an epiphany.
And I do like guns. I especially like the smell of their oil.
The Beach Boys stopped singing and the lady behind the counter switched the radio on to hear news of the twister.
It was hard to tell whether it was moving off far enough for us to get out of there. Through the window I could still see trees flying.
And I heard it. A voice as sweet as honey.
The local preacher was trying to keep everyone together and he said it.
‘Now, people, use this opportunity to do some good, look around you, there may be someone worse off than you, a situation you’ve thought about for a while and you may just see the chance to help someone worse off than yourself and if you do then you’re doin’ God’s work and this here twister’s the opportunity.’
That was it. That was all I needed.
‘Do some good while the storm rages,’ he said.
And as the wind howled and the windows buckled I saw Weasel Head follow the lady to the back of the shop. And I went in.
He’d got her up against the wall and was fondling her breast and saying ‘You suck, don’t you? Then I can give you a little leverage on the money.’ The lady looked terrified.
‘Do you really think she wants to be handled by you?’ I said, and he turned and she ran out of there and I closed the door.
His little weasel face was twitching now and he curled up his lip.
Well, I just hit him with the butt of my pistol and then pulled his head up and placed the barrel against his head as the wind outside howled so loud one of the panes shattered in the tiny café just as I pulled the trigger and laid him down.
Then it all stopped.
Silent as a blue windless morning.
BIO: Richard Godwin lives and writes in London, where his dark satire ‘The Cure-All’, about a group of confidence tricksters, has been produced on the stage. He has just finished writing a crime novel.
The Irish Times’ Crime Fiction ‘Best Of’ 2018
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