Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Twist Of Noir 329 - Matthew McBride


Sid held the pedal down with all his weight, like he was trying to push his foot through the floorboard. The big engine screamed as the orange needle on the tachometer raced to the right and the tires left twin black marks across the lot. The back window shattered as the slug from a 9mm passed between them, punched a hole in the windshield, then took a small chunk of metal off the hood.

“Fuck,” Sid’s partner, Johnny No Nuts, screamed as he slipped onto the floorboard on the passenger side. “Fuck, fuck, fuck,” he yelled, as he fumbled with the action on his piece and looked into the passenger side view with great caution as a thick trail of blood ran down his cheek onto his shoulder.

More gunshots followed, then a bullet struck the dashboard. Nervously, Johnny fired out the window without putting it down and it broke into a thousand pieces, his face peppered with shards of thick glass. More blood. A lot more.

“Fer fuck’s sake,” Sid yelled in his thick British accent from behind the wheel. He slid the Impala to the left with the ease of a seasoned veteran. “Put down the window, you stupid bastard.”

But No Nuts wasn’t listening. He fired straight through the open window into a vacant building, then he shot a parked car.

“Johnny, they are BEHIND us, you dumbfuck!” Sid lost his cool, something that never happened. “Behind us!” he yelled again.

Johnny was fucked up in a bad way and Sid could see this. Johnny was silent, something else that never happened. His t-shirt looked like it had been soaked in tomato juice and his eyes were bleeding.

“Aw, fuck. You with me, Johnny?” But Johnny wasn’t with him. Not really.

Sid flew through an alley, narrowly avoiding a collision with a hearse, of all things, hung a very hard right onto Broadway, crossed two lanes of light traffic, blew through a red light, then made a quick left behind a brick building some asshole was just letting sit there and go to waste. No Nuts always said it would make a good bakery. He slammed the Impala into P and took a good look at his partner.

“I’m done, Sid, I’m done.”

Sid wanted to agree with Johnny and tell him that, yes, he was indeed finished, but the thought just seemed to cold to bare. Even for Sid.

“You’re fine, Johnny, you are. Now let’s just get you out of this piece of shit and into the clean ride.”

That was the key to a successful robbery. Multiple getaway cars.

Sid walked around the car and opened Johnny’s door, but Johnny wasn’t moving. “C’mon, asshole, get up!” Sid yelled. He should’ve just pumped one final round into Johnny’s worthless shell and be done with it all, but Mr. Parker loved Johnny No Nuts.

He’s the one that tagged him with such a fine moniker in the first place, because Johnny was a gutless turd. But, at the end of the day, he was funny. Damn funny, and that very reason alone was the only thing that had kept him alive this long. He was a comedian.

“I think I shat my pants, Sid,” he was saying, as Sid pulled him from the car. He was talking funny. A closer inspection revealed part of his mouth was missing, right where his upper lip connected to his lower and Johnny's tongue kept sliding out of his face. ‘I shat myself, Sid,’ but it sounded more like ‘I thaat ma shelfth, Thid.’

Sid had Johnny’s arms now and he pulled him to the passenger side of the Taurus.

“You shat your pants?” he asked, trying to take Johnny’s mind off the hole in his face. “Or did you shit your pants, because I believe ‘shat’ may actually be used past tense in this situation.”

“Uhhhh!” Johnny yelled as Sid wrestled with the door handle, then held the door open with his right leg.

“Have a seat, Johnny. It’s cool, brother,” Sid said, but all the while he was looking around for the fuckheads that did this to poor No Nuts. He thought he may have lost them, but he wasn’t sure.

“The gun,” Johnny said, or trying to say, as he grabbed Sid’s shirt with his hand, the only part of his body that wasn’t bleeding. Sid nodded and tried to brush his hand away, but Johnny’s grip was strong. ‘Gun,’ he said, but it sounded more like ‘gum.’

Sid continued to nod as he slammed the door. “I got it, Johnny,” Sid said but Johnny didn’t hear him.

Sid was cautious as he squirted a highly flammable premix he concocted from an empty bottle of dish soap into the blood stained interior of the Impala. He douched the passenger seat with a little extra, took three steps backward and struck the match.

POOF! A loud and fast concussion of wind and flame as the seats went up in fire. Sid jumped behind the wheel of the Taurus, covered in sweat.

As he tore across the lot in reverse, Johnny fell forward and crashed into the dashboard, leaving fresh smears of blood across the airbag.

“Well, fuck, Johnny,” Sid said. Johnny yelled something back, but it was impossible to understand him. He left the lot in a hurry before the car blew.

Sid caught the green light as his phone rang. It was the call he’d been expecting. On the third ring, he slid the lock across and said, “It’s done.”

Mr. Parker remained silent for a second, but Sid could hear him breathing through his nose, as was his custom in these situations. Sid flipped on his blinker and switched lanes. Johnny No Nuts just groaned and bled.

“The eagle has landed?” It was a question.

“Uh, yeah, the eagle landed, alright.”

Mr. Parker was obsessed with spy novels and always managed to speak in codes, however obvious they may be.

“I trust you have the package.”

“Affirmative, sir. We do have the package,” Sid replied, feeling ridiculous.

“Where’s No Nuts?”

Sid looked over to his right at Johnny, who had his back up against the window, staring him down. You could see his bottom set of teeth when his tongue wasn’t in the way.

“He’s right here,” Sid said and held the phone toward Johnny.

“You tell that short fat fuck he better not have fucked anything up, Sid. You hear me?”

That was Mr. Parker’s way of joking, but Johnny wasn’t laughing. Just slobbering, and bleeding, and letting his tongue slide through that hole.

“I’m dyin’, Sid,” Johnny moaned but Sid just shrugged his shoulders and shook his head from side to side.

“What’s this shit I hear across the scanner about a shoot out?” asked Mr. Parker.


“Johnny had to put a guy down, but it’s cool,” Sid said, as he pulled onto the entrance ramp of the expressway. Johnny sat up a little straighter and yelled something useless.

Blood was starting to pour from that hole now and Sid didn’t like it.

“Well, what the fuck happened back there, Sid?” Mr. Parker demanded. “I told you to keep an eye on that retard.” Mr. Parker's way of telling Sid that he was responsible. “All you had to do was get the gun.”

Mr. Parker had already forgot to use his own preposterous codeword for gun.

“You mean the package,” Sid corrected.

Before Parker could respond, the Taurus was rammed from behind by a Dodge truck and Sid lost control of the wheel. It was ripped from his hands. The car swerved hard to the left and bounced off a van that said Drysdales Electrical. Sid regained dominance over the vehicle and Johnny went back into the dashboard, then onto the floorboard.

“You bloody cocksuckers!” Sid yelled, his eyes pinned to the rear view mirror. “They found us, Johnny.”

But Johnny didn’t care. He was too busy dying.

Sid drilled the accelerator as hard as he could and the little turd bogged down, but not much happened. The back bumper of the car was dragging along the highway and the truck was picking up speed.

The Taurus could only withstand one, maybe two more hits before it would shit out.

Quickly, and without warning, Sid cut the wheels hard to the right and the engine raced, and the tires screeched, and the front left hubcap abandoned the wheel and raced across the hammer lane into the median.

Sid clipped the front bumper of the car beside them with what used to be the rear bumper of the Taurus, then crossed into the far right lane and plunged off the shoulder of the road.

The Dodge got stuck between vehicles and couldn't make the fast exit.

Sid kept the gas pedal hammered as the car burst through the remnants of a chain-link fence, jumped a curb, then blended in with traffic on Wells Lane before taking a left on Haley and disappearing into the late afternoon sun.

BIO: Matthew McBride writes fiction on a farm outside the beautiful wine country of Hermann, MO. Follow him on Twitter @ matthewjmcbride.


Kathleen A. Ryan said...

I enjoyed "Mr. Parker and the Gun," Matthew. Great opening. Action-packed, vivid descriptions, fun dialogue.

I love the line, "No Nuts always said it would make a good bakery." Reminds me of Quentin Tarantino kind of humor.

"Gun" sounded more like "gun." ~ reminiscent of Woody Allen's Take the Money & Run ("gub" mistaken for "gun.").

Cool story, Matthew!

Paul D Brazill said...

kicks off great and moves along at a cracking pace.

Kathleen A. Ryan said...

I just picked up on my typo on my previous comment about your line, 'Gun' sounded more like 'gum' ~ which is even more ironic when I think about it, considering the state of his mouth at the time!

Jimmy Callaway said...

Sid and Johnny, together again for the very first time.

Matthew McBride said...

Thanks for being so supportive all!