BACON - CORMAC BROWN
Go over what went wrong in your head all you want; it won’t change a damn thing. You gave a well-rounded and nuanced performance. You lived it, you breathed it, and hell, you probably could’ve taught Stanislavski a thing or two about “The Method.” You didn’t go over the top the way that Brando or Dean would have, but no one hands out acting awards for this kind of thing. Instead of an Oscar, you get to live another day, and instead of fame, another thug goes down.
The two guns pointed at you get the adrenaline going, and you think faster, maybe even a little clearer. Ah, maybe it was something you said when you were trying to win Mad Dog 20/20 over and he saw that cop.
“Let’s get out of here, 20/20. Cops are like roaches. You see one, that means there are a dozen more hiding out nearby.” You oversold that one, and just when he was finally going to let you call him “Mad Dog,” instead of 20/20. Street names are supposed to strike fear, but his just makes you think of passed out bums.
So, he picks you up from your other apartment, before you get a chance to grab your gun or call anyone on the phone. You get into that hoopty because you have to earn trust in this business, even if it means that you might disappear off the face of the Earth. The two of you wind up at a deserted factory on the outskirts of town, with not a soul in sight. You have company when you get there and 20/20 may be a mad dog, but it’s the other guy that angrily eyeballs you.
This new guy says, “He’s a narc.” You want to say that this nut is on crack, but he holds up a picture of you getting that commendation just before you made detective. You want to claim that it's Photoshopped, but it’s over. That look, now you know why he’s called “Mad Dog,” as he aims the 9mm right between your eyes.
Three shots in quick succession. Maybe the first bullet was a kill shot, because you don’t feel anything. Is death this peaceful? Apparently not, as Mad Dog dies painfully, and the other guy kicks Mad Dog’s gun away...like a cop would. You’re dazed, and you wonder if the next bullet is for you.
The shooter takes the gun that he shot Mad Dog with and he puts it in your hands. He cups his gloved hands over yours and he forces you to squeeze the trigger. The shot goes off into the dark distance. This unknown man drops the gun on the ground. He opens the bag lying at Mad Dog’s feet, and in it is a shitload of money. The fucker counts the money, and you pick up the gun when he counts the money again.
“How much is your life worth to you, Detective William Moran?” he asks with a grin. He puts the money in the bag and he adds, “I’m guessing $16,755. I saved your life, but only you and I need to know that.”
“Who do you work for?” you groan.
“My jurisdiction is none of your business. You will find a suitcase with a kilo of ecstasy inside of it and Mad Dog’s fingerprints on the outside. I can see your report now; how you have killed a major drug dealer in self-defense. This was just a meeting between you and him, and there won’t be any mention of me.”
You fire the gun at him and click, it’s empty. He pulls a backup .32 from an ankle holster.
“Always check your ammo, Bill. You don’t want to wind up getting killed in the line of fire because you don’t have the bullets to back it up. Be the right kind of hero, Moran. The kind that’s smart enough not to get in over his head. The type that knows when he’s goddamn lucky enough to be alive and that he should be grateful. So long, Bill.”
So long, asshole. We’ll meet again.
Launch: DECEMBER STORIES by Ian Sansom
19 hours ago