Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Twist Of Noir 139 - P.M.


The John told me the problem I had to fix was a lawyer named Howe. I called the people that hired me to fix problems Johns. If you paid me, somebody got fucked.

Unlike others in my business, I liked to know a little bit about the circumstances that lead to my employment.

The John developed the gated community in which Howe lived. Apparently, he got into a pissing match with Howe’s wife about whether the bushes she wanted to plant in the front yard complied with the gated community’s landscape guidelines. Howe held a position on the City Council and was using his influence to hold up approval of a strip mall the John wanted to build. The strip mall would replace a crumbling apartment block and would mean piles of tax revenue to the City. Despite that, the rubes on the City Council deferred to Howe’s judgment because he was a big shot lawyer. Howe just couldn’t get past the great bush controversy and his poor wife’s bruised ego. He knew failure of the strip mall project would cost the John millions and he was gonna teach the John a lesson.

I laughed every time I though about it. If you don’t find your job entertaining, you should look for another line of work.

I stepped out of my Mercedes and onto the boiling asphalt outside of the lawyer’s office. Nothing like a hot August day. I had my best suit on along with a top of the line Rolex Yacht-Master. My 10mm auto was tucked nicely on my right hip. It was a custom long-slide 1911, black from front to back with a skull and crossbones etched into the slide. I called it the Captain. Loaded up with some of my custom rolled ammo, the Captain could put out 8 rounds of heavy hollow-points at 1,450 feet per second. A helluva punch.

Howe’s office was in a remodeled old house. He had only one employee, a redheaded secretary.

“Good afternoon.”

I looked into the secretary’s green eyes. She was a nice-looking girl in her early 20s. I could see why the lawyer didn’t want any other employees around. “I’m here to see Mr. Howe.”

“Do you have an appointment?” she inquired.

“Oh, yes. He is expecting me. Name’s Maxwell.”

She gave me an appraising look, stopping to glance at my Rolex, then stood up. “One moment, please.”

Green Eyes sauntered around the corner to Howe’s office, red hair swaying, long legs and short skirt. After a moment, I rounded the corner myself and leaned up against the wall in the hallway leading to Howe’s office. I pulled the Captain out and tucked my hand behind my back. A moment later, Green Eyes came back into the hallway. She showed mild surprise seeing that I hadn’t remained in the lobby like a good little boy.

“Go ahead and go on in,” she smiled.

I let her glide past me on those beautiful legs of hers, then I brought up the Captain and cracked her at the base of her neck. She went down without a sound. “Hurt me more than it hurt you, sweetheart,” I whispered as I stowed the Captain and entered the office.

“Hello, Mr. Howe.” I put on a pained face.

“Have a seat,” Howe replied. “I was very sorry to hear about your wife’s accident.” I could hear the false sympathy in his voice.

I paused and let my eyes well up with tears. “Yeah, she...isn’t doing well.”

Howe took a deep breath and then continued with his fake sympathy. “I’m hear to help. Unfortunately, you can never be fully compensated when a loved one is injured by somebody’s negligence. What you can do is send a message, let the bastard that hit your wife and his insurance company know that there is a price to be paid for irresponsible behavior.”

He paused and I actually got a tear to run down my cheek. My voice cracked. “The doctors say she may never walk again.”

Though he was playing it cooI, but I could see his eyes actually light up at this news.

“The first thing I need to do is get some basic information from you,” Howe said, as he turned toward his computer. I took the opportunity to pull the earplugs out of my jacket pocket and quickly slip them in. You didn’t want to fire the Captain in a room like this without proper ear protection.

Howe started to ask me to spell my wife’s name. I was up and the Captain was out and pointed at Howe’s head before he finished his question.

“Stand up, you false son of a bitch.”

“What the hell is this?” I saw his mouth tremor.

Howe stood up and turned toward me, his hands up as if he were trying to fend off a punch. The Captain roared twice. Once between the eyes and once center chest.

The Captain made a real mess.

I picked up my empties, slipped my ear plugs back into my jacket and pulled out a cigar.

Stepping into the hallway, I saw Green Eyes. She hadn’t moved, but her legs were twitching strangely and she was making a faint gurgling sound. I bent over her and saw blood oozing out of her side. I turned and looked at the wall. Sure enough, there was a hole in the drywall. A piece of one of the rounds that went through Howe also traveled through the wall and deflected right into poor little Green Eyes. She was done for.

I stroked her hair and then stood up. I lighted my cigar and smiled ruefully between puffs. I guess it had been stupid of me to use the Captain on a job like this. Brains and drywall didn’t do much to slow down those hot little rounds.

I guess Howe would have said I was negligent.

BIO: P. M. is a lawyer dealing with the absurd on a daily basis. In his spare time he enjoys pulp fiction and film noir, blogging about his favorites at

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