Chicago. It’s winter. I’m losing my memory. The alliance will move me on soon.
Cars are frozen solid, women scurry by the blocks of iced metal, hiding their skins from the cold. Skin has a price. Even yours.
I’m opposite Millennium Park and I ask myself what I’m doing here. There are no answers in the bottles of Jim Beam and Twinkie wrappers that litter the apartment. I pull down my eyelids and stare at my face in the tarnished mirror. You never know where your next job is coming from.
Every time I think of the alliance I see cakes, endless galleries of cup cakes, chocolate gateaux, éclairs and Victoria sponges spurting cream into the sunken jaws of vagrants. I salivate in this comatose virtual realm at the images paraded before me like some sick twisted little sadistic film. I consider that I am a vagrant, an actor in a film with no script. I have to leave the studio. Survival never respects the law.
I’m stepping out of the shower when the door buzzes. Frankie’s standing there with his briefcase. He walks in, sits down, slings a cowboy boot over his Wrangler jeans, and pops a strawberry Zinger in his mouth.
‘So, Harry, ready for the next one?’
He slides a picture of a fat man eating a lollipop across the stained coffee table. It has the usual details on the back, address, schedule of target’s movements.
‘Usual payment?’ I say.
‘Bake him. Then we’re moving you to another city.’
‘Where this time?’
‘Does it matter?’
It doesn’t. It doesn’t matter where I am because the life’s the same, except I’m losing myself. ‘How did I get here?’ I say.
‘You don’t want to know that, Harry.’ He leans forward. There is ice on his tongue. ‘We want you this way.’
I watch him on the street down below as he walks to his car, a small man with small ideas, and I get ready.
The reel of my memory is faded, the world is sepia.
It’s an easy hit. Fatso’s in the shower when I get inside his house, I can hear him singing Leonard Cohen’s Famous Blue Rain Coat. He’s croaking, ‘What can I tell you my brother my killer,’ when he stops and gasps like a virgin as he sees me there in my black leather gloves. I say, ‘Bye, baby,’ and spread his head over his nice white tiles. Problem is there’s a half-naked blonde in a G-string in the hallway, who screams and covers her large breasts as I run my eyes down her full figure. Pity to miss a fuck but I pop her too. She looks good enough to eat and I’m hungry as I head out of there. I stop on North Sheffield Avenue at the DMK Burger Bar.
The only beer they’ve got is Heineken and that’s when it hits me. Memory shudders briefly into being. I’m sitting at a bar in Detroit drinking Heineken when Frankie’s boys come in. They blackjack me in the john with my dick in my hand. One minute I’m pissing, next thing I’m lying in a white room listening to Mantovani. A pretty nurse comes in and checks my pulse. I’m aware of something solid in my head, a small hard thing at my temple. It’s a blur of pills and hotels after that.
It’s called the sponge filling. When a gun gets to know too much they control his brain, spooky but true. Soon he’s put in a cake and shipped out to the diners. This job’ll eat you alive.
Back at the apartment I open my temple with a scalpel. I cut just deep enough into the side of my head and peel back two inches of skin, removing the chip, which I put in my pocket. I stitch myself up, and put on my hat. Then I pack and head downstairs to the Lincoln waiting to take me to the next city.
The two bozos in the front yap about football as they take the detour. I shoot them at a junction and get a taxi to the airport, calling Frankie from my cell.
‘Think you could do away with me? I’m going freelance.’
‘Good job we have a code. Await your next instructions,’ he says.
Soon I see Bessie Coleman Drive and I taste freedom. It tastes of salt. I move like a shadow through the crowds. I ditch my Glock in a trash can.
As I’m booking my ticket, I feel a hand on my shoulder and a cop asks me to come with him and his colleague. I’ll show them the pictures, I’ll tell them about the alliance. I’ll work for them.
The cop smiles.
‘Do you like cup cakes?’ he says.
BIO: Richard Godwin is the author of crime novels Mr.
Glamour and Apostle
Rising and is a widely published crime and horror writer.
Mr. Glamour is
his second novel and is out now and is available online at Amazon and at all good retailers.
Mr. Glamour is Hannibal Lecter in Gucci. It is about a glamorous world with a
predator in its midst and has received great reviews. Pulp Metal Fiction
recently published Piquant,
Tales Of The Mustard Man, his culinary genius. His Chin Wags At The Slaughterhouse are interviews he has conducted with writers
and can be found at his blog.
You can also find a full
list of his works on his website.
He lectured in English and
American literature at London University before becoming a professional