“Why’d ya follow him?”
“Uh, because you’re a lying piece of shit,” I laughed. “Just tell me what the hell is going on.”
“All right,” he took a big swig of beer, “he’s blackmailing me.”
“Blackmailing you?” I replied. “With what? What did you do?”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“You want me to kill a man but you don’t want to tell me why? Be serious.”
He took another swallow, “I hit someone with my car. I was drunk and Tommy was with me. I hardly even remember it.” He finished off the beer and signaled for another one.
“When did this happen?”
“About a month ago.”
“Tell me everything, exactly how you remember.”
“Just tell me.”
“Okay. It was about ten and I’d been drinking for a while already. Tommy came in and we were just talking and drinking. Tommy kept ordering shots and,” he shrugged, “well, you know how it goes.”
“Why’d you drive?”
“I don’t remember. I just have flashes of the car hitting something and Tommy freaking out. Them I’m at home in bed. The next morning Tommy was there on my couch. He told me what happened – he told me I hit some kid and that he moved the body into the woods, but now I owed him.”
I started laughing. Laughing hard.
“What the fuck’s so funny?” He’d gone from ashamed to angry in a flash.
“Relax, I’m not the one you’re mad at. Anyway, you didn’t hit anyone.”
“Whadya mean I didn’t hit anyone? I sure as hell did.”
I paused and took a drink of my beer, drawing out the moment.
“He set you up. He’s scamming you.”
“Whatdya mean? How do you know?”
I leaned in. “Look, have you read about any hit and run accidents in the paper or heard it on the news?”
He hesitated, “No, but Tommy said he hid the body. The front of my car was damaged.”
“Heard any missing person reports?”
“In this small town, you think someone goes missing and you don’t hear anything about it?”
He didn’t answer. I tried another approach.
“How drunk were you and who was buying the drinks?”
“Really drunk and Tommy was buying…” He stopped and turned red. I wasn’t sure if he was mad or embarrassed.
“He set you up and you fell, hook, line and sinker.”
“I’m gonna kill that son of a bitch myself!” He started to get up.
“Wait,” I grabbed his arm, “I’ve got a better idea.”
Bob better get here soon, Tommy thought. He’s already ten minutes late and I’m freezing my ass off.
He saw the headlights coming toward him and was relieved. He didn’t know what he would do if this didn’t work. He really needed the money. Well, he really needed a fix.
Bob parked, but left the car running. He got out and scanned the area behind Tommy. They were at a deserted warehouse about a mile outside of town.
“It’s about time,” Tommy said.
“Sorry, I had trouble getting the car to start. That’s why I gotta leave it running.”
“Whatever. Did you bring it?”
Bob reached into his inside jacket pocket and took out a plain white envelope. He threw it at Tommy’s feet.
Just as Tommy bent down to pick it up, I stepped out of the shadows with a gun.
“Hold it,” I yelled, aiming the gun at Tommy.
Tommy fell back in surprise.
“Get your fucking hands up now,” I said.
Tommy got up slow and raised his hands, his eyes darting back and forth between the two men. I guess my John Wayne was getting better. Or it was the gun. Probably the gun.
“What is this?” Tommy said.
Bob was smiling. He walked over and punched Tommy hard enough to double him over.
“Did you think I wouldn’t find out?” he said as he punched him again.
“All right,” Tommy coughed, holding his stomach and shaking his head, “I’m sorry. I just really needed the money.”
“And ruining my life was the way to do that?”
“I wasn’t trying to ruin your life.”
“What did you think making me believe I killed someone would do?”
“I guess I never really thought about it,” Tommy said, still bent over.
“You never thought about it!” Bob said. He shoved Tommy so hard he fell to the ground. He started kicking him in the back and legs.
“That’s enough Bob,” I said.
“The hell it is,” Bob said raising his leg for the next kick.
I grabbed his arm and pulled him away, “I said that’s enough.”
“Get your hands off me,” he said yanking his arm from my grip. “You don’t get to decide that.”
“I have the gun so yes, I do,” I said.
“What are you going to do, shoot me?” He started laughing. “You said you wouldn’t kill this prick for me but you’ll shoot me?” He laughed even harder.
“C’mon Bob,” I said, “this wasn’t the plan. We were just going to scare him.”
He stopped laughing, “Plans change.”
“No they don’t. I’m not going to let you beat him to death.”
Bob let out a deep breath. “Okay, okay. You’re right. Seeing him just got me so angry. I don’t know what got into me.” Then he lunged for the gun.
We struggled and the gun went off. Bob went down.
“Shit,” I said, “Shit, shit, shit.” I dropped down next to Bob and felt for a pulse. “Oh God,” I gasped. “He’s dead.”
I heard a noise to my right and looked over. “Tommy,” I said, “this is your fault.” I stood up and started walking toward him.
“I can’t let you leave now, you understand.”
“No, no,” he said waving his hands, scurrying back, “I won’t tell. I swear.”
“I can hardly trust you now, can I?”
Tommy kept scooting backwards, “Please, I won’t tell.”
“Sorry Tommy, I can’t take that chance.” I raised the gun. Tommy backed into Bob’s car and relief flooded his face when he realized it was still running. He jumped inside and took off weaving all over the road. I shot a couple of times near the car.
“That was fun,” said a voice behind me. I turned to see Bob standing up, brushing the dirt off his shirt.
I started laughing. “Yeah, he shouldn’t be a problem anymore.”