Monday, February 21, 2011

Ticker - 2

He knocked on the door, felt the prickle at the back of his neck as the cameras focused on him. He wondered if it’d be Heckle or Jeckle who answered the door. The door opened and the youngish goon smiled. Heckle.

“Good evening, Mr. Wollenski.”

Jimmy tried to slow down his heart. Tried to maintain. He smiled and hoped it looked real.

“Hiya, Edward.”

“You know I can’t let you in here with that.”

Jimmy smiled, thought about putting a round in the middle of that oily forehead. Ten years ago, maybe. These days, he didn’t have the stamina to run around the house looking for Johnny. He gave Heckle the gun. He tucked into his belt, insincere smile getting even bigger and more insincere.

Johnny and Jeckle were waiting in the office. Jeckle flashed him a brief smile, fell in beside him when he entered. Bookended by Heckle and Jeckle, Jimmy strained to smile. He felt the pain in his arm, felt his ribs going tight. Figured he didn’t have much time.

Johnny was one of those people the years had worked over like sand paper, smoothed down, his seamless skin pulled tight to his skull. He looked better than Jimmy but, considering, that wasn’t any surprise. He smiled a smile from the grave.



“You look like shit,” he said, and grinned. Johnny couldn’t help it. He wiped sweat away from his forehead and laughed.

“Well, fuck, John, don’t sugar coat.”

“Your heart?”

“Yeah, it’s jus about ready to give out. Like my Pop.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

Which was bullshit, anyway. Heckle was left handed, and he made the mistake of standing off to Jimmy’s right. Jeckle was standing too damn close, too, a mistake neither one of them would have made if Jimmy were a younger man.

John picked up a cigar and began to light it. It was meant to intimidate, and Jimmy almost smiled at that. As if he could be intimidated. But it was an opportunity, and as Johnny looked at the flame and brought it close to the rope, things began to happen.

Jimmy grabbed at the gun in Heckle’s crotch, squeezing the trigger and blowing off Heckle’s balls, since he’d been dumb enough not check if there was a round chambered and dumber still when he stuck in his waist band.

At the same time, he drove an elbow right into Jeckle’s nose, knocking him backward, blood spouting. He had the gun clear and coming around as Johnny’s gun came clear of the desk, and Jimmy was moving sideways, faster than he’d moved in year, pulling the trigger.

He put a bullet in Jeckle’s forehead, knocking out most of what brains the jerk had, and turned and did the same to Heckle, who was crying and cupping his ruined balls anyway. And then it was over, and there was a sledgehammer in his chest and he leaned back against the wall, slid down.

John’s mouth worked, but no sound. Jimmy had gotten a nice grouping, but he was still hanging on. The Glock he’d been pulling was on the desk, and his fingers spasmed as he tried to grab Jimmy tried to breathe, dropped his own gun, looked at Jimmy.

“Well, here we fucking are, Johnny. Jesus. You never….you never should have asked me to do that. Now fucking look at us.”

John gurgled. Maybe a curse, maybe an apology. Jimmy hoped for the apology. He wished his own heart was still in it. He closed his eyes and wished things weren’t the way they were and that they weren’t who they were and waited for the world to go away.

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