“You can imagine my surprise. I stop in to Little Saigon for a little of that spicy soup I like, and what do I see? I see you walking out of a store with a bunch a rice pickers. Then they pass you a bag and you bow to those little motherfuckers. It all fell into place after that. The Twelve Buddha’s have been making grabs at our territory for months. The little bastards are goddamned good at it too. They knock off our guys and set up so fucking perfectly that life carries on just as it was. Junkies keep getting their fixes and dealers keep getting paid – only we don’t get our money anymore. The fucking slants get it. No one knew how it was going down, but everybody knew that there was an inside man. Julian put out the word that the boss will turn over twenty-five large to whoever brings inthe piece of shit that’s selling us out. So I guess I got a prize with my soup – a rat worth twenty five g’s.”
“What you got nothing to say Greene?”
“Mmm nnnn hmm mmm.”
“What’s that? I didn’t catch it. Hard to talk with a gun in your mouth?”
Vincent was pleased with himself. He had been “connected” since he was twelve, but he never broke through. He never made it big. Now he had a real shot at the big time. He was going to waltz the traitor in and wait for his reward and his pat on the back. He never figured a man like Greene to be a two-timer, but it didn’t matter – he caught him in the wrong part of town, with a bag from the wrong people. He didn’t know what was in the bag. It was probably cash - payment for selling out to the Twelve Buddha’s. After he called Julian, the boss’ right hand, and turned over the bag, Vincent knew he would soon be on a first name basis with Paolo Donati. “Vincent,” he would say. “I need someone to handle a job for me. Someone I can trust to handle my affairs. I know you are that man.”Vincent knew that everything was about to change. No one would be calling him Vinny anymore, or worse Bobarino. People would respect him because they would know that he was the kind of guy who knew how to take care of business. The kind of guy who deserved a bonus.
“What’s in the bag Greene?”
“Mmm nnnn hmm mmm.”
“What’s that? I should have it. You’re probably right – cause you won’t be needing it.”
“Mmm nnnn hmm mmm.” Greene’s eyes were glued to the bag as he mouthed incoherently around the gun barrel.
Vincent laughed at the desperation. “Don’t be stupid. You lost Greene. You were big time, but you got greedy. Now it’s my turn to be big time, and that bag is gonna start me off right. I’ll get some new clothes, abetter phone, and a cool hat. People are gonna recognize me from now one. They’ll see that I’m a real player.”
“Mmm nnnn hmm mmm,” Greene mumbled louder. The barrel of the gun rattled off his teeth as he grunted his message.
Vincent grabbed the back of the kneeling man’s head and shoved the gun deeper into his mouth.
“You don’t talk to me like that. No one does. Not anymore.”
Greene gagged and threw up. Vomit streamed out around the gun onto the grey pavement of the alley. Greene tried to breathe, but he choked on the vomit leaking back down the gun barrel into his mouth.
“Shit that’s gross. Heh, I thought you’d be better with things in your mouth.”
Exhausted, Greene leaned into the gun and pushed out another grunt between heaving gasps. “Mmm nnnn hmm mmm.” His left hand reached for the bag while his right went another way.
Vincent’s eyes followed Greene’s hand to the bag. He laughed at the pathetic reach and let Greene get a finger on the bag before kicking it out of reach. As his toe connected with the bag, he realized he couldn’t feel the gun anymore. His eyes whipped towards Greene, but his gaze didn’t make it past his hand. His hand was still on the gun, but his fingers weren’t gripping the butt anymore. The gun was suspended between Greene’s mouth and his index finger, which was still hooked in the trigger guard. Vincent saw his mangled wrist in the dim alley light. The white of bone gleamed between the spurts of dark blood rhythmically jetting out on to the pavement.
Greene pulled the gun free from his mouth and Vincent’s finger came loose. He yanked his hand back to his chest trying to plug the leak with his left hand. The blood flow slowed, but it still managed to find a way onto the concrete from in between his fingers. He didn’t notice that Greene was off his knees until his chest collided with the other man’s. The knife in Greene’s right hand went in under Vincent’s rib cage, twisted, and came out.
It was Vincent’s turn to be on his knees. The pavement bit through his pants as he hit the ground – leaking.
Greene wiped his mouth and spat. “I tried to tell you, but you wouldn’t listen.”
Vincent tried to say, “What?”
“I kept telling you, just take the bag. But your greedy ass had to brag about what a smart fucker you are. You’re so smart you decided to steal from the bag before you finished with the bag man. There’s only ten in there. Nothing compared to the twenty-five I’ll pull in for handing your body over to Julian.”
Vincent sank all the way to the ground. He landed in a warm red puddle he didn’t see there before. Nothing worked; he could only listen to the soundof Greene on his phone.
“Julian, it’s Greene. I found the fucking rat you were looking for. It was that piece of shit Bobarino. Yeah that’s right, Vinny. I know, that little moron was always destined to be a fuck up. Sorry, you’re too late. I had to put him down. I caught the little shit red handed with a bag of cash in the middle of Little Saigon. Can you believe he was selling us out for five g’s? I’ll leave the body here for the Twelve Buddha’s as a message. Yeah, I got the bag right here. I’ll see you in ten.”
Greene hung up the phone.
“Thanks Vinny. This will put me in with the boss for sure, and that twenty-five g’s means I won’t have to freelance anymore either. So long Bobarino.”
Vincent didn’t hear Greene leave. He couldn’t hear anything anymore.
BIO: Mike Knowles is a Canadian writer. His first book, Darwin's Nightmare, is out this year under ECW press.