Sunday, July 13, 2008

Powder Burn Flash # 94 - Paul McGoran

The Lesser Evil

They took Harold down, blindfolded him, trussed him up from behind and tossed him in the car. He fainted. When he woke up, he lay face down in the dirt listening to a ragged squeal of car tires fading away.

Alone now. Highway noise. Must be the woods outside of town, close to the interstate. But why? Was it Chaz, the thug he hired to get rid of his wife Carmella? How could this happen?

Time passed. The smell of dirt and leaves filled his nostrils. Pain radiated from his neck clear down his arms. Finally, a car pulled in – twigs, branches and gravel popping beneath the tires.

With the blindfold pulled away, Harold looked up and saw the cynical smirk on Chaz’s hard face.

“Think it’s funny?” he sputtered. “You gotta be a freakin’ idiot to screw things up this bad. Now cut me loose.”

“Can it, shithead,” Chaz said. “Somebody wants to talk to you.”

The passenger side door of the car opened, and a long, tanned leg descended to the ground. Carmella! She picked her way over the littered ground and stood looking down at him while Chaz took a tightly coiled blanket out of the trunk and rolled it out to the side of the car.

“Thanks for bringing Chaz to town, Harold,” she said. “That was real thoughtful of you. We haven’t seen each other in ages.”

“Wha …?”

“Never told ya I had a brother, did I, honey? I used to be ashamed he was a mob guy.”

While she spoke, Carmella rummaged through her handbag. Finally, she pulled out a little gun. Just then Harold noticed a glint of sunlight playing over the butcher tools Chaz was arranging on the blanket.

“The gun!” Harold begged. “First, the gun.”

BIO: Paul McGoran lives in Newport, Rhode Island. In his life before fiction, he was a Russian interpreter for the U.S. Navy, a career marketing executive and a management consultant. He began writing crime fiction in 2005 and can't seem to stop. He has written two novels and a collection of shorter fiction -- all, alas, unpublished. Look for a short story of his called The Thanks You Get on the U.K. webzine Pulppusher.

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