Monday, July 27, 2009

The Big Bust Up

by Ryan Buck

If three hours ago things had gone differently she and Otis would have been on a plane to Guam, toasting expensive champagne to a job well done and planning to have lots of sweaty carnal exercise. But things don't always work out the way you want them to and so now here she was sitting in a stolen car, holding a Mauser, smoking a cigarette and wearing nothing but her slip. A shotgun lay next to her on the front passenger seat. Her long legs were stretched out on top of the dash and her eyes were keenly fixed on the back door of the scummy dive Dirty Dave had gone into 10 minutes before. She knew it was a risk to let him go in there by himself. He couldn't be trusted. He was probably in there phoning ahead and getting some kind of ambush set up. That didn't matter. She knew that one way or another this thing wouldn't end until there was a reckoning. Either she got Otis back alive or she ended up dead, those were the only things that concerned her. She hoped for the former but expected the latter.
Dirty Dave came stumbling out, a brown paper bag clutched in his meaty fists. The same fists he'd tried to beat her with half an hour ago. She had broken three of his fingers with the butt of the Mauser and given him the fat lip he dribbled from. Dirty Dave was your typical he-man woman hater and thought all women weak and easy to beat on. Like all such men they never expect a women to be as strong or ferocious as themselves. She had never been a shrinking violet and had never in her life backed down from a fight. That was was one of the things that Otis said he admired most about her. Her tenacity and bravado had won her a spot not only in Otis' little band of misfit miscreants but also in his bed. She had been all of 22 when she first ran into Otis, quite literally, outside of Bowman's bar on a hot August night three years ago.
Otis had stumbled drunk into the parking lot and she was driving drunk through it. She had hot wired the car, nearly blind from two bottles of bourbon and as she backed up she heard a thump and felt something fall onto the trunk. She didn't know why she stopped and got out of the car but one look at him sprawled out over the back of that cherry red Camaro and she was glad she had. Otis was an amazing looking kind of guy. It wasn't one thing in particular that made him so attractive, in fact taken in parts he might not have been. His mouth was just a little too large, his eyes seemed unevenly spaced and his nose just a button on his face. Yet all these things put together and drenched in his incredible charm melted her like no other man before or since. "You hit me with your car." He said drunkenly and that made her laugh and from those first words she was hooked.
Being a tough girl hadn't ever made her many friends in the masculine department. Most of the guys she'd grown up with either wanted to fuck her or were intimidated by her. Otis certainly wanted to fuck her but not in that creepy way every other guy that looked at her did. He didn't force it on her or continually paw at her until she caved in just to get him off her back. Otis gave her what no other man other than her father had given her, respect. Otis admired her. He often told her how cool she was and how together they could accomplish anything. After their first job together Otis always made her a part of the planning and put her in control of the guns. She had always been good with guns. It wasn't from any special training or years of practice, it was just one of those things she had a natural affinity for like how some people can draw or write especially well. She couldn't paint or compose poetry but she could shoot.
Dirty Dave smiled at her through his fat lip and broken teeth as he bent down to open the passenger door.
"Ah ah." she said pointing the Mauser at his face. "Just drop it in the seat."
Dirty Dave looked dumbfounded, which was no great feat for him already looking the part of village idiot half the time anyway. "You ain't taking me with you? You letting me go?"
She just smiled. "Is it in there?" she said nodding to the paper bag. He nodded up and down, sweat trickling off his beefy jowls. "Where is he?"
"He...he's at Fredrick's. Over on Culvert. know the place?"
"Yes, I know the place." Damn! She was hoping this might be simple but like everything else about this day it was going to be twice as hard.
"So w..we square now? I did what you wanted. I found out where he was." She gave him a cold glare. "I promise. I swear I ain't crossed you...again. I wouldn't do that." With those words she knew the truth. Otis was gone. It was like a punch in the heart, but she didn't let a bit of it show through. She looked at this sorry excuse of a man and shot him through the mouth. She slammed the car into gear and sped out onto the street leaving Dirty Dave dead and bleeding in the back alley. She knew she was driving towards her death, but she swore that she'd put a bullet in every one of the bastards that had set up her and Otis before she went.
Twenty four hours before she shot Dirty Dave in the mouth she and Otis were sitting about a block away from Johannsen's casing the street. She sat nestled in his arms, kissing him softly on the neck.
"You know if you keep that up I'm going to get distracted and where will that put us tomorrow?" Otis' tone was playful and only slightly reprimanding. They had an unwritten rule when pulling off a job; no sex 'til after. She wasn't trying to break that rule or bait him into breaking it either, she was simply playing around. They often liked to tease each other this way, increasing the anticipation of pulling off a score with no foul ups.
"I'm just trying to look convincing babe." She said as she tugged on his ear with her teeth.
"Well, don't get...carried away now." Otis put his hand on her neck and held her gently. "This is going to be a big score. Probably our biggest yet."
"You're sure about this Dirty Dave guy?" She put her head in his lap and looked up at the scar on the bottom of his chin. "He's kind of a creep."
"Yeah. Well a creep he may be but he's always been a reliable fixer."
"If you trust him then it's all gold with me." They sat quietly for a minute or two, she with her head in his lap, he gently stroking the hair from her forehead.
"So why Guam?" she asked. He was busy surveying the street, paying close attention to the grey Volvo that had just pulled up in front of Johannsen's. She asked him again.
"Huh?" He looked down at her and smiled. "I grew up there. My folks still have a house in the woods."
"Hey, wait a minute! Is this some kind of weird way to introduce me to your parents?"
He laughed, that sweet guffaw that always tingled the back of her head.
"No, haha, don't worry this isn't some kind of elaborate proposal or anything. My folks are gone but the house is in the family and...well I just thought I'd be nice to get out of the city for a while. You know take a vacation."
She punched him in the arm. "You scared me for a second there."
He laughed again and kissed her.
"Don't worry I wouldn't mess up a good thing with something as silly as marriage."
She leaned into him and they kissed again.
"Yeah, well you better not." They both chuckled and watched as two men got out of the grey Volvo carrying leather satchels.
Otis checked his watch. "Two thirty on the dot. This thing is going to go off like clockwork."
The job went exactly according to plan. There weren't any cock ups and the only people hurt were the two bagmen, both shot close range with her shotgun. The bag was grabbed and the three man crew; her, Jolly and Otis lit out like a fourth of July bottle rocket. A smooth and easy snatch and grab. All they had to do was meet up with Dirty Dave, hand over the satchels and pick up their payment. That's when everything went to hell. Jolly got his head blown off as soon as he walked into the hotel room. Before she or Otis could raise guns and fire off they were jumped by big burly thugs and dragged into the dingy room.
Waiting inside Dirty Dave smiled through yellowed teeth. Next to him sat a man in white slacks, red shirt and a tie. Otis said his name and was promptly smashed in the mouth by one of the big thugs holding him. "Lancaster!"
The man in slacks was eating a sandwich. He stopped eating and wiped his mouth as he stood up.
"I'm glad to see you have such a good memory Otis. I might have been insulted if you had forgotten your old mates." The man in slacks had a British accent. He walked to within a few feet of she and Otis.
"Well she's a pretty one." The man in slacks looked her over in an oily way and took out a handkerchief from his pocket. He went to stand directly in front of Otis. Blood dripped from Otis' split lip. The man in slacks put the handkerchief around his hand protectively and grabbed Otis by the jaw. Otis struggled but the two burly men holding him flexed their arms and Otis let out a painful yell.
"You won't be getting away from me that easy this time, mate." The man in slacks squeezed Otis' jaw forcing more blood to flow out of the busted lip. "Take him to the car." Otis gave a fight but a few punches to his neck from his captors put an end to any more resistance.
"What about the girl?" This from Dirty Dave as the man in slacks made for the door.
"Consider it a finder's fee." He smiled, put his handkerchief back into his pocket and left. Only She, Dirty Dave and the man pinning her arms remained in the room. Dirty Dave was grinning to beat the Cheshire and wiping sweat from his pouchy lips.
"Put her over here." he told the thug holding her. The thug shoved her roughly into a chair by the window. Dirty Dave kept wiping his lips and running his eyes over her body.
"Take 'em off." He stammered, his excitement getting away with itself. She didn't move. She sat there glaring at Dirty Dave. Dirty Dave pulled a Mauser from the belt of his jeans and pointed it at her face.
"I said take 'em off you cunt!" His hand trembled from anticipation. She stood up roughly and began to take off her jacket and the plain skirt she was wearing. She stood in front of the two men wearing only her slip.
"Now that's hot. Isn't that hot?" Dirty Dave was saying to the thug. He came up to her and started caressing her nipples through the slip with the barrel of the Mauser. She stood resolute not flinching as he leaned in close to her neck. Before he could put his mouth on her she had twisted the gun out of his hands and shot the thug in the belly. Dirty Dave, being as physically slow as he was mentally, didn't have time to deflect the butt of the Mauser as it came slamming into his mouth. Her knee connected with his balls at the same time and he blacked out.
When Dirty Dave came to about ten minutes later it wasn't gentle or coaxing. He was being slapped in the face repeatedly and hard.
"You bitch! I'll fucking gut you!" He wanted to lunge at her, grab her by the neck and squeeze 'til her face turned purple but the belt holding his hands to the table wouldn't let him. She sat across from him, his Mauser in her hands. She had him tied so that his chest was flat against the table, his arms spread out wide. He could barely raise his head to look up at her. He pulled at the restraints for a second then gave up.
"Where did they take him?"
"What the fuck are you talking about you cooze?" With a quickness that Dirty Dave could not follow she smashed the Mauser onto his right hand. There was the sound like celery snapping and then Dirty Dave let out a high pitched yell. She had a glass of water next to her and threw it in his face. He stopped yelling and gurgled on the water, choking. When he was done she asked her question again.
"I...I don't know."
She raised up the Mauser as if to smash it down again and he began to stammer.
"I..I don't know, but I can find out. Honest. I can find out for you. Please don't hit me again. I can find out for you. I can get you your money to." She didn't care about the money. She wanted to get Otis and put bullets into the man in slacks.
"I'll shoot you in the mouth if you're lying to me." Was all she said and untied him.
She sat in Dirty Dave's car at the parking lot across from Fredrick's Meat Packing Plant. The place was a gangster fortress and had a sinister mythology amongst the street operators of the city. It was the place the Big Guys took you if they wanted to put a nasty hurt on you and take there time doing it. She knew they'd be waiting for her. She was sure Dirty Dave had called ahead. The paper bag he'd given her was full of money, but she was sure that was only meant to calm her down, lower her defenses.
The way she planned on going in was guarded; three at the gate, two at the door. She'd been watching them for twenty minutes and they started to look bored. Then a skinny dude came out and talked to the five guns and suddenly they went back on the alert. Someone must've found Dirty Dave and phoned it in. Good, she wanted them to know she was coming. She wanted them on edge. She checked her shotgun and double checked the Mauser. The Mauser had five bullets left, the shotgun six shells. She didn't spend any more time thinking about her plan. She threw the car into gear and sped straight toward the front gate of the Packing Plant.
Across four lanes of traffic she sped without hitting any oncoming cars. She slammed the two ton bullet into the gate and through the three guns stationed there before they were able to get off a single shot. The two guns at the door had more time to make a move and one of them had gotten off a shot at the wheels of the car. The wheel popped and the car careened to the side and punched into one of the concrete support pillars by the front door stairs.
She was out of the car and squeezed off two rounds into the closest thug, hitting him in the arm and the eye. The thug went down and she swung around to get the other one in the leg. This thug was a bit faster and managed to graze her left leg with a bullet, taking out a quarter sized chunk of meat with it. It stung a little but it wasn't the first time she'd been shot and it certainly wasn't the worst. The thug dove for cover and she ran straight toward him, not giving him any time to recover. She came up to him.
She said, "Hey." and he turned to face her. She put a bullet through his ear and another through his forehead. His head popped like an over ripe watermelon. She tossed the expended Mauser down and brought up the shotgun. She turned toward the double doors of the front entrance. Two more thugs burst out and ate two exploding shotgun blasts at close range. Their faces turned to hamburger and a fine red mist sprayed across her white slip. She jumped over their dead bodies and dove inside the building.
She stood and looked around fast, taking in the layout and positions of all the shooters aiming at her. There were three men with guns waiting for her; two behind packing crates and a third up top near a conveyor belt. She dove to her right to avoid the bullets that were being fired at her. She came up next to a stack of packing crates. There wasn't much cover in the 10 feet between her and the three gunman. They were spending bullets like money in a Mexican whorehouse and not a one came anywhere near her. The crates she was standing behind dripped bloody meat from the numerous holes now lining the side facing the gunmen. She waited for them to stop shooting then made a mad dash across that deadly open space toward the gunman on her left. She was four feet away from the crate he was using as cover when the gunman up top clipped her in the arm.
She slid the rest of the way to the crate, slamming into the front of it. She jumped up immediately and swung around to the left, out of the line of fire from the other two guns and let go two more blasts from her shotgun. She heard the shells punch into something and by the screams that followed she was sure it was the thug. She crouched down and squinted at the pain in her arm. It was beginning to go numb and she knew she didn't have much time before the wound would seriously hamper her aim.
She could hear the gunman above running across the planks of the conveyor belt and as the footsteps got to a point just above her she fired upwards. A curse, followed by more gunfire let her know she had missed. She only had one shell left in her shotgun. She risked a quick glance around the corner of the crate and saw the dead thug's gun laying two feet away. Bullets whizzed close but went wide. She popped back into cover, counted five then popped out again diving for the thug's automatic pistol.
It was in a pool of blood and slippery when she grabbed it but her fingers slid easily into the trigger guard as she came up on one knee. She knew the thug on the ground was a terrible shot so she took two seconds to aim and blew a hole in his shoulder when he fired at her again. She heard the gun above her moving around and squeezed the trigger on the pistol in her hand until it clicked empty. She heard a thump and then saw the thug fall from the gang plank to land on his head four feet away from her. She stood up and walked over to the gunman she had winged in the shoulder. blood poured out all over his expensive clothes and she kicked him in the balls before taking his gun from him.
"Where are they?" she asked between gritted teeth. The thug coughed and spat out blood. "In the back."
She stood and shot him in the head. Then she turned and walked through the lake of blood at her feet toward the office door that led to her final objective.

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