For a Woman…
Jack was going to get himself killed, he just knew it. They had warned him too, had told him it would happen. His thoughts get interrupted as another shot rings out, ricocheting somewhere above them. Beside him is the source of his trouble and his courage. Anastasia. Even her name sounded exotic and beautiful. How could a kid like him from nowhere town help but fall in love with her? Really, he had no choice. Jack’s dad, god rest his soul, had always said ‘The prettier the dame the bigger the problem shes going to bring you, Jack-y boy’. And then he would take a drink, sometimes a lot of drinks. Jack’s childhood days were full of such half-sober words of advice from his father.
Shaking his head to clear it and trying not to wince at the sound of another gunshot, Jack flipped open his little .38 special. Still just two bullets. They stubbornly refused to multiply before his eyes. He poked his head up above the expensive paperweight that used to be his ’97 Chevy Cavalier Coupe and surveyed the opposition again. Yep. Still three of them. He sighed and dropped down before one of them could test their marksmanship on him. It was only a matter of time, they had him three to one. He was also pretty sure they had more than just two rounds left. She huddled back against him as he crouched down. Anastasia, his beautiful fragile little bird. If only she didn’t come with murderous thugs attached.
“It just stinks, I mean its complete and utter nonsense. I’m going to die because some slick-haired drug boss wants to save face. I’m going to die to what I’m almost certain are extras from Jersey Shore? No way, not possible.” Jack argues with himself, only stopping at a look from Anastasia. Her English isn’t good, but she figured out the gist of his monologue and her face wore a look of disapproval even in the midst of the gun battle. Jack sighed again, drawing it out for dramatic effect. It was bound to come down to this, so what the hell.
‘If you’re going to die, why not die with a beautiful woman by your side.’ His dad had said that too, a little before he stopped coming around for the last time. Jack had been pretty sure his dad wasn’t talking about mom when he said that last one. Taking one final look at his snub-nosed revolver and giving the girl an encouraging smile Jack threw himself over the car and into a run. Ignoring the shots that ring out he levels his revolver at the first of the three he sees. Breathe in, breathe out, fire. He doesn’t stop his run, doesn’t see the man fall.
Hes already ten feet away, barreling down on the next one. The hired gun sees his rage, sees his dangerous recklessness and fumbles with his gun, a Chinese manufactured 9mm. He gets lucky. The shot takes Jack in the left arm and he throws himself down, the rest of the shots ringing out uselessly above him in the mans panic. Breathe out. He fires again, the slug burrowing its way home into the mans skull. Jack grins in bestial triumph, rising to his feet only to find himself staring at the last of the three standing over the second mans cooling body. ‘Guido de Supremo’, he had jokingly dubbed him earlier.
They stare at each other for a moment as if they have forgotten their roles. Their guns rise as realization dawns and they stare each other down, neither one of them firing. ‘Its a funny thing to look a man in the eyes when he has a gun on you, time slows down and you lose track of whats going on.’ More wisdom from his dead father, still completely useless. ‘Guido de Supremo’ was younger than he thought, almost as young as Jack. ‘You don’t want to die here’, he thought, ‘You don’t want to be a murderer’.
Likely the tanned muscles first taste of murder had been when Jack killed his friends, everything had probably got very real for him just then. He didn’t know how long they stood like that, watching each other. All he knew was it was her scream that broke the spell, Anastasia’s impassioned cry of “Jack!” Before he knew it he had pulled the trigger, the ‘click’ sounding out across the deserted street. Damnit. He would have had the drop on him, he could have done it, he – Jack’s thoughts end as ‘Guido de Supremo’ regains his courage and pulls the trigger.
‘In the end Jack-y boy, you’ll ignore every word I’ve told you. And you’ll do it all for a woman.’ Damned if you wern’t right he thinks as he slips away, following his life’s blood into the dirty gutters of the street.
The fiction ran, and I followed. Here is some noir inspired flash-fiction for the night. Not sure if I pulled it off correctly but it was fun to write, let me know what you think.