My name’s Jack Mason. I made a mistake. Took home the wrong girl. Now she’s dead. Cut up. And they’re telling me I did it.
It’s the same cop that tried to take me down ten years ago. Now he’s coming at me hard. And he’s not the only one. Cole Webster, the city’s crime lord, thinks I stole from him. Broke me out of custody just to ask me about it. Then I killed his son. Now he really wants me.
Add to this equation a government agent, and I’m a real popular guy right now. Pretty much everyone I meet wants me dead, lawfully or otherwise. There’s nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. I’ve got till morning to uncover Webster’s trafficking operation and take the heat off me. And all I’ve got to go on is a pissed off homeless girl with a thirst for revenge.
Guess it could be worse. Can’t quite figure how.
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This worthless little shit lost his cool when she put too much ice in his drink. Lost his top altogether when she tried to take one cube back out with those little tongs and it fell back in. Pulled her halfway over the bar to explain to her real close how she was going to pay for the splash on his silk shirt. Maybe if he’d explained who his daddy was, it would have actually rung a bell. Less of a drug store tinkle, more of a gong furiously beaten with a hammer. Cole Webster owned the club. Owned her. Little Dick Webster – though he probably preferred ‘Rich’ or ‘Richie’ – didn’t think to mention that. She gave his left cheek a bright red hue that didn’t match the sprayed on tan. He repaid the favour.
That’s when I stepped in. Wrong foot first.
The bar stool followed Little Dick to the sticky floor. His shiny purple shirt hissed at me as his movements tore a seam. Then hindsight grabbed my shoulder. Hindsight was a six-three, two-fifty-pound bouncer with egg-shaped eyes. His boss’ jumped up boy was lying on the ground and he wasn’t about to risk his job by reacting too slow.
‘Big mistake,’ was all he said. The only words he knew, maybe.
‘I noticed,’ I said. I didn’t know why. A witty one-liner always seemed the way to go at a time like that. Problem was, I was never particularly witty under pressure.
The bouncer wasn’t trained. He made a mistake. I’d like to say choosing me to play the punch bag was the mistake, but that wasn’t it. He threw me into the side of the bar. Little Dick was just clambering to his feet beside me. I banged the back of my head on the shiny steel, but if I’d let the bright white flash in my eyes deter me, I’d have woken up in hospital. Or in my car. Halfway to the bottom of the lake.
I wrapped both hands around the legs of the nearest bar stool. Made out I was dazed and pulling myself up. The bouncer didn’t see it coming. Felt it though, when the stool hit his jaw. With that bulk, there wouldn’t have been much I could have done if he hadn’t thrown me aside like an empty steroid needle. Now he was unconscious. And fired. Maybe for that failure, he’d wake up in his car, halfway to the bottom of the lake. I didn’t feel bad.
‘Do you have any idea what you just did?’ Little Dick was referring to his own humiliation. He didn’t care about the bouncer. ‘You just signed your own death w—’
As his nose cracked under my knuckles a second time, I reflected on how much I hated violence. I hated violence directed towards women. I hated violence directed towards me. I hated the threat of violence directed towards women or me. I decided then that I hated Little Dick Webster.
The drunk, drugged up social elite, such as it was in this pitiful town, continued to thrash about on the dance floors. No one but Little Dick’s friends took any notice of what just happened. Them and the other bouncers. His friends were as much of a joke as him. Rough with girls perhaps, but not with someone who’d hit back. They weren’t prepared to risk denting their pretty faces on my fists. Just as well. One more punch like those two and my hand would have probably shattered.
The bouncers were another story. Three of them were shoving their way through all the spoiled teens barely old enough to set foot in this place. They looked angry. And their faces definitely weren’t pretty.
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