Billy the Kid Discovers There is No Rest for the Wicked: A Continuing Short Story
Filling You In
Just in case you missed the first seven episodes in this serial, let me get you up-to-date. Billy and Genna are on the run. A large number of bad guys are looking for them and if found the outcome will not be pleasant.
They both have found jobs in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and they are renting a farmhouse on the outskirts of town, keeping their heads down and silently praying that their luck changes.
But someone has found them.
The Next Day
The next day was a Saturday and the meat-processing plant was paying me time-and-a-half to work. I didn’t need the cash but I wanted it to appear like I did, so I bundled up for the weather and cursed the cold wooden floor. Genna had the late shift at the Lazy Boots and wasn’t due in until five, so she mumbled goodbye to me and promptly went back to sleep. A north wind announced the arrival of a new storm as ice pellets pounded the hood of the car during the ten minute drive. The landscape matched my mood….bleak. It was colder than a witch’s tit as I pulled into the parking lot at West Liberty Foods at seven-fifty.
I wondered if Genna remembered a guy was coming to unclog the toilet at ten a.m. I called to remind her. No answer. Probably sleeping soundly. I called her again, let it ring ten times. Genna always has her phone on the nightstand next to bed. No way she doesn’t hear ten rings. I stared at my phone as if it could provide the answer. I looked at the clock on the dash….seven-fifty-three. I watched my co-workers file through the front door, their breaths pluming under a gray sky. I calculated the odds Genna simply slept through the ringing phone. They weren’t good odds.
Bob Tillson was just getting out of his car. I yelled over to him and told him I had to run back home, asked him to tell the foreman I’d be in by eight-thirty. He waved and hurried into the warehouse as the sleet changed to snow and I stomped on the gas and fishtailed out of the parking lot. West on Washington Street, left on Jefferson, two miles and cross the bridge over Big Creek then a sharp right into our driveway and slam on the brakes as a black Cadillac Escalade sat in front of our rental and I knew with crystal clarity that our pasts had caught up with us.
My Old Man
I’m known as a crazy Mick bastard and that reputation is attributable in part to me and in part to my old man. Things were tough in Washington Heights growing up with the crack selling like candy and the Sepulveda brothers ruling the streets with blistering retribution, but it was nothing like the childhood my old man had. We may or may not have come a long way in race relations in this country, but during the Forties and Fifties, when my dad walked those same streets, being Irish was nothing to advertise, if you get my drift. His knuckles were permanently scarred from the fistfights of his youth and he carried a four-inch long scar along his left cheek, a badge of honor that got him membership into the O’Reilly gang in nineteen fifty-one.
Some dads play catch with their kids. My dad taught me how to survive on the streets, and those lessons remain with me today. He used to tell me to always have an escape route. He told me to always take it to the bastards, strike first, strike harder and keep striking until all resistance was gone. So sitting at the end of the driveway with the leafless oaks providing a canopy against the snowy sky, I instinctively knew driving up there would be an error. Always have an escape route. I turned the wheel left and advanced two feet, then cranked the wheel right and backed up until my car blocked the driveway. No way out for them. Error on their part, whoever they were; they had no escape route.
Then it was time for me to strike first, strike harder and keep striking.
My book on writing
Preparing for Battle
I checked my Glock and made sure it was locked and loaded, then got out of the car, tugged my collar as high as it would go and started walking towards the house. There was no motion to be seen. The curtains were pulled, something we never did on the first floor. As I pulled even with the Cadillac I felt its hood. Still warm. It had only been there fifteen minutes tops. They must have been watching, waiting for me to leave. Showed up right after I left. I took out my knife and flattened two tires. No escape.
I had no idea how many were in the house, but I didn’t feel like I had time for any fancy reconnaissance. Strike first, strike hard. I flicked the safety off, walked up three steps to the porch, opened the screen door, tested the door knob and found it locked. I backed up for momentum, took one step forward, pivoted my hips and shattered the door jam with a solid kick at the lock. Keep moving. Genna was tied to a kitchen chair straight ahead thirty feet. Her face was bleeding. Two guys in suits were standing over her. At the sound of my entrance they turned. One of them reached instinctively into his pocket. My nine millimeter slug got to him before he could pull the gun from his pocket. He seemed to melt onto the floor after being hit by my hollow point.
The other guy looked at his buddy, looked at me, did some quick calculations and raised his arms in the air. He smiled. I smiled. Just two friendly guys standing over a dead body, a spreading pool of blood and a woman tied to a kitchen chair.
“No need for the gun,” he said to me. “We’re all civilized people, right?”
“Is that what we are?” I asked. “So you’re saying civilized people beat women after breaking into a house? Who are you and what the fuck are you doing in my home? And be very careful how you answer that question. If I sense a lie you’ll join your buddy on the floor. I’ve pretty much run out of patience this morning.”
Genna hadn’t said a word but she was conscious, listening and obviously scared-shitless.
“My name is Jake Petrovich. I work out of the Miami-Dade Office of the State Attorney, and Genna here is my wife. I’ve come to take her home with me, and you need to put that gun down before you get into more trouble than you already own.”
“Jake, I’ve heard of you. It seems you like to hit women. Genna tells me you’re abusive. I’m guessing Miami-Dade hasn’t authorized this little journey of yours. As fucked up as that office is, there is no way they give sanction to you and your buddy kidnapping your wife. So you’re here on your own, aren’t you Jake, a quick snatch and grab, back in Miami by tomorrow, no one the wiser?”
The truth was in his eyes but being a political animal, he had to try.
“As a state official I’m authorized to be here. Now put your gun down now.” His bluster was ridiculous considering his predicament.
“Bullshit, Jake! I’m guessing no one knows you’re here in Iowa, but I’m a reasonable sort. If Genna wants to go with you then she goes with my blessings. What about it, Genna, do you want to reunite with Jake?”
The blood had dried and crusted on her beautiful lips. They were starting to swell and she slowly shook her head. Her dark eyes shifted from fear to hatred.
“I’m not going anywhere with this monster, Billy. I’ll end up floating in the bay six months from now and he’ll get off clean as a whistle. His kind always walk away clean.”
“Not this time, Genna.”
The nice thing about a farmhouse in the country is no one hears a gunshot, especially in the muffled atmosphere of a strengthening snowstorm. Jake was dead before he hit the floor. The smell of cordite hung heavy in the kitchen. Discharged bowels fouled the floor. A spray pattern of Jakes blood decorated the refrigerator.
Strike first. Strike hard. No escape. Dad would be proud.
I untied Genna and she leaned into my arms, her tears falling silently against my chest.
“What are we going to do, Billy?”
“Always with the questions, like I have answers just waiting for you. Shit, Genna, let me think for thirty seconds before you hit me with the heavy inquisition, okay?”
She rubbed her wrists and wiped her eyes. “That’s the second time you saved my life.”
“Let’s not make a habit of it, okay?”
I released her from my embrace and walked to the front door. I looked out to confirm no one had heard the shots. Visibility was already greatly reduced. Not a soul was out there. I turned back to Genna.
“Nobody knows they were here. I think we skate on this one. We dump the bodies and keep on living our lives here in scenic Iowa.”
“But what if someone else knows they were coming here? What if they kept records somewhere of this trip?”
“Enough with the what ifs, Genna. We roll the dice until they come up snake eyes. Clean yourself up while I move these two out to their car. When you’re ready I’ll drive them somewhere, you’ll follow and we dump them and their car. Let’s get moving. I want this trash out of our home as soon as possible.”
Of Course This Will Be Continued
I’m having too much fun driving the bus for Billy and Genna, so we can’t stop now. Check in next week and we’ll find out how Billy’s plan works out. Until then, thanks for following along.
2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)