Billy the Kid Pulls a Double-Cross: A Short Story
And the Story Continues
There are some people who seem to be magnets for bad luck. There are others who seem to attract violence, and then there are some, like the protagonist in this series of short stories, who simply cannot get out of their own way.
Is Billy a good man? Is he bad? Does he basically have a good heart or does evil overrun his kinder instincts?
This is a character I know very well. I understand what makes him tick. I may not approve of some of his career choices, but I understand them. Billy is as real as real gets, and there is a little bit of you, and you, and you and you and you, and certainly me, in Billy.
I hope you enjoy him as much as I do.
- Billy the Kid Between a Rock and a Hard Place: A Short Story
The saga of Billy the Kid continues as our reluctant hero of questionable ethics stumbles into another messy situation.
Between That Rock and Hard Place
Fight or flight? The two basic choices all humans face when confronted with a threat. Fight or flight, which one do you choose, roll the dice, hope it don’t come up craps, brother, and live to roll another day.
Four dead Mexicans, a terrified witness, a drug deal gone bad and the prospect of legions of bad guys all wanting a piece of me….yep, it turned to shit real fast and now it’s fight or flight.
Here’s the thing: we are what we are. You can’t make a hero out of a coward, and you can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip. You can take those truths to the bank. I was raised by a banty rooster of a man, ten years off the boat when he fathered me, as crazy an Irish prick as you are likely to meet. The cops in Washington Heights knew my old man by his first name. About once a week they had to drag his ass out of a tavern following a bar fight, bloodied and cussing, spitting teeth and dishing it out as bad as he got it, that was my old man. Keith was his name, from County Galway, the city of Galway on the River Corrib, a brawler across the Pond and a brawler in the States, and he raised his only son Billy (that would be me) to never back down, never run and always land the first punch.
So fight or flight was no choice at all for me as I watched the first sliver of sunlight rise in the east and the blood in the water change from black to grey in color.
The girl stood still ten feet from me, still looking at me with those doe eyes, searching for answers from me, silently begging me to make it all right. Not much chance of that happening. In about an hour Tiny Momma, a four-hundred pound sack of lard in Key West, would be wondering where her shipment of black tar disappeared to, and the Mexican drug cartel would be looking for their half-million in about four hours.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, this was not going to turn out well at all. My sainted mother must be rolling in her grave right about now, her only son once again knee deep in shit.
Chapter before that....
- Billy the Kid in Margaritaville: A Short Story
A new chapter in the Billy the Kid Saga, this time in Key West, Florida as trouble seems to follow our reluctant hero.
She kept looking at me with those dark eyes, her raven hair spilling over her shoulders, hugging herself against the cold of a warm night. She had no answers. Her life just took a drastically wrong turn during an innocent walk along the beach. Hell of a night for insomnia.
“What are we going to do?” she asked me once more, as if I had a clue.
We only had one chance and running wasn’t it. Organized crime can find you no matter where you hide.
“I think it’s time for a drive. Let’s get the money and drugs into your car. Then I want you to drive me to Key West. That’s where I’m expected and I hate to keep a lady waiting.” I set the drugs and money in the sand and waded back out to the boat. The Mexicans were right where they had died. I grabbed one of their machine pistols. They wouldn’t be needing it.
Back onshore I slung the machine pistol over my shoulder, grabbed the drugs and money and followed my reluctant guide down the beach to her rental unit and eventually her car, a late model Lexus convertible. I had her open the trunk and I tossed the bag and suitcase in. I shut the trunk and got in the passenger seat. The lady slipped in on the driver’s side and looked at me.
“What are we going to do?”
“I really wish you’d quit asking me that question.” I smiled to let her know I was partially joking. “Listen, we’ve got serious problems. The cops won’t help us at all. The Mexicans are not an understanding group and Tiny Momma would eat you for lunch with the right spices. None of them will listen to us with a sympathetic ear. It’s a tough break for you but that’s just the way it is. Our only chance…and I mean our only damned chance…is to hit them before they hit us. If we do this right we just might walk away from this. Now, before we go, how about telling me your name?”
“My name? My name is Genna and I didn’t ask for any of this trouble?”
“I know you didn’t, Genna, but that’s just the way of it. My name is Billy and I guess you could say I’ve been asking for this trouble since I was a gleam in my saintly mother’s eyes. Now let’s go to Key West. If you know any prayers, now would be the time to say them.”
- Billy the Kid Faces the Music: A Short Story
The story comes to a conclusion as Billy the Kid discover the price is often steep for a casual dalliance.
With the top down we drove south on the Overseas Highway. At five in the morning there was no traffic. The warm ocean air was intoxicating, deviously peaceful, whispering tranquility while my mind screamed of the havoc we were approaching. Genna’s face was distorted with worry as she drove a steady sixty, water on both sides of us, gentle swells undulating to the ancient rhythm of life. Five miles into the drive she glanced at me.
“Why do you do it?” she asked.
“Drug-running? I need the cash. Simple as that. Some people drive a bread truck. Some are carpenters. This is the kind of life I’ve been in for years, and before you say it sure, I could go straight, drive one of those bread trucks, but so far I’ve chosen not to. I’m just a crazy Mick bastard who’s been lucky so far. I haven’t been shot and I haven’t been some guy’s bitch in the stir doing ten to twenty. I gotta tell ya, though, I’m done working with Mexicans. They’re too damned trigger-happy. So what about you? What do you do when you aren’t taking moonlit walks on the beach and interrupting drug deals?”
The wind blew her untied hair straight back, making her appear to be flying with a cape, some super-hero with the face of a mahogany angel.
“I’m running away from an abusive husband. The house I was staying at is a friend’s. I was trying to figure out what to do now that I’m rid of Jake. He doesn’t know where I am. If he finds me I’m afraid he’ll kill me.”
“What about the police?”
Her laughter held no humor. “What about them? Jake is the Assistant D.A. in Miami. I’m the black daughter of a sugarcane farmer. Who would listen to me?”
Just call me a sucker for a pretty woman and leave it at that. If I got out of this particular frying pan I would most likely jump right into the fire.
- Billy the Kid Rides Again: A Short Story, Part 2
A story about life on the mean streets of New York.
We pulled up in front of Death Alley, Tiny Mommas headquarters, at five-twenty. I turned to Genna.
“You can wait for me or take off. Your choice. If you wait I’ll be fifteen minutes tops. After fifteen minutes, if I’m not here, leave and drive fast. Makes no difference where you go but you can’t go back to that house on the beach. If I’m not successful then your life span can be counted in weeks. Understand?”
I opened up the car’s trunk and grabbed the machine pistol I had borrowed from the departed Mexicans, slipped it under my windbreaker and walked to the front door carrying the bag of black tar with more bravado than I felt. No way was Death Alley open for business, but I had no doubt Tiny and her goon Isaac, seven feet of pissed off, were inside waiting for my delivery. I knocked twice and immediately heard footsteps approaching. The door opened, allowing interior light to leak on the sidewalk, and Isaac motioned me inside.
“Tiny is in the back waiting for you,” he said. “I’ll have to pat your down before you go back there.”
Never show fear!
“Pat yourself down you overgrown steroid. Follow me in there but you aren’t touching me.” And with that I led him to the back office. I knocked once, entered and was greeted by Tiny, sitting on a sofa, sprawled out eating ice cream. She smiled at me. I smiled back. Just two old friends spreading the love.
“Billy the Kid. Right on time. I like that, and I see you’ve got the goods. Just drop it on the floor, Mon Ami. Your payment is on the table there.”
I took two steps towards the table, spun around and tossed the bag of drugs at Isaac. Instinctively he reached up to catch it and that’s when I pulled the machine pistol and raked him with ten bullets, north to south. The drugs hit the floor seconds before Isaac. I turned around to face Tiny, who was reaching under her tent of a nightgown, no doubt for the Glock she always keeps strapped to her thigh.
“Sorry, Tiny, but never do business with a crazy Mick bastard.” I shot her in the forehead. One bullet was enough. The ice cream was ruined, as was her nightgown, as was my appetite.
I wiped the machine pistol down, eliminating prints, dropped it on the floor and left the drugs. The Mexicans would have trouble figuring this one out. Probably chalk the loss up to the greed of a fat crime boss. I ran back outside, grabbed the suitcase of cash as Genna looked on, took it back inside Death Alley and left it by Tiny. I took fifty grand from the suitcase, traveling money, and left the rest. No reason to get greedy. Word would get back to the Mexicans that the drugs and the money were found, minus the cost of doing business.
Genna had the engine running when I left the bar. I climbed in.
“Now would be a good time to drive this thing north,” I told her.
She didn’t ask any questions. I liked her for that.
- Walking the Streets on a Cold Fall Night: A Short Story
Take a walk with me along the mean streets of America
To Be Continued
Just another day in Paradise, right?
As you read this, Billy and Genna are heading north, putting some distance between them and their past. Where they’ll end up is anyone’s guess.
Thanks for riding along with them. I hope you’ll join me again next week when Billy the Kid rides again.
2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)