Pungent smoke wafted from the cigarette in his hand to Sal’s nose. His nostrils flared slightly as he became aware of the smell. Raising his hand to look at it, he had neglected it long enough for the last half to turn to ash, burning all the way down to the filter. He could really use a fucking cigarette right about now.
He dropped the filter to the ground and pulled the pack of cigarettes from his pocket to his mouth. Extracting one, it was lit before the pack returned to his jacket. He felt like his hands should be shaking but it was too practiced a motion. He inhaled deeply. Then again. Then without the cigarette; a trace of cool air was present from a nearby window.
To his right was Johnny, standing a respectful distance away in the hallway. Ostensibly watching the hallway to make sure they weren’t interrupted. Yet turned just enough that Sal could easily catch his eye. His hands were clasped in front of him, emphasizing his bulky shoulders. His head tilted just slightly forward. A comfortable pose, useful for intimidation, standing watch or paying respects at a funeral. Why have different body language when all you need is a single word.
“Johnny? How are we?” Sal didn’t know how long he’d been standing there, his instincts were to reacquaint his bearings.
Johnny’s feet remained planted in the hallway as he turned to face Sal. “We’re tight. We got boys watching the entrances and so forth. Nobody comes calling we don’t got the drop on.” Johnny’s head returned to its former position of not quite looking at Sal. How expressive Johnny could be when he chose: Take all the time you want, Sal.
Lying in front of Sal was what was left of his brother, rolled slightly to one side. A dark pool of blood had formed under his gut where the first or second bullet had blown through him. A thinner trail of blood traced from the middle of the room, near a discarded gun, to the larger puddle underneath him. Looking up at the door to the hallway it seemed pretty clear that someone had shot him from that angle and he’d fallen or dragged himself to where he now lay. Another bullet pierced his right shoulder but there didn’t seem to be an exit wound.
There was a smaller gun in Vince’s left hand. It was the one he kept in his ankle holster. Sal tried to imagine his brother’s final moments. He had pulled the gun out, did he have it pointed at his assailant? He looked around the room for a bullet hole. Did he have the chance to fire a shot?
He looked at where Vince’s face should be. Blood, brain matter and bits of skull were splattered along the floor. A disgusting greasy mess. After he’d been shot down someone had come to finish him off at point blank range. Did they exchange words? The gun in his hand made that unlikely. Maybe they traded insults and then Vince made a play for his gun, ending it. “Cocksucker.” Vinny would’ve called him a cocksucker.
Sal looked at his cigarette, full of ash and almost down to the filter. He brought it to his lips and inhaled deeply before tossing it to the ground. He walked out of the room and down the hallway, Johnny effortlessly fell into step just behind him.
“Take him out of there. We gotta put him in the ground properly, Johnny. This isn’t for the somebody to complain about the smell two weeks from now.” They reached the end of the hallway and turned to go down the stairs.
“Brad and Tony are bringing a van, they’ll take Vince. Then we torch this place.”
Sal nodded. He knew there’d be evidence of them somewhere; like the cigarette’s he’d tossed on the floor. Sal stopped walking. “Fuck my mother, I tossed butts on the floor.”
Johnny held up his hand. “You dropped three. I saw where they landed.”
“You said you know the dead man that did this?” Sal’s eyes burned with intensity. There was a passion for bloody revenge that even startled Johnny. Sal didn’t say anything more. They were going to paint the town with intestines of Vince’s killer. It was going to take days for him to die.
Johnny nodded. “Macks. A detective. Had to be.” Sal turned back the stairs and continued walking down them. “Vince had in his pocket or something. Anyways, they were meeting tonight. Hence the abandoned building and what not.” Johnny waved his hand toward the stairwell the two of them occupied.
The exited the stairway and walked across the decrepit lobby toward the entrance way where two of Sal’s men stood guard. “There might be a problem, Sal.” This caused them to stop again. Sal turned to face Johnny. This time that intensity was directed at Johnny. It caused him to take a step back, holding up his hand again. “No, I ain’t saying no to anything.”
Sal turned his head slightly, like a cat toying with a mouse it just caught. “It’s just, you should be aware, see, of --”
“It-- his father. Detective Macks is the D.A.’s son. It could cause a lot of heat.”
Sal remained where he was. His gaze focused squarely on Johnny clearly aware of the power he had to make people squirm. Without moving his eyes, Sal reached into his left jacket pocket. He withdrew a box of cigarettes and held it up to his mouth. His eyes still locked on Johnny. He bit the end of a cigarette and pulled the box away. The package slipped back into his pocket while his right hand pulled a lighter from the right pocket.
Sal held the lighter up to the cigarette and waited. His eyes burrowed into his lieutenant for a few moments longer before finally shifting to the lighter. Cigarette lit, he turned back toward the lobby door and started walking.
“I don’t care if Mack’s the son of the fucking Pope, Johnny. You take that cop out.” One of the lobby guards opened the door and Sal walked out into the cool night air.
Johnny, still standing where he was, pulled the phone from his pocket and made a call. He unconsciously glanced at the roof, imagining the scene two floors above him. He had to get his hands on a lot of gasoline. Tonight.
Now I’ll kill all momentum and joy by talking about the preceding 1080 words. First I want to clearly state that I give no promises that I’ll come back to this narrative, although it would be fun, wouldn’t it? I am kind of amazed that I wrote this at all. I mean, the Summer Blog Challenge is about challenging yourself, eh? So I decided to do that. I spend a lot of time wanting to write fiction, which doesn’t result in much fiction being written.
I haven’t even edited this and normally I edit obsessively. I mean, what if it’s bad? Well, maybe it is. But all first drafts are, and you can’t get to second and third draft without a first. My problem is firsts. Other than typos I’m not going to even re-reading it because Nathan is due to awake any minute now. Oh my goodness, not editing makes me really really scared.
Liam’s my inspiration, I think. I really admire what Liam’s doing this SBC, making public his writing process, so I’m going to now include the very brief outline I wrote minutes before writing this actual text. In fact, thinking thoughts like “well, if Liam can write fiction, I can too,” were very helpful in making me decide to just go for it and do something different with a blog entry. The play on the words “cop out” came to me a week ago and then I realized that as a “cop out” post, it would actually be a lot of work. I kept playing with how to end a scene with “take that cop out” and a few scenarios ran through my mind. This was the latest and strongest so this morning I woke up, made coffee, ate toast, procrastinated a little, then typed this synopsis
- Description of smoking a cigarette, the night air
- pull back to reveal the dead body. description of dead body and blood on the ground
- Turns out the body was the brother of the observer, who is a crime lord king pin type
- He talks with an lieutenant
- The lieutenant describes the manner of his death
- He was killed by Detective Macks, son of the D.A., in a shoot out
- I don’t care who the fuck he is, take this Cop Out.