Kansas City Czar by Gary Clifton

This fat fuck, Charlie Paseo, aka Charlie Potato had called me to K.C. the last couple years to let the air outta several poor dipshits. They’d farted or zigged rather than zagged in some unacceptable way that caused some offended asshole to pay Paseo to hire me to murder their ass. Then the deal went down the shitter.

“Goddammit, Potato, whudya mean you’re using somebody else? Them last three sumbitches ain’t dead enough? You want me to dig up that last one and hammer that pipe another foot up his ass?”

Problem was, Charlie Potato liked boys and had locked on to this hunk from St. Louis, hoping to get a taste. I gotta admit, the dude was a looker, slumped in the recliner in a corner of Paseo’s office behind his puke-joint, Imperial Topless. He got up to go piss — legs all the way to the ground, an ass like a sculpture. This wasn’t business, Potato was in love.

“Cindy, I ain’t tossin’ you out, babe. I’ll see you get jobs, girl. it’s just that you been so fuckin’ good, I don’t want you getting’ caught or killed or some shit.”

Double Dog Bullshit, I thought, but didn’t say to a huge, vicious toad like Charlie Potato. He looked like a defensive lineman, mean enough to defend a pizza from a rabid wolf.

“Work…like what?”

“Gotta sumbitch up in North I need done. Only gonna pay five large, but it’s a piece of cake.”

“Yeah, gimme the info and he’s dead.” Five grand was shit. The usual was twenty, but again, don’t piss off the monster.

The mark was some straight red-neck who was suing the Imperial over some damned barroom brawl. Five grand was cheaper than a lawyer.

I memorized the address, got a gander at the mark’s mug shot, accepted the usual half pay up front, and walked out into the frozen January night. But Cindy McGuire was no dumb ass. I parked a half block down and waited, gambling Paseo would need an hour to realize this stud wasn’t gonna give him any.

One hour and ten minutes and here the hunk came, black macho leather jacket and all, bending to climb into a Corvette. When I eased up behind him, he jumped like fuckin’ Superman. This guy was no pro hitter. Potato was paying him to try for a little bedroom action.

“Jesus, Cindy, you scared the shit outta me.”

“Sorry, baby, I just got so distracted by them legs inside, I just hadda talk with you in the flesh. You need any help with your mark, sweetheart?”

“Naw. Fat fuck running a numbers game won’t be a problem. Tomorrow night at eleven, he’s history.”

Dumb dork. The only numbers operator Potato dealt with was Jimmy “The Rat” Fratello, who ran a low rent clip game on South Troost.

So the next night, I sat up on The Rat’s storefront and sure as shit, he closed at eleven and walked out to his Lexus in the deserted, ass-cold street. Potato’s new hire walked up and put three in his gut. He added another in the forehead. The Rat hit the ground deader than last year’s Academy Awards.

I eased the Caddie up beside him. He whirled pointing the little .38 with it’s one remaining round in my face. “How’d you know…?”

“Listen sweetheart. I was jes’ covering for you…on Charlie’s orders,” I lied.

He lowered the .38 and I gave him one each, heart, and chest with my Glock .40. His expression read “oh shit” as he went down in the snow next to the Rat.

I hesitated, looking at the loss of a great lay. At least, Potato wasn’t gonna get another run at the dude. But what the hell, basically you turn ‘um upside down, dim the lights, and they all look alike anyway. Besides, I had a mope up North to murder.  I stepped out, found the usual front half, ten grand in his pocket, and headed north.

Charlie  frickin’ Potato was too stupid to ever connect me to his love object’s unfortunate demise. He’d eventually figure out he got The Rat Fratello offed for half price.

Ol’ So And So by Gary Clifton

In south Dallas, a man’s status in the street hierarchy involves the business of “Ol” before his name.  There’s always a spate of street grunts with names like Ol’ Peewees or Ol’ Who-Knows-What-The-Hell.

But when a guy walks around with an unencumbered road handle, better give him some hat size.  And so it was with Preacher.  No “Ol” crap before his name.   After 30 years pimping, dope-dealing, ass-kicking, and killing, he was a solid, no prefix player.  Preacher went about 305 and was right likely to pull the head slam-ass off any fool who crossed him.

Preacher had landed into the joint twice on plea deals which smoothed the edge of  murder convictions so much, the straight world, had they bothered to find out, would have embarked on a round of shit hemorrhages and letters to the editor.  On two falls for homicide, Preacher had served only eight years – not a bad trade for fifteen or so killings – most all Ol’ somebodies.  Damnedest thing, witnesses disappeared or changed their mind.

Then a fancy who called himself Houston Red set up shop two blocks away; rented a house, parked his Cadillac in the yard, and ran his girls all up and down Birmingham and MLK Boulevard.   He’d never been to Houston.  The name came from a crooked card game.  But Red wasn’t an “Ol” classification.  The nuclear disaster born of geographical encroachment of fuckups was inevitable.

Preacher used his nephew, actually his sister’s boy by her third man, as his dog- robber.  When Preacher had to kill a dude – and hellfire, some guys made you kill them – he always drove his Lincoln.  The nephew sat in the back seat with a .38 in the ear of the doomed man until suitable location was found.   Then they’d force Ol’ So and So out of the car. “Didn’t leave no mess inside,” Preacher said.  The conclusion became a self-explanatory statistic.

So Preacher and his nephew way-laid that fool Houston Red and drove him to the alley behind the old folks home off Central.  Just at the climax, that ingrate nephew turned the pistol and put one behind Preacher’s ear.  Word on the street it was an inheritance thing – the nephew’s greed – not that anyone gave much of a damn.  The nephew wouldn’t live long enough to get all that gore out of Preacher’s Lincoln, anyway.

Homicide sent a couple of guys to the morgue the next day.  Texas law required that minimum so the cops would at least look at the cadaver before kicking the case in the trash and the carcass over to the med school.

“My goodness,” the morgue clerk said reverently.  “This poor man was only 42.”

“Lady,” one of the cops said dryly, “that’s a hundred and thirty in the straight world.  Ol’ Preacher was way the hell overdue.”  He turned to leave. “Lunchtime, partner…half price enchiladas today at Hernandos?”

And Preacher, now in past tense, became just another Ol’ somebody.