The Weasel and the Stud
The Stud is sitting at the corner table already, playing with a shot-glass full of clear liquid like it’s beneath him.
The sneer on his handsome face as he scans the room… the whole dive is beneath him, he thinks. He’s wearing a waistcoat, and slick, tight black denim pants. A crisp white blouse on. Clean.
There isn’t another piece of clothing in the bar not soaked in sweat or shit or blood. At least from the outside, he’s cleaner than anyone else in here.
He kicks it back, heel up on the table, and the glass is half full. Although he looks like a half empty kind of guy.
“Hoy!” Calls the Weasel as he sidles over, all paper-thin confidence and affection, but under that crispy white exterior he’s green with nerves and inexperience and everyone can see it. “Long time, long time.” He puts the glass in his hand on the table without asking, takes the seat opposite, his back to the bar, and with his ass in the seat he’s less shaky.
“Long time,” says the Stud, no inflection, and “this business, or revenge?” And the moment is tense, the impression that it doesn’t matter which answer, the Weasel’s eyes boggling.
Then the Stud’s face cracks in a grin, and a laugh cracking out of it, and he picks up his glass, leans forward, offers it in cheers.
The Weasel laughs, and all the piss straightening his spine drains out of him, slumped in relief. He picks up his glass, raises it, tips it against it’s cousin, clink.
They drink. Then each drinking hand goes back down on the table; the Stud’s vertical, two fingers still playing with the rim of his glass, the Weasel’s palm down, flat. From up top they look tense but like old unfamiliar buddies tense. Old unfamiliar buddy amputees, only one hand each.
From either side, if anyone’s looking – and people in here make a point of looking and not looking – each guy’s shooting hand is under the table, on their gun.
The Stud has his long-barrelled pistol out of the hip-holster already, level with flat of the table, aimed at the Weasel’s balls. The Weasel, for his part, palm just resting on the barrel of his sawn-off, still in his belt.
“So what does she want this time?” The Stud asks. “She’s already got me to a deadline, agreed mutually in person. Little distractions like this…” he nods forward “… like you, they only take up time.”
“The deadline’s passed, week back.” The Weasel replies, his voice edging. Inside, he’s building to something, and all it takes is the ears to hear it.
“That’s using the Other People calendar, man. I’m not Other People.” The Stud weasels with his smile. “I’m Family. Ask her.”
“She told you last time no more Family calendar, after you screwed her over with an A-plus customer.”
“Couldn’t be helped, she knows that. Local Federals were closing in, I had to ditch the merchandise.”
“She knows. She doesn’t care.” The Weasel, finally feeling the upper hand lifting him up in his seat. Cocky.
“So, what?” The Stud, squirming a little, smile obsequious. “What do I give her? She knows I can’t get her what I owe til I finish this run.”
“She doesn’t want anything you can give willingly, man.” The Weasel, shifting his weight in his seat, getting close to it now. “She said come with the money and your balls, or with your head. She was very specific.”
“Well, then, I’m sorry to hear that.” Says the Stud, but he doesn’t sound that sorry, and besides, no-one hears it, because around the “I’m” and echoing through the “sorry” he shoots his gun through the table, and through the Weasel. Just one shot, and the catastrophe of the Weasel’s weapon, trigger pulled in reflex before he’d pulled it clear of his belt.
A damn mess. Who comes at a target direct, out of a clear blue sky, across a familiar dive? Who sits and chats it out with them? Someone green, damn straight, and almost nobody in the bar is surprised, but everyone scatters for cover at the violence anyway, because everybody drinking here knows about how it isn’t the ones with your name on you need to worry about.
So nobody else has eyes on the Stud as he gets up, calm and clear, eyes straight ahead, and walks around the mess, his blouse still clean.
And none of them have eyes on me, as I fold myself out of the booth nearest the band and follow him, my blade already in my hand.
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