They had been beating this guy for hours, and still they had gotten nothing.
Frank McCarthy had skipped town four days ago and nobody had any idea where he was. Nobody but this guy – Tom – Frank’s brother. Frank had been a fucking nonentity until his older brother Tom brought him in. Fucking Micks and their brothers. Frank was Tom’s soft spot. Unfortunately that also meant covering for Frank would be one of his strong points. He was ready to let these goons beat him to death, and by the look of him they were already about halfway there.
‘Tommy,’ I said. He was slumped forward, bleeding onto his own knees. His feet were bare and charred around the edges from where they had used the blowtorch on the soles earlier. ‘Tommy!’
He finally looked up and noticed me standing there for the first time.
‘Fuck,’ he muttered. He knew what it meant, my being there. He slouched forward again.
‘Untie him,’ I said. The two guys just looked at me. That goes to show what a tough bastard Tom was. Even beat to shit and outnumbered three to one, these guys didn’t want his hands free. ‘If I have to say it again, I’ll tie you to a fucking chair,’ I said.
They untied him as ordered and retreated to their posts on either side of the door.
‘You want a drink, Tommy?’
He looked up at me, held one nostril shut, and blew a clot of bloody snot at my feet.
‘I’ll take that as a yes,’ I said, handing him my flask. ‘Careful now, that’s the good stuff. You might not be used to it.’
‘Fuck you,’ he said and took a hit. He grimaced and wiped his burning lips, smearing blood across one cheek. ‘Just get it over and done with already,’ he said.
‘You know I can’t do that Tommy,’ I said. ‘I’ve got a reputation to uphold. I at least have to try my best.’
‘Won’t make any difference. You don’t get to Frank, you still lose face.’
‘Looks like you’ve already lost half of yours,’ I said. ‘Luckily for you, I’m not in the mood for any more violence tonight.’
‘You gonna fucking talk me to death?’
‘Actually I was gonna say I could go for some pussy,’ I said. ‘How ’bout you boys?’ I said, turning to the big bastards at the door. ‘How long since you had a nice piece of ass?’
They just chuckled in response. Beavis and Butthead on gear.
‘Reason I ask is, I bumped into Frank’s ex on the way down here. Ellie, isn’t it? I mean I figure she’s his ex. He sure as shit didn’t take her with him when he lammed it.’
I had his attention now. He went for another swig and I smacked the flask out of his hand.
‘I say I bumped into her, but really it was her front door. Bumped right into her pretty face when I kicked it in. She’s a real firecracker. How the fuck did a guy like Frank ever get a piece like that?’
He dove out of his chair at me, figuring to tackle me to the ground. I met his face with my foot and sent him sprawling back, falling over his chair. Then the boys were on him again, and he didn’t bother struggling.
‘I decided to bring her along,’ I said. ‘Maybe take her out for a drink after we finish here. Problem is we were in such a rush to get going, she didn’t have a chance to put any real clothes on. Must be getting cold now.’
‘You’re full of shit,’ Tom said as they tied him back into the chair. ‘They’d never let you touch a woman.’
‘Who the fuck’s gonna know? Who’s gonna say anything? These guys? I’d put a bullet in both their fuckin’ heads if I even got a whiff they might rat me out. And you know you’re not walking out of here.’
He was starting to believe it.
‘I told you I have a reputation, Tom. I always get what I want. Now you’ve got one more chance to tell me where Frank is, or I’m sending one of the boys next door for the best piece of ass he’s ever had.’
‘Fuck you,’ was all he said in response.
‘Fuck me? Really Tom? You’re gonna let this chick take herself down to the A and E to get stitched back together just because your brother can’t pay his fucking debts? You going to the grave with that kind of guilt?’
He didn’t say anything. He was weighing it up. Just a little more would tip the scales. I dug a coin out of my pocket.
‘Alright then. Call it fellas, heads or tails? Or maybe I should send them both in, eh Tommy? Let one get some head and the other get some tail?’
They called it and I flipped the coin. Heads.
‘You’re up,’ I said, and Mr. Heads left.
There was silence for a few seconds, then the screaming started. Panicked, frightened screaming, just hoping someone would hear and come to help.
That’s when Tommy finallt cracked.
‘Alright, call him off,’ he said, hanging his head low. I sent the other goon next door, and the screaming shortly stopped.
Tom gave Frank up and I put a bullet between his eyes. Eighteen hours later, over a hundred miles away, Frankie got the same.
I know what you’re thinking – did I really have the dame in the other room, or did I just pay one of my girls to scream on command?
Well shit, Tommy never found out.
Why should you?