Feeling smaller and less like God down on the street level, I decided to ride a cab over to the Boss' club. A luxury I could afford. They buzzed me in and it was the usual scene of Boss and Jimmy and Pope sitting around the card table, no cards to be scene. I was leaning against the pillar, waiting for them to throw me the cash. Their faces were cut with the biggest grins I've seen, and looking back I should have known something was about to fuck me right then. These are not happy people.
Finally, after a cheshire grin eternity, the Boss finally decides to let me know what's up.
'You know who you just shot?' he says.
'Naw, some yuppie I guess, owed yous some money?'
And the fuckers started laughing.
'You know why I like this kid, Jimmy? Because he's so fuckin' thick. He'll fire without thinking. Hell, we could probably get him to shoot the president for a few speedballs, huh?'
This was not going well and right about now was that increasingly common of moments when high spirits and anticipation u-turned into outright fuckin' dread and cold sweats.
'Who... who was he boss? Who was the guy in the suit?'
'Since you're gonna find out soon enough, I'm gonna tell you. You know the Robinsons, right?'
'As in the north side Robinsons? The ones that car bombed those Chinese for tryin' to get that crack in?'
'Those very same fuckin' Robinsons. And that guy you just shot. Rob Robinson. I hope that name means something to you, or you're already dead'.
All the paper in the world couldn't fit the amount of fucks and shits and misfired neurons my brain was throwing out at this point in time. I probably woulda busted one of those fancy heart rate machines down at St John's Hospital too. Messed up as I was, I could see how bad this was gonna be.
'Here's the problem, kid. They find you, they're gonna beat hell out of you. And you, being the junkie piece of shit that you are, is gonna tell them who paid you to shoot that guy. Maybe they won't even have to beat you. Maybe they'll just wave a fat needle in your stupid god damned face, and let you choose between goin' out hard or easy, if you snitch. And we can't have you telling them shit. And on top of this, there's no doubt gonna be a bounty on the head of whoever was stupid enough to shoot our man by the end of the week. So, the way we see it, there are two paths open to you from here out. A plane ticket away from here and away from this horrible life of sin, which your obviously deficient brain has led you to so badly fuck up. Or, we shoot you, and give your body to the Robinsons. Maybe even put a bow tie round that fuckin' neck of yours. You're lucky though. I'm feelin' generous today. Pope's got your plane ticket here. How do you like Korea?'
This was where I got lucky. The fuckin' plane ticket thing. Last time Pope got me in was to help him stash the body of some some other ex-jerk who messed up. He couldn't stop talking about the plane ticket thing. Thought they were so clever, how they tricked the guy into thinking he was about to start a new life in sunny Mexico. Next thing, slam, 45 caliber to the brain and the only place the guy's headed is to an abandoned house down by the lake. Wouldn't shut up about the look on this guys face when he pulled the gun rather than some paper. I took it as my cue to split, and ran like hell for the door.
Reaching it, I heard the soft thud of metal on plaster. I didn't have to look back to know there'd be two guys standing, firing hell at me. I could even picture the sour fuckin' snarls on their faces as each slug somehow sailed too wide or too high. The pillar had covered me long enough, and somehow I'd made it out of that damned old hornets nest. As if that was enough.
I took off down King Avenue, still not looking back. Thank fuck, there was still a good number of day time shoppers around. Too many civilians for anyone chasing to risk getting trigger happy. By the time I'd cut across Castle Park and down two brick alleyways, my legs were burning. My heart was hammering even faster than earlier. Everything was a blur. I chanced a look around. There was no one around. A pigeon landing above me scared the hell out of me. I sat down, and it was as if my heart and my head were tryin' to out do each other in a foot race, both going far, far too fast.