Tiny Morrison and Light-Fingered Louie sat in the back booth of The Black Cat Saloon. A bottle of Jack Daniels stood on the table between them. The men each had a whiskey glass in front of him.
Tiny rolled his back and forth between his palms. He hadn’t had a drink in five minutes. Louie poured himself a generous third glass.
“What’s the matter, Tiny?” he asked.
Tiny Morrison didn’t answer him: he just kept fiddling with his glass.
Louie took a big swallow of the piquant liquor and looked down at his hands.
Up front, the bartender shoved a man out onto the sidewalk.
“Stay out, ya bastard”.
The bartender looked around to see if any of his other six customers needed anything, then he wiped his hands on a bar towel and strode back to the bruisers’ table.
“Can I getcha somethin’ to eat, Tiny? Maybe a burger?”
Louie looked up from his hands, an empty smile on his face, nothing in his eyes.
Louie waved the barkeep away.
Then he said, “Tiny. You ain’t said a word since we got sat down. What’s up?”
Tiny Morrison gave him a mean look, then he finished his first drink and poured a finger-full into his glass. He took that with one swallow. Next, he pulled a dirty shirtsleeve across his mouth.
“It’s that broad,” he said.
“What broad?” asked Louie.
“What about her?”
“She’s got a son. He’s nuts”.
“He’s going to come after me”.
Louie was glad the ice was broken. He took another gulp of whiskey, reached for the bottle, and poured four ounces of J.D. into Tiny Morrison’s glass.
“Hah!” Louie laughed. It was a harsh sound, unexpected in the early afternoon.
“You didn’t have nothin’ to do with that. You told me so. And, anyway, what is this kid? Twelve?”
Tiny Morrison gave him a dirty look.
“You’re afraid of an eighteen-year-old? C’mon.”
“He’s nuts. And even a five-year-old, with a gun, is dangerous.”
“So, kill him. Big deal.”
“You’re right. I just hate complications.”
Just then, the front door of the tavern slammed open. Three rough-looking young white men burst in. The first one, a red-haired beauty wearing a leather jacket and ragged jeans, pulled a Glock 37 from the back of his pants and ran towards the rear of the bar.
Tiny nailed him in the forehead.
Louie grabbed for his own pistol.
It wasn’t necessary.
Tiny dispatched the other two before the door eased itself shut.
The roar of his .357 Magnum pistol was ear-splitting. The smell of cordite, delicious in the long, dark room.
“Take care of them, Harry,” he said to the bartender.
“Get outa here,” Harry yelled at the other patrons.
They didn’t take time to finish their drinks.
“Holy shit,” said Louie. “Were you expecting that?”
“Not so soon,” said Tiny.
The two walked slowly to the front of the bar. Louie took time to kick the bodies. On his way out, Tiny flipped the sign on the door to say Closed.
Harry turned the neon lights off and went to work. The first thing he did was to put that expensive pistol in a hidden safe behind the bar. Then, he dragged Kate Thornton’s son’s remains into the back room. Next, he hauled the other two bodies back, out of sight.
He made a call before grabbing a bucket and scrubbing the blood off the bar, the barroom floor, and on one of the tables. He noticed that some blood had even spattered up against one of the dirty windows in the front of the bar.
Now, he realized, he would have to clean the whole damned window. That rascal, Milton Van Moore, he thought, he gives me more work. He chuckled as he walked to the back room to get window cleaner.
The bodies had already been removed, dragged out the rear door, apparently wrapped in the filthy rug he’d laid them on.
Tiny is going to pay me for a new rug, he thought.
He grabbed a roll of paper towels and some Windex and walked back to the front of the bar. He turned on the juke box and played Don’t Stop the Music by Rihanna.
Yeah, he thought.
When he got done, he looked around the bar for bullets, more blood, or bullet holes.
It was six o’clock in the evening, early for a shooting, even in Detroit.
The rain had stopped, but it was still windy.
The two men hurried down the sidewalk, hunched down and buttoning their coats.
The police hadn’t arrived. Maybe they wouldn’t.