By Steven James Cordin
I woke up with Joe’s gun in my face. I rolled over on to my side and shut my eyes. “Whatever it is, can it wait till after I have some coffee?”
“You ruined my life!” Joe screamed. “You are a dead man!”
I opened my eyes again. The clock on the nightstand read six thirty-three. I ran my hand along the smooth silk sheets on the other side of the bed. “Joe, where is Alice?”
“The woman I was in bed with.” I started to sit up. I was not expecting this kind of mayhem so early. Later in the morning after coffee and bacon, sure. But not yet.
“Don’t move!” Joe yelled. He stood in front of the bed, his gun aimed at me. “Don’t fucking move!”
I sighed. “There was a woman here with me last night. Did you shoot her?”
Joe stared at me. “What! No! Why would I do that?”
“Well, you are waving a gun around in my apartment.”
Joe let out a deep breath, glancing from side to side. “You were alone when I came in.”
“Okay.” Alice must have gone home sometime last night. “So, what’s wrong?”
“You ruined my life, you son of a bitch!”
“So you said.” I pushed the covers away. “How?”
“You killed my wife’s brother!”
“Cindy has a brother?”
“I haven’t killed anyone in a while.” I said, trying to sound calm. My heart raced a little, but it helped wake me up.
“You killed him eight years ago.”
I shook my head. “I killed your brother-in-law eight years ago and now you come screaming and waving a gun at me?”
“Cindy found out you killed her brother, Chris.” Joe kept his gun aimed at me.
“Eight years ago!”
“No, when did she find out and why?”
Joe lowered his gun. He ran his other hand through his spiky blond hair. “Oh. Last night. Jack Ursich stopped by, he just got out of prison. We had a few drinks, and he told us about the robbery you guys did at the supermarket eight years ago.”
“Jack Ursich has a big mouth.”
“That’s not the point,” Joe raised the gun again. “He said you shot Chris afterwards because he was complaining about the split. Cindy went nuts. Now, she wants me to kill you, or she is leaving me.”
“Damn. I don’t even remember him.” Of course, I did remember him. I put two bullets in his stupid ass. “That was a long time ago.”
“That’s not important either!” Joe circled the bedroom, waving the gun in his hand. “She wants you dead, man! If I don’t do it, she is going to leave. And if I do it, I’m going to get caught.”
“Yeah. You will.”
“What?” He stomped over to me, sticking the gun in my face again. The end of the gun barrel yawned big and black at me. “You don’t think I can get away with killing you?”
“That gun is registered to you, right?”
“You were going to shoot me with it, right?”
“How long do you think it would take the cops to figure it out?”
He stared at me for a long time, then lowered the gun. “Shit.”
“You didn’t think it through, did you?” Of course, if he did think it through, he might realize the police may not consider him as a suspect, may not check to see if he owned a gun and then check ballistics for said gun. Luckily, Joe was not exactly the type to think one or two moves ahead.
His shoulders slumped as he sat down on the bed, the gun resting in his lap. “I am screwed no matter what I do.”
“Not necessarily,” I rolled off the bed and began pulling on my jeans. “Did you even meet Chris?”
“No. I didn’t even meet Cindy until four years ago.”
“So why would you let this mess up your life?” I sat next to him on the bed, keeping my voice smooth and even. “You want to avenge the death of some guy you don’t know?”
“But man, what about my wife?” He bent over and held his face in both hands.
“Screw your wife. You guys are talking about getting a divorce anyway.”
He straightened and turned toward me. “How did you know?”
I snagged the gun off his lap, pressed it to the side of his head and pulled the trigger.
I finished wrapping the body in the sheets when my cell phone rang. I picked up on the second ring. “Hello.”
“Is it done?”
“Hey Cindy,” I sat back down on the bed. “Yeah. You can cancel the appointment with the divorce attorney.”
“This isn’t going to come back on me, is it?”
“It worked out better than we planned. I can make it look like a suicide. He got upset you decided to leave him and blew his brains out.”
“If you say so.” Her voice went up a few octaves. It always did when she didn’t believe something. “How much do I owe you?”
“Just pay Jack the five hundred for showing up last night.”
“You don’t want anything?”
I shrugged. “Hey, I owe you for killing your brother eight years ago.”
Bio: Steven James Cordin is a native of the Chicago South Suburbs. Steve has worked in banking as a repo man, foreclosure guru and fraud investigator. He writes fraud. crime and horror fiction. His stories have appeared in Shotgun Honey, Mystery Tribune, The Yard: Crime Blog, and the anthology, Jacked, by Run Amok Books. Steve is currently working on a collection of crime fiction short stories.