Seen It Many Times

By H.A.L. Wagner

The school bus blocks my view of Murray Russel’s new place. The city obviously didn’t do their predator checking lately. Murray shouldn’t be within 1,000 feet of this stop. Just another pleasurable reason to take this bastard out.

The bus passes leaving no child behind. In the large picture window stands Murray. His t-shirt dotted with random stains. He cranks down below, and the jalousie windowpanes separate. All the windows in the house are now open. I had at least a half dozen entry points just in the front of the house. Being stupid was another reason on a long list to kill Murray. My job being the first.

The weight of the Glock 23 under my arm became real as I eye the glove box where I keep the suppressor. Controllable excitement builds in my veins with every twist at the end of the barrel. Not every day at the office is so rewarding. I grab the door handle and start out of the car. A blue sedan turns onto the street. I wait until it passes out of sight. Again, I grab at the handle. I pause because Murray is back at the large window. He looks left, right, and then left again. I remain still; motion attracts attention. Satisfied, Murray disappears back into the darkness.

A caged animal pacing, I had seen it many times. Those large eyes, never totally focusing, but always looking. If he spotted me, he wouldn’t have recognized me.  We work for the same family, but have different jobs. Once we attended a funeral. Another deviant who couldn’t keep it in his pants. 

Murray knew the dead man well. They came up together, became employed by the Family. For whatever reason, once in they got a bad combination of stupid and power hungry. Usually the Boss would just faze the dumb ones out. These twisted psychos went around raping and killing in the name of the Family. They grabbed the wrong girl. Murray was a little smarter than his pal Denny. Denny became a warning to Murray. Still, some guys don’t ever wise up, so here I sit. Seen it many times.

Five seconds later, Murray is back at the window, his hair disheveled. He looks both ways like he’s about to cross a busy street.  From the north, a battered pickup rumble towards us. Murray freezes. I’ve seen that look many times. He can’t move; his hands out, eyes that won’t blink and lungs that don’t fill. The only thing moving for Murray right now is his increasing heart rate. The truck passes without incident. Murray recedes back into the darkness.

He is jumpy, maybe too jumpy. Strung out and waiting for his dealer. That’s why the windows are open. Coming down has made him all sweaty and jumpy. Should I stay or go? Coming back later is the smart thing to do.  However, with all those windows open, there’s no way he knows I’m coming for him. The thing is, with The Family, there never really is rhyme or reason to getting whacked. Any number of screw ups will get you on my list. Could be as simple as an insult too far or flirting with the wrong girl. 

A tingle starts in my feet and proceeds up both legs. I have been sitting way to long. It’s time to either get up and finish this or come back later. These things come down to timing. I’ve seen it go wrong many times, every second matters.

Call it intuition, I turn the key in the ignition. A tap on the glass spins my head and sends my hand palming the Glock. A man stands looking at me.

I slid the window down. We both wait for the other to speak first.

“You Eddie?” the man says.

Before I could clear the Glock, I heard the all too familiar ‘clack’. The pain is not as intense as it usually looks. I have shot many people in the face, and it always seemed like it hurt. No pain, no sight, no movement. I slumped, losing all faculties, and thought how many times I had seen this before.

Bio: H.A.L. Wagner is a part time writer living around Daytona Beach, Florida. He enjoys writing in different genres but finds crime fiction cathartic.  His latest action-mystery series starts with Grimes’ Punishment and continues with three more books. Grimes is a thief turned PI. Searching for a runaway, he discovers a child trafficking ring. With his brassknuckles and a match, he burns the whole thing to the ground.

H.A.L. has published several Crime Fiction books, through Forker Media which can be found on Amazon and in our Bookstore.

He can be found on Instagram at @ hal_writes

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Publishing Editor for The Yard: Crime Blog.

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