Mystery and Crime Fiction posted May 21, 2013

This work has reached the exceptional level
With all your ducks in a row... they're easier to knock over

To Be Or Not To Be... Dead part4

by Gregory K Shipman

What Went On Before This Goes On

Lucas decides to enlist his dad, Lucas Sr., as a back-up in case he's killed by Damien Price... he being the psychopath and avenging dark angel for his dead brother. Lucas wants his dad to 'put down' Damien in the event of... bad luck, slower moves or less-than-divine intervention.

When Lucas gets to his apartment he finds his top-half-nude hairdresser girlfriend, Loreen, waiting for him. She's evidently got things to say and expects Lucas to listen. Lucas has two things on his mind and each has a hardened nipple attached. Loreen, however, will not be deterred. She will speak. Lucas will listen. Loreen just carries it that way.

Part four

"I heard about Monique." Loreen is a hairdresser who knows the street and its goings on. She looks innocent, but like make-up; it scrubs off easy.

"I also hear she put you in the mix with Damien. He's more dangerous than the dinosaur asteroid... or government intervention. What are you going to do?"

"Help you get the rest of your clothes on the floor."

"How can you think of sex at a time like this?"

"Your top half is a great motivator."

"Thank you, Lucas." But she doesn't sound that thankful. "Where have you been?"

I look into Loreen eyes. It's a difficult climb upwards. Her nipples really deserve my undivided eyeballing. I have a one track mind and it doesn't much care for detours.

"I went to see my father today," I begin. "He offered to help but I turned him down."


"Because I need to kill Damien. His death is important to me."

"Not important enough for you to let your father do it now?"

"It's complicated. And he'll do it if..."

"Bullshit. Lucas. You loved Monique. You never stopped. She loved you. She never stopped. Neither of you knew how to handle love, so you simply didn't. You both turned it into some perverse thing. Welcome to an ever growing club."

I choose silence over protest. Makes life easier.

"She was screwing everyone else to screw you and you played indifference to screw her. You each knew it. You each did it. That club's a little more exclusive."

"And if you believe this why are you with me, Loreen?"

"Because I'm content right now to take the best parts of you and ignore the dark side. I appreciate that you hardly ever wear it around me. Maybe one day you'll chuck it, maybe you won't. Either way, I'm prepared."

"Do tell," I say.

"You know why Monique threw you to Damien?"

"Do tell. But I doubt you're actually asking my permission."

"Because after everything blew up she knew Damien was going to kill her. She knew he was going to take her life and she hated anyone taking anything from her. She wanted him dead and she would have made a deal with the Devil, but you were closer. And she knew there were times when there wasn't a lot of daylight between you and the Devil."

I nod. Not a nod of agreement, just a nod.

She continues. "But she also knew you'd never revenge her. So she sucker-punched you. Monique was Monique... right up 'til the end."

"You're crazy."

"Look at this shit, Lucas. Monique plays you. Deep down you don't care... it feeds your dark side. Fat Moe plays you... he thinks. I heard about your deal with him. You play Fat Moe for his cash. You got a nutcase coming after you but you see an extra buck you can pluck, so you do. Then you slide your hole card... your dad... down your sleeve. You play Damien just like Monique played you. All the players are playing... even after death. No one calls the police. Do you know why?"

"I'm listening."

"Because in this dark world, we live for this kind of shit. We will never live the safe, predictable and boring life of the masses. We live for the moment and die for the mistakes. That's the way of this world."

I wrangle her back to what I care about. "How do you know what Monique was thinking?"

"Because I was her hairdresser and that's like being a confessor. I knew she loved you when she talked about how much she hated you. Every time she screwed another man..."

"Or woman," I correct.

Loreen nods. "Every time she screwed someone else, she realized she loved you more and that made her hate you more. I know this sounds confusing, Lucas."

"More like fucked up."

"She wanted you to save her from herself even though you two were busy screwing over each other."

"I'm sorry, Loreen. Let's change that to really fucked up. And she never said she wanted saving."

"She said it, Lucas. But like a dog whistle, the frequency was too high for you to hear it."

"You finished?"

"You know where Robin's Nest is, Lucas?"

I shake my head up and down... once. "Off of thirty-third. Near the old stadium. Jazz club with food, beverages and class. An old building but well maintained."

"And you know Robin?"

"A senior woman wrapped in a younger body. Also incredibly well maintained. She's got a smile that'll have you kneeling at her feet and a pistol that'll have you lying there. Her pearl-handled is strapped to a thigh that draws a lot of attention from roving eyes."

"She's expecting you at eight. She's a very good friend of mine. She's tough as nails and twice as sharp. Damien will be there somewhere around nine. We let him know you'd be there. Finish this thing tonight and bring your ass back here to me."

"Why'd you tell him?"

"Because, Lucas, I believe your dark side is more than a match for Damien. You are going to do what you do and so is he. The question is who's going to do it better. The answer better be... you are. Monique sucker punched you into this. I'm orchestrating you out. Women like us are what you get in this zip code."

I feel like saying something but don't feel like hearing it. I keep quiet. You never have to remember... or defend... what you didn't say.

"Go take care of business then come back here and take care of important business. I won't promise to be undressed but I promise to be easy to undress."

I nod. After this round of philosophical bullshit, I deserve 'easy'.

If things go my way I'm looking forward to using my penis later for more than bladder regulation.



I know, I know... this is a long night. But I promise it's almost over. The final curtain is going to rise next go 'round. It's not like I haven't tried to speed this along... I have... I truly have.

So our next stop is 'Robin's Nest' and when the smoke clears thereabouts somebody will be standing and somebody won't. But remember there are no white hats or black hats and there are no damsels in distress. In fact, in this world the damsels often cause distress! and there are no winners or losers... there's just survivors... and dead people!
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