Mystery and Crime Fiction posted December 24, 2017 Chapters:  ...46 47 -48- 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Final chapter in The Last Laugh

A chapter in the book The Last Laugh


by mbroyles2

The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.
The author has placed a warning on this post for language.


The assassin died quickly, too quickly for Granite’s liking, but the Operator was right about one thing.  Barbara could be dying, and he needed to get going.

“You should’ve let me kill him,” Camille said. “It would have been easier to explain.”

“I know, but it was something I had to do.  Besides, there more you need to do.”

“What’s that?”

“First, get me to the hospital so I can check on Barbara and Jimmy.”


“Then you need to make a trip to Baton Rouge.”

“What do I need to do in Baton Rouge?”

Granite turned and headed for his car.  Camille picked up the Operator’s weapon and followed.

“I need you to unleash the Shadow.”

Camille smiled.

Chapter 48
Camille’s body thumped with exhilaration and anticipation.  She had witnessed so many senseless deaths in her time as a C.I.A. operative.  The over exposure to death and cruelty caused her to become callous, and she got the sense that the general goodness of the world’s population was a myth.  The smiling holiday card family was no more than a made up fantasy by marketing geniuses to encourage the downtrodden to seek happiness in the material things of the world.  To plunge themselves deeper in debt, further into sadness, until all that was left was a shell of a happy life destroyed by peer pressure and worry.  A life that would lead to abuse, neglect, and even murder.

As Camille took in the fortress of the Hazelton home, with the wrought iron fence, posted guards and security cameras, she began to sweat, though a frosty chill was in the air.  The Hazelton family and members of the crime organization “The Chamber” had been leaders of this plague in Louisiana, effecting countless lives and wreaking havoc on this state for far too long.

She watched as two patrolling Doberman Pinschers scoured the perimeter.  They were bigger than most she had encountered, like a small horse with their cropped ears and docked tails.  Yet, they didn’t present themselves as guard dogs.  Their walk had a kind of playful style, dancing on their feet, tongues out, and eyes following the birds that flew about, instead of a keen alertness associated with a dog looking for intruders.

This would be her way in.  She climbed the black fence and landed softly between the pair.  Their tongues went back into their mouths, and they started towards her.  Not with a growl or determination to kill, but with curiosity and a sense of wonder.  Camille slowly stretched out her hand and allowed the dogs to sniff before she started to scratch their ears.

“Good boys,” she said.  “Now where’s daddy?”

A side door to the mansion was unlocked.  Camille screwed on the suppressor to the 9mm and entered slowly in a crouch prepared to deal with whatever presented itself.  What presented itself was a house servant, dressed in a traditional French maid outfit.  The black dress had a full, knee-length skirt with white trim matched with a white half-apron and ruffled headpiece.  Ridiculous, Camille thought.  The startled lady almost dropped the serving tray she was carrying.  Camille raised a finger her to her lips signaling the lady to stay silent. 

“Which way?” she whispered.

The cooperating servant pointed to the left hallway.  “Thanks,” Camille said as she moved past the woman. “And take that silly thing off.  You won’t be needing it anymore.”

“Okay,” the maid said.  She scampered off in the opposite direction of the Shadow.

The hallway was barely lit, like a movie theater.  When Camille’s eyes adjusted to the dim lighting, she noticed five men outside the lone door in the hallway.  Heads down, some with their foot pressed up against the wall, all half asleep and with sad stories to tell.  Like rings in a pawn shop.  Too easy.
She had been taught that when faced with five against one odds, to make it four against one as quick as possible.  Then three to one and so on down the line.  The first three men fell before the other two could recognize what had happened.  Camille moved quickly, and when the fourth bullet entered the skull of the fourth man, the fifth man dropped his weapon and raised his hands.

“I don’t know who you are,” he said, “but you’re making a big mistake.  I’m a police detective with the Alexandria Police Department.  I’m here on official business.”

“That’s nice,” Camille answered.  “I’m here on unofficial business.  I take it you’re John Hazelton, partner of Barbara Paige?”

“That’s right.  How did you know that?”

“I know many things.  I know you’re the brother of the assassin they call the Operator, who I might add is as dead as you soon will be.”  Camille traded the 9mm for the MAK-7 knife.  She pressed it to John Hazelton’s ribs, slightly piercing the skin.  He winced.

“Please, you don’t have to do this.  We’re a powerful family, with powerful connections.  We can make this right.”

“Of that, I have no doubt.  Now knock on daddy’s door.  I want to say hello.”


Mutton Chops stood behind his desk, arms crossed against his chest, and a deep frown across his brow.  His lower lip puckered out like a pouting child.  A seemingly harmless plan to retrieve a formula for a powerful poison had turned into a huge mess.  One that would take him months to recover from.  His leadership of the Chamber had come into question.  People started having doubts, and there was talk of a takeover.  He would need to work quickly to bring everything back to order.  Sadly it would start with the death of his assassin son, and soon move to others within the organization who have shown disloyalties.

A faint knock on his door disrupted his thoughts. When he opened the door his son John stood there. Even in the shadowy corridor, Mutton Chops noticed the pale skin, the nervous sweat, and the wide eyes.  The look of fear.  The leader of the Chamber also noticed the four bodies of his guards on the floor.  All had different poses, but all presented the same message.  Death.

Though the blade traveled along John Hazelton’s throat with the fluidity of cutting butter, it appeared to be in slow motion to Mutton Chops.  The increase of blood splatter as it sliced through the jugular, the quiet gurgle, and the hissing of the last breath, as his son died before him.
When the body fell to join the other guards, a lone figure remained.  A woman.  Hair pinned back, black shirt tight around her waist, a contentious smile, and eyes, like that of a demon child, staring into his own.

“Hey, Sugar,” she said.

Mutton Chops swallowed hard.

His wife will never forgive him.


Matthew Granite answered all the questions the investigators asked.  They got fewer answers than they wanted, but they eventually resigned themselves to waiting until Barbara Paige regained consciousness following her lengthy surgery.  It was in the room now that Granite sat, eyelids heavy, and his chin resting on his chest.  He massaged his bandaged thigh and pondered on what the state police had informed him of.

It seems Barbara had been working undercover for the Governor’s office.  Investigating corruption in the Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and other local police forces.  She had been assigned to the Alexandria department on rumors that an informant for the Chamber was among their ranks.  She had hoped aligning herself with Granite would flush them out.  She was right.  Sneaky little devil.  Now, they had to piece everything together after her statement. 

Marko entered the room.  He had gone back to the hotel room, showered, changed into a pale green t-shirt with the comic book version of The Vision across his chest.  He sank heavy into the undersized chair.  It moaned with displeasure under the massive weight.

“Jimmy’s going to be all right,” he said.  “A few broken ribs, contusions, and you already know about the hand.”

“Yeah,” Granite answered.

“Did you know there are two beautiful nurses outside his room arguing about which one gets to give him a sponge bath?”

“That’s Jimmy.”

Marko shook his head.  “I’d never have two knockouts like that battle over giving me a sponge bath.”

“That’s because it would take both of them.”

Marko laughed.  “Good point.”

The big fella’s phone dinged.  He retrieved it from his pants’ pocket and looked at the message.  “It’s Camille,” he said.  “It’s done.”

Granite exhaled.  “Good.  Now we can go back to Cincinnati.”

“I’m ready,” the Mountain said.

Granite felt a hand reach out and grab his wrist.  Startled he looked over and saw Barbara’s eyes flutter open.  She licked her lips and softly said, “Take me with you.”

The End.

Matthew Granite       Investigator seeking the assassin and answers to the Ozlet girls' murders.
The “Operator”         The Assassin looking for a mysterious "box" that the Ozlet family has hidden.
Marko                         aka "The Mountain". A private bodyguard hired by Granite.

Camille                       aka "The Shadow". A former CIA agent hired by Marko
Jimmy Daniels             aka "Brown". A computer genius hired by Granite
R.J. McBride                Granite's former partner while on the police force.

Harold Banisek           Granite's business manager
           Manager of "Stingrays" a bar owned by Granite
Mutton Chops              The leader of “The Chamber”
Todd Grilliot                 Mitchell Ozlet’s son by Marie Grilliot
John Hazelton               A Detective working on the Melody Ozlet murder case.
Barbara Paige               A Detective working on the Melody Ozlet murder case

Book of the Month contest entry


I can't thank everyone enough for your tremendous support and patience as I wrote the first draft of my very first novel. I know I have a lot of work ahead of me getting this book ready for publishing with the rewrites, editing, and search for a publisher, but it has been one heck of a ride. Good news is, I'm already jotting down notes for my second novel in this series. "The Last Nerve" will be coming to Fanstory next month so you won't have long to wait.
Thanks again to everyone, and Merry Christmas!
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