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To Be Or Not To Be... Dead part2 by Gregory K Shipman
 Category:  Mystery and Crime Fiction
  Posted: May 12, 2013      Views: 179

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I was bred an East Baltimorean but thanks to continual post-mid-life crisis I found myself co-existing with my dysfunctions in Alaska. I live my life outside the box until it gets too cold, too bug-infested or too ridiculous. I scribble poetry, peck - more...

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Warning: The author has noted that this contains strong language.

Lucas Jr., the son of a great shooter, Lucas Sr., gets a visit from his ex-wife. Her present hubby is on the wrong side of a bookie. The wrong side is owing him money. Monique, the ex, suggests... no requests, that Lucas help her by acing the bookie. She mistakenly believes a dead bookie means 'dead' debt. Oh what fools we mortals be. Anyway, Lucas declines. Monique isn't happy. Lucas, being Lucas, doesn't care.

To Be Or Not To Be... Dead
Part Two

"Are you, Lucas?"

I look up into the eyes of Fat Moe. Or, at least, I think they're eyes. They're buried in pinkish face flesh. And it's easy to notice that it's quite a bit of pinkish face flesh.

Fat Moe's a bookie... and he's fat. So fat, his fat's got fat.

"What's it gonna cost me to be him?" I ask.

"I just wanna talk."

"I can afford talk. Take a chair... but not to keep. The dude that owns this place operates on a shoe-string, and he doesn't even have the shoe to go with it.

Fat Moe takes the chair. The chair barely takes him.

"You wanna coffee or maybe something else... like a dozen chocolate donuts?"

"I don't like jokes, pal."

"I felt the same way 'til I saw Joan Rivers. She's really good."

"You a comedian or a shooter?"

"Neither. Comedian gigs don't pay well... unless you're Joan Rivers. And shooters kill people. I'm a 'lust-after' not a killer."

"Don't you mean, lover not a fighter?"

"I mean what I say. Cuts down on confusion."

"You as good a shooter as your old man?"

"I'm not a shooter. I'm a security consultant."

"What's that mean?"

"My title's got more letters, and it looks good on a business card, Fat Moe."

"I don't like that name."

"Go to court and change it."

"I'm here to warn you, Lucas."


"You know Randolph Meyers and his wife, Monique?"

"This gonna be a long test? 'Cause if it is, I never got the word so I really didn't study."

"They're both dead and the street says Monique's your ex."

"Street's got a big mouth. She is... among other things."

"Such as?"

"Need to know, bookie, it's on need to know."

He doesn't respond. Why can't nice days just stay nice? I breeze into town with a fat check for a job I did in Kansas City. Totally legit... sort of. My hairdresser friend, Loreen, played with my penis last night and I just got three parking tickets fixed by a meter maid who wants to play with it next week. And now this bucket-of-water is thrown on me... and me with no towel.

"You do it?" I ask.

"No. But I'm mixed in it. I'm working now to un-mix myself."

"So give me the rest of the story." I'm trying to feel sorry for Monique. So far I'm failing, but I'm Southern Baptist so I'll keep trying... sort of.

It's been a week since she walked out the joint after her plea fell on deaf everything. First she was my wife, then my ex-wife, and now my dead ex-wife. Guess that pretty much covers it. And with no dangling participles, either.

"Seems Randolph or his wife, or both together, decided to hire somebody to knock me off. They thought the scratch he owes me would get scratched with me."

"Silly people," I say.

"I heard it through the grapevine 'bout the contract and so I hired me an extra set of eyes... with bullets included. It was Damien Price's baby brother, Elmore."

Elmore Price is scary but Damien is beyond scary. He's a psychopath in an undertaker's suit. He's a prick that should be wearing a full body condom. Diseases shouldn't be transmitted. Even the Grim Reaper won't fuck with him without back-up.

"So short version this thing, wouldja. The suspense is killing me."

"Well their hired gun tried to get me so my hired gun tried to get him. Unfortunately for me, their hired gun got my hired gun."

"And your hired gun being Elmore Price?"

"Now the dead as a doornail Elmore Price." he replies.

"Who was their hired gun?"

"Chico Moore."

"Oh yeah, Chico. Not-too-smart Chico. That boy was quick on the draw. Too bad penises don't shoot bullets. How'd he beat Elmore?"

"Guess getting his penis waxed by your ex gave him resolve."

"Oh how silly some men are."

"And women?"

"Take my word for it, Bookie; women are a lot of things, but silly's not one of them. The closest they get to silly is falling in love."

"Been there, Lucas. Had that done to me."

"I'm shocked. So Chico dropped Elmore?"

"Bang, bang. Dead, dead."

"And why didn't Chico finish you off?"

"I let him know who he had just made dead as a doornail. He ran."

"Yeah. Resolve probably won't work on Damien. Mr. Resolve should have hit you though. That would have chilled the trail 'til he could boogie out of town."

"Thank God he didn't think like you."

"Few do... at least not without medication. And what happened next?"

"Quicker than you could say Black Plague, Damien Price made Moore a more than dead hired gun. I understand all the pieces haven't been found yet."


"Before Chico expired he told Damien about the Meyers."

"Resolve don't last long under torture. And now the Meyers are dead."

"Exactly. But not before giving you up."


"Word is the ex gave you up. Said you planned the whole thing. Told him you two met last week and you brought in the gunny and planned the knock-off. Now Damien's coming for you."

It appears my dearly departed ex-wife has fucked me... and she didn't even have to drop her clothes on the floor. I'm always amazed at the mind of a woman... especially this one. Did she think Damien would let her go when she ratted her lie? Did she try to use her main asset to bargain with him? The man's a psychopath. He kills, not screws, to get his rocks off. But maybe she knew she was going to die. Maybe she pulled me in out of spite. Or maybe she pulled me in because that's just who she is... or was.

Doesn't matter now. Damien is after me.

No one in their right mind would want Damien Price on their ass... no one. Of course, my belief is the best defense is a howitzer. But failing that, maybe I should get on his ass first. It's called 'offense' in many circles. A bad-ass sometimes forgets there are other bad-asses on the block. I'm not a psychopath, but, given the present situation, I can improvise.

I look at Fat Moe. "Why you telling me this?"

"Because I'm no fool. When Damien finishes with you he's still gonna be blood-crazy. It won't take him long to target me. To him, I put his kid brother in the line of fire. Then he comes to doom my ass. The only chance I got is to hope you can tackle him before he tackles you... and then me."

"So you're playin' the odds?"

"I'm a bookie."

"And if I save your ass by saving my ass first?"

"I could see my way to putting three grand in your hope chest."

"I traded my little hope chest in for a bigger one a few years back."

"I could maybe see my way to four grand."

"You need better glasses."

"Five grand?"

I push myself from the table and stand.

"Where you going?" asks Fat Moe.

"To save your ass," I reply.

But first things first. I need to go and use my penis for bladder control.

To Be Continued


Author Notes
Happy Mother's Day...

In some worlds you don't have to dive in... you can get pushed in... and once in you either sink or swim. How you got in is secondary to how you get out. Our friend, Lucas is an observer, as well as a security consultant. In the world of 'Noir' life is never dull, never boring and, if unlucky, never long-lived. In Lucas's world it never pays to whine about what has happened, but rather to prepare for what may happen next!
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