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follow the yellow brick road...
To Be Or Not To Be... Dead part3 by Gregory K Shipman
 Category:  Mystery and Crime Fiction
  Posted: May 18, 2013      Views: 146

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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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The Before

Fat Moe don't like to be called 'Fat Moe'. But he does like to be paid when a loser's losing. Moe's a bookie. Lucas Jr's ex-wife Monique, has a husband who owes this bookie. In part one Lucas says no to Monique's request to down Fat Moe and the debt.

All hell breaks loose as manipulating Monique throws the switch and bodies drop like panties on a wedding night. In the end Monique and her husband are dead. So are two hired guns. Unfortunately one of them is the baby brother of Damien Price... psychopath Damien Price. Lucas finds out sweet Monique has named him as mastermind behind Damien's brother's failure-to-breathe status. So Lucas has a final screwing from his ex. It is what it is.

Moe is scared Damien the bloodthirsty will off him after Lucas so he offers Lucas five grand to keep Damien off him. Off is spelled D-E-A-D. Damien doesn't 'off' easy but, on the other hand, Lucas doesn't discourage easy... especially when there's a buck to be made. As for Monique's lie? The problem with crying over spilt milk is that afterward it's still spilt.

Part Three

We sit on the back porch just like we did when I was a kid. He has his same chair. Mine is now too small. Growing up is a helluvah thing. I had to take one from the kitchen. He lives in the type of neighborhood that doesn't have rules about porch furniture... or anything else for that matter.

He's lean and angular. I'm a lot like him though less lean and hardly angular. Fast food is a bitch, but a bitch I adore.

Some say I have his eyes, but less hard. I like to think my eyes are simply more deceptive.

He's older than me and taller. Twenty-three years older; one inch taller. He wears his hair shorter but the brownish color is the same for both of us. His shoe size is twelve. Mine is eleven and a half. But a perfect match isn't necessary. I don't follow in his footsteps... or anyone else's. He understands. He became his own man long before I became mine.

I grew up in this house with him and my mother. She left after I grew my own set of balls and went out on my own.

She lives in another house now with a man who comes home at five each evening, brings his paycheck to her every Friday and confines his violence to crabgrass on the weekends... if you can call what he does violence.

My mom has a bank teller for a husband. My dad never understood how to be a husband. He mostly understood how to be himself.

My mom loves playing a housewife. My dad loves playing the field. It's a very large field. Like son, like father.

"How do you get yourself into this kinda craziness, Lucas?"

"It takes years of practice and total dedication to the craft, Dad."

"So Damien's coming after you?"

"Like ashes after a fire."

"And Monique dropped a dime on you?"

"Inflation has bumped that to a quarter. But life was never dull with that sweetheart."

"Seems like death won't be either. You want some help?"

"Most people do... even if they don't need it. But weakness feeds on itself."

"So that little bit of intelligencia says you're gonna go this alone?"

"One is the loneliest number, but often necessary."

"How you gonna handle Damien?"

"Ad lib."

"That's a plan?"

"A flexible one. But you can do me a small favor."

"Which is somehow different than help? What is it?"

"Yeah, well... if things don't go my way... put Damien down."

"I wouldn't call that small but you are my son. And is this revenge?"

"No. It's all about rabid dogs. They can't be contained so they must be put down."

"Put down is what I do best. There'll be one less psychopath and one more grave."

My father never brags. He says it's a pathetic habit. "Hope he stays in it," I say.

"I shoot to kill, Lucas Jr., and that comes with a side order of permanent."


It's almost 5pm when I pull into my apartment complex. Home is what you make it. I haven't made it anything.

The sun is up but coming down. The moon sits transparently in a corner pretending disinterest. I admire the moon even though I've never done transparent but have done my fair share of disinterest... without pretending.

The complex is home for many worker bees. They are in the majority. I'm proud to be in the minority.

Most of the bees have no stingers and little individuality. There's something to be said for that. I have no idea what it is.

There's a Nissan Sentra parked in my slot. It has dinged doors, faded red paint and a fresh coat of pollution. The only other distinguishing thing is a bumper sticker that says, 'I love to dress hair.' Loreen's over.

I park in Mrs. O'Grady's slot. Her Buick Sky-something is in the shop for repairs. She says Mr. O'Grady should also be in the shop for repairs since the last time they were having sex, Dr. King was having a dream. I informed her that was more info than I needed to know.

Mr. O'Grady seems to be a very competent worker bee. Maybe sex without a stinger doesn't work. Or maybe Mrs. O'Grady doesn't have queen bee status. But my motto is 'Live and let my nose stay out of other people's business'. It's easier on the nose.

I lock my car. A sure way to stop juvenile car thieves. Either that or prayer beads.

I ring my bell after an uneventful two story climb. I was going to rest on the first landing but that would make me question the value of my fast food addiction.

"Who is it?"

"The man who pays the rent."

The door opens and Loreen peeks around the corner. "I'm only half-dressed," she says.

"The top half or the bottom half?"

"The bottom half."

"Good. I'm a breast man." I push my way in. She's right. Her exposed nipples confirm it.

"How did you get in? Did I give you a key?" I ask.

"Yes you did."


"Remember that night when I did that thing?"

"That thing?"

"Yes, Lucas. I did it twice. The tongue thing."

"I remember now. Never do it again if you're going to ask for something afterward."

Loreen has dark hair, dark eyes, five-feet-six inches of well-proportioned body and a look that says, 'come look'. Someone said she'd make a great wife. I think she said it. But I don't hold that against her. I've got something else I like to hold against her. She likes me to hold it against her too. It's a great relationship if it doesn't change course.

"We need to talk," she says.

"One minute. First things first."

I saunter off to use my penis for bladder regulation.



Author Notes
Don't you love it when a plan comes together?... Me too. Unfortunately this one didn't. I'm knee deep into something that started out as feet in the pool. We're into part 3 and there's two more to come before somebody's buried and somebody's not. Lucas Sr. has shown up. Loreen is no longer a no-name hairdresser with her clothes on Lucas's floor. She is a character now. There's still going to be a climax... although with all these lust/love poems flying around the site, maybe 'climax' isn't a good word to use. But take my word for it (you'll have to give it back though) we will be galloping towards a clim... finish. I need to get these out because there's only two more weeks left in May. And I've got another 'Noir' to lay on you... but it is short. And the last week in May I'll be in B-More for high school graduations so I'll have laptop with me and writin' goin' on. There's nothing like writing to the serenading sounds of gunshots and police choppers... And I will have to go through security in my old stomping grounds... only at this checkpoint they turn you away if you don't set off the metal detectors... 'Be Safe, Not Sorry, Be Strapped'
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