Nepotism can only get you so far in life. For me, it got me here, crouched behind somebody’s beater kelly green Ford Pinto hoping that the bullets whizzing by don’t find that magic spot that made these damn cars go kaboom in the Consumer Reports’s safety videos. It takes me thirty-seven seconds to pop the clip, find the spare in the depths of my coat pocket, and fumble it into the base of the handle of my semi-auto hand canon. This is slow, in case you are wondering. I might have mentioned nepotism already, that’s the only reason I have this job. My uncle’s a big shot with the firm, so I got a spot on a goon squad despite my complete lack of talent. Guido is my partner. There is some resentment built into the partnership. Guido is a hotshot, cold-blooded, all kinds of badass type of goon. He got stuck with me because my uncle wouldn’t take kindly to his favorite nephew ending up meat pie, so Guido gets stuck with relatively tame work and baby sitting my lame ass, meanwhile Guido stirs more shit than strictly necessary leaving me angry at him for putting me in danger. It’s a nice dynamic, a dynamic that is currently fully – well dynamic. There are bullets whizzing by, I think I’ve said as much, and that is because Guido stirred shit where there was no shit. This was a simple drop. No payment necessary, hell we didn’t even have to speak, but Guido did. I don’t fully know what he said, it was in dog tongue, but knowing Guido it involved racism and sexually explicit acts that could only be performed in an alternate reality under a different set of physical laws. He’s colorful, our Guido. Anyway, the dogs didn’t take kindly and now Guido’s pumping O positive on the asphalt while I try to figure out the best way to kill six dogs with one gun and zero talent.
“Fuck you Guido!” Shouting won’t accomplish anything, but it makes me feel better, even if only momentarily. Guido’s lips move, maybe a retort or maybe a spectacularly good idea on how to get out of this, but my ears are too busy with the TINK TINK TINK of high-speed ammunition ripping apart the fender near my head. I push the tip of my gun over the edge of the Pinto and squeeze of a burst. There is no howling, exclamations, or any other form of auditory indication I hit anything at all. Which is depressing since I am only about thirty feet from a glass storefront. There’s an adage about broadsides of barns that is fully applicable to me, particularly when I’m nervous. I also tend to go on a bit.