What are you doing here?
Oi! You. Yeah, you. You fuckin’ deaf or summat? What the fuck d’you think you’re playing at?
Look around, breathing fast and shallow. Hiding behind a bar, shattered glass sparkling in the dim light. The floor stinks of spilled alcohol. A bullet falls down from the shelf where the latest victim spilled its amber guts on the floor with a clink.
Did you think you were gonna be able to help me or sumthin’? I told you already, I got in this mess, I’ll get out of it. And no, before you say it, I’m not gonna get out of it by lettin’ ‘em redecorate with my brains. Or yours.
No, don’t you be a fuckin’ hero. Your sleeve’s cold. You only just got here, or was you waiting around outside, hovering?
Stop playing games, that thick, thug voice from somewhere behind is gettin’ impatient now. He distracts me. I saw your little mate sneaking in here. If you give yourself up, we’ll let ‘im go. How’s that sounding?
I think that sounds like a stupid fuckin’ idea, I reply, checking the bullets in my magazine. Glass crunches. Eyes snap to you. Don’t fuckin’ move, you fuckin’ idiot. You wanna get ‘em over ‘ere?
Footsteps head in our direction. Maybe replyin’ weren’t such a good idea. I didn’t think. I don’t do a lot of thinkin’ to be honest with you. Not my forte, you could say. Prob’ly why I’m in a bit of a pickle right now. Y’know. Bein’ shot at in a bar all shut up for the night. Well, morning. Only kicked the drunks out a couple hours ago, but these guys musta hid away somewhere an’ waited. Like a snake waitin’ to strike. But that’s fine. I had it comin’ didn’t I?
You know about it an’ all, don’t you? I didn’t tell you everything but I didn’t have to did I?
A hand reaches over the bar and grabs the back of my jacket.
Gerroff! I shout. Struggling against the hand that yanks me up and back over that fuckin’ bar. See you standin’ up there. Get down, you bloody idiot. I grab for my gun, but it’s gone before my hand gets to it. Thug face has it.
We told you before. Pay up, or you lose the joint, thug face reminds me.
I get the feelin’ you’re after more than the bar, I tell him humourlessly. Choke against my collar being pulled up against my throat too tight. Tug at it. Nothing. Bent over backwards, here. Literally. The edge of the bar digs into my spine, painfully. Wince. Struggle some more. Only end up choking meself more.
What the hell are you doin’ now? Walkin’ round to their side like it’s no biggie. The fuck’s going on?
The boss is fed up of you slackin’ on your payments. He knows what you been spendin’ all that cash on, and he ain’t pleased.
I can tell. Struggling for air. Can feel a bruise startin’ up, I swear. “Look, just gimme another chance. No more gamblin’. No more fuckin’ around. Promise.”
A smile on thug face’s face. Suddenly I’m let go. Slam down into the bar. Spine screams in pain. Slide, fall onto the floor. Broken glass greets me.
Pull a lump of it out of my cheek, feel the blood dripping down my face. Grateful it’s not in my neck.
Hear a gun gettin’ cocked. Look up into its barrel. Move gaze down the arm holding it up to the face of the person holding it. Not thug face. Your face.
“How did you think boss knew?”
“I thought I could trust you, y’know.” Little bit hurt, actually.
“Their Christmas bonus is more generous than yours.” A cold smile on your lips.
“Fuck you.” Spitting at you probably didn’t help my situation.