The Blood Soaked Trail
There’s nothing like a trail of blood,
To find your way back home.
“Life is Beautiful”
Gray light filtered through the hard-water stained windows of room 406 at Cloud Nine Motel. It added another layer of gloom to the shadowed autumn sun. The fat man, Willy, sat on the bed holding a small rag and some cleaning oils for the SIG automatic pistol that lay on the bed in front of him. The bed seemed desperately strained under the man’s massive girth.
The television was on, but muted because the broken antenna chained to the set barely received any channels. Any that did come in were snowy with fragmented sound that made little sense and otherwise grated Will’s tightly wound nerves. Currently Willy guessed that the box was airing a basketball game though he couldn’t guess the score or whom was playing against who; not that he cared. The program was just another distraction from the boredom of silence and the unnerving trance his spidered friend, Cero, was in.
The tattooed man sat in the corner staring out the window with one finger on the night stand gently drawing a figure eight. It had been three days since their arrival and the bald man had done little else with their time together.
Usually in these areas of calm before the storm, Willy could rely on a game of cards or light conversations with his charge. Cero did not seem open to such niceties; not that Willy had offered.
So Willy was sitting, cleaning his gun for the twentieth time, and trying to guess if basketball was really even the sport playing on the TV when the disposable cell phone in his pocket let out a bright chirping noise.
It took him a moment to process that the phone had gone off because he had been fairly certain he would not be needed for this job. Only one man had this number and the call would not have been placed lightly. He picked up the phone and answered.
The man, Cero, stared at his overweight companion and listened to Willy’s half of the conversation.
“-He contacted you?-“
“-No, I’m not questioning you, it’s just that he-“
There was a long pause and Willy leaned back against the wall as he processed.
“-I’m sure the target won’t be any problem. Just send the information and we’ll do what needs to be done-“
Willy hung up and looked over at Cero. “Looks like they will be needing your services after all. They sent you the information.”
Cero nodded and walked over to a desk where his laptop stood open. A few clicks and he was into a secured e-mail account where a new message awaited for him. Cero couldn’t help but smile.
“They want me to set up a hit for a cop? By tonight?” He almost shivered as he felt a small jolt of adrenaline.
“Don’t think you can do it?” Willy asked.
Cero laughed. It was a grating sound that caused goose bumps to sprout across Willy’s arms.
“No, the problem is that he doesn’t want them to bring down more heat on their coinciding goals. That might be difficult.”
Willy shrugged. “Just make sure nothing’s found, I guess.”
“You see, Willy, that’s why they hired me and not you to make these decisions. Missing cops are just as bad as dead cops most times. To avoid excess scrutiny, one needs a red herring.” Cero said standing up and walking back to the his seat by the window.
“A scapegoat?” Willy said trying to avoid any sign that he had noticed the obvious insult.
“That’s one way to put it.”
“Well, do you have any ideas?”
“As a matter of fact,” Cero said as his eyes locked on a man leaning against his car in the shadowed corner of the parking lot. “I do.”
The man, a local drug peddler by the name of Steve Hanner, was deftly slipping a crack vile to a shivering hooker.