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Granby's Luck

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posted on Mar, 23 2014 @ 08:02 PM
“Left hand or right?” From the sound of the voice, it was an enforcer. Every other week, he probably found himself in a situation like this, holding a hammer, or an icepick, or a shovel, prepared to scare, maim, or kill for the highest bidder. Today was most likely no different.

“You sick bastard. You’re crazy! I already told you, I can get Richie his money. Call him up, tell him, for the love of God, just stop!” The man’s voice was ripe with panic. He was in over his head. Every gambler hits rock bottom someday. And as the weight of a five pound hammer crunched the fine bones inside his hand, Marco had hit rock bottom. I had seen the descent.

“He said it doesn’t matter. He said to make an example out of you, one that every no-good deadbeat will understand. You know what we do to people who cheat, Marco?” It was a rhetorical question, one with an implied answer that involved a hole in the desert. But Marco was the type to keep his mouth running.

“I ain’t no cheat, man! Lady Luck shined on me, and then she cut out my heart. I know you’re gonna kill me regardless of circumstance, so I don’t have much reason to lie. I won that hand fair and square.” Marco was indeed today’s luckiest loser. The series of events that had brought him to this point were strange indeed. The enforcer just made a noise that resembled human laughter.

“That’s a good joke. You drew a full house, a straight flush, and then a royal flush, all in the same game. Now, I am not a mathematician, as you can see. My business is hurting people. But even a guy like myself can tell how unlikely that is. How stupid did you think we were, Marco?” Mick judged his quarry to be guilty, but he wasn’t there to give him a fair trial. The truth was unknown. Maybe, against astronomical odds, he had legitimately won the game. But if so, his luck had run out. His fortune had turned to misfortune very quickly.

See, that’s where I come in, hiding in an armoire. I’m the poor sap Marco’s wife hired to keep an eye on him. I had tailed him, kept watch on his activities, saw him squander a fortune. I felt bad for the wife, but she wasn’t paying me to stop him. No, she paid me solely to provide surveillance and photography of his transgressions and many sins. I got the impression she wanted a divorce. But if I didn’t do anything soon, she would be a widow.

At the time, I thought I was the best in the business. My ear to the ground of the criminal underworld, an ex-cop with a mostly honorable discharge, up until that day, I felt untouchable. What was some angry unfaithful husband going to do against a private eye with a gun and a badge he didn’t know was expired? Nine times out of ten, they’d always back down. But this was no cuckolded spouse.

There were six bullets in my gun. I wondered if I should just let Marco die, leave him to his unhappy fate and inform his wife she’s a widow. Instinctually, I knew the whole job had gone rotten, that the money wasn’t worth the risk any more. But something in me told me I couldn’t abandon a man to such an awful death. I unholstered my revolver, and burst out of the armoire. I leveled it at the man’s back.

posted on Mar, 23 2014 @ 08:03 PM
reply to post by Grifter42

“I’ve got a .357 pointed right about where your spine ought to be, pal, and I like making cripples. Means I don’t have to kill you. Let’s talk.” I spoke, and the enforcer tensed up at the unexpected company. He dropped his box-cutter, and began to turn. “Keep your back to me, friend. I’m not going to risk you making any sudden moves. You got a name?”

“I am Mr. Smith. This man owes a debt to Richard Smiler. You will come to regret becoming involved his business.” His voice was almost robotic. Behind him, Marco moaned. He was cut up in a dozen places, his hands deep purple, and useless. His one remaining eye stared at me.

“You know, I used to be a cop once. I used to put away people like you. I used to collect evidence on Smiler. We could never get enough for a warrant though. You know what I learned after they discharged me from the force? Warrants, trial by jury, Miranda rights, they don’t mean a damned thing. All that matters is that the wolves are cut down so the sheep may live.” A man with a gun digging into his back tends to listen to what they’re told.

“This isn’t right. You can’t just shoot me in the back. That’s not honorable.” The enforcer spoke, and cold cynical laughter rang out. This time, it was mine.

“You’re really going to go for that argument? It isn’t honorable? You torture people for money.” I wondered if it was right to kill this man. I certainly wanted to. I cocked the revolver. With one trigger pull, it would be wheelchairs and colostomy bags for the rest of his life if I wanted to make it so.

“Who are you? This guy, he’s a deadbeat. You leave now, I forget your face, and this all goes away.” I never saw a hit-man plead for his life. I couldn’t help but chuckle at the unique nature of the situation.

“One thing at a time… First off, my name’s Granby. I’m a private detective. Second, I knew Marco was a professional loser. His wife, nice lady by the name of Neria hired me to keep an eye on him. And as to you forgetting my face, believe me, you will. Have you caught on to why I’m telling you all of this? When this pistol goes off, it’ll punch through your skull. After that, it pretty much just turns everything inside your head into scrambled eggs. You won’t remember my face, you won’t remember anything at..-” I informed the enforcer of what was to come, until he rudely interjected.

“A private eye? Just a private eye? Are you some sort of idiot? Let’s say you kill me. Smiler sends two men after Marco, and his pretty wife. I’m sure at some point, one of them will squeal, and mention your name. You’re a dead man.” The enforcer was right. Killing him would be a death sentence. But I was tired of the grind. Of the endless stakeouts in parked cars, watching husbands violate their wedding vows in low rent motels. I felt the bloodlust inside, and for a moment, I wondered if I had lost the plot. But the feelings of self-doubt passed, and I steeled myself.

posted on Mar, 23 2014 @ 08:05 PM
reply to post by Grifter42

“It’s as good a cause as any to die over. We’re both dead men. But the difference is what we’re giving our lives for. You’re going to die here, for the cause of cruelty and greed. Myself, well, I know how Smiler runs his operation. The emaciated bastard rules everything from here to the coast. I knew a girl, escaped from one of his so called massage parlors. I still feel sick every time I think about what they did to her. After she left protective custody, we found her a week later in a shallow grave.” I told him my rational. Yet, he laughed when I spoke of the girl. The trigger pull weight of my revolver popped into my head. It was three and a half pounds.

“I knew that girl. It is indeed a small world, Granby. Smiler was very specific about how the job was to be done. She lasted three days before she died, you know.”

“You’re not going to last three minutes.” I shot him dead center in his lower back. I’m not a doctor, but I was fairly sure I hit the spine. His legs sprawled out haphazardly. He gasped, a strange desperate whooping.

“I’ll kill you, you stupid bastard! My legs! I can’t feel my goddamned legs!” His cries of pain confirmed my suspicions. I had gotten him pretty good. Still, I thought I could do better.

“Left lung or right, Smith?” I laughed again, that same cold variation.

“You go to hell.” Defiant to the end, but it wasn’t going to save him. I chose for him, and gave him a two for one special. He was dead. The clock indicated it had been two minutes and thirty seconds. Far too quick for his type, but I had business to attend to. I untied Marco, and looked him over. He was beat to hell, covered in blood and missing an eye, but he was alive.

“You said your name is Granby? That you’re a private detective? Why the hell were you following me?!” The nerve of some people, you save them from death at the hands of a professional psychopath, and it’s nothing but questions, questions, questions. It was a hell of a show of gratitude.

“I just saved your life. Let’s get out to my car before I start answering any questions. When you shoot someone, you don’t typically stick around for their friends to show up.” It was time to make a hasty exit. The gunshots would surely attract attention, and being identified was the last thing in the world I wanted to happen. So we left the room, a blood soaked wreck of a place that had once served as lodging. I led Marco to my car, and he got in.

“Alright, Granby. We’re in the car. Now, since you were kind enough to save my life, would you please tell me what in the hell is going on?” His voice was grating and hot tempered, but I couldn’t blame him for being in a rotten mood after what he’d been through.

posted on Mar, 23 2014 @ 08:05 PM
“I shouldn’t have done that. Richard Smiler, he’s the type of man that has absolutely no morality. He’ll do anything… anything at all, to make a dollar. He’s the richest man in the city, and he wanted you dead. I just saved your life. What do you think Smiler will do to either of us, once he finds Smith dead, and you still alive? He’ll hunt you down like a dog.” I felt like I was playing Russian roulette, with five bullets in the cylinder. But I had to help the man. I had been to the house of the rising sun far too often myself to judge him.

“We’ve got to warn my wife. She’s the one good thing in my life.” It was time to tell the poor bastard the truth. That the fact of the matter was his wife didn’t trust him. I wasn’t happy about it, but things had gone too far for lies now.

“Your wife hired me to watch you. She thought you were cheating on her. Tough break, Marco. Trust is the foundation of any good marriage.” I didn’t know what to say. Condolences wouldn’t heal his mangled hands. He looked as confused as I was, that a man hired to fulfill a niche service for the paranoid and wealthy had saved his life.

“My wife hired you? Cheating on her? I’ve never cheated on her once in our whole goddamned marriage, you two-bit snoop. What the hell do you know about marriage, anyway?” Some people just didn’t know when to be grateful. That was Marco. But he was telling the truth.

During the time I had followed him, I had seen him stumble-drunk, liquored up to the eyeballs. I had watched with indifference as he blew his money on a spin of a wheel, betting on black, and winding up in the red. I didn’t give a damn what he did, as long as I got paid. But now, things had changed. I had become involved.

“We’re going to pick up your wife, Marco. Smiler knows how to track people down. He’ll find her, use her as bait to draw you out, and then he’ll kill you both. He doesn’t kill quick, either. He takes his sweet time. He’s a very sick man.” It was an abridged and understated description of how monstrous the man truly was.

Marco didn’t need to know the graphic details of Smiler’s recreational and economic activities. Richard Smiler had long ago crossed the line between genius and madness, having once been one of the finest minds to graduate from the academy.
But there was a dark side to him, a well hidden side of his personality that was rotten inside, completely alien and without empathy. I had in fact trained with the man, knew him personally. His intelligence outmatched even my own.
It seemed the only thing larger than his I.Q. was his ego. He always wanted the best of everything, but the job didn’t pay well enough, When allegations of misconduct in regards to missing evidence arose against him, he resigned before he could be fired.

posted on Mar, 23 2014 @ 08:06 PM
That was when he realized he could make more money committing crimes than he could ever make solving them. He knew the major players, and where they lived. There were five murders in one night. In the dead of night, five of the most bloated, powerful and morally bankrupt men I’ve ever known were shot dead in their homes. Not a fingerprint nor shell casing to be found, the investigation went cold. Things became peaceful, a sort of calm before the storm. But I later learned that all the while, Smiler was building up an empire based on blackmail, bribery, murder, and prostitution among other things.

I had always thought something was off about Smiler. The way narcotics from the evidence room always ended up weighing less than they ought to for one. The way the streetwalkers we arrested glanced fearfully at him, with a look that I would later realize was recognition. But to everyone else until his resignation, he was their sacred cow.

Then, he took over the rackets of the men he killed. He became king of the underworld by any means necessary, be it by gun, knife, or just good old fashioned bribery. He made a lot of men very rich, and others very dead. And he did it all in such a way that it could never be traced back to him. He had defeated the legal system through money, dark charisma, and the always popular assassination of witnesses. I knew in my heart that Neria and Marco would be killed if left to fend for themselves.

I had never given a damn about protecting or serving the public as a cop, but a client was a client. Smiler was a monster the last time I had the displeasure of seeing him, a sadist with a penchant for pulling out teeth and wearing them around his neck as souvenirs. I had gotten very close to him that time. Close enough to see the monster he had become. He had gotten away because I hesitated. I was reluctant to shoot a man I had once thought of as one of the brightest men in uniform. Because of that, many people died when it could have only been one man’s blood on the ground. I had failed, but this time, I had no intention of hesitating.

As I drove, and thought about what the hell I was going to do about the fact that I had just shot a man, Marco just stared off into the middle distance.

“We’re going to your place, Marco. You and your wife better get over any differences you have real quick, because we’re picking her up, and leaving. You two are as good as dead if you stick around your cozy little house. We get there, you’ve got an hour to pack what you need. Meanwhile, I’ll explain things to your better half.” As I laid down the law, Marco’s face turned sour. I could see the gears turning in his head as he thought up an objection.

“You’ve got a lot of nerve. What the hell is your deal, man? You’re going to tell me how to run my life? Let me guess… You got some weird thing for my wife? I can handle things on my own. “. If I hadn’t heard it myself, I wouldn’t believe it. A man with two broken hands and a gambling problem was chastising me for rescuing him. Briefly, I considered dumping him on the side of the road. But against my more persuasive instincts, I humored him.

posted on Mar, 23 2014 @ 08:06 PM
“Your wife is nothing but a paycheck to me. She paid me solely to keep an eye on you. I’ve got an ex-wife, an alimony payment, and a kid who’s repeating the third grade for the second time. You think I’d save your life if I was involved in any funny business with your wife? You’d better come to understand my state of mind. Right now, I see a lot of myself in you. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes, angered the wrong people. But I knew when to keep my mouth shut and listen.” My words gave him little comfort, and I understood why.

“Why don’t we just call the cops? Tell them about Richie, about his little gambling parlor and group of thugs?” Marco was a fool. Even with his hands broken, he had no idea what he had gotten himself into. I felt obligated to explain.

“Richie… That’s a quaint name for a man who uses body parts as jewelry… Let me let you in on a secret. This whole goddamned town, the police force, the mayor, the district attorney, etcetera, etcetera, they’re all either in Smiler’s pocket, or too terrified to do anything about him. The general consensus before I resigned was that it was better to pretend Richard didn’t exist. The chief of police insisted Smiler had been killed in action during a drug bust. The callow son of a bitch was lying through his teeth.” I remembered it like it was yesterday. No body, no evidence, no basis upon which to declare the monster dead, and yet I was told to let it go. The politics of the position had been unbearable to me.

“What am I going to tell my wife then? That we’ve got to drop everything and flee? That we’re wanted by mobsters? Hell, Neria will finish what they started after she finds out how much I lost.” Guilt was painted across his face, and I wondered how much he had been in debt before they took out their aggression on his hands. Fifty thousand? A hundred thousand? Neria paid me well, so they had money. But Marco was an expert at squandering it, so who knew how long it would hold out.

“Neria will understand, hopefully. There’s a possibility you might lose your wife, but if you don’t trust me, Smiler will make sure you lose your life. We’re almost at the house, Marco. I hope you’ve thought of some explanation for the trouble you’ve brought into your marriage.”. I had helped break up marriages, procured damning photographs of spouses caught in infidelity and junkie husbands and wives.
It was enough to drive a man out of his mind.



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