I sit in the searing heat, the heat of the deep south, squinting as the sunlight bounces off the dust and I watch as Crook takes a huge gulp of
Mountain Dew. Damn, I haven’t seen a mouth that big since that bee sting, my face blew up like I’d been in the ring for twelve rounds. Bee’s are
ok though, it’s wasps I hate and they’re always buzzing round that Moonshine like moths to a flame, I swear they love the God damn stuff, must be
all that sugar.
Haha, good old Crook eye Chris. We call him that cos he was born with a lazy eye, you never are sure which one to focus on, not that he focuses too
much on anything. He isn’t the sharpest tool in the box but he’s loyal and in the bootlegging business that’s exactly what you need. Yea, it was
just me, Crook and Paul Merson running things. What can I say about Merson...That boy was a pure legend round these parts, never had dry fingers round
the girls did that one. The girls just couldn’t stay away from him, like a dog with a bone, he always had a dame on his arm. A pure charmer.
Yea, we created that Devils elixir and made some damn good money off the back of it too. People just couldn’t get enough. I tell you if it came with
a contract to sell your very soul, they’d sign it faster than a flash of light, no wonder they called it White lightning. Damn law enforcement just
the same, some came begging, others had to be paid off with a small bribe but with the money we were making it was simply like shaking water off a
Well, where to start...let me see. We worked out of Bryan county, Oklahoma, manufacturing and bootlegging Moonshine. Since Texas was just south of us
we thought we’d branch out. We’d heard of Bill Harbour, he was the guy to see apparently as he ran the same operation down there. After contacting
him, we came to the conclusion that we’d just supply the goods and he’d run it with his own men, so we set upto drop the goods and pick up the
money. I decided to take Crook as I needed Merson to continue the production...
We drove down there and met in a secluded old barn, where we noticed three more cars parked up. An obvious show of man power, we could have been dead
men walking to our very graves. We were dealing with proper gangsters, they could of just shot us and taken the goods. It was a real risk we took, but
the pay off would be worth it. As we entered the dimly lit barn, we were met with seven dark suited figures, their faces overshadowed by their
fedoras, all apart from one. He was reasonably short with mid to long length hair, sporting a short goatee, wearing a pin striped suit and a dickey
“You must be Mr. Harbour,” I said with an out stretched hand, which he held daintily momentarily. I hate men with weak handshakes.
“You must be Joe Mulligan, and your friend?” Bill Harbour replied.
“Oh, that’s Chris Drager.”
“Hello, Chris...” Said Bill, uncomfortably looking between each of Chris’s eyes. “Shall we get straight to business Joe?”
“Sure, I like your thinking,” I said, not wanting to sound too hasty. I just wanted to get it done and go.
“Ok, one and a half for ten crates,” Bill said showing the money.
“No, I was told two thousand...” Damn, I thought he’d try the intimidation card, and I wasn’t about to back down, especially to a man with
such a weak handshake as his. Felt like a God damn child’s shake.
“N-N-Now listen here, boy. I don’t know who’s been spreading these lies about me, but they ain’t true. Are you trying to call me a liar? Are
you trying to undermine me in front of my men?” Said an increasingly red faced Bill. I watched and tried to take in the reactions to the
deteriorating situation. I’m a poker man so unless you’ve got a darn good poker face, I’ll read you like a book. As it stood the darkness and
overall poor ambience of the room was coming to their aid, but I could feel the tension bubbling like a kettle to the boil.
“Well, me and Chris are gonna walk out that door and we’ll be taking our goods with us then...” judging by his handshake, I’d say he was a
push over, although I knew I could be wrong. I could have just signed my own death warrant.
“W-W-Wait!!! Ok now, ok...I’ll give you two...” He said as I turned away, but I knew there was a but coming, “but...I want you to do a job for
“Ok, I’m listening...” Damn it, he had me.
“There’s a Guy who owes me some money...Sam Cardrew...you heard of him?” Bill said through sly eyes.
“No...should I have?” I questioned. What was he playing at?
“Good...Oh, no. I’d ask as part of this deal if you could get me that money from him...No questions asked??”
“Ok deal, if it gets me two thousand and the heck out of here...” deal done, now we just need to stay quiet and worry about Sam Cardrew later, it
wasn’t too bad a deal. At least until Crook decided to pipe up like a God damn jack in box.
“No...I don’t think that’s a good idea, Joe...” Crook sounded worried for some reason...What did he know?
“I’m sorry boy...did you say something?!” Bill was getting red again, I had to somehow diffuse the situation or we were dead men. six hotheads
were now staring at us with itchy trigger fingers and looking as hungry as a pen of pigs. I know Crook was sweating and fully focused on Harbour, but
when I took a quick glance at him, one eye was focused on me an praying to God that I’d get us out of this mess.
“I’m sorry Bill, I forgot to mention when I introduced Chris. He hasn’t just got a retarded eye, the boy’s a bit retarded in the
head...Forgive him, he speaks before he thinks is all,” hopefully that diffused the situation I thought.
“Oh, ok...I thought for a moment, he was cracking wise. He might not have meant any trouble, but he almost bought you a world of it, hahaha...”
Bill said as he let out an awkward laugh. “Ok I think we’re done here.”
When we got back to the car, Crook decided to explain why he had almost gotten us killed, just before I was about to rip his head off. Turns out that
Sam Cardrew is a drug baron and an even bigger fish than Bill Harbour. No wonder Bill didn’t want to get his own money back. We’d just been played
a dud hand. That evening all I can remember is sipping at the wares and kicking at the dust, like a bull in the heat. Also, thinking how I might be
kicking the bucket soon too, if what Crook said was true.
When we got back Merson couldn’t be found, until I tried the bedroom that is...
“What you doin in here Merson? Aren’t you supposed to be manufacturing?” I asked.
“I completed the quota yesterday...you know me, work hard play hard,” Replied Merson, with a broad smile slapped across his face, like a painted
“Sometimes you play too hard!” A voice called from the bathroom...Merson the sly dog, upto his old tricks.
“Yea, well I know how you like it!” Shouted Merson in reply.
I go on to tell Merson about the deal and the predicament, when he let out a whimper across a face that looked slapped silly, I knew he was gonna have
some story to tell...He had that sorry look in his eye.
“Speak up Merson!” I shouted, as he took a step back just as a cat jumps from its skin in fright.
“I-I...slept with his daughter...Not just me either, Joe...” Merson stuttered, “remember Katie?”
“Ah, damn! You gotta be kiddin’ me...Little miss, can’t keep her darn legs closed Katie Cardrew?...Even Crook knows her...Intimately...” of
Course I thought, I knew I’d heard the name Cardrew somewhere before.
“I ain’t gonna see her Father for no man’s debt...He still thinks she’s an innocent flower...he’d lynch us all!” Merson said shifting
about awkwardly, like a nervous dog.
“Ok, ok...but we can’t turn up to Bill empty handed...” I wracked my brains, hoping for a moment of inspiration.
“I know!...We kill Bill! Come on Joe, we’ve put people down before...Bill and his boys ain’t nothing but a bunch of dirty dogs!” Merson said
in a testosterone fuelled rage, looking like a rabid dog frustrated by the pounding heat.
“Ok, we’ll do it...Either way we’re in for some trouble...That’s the only reason we’re doing this, ok?” I wasn’t happy, but we’d
cleared out most of the competition in Oklahoma, so we weren’t shy of a fight.
Crook and Merson grabbed for their guns like kids in a candy store, their fingers hungry looking for a treat. I wouldn’t touch the damn things,
hated ‘em ever since my Pa took mercy upon, missy...I loved that dog, but she was blind as a bat and deaf as a post, had to be done. No, my weapon
of choice was my flick knife. You wouldn’t have to ask either Crook or Merson to tell you how good I was with a blade, they’d tell you.
My motto always was, guns for show...knives for a pro...and I was gonna leave Bill with a huge grin after trying to sell me out like a fool...
edit on 20-2-2013 by DAZ21 because: (no reason given)