“Scary, cover the hippy cashier,” Screw said in the van, pulling the ski mask down over his face, obscuring the faded blue swastika tattoo on his cheek. “He so much as farts, you put a bullet in his head.”
“I’ve never fired a gun before,” Scary said, holding the .45 at Screw’s chest.
“Point it at the Phish fan behind the counter when we get inside, not at me,” Screw said, pushing the barrel away. “Smoky Dave.”
“Yep,” Smoky Dave said, throwing the butt of his cigarette out the van’s window.
“Herd the stoners into a corner. If somebody starts acting like John Wayne, blast ‘em. I’ll go first, and cut down that big security guard motherfucker.”
“We wont actually shoot nobody will we?” Scary asked, pulling the bill of her black ball cap low over her eyes.
“I fuckin’ hope so,” Smoky Dave said behind a hockey mask, sliding two shells into the shotgun.
Screw gave Smoky Dave a confidential look that put Scary ill at ease like they knew something important she didn’t before they exited the van, and approached the pot dispensary.
“Eddie. Eddie Spaghetti. His meatballs are ready,” Scary said under her breath, and rubbed the aluminum tab torn from a soda can in her pocket.
Screw bounded through the front door, and smashed the massive security guard in the head with the butt of his Glock, wilting the big man like a thirsty plant.
“Everybody face the wall,” Smoky Dave said, kicking open the second door, ripping one into the ceiling, and counting four scarred shitless costumers.
“Hands up,” Scary said, pointing the .45 at the white hippy with dreadlocks behind the counter.
“Be cool lady,” the hippy cashier said, squinting at her. “Be cool.”
“I said get your hands up,” Scary said.
“I know you,” the hippy said. “We went to school together. You were what’s his name’s girl.”
“Shut up,” Scary said.
“You just signed your death warrant,” Screw said, and squeezed the trigger.
The hippy flopped around on the floor as blood gushed from the side of his head. Panicked sobs and mournful cries erupted from the patrons. Two middle-eastern men hugged each other, and a young white woman with tattooed sleeves and plugs in her earlobes, crossed herself, and tried to look for heaven in the ceiling. An older woman in a red power suit and matching pumps stood frozen in a defiant stance.
Scary winced at the dead hippy on the ground. His name was Ricky Fred. She remembered ditching P.E. to smoke weed with him in his V.W. bug freshman year. He felt her up, so she punched him in the balls. Scary hated him for that, but didn’t wish him dead. There was only one person she wished death on.
“Quiet down, or I start shooting,” Smoky Dave said to the customers.
“I’m not scared of you,” the woman in red said, coming to life. “I haven’t survived breast cancer to be killed by some punk at a stickup.”
“Lady, I swear to god if you don’t turn around, and put your face against the wall, I will blow your fuckin’ head off,” Smoky Dave said.
“You will not,” the woman said, clutching her purse. “I’m leaving, and don’t try to stop me.”
Scary woke in a large city planter box in front of the public library with a raging headache.
“Eddie. Eddie Spaghetti. His meatballs are ready,” she said, and felt the aluminum tab in her pocket before plodding downtown, and scrounging through public ashtrays to assuage her nicotine addiction.
“Scary,” Smoky Dave said, handing her a cigarette and a matchbook. “Where you been?”
She lit the smoke, and looked at her reflection in a storefront window. Her blue hair was pulled back exposing brown roots. Her face was swollen, sunburnt, and covered in runny scabs. Smoky Dave wore a crusty black leather jacket, and no shirt underneath. His long dark hair dangled in front of his face, obscuring his features.
“Got a job for you.”
“I don’t suck dick.”
“It ain’t like that,” Smoky Dave said, and inhaled from a vape pen. “You know my buddy Screw?”
“Skinhead with a swastika tattoo on his face.”
“I met him in prison a few years back. He did a stretch for attempted murder. He’s been staying with me since he got out. We’re knocking over a pot dispensary by the highway called Papa Greens. It’s easy money, but we need a third.”
“Because I trust you, and because you owe me.”
“I don’t owe you shit.”
Scary used to buy heroin from Smoky Dave. He wasn’t the nicest of guys. He’d short her, and beat her when she came up short with his money. Smoky Dave’s sister died of an overdosed. It was rumored he was angry because she was stealing from him, so he spiked her hit. Scary avoided Smoky Dave when she got a better dealer, but he always claimed she still owed him when their paths crossed.
Smoky Dave placed the barrel of the shotgun against the older woman’s forehead as Screw smashed open the register, and emptied the cash into a black trash bag.
“Get them sweet nugs too,” Smoky Dave said.
“Fucking stoner,” Screw said, knocking dozens of small black plastic containers filled with various strains of marijuana into the bag.
“Bob Marley blunts tonight,” Smoky Dave said just before the blast.
Smoky Dave dropped his weapon, and crumpled to the floor. Propped on his elbows in the doorway, the security guard fired again, grazing Scary’s shoulder. Screw ducked behind the counter, and squeezed multiple rounds into the big man’s face.
“Smoky Dave? You okay?” Screw asked, removing his ski mask. “Shit. Come on Scary. Let’s dust these fucks and bounce.”
Scary pointed the .45 at Screw.
“Fuck is wrong with you? Grab the money and let’s dip. I’ll take care of the witnesses.”
“You used to beat up punkers with a baseball bat,” Scary said. “A day doesn’t go by that I don’t dream of killing you.”
“You were that kid’s girl,” Screw said in a moment of recognition. “The last twenty years haven’t been kind to you.”
“Rot in hell,” Scary said, but Screw pulled the trigger first, shooting Scary in the gut, knocking her back against a shelf, and toppling dozens of hash filled containers onto the floor.
“I have something for you,” Eddie said, handing Cary the aluminum tab he’d torn from a Coke can. “A talisman loaded with juju that will protect you from assholes.”
“Why Mister Edward Jordan Green. I’ll keep it always,” Carry said in a phony southern accent, and squeezed his hand as they entered the Vet’s hall.
Carry and Eddie bounced around the dance floor, bumping people in the mosh pit as their friends’ band sped through three chord riffs. Near the end of the set, the musicians brought Eddie onto the stage, and started chanting, ‘Eddie. Eddie Spaghetti. His meatballs are ready,’ until everybody in the packed hall repeated the words. Eddie dove off the stage as the band tore into the Eddie Spaghetti song. After the show, Eddie kissed Carry on the sidewalk. Car brakes squealed, and punkers scattered as a gang of skinheads hopped out of the back of a pickup truck.
Eddie never saw his assailant swinging the baseball bat at the back of his cranium, but Carry did. She saw the hate in the man’s eyes, and the swastika tattoo on his cheek. Eddie went down, and his skull bounced on the concrete like a basketball. His eyes rolled into the back of his head, and he bit his tongue. No matter how much heroin or meth Scary put into her veins in the coming years, she couldn’t lose the image of Eddie convulsing on the ground.
Screw placed the Glock to Scary’s head, and pulled the trigger, but the chamber was empty. Scary’s shot shattered Screw’s jaw, and he collapsed into a corner, hissing blood. The hostages squirmed against the wall like sizzling sausage, frying in the fear of death. Scary felt warmth leaking from her side as she approached the wounded skinhead.
“Eddie. Eddie Spaghetti. His meatballs are ready,” she said, and replaced the swastika on Screw’s cheek with a bullet hole.
The high-pitched whine of sirens approached as the hostages fled the dispensary’s carnage. Scary sat on the blood soaked floor, clutching the aluminum tab. Soon there would be hell to pay, but Scary didn’t care. She was protected.by
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Morgan Boyd lives in Santa Cruz California with his wife, daughter, cat, and carnivorous plant collection. He has been published online at Flash Fiction Offensive, Shotgun Honey, Near To The Knuckle, and Fried Chicken and Coffee. He also has stories forthcoming at Tough and Yellow Mama.