Bobby took the heater out of the trunk of the car. It was a nice looking weapon, worth seven hundred fifty dollars, if it was worth the five hundred he’d originally wanted.
I told Bobby I’d give him two hundred fifty dollars and let him walk away with his life if he gave me that gun.
He laughed, holding the heater up, so it shone in the sunlight. We were miles from anywhere—plenty of room to bury a body out there, or maybe I’d leave him for the buzzards.
“You’re pretty confident, and you’re talking a load of shit, considering I’m the one holding the gun.” Bobby rested the barrel against his shoulder and shifted the toothpick in his mouth.
I studied my reflection on his mirrored sunglasses, which looked expensive. Only an asshole wore mirrored sunglasses, much less expensive ones, I figured, which made Bobby the asshole twice over, or maybe exponentially the asshole. He was tall, at least six feet. I craned my neck to look at him. People tended to underestimate me because I was short.
“My offer stands,” I told Bobby, regarding my clean-shaven features and my round pectoral muscles under the leather vest I was wearing in those silver mirrors over his eyes.
He shook his head, bringing the barrel of the gun down until the muzzle rested against my chest, which was the second stupid thing he’d done that afternoon, after jacking up the price. He’d stolen the weapon, which made my counteroffer seem fair, if not to say generous, the fact I’d threatened his life notwithstanding.
I felt a twitch in my groin when he pointed the gun at me, not unlike the jolt I used to feel when my brother would pin me to the floor of our parents’ basement in Silver City, New Mexico and put his thing in my mouth. Whether my brother raped me, or whether I consented to his advances for 10 years, I couldn’t have said. All I knew was that at the end of that decade, when I was 21, I killed him and our father, too, for the old man had given his tacit blessing to the unholy relationship that had been going on under his roof. Amateur that I was, I did my best to make the crime scene look like a botched robbery. As a perverse touch, I made it look like the perpetrators had burst in on the old man and my brother Pete in flagrante. Looking back, I wasn’t sure I’d fooled anybody, but the cops in Silver City were probably glad to be rid of my father, who’d gotten off on a technicality after beating my mother to death with his prosthetic leg, and who’d been one of the most ruthless meth dealers in that part of Southern New Mexico.
But I was telling you about the afternoon Bobby Jenkins threatened me, putting a gun to my chest in the desert.
I knocked the barrel out of the way, and I drove my knee into his groin, so he fell to his knees, retching.
Even then, he didn’t pull the trigger.
I yanked the heater out of his hands, dragging him behind me while I tossed the gun in my car. I hauled him back to his car, and I pinned him to the trunk while I reached around him and undid his belt, sliding his jeans down his legs.
It was 120 degrees in the sun, and he yelped when I pressed him up against the metal.
“You can have the gun!” he shouted at me, but it wasn’t about that, not anymore.
I cracked the back of his head, and he fell forward, silent, though still conscious.
I split Bobby Jenkins in two and left him crying on the sand, curled up in a fetal position, and drove back to the city with the heater on the seat beside me.
True to my word, I’d left two hundred fifty dollars on the passenger’s seat of his car.
Whether Bobby lived or died was his business, not mine.by
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Tom Andes' writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Witness, Great Jones Street, Shotgun Honey, Natural Bridge, Guernica, Pulp Modern, the Akashic Books Mondays Are Murder Flash Fiction Blog, Best American Mystery Stories 2012, and elsewhere. He frequently reviews books for publications including the Los Angeles Review of Books, Mystery Tribune, and The Rumpus. He lives in New Orleans.