Tag Archives: Don Glass

Perfect Timing

James Arlen Roth took something from me, something important. Her name was April. We were going to be married in the Spring. She’d said that was the best time to get married, and who was I to argue. We set the date and made all the arrangements. Then along came James.
+++++He walked into the store where April worked at 9:47 PM and walked out at 9:53, he left with $142.36. In six minutes this man changed my life and ended hers. She didn’t die right away. It took some time. Slowly she bled out on the dirty floor behind the counter. A customer walked into the store at 10:17 and found her still alive. April was a fighter, but she’d lost too much blood and died before the ambulance got there.
+++++James Arlen Roth put us on a collision course. He set in motion something that neither of us can stop.
+++++The only evidence the prosecution had was video evidence from several different cameras. One from inside the store showed someone wearing a ski mask. He entered the store and pulled a gun, revealing a rose tattoo on his right hand. April gave him all the money in the register. She cooperated and he shot her anyway, and then calmly walked out. Videos from outside, at an ATM machine and a pawn shop entrance, showed a man the same build and height wearing the exact same clothes. These videos also showed a face, the face of James Arlen Roth and they showed a rose tattoo on his right hand.
+++++His lawyer argued that while his client, who was gainfully employed and had no reason to commit such a heinous crime, was in the area at the time of the robbery. He didn’t commit the crime. Anyone could have been wearing clothes that were similar.
+++++The tattoo that sold me on his guilt also helped get him off.
+++++James had gotten the tattoo when he was nineteen, just a kid. He was in a street gang and the tattoo was part of the gang’s colors. His lawyer then showed the jury mug shots of other members and pictures of their tattoos. Each one had the same rose on their right hand. He argued that anyone of them could have committed the crime.
+++++The most valuable part of his defense was that Jimmy appeared to be walking casually and in no hurry. Wouldn’t a man who just robbed a convenience store and shot a clerk be in a hurry or perhaps even running away from the scene? All the evidence was circumstantial. The jury found him not guilty. I don’t care what the jury says, he’s guilty and we both know it.
+++++For James life went on. For me life fell apart and became all about James. The countdown had started.
+++++After his acquittal I followed him for three months getting to know his routine, his timing. I studied every facet of his life. I could tell you where he is going to be and what he is going to be doing at almost any given minute. From poker games on Wednesdays and his once a month haircut, to the two women he’s seeing. I know more about him than he knows about himself.He’s regular, like clockwork. This is all information I need to know to do what I have to do.
+++++I’m ready. Tonight’s the night.I’ve decided to wait outside of the Highlight Club and do it when he gets into his car. It sounds easy but there is always a chance of something going wrong. Timing is the most important thing. Today is Wednesday, he’ll leave alone. He left alone last Wednesday and the previous three.
+++++The Highlight Club is a seedy strip joint. It’s located off of the downtown express way and across from Smitty’s convenience store. Set back along the property line all parking for the club is up front and along the roadside, well lit.
+++++I drove downtown, obeying the speed limit. I’ve always been a law abiding person. Pulling into the Smitty’s I glanced across the street over to The Highlight’s parking lot. His car was there, a 67 Mustang Fastback. I knew it would be. I grabbed a cup of coffee and a donut and waited until two thirty, last call.
+++++People started to exit the club. Knowing James would be one of the last to leave I crossed the street and lingered outside in the parking lot. I shook, a little from the cold but more from the chore before me. The lot slowly emptied.
+++++At 3:05 he walked out, like clockwork. Wearing his customary leather jacket and gold chain around his neck he looked like the thug I knew he was.
+++++Walking to his car I fell in step a few paces behind him. He looked bigger this close up. It must be his gym routine-three nights a week- he never misses a workout.
+++++“Hey Asshole,” I called out.
+++++“What’d you call me?” he said and swung around fast, taking a defensive stance.
+++++I’m not a big man by any stretch of the imagination, weak some might call me, non threatening. A smile crept on his face. He didn’t even recognize the man who sat behind him in a courtroom every day for three weeks.
+++++“Listen buddy you’re gonna be in a world of hurt if you don’t turn around and walk away right now. I have things to do,” he said and turned his back on me.
+++++“I know. You’re going to play poker, uptown at Sid’s Café, or is that on Fridays?”
+++++It knew it wasn’t on Fridays, it was tonight.Slowly he turned, surveying the situation as he did.
+++++“What did you say?”
+++++I stood my ground and smiled. “No, you’re going to see Angela. Does Marie know about Angela? Does Marie’s husband know about you?”
+++++“What the fuck?”
+++++“What about April, do you remember her?”
+++++My smile disappeared. This was the moment I’d been heading toward since he walked out of the court room three months ago.He looked in my eyes and suddenly knew who I was.
+++++“Why’d you do it? She gave you what you wanted. Why did you kill her?”
+++++He smiled but said nothing. Seeing the smug look on his face I could feel the rage building inside of me. I touched the outside of my jacket pocket. His eyes darted from my eyes to my hand and back. Fifteen feet separated us, too far for him lunge. I reached into my jacket pocket. At the same moment he reached for the bulge under his coat. I’d seen the bulge before, a shoulder holster. He always wore it.
+++++I’d practiced this a thousand times standing in front of a mirror, like De Niro in Taxi Driver or an old time western.I knew how fast I could draw. I didn’t know how fast he would be.
+++++Time slowed. I could see his jaw clench and brow furrow as his hand slipped into his coat. I imagined his thumb flicking the snap off his holster as my hand slid into my pocket a second faster than his. Fluidly his gun slipped out and arm extended as my hand was just exiting my pocket. He was too fast. I knew he would be, but when you have nothing left, you have nothing to lose.
+++++His hand seemed to explode as his gun went off. The slug hit me squarely in the chest, shattering my sternum and tearing through a lung. The impact threw me back and my body slammed to the ground. When I opened my eyes James stood over me, his gun pointed at my face. My hand, finally free of my pocket, went to my chest, still clutching the only thing that had been inside of it, a picture of April.
+++++I coughed through a bloody smile. As life drained out of me I and turned my head to Smitty’s. A police car had just pulled into the lot, same as last night and the night before.

Contingency Plan

Angelo walked into the bar, head held high. Confident he would get what he wanted. Prepared to do what needed done if he didn’t. He held the hand of a small, blonde haired child. He sat her at a booth nearest the door, facing away from the dimly lit interior.
+++++“Play with my phone honey,” he said sweetly, handing her his cellphone. “I’ll be back in a few minutes and then we’ll go for the ice cream I promised.”
+++++“Yes Poppy,” she half smiled, turning her face to him, her left profile partially revealed to the only other patron.
+++++Sitting in its darkest recesses Walter watched Angelo enter. The bar wouldn’t open for another hour, providing them with the privacy they needed for business. Angelo took a seat across the table from Walter, nodding a hello as he did. Walter had two glasses of wine set out, an old country custom for a meeting such as this.
+++++“You know why I’m here.”
+++++“Yes,” Walter said sympathetically.
+++++“I need the boy Walter, you need to give him up.”
+++++“I can’t give him to you Angie,” Walter said, using the name Angie from their childhood. A name only he could use and not sound deprecating.
+++++“We go way back Walter. I’m here out of respect.” He took a drink of the wine Walter had set out for them. “One way or another I’ll find him. If you give him to me he won’t suffer, I give you my word. If I have to find him…” he shrugged his shoulders, “I can’t make any promises.”
+++++“I’m sorry but I can’t do that. He’s my sister’s only child.”
+++++“He’s an addict. The boys gotta habit, a bad one and everyone knows it.”
+++++“You’re putting me in a hard spot here.”
+++++“He’s a fucking heroin addict, plain and simple, and he almost killed the girl. Eye for an eye.” There was firmness in his voice he had never used on Walter.
+++++“Aint no eye for an eye shit Angie,” he said calmly, “she’s still walking around breathing. You killing him wouldn’t be fair.”
+++++“Fair?” he questioned. “The girl will need multiple surgeries. She’ll never be the same.”
+++++“You’re taking this personal, it was an accident.”
+++++“It is personal. It was my restaurant he crashed the truck into.”
+++++“Personal yes…but its bad business, for both of us, do we need more bloodshed over this unfortunate accident?”
+++++“Was it good business putting your nephew in that position?”
+++++Walter had no answer for that. He had given the boy a job and the boy had fucked up. “Family is family,” was all he could think of to say. He’d already offered to pay for damage to Angelo’s place and had been politely turned down.
+++++“I hoped to appeal to your personal side, but now I suppose we must do it the hard way.”
+++++“I’m sorry you feel that way.” Walter meant what he said but couldn’t give up his nephew just because a girl had gotten hurt. Eye for an eye, he believed in that saying, but the girl hadn’t died.
+++++“I came to you to try and stop a war. I don’t feel I’m being unreasonable. Blood will be on your hands not mine.”
+++++He stood slowly, old bones creaking. Frustrated he glanced down at Walter and then to the door. Walter stood. Out of mutual respect Angelo knew he would walk him to the door and into the sights of the marksman on top of the building across the street. The shooter would kill Walter as soon as he left if given the nod. Walter followed one step behind until they reached the booth. The child, playing a game on the phone, didn’t hear their approach.
+++++“Marie,” Angelo said quietly, “I want you to meet someone.” The girl turned to face them. “This is Walter. He’s an old friend.” The hideous scar and empty socket on her right side where her eye had once been came into view.
+++++“Walter this is Marie…my grand-daughter.”
+++++The sight of the girls damaged face shocked him deeply. “Jesus Angie, I didn’t know.”
+++++“No one does. My daughter, she’s a very…private person. She has never been involved in the family business. She prefers her independence, to make her own way.” He looked out the restaurants front window. He couldn’t bring himself to look Walter in the eye. “We chose the path we’re on, you and I. She didn’t, but she does work at the restaurant cleaning in the evenings, saving for college, and sometimes Marie tags along.”
+++++“We’re going for ice cream,” Marie said and smiled crookedly at Walter. She would have been beautiful if not for the disfigurement. He paused and smiled back.
+++++“Have your Poppy take you to Santella’s for your ice cream. They have the best in the city,” he said to the girl.
+++++“Come back tonight, I’ll make sure he’s here,” he said to Angelo.
+++++Angelo nodded, took Marie’s hand and walked outside. Stepping onto sidewalk he signaled to the man on the roof, not with a nod but a shake of his head.