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Bullets Worth More Than Your Life by Steve Smith
Gumshoe Review Story  ISBN/ITEM#: STY082012
Date: 31 July 2012 / Show Official Info /

Bullets Worth More Than Your Life

by Steve Smith

The Sig Sauer sat shimmering under the fluorescent light creaking softly above me. The room had just the one light, one table and a pair of chairs.

The man sitting across from me was Benito Pellegrini, underboss for the Sicilian mob that runs this shit-town.

"Do you know why you're here? And wrapped in such a pleasant bow?"

I ripped the tape off his mouth, taking a chunk of his facial stubble with it. He barely grimaced. "Fuck you, whoever the fuck you are."

"Name's Ray, it's a real pleasure. I admired your work on Mary Singleton. I heard you took three hours to cut off all her fingers without killing her."

Benito stared back hard. "It was six hours, you fuck. What's with this business? What the fuck do you want?"

I glanced at the pistol sitting between us.

Benito smiled. "You think thatís gonna scare me? Do you know who I am?"

I knew. I'd read the papers. Lots of bloodshed and bribery to get to where he was. I ejected the magazine from the pistol and set them both down on the table. "Why are you here?" I picked a box of 9mm bullets off the ground and began popping them into the magazine.

Benito didn't respond.

"All right, I know you're here because someone wants you dead. Maybe it's 'cause of your reputation. I'm not sure."

"You don't get that kind of reputation easy."

I pushed the last bullet into the clip and set it back on the table. Benito the Butcher. That was the name the media had given him. "Fair enough. Maybe you're getting old, maybe you're a rat; maybe you're just not liked at the golf club anymore." I checked that the chamber of the pistol was empty before sliding it all the way back to lock it in into the slide stop.

"What're you doing?"

"Oh, so you think I'll answer your questions when you don't answer mine? That's entirely fair. How about this, since I respect you, we're going to have a genial conversation or I'm going to blow your brains all over the wall. Deal?

Benito's eyes narrowed slightly, like he was gauging the worth of the conversation. The he nodded.

"I'm disassembling my gun. It's interesting seeing the inner workings of something that kills millions every year. Why do you think you're here?"

"I don't know." Benito shifted in the chair. "Any chance you can untie me?"

"No. You have no idea why you are here?"

He blinked. "You're gonna kill me, more than likely."

"Finally. Do you know why I'm going to kill you?" I rotated down the disassembly lever and released the slide by pushing it forward out of the frame, then set the pieces down.

"I don't know. I've done a lot of things to a lot of people. I always knew someone would want to get even."

I nodded. "Agreed. But I'm here because of a very specific instance. Any idea what that might be?" I removed the return spring assembly from below the barrel and placed it down on the table.

He grinned. "I fucked Don de Rosa's daughters."

"Do you think the Don would hire someone like me?"

"At the same time."

I shrugged. "Interesting but that's not why I'm here."

"Who are you?"

"I already told you my name." I removed the barrel from the slide and left it sitting there with the rest of the pieces of the gun and the full magazine.

"Who are you really, though?"

"This isn't an interview for the Biography Channel. Do you ever disassemble your guns?"

Benito shook his head and shifted his weight. "I have people who make sure the business end works at all times."

"Disassembling guns has been something I've always been fond of. It was ingrained in my memory earlier on; I could probably do it with the lights off, even after all these years." I picked up the slide and placed the barrel back in its place.

"You were in the Army or something?"

"Or something. Want to hear a funny story? This is my gun. This isn't a throwaway. Isn't that funny? Normally, killers would use a throwaway but this time I wanted to use my own gun, since it hardly sees any action. It used to, back in the day, back before all this." I waved a hand at nothing.

"Don't give me that sentimental bullshit."

I shrugged before returning the spring assembly to its place. "If I wanted to be sentimental, I'd talk about this gun and all the great adventures I've been on with it. I always liked how old warriors had names for their swords, like it was a living entity; like their brother or best friend. I feel that only with this gun. It's a Sig Sauer P226, if you're wondering. The Navy SEALS have been using it for a long time, before I was out of high school. It's a good gun, if you know how to use it."

"I know how to use it." Benito leaned forward. "Do you?"

I smirked. "I find the best warriors know their weapons inside and out." I locked the disassembly lever into place then snapped the slide forward till it settled. "There we go, back to where we were."

Benito eased back in the chair. "So, that's it? You're just gonna take apart your gun, put it back together and kill me?"

I smiled. "You've forgotten that you have no idea how you got here."

Benito shrugged. "Does it really matter?"

"It should. It matters to me."

Benito leaned forward again, the chair creaking under his weight. "Why's that?"

I snapped the magazine into the grip of the gun, leveled it at his forehead and pulled the trigger. "Mary Singleton was my wife."

About the author:

Steve Smith is a freelance crime fiction writer from Lansdale, PA. He is a graduate of Rowan University and the inaugural Crime Fiction Academy at the Center For Fiction in New York City. You can follow his musings on Twitter, @realsteve_smith. This is his first publication with Gumshoe Review and his first published short story.
Bullets Worth More Than Your Life © Steve Smith, August 2012

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