The little dog was one of them butterfly beasts. A Papillion, or something like that. Cute little tyke. Mostly white with black markings. Long snout, perky ears, and a bark somewhere between a yip and a yap.
He turned and trotted off toward the woods before halting and facing me again. When I hadn’t budged, he dashed back to yip/yap in earnest. I’d have sworn the fur ball wanted me to follow him. Maybe I oughta steal the bugger. Expensive dogs from what I’d heard.
Nah, I was a bad-ass, not a dognapper. The little guy led me across the barrow ditch and disappeared into the trees. I paused a moment before following. Wasn’t any problem locating him; he kept up a constant yammer, like he wanted me to hurry.
I pushed my way through a thick clump of mulberry bushes into a small glade and found him standing beside a body. The mutt’s bug eyes seemed to plead for help.
“Whata we got here?” I knelt beside a young man lying face down, his left hand flung out. A big ruby set in yellow gold on his ring finger caught my eye. His other arm was beneath him. “You okay, fella?”
I wasn’t much interested in his answer because dead or alive, I was gonna have that ring. I poked the shoulder of his soft suede jacket. Expensive. This guy might be a treasure trove.
Catching me by surprise, he rolled over onto his side, exposing a black revolver hidden beneath him. “Just stay nice and still.”
The good-looking guy with a pleasant voice got to his feet. He shoulda been playing soccer on the other side of the big park, not waylaying suckers in the wooded section. A trickle of sweat rolled down my left side, but it was excitement … not fear. Amateurs. This guy had just made the biggest mistake of his life.
“Take it easy, fella. You got no trouble from me. But I ain’t got nothing worth stealing. You picked the wrong mark this time.”
The kid waggled the revolver. “It’s not a robbery, man.”
I frowned. Maybe I oughta be worried. “Damned good imitation. I like the way your dog brought me to you.”
The bastard’s smile got even bigger. “Neato, huh? Took a year to train him. He helps me get my kicks. My thrills.”
My eyebrows climbed like I was scared. “No, man. I … I got a family. Wait, let me get my wallet. I got something in it you’ll like.”
With my left hand stretched in front of me as if to ward off a bullet, I slowly reached behind me. But it wasn’t a wallet I whipped out. It was my trim little .25 semi-automatic. It barked twice, and two spots appeared in the middle of that fine suede jacket. Crap. It was ruined.
The kid’s mouth gaped. His eyes went round like he couldn’t believe it. Then they went as dead as the rest of him. I went over to slip that ruby off his finger and check my marksmanship. Two heart shots. Had to be with a little .25, else he’d be able to yank the trigger on that big cannon.
A whine drew my attention to the dog at my feet. Maybe I oughta take him along to lure suckers for me. I examined the tag on his collar. JUDAS. A hell of a name for the little guy.
I heard a strangled gasp and whirled. The kid stood with two cups of coffee in one hand and a big six-shooter in the other. No, that wasn’t right. The yokel lay sprawled on the ground, still dead. But there he was, standing wild-eyed and pointing a revolver at me.
“You killed my brother to steal his dog?”
I raised my .25 … but I didn’t manage to get off a shot.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone. Please take time to check out some of the other pages on this site and let me know how my flash fiction hits you.
Next week: Depends on how industrious I feel.
New posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.
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