Story a day May 9.

Yup, missed yesterday, life kicked my head in, but in a good way.

Mike ducked down behind the bar, sweat trickling down his face. This entire heist had gone bust. Bad intel, compounded by bad partners, bad timing and now this. He watched the beam of light shine over the bar, and footsteps walking slowly toward him.

It should not have been like this. Mike had been living the good life. Which for Mike, meant two employees at his lock service, someone else taking his weekend emergency calls, and a two story in the Minneapolis suburbs. He’d retired from the game four years before, after his last turn in the joint. That hadn’t been the problem. Doing time was the cost of business. What caused him to quit was the picture sent him inside of a four year old girl, with the eyes he saw in the mirror every day. Her name was Molly, and he got her every other weekend, and two weeks every summer. He was the model of the older single divorcee dad to all his neighbors.

Then the gods had kneed him in the balls, and then kneecapped him for good measure. The first x-rays had been awful enough, showing the spread of the tumors in Molly’s legs, some unpronounceable horror that was proof yet again of there not being a loving God. Then came the bills, followed by a trail of paperwork denying all his coverage, despite having paid faithfully for four years.

Mike had just been recovering from that when a business rival found out about his true identity, and tried to sink his business. Mike was a hard man though, and had discussed the matter with the man, his 9mm Glock on the table the entire time. Mike thought he’d made his point clear, until the man’s business partner showed up, an unfortunately familiar face.

Jose”El Pollo Loco” Jimenez was a local crime boss. Mike had used a couple of his fences before, but they’d never really crossed into each others view. Jose had gotten his name for killing his enemies old school, tarring and feathering. He’d taken the long view of his dispute with Mike, having the sense to recognize Mike as a valuable tool. For men like Jose, Mike was one tool he could always take out, regardless of retirement or not.

Pollo had an enemy, one “Bad Rasta” John Joseph, who ran his crews out of a Mexican restaurant in the Mall of America. This bothered Jose no end, who saw it as an affront to his culture, especially since two of his men were killed after eating there.

Pollo had turned one of John Joseph’s men, who wanted John’s spot. He’d supplied the location of John’s stash spot, where he hid his money. It was a sports bar called “Sportscast”, which distinguished itself from all the other sports bars by doing lutefisk ladies wrestling every summer.

It was this hellhole Mike found himself in right now,, wishing he could strangle both those assholes. Pollo for lying about what he was stealing, and John for keeping it in the first place.

“Twenty thousand to start, fifty thousand at the end” was all Pollo said when Mike asked about money. Part of Mike, the old part needed to get through this, had wondered how much cash was there for the taking. But Mike knew if he did, he’d spend the rest of the life looking over his shoulder for either Jose or his masters in the Sinaloa cartel. He’d seen firsthand inside what the cartels did to those that crossed them. He’d shoot Molly himself first.

Mike sat still,watching the light play out. He’d done as instructed, popped the back door about midnight on Sunday, two hours after the crew had gone home. He’d parked the car behind a strip mall,having popped it from the long term rental at the airport. The pick gun had popped the lock, and tow snips with wire cutters killed the alarm. Mike had gone to the basement, looking for the safe and the cash.

He’d found neither. He’d found a series of kennels, full of kids bound and gagged, some as young as four or five, by the looks. He’d stood there,frozen, wanting to find large rocks to tie John, Pollo, and Pollo’s lying ass snitch to, before drowning them in Lake Minnetonka.

Then he’d heard the back door open. He’d snuck upstairs,s diving behind the bar, wondering who this was. If he got popped by a rent a cop, he’d go back inside, and Molly would die wondering why her father hadn’t saved her. Twenty large wasn’t going to dent her medical bills, but it was more than enough to get them over the border for medical care, new lives, and a stake for Mike to live a normal life again.

The beam passed over his head and the person leaned over the bar. Mike tightened the grip on his brass knuckles, hoping the guy didn’t have his gun pulled. Then a face came into view, and Mike stood up in shock.

“Alison”? Molly’s mom stood there, covered in head to toe black. She was holding a gun, a .38 that seemed gigantic in her hands.

“Hi, Mike, nice to see you’re as predictable as ever.” She pointed the gun at his pocket. “Out with the brass, Mike. Fifteen years of doing this and your way of doing things has never changed. You dumb ass Polock.”
Mike complied, stunned. Sure, Alison had been one of the many girls who found thugs like him hot, but he’d never seen anything to put her as an actual player. His mind was reeling, trying to figure out the play and players.

“What’s the deal, Alison? I’m current on my child support. Even if I wasn’t I don’t think they’d buy that as an excuse to pop me.”

“Fuck you, Mike. You’re not the one trying to live on what I make as a nurse, and still care for a girl who only exists because the condom broke, and I’m a good Catholic.” She spat to the side, gum firmly lodged in her cheek.

Mike put two and two together. “You’re Jose’s mole. You’re fucking us both over. Why? Is John that great a fuck?” Mike tried to sneer, his mind calculating his play here.

“Gosh, Mike, haven’t you heard, fucking three at once is all the rage with the young pussy these days.” She motioned him to a seat, Mike sitting down hard, his knees weak. He hated guns, especially this end of them.

“Going to take a stab in the dark, you get John pills?” Alison worked in the pharmacy as a nurse practitioner, which gave her prescription rights, and lots of access.

“Yeah, I get John pills, and the bastard’s getting greedy. But I got a guy who will make sure that my pills go direct to his dealers, cutting out the unnecessary skin flap that is John Joseph.”

“Did you ever love me?” asked Mike, rubbing his eyes. He hated shit like this. Another cost of doing business.

“Love you? Mike, I hate you. Your spawn cost me the best years of my life, and I was almost tempted to let you run away to Canuck Land together, when this all came together. Trust me, she’ll have a nice foster home after this, and they can pay her bills.” Alison lit a cigarette, blowing the smoke in Mike’s face.

“Best part of this will be collecting the insurance you had to put on yourself to get partial custody. One your body is found in the charred rubble of a crime scene, the insurance will pay extra to see me gone.”

She tied Mike’s legs to his chair with duct tape, then sat back, pointing the hand cannon right to his chest.

“Any last word,s Mike? Alison sneered, her face ice cold.

“Close your eyes, honey.” Mike closed his own.

“Close your eyes? Is that-” The words were cut off by the explosion of Alison’s chest, spraying Mike with a gout of flesh. Alison, tried to turn and see who her assailant was, but collapsed instead as she fell.

Molly stepped over Alison, almost slipping in the blood. All those years of target shooting for fun had paid off, he noted. She ripped the tape off of Mike, hugging him.

“Daddy, I’m so sorry. She was so mean lately.” Mike hugged Molly, then sat her in the booth with his cell. He went into the bar’s office, finding the safe full. At least one hundred large by his estimate. Time to run for the border, he thought. He took Molly’s hand and walked out of the bar, dialing 911 as he did. He wasn’t normal now, but normal was just a five hour drive away.



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