I want to try something new. From time to time I’m going to write something random. It may be sci-fi/fantasy, it may not. It may be fairly normal, it may be entirely off the wall to make it a challenge. It’ll usually be a single scene, often beginning in media res so I don’t have to waste time with exposition. Hopefully it’ll be fun. If you like it, feel free to drop me a comment with a suggestion for the next one.
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Vinnie produced a cigarette and lit up. “You woke me up for this?”
I said nothing. It wasn’t hard to out-wait Vinnie when he wanted sleep.
“Look,” he said after a moment, “I got no idea where Charlie is, but if he ain’t already dead he might want to consider finding a nice, gentle way of getting that way before The Turk’s men catch up with him. They won’t be nice, and they won’t be gentle, but he’d be just as dead.”
“You don’t think I know that?” I said. “Look, for once this isn’t Charlie’s fault. He really don’t have what they’re looking for.”
“And how do you know that?”
“Because I’ve got it,” I said. There. I’d said it. And chances were within five minutes of my leaving Vinnie’s place he’d be saying it to The Turk. But at least they’d be after me instead of Charlie. He was an idiot, but for once he was an honest one.
“Let me see it,” Vinnie said, the look in his eye just a little too eager.
“What, you think I’m a fool? I don’t got it on me. It’s somewhere safe.” It was a lie, of course, but I also wanted to get out of Vinnie’s alive.
“You expect me to believe that?” Vinnie frowned. “You don’t trust nobody with nothing.”
“That’s right,” I said. “That’s why it’s hid somewhere. You know I wouldn’t trust anybody with something like that. Especially if I like them.”
The gleam in his eye went away. Maybe he believed me, or maybe he realized it might not be worth the trouble. “If you’ve got it, and The Turk’s thinking Charlie has it, why not just let Charlie take the heat while you get away scott free? It’s what I’d do.”
“Yeah, but I ain’t you,” I growled. “Charlie’s a dope, but he married my sister and he treats her good, so he can’t be all bad. If I’d have known The Turk would think it was Charlie I never would have taken it in the first place. Now I gotta think of a way to get Charlie out of this.”
“And still hang on to it yourself?”
“I ain’t a magician, but there’s gotta be a way.”
Vinnie leaned back, his face wearing a greasy smile that made me want to punch him on principle. “I know a way,” he said. “I know a couple ways.”
“But it’s gonna cost me to find out?” I hated it when people got coy with me.
He shook his head. “I ain’t gonna tell you for nothing. I’m gonna enjoy watching you squirm and dance and, if you’re lucky, find a way out on your own.”
“You’re all heart, Vinnie,” I said. He was enjoying this far too much. Like I’d done anything to him. Well, anything much. “So you have no idea at all where I can find Charlie?”
“If The Turk hasn’t found him, no,” Vinnie said, the smug look sliding from his face. “If he’s found him? Well, I’d check the East River. But you’ll need to be a pretty good swimmer to find him.”
“You’re all a real humanitarian, Vinnie. And I mean that in the culinary sense.” I got up, grabbed my hat and backed toward the door. When I go down it won’t be from getting shot in the back. Vinnie just sat there, probably debating whether it would be better to call the Turk or tell him in person.
I intended to get as lost as possible before he could do either.