Walter took his usual table outside at his favourite cafe and was perusing the racing form when his phone rang.
“Hey Walter. It’s all on. He should be there any time now.” The caller hung up.
Walter went back to his racing form and was circling items of interest when a man walked up to his table.
“I hear Lucky Lady in the fourth is a sure thing.”
Walter sized him up. Rough trade for sure. No wonder he was the guy. “Thanks for the tip. You must be Ralphie. Sit down.”
His new companion ordered an espresso and toyed with a match book until the waiter was out of earshot. “So what is it you need done? Harry usually fills me on stuff, but he says I gotta talk to you.”
Walter leaned forward and interlaced his fingers on the table. “Harry says you’re reliable, and I trust him. Do you know this guy?” He reached in his shirt pocket and pushed a photo across the table.
Ralphie shrugged. “Nope. Never seen him.”
“Good. I need you to make him disappear. It’s got to be tonight. Here’s the address he’ll be at.” Walter handed a folded piece of paper over. “Easy job, it’s all been arranged. He’s always there on Thursday nights, and he always orders a pizza from the same place at the same time. You show up and ring the bell. He’ll ask who’s there; you tell him it’s his pizza. You know the rest.”
Ralphie was picking his teeth with the matchbook cover. “Okay, sounds good. Whatdya got for me?”
“I’ll pay you out when the job is done. Twenty grand. Meet me here tomorrow, same time. Just make it clean. You got a silencer?”
Ralphie grinned. “Of course I’ve got a silencer, but what’s this about after? I get half up front, that’s how it works.”
Walter shook his head. “Nope. Not this time. It’s a simple job, but no money till it’s done.”
Ralphie waved his hand. “That’s not how it’s done. I want…”
“You can want whatever you want. How long you been dealing with Harry? Me and Harry go way back. I don’t stiff nobody. You in or what? I can always get someone else.” Walter fixed him with grim stare.
Ralphie rolled his eyes and shrugged. “What time?”
“The pizza usually gets there at seven-thirty. Show up ten minutes before and you should be in and out before the pizza guy gets there.”
Ralphie downed the rest of his espresso and stood up. “No problem. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Pulling up to the curb near the given address, Ralphie looked the street up and down. He checked his watch. Seven-fifteen. He waited a few minutes, then got out and headed up the street. When he got there he saw it was a house with only one light on in an upper window and a dark pathway with high bushes on either side leading to the front door.
He opened the gate and started up the path in the dark. Before he got halfway he heard a sound behind him, but before he could turn around a bullet exited his forehead and he dropped onto the path. His assailant reached in the bush and pulled out a tarp and wrapped Ralphie in it and shoved him back in out of sight, then went to the front door and rang the bell.
“Yeah, who is it?”
“It’s me, Harry. All done.”
Harry opened the door. “Come on in Walter.”
Harry handed Walter an envelope. “Thanks for taking care of this for me. I needed someone I knew I could rely on.”
“No problem, Harry. What did this schmuck do, anyway?”
“He hit my sister. Been dating her. I told him last time if he ever did it again there wouldn’t be a third time.”
Walter shook his head. “We’re just weeding out the gene pool, Harry.”
Harry grinned. “Yeah, something like that. Want a drink?”