The Burn

Chaz was grinning away as Mook sat there shaking his head.

“I don’t know, Chaz. That was down and dirty, man. You think he ain’t gonna do you? You don’t know, man. You just don’t know.” Mook stubbed out his smoke and threw up his hands. “I’d watch my back if I were you.”

Chaz was buzzing and couldn’t be bothered. “Yeah? Well the hell with him. I’m tired of his schtick, bro. I don’t care.”

“Look Chaz, you burned him big time. What are gonna now? You gonna run? I mean, hell, $100,000 worth of useless powder?”

“A hundred grand will buy me a nice vacation and a new patch, that’s what I think. Relax, i’ve got it covered. I’m gone tomorrow.”

Mook stood up and grabbed his jacket. “I gotta go, man. You take care.”

Firing up another one, Chaz congratulated himself again on the scam. Bernie was an asshole. He had it coming. He cranked up the tunes for a while, and danced around the house and then, grabbing another beer from the fridge he was heading for the couch when there was a knock on the door. He pulled his piece and stood alongside the door.

“Who is it?” No answer. He pulled the curtain aside an inch. Nothing. Nobody there. He opened the door a crack and peeked. He opened it wide and there on the porch was a box with his name on it. Damn. Bernie wouldn’t try to bomb him, would he? No way, he hadn’t told Bernie where he was living. It would take him days to find out, and by then he’d be gone. But what if somebody had ratted him out? No, he knew his friends. Not a problem at all. He picked up the box carefully and shook it. There was something loose in it. What the hell, he thought, and took it to the table and opened it.

Inside was a .357 Ruger. A very nice piece of firepower. He lifted it out and checked it. It was loaded, but two chambers were empty and it smelled of powder and something else. He sniffed it again and hit the floor as his vision went blurry.

He came to with a couple of cops standing over him. Groggy and out of it, he tried to stand, but one of them pushed him back down in the chair.

“You’re not going anywhere, dude. Listen up, you have the right to remain silent, anything you say may be used against you…”

“What’s this about, man? I haven’t done anything. What are you guys doing here? Is this a bust? I’ve only got a few grams of pot, man, what gives?”

The cops looked at each other. “You’re under arrest for the murder of Michael “Mook” Taylor. I’d shut up now if I were you.”

“What?! I didn’t kill Mook, he was here and then he left. What are you guys on about?”

They parted and looked down at the body on the floor that was being attended to by the forensics team. “He left, did he?”

One of them held up and evidence bag with the Ruger in it. “I wonder whose prints are on this.”

“You wanna tell us what happened? You two have an argument?”

“Look, this is bullshit, man. That ain’t my gun. Mook was my buddy. I found the gun on my doorstep in a box.”

“What box might that be?”

“The one on the…” There was no box on the kitchen table. He looked around frantically. “I’ve been set up, damn it! You gotta listen to me!”

He thought hard. “I’ve got a gun, that ain’t mine. Mine is…”

“We’ve searched the house. There are no other guns here. Your friend wasn’t armed either. Looks like you shot him in cold blood.”

He began to shake. “Ok, look, here’s the truth. I…I burned a guy on a deal, see? $100,000. He must have set me up. The money is in a box under my bed. See for yourself.”

The cops shook their heads. “We’ve searched the house. There’s no money here. Your story won’t wash. Besides, we got a phone call about you talking about how you were gonna do Mook over some falling out you guys had. You’re not very bright, Chaz.”

They cuffed him and took him downtown.

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