From The Boneyard

Now I’m gonna tell you something that might just come in handy. The main difference between someone born to be a chalk outline and someone who lives long enough to get old is the ability to know when to walk away from a bad scene and when to stand your ground.

Take Charlie for instance. Charlie is one of the former. That’s why he’s wearing a toe tag, a sheet and nothing else. Now believe me, I tried to steer Charlie right, but some people wear destiny like a shroud. Rest in peace, Charlie. Or, in this case, in pieces, but I won’t go into that.

See, Charlie and me met up a few years ago in a bone yard. I was burying some loot for a rainy day and Charlie was communing with the dead. I should have known then and there he had the whiff of tragedy about him but I had other things on my mind. So he stumbles across me doing my thing and I had to make a quick decision. Whack him or take my stuff and leave.

As it happens I did neither. There was something about him. I don’t know, some kind of tragic magic or something that made me want to trust him. Believe me, it was the first time anything like that had ever happened. Long story short, we hit it off, we went to a bar to knock back some shots and talk and I didn’t worry for a minute he’d ever steal my loot.

From then on we were best buddies. The crimes we did together, I gotta say they were legendary. Charlie knew some shake down scams and he taught me those. We were unstoppable is what. It was one of those that led to Charlie being where he is right now. It’s a card game scam where you put the word out to high rollers that there’s a big game going down. Once you have enough pigeons lined up you let the good times roll and then Charlie and I would go in with facemasks on and stick up the game.

Now you can’t pull that one more than once a year or so in any one town but if the players are all cashed up you can make one hell of a haul and then lay low for a while. The guy who fronted the game takes a beating to make it look like he didn’t know anything about it and then he gets paid off nice. Next time you do it you use a different guy and on it goes.

So anyway, we had one of these games lined up and Charlie went to the graveyard to talk to the dead like he always did before a big jog. When he came back I could read his face and I knew something was bothering him. He told me the dead wouldn’t talk to him. He was scared is what. I told him it didn’t mean nothing. I didn’t want to not do the thing. It was all on for that night. If we called it off it would spook the players.

So I talked him down and we went ahead with the plan. I guess what didn’t happen that should have was checking out the guests real good. We were in too much of a hurry. When we busted in one of them was a guy we had robbed a couple of years before. He was ready for us. He pulled a piece from his ankle holster and brought it up to fire.

I still can’t get my mind around it all. It happened so fast. Charlie saw the gun come up, pointed at me and got in front of it. He took a bullet for me. Two, actually. I killed the bastard that did him and then proceeded with the robbery.

Now I’m sitting here in the bone yard hoping some of these spooks will come and talk to me like they did Charlie. Anyway, I’m gonna bury his half of the take with him once they lay him to rest. I owe him that much. I’m gonna miss my best friend.

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