Picture?width=100&height=100 Brady Irons

4 mins.

The Rickety Old 20-Gauge

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The Rickety Old 20-Gauge

by Picture?width=100&height=100 Brady Irons 4 mins.


We drove out into the desert to shoot guns in the moonlight; we had a carload of them. Chunky, my best friend, carried a Smith & Wesson nine-millimeter; I toted a Ruger P-90. Behind the seat sat a couple of sawed-offs, one a 12-gauge pump, the other a rickety old 20-gauge.

We arrived at the location where our families used to camp, hike, and picnic together. Chunky tipped his bottle of Bud. Above, pitter-patter from the bats played my song.

I put up the the few rusty beer cans I found and we shot them all to hell. We ran out of ammo for everything but one 20-gauge buckshot. Neither of us had the balls to shoot that thing, at least not at first.

I had an idea.

"I might risk shooting that thing," I boldly stated. "But I wanna hit something real." I threw this loaded suggestion out knowing Chunks would take the bait.

He eyed me, curiosity piqued. After many years he knew I made things exciting. We were involved with numerous risky ventures. Earlier I sold garlic salt to some fool instead of meth. Got him for a c-note.

"I lived with this broad. She wore a wire on Backhoe Dave. Got 'em pinched to spring her old man from jail, Mike Kennewick, some puke. He got out, did a bunch of buys to clear his name, and dumped her ass. A rat pack of fink snitches."

"Fucking no-good snitches," Chunky agreed. The cherry from his Marlboro lit a sinister facade. He was hanging on every word, delighted I was concocting another wicked scheme.

"When I lived with her, she cried about this dude having her class ring, and would I get it back. I called the punk; he hemmed and hawed, I threatened, and he finally sent his new girl, some dime piece, to meet me. I told her what a lame pussy he is to send his old lady. Anyways, I was thinking... we should roll up on her house and I'll blow her window out. Scare the shit out of her. Teach her some manners."

He launched his cig into a bush and mimicked an explosion. He was in.

We spent the next half-hour removing fuses for the taillights and running lights. I tightened screws on the gun.

We drove carefully through the darkness by light of the moon. Each passing second brought surges of adrenaline. We arrived and pulled up. I jumped out, took aim, and squeezed the trigger.

Click! Nothing. I realized I hadn't loaded the buckshot. A few seconds later I squeezed again.

The explosion rocked the stillness. An acrid cloud filled the night. Scurrying, I tripped and fell, but jumped in and we bolted.

Down the road I had the feeling something was missing. My fucking wallet! What kind of dumb-ass drops his wallet at the crime scene? We had to go back. We would be nailed for sure. We turned around and made it back seconds later. No cops yet. I ran up and found my wallet. Just as I turned to flee I saw her beady eyes peeking out from the shattered window. She was looking dead at me. I was screwed.

We made one quick stop before heading home.

Later that morning she called. "Hey, guess what? Somebody shot my window last night." She was playing coy, or was it matter-of-fact?

"I can't believe it. Who would shoot out your window?"

"I know exactly who it was!" she shrieked. "I looked out and saw Mike! He threatened me but I never thought he would do some shit like this." I exhaled.

"Damn, that dude's crazy as hell. Let me know if I can do anything for you."I said in my most soothing voice.

A few weeks later, I was with my girl outside a store waiting for my friend Red Ed to pick us up. That's when the cop pulled up and asked for our names. I thought about giving an alias, but didn't think I had any warrants. "That's what I thought," he smugly declared. He pulled away slowly.

About that time, Red pulled up. My girl told me the cop was coming fast. I turned to climb in Red's truck. I heard keys jingling.

He was quick as shit, grabbed me, cuffed me, snatched the cig out of my mouth and stuffed me into his cruiser. I thought Who was that masked man?

I had an outstanding warrant for drug sales. Off to jail I went.

Paperwork revealed confidential informant #15788 wore a wire on me. I connected the dots. Dude I sold that garlic salt to got me back.

As I sat in the holding cell with all the winos and wife-beaters, I realized I was scared. I had only been to juvie. I hopped up on the bunk and saw in block letters: MIKE KENNEWICK IS A RAT! I chuckled and fell asleep.

The cell door flew open. I was half expecting Jimmy John's but it was some beefy correctional officer. I was headed upstairs.

My new home was typical jailhouse ambiance. A dayroom with two tiers and bars. I found a vacant bunk and went back to sleep.

The next morning roll call began. Once your name was called you grabbed your breakfast tray. My name was called.

That's when shit got interesting.

"I know who you are! You met my girl to get that ring back. You're fucking dead. When you get done eating I'm smashing you!"

The cellblock was angry. I looked around for a friendly face but found none. My mouth was dry and my heart pounded.

Mike Kennewick.

I never thought I would be face-to-face with this snitch, and now it would seem that he was going to smash me. Didn't seem right.

He was formidable, smashing his fist in his hand. I took as long as I could hoping for a reprieve.

Obviously a fight was unavoidable, so I jumped down and headed to the cell. I won my last fight, but that was against my sister. I didn't have to knuckle up too often, one of the benefits of having Chunky as my best friend. He earned his nickname not because he was fat, but because when he hit you, you blew chunks.

Mike's cronies lined the cell, jeering and sneering, practically foaming at the mouth with blood-thirst and glee.

"Mike's gonna kill you, Punk!" I heard someone say Mike would probably put me in the infirmary just like the last dude. I tried one last time to talk things out.

Peace talks failed.

Three minutes later I emerged from the cell, back into the dayroom. There was silence. Blood dripped from my knuckles onto the floor. I took a moment to adjust the collar on my jumpsuit, and caught a glimpse of my reflection in a stainless steel mirror. A madman stared back.

When shit died down, I considered the twist of fate. I couldn't refrain a smirk.

Mike was transfered the next day, off to prison. So long sucker! Maybe I'll meet up with that hot little number of yours when I get out.

I soon learned about why Mike was in jail. Apparently, he shot his ex girlfriend's window out, and the cops found a rickety old 20-gauge in his neighbor's garbage. When I inquired a little further, I discovered he actually bragged about it.

Said she had it coming.

She was a snitch.

I scoffed at this.

© Brady Irons, 2019. All rights reserved.

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