Debt

Debt

Note – This is short story that i wrote for my sister as a bet.

Chapter 1 – Debt Consolidation.

 

The problem with Scotch reflected Johnny, was that it wasn’t bourbon, there was nothing wrong with Scotch, and in fact Scotch was better than Bourbon in every aspect except one; nobody really started or maintained fights whilst tanked on Scotch.

Fighting whilst full of Scotch took real effort, it took a meanness of character, well, at least according to both his father and his natural will. Bourbon, however, allowed a man to be natural and be himself, and today was all about being those things.

Johnny finished the glass, savouring the taste and then left the glass in the sink. As he walked in to the hallway he pulled on a pair of drivers gloves and crouched down by the shoe stand and pulled out a cardboard box; it was one of those which boots came in, and as such, was a reasonable size and sturdy.

He opened it and first took out a pistol, a Glock, and this particular model had a longer than normal barrel upon which was threaded a five inch suppressor. He took out and inserted one of the four magazines from the box in to the pistol and cocked it; this ensemble went into his modified shoulder holster.

He wore his favourite old donkey jacket, scuffed desert boots that although clean and maintained had seen better days, and his favourite jeans; today was a day for the familiar and the comfortable.

The three remaining magazines went in to his jacket pockets, each one to a different pocket so as not to knock against each other and give away their existence, also spreading them about didn’t distort the jacket as much, and as he practised, and had occasion to use, quick reload he was comfortable with the mags spread out.

His car was an anonymous ford, painted an anonymous coIour and in it he blended in to the background to became just another anonymous man on the road to another appointment on another gray October day.

It was a twenty minute commute to the house, more of a mansion really, after all a successful gangster was expected to maintain a certain façade; his men couldn’t, no, wouldn’t be allowed to, live in the same neighbourhood. The boss’s preferences aside, none of them could afford to live within five miles of the house.

Also the lads were all recruited from the boss’s old stomping ground, and were more comfortable amongst their own kind. All his team had known the boss since childhood, this way the boss could trust them; a couple of the lads had even taken over from their dads when they’d got old and retired to Spain. Sadly, both of those lads, Diddy Dave and Tiny had been killed less than a month back in mysterious circumstances.

The last round of inter-gang violence had cleared the area of any organised threats so things should have been quiet, but over the past couple of months, nine of the lads had been killed; they’d been picked off in one’s and two’s, all of them had taken head shots. In other words, someone was executing them.

At least two of the lads had seen death coming for them as they’d been found with two rounds in the chest, and one each in their heads, which according to the police had been administered when they were on the ground, both of them had their pistols out, but hadn’t had an opportunity to use them.

Whoever had killed them had done a thorough job; one had a single bullet in the heart region, the other had been shot in the same area, but with two rounds. Then they had both then been shot in the face while on the floor, overkill, no doubt, but the habitual signature of a professional who never took a chance.

In addition to helping run the Boss’s business empire, Johnny was also the boss’s head of security, as such he had to make the bodies disappear and cover up as much as possible when the police were involved; one of the things about gangland killings, this batch anyway, was that nobody wanted the authorities involved as that would be bad for business.

The other thing about the ongoing massacre was that Johnny was under a lot of pressure to find out who was behind the deaths and deal with them, permanently! But no matter who he spoke to, roughed up, bribed or threatened, he was coming up empty.

The boss wasn’t going to be happy this morning, another couple of the lads had been executed last night in an abandoned garage where it seems they had been lured to their deaths; once again, both shot in the back of the head, there were definitely no clues or evidence as to who was responsible.

These latest murders meant that other than himself, the gang was down to four full time members, and these four were guarding the boss and his wife at his mansion. Two were with the boss at all times and the other two were carrying out irregular patrols of the mansion grounds.

In order to cut down on the risks, Johnny had isolated the boss as much as possible, no more newspaper deliveries, no more grocery deliveries; and for the foreseeable future no more gardeners or cooks, as they could be compromised through their families.

Chapter 2 – Debt Collection.

 

As Johnny stepped in to the luxurious study he nodded to the boss who nodded back, clearly he hadn’t heard about last night’s losses, if he had it would have been a vicious explosion of anger, not a polite nod.  The boss turned his attention back to the pile of papers he was working through, after all, a crime empire didn’t run itself.

Johnny turned and used the door handle to gently close the door as the boss didn’t like unnecessary noise, one of the reasons he’d chosen this house was due to its solidness and sense of peace of quiet.

As he had come into the room he saw that as usual Big Tony was sprawled in his favourite chair to the right, and as he closed the door he noted that to the left of the door and in effect behind it when it was open, stood Michael, a tall slim man who was leaning against the wall.

The immediate threat was Michael, he was renowned for his reflexes and speed of action, in a situation he would simply react and then deal with the consequences afterwards; as his reactions had saved the boss’s life at least twice, there were never any consequences.

Big Tony was the next problem, weighing in at over 300 pounds he wasn’t the quickest or most intelligent henchman in the world. His main attributes being his absolute loyalty, the ability to seemingly shelter a medium sized family behind his bulk and once he started moving it took a lot to stop him.

The boss wasn’t a threat, the weapons he wielded were his mind and his tongue; he had a variety of people who were his threats, and there were only two of them present in the room

As the door gently clicked shut Michael lost interest in him and turned his head and gaze to the deserted garden outside, his head becoming immobile, his eyes scanning for threats, for any movement that could herald trouble.

Using the cover provided by having his back to the room Johnny reached in to his jacket with his right hand casually withdrew his pistol subconsciously compensating for the extra five inches of the suppressor. Still facing the door he smoothly and without hurry extended his arm up to shoulder height and brought the weapon to within a foot of his target.

The pistol was double-action and the safety was part of the trigger, so right up to the shot there were no warning noises that could betray his intentions, the click of the safety disengaging blended in with the shot. The magazine held sub-sonic ammunition which combined with the suppressor made as much noise as a hand-clap, the sound of the pistol’s mechanism cycling the spent casing out and loading a fresh round in to the breech seemed to be nosier than the actual shot.

Michael, with his attention fixed out of the room didn’t even know he was dead. The bullet hit just behind his right ear and as it penetrated it burst open, almost exploding, spraying tiny steel balls through his brain. The rest of the bullet, that is to say, the base and the remains of the side-wall, also twisted through the tissue doing even more, but unnecessary, damage.

Pivoting to his left, Johnny, went in to an isosceles stance, his legs spreading, knees flexing slightly, left hand coming up to support and stabilize the pistol and so provide greater accuracy. Big Tony hadn’t moved from the chair, he was sitting there staring, mouth open in shock when the first round took him in the face.

The round impacted a fraction below his right eye and as his head slammed back his right eye blew out of its socket in a spray of blood and as the head bounced forward of the chair the second round hit him in the upper bridge of the nose, knocking the head backwards and blasting blood out of his nose.

Big Tony became Dead Tony in the midst of his shock and confusion, but it was probably just as well as he would have taken the next ten minutes or so very badly. Johnny moved to face the boss and paused. At the sound of the clap and the pistol cycling, the boss had looked up with a look of annoyance starting across his face which turned to confusion and then slammed in to anger as Tony took on his new persona.

In the time it took two men to die and a pistol line up on him, probably less than three seconds, he worked out what had been happening over the past couple of months; Johnny saw none of that, seeing only the anger as he paused with the pistol lined up on the man who’d been the most important figure in his life since childhood.

“Stand up” said Johnny.

Keeping his hands on the desk the boss complied and levered himself up, coming up to his full height, shoulders back, he ignored the gun, his eyes never leaving Johnny’s, the anger in his face mirrored by tension in his body.

Twenty years ago when Johnny had come on to the scene the boss had been a formidable fighter, a man to be feared, now he was soft, abilities dulled and reflexes long gone, but he was still trying to work out the odds of making it across the room.

“Sit down” said Johnny, shooting him in the middle of the chest, and as he brought the gun back to the aim from the recoil he moved forward and put another round in to the boss’s body about an inch from the first. The swivel chair justified its price tag by sliding back on its wheels rather than dumping the boss off and on to the carpet.

As the boss’s body was recoiling in the chair Johnny came to a stop in front of the desk and put a third round in to the top of the head as it flopped forward, the body lifeless and already more than likely dead.

Both of the bullets had hit the boss slightly left of centre and emptied their contents in to his chest cavity shredding the lungs and heart; the heart wasn’t so much ruptured as ripped apart, and since the lungs were in much the same condition the boss never got a sound out other than a cough of fine mist of blood as his lungs compressed as they were shredded.

Turning to face the door, Johnny released the trigger and felt a slight click as the internal safety engaged, he took a fresh pistol magazine from his jacket pocket and ejected the magazine from the pistol, and in almost the same movement and using the same hand slid the fresh one into the pistol. A magazine held 17 rounds, but one of Johnny’s rules was never to take chances unless absolutely necessary, which why it’d taken a year and a half to get to this stage.

Staying where he was for the moment he waited and listened. Silence, or more accurately, the normal household sounds, no alarm, no panic, just the barest murmur of laughter down the corridor. Pistol still in hand, Johnny walked to the large French windows and closed the curtains making sure that there were no gaps, so concealing the room to any prying eyes that may wander by.

Hurrying creates a different noise, a tempo that draws attention, and drawing attention was something Johnny was trying to avoid at the moment, so he walked normally down the polished wood floor of the corridor to the last room on the left, this was the lads room, the place where the boss’s bodyguards of the day would relax while waiting to take their turn guarding the boss, patrolling the grounds, or planning to hurt someone.

Not too long ago it had been a focal point for a tight-knit team that served the dead man still sitting behind his desk, the last two members were in there watching TV, they both sat on a long low sofa with their backs to him, which made it a lot easier.

Two single shots in rapid succession and the last members of the gang were gone, now there were no more dangers within the house for him to deal with, there was only the objective that he had set himself so long ago. Once again he closed the curtains to maintain the secrecy and so, hopefully, keep anyone from discovering the events in the house while he disappeared.

Chapter 3 – Debt Paid.

Still keeping to the normal unhurried tread that spelt reassurance he walked down the corridor and up the stairs which led from the central grand stairway to the first floor and went looking for his reason for being here. The pistol was held by his side, there was, after all, no need to conceal it; all that was a threat to him was now eliminated. Turn right at the top and fifteen paces later and he was at the door. No knock, just test the handle, find the door unsecured and walk in.

Next to the bed was the reason that he’d destroyed all that he stood for; the loyalty, the friendship, all the shared experiences, the shared drinks and laughter, she was the reason.

He stood there for several seconds, still unable to believe how beautiful she was; in her forties and with the complexion and the body of a woman twenty years her junior, no make-up, wearing designer jeans and white silk blouse, her feet still bare “Good morning Donna” he said, “you look fantastic today”

She stared at him for a moment or so, then her shoulders slumped slightly and she sighed “Johnny, what does he want now?” Johnny scanned the room, his eyes flitting on a small bunch of keys on the dresser; they were part of the future.

Him, nothing.” he replied “Me, everything.” He brought the pistol up single handed, not bothering to adopt the correct stance, her weapons were after all, her body, and shot her in the stomach. The bullet, the same as the others stayed in her body and transferred all of its energy in to her, causing her to jackknife backwards to the floor.

Donna fell on to her backside and then on to her back, a bright, vibrant rich red spreading out from the point of impact staining and ruining the white of the blouse, her hands automatically came down to cover the wound, subconsciously trying to stem the blood which was now staining her hands and with assistance from gravity was staining down towards her back.

One thing that Johnny had noticed a long time back was that blood had a particular character, a certain thick liquid texture about it that no other fluid had, and today the physics of blood spilling out of her body remained constant with all the other blood that he’d spilt over his career.

He walked over to the bed and sat on the edge next to her head, placed the pistol on the bed next to him and leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees, his head slightly to one side as he watched her on the floor. She stared at him, the pain was now kicking in and waves of cramping agony were radiating from her stomach, through all parts of her body and then it seemed as if they were rolling back down to where she half pressed, half clutched.

Three years ago you got drunk and drove home, remember?”

Her expression through the pain showed incomprehension, a slight shake of her head signalled confusion, or denial, Johnny wasn’t sure which.

Three years ago you got drunk and drove home, you knocked over a little girl on a Zebra Crossing” he leaned forward slightly “Any bells ringing yet?”

Her eyes widened slightly as she took in what he was asking“Yes, we cov… no, you covered it up.” she managed to reply her breaths coming quick and shallow as to breath normally brought more pain.

That’s right the boss wanted to protect you, so we took care of the witnesses, Frank and Big Tony intimidated the dad, and when he refused to back down they gave him a kicking, he’ll be spending the rest of his life in wheelchair and without a daughter to look after him when gets old.”

Donna’s breath was becoming shallower by the second and her pallor was changing, becoming noticeably paler, her lips losing their colour, her eyes still locked on his “What does it matter what happened to them?” she panted out over several breaths.

Turns out that she was my granddaughter.” said Johnny He frowned slightly “You’ve lost some colour there Donna, does that mean you’re as shocked as me.

Donna stared at him “Where’s James?” this time she managed it in one breath, the effort of having to breathe deeper to manage it clearly causing her more pain. “He’s downstairs with the lads.” he replied. She continued to stare at him, her expression questioning though the pain.

Johnny shifted position to pick up the pistol and tap it on his knee and said “Donna, don’t be dense, they’re all brown bread, do you think I’d do this shit if there was a chance the boss or any of the lads would come after me?”

As with her husband, comprehension showed in her eyes as she realised who the enemy had been for the past few months and why he’d never managed to catch them; and just as with her husband, she died with that thought in her mind.

Standing up, Johnny moved to her feet facing her, the volume of blood spreading out from the body no longer surprised him, after all he’d seen a lot more than usual the past couple of months or so. All involved were now dead and now it was time to try to make amends.

Old habits die hard, so he put a round in to her face and walked over to the dresser next to the door and picked the keys and went through the side door off to the left to the dressing room. The Dressing room was nearly the same size as the bedroom Donna had just ruined, and under the vanity unit in the corner was his target.

Johnny detoured to where Donna kept her sports kit and selected a large discrete holdall there, and then went over to the vanity and crouched, after opening the small double doors then the small safe, he stuffed the contents into the bag.

The bottom shelf held about about twenty or so white envelopes, each stuffed to capacity with a sizeable number of banknotes, some so packed they were coming apart at the seams; the top shelf was packed with a dozen small draw-stringed velvet bags of various colours, these contained the jewellery Donna had worn on a day-to-day basis.

Johnny returned to the study and after placing the holdall on the desk rifled the pockets of all the dead men downstairs, after all, every little helps. The safe in the study was in plain sight of all, because who’d be stupid enough to rob this house; if the reputation of the owner didn’t stop you, the pain and suffering that would invariably follow would discourage you from this life, and all others from trying.

This safe was a combination and a key; the key was in the boss’s pocket and as the most trusted of the team Johnny had the combination in case anything bad happened to the boss, this occasion, he reflected, would probably count as something bad.

The safe was loaded with money, the good jewels that Donna very rarely wore, various bits of blackmail evidence and a large number of documents relating to the business. Johnny took the money and the jewels, everything else he left for whoever followed him. Twenty minutes on the boss’s computer also made an awful lot of money move to various other accounts that Johnny controlled for the boss.

In the main hallway Johnny laid his pistol on the side stand and left it there, he picked up the car keys that he’d left there thirty minutes ago, and he left the house, locking the main door behind him as he went. As he went through the main gate on he made sure it closed behind him and he wondered how long it be before the bodies were found.

The next stage of his life involved a journey. The journey was going to take a week to complete and during it Johnny from London was going to die and Robin Smith, a naturalised American was going to be born; but first there was one stop to make.

It took him just under forty minutes to reach his destination, a council estate, it was one of the better ones for this area, no flats, just rows of terraced houses, about half of them now privately owned.

The house he made his way to had once been welcoming and twenty-six years ago before he’d joined the Army, it had been home to one of the most beautiful girls on the estate, now it was home to a woman old before her time and worn down by grieving for her granddaughter and looking after her daughter and wheelchair bound son-in-law.

Johnny hoped the contents of the bag would hopefully go some way to offsetting the death of her granddaughter and helping her daughter, no, their daughter. The transferred money would go some way in offsetting his new life in America.

Still not able to meet her he put the hold-all down on the doorstep and gave the bell a good ring before backing off and quickly walking away, knitted cap pulled down low, his hands thrust deep in pockets, his new unknown future ahead of him, and hopefully a better future for those behind him.

Megan took about thirty seconds to reach the front door and another four or five seconds fiddling with the chain and lock before opening it, there was nobody there, but whoever had been there had left a bag on the step. ‘With my luck’ she thought, ‘it’ll be a bag of kittens.’

Bending over she pulled one of the handles to one side, unzipped it and pulled the sides apart expecting the worst. Her breath caught in her throat as the first thing she noticed was that the bag was packed with cash and jewelery, and the second thing was a hand written note on top of the cash saying simply ‘I’m sorry‘.

 

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