Without A Head (part 2)
He was too big to push out of the way so I asked, “How about a cup of coffee? I grind my own beans.”
“Sure, I like my java black.”
“It’s the only way to taste the bean.” I let him in with a wave of my head. Sure he could have a shiv and could have sliced and diced me, but I had a feeling he wasn’t the stick and run type, besides I had my own gun only a few feet away. And I was pretty sure I loaded it earlier that day, but was not so positive about taking my blood pressure pills, or was it the other way around? .
“You know, I wasn’t supposed to leave here until you were a stiff.”
“Yeah, the gun in your hand gave me that impression. I don’t mean to pry. But why are you trying to kill me?” I was hoping for an exact answer but not necessarily the truth.
“If I knew I’d only be telling you just loud enough to hear it over your last breath.”
That was the truth, so I pressed my luck. “So it was a contract hit?”
“Without getting into commercial catch phrases again, what does not exactly mean?”
“I mean, it was sort of contract” He unbuttoned his jacket, took off his shirt, ginny-T and started to shave his chest, with an electric shaver that was doing a convincing job at pretending to run out of power.
“Sort of a contract? You mean I’d be alive, but in a coma.”
“I like that. Do you mind shaving my back, I might have a date later tonight?”
He saw me hesitate. “Come on, I promise I won’t come back and kill you.”
Normally, I don’t do that sort of thing, but I needed him to keep talking.“Who put the hit on me?”
“Hits usually come through certain channels but this was different. It was a gift certificate.” He waited for me say something, but instead I reached for my gun on the end table. “Hey, I’m not screwing with you. Whoever called in the hit got it in a gift bag. I was mailed the certificate with name and address of the guy I was supposed to whack.”
I thought the headless body flying through my window was gonna be the weird-light of my day. But the older the day, the stranger things grew. “What do you mean a gift bag? Who gives a gift bag with a certificate for a free hit?” I raised the gun and said, “If you’re pulling my leg I’m going to blow your head off.” Maybe this is what happened to the stiff that flew through my window.
“I’m being straight with you. Scout’s honor,” he said, raising a hand that held up two fingers.
I couldn’t believe a hit man just said Scout’s honor. He returned my smirk. “I was an eagle scout, I don’t take these things lightly.”
“An Eagle Scout? And I volunteered at a leper colony.
“Hey, if it wasn’t for dames and a talent for killing I’d have made it to Explorer. Scouts is where I learned to shoot and tie knots. You got a rope? I can tie a noose you won’t believe in less than a minute.”
“I believe you. Like I was saying before, who gives away hit certificates in a gift bag?”
“I guess you’re not too connected. Otherwise you would have known that the Gianco family was having the first annual Cosa awards ceremony: Recognition for outstanding work by wise guys. You know to build family spirit and loyalty, figuring maybe this would stop the guys from ratting each other out.”
I handed him a cup of steaming coffee, which he fearlessly gulped down. “Like you’re doing now,” I shot out before I could pull in the reins on my tongue.
“I’m not ratting out nobody!” He shouted spurts of coffee that fled the scene of his mouth. “The awards ceremony was common knowledge in my neck of the woods. Hey, even some cops on the take were there. My lucky ass roommate was nominated for best original hit. He whacked a guy using a tomato plant time bomb. He planted it in the garden and the thing sprouted tomatoes with nitro in them, soon as the guy plucked one, it exploded and he was his own meat sauce. Good coffee.”
“I got to admit that’s pretty original.”
“The guy who finished second offed a mark with a turtle neck sweater that had a piano wire in it. All he had to do was come up behind the guy and pull the hidden ends that blended into the wool’s pattern. The turtle part kept the guys head from falling off. Pretty clever.”
I didn’t realize it before but the guy was big, too large for a shadow that fit. When he hit the couch the wake of his body sucked up most of it.
This time he took an almost dainty sip of the Joe, “Man, this is one very good bean. Where did you buy it?”
“Thanks. I got it on Ebay. Before you leave I’ll give you the web site. But first tell me how I can find the guy who cashed in his hit certificate on me. Oh, and do you know anyone who lost his head lately?”
He really didn’t have any idea who ordered the hit and said it could have been one of those pot luck kind of things, but he gave me the certificate that was mailed to him. It was nicely done and if not for the decorative bullet holes and blood stains, it could have been from Macy’s.
We finished a pot of coffee, and he left promising me that his attempted hit was all the certificate was worthy of and if I got whacked it wouldn’t be him rubbing me out. As parting gift I gave him a small bag of my best roast and he said, he’d nose around for anyone with a spare head. He thanked me the coffee beans like a mob kid who just stolen every toy he ever wanted on Christmas.
End part 2