Category Archives: Pinch Hitter

Pinch Hitter, Part 13

(Click here for Part 12 of Pinch Hitter):

I grab a chair from the room and set it in front of Tim with the back of the chair facing him. I straddle the chair and fold my arms on top of the chair back and rest my chin on them.

“Okay,” I say then let out a deep breath. “Tell me the story.”

“DC and his lieutenants are into some weird shit.”

“Lieutenants? DC’s organization isn’t a mob family.”

“No, but he runs it like one. Uses a similar structure, terminology, even initiations.”

“Were you initiated?”

Tim nods. “Yeah, made an oath to their code of silence. That’s how this woman came into the picture. As I said, they’re into some weird things. They have their soldiers go out and round up young girls off the streets. Ones who won’t be missed.” He pauses to clear his throat.

“Go on.”

“Some they put on the payroll as working girls. But certain ones, they like to keep as prisoners. Do things to them.” He stops and shakes his head, seems a little choked up.

“What kind of things?”

“Sexual…if you want to call it that. It’s more like rape and torture. With Wendy—that was the girl’s name—they took it much further than that…they murdered her….” Tim’s fighting to keep it together. “Violently. Made me watch the whole goddamn thing. Said if I didn’t prove my loyalty the same would happen to me. Just a big fucking nightmare.” Tim drops his head and cries.

I get up and fetch a bottle of water, undo his wrist restraints, so he can drink. As I watch him guzzle down half of the bottle, my mind drifts to my past. Not something I like to think of very often, because it’s much too painful. Like a barbed wire drill bit being plunged into my heart. But it’s a big part of what made me who I am…led me down this path of heartless killing. All this because the most important woman in the world to me, was a victim just like Wendy.

The crushing of an empty water bottle snaps me from my trance. He must’ve been pretty damn thirsty.

“What are you going to do to me?” he asks.

“Nothing.”

“You’re going to let me go?”

“Eventually. I can’t release you yet. Just in case.”

“In case of what?”

“In case I still need you for information. In case you’re lying. In case you’re playing. I have to be safe. I have a cell. Kind of like a jail cell. You’ll have a bathroom, sink, and bed. I’ll bring you meals. And when I’m done avenging Wendy’s death, you’ll be free to leave.”

“But what if something happens to you?”

“Well…if something unfortunate happens to me…it will be bad news for the both of us.”

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Pinch Hitter, Part 12

(Click here for Part 11 of Pinch Hitter):

I aim the adjustable floor lamp at Skinny Guy and power it on. The intensity of the bulb at close quarters is equivalent to that of a spotlight, which is why Skinny Guy is blinded when I remove the sack from his head.

Spit froths from his mouth as he tries to catch his breath while struggling against the arm and leg restraints that keep him glued to an uncomfortable chair. It’s my version of an electric chair—no way out of this mess for ol’ Skinny Guy.

“Wha-where the hell am I?” he manages to ask.

“It may as well be hell as far as you’re concerned.”

“What do you want from me?”

“Answers,” I say while touching clips of jumper cables together a few times. The jumpers are attached to a high voltage battery and a sizzling spark ignites each time I touch the clips together.

“What the fuck is that?”

“Just a little electricity. You know, a necessity in these days to keep a house powered, a car running, or to make a grown man shit his drawers like a little baby.”

“No, no, no—that’s not necessary. I’ll tell you whatever you want.”

“Really?”

Yes! I don’t owe those pricks a damn thing. I’ll tell you everything.”

I notice that he’s already wet himself, and believe he’s telling me the truth.

“But can’t I at least use my pliers to pull out a few of your fingernails?”

“No, please don’t do that.”

“Or get my power drill to tunnel through your molars and play with your nerve endings.”

“Please, no.” He begins to sob.

“Ah, shit.” I turn off the battery. “We’ll this isn’t going to be much fun for me, but let’s get started anyway.”

“No torture then?”

“Not as long as I get the answers I’m looking for. What’s your name?”

“Tim.”

“Tim, the first thing I need you to explain is why you killed Eddie Snead.”

I didn’t kill him! It was that monster, Billy. All we were supposed to do was rough Eddie up a bit because he wasn’t kicking up what he owed. But Billy’s a maniac. Eddie tried to make it right, but Billy didn’t care. Just wanted to torture and kill him, then take all his money and drugs.” He stops to shake his head.

“Who else was with you?”

“Just me.”

“So you’re telling me that DC selected you to help rough up, Eddie?” I ask. “Do I seem that stupid?”

“No, DC picked Billy and let him figure out how best to handle the situation. He trusted him for some reason.”

“And Billy picked you.” He nods in shame. “Because he knew you were weak and would go alone with his plan.” He nods again.

Damn it, I’ve already killed the man responsible for all this, but didn’t even get the satisfaction of knowing that vengeance was being dealt.

“And I guess that Billy was responsible for the man that Eddie had to bury in his grandfather’s garden, right?”

“No.”

“No? Billy didn’t kill him?”

“Oh God, you don’t want to know this, man. I’m telling you.”

I slowly pick up a pipe, so that it scrapes across the cement floor of my safe room. “I thought you didn’t want to feel any pain, Timmy.”

“No, I don’t…it’s just….” He starts to cry again. “Oh, man…Billy wasn’t involved and Eddie was forced to clean up the mess….”

“Who’s mess? Who killed that man?”

“It wasn’t a man or even a criminal. They killed…dear God…they killed an innocent woman.”

I drop the pipe and the clattering sound it makes against the floor echoes in my mind as a chill shoots the length of my spine. Looks like I’ll be getting that satisfaction after all.


Pinch Hitter, Part 11

Another public service announcement by Kenny Black: Hey, you may have heard that I’m featured in a new novel by the Rogues Gallery Writers, called “The Method Writers.” Well, now it’s available for order in hardcover edition from the publisher’s website, as well as Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and soon BooksAMillion. You should order it … unless you want Kenny Black showing up at your door.

(Click here for Part 10 of Pinch Hitter):

I wipe the ceramic lid for fingerprints then set it back on the toilet tank. With my switch blade, I cut off the riot cuffs. Billy the Dead sure as hell is heavy, but with some strain, I’m able to heave his big ass up and prop him on the toilet seat. After shutting and locking the stall door, I slide under the bottom of the stall. Hopefully this will buy me enough time to make a conventional exit from the Angry Pig Tavern.

Before I reach the bathroom door, the damn thing shoots open. A bald-headed muscular guy from the pool table pops in with a pool cue in hand. I take a couple steps back.

“Why the fuck is this door locked?”

“I don’t know—I didn’t do it.”

The other three idiots from Billy’s crew stumble in behind him. They’re all pretty muscular except for one skinny guy, who looks a little in over his head. Skinny Guy holds a cue as well, but the other two thugs are empty-handed. One has a long shirt and baggy pants and could be packing a pistol. Mr. Clean, wearing a tight black tank top and jeans, has a hunting knife strapped to his belt.

“Where’s Billy?” Mr. Clean asks.

“I don’t know anyone by that name, but someone’s taking a nasty shit in here. Must be your Billy boy.”

“Hey, Billy, you okay in there?” Baggy Pants asks.

“Actually, I have a question for you guys…what happened to Eddie Snead?”

“Wha-why you askin’ about Snead?” Skinny Guy says, slight panic in his eyes.

I grin. “You know plenty.”

Mr. Clean takes a step closer. “Who the fuck do you think you are?”

“Your worst nightmare.”

He grabs hold of my shoulder, so I smash his nose in with my elbow and then easily snatch the pool cue from hands. Baggy Pants is reaching behind his back, so I swing and hit him hard in the temple with the fat end of the cue. He drops to one knee. Other Dude throws a punch, which I barely dodge and counter by ramming the cue into the base of his rib cage, right where the two sides come together. The sound of “Ooooooh!” comes out and he staggers backwards.

Skinny Guy is holding his pool cue like a bat, but is otherwise frozen by fear. A bloody-faced Mr. Clean goes for his knife, so I treat his nutsack like a football on a tee and I take the opening kickoff. Baggy Pants seems to regain control, so I break the pool cue over my knee and do a little Keith Moon number on his face. Other Dude comes at me again, only to receive the same treatment as his friend.

The three muscle heads lie on the floor, either moaning or unconscious. Skinny Guy takes a few test swings; none of them anywhere close to me. I draw my .45 and point it at him.

“Drop the fucking pool cue—you’re coming with me.”


Pinch Hitter, Part 10

(Click here for Part 9 of Pinch Hitter):

I sit in the Angry Pig Tavern, sipping on whiskey and listening to sad country music blare from the jukebox. It’s a Wednesday afternoon. I’ve been following Billy the Jackass for a little over a week now. He’s never alone—his entourage goes everywhere with him. Aside from me, a few regulars at the bar, and a couple having a late lunch, they’re only other customers at this joint. They’re near the back of the bar, draining pitchers of beer and playing pool. Including Billy, there are five of them in all.

The staff is light. A young dark-haired woman with fake jugs and tats on her arms tends bar with a no nonsense attitude. The perky little blonde gal waiting my table has a smile so bright and eyes so blue and welcoming that I’d rather have her keep bringing me whiskey, instead of what I’m planning to do. There must be a manager somewhere in the back, but he or she hasn’t made their presence known during the past hour plus that I’ve been here.

It looks like Billy the Turd just lost the game he was playing. Scratched on the 8-ball, I believe. He props his cue against the wall and heads to the far back corner of the tavern where the restrooms are. After ten seconds pass, I stand up and head back there too. The other day I came here for a drink and to get the layout of the joint, including the bathroom. The men’s room has a toilet stall and a couple urinals, and the most important detail is that the entrance door has a working deadbolt.

I figure that this may be my only chance to get the bastard alone. And just outside the bathroom is an emergency exit, so I can make a quick escape, if necessary.

With a whoosh of the door, I enter the bathroom. Billy the Dipshit, wearing those size 14 or 15 cowboy boots and a black Stetson cowboy hat, is in mid-stream. He doesn’t bother to look over his shoulder, so I slowly turn the latch to secure the deadbolt in place. This guy looks even bigger close up; I’d say he’s about 6’6”, 260 pounds, and is in excellent condition. I won’t be able to simply overpower him. And pulling my gun won’t scare a guy like him—he’ll know my intention isn’t to shoot him and he’ll probably try to overtake me. Too risky.

No, I need to do something drastic to get his attention first.

In the stall, I ease the cover off the toilet tank and exit. While Billy is shaking his hog, I crack him on the back of the head with the ceramic slab. His Stetson falls in the urinal and he drops to his knees like a crack whore. Discarding the toilet lid, I pull his arms behind his back and bind his wrists together with riot cuffs, then jam the barrel of my .45 into the back of his skull.

“You scream, and I paint the urinal with your brains. Got it?”

“You’re making a big mistake, man,” he says with a groan. “Do you know who I work for?”

“I know who you work for, all right. But you’re the one who made the big mistake.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Eddie Snead.”

“This is about that two-bit loser?”

“Yeah, the two-bit loser who you killed, asshole,” I say with a bit of a snarl. “And the body you made him dispose of.”

“You can’t pin any of that on me.”

“I don’t have to—I know it was you. I just want to know who helped you.”

Billy laughs. “Think I’m a snitch? You may as well kill me then, but I don’t think you have the balls to.”

I holster my pistol at the small of my back, and drag his big, limp frame into the stall. He tries to resist, but I can tell he’s still weak from the blow to the head. I lift the lid and shove his head into the nasty toilet water; a classic bathroom interrogation move.

After about ten seconds, I pull him out. “I want names, Billy—now!”

“Go fuck yourself.”

I plunge him again and again, each time with less success of extracting any information. Finally I hold him down for good, until the final bubbles of life expel from his lungs, and his body goes complete limp.


Pinch Hitter, Part 9

And now a public service announcement from Kenny Black: Hey I know the Rogues have been slacking with their blog posts lately—and that includes me—but they’ve just wrapped up final edits and pagination for both their Kindle and print versions of The Method Writers, and have also submitted the manuscript to a writing contest, not to mention other preparations to market and promote the book. You can even catch some of the details on Jeff Swesky’s website. So give them a break already, they’ve been busy. I said give them a break!!! Much love, Kenny Black

(Click here for Part 8 of Pinch Hitter)

It’s an ideal Florida day, sunny but with a steady cool breeze. Seagulls squawk around my head as waves crash down below. I’m near the end of the pier, only me and a few others are out there this weekday afternoon. I lean against the wooden railing close to a big, tall and out-of-shape older man, who’s watching his rod intently, probably wondering if a fish is about to hit his bait or if a crab is just screwing with him.

“What’s up, Skinny?” I say.

“You don’t look so pretty in daylight, Kenny.”

I laugh. “But you haven’t even taken a good look at me yet.” He takes a quick sidewards glance without the change of expression. All business. He’s called Skinny, because he can get the skinny on just about anything illegal going on in this town. I’ve known him and used him for a good deal of years.

“That’s about as much as I can take without shooting my lunch into the ocean.”

I laugh again. “You’re quite the charmer. Any luck with the cowboy?”

“Did you bring something for me?”

“Yeah, here’s the bait I promised to bring you,” I say and hold out a small, rolled up paper brown bag to him. “Don’t waste it all on the fish now.”

Skinny reaches out a hand and accepts the bag. Then tries to judge the weight of it.

“Don’t worry—it’s all there.”

“It better be, Kenny.” He inserts the bag into the inside pocket of his fishing vest. “The cowboy is one of DC’s enforcers. Bill Mancini. Goes by the nickname, Billy the Man.”

“Billy the Man?” I ask while cleaning my sunglasses.

“Yeah, as in he’s much tougher than Billy the Kid was.”

“That’s about the dumbest nickname I’ve ever heard. Dumber than Puff Daddy even.”

“That maybe,” Skinny says while reeling in his line. “But he’s supposed to be one tough son-of-a-bitch.”

“We’ll see about that. Anything else?”

“Yeah, he drives a black Harley—”

“Instead of a horse?”

“You should really try a career doing stand-up,” he says with the same serious expression on his face. “So if you’re done joking around, you can let me finish and then get the fuck off my pier.”

“Goddamn you’re in a foul mood today. Please, finish.”

“He likes to hang out at the Angry Pig Tavern. Familiar with it?”

“Yeah, I’ve been there a time or two. Maybe I’m overdo to revisit it. Thanks, Skinny.”

“Don’t mention it.” He examines his empty hook as I begin walking back the way I came.

“Oh and Kenny….”

“Yeah?”

Skinny gives me a good look this time. “You be careful, ya hear?”

I feel a wide grin spread across my face. “I knew you loved me.”

It’s his turn to laugh.


Pinch Hitter, Part 8

Sorry for the delay, but Kenny Black was on vacation the other week. 😉

(Click here for Part 7 of Pinch Hitter):

I stay crouched in that position, staring at the dead Eddie Snead for several minutes until the burning in my thighs forces me to stand. It’s a strange thing to watch someone die. For me, it’s even stranger when I’m not the one responsible for the death.

You’re probably thinking, that doesn’t make sense, Kenny. You’re out of your damn mind.

Well maybe I am, but if I don’t know the reason—or at least that the attack was for a just cause—seeing a man die just toys with my mind. But I don’t have time to be sentimental right now.

“Rest in peace, Eddie,” I say and then pull on a pair of latex gloves and get to work.

I perform a more thorough search of the house, but the kitchen and living room reveal little more than litter, dust, and a bare fridge. Eddie’s guest room appeared to be his drug packaging and storage center. But aside from some residue on the work table, a scale, and boxes of packaging supplies, the room is drug-free. The intruders obviously cleared it out.

Back in Eddie’s trashed bedroom, I look at the overturned mattress. A big chunk is cut out of the bottom of it and the material was sewn back over; Eddie’s secret hiding place no doubt. But the bad guys found that too and probably came away with a nice score of cash and maybe a little black book containing valuable contacts.

“Shit.”

I step back and scan the floor, and finally get lucky. Right in the middle of the pool of blood is the print of a cowboy boot. Appears to be a size 14 or 15. A big dumb cowboy mixed up in the crime world. How many could there possibly be in this small town?

Blue and red lights suddenly strobe through the house. The cops. Did a neighbor wake and notice my flashlight from across the street? I kill the flashlight, hurry through the house, and slip out the back door.

Once again I’m a place where Kenny Black feels most comfortable—the dark shadows of the night.


Pinch Hitter, Part 7

(Click here for Part 6 of Pinch Hitter):

My flashlight doesn’t have far to travel. On the floor propped against the bed, the man I’ve been surveilling sits with his legs splayed. His head is slumped down and his hands are pressing against his stomach, trying to keep his guts from spilling out and onto the floor. A bad scene indeed.

There must’ve been a tremendous struggle because the bedroom’s trashed. Furniture’s turned over. The TV, pictures, and lamps destroyed. Could’ve been when I noticed the lights turning off. Here I thought he was calling it a night, when in reality intruders were calling it a life.

But why didn’t he hear his backdoor being kicked in? Was the TV too loud? Or was he too high? Probably the latter, which would also explain why he’s still conscious.

“Eddie, can you hear me?”

He bobs his head without looking up, that would require too much strength. The pain must be excruciating…then again, he may be long past pain now. I realize he won’t be able to talk, so I need to keep my questions very specific.

“The men who did this….” There had to be more than one based on what I’ve seen so far, probably three. “Are they coming back?”

He shakes his head ever so slightly.

“I’m going to get revenge for you, I promise you that, but I need to know something first. There are human remains in your grandfather’s garden. Did you put them there?”

He nods.

“You killed that person?”

With all he can muster, he shakes his head in protest. “Na-naah.”

“Okay, okay, I believe you. Save your strength.”

I take in a deep breath and slowly let it out, then squat before him, careful not to step in the growing body of crimson, Lake Snead.

“Now, Eddie … the people who killed that man, did they do this to you?”

“Ya-yah-yah.” His head continues to bob, long after it needed to.

“You’re going to die, Eddie. And I’m truly sorry about that. But if I’m going to get these guys, I need to know who they are first. Were they local competition?”

He shakes his head. Weakly, he lifts his right hand and points up.

“I see. They’re bigger than that.”

Eddie begins to grunt and moan, then dips his finger into his wound. Frantically, I search the room until I locate a piece of paper. I return to him and hold it under his hand. He writes two letters and stops. With all his strength he looks up at me and nods, then everything goes limp and he leaves this world.

I look at the two letters written in Eddie Snead’s own blood: “DC.”

I crumble the piece of paper and stuff it into my pocket. I don’t want to leave this for the authorities to find…not that they could do anything anyway.

D. C. Gibbons. Bigger than that, for sure. Much bigger.


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