Tag Archives: serial fiction

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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