Friday, March 25, 2016

The Goon and the Kraut

The Goon and the Kraut
Bobby Derie

"Jimmy won't do it."

"I'm offering a lot of money."

"There's things Jimmy won't do for money." The goon turned to look fully at the Kraut. Six feet, if an inch; shoulders like a linebacker, round steel-rimmed specs, a scar on his face he seemed to take pride in. No mustache, just a hint of an accent. His shoes probably cost more than the goon's dinner.

"I've seen Jimmy cut whores for the price of a beer." The Kraut said, indignation creeping into his voice. The goon held up his beer, looking at it through the dim light of the bar. He was smaller than the Kraut, lean and muscled as a greyhound, in a suit and hat both a size too big for him, taken in at wrist and ankle. Scars crisscrossed his knuckles like the runes of a Viking saga.

"Oh yeah, Jimmy will do that. Jimmy's done a lot of things worse than that. I've seen Jimmy play raw recruits, straight out of boot, get 'em in debt and hold it over 'em for years. Amazing what can walk away from Army stores." he took a sip "And I've seen Jimmy pull a man's guts out, hand over fist, and made his wife watch, too. I've been in the room when Jimmy played dentist, with a rusty pair of pliers and a chisel. I've seen Jimmy send kids off to school, with little packets of nose powder. Lot of hungry kids at lunch that day, you damn well bet, and Jimmy got his piece of it. I didn't say Jimmy wasn't a bastard, but there's this thing about Jimmy you don't understand, and that's why he won't take your money."

"What." The Kraut breathed the word out like a sigh.

"Jimmy's American," the goon drained the last of his beer.

It wasn't an artistic swing, but the Kraut wasn't looking for it, and as a consequence it landed right between his eyes. The goon gave him credit, as the glass splintered against nose and brow; the guy didn't scream or flinch. But he did keep his eyes closed as his head snapped back, face full of broken glass, and that meant he wasn't ready when the goon hooked his leg, sending the Kraut back onto his ass. The goon laid a heavy boot on his chest and carefully pinned him to the floor. He leaned down, pressing his weight into the tall man's diaphragm, leaving him wheezing and turning purple.

"So am I."


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