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Dennis “Blue Eyes” Farrell sat in the back of his sedan, desperately craving a smoke. It had been almost two hours since he had parked his car, and already he was cursing himself for not taking a drag beforehand. His right hand thumbed across the cap of the bottle of Seagrams in the center console next to him, but he dared not crack the seal. That was for later. Right now he needed to have all his wits about him.
Farrell was a twenty-year vet of the Philadelphia PD. He’d earned his nickname not just because of the color of his piercing, steel eyes, but also affectionately because of the number of bruises he’d leave on the faces of his collars. Of course, he’d never laid a beating on any piece of shit that didn’t deserve it or hadn’t pissed him off, and no other cop in the department ever showed him anything other than admiration for his punching.
But, of course, all that changed in the era of cell phones. Farrell had been on the wrong side of a “leaked” piece of video footage showing him beating the shit out of a young hoodlum during an otherwise routine arrest. Of course, the media had leaped to the piece of shit gang-banger’s defense and the DA (who Farrell was convinced had been the one to leak it) used this evidence of “police brutality” to get that prick acquitted and Farrell fired.
Fucking bleeding hearts, don’t have the slightest fucking clue, he thought to himself with a scoff.
That kid came from a family of career criminals. His father was in jail doing ten for armed robbery, and Farrell had run into his brother a number of times to pop him for weapons possession. Shit, big brother had pulled a knife on Farrell and his partner at least two or three times. Of course, he wasn’t going to take any chances that baby brother wasn’t packing.
But the media got all in a tizzy because the arrest was for mere drug possession and the kid was in handcuffs already. You know what, he didn’t regret it. If the kid had known better to keep his mouth shut and not smart off, he wouldn’t have caught that beating.
Farrell readjusted in his seat and looked up at the swanky apartment building across the street from the parking lot where he was sitting. He pulled up his phone, checking again that he had the right building. It was, but he still hadn’t seen anybody looking like the picture he’d been sent emerge from the building.
How much longer am I supposed to wait for this fucking kid?
Whatever it was, he was going to wait it out. The money was too good to pass up now that he was out of work and his bitch of an ex-wife was draining him for alimony. He glanced at his watch again, then trained his eyes back on the front door, and allowed his right hand to slide over from the bottle to the Glock right next to it.
* * *
Annabelle stood at the door, shrugging her coat onto her shoulders. Even though this week was only the first hint of fall, she had already taken to wrapping herself in a nice, fluffy down coat. It surprised even Vincent, who felt like he had the lowest tolerance to cold of anyone.
“You sure you’re all set for tomorrow?” he asked her as he strode past her to the door.
“Yeah, I think so,” she answered, her voice wavering just a bit. She made her way to the door, but stopped and turned back around before leaving. “You’re going to be there with me right?”
He shook his head. “Not during the meet, no. Rob doesn’t know about my involvement, and it has to stay that way. If you get tangled up, I have exculpatory evidence to get you out, but if I’m there, Volek can drag us both down.”
Sensing her nerves, he reached out and grabbed her hand. “I’ll be watching and listening to you the whole time. Nothing is going to happen to you.”
They stood there a moment, just holding each others hands. He felt her pulse beating through her wrist and just stared into her narrow, green eyes. Her lips slightly parted in a wry smile, Vincent was suddenly overcome with how absolutely beautiful she was. And he did nothing, nothing except pat her arm a few times before her smile faded and she closed the door behind her.
For a moment, Vincent sat back down in front of his computer, to double check his preparations for the next day. But then he forcefully shoved back from the computer table and threw his hands into the air. He wanted to scream.
How are you this big of a fucking idiot?
She had wanted him to kiss her. He knew it, he could feel it, in that moment, and he had chickened out. It wasn’t the first time either, that he had that sense. Before, he thought she was just being friendly, or that she was naturally flirty. But this time, this was a definite signal. And he had ignored it.
The moment had passed. It was gone. He had missed his opportunity. Or had he?
His adrenaline overcame him, and for just a moment Vincent Wong stopped thinking. He made a dash for the door, grabbing his coat behind him.
* * *
“Blue Eyes” heard shouting from across the street. He looked up from his phone to see a young Asian guy chasing after a tall, tan girl in a heavy coat. As she turned the corner to enter into a squat parking garage, Dennis pulled up the photo he had received from his employer. He looked up, then back down at the phone, and up again.
* * *
By the time Vincent was out the door, Anna was already around the corner, walking towards the garage where she had left her car. He shouted her name, but she didn’t break stride.
Vincent picked up the pace to a light jog, knowing that she would be at her car in just a few moments. His breath fogged the air lightly in front of him as he trotted, greying the black sky above him. He swung his gaze around to the empty streets around him, which was surprising even at this time of night. Normally there would be a car or two still patrolling the street.
As he rounded the corner, he saw Annabelle at the front of her car, keys in hand. He got ready to shout, but was stopped by what he saw beyond. A stout, bald man walking up behind Annabelle.
While his hands were stuffed in his bulky coat pocket, the furrowed brow and grimace across his face made Vincent quicken his step even more. By the time the gun was out and glinting in the dim garage lights, Vince was in a dead sprint.
He had no plan by the time he reached the man. Vincent had never been in a fight in his life. He’d never played sports growing up; his mother didn’t want him to get hurt and his father only knew how to play chess. So Vincent did the only thing that came natural to him, and threw his body into the man’s midsection as a shot rang out in his ears.
In all the movies, they never fully convey just how loud a gunshot is. Vincent’s ears rang so loudly, he swore he had gone completely deaf. When the man grunted next to him, Vincent felt it more than heard it. But he didn’t feel it nearly as much as he did the meaty fist that connected with his jaw.
Vincent sprayed back at the blow, now seeing bright spots of color almost as disorienting as the ringing. He tried to stand, but felt a foot on his back before two burly hands lifted him off the ground and threw him onto the hood of Annabelle’s car.
The man raised his fist to drop another blow, but then a long, tan arm came across Vincent’s eye-line and caught him right in the throat. Annabelle.
He hadn’t seen if the gunshot had connected with her, but she was up and moving easily, smacking the man several times before kicking him right in the groin. For a millisecond, Vincent felt that familiar sympathy pain in the pit of his stomach, but it quickly dissipated.
Although Annabelle got the upper hand temporarily, when she swung her hand towards the man’s head he caught her arm and shoved her up against the side of the car next to hers. In a flash Vincent was back on his feet, grabbing the man from behind, but he only lasted for a second before Vincent felt a sharp elbow hitting him right in the kidney, causing him to flop back onto the pavement.
The stars were back and he still heard nothing but a high pitched whine in his ears, but now he felt the overwhelming nausea as the world spun around him. He shook himself trying to regain his equilibrium, and after a moment he didn’t feel like he was looking through a fish tank.
The man had Anna against the side of the Range Rover parked next to her, his meaty hands wrapped around her neck and hoisting her up so her feet dangled limply. Vincent could see her trying to kick at his legs and swat at his arms, but the man had all the leverage.
Still a bit woozy, Vincent tried to push himself to his feet, but then spotted something lying on the ground. The gun that he had knocked out of the man’s hand.
As he picked it up, Vincent couldn’t believe how incredibly weighty it felt, more like a wrench than a squirt gun. He’d played a ton of shooters with guns in them, but the beast in his hand felt alien to him. The only thing he did know was that this thing was going to kick like a motherfucker, so when he picked it up and gripped it with two hands, he aimed dead for the center of the man’s back.
Squeeze the trigger, don’t pull it. That’s what all the movies advised.
He squeezed. The gun kicked. The sound somehow pierced through his deafness. The man’s head exploded around Annabelle. Somehow the recoil had brought the gun up a full foot above where he had been aiming. If the guy had been a few inches shorter, Vince would have missed entirely.
It was such a weird thought to have, the instant after he had shot a man–killed a man–to appreciate how tall he was. But that was all Vincent Wong could think as he stood there, dumbly, holding the pistol in his hand as Annabelle sank to the ground coughing and shoving the remains of whoever that guy was off of her.
After a moment, Vincent sank to the ground as well, leaning against her car as he let the gun clatter to the ground. His heart was beating in his ears and now the nausea was back, but for another reason completely.
Neither spoke. They just stared at each other, their faces barely a foot apart, with a headless body lying next to them as the sounds of police sirens grew louder. .