90s Noir: The City's Dying Breath
"Yeah, no shit he's dead. Did you see that? Those motherfuckers popped up out of nowhere. They were waiting for us, I swear," snapped Francesco angrily before descending into a fit of coughing -- a solid decade of smoking hadn't exactly kept his lungs in tip-top shape.
"Oh, no doubt they were waiting for us. It's obvious we were set up. I just don't know who would be fucking stupid enough to try to pull that shit on the Dukes," pondered Grant, obviously the more fit of the two thugs. "How many you got left?"
"Three, I think. I lost count, man. Bullets were going everywhere, shit..." he wheezed. "Hey, where's our other guy? What was his name? Jay?" asked Fran, finally beginning to catch his breath.
"That internet motherfucker? He ran as soon as we got ambushed by those psychos. You don't think he was the one who set us up, do you?" queried Grant, instinctively checking his mag to make sure he still had a few bullets left. The sound of sirens nearby didn't exactly ease his mind, and he was sure as hell going to need bullets if this night were to get any worse.
"Who else could it be? The boss man said all the Russians involved were solid, and I don't doubt him. In case you forgot, the Russians were the first ones to catch bullets. I think only one of their guys made it," said Francesco, who dropped to a squat and leaned against the wall. Grant wisely chose not to comment on Fran's comical lack of athleticism; now was not the time to be fucking around with petty insults.
"Then it had to be that Jay guy. He was the only wild card. Smith hired him to fill in for Waterson. Can you believe that? Some random fuck on the internet we don't even know. What the fuck was he thinking? I should have my fucking head examined. Can't believe I agreed to this shit..."
"We're gonna need to get our heads checked for bullets if we don't make like a couple fat cats and get back to Washington. Come on, maybe we can figure out how to explain this to the boss man on the way over."
James returned to his apartment in such a hurry that all the usual steps of his homecoming ritual -- putting his keys in the dish, chaining the door, dumping any spare change, sorting through his mail, and putting food out for Chauncey -- were completely forgotten. Nearly slamming the door off its hinges, James made a beeline for the couch, tossing his jacket aside carelessly before flopping down, exhausted and panicked. Chauncey, his finicky longhaired cat, began to whine angrily after noticing the distinct absence of FancyFeast in his bowl, but his complaining fell silent on James' still ringing ears. Clutching his pistol with shaking, sweaty hands, James finally allowed himself to drop it on the coffee table. He buried his face in his hands, as he always did when overly stressed.
It was his first job that wasn't a hit, and boy had he fucked it up royally. He was hired as extra muscle by some Dukes dealers to fill in for a sick buddy. The pay was dismal at best, but James thought it was safe enough and he was honestly just happy to receive a non-hit request for once. He was only there as security for a big deal with some Russians from out of town. Jay and three other Dukes were to meet with the Russians in an alley to exchange a briefcase full of cash for a parcel of Russian heroin. It was simple enough, until three psychos dressed in all black showed up on motorcycles and shot up the place. Without even a second thought, James tore out of there and left the Dukes to their fate. It was only now that James came to realize that the Dukes would most likely suspect James of masterminding the whole thing, especially with the way he'd just up and left like that.
The Dukes had a lot of connections, and James was just one man with a revolver and no experience. He figured he had a week to live, tops. He either needed to clear his name or get the fuck out of town. Heaving a deep sigh devoid of relief, James rose from the couch and made his way into the kitchen, he grabbed a can of cat food from the cupboard. Chauncey brushed against his leg, as he always did when about to be fed.
"Oh, you poor thing. I wonder who's going to feed you after the Dukes burn me alive."