Street Sign

Time Exposure, Night, Downtown Dallas, Ross and Olive

Time Exposure, Night, Downtown Dallas, Ross and Olive

Phoenix pushed back on his chair and leaned up against the rough brick wall. He grinned and watched the woman work her way through the bar, staring at every customer, one by one. She was obviously looking for someone. He was the only person in the place by himself – and he wanted to see what happened when she reached his spot. She glanced his way a few times, and it didn’t take long for her to clear the nearest table and look down at him. He willed his face into its most relaxed, nonchalant expression – something he took pride in and had worked on for years.

“Excuse me, but I’ve arranged a meeting here with someone I’ve never seen in person… are you Brett?”

“Why, yes… yes I am. Glad to meet you.” Phoenix had not even had time to think about the lie… it simply came out. And now… nothing to do except go with it. He put on his biggest, broadest smile and reached out his hand toward the woman.

Instead of taking it, she scooted back about half a step and reached into that cavernous bag she carried.

Phoenix had enough time to think, “Oh, that’s why she has such a large purse,” but not much more as the woman’s hand flashed out with a gigantic chrome plated revolver. She raised it and Phoenix’s brain noticed how it gleamed in the uneven light of the bar. He couldn’t do anything else, though. Propped in the chair like that, he was trapped, it would take at least two or three seconds to tip forward and leap one way or the other… but he had less than one.

The gun roared as the woman kept pulling the trigger and slug after slug pumped out and into Phoenix’s chest at point-blank range.

—- from The Smeebage Affair, by Armando Vitalis