Jeff watched Carlos and a couple of his men walk into a two-bedroom townhome off 168th. He waited until they closed the green front door behind them, then opened his car door and stepped out quietly into the evening. He checked his revolver then tucked it back in its holster under his left arm, grabbing the pistol from the dashboard and closing the door. Slipping the pistol in the back of his pants waist, Jeff walked right up to the green door and rapped his knuckles against it twice. A deep voice came from the other side.
There was a pause, then a succession of clicks. Jeff reached around his back for the pistol, waiting until the door was fully open before pulling it. The man on the other side was extremely large, with a sloping forehead that cast shadows over his eyes. Jeff aimed high and pulled the trigger three times, hitting the man twice in the chest and once in the face. The ogre stumbled backwards before falling with a giant boom. Jeff quickly pulled the sawed-off shotgun from the man’s grip, then put the pistol to the man’s head and pulled the trigger again. The man’s legs hopped, twitching. Jeff stood with weapons raised in both hands just as two men came around the corner, guns drawn. The boom of the shotgun was so loud Jeff’s hearing cut out suddenly, nothing but a ringing accompanying the dramatic, flailing deaths of the men in front of him. Stone-faced, Jeff jacked another shell into the shotgun chamber, raising the nine millimeter in his other hand. He waited a moment to see if anybody else would come around the corner, then he crouched down and started moving.
Jeff started with the first bedroom, where suitcases of coke lay stacked near a group of half-naked Asian women huddled in the corner. Jeff startled when he saw them, quickly raising his guns and putting a bead on one. He almost pulled the trigger, until he saw the fear in the shivering woman’s eyes. He lowered his guns and motioned for them to leave. The first woman—a girl, really—moved slowly. Then it was like a flood, the half dozen others booking it for the front door. When they were gone, Jeff studied the four suitcases of coke, then raised his guns again and headed out of the room. He checked the living room behind him then walked back down the hallway towards the second bedroom. The door was slightly ajar. Jeff approached it slowly, creeping.
“Jeff,” Carlos called out from inside. “That you?”
Jeff said nothing, slowing his approach. He put his pistol back in his pants waist and raised the shotgun with both hands.
“I got some heat here,” Carlos said. “I’d be careful if I were you.”
Without a word, Jeff kicked open the bedroom door, aimed the shotgun and pulled the trigger. The gun clicked but nothing happened. At the same time, something whizzed by Jeff’s head, so close he could hear the whistle. A bullet embedded in the wall behind him and Jeff jumped to the side, crouching to take cover against the wall outside of the bedroom. He looked at the shotgun curiously then tossed it away, pulling his pistol along with his revolver, from the holster. He held them both up, staring straight ahead at the wall. Ticking off three seconds, Jeff pushed himself to his feet, took a deep breath then turned the corner and started squeezing. A searing pain sprang up his right leg almost immediately, but Jeff gritted his teeth and kept blasting. He watched Carlos’s gun fall from his hand, watched the red dots appear on his shirt and blossom into bloody flowers, watched as Carlos pirouetted to the ground.
Jeff stopped shooting when both guns clicked empty. Walking into the room, Jeff opened the revolver and held it up in the air, letting the smoking casings fall to the ground. He reached in his coat pocket and felt around until he pulled out a single bullet, shoving it in the chamber and clicking it closed. Crouching down over Carlos’s gurgling face, Jeff put the revolver to the side of the man’s head and pulled the trigger. Jeff left through the front door, carrying a suitcase under each arm. He was blocks away before he heard sirens.
Two hours later Jeff sat on a bed in the motel room he’d rented the night before, staring at the open suitcases lying next to him, at the plastic-wrapped baggies filled with white powder. After a moment, he closed the suitcases and stashed them in the closet, then walked over to the window and pulled the drapes open. He stared out at the dingy parking lot, at the blue sky beyond. Eventually he smiled. Kept on smiling too, even when four police cruisers squealed into the parking lot just outside his room. The officers hopped out with their guns already drawn, but Jeff kept smiling. Even when they came streaming up the stairs and kicked in the motel room door.
Even then, Jeff just raised his arms and smiled, his eyes two dark pits of blackness.