CRIME TIME COLLECTED SHORT STORIES
This is the 3rd book I have read from these authors. They never disappoint. This was a great collection of stories that kept me interested and I do believe that one story may tie in with another book that I have read which also kicked ass!
by Dell Sweet 2017 all rights reserved foreign and domestic.
This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents depicted are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual living person’s places, situations or events is purely coincidental.
Portions of this novel are Copyright © 2010 – 2015 Dell Sweet. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, electronic, print, scanner or any other means and or distributed without the author’s permission.
Permission is granted to use short sections of text in reviews or critiques in standard or electronic print.
A piece of work
Jimmy slowed the big Dodge when he saw Sweet walking next to Kelvin. Sweet trotted up to the door.
Sweet looked bad. His skin was pale and greasy looking. It had that gray cast that meant he hadn’t seen clean in a long while, Jimmy thought.
“Straight?” Jimmy asked.
“What?” Kelvin said.
“Don’t play no fuckin’ games with me, I ain’t Rico, I’ll kill your ass if you fuck up something I got you in on… Now, are you straight or fucked up?”
A little fucked up,” Kelvin said. He swallowed and his skin went a little whiter if that was possible.
“Yeah, a little is all, just a little,” Sweet said.
“Straight enough to do a piece of work for me? Say the truth…” Jimmy said quietly.
“Yeah, man. For real. Straight as a mother fucker, Jimmy,” Sweet told him with a too wide smile.
“Yeah, you know, we always got you, Jimmy.” Kelvin added.
Jimmy scratched out an address and handed it to Kelvin. “First: Don’t fuck it up. It’ll mean my ass and that means ass for ass. I will put you in the ground someplace. Second: No sloppy shit… Young guy… White kid, gonna be working at this property. The less you know the better, but it’s gotta be clean. Get him. Clean up. Take him to the farm and put him in the ground. Call me after, I’ll come take care of you tonight.”
“Oh,” Sweet said. “You mean tonight… Like right now.”
“What the fuck did you think I meant? Tomorrow? Yeah tonight… Now, what did I say?”
“Get this fucker. Do him up, take him to the farm and make sure it is clean,” Kelvin said.
“Make sure the scene is clean,” Jimmy corrected.
“Oh yeah… Sure,” Sweet agreed. “Make sure the scene is clean… As always.”
“No,” Jimmy said with a wag of his head. “You don’t always leave it clean. I’m telling you that you better this time.” He reached for his wallet, removed two fifties, folded them and then stuffed the money into Kelvins hand. Kelvins finger immediately closed on it.
“Buy yourself a mop… Some cleaner… Get that pine shit, real strong. A bucket, whatever else you need.” Jimmy told him. Kelvin nodded like one those dogs in the back window of a grandmas’ car would, Jimmy thought. “Questions?”
They both wagged their heads.
“Then what the fuck are you standing around for?” Jimmy asked.
Sweet and Kelvin
Two miles away Freddy Toombs tossed a steel clipboard onto the passenger seat of his Charger as he pulled into the long driveway at 6620 Main Street.
Freddy hadn’t seen the old brick house since three weeks before, when he had been sent out as part of the clean-up crew from Bud Farling’s real estate agency. The house had looked horrible then. The windows and doors had been boarded up, and the now graceful grounds had been choked with weeds.
The old house looks damn good, he thought. He hadn’t been there himself for most of the work, he had been tied up on other properties. Freddy tended to get most of Bud’s work, probably due to the fact that he was dependable, and showed up every day ready to work. To Bud, Freddy knew, that meant a great deal. A low whistle escaped his lips as he stared at the imposing estate, which had always seemed so forbidding before.
The van that he usually drove was in the shop for the third time in as many weeks, so he had come in his own car. This time it was the transmission, and Bud had been downright pissed about it. Not pissed at Freddy though, the van was old, and Bud had told him that he supposed he’d have to buy a new one soon.
When Bud had asked if Freddy minded driving his own car out to the house to put in the locks, Freddy had told him he didn’t mind at all, and considering the way the van was constantly breaking down lately, he felt better taking his own car. At least that way he wouldn’t end up walking like he had last week when the van had broken down in the middle of nowhere.
Freddy Toombs actually had a large amount of expertise in home repair, and it had always seemed to him that all the different aspects of it had been easy to learn. He had made Bud a lot of money, and he worked as a sub-contractor so Bud could work him as many hours as he wanted without having to pay overtime.
The arrangement worked out well for both of them. It meant Bud could count on Freddy, and because of that he paid him well. Bud had also bailed Freddy out of jail just a few days back. Freddy owed him a great deal. It had been Bud who had sent a lawyer to talk to him too.
The cops had caught him with two ounces of cocaine and he was looking at state time. Bud had come to visit him, asked what the deal was and told him to sit tight. Freddy didn’t really even mess with cocaine like that, he had simply been holding it for someone. The kind of someone that you didn’t mention if you liked your legs on the free side of concrete. So, he had shut up, done three days locked down and then the lawyer had shown up. The lawyer had asked for the whole truth and Freddy knew well enough that you didn’t lie to your lawyer so he had told him. The lawyer hadn’t said much while he was talking. At the end he had asked if Freddy would take a deal where he might testify. Of course, Freddy said, as long as I’m safe. He had been out three hours later.
Freddy had no family, so even if Bud called in the middle of the night with some emergency at one of his properties, it wasn’t a big deal for Freddy to get dressed and take care of it. Like this situation, after normal working hours, where the locks needed to be changed out before the new tenant showed up.
Freddy retrieved the new locks from the seat and headed towards the front door. The keys had already been mailed to the man who was renting the property Bud had explained.
“Just remove our master locks, and swap ’em out for these,” Bud had said, “And oh, don’t forget to bring the keys and the master locks back with you tomorrow.”
Whenever Bud had a crew working on a property, the master locks were used. That allowed everyone to come and go whenever they needed to, and all the tradesmen that worked for Bud had a master key. It had come in handy on several occasions.
The keys fit all the rental properties Bud owned, or managed, and Freddy couldn’t count the times that had come in handy to him. Half the time when there was a problem with an apartment, it was usually reported by one of the other tenants, and nine times out of ten, the tenant who lived in the apartment wasn’t home. The master locks solved that problem nicely.
Freddy reached the door; slipped the master key into the lock, and entered the house. He squinted in the gloom, peering cautiously inside at the shadowy hallway.
He couldn’t explain why he suddenly felt uneasy about entering the house, and he glanced nervously back out the doorway at the driveway, where the Charger sat gleaming brightly in the dim, late afternoon light.
The light stupid, he reminded himself, turn on the lights.
He turned his attention back to the hall, and let his searching fingers locate the switch, and with a small push of the old button-style switch the lights came on.
Soft shards of light flickered across the walls of the entrance way from the large chandelier, suspended from the old tin ceiling in the middle of the entrance way. Freddy carefully edged the door shut with the heel of one scuffed work boot and stared child-like around the room as the splashing patterns of light danced on the dark mahogany of the walls.
The wood panels reached more than twelve feet to the old tin ceilings and intricate flowing lines covered the tin panels in an ornate flower design.
The dark walls were divided with carefully scrolled moldings which broke the walls into squared sections and a matching mahogany stairway curved away from the dark gray marble flooring, towards the upper reaches of the house.
He could make out the darkened upper floor where the staircase ended and a small balcony that looked down over the entrance way.
To the left of the staircase, at the end of the long entrance way, massive double doors were set into the wall. A smaller single door led off to the right, directly across from those doors, which was the kitchen area he knew.
To his immediate right was another set of double doors and directly across from that a graceful arch led into the living area. He knew that the doors set into the wall at the end of the hall led into a formal dining area, which also had a small door that opened into the kitchen area. The doors to his right opened into a large den, with book shelves from floor to ceiling, and a massive stone fireplace.
Freddy carefully set the cardboard box containing the new locks on the floor by the front door: He had decided that he wanted to take a look around the house before he put in the locks. He walked down to the far end of the dimly lit entrance way, pushed open the double doors at the end of the hall that led into the kitchen area and sent his left hand skittering across the wall for the switch. Sparse light from the hallway fell through the doorway and beyond.
Suddenly a silver flash swept from the darkness towards him. His hand was still looking for the light switch and so his mind did not immediately register what it was.
WHAT? His mind cried out in alarm as his eyes watched the shining flat arc sweep towards him. As it hit his chest, rocked him on his feet and then swept back he realized what it was.
A knife? …At me? …Why?
“Not real,” he muttered aloud backing away, but his hands came away from his chest with bloody drops clinging to them.
His eyes watched as a disembodied hand plunged the knife deeply into his chest again.
Hand, he thought… And… Is that my Blood?
The hand with the knife flickered quickly out of sight into the darkness, only to reappear a split second later and plunge deeply into his chest once more.
KNIFE …KNIFE …KNIFE! His mind screamed.
Two men stepped from the shadows. The one still held the knife threateningly in his hand as Freddy slumped to the floor.
NO… He tried to say, but he could not speak.
Strong hands closed around his wrists and were joined by others as his bleeding body was lifted from the floor. He tried to scream, but could make no sound at all. His chest felt as though a large boulder rested on it.
It doesn’t actually hurt, he thought, but they could have killed me, and I can’t breathe well, and, WHY?
His chest hitched once and stopped.
Can’t breathe, he thought, and next… The bastards did kill me! They did! They did…
He seemed to be falling into a dark void, and he could not see, but he could hear, he realized.
They’re scared, he thought, they’re, Scared. Oh, isn’t that funny, they killed me and they’re scared.
He could hear them talking in hushed tones.
“Do you think he’s dead?” one asked.
“Maybe,” the other replied.
I’m not! Freddy tried to scream, but could not.
“Well he sure as shit ain’t breathing…”
“That don’t make him dead, you idiot,” the other one, with the deeper voice replied, “I read where it takes four minutes for the brain to die, he could start breathing again or some shit.”
“Well…” The one with the whiny voice began.
“Shut up! Let’s get going,” the one with the deeper voice said, cutting him off.
Who said that, Freddy wondered. Are they picking me up? Why? He couldn’t tell if they were picking him up or not. In fact, he couldn’t feel anything, he realized, and it was beginning not to matter to him. Is this what it feels like to be dead? He wondered.
“Are you sure he’s dead?”
“I told you I don’t know.”
“Well the fucker’s looking right at me is all, and it bugs me,” one said.
Freddy knew that they had to be lying because he couldn’t see them. I can’t be dead because I can hear, and I can’t be staring at them, because I can’t see anything, Freddy thought as he tried to open his eyes.
“He ain’t fuckin’ dead! He ain’t! He ain’t…”
The panicked scream was brought about by the flicker of his eyelids as Freddy had tried to open his already open eyes, and was cut short by a sharp slap delivered across someones face that Freddy heard perfectly well.
“Shut the fuck up Kelvin, just shut up ya fuckin’ baby.”
Kelvin shut up.
“I stabbed him nine fuckin’ times,” Sweet Jones insisted. “He’s dead already… Okay?”
Nine Fuckin’ Times? Nine fuckin’ Times, you’re dead already, Freddy’s mind informed him.
Freddy felt nothing during the trip through the kitchen to the car which was parked at the rear of the house.
“Open the damn trunk,” Sweet said.
They had carried the body out the back door to where they had parked the stolen Cadillac earlier.
“Open the damn thing…It’s not locked, just lift up the lid,” the voice continued as Freddy listened.
I gotta tell them, Freddy thought. I ain’t dead, and they can’t put me in the friggin’ trunk.
HEY! Freddy tried to scream, I ain’t dead, and you can’t put me in the trunk!…I’m claustrophobic, I can’t stand tight places! But his lips would not move and his throat would make no sound. His lungs could pull no air into his body to make his throat work. The trunk lid slammed home.
Freddy Toombs did not feel the bumpy ride to the old farm on the reservation, and he did not feel the dirt and stone striking his face as he lay at the bottom of the shallow grave.
Sweet pushed dirt quickly into the grave they had hastily dug, when they had reached the farm. Back at the house, after they had put the body in the trunk, Kelvin had gone back inside to clean up the mess while Sweet had gone out front to bring the light green Dodge Charger the guy had been driving out back.
They had ditched the car off one of the dirt roads which honeycombed the woods that surrounded the base. It would take some time for someone to find it, and that would give them some time to dispose of the body and for things to settle down a bit.
Sweet bent harder into the shovel, spraying dirt down into the hole. Whoever said it was easy to kill someone with a knife was sure wrong, he thought. The guy’s eyes were still open when we opened the trunk!
Kelvin’s voice broke into his thoughts.
“Hey, Sweet, I’m gonna go call Jimmy,” he said, “let him know, you know, so we can pick up our money later on… Finish that and hang tight, I’ll be back.”
Sweet watched Kelvin back the big car down the narrow dirt road and out to the main highway. After a few minutes he bent back to the task of filling in the grave.
When he was done he spread a couple of handfuls of leaves over the ground; sat down nearby and smoked while he waited for Kelvin to come back.