Nice Work

It's been said that all's fair in love and war.

Even if that war is in a barn in Bumfuck Nowhere.

Nice Work by Trevor Nelson

Bruce Daly grabbed his King Cobra 40 oz. from the roof of Tammy’s Lincoln SUV and climbed in. When the door slammed shut, pigeons fluttered and cooed in the rafters of the barn. Bruce guzzled his beer, belched, and nestled the bottle in his crotch.

“Goddamn it, Bruce.” Tammy frowned. “Don’t sit that beer on my leather seat. The bottle sweats. The leather gets wet. And it cracks the seat like that piece of shit pickup you drive.”

Bruce arched his eyebrows and looked at Tammy. “You can’t be serious?”

“As a heart attack,” she said.  “Just because you fuck up your shit, don’t mean I want you fucking up mine.”

Bruce stared at Tammy’s chest stretching her red tank top. He wanted to pull it down and suck her jugs. She had the biggest nipples he’d ever seen. When they got hard, they looked like AK bullets. He rubbed her right breast with his left hand.

She slapped it away.

“What the fuck, Bruce? Did you hear anything I said?”

“Sorry, baby. I was thinking about how much I love you.”

“My ass.”

“Speaking of how much, did you bring the rest of my money?”

“While you were perving out,” Tammy said, “I asked why the hell we’re parked in a barn in bumfuck nowhere at the crack of dawn. On a Saturday to boot.”

“And I asked if you got my money. I know you do because you do as you’re told. That’s why I let you be my old lady.”

“Let me? That’s rich.”

Bruce grinned. “I’m just fucking with you, Tam.” He slid his left hand under her hair and massaged the back of her neck. He pulled her head towards his and kissed her mouth. It tasted like a Virginia Slim.

Tammy sat back and wiped her lips with her forearm. “You gonna to tell me now?”

“You got my money?”

“You get paid when you kill Duke.”

Bruce pulled a joint from his shirt pocket, lit it, and inhaled. Holding his breath, he said, “I’m gonna kill that motherfucker this morning.” He blew smoke in Tammy’s face and smiled.

“Where?” she said.

“He’s meeting me here in half an hour.”

“You’re gonna kill my husband in half an hour, and you drag me along? What the fuck’s your problem?”

“Just making sure I get paid.”

“You don’t trust me? And I’ve been fucking you for the last year?”

“It’s not that I don’t trust you. I just know how women are. You’d keep that money. Dish it out a little at a time. I don’t like nobody holding shit over my head.” He hit the joint. The crackling cherry crawled half its length.

Tammy shook her head and laughed with a deadpan face. “Un-fucking-believable.”

Bruce flicked ash out the window, snuffed the roach, and dropped it in a cigarette box.

“Plus,” he said, “we can’t be seen together for a while after Duke’s gone. People’ll talk. And I spent the five grand of walkin’ around money you fronted me.”

He killed his beer and tossed the empty on a stack of hay bales. “Grab me a beer from the cooler in back. And while you’re at it, grab that gym bag with my ten grand in it.”

Tammy opened her mouth to speak, and then closed it.

“You stashed my money in the Lincoln last night when you thought I was passed out. I watched.”

“You motherfucker.”

Bruce grinned. He got out and looked through a window behind a work bench. Tools carpeted the table. The window faced a gravel drive that snaked half a mile to a county road. He cleared a circle in the dust-caked glass with his sleeve. On the road, a pickup slid past. It sounded like a long exhale.

Water sloshed and ice chattered in the cooler as Tammy fished for a beer.

“All that’s left is Bud Light,” she said.

“As long as it’s wet.”

Bruce swept tools aside and sat on the table, a long screwdriver by his right thigh.

Tammy handed him a Bud Light and tossed a MacGregor gym bag on the table. Bruce cracked his beer and slugged it. He set the can next to the screwdriver.

“You gonna to count it?” Tammy folded her arms.

“Hell no, baby. I know you’re good for it.”  Bruce spun her by her shoulders until he faced her back. He wrapped his left arm around her belly and set his chin on her right shoulder. She pressed her cheek against his.

“When Duke get’s here,” she said, stroking his arm, “you ain’t gonna to make me watch, are you?”

Picking up the screwdriver, Bruce said, “Don’t worry, baby. You won’t see a thing.”


When Bruce walked into Duke Carlstrom’s office, Duke was sitting behind his desk with a cigar that looked like a smoldering turd shoved in his mouth. A cowboy hat clung to the back of his head.

“What’s the word?” Duke said.

“Tammy’s done botherin’ you.”

“Nice work.”

Duke rummaged in the bottom drawer, pulled out a stack of cash, and tossed it on the desk. Bruce grabbed the money and shoved it in his coat.

“You gonna count it?” Duke asked.

“Hell no. I know you’re good for it.”

“She tell you who’s the guy she’s been fucking?”

“Naw. She didn’t say. I got a good idea who it is, though.”


Bruce laughed. “Come on, Duke. I ain’t gonna talk myself out of a paycheck.”

Duke frowned and drummed his fingers on the desk.

“How much, Bruce?”

“Toss me five grand. A little walkin’ around money while I track the ol’ boy down. Another ten Gs and he’ll disappear. I got the perfect place to take him.”

A smile spread across Duke’s face. “Yeah?” he said. The cigar wagged in his mouth.        

“You can come with if you want, Duke. Take a few shots at the sonofabitch yourself. What do you say?”

Duke nodded and said, “Deal.” 

Trevor Nelson lives in a crumbling house in Rockford, Illinois. When he's not stalking the streets like Paul Kersey, he's writing about goons and creeps. You can find his work on Shotgun Honey, Burningword, The 5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly, Awosting Alchemy, and 5X5.