The Kill Look

Dancers and tough guys. They both need a signature move.

But only one of those two can get you killed. And ain't no mutherfucker going to pirouette you to death.

The Kill Look by Andrew Hilbert

“I need to see Sergio.”

“Look, pal. Ain’t nobody goes an’ sees Sergio ’less they goes through us.”

One was skinny, wore a black wife-beater, and had a goatee that was so thin it was probably penciled in with his girlfriend’s eyeliner. The other, the guy talking, had his arms crossed. His lower lip practically touched his fucking nose. He was the guy I didn’t want any altercation with. He’d have me for dinner.

Sergio lived down the one ways in Norwalk. The streets might as well have been lit by candles. Only a few men owned these streets. Sergio was one of them. He had rotating bodyguards control the entrance to his house on Devlin Street. They stood with their arms crossed at all times, looked tough as long as they didn’t have to actually be tough.

“Sergio’s family. I’m his cousin.”

Up until twenty minutes ago, I thought Sergio was finding the man who killed my brother. He wasn’t looking. The day we found him murdered in the middle of the street he came to me and said, You come to me if you hear anything about what happened here. You come to me. We family.

“We know who you is, bitch,” the pencil beard said.

“Hey, hey, hey, what’s all this noise out here? Why you giving Wes a hard time, eh?”

Sergio emerged from behind the barred screen door, and came out onto his porch.

“You guys, take a break, yeah?” Sergio pulled out a handkerchief from his back pocket and wiped the sweat off his brow. “What’s bothering you, cousin?”

He always wore a gold wristwatch on his left hand and kept his right arm shaved except for one strip of hair like a wristband.

Every tough guy has to have a signature, cousin, Sergio’d say. You need to see that fear in their eyes once they realize who you are—once they see your signature. That split second of realization is all you need to see. The fear, the confusion—it feeds you. You need to make a name for yourself. You need the kill look.

“So what is it?” he asked.

“How’s the search going, Sergio?”

He walked down the steps of his porch to his yard, nodded me along, and I followed.

“Well, nobody’s talking,” he said. “The kids, they all run away when they see me now. They don’t answer any questions. I can hardly get my weasels to get any answers. Now the cops are involved and shit. I don’t know how long it’ll be until I have anything. It just takes time, cousin.”

Fucking liar.

“You told me to come to you if I heard anything.”

“What, cousin?” he asked, “You hear something I should know? Something that should might help?”

I pulled the Glock hidden under my shirt and pointed it right for his head. His eyes stared straight into mine, daring me.

“You think you know anything, cousin?”

He laughed as if this was some kind of game to him.

“What’d Tony look like when he saw that muff patch on your wrist? How’d he react to your fucking kill look?”

Sergio kept laughing.

“Cousin,” he said, “He never even saw it coming. There’s no kill look with family.”

I blew his fucking head off. What remained of his face fell face first into the patchy grass of his yard. 

His weasels drew their own guns on me. It was over. I could hear sirens coming down Pioneer. They were getting louder, closer.

I dropped my gun, they kept theirs steady on me. It was a race between their trigger fingers and the police. Either way didn’t end well for me.

Sergio was right. There is no kill look with family. 

Andrew Hilbert lives in Austin, TX. He is co-founder of the Slagdrop ( and has a chapbook of seven short stories called, Toilet Stories From Outer Space, available on his website