Garcia Gets His

In the Gutter, payback comes in two flavors: cold and bitch.

But like any authentic dichotomy, you best learn not to mix that shit up.

Garcia Gets His by Robert Hart

The apartment was dark. I left it that way. I knew I was early, so I sat down to wait.

He’d left a window open. Just a crack. Not smart. Sure, he’d been careful to secure the one on the fire escape, but he’d left the other, probably thinking that it was too far away from the fire escape to interest anyone. He was right, to a point. A smackhead or a burglar wouldn’t risk the fall unless they knew there was something worth stealing inside. But I wasn’t a smackhead or a burglar. He should have been expecting me to try something. Sloppy. I broke the window anyway. I was in no condition to fart around hanging off the railings of a fire escape.

I sat in the easy chair next to the dresser. I was in shadow. It was a comfortable chair. I thought I should have maybe set the alarm on my watch. In case I fell asleep. The pills Doc gave me were a little unpredictable.

I’d done a little job with Garcia and Baker and O’Rourke. About three months ago. It was supposed to be an easy in and out. Barge in, strong-arm the security people, bag the cash, barge back out again. It hadn’t worked out that way.

O’Rourke had gotten an itch. Blew away one of the security guys. The other one panicked, drew his old Police Special from under his flak vest and started blasting away at everything and everyone. I plugged him, just to make him stop. Then I took aim at O’Rourke, in case he had any other ideas. Garcia shot me in the back. Left me for dead.

His shot hit me at an angle, entering under my shoulder. The bullet had clipped the tip of my lung and bounced off my ribcage and ended up in my small intestine. If I hadn’t known Doc Wyatt, I would have died of blood poisoning cuffed to a bed in the ER.

It took me a good three weeks just to stand up. Another two to walk more than a block without needing a nap halfway through. It hurt whenever I ate anything. That probably pissed me off more than anything else. I like my food. At least, I used to.

Garcia and O’Rourke disappeared. Baker turned up in the East River. I knew the score then. I put the word out. Waited. Built my strength back up. I wanted my money, but I wanted Garcia more.

I heard a key in the lock. Then the door creaked open.

I stood from the chair and stepped across to the doorway. I took the gun from my pocket. I could see them silhouetted in the light from the hallway. O’Rourke was with him. Garcia was reaching in to switch on the light.

“You’ve lost weight, Garcia.”

He froze. I could hear him breathing.

“Shit,” O’Rourke said.

“You should have expected this,” I said. “After what you pulled. I was in your shoes, I would’ve stayed gone. Cabo’s nice. Relaxing by the sea. Eating fish tacos and sipping margaritas.”


“I almost didn’t believe it when Hoover told me he’d seen you,” I said. “Thought it was a setup.”


“No buts.”

I shot them both. Four shots. Two each. Quick. Easy. They fell in a heap. O’Rourke fell backwards, his gun clattering to the floor. Garcia landed on top of him, half in and half out of the apartment.

I got the first hint that something was wrong when I got close enough. In the light coming in from the hallway, I got good look at his face. He had lost weight. And about ten years. I’d just shot Garcia’s little brother.

“Thanks,” Garcia said. He was standing in the shadows at the end of the hallway. “That makes things easier.”

I’d just killed his brother and he’d thanked me for it. Garcia always was a hard bastard. I could see his gun. I still had two left in mine.

“I never should have trusted Hoover,” I said.

“I never trust anyone,” he said.

I only heard one shot.

Robert Hart has worked a series of crappy jobs, both in the US and in the UK. In the last seventeen years, he’s written five screenplays, seven novels, a play and over twenty short stories. He lives in England with his wife and daughter. He is not currently a fugitive from justice.