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Three Fingers of Scotch

Send your best man out, you expect the job done. 

Unless the target is just a little bit better.

Three Fingers of Scotch by Jonathan Brown

Taking a punch in the face is never good. That’s why when Jensen sent a straight right aimed at my jaw, I slipped it. As his meaty fist and forearm sailed past, I gave him a nice hook to his rib cage. I envisioned his floating rib busting off and puncturing his intestines.

A body shot followed with a knee to the guts and I wrapped it up with a fast- moving elbow to the back of his thick skull. Squirming on the floor, he stayed conscious and wheezing like a ninety-year-old asthmatic.

I grabbed the remote from the bureau and brought the television volume back down. The beating was over. As I stepped over him on the way to the mini bar, he reached for my ankle. The move got him a busted wrist. He squealed.

Through tears so pathetic his mother would deny knowing him, he asked if we could make a deal and offered me all kinds of money.

“You’re not the money guy, Jensen. We both know that so sit quiet.”

After the money, he offered his daddy’s Bentley and season tickets to Charger games on the fifty-yard-line.

“Didn’t I ask you to be quiet? A guy takes half a beating and he folds like a poker player with a bad hand.”

I was two-thirds of the way into pouring three fingers of my favorite swill when his phone buzzed.

He tried to dig it out of his windbreaker but subsided when I put a foot across his neck and relieved him of it.

Without looking at the screen, I knew who it was. “I’m still breathin’. Come over and let’s chat,” I said, killing the call.

He shivered on the floor despite Hollywood suffering its hottest heat wave in thirty years. The AC unit had crapped out the day before. That’s why three fingers of booze instead of my usual two.

“You don’t know what kinda hell you’ve unleashed?” he whined. “He’ll kill us both.”

“No he won’t, I’m gonna kill you before he gets here,” I bluffed, delighted by his twitching. “Why’d he put you on me, Jensen? You guys knocked over the armored car, you got the money. And now he sends you to clip me. Why?”

“Look,” he said wincing as he got to his knees.

“Lay back down. You look like you’re praying to me I don’t like it.”

He obeyed with a moan. “You set up the truck deal nice and clean.”

“Stop telling me what I already know, Jensen,” I said, stepping close to him.

“Everything went smooth until one of the guys on the truck popped out the back door and blazed away. We lost Smitty.”

“Always liked Smitty,” I said.

“Likewise. Anyway, boss thought maybe you tipped ‘em off.”

“Tipped them off? Why? So I wouldn’t get my cut? Grow up, moron.”

“Right, he only thought that at first, though. It wasn’t until later he knew it wasn’t you…but now he’s kinda…well, you know too much.”

“Know too much? I was in on the score. Of course I knew--”

A quiet knock came from the door. I opened without any Hollywood drama. The boss man strode ahead of his two semi-truck sized security detail. They ignored me as they walked past.

He sneered at his failed hitman. “Pretty ballsy opening up like that,” he said to me.

“If you see balls on this frame you need your prescription changed, boss.”

“Yeah, okay. You’re a knockout, Veronica. So what?” he said.

“That hump on the floor is who set you up and got Smitty done in the process.”

“Prove it.”

“He’s got fresh bills pokin’ outta his Dockers, and he wasn’t even on the job. And I know you haven’t paid out yet. He’s in it with Smitty’s killer and maybe another guy who were supposed to whack your guys. But it went south.”

“That adds. Sorry we were slow on the uptake. At least Jensen didn’t clip ya,” the boss man said.

“Jensen couldn’t clip his nails. Pay me and blow. I got three fingers o’ scotch waiting.”

Jonathan Brown has penned two full-length amateur P.I. manuscripts currently being shopped: The Big Crescendo and Don’t Shoot The Drummer. He has a published short story in the Palos Verdes 2016 Anthology. He formerly wrote for The American Dream Newspaper, (luxury living magazine), Rapport Magazine, The Learning Guide Channel Magazine. Check him out at: