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Dead Hesitation

When you got a job to do, don't blink and mute that guilty conscience. 

Just one sliver of hesitation puts you six feet under.

Dead Hesitation by Michael D. Davis


I’d like to think that when I was shoved out of my mother I had a bit of humanity. Standing  over a blubbering old lady with a throwaway gun that is held together with black tape makes you think about such things.

How I got here, I don’t know. It’s been a blur. I had a good enough up bringing with a great mother. Nothing you could call abuse took place and isn’t that all you can ask for? I was just that kid at the back of class no one noticed until disciplinary action was needed. You know the one; shaggy hair, an old dirty jacket, and in the yearbook voted most likely to be found dead next to a hooker named Dimples.

I drank in high school. Hell, I drank in middle school; probably even drank during nap time in kindergarten. It’s just one of those things I’ve always done that's always made me feel good. My one true friend, the bottle. That’s probably why Ingledue takes my bets. No one else in town even speaks to me when it comes to placing a bet, except Ingledue. I think he probably looks at me and sees a no good dumb drunk son of a bitch that's going to end up dead in a ditch sooner than later. He’s more or less right.

So, I make my bets. I drink my winnings and don’t pay what I owe. I knew something was going to come of this and I wasn’t wrong. Ingledue came to me for what he called a chat. He said my debts, the money I owed him, would all be forgotten if I did him a favor: killed his mother. He didn’t tell me why, just how and when. He gave me the gun as he talked with that smooth whipped cream voice of his.

Why he wants her full of holes, I couldn’t give less of a fuck. I just don't want to do it. I don’t want to take the gun or drive to her home or point the stupid weapon at her sagging pendulous chest, but here I am. Looking down at her wrinkled face hidden behind those foot-thick old woman glasses, she looks just like my mother. All old bags look alike, but this is eerie. I catch myself waiting for her to peer up and call me Puddin’. I have to remind myself this isn’t my lovely mother. No, this is Ingledue’s mother. Probably an awful wretched woman hiding under all that wrinkled, sweet-looking exterior. I have to do it. I have to shoot her.

I tighten my grip on the gun and point the barrel at her face. I can’t pull the trigger. I’ve found the line I can’t cross. I may be a broke, drunk, son of a bitch, but I’m not a killer or worse, in some books, an old lady killer. I am proud of the fact that on my headstone it can read: Lewis Holly did some bad shit but at least he couldn’t shoot an old woman in the head.

I lower the gun and drop next to her on the couch. We both sit still for a few moments. Killer and victim side by side.

I’m just about to speak, tell her to call the cops and about her son sending me, when the old woman takes the mug of coffee she’d been sipping from and slams it into my nose. I'm too shocked to do anything. She plucks the gun from my hand and before I know it she’s poked a few holes in me.

I am bleeding into her couch and making some rasping sounds as I try to breathe. She hovers over me like I am a disobedient child about to be punished. Her resemblance to my mother is gone and as the darkness comes I am really wishing I’d popped the blue-haired old bitch.

Michael D. Davis was born and raised in a small town in Iowa. A high school graduate and avid reader, he has aspired to be a writer for years. He’s written over thirty short stories--ranging in genre from comedy to horror from flash fiction to novella--some of which have been published in Out of the Gutter Online, Near to the Knuckle online magazine, Horla, Sirens Call, and The Dark City mystery and crime magazine. He continues in his accursed pursuit of a career in the written word and, in his hunt, Michael's love for stories in all genres and mediums will not falter.