Latest Flash

Meet FFO Editor Beau Johnson: Known Associates

Canadian Crime Author Beau Johnson became an FFO Editor on February 4, 2019 when writer Jesse Heels Rawlins and her merry band of murderous miscreants staged a bloody Gutter Coup. We can neither affirm nor deny that his anti-hero Bishop Rider contributed to the carnage. But we can proclaim curb-side that Bishop Rider Lives

If by unfortunate chance you've never met Mr. Johnson or hell-bent Mr. Rider, you can learn about this duo thru crime writer Mick Rose over at Center Stage. But hey, not so fast! We've got bad-ass Bishop here at FFO today: Showing the world once again how dastardly deeds gets recompensed down in The Gutter.

Known Associates by Beau Johnson

(Click to Submit)
Hang on; lemme swing this chair around. 

Okay. There. Now as I said, I have a story to tell. It’s not my story, it’s not your story, but we’ve become a part of it regardless. Call it chance or fate or whatever the fuck you want, but be sure, we are ingredients and nothing more. You ready then?  Good. Time to fuckin’ do this!

The first time I meet Bishop Rider he puts the back of Marty Abrum’ s head through the front of his nose in the restaurant I’m working at. I’m a busboy slash dishwasher at this restaurant and had been bussing tables the night this shit goes down. Before Abrum’s head becomes part of his pasta Rider takes out the other three guys surrounding Marty in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of scenario. I mean, just pop, pop, pop, and then a whole buncha screams from all the other guests as they go and say their whatnots to the floor. Next comes the shotgun, pulled from an overcoat as dark as the big man’s hair. Sawed off, Rider places it downwards on the back of Marty’s thin head. I hear for my sister and then BOOM, bone and marinara sauce become two great tastes that taste great together.

You old enough to remember that one, Richie?

Anyway ... do I do anything?  Sure I do. Pretty sure I stand as still as I possibly can as my mouth does its best impression of a cave. I mean, the heat offa this guy, the anger, it came in shimmers I thought I could fucking see. And you’ve heard the stories, I know you have, about how the Abrum brothers abducted or had someone abduct Rider’s sister and mother and then had the mother killed while the sister is fucked to death by a buncha oversized dudes in masks. Fucked to death?  I know. Can you imagine?  It’s what the brothers were into, though, and making what I’m told they called their “special films.”  How April and Maggie Rider become involved with what usually only consisted of smuggled Mexican women I guess we’ll never know.

Or perhaps we will. I mean, it is just us here, right?

Brings me to the second time I meet Bishop Rider. The dude comes out from the shadows as I’m putting my key to the lock of my place. Almost gives me a goddamn heart attack is what this does. He’s as big as I remember him and twice as fucking angry. And yes, yes, to look at he reminds you of Frank Castle, minus a skull on his chest of course, but whereas that bulldozer of a fuck is a work of fiction this former cop is as real as the meat shovel he has up around my neck. Against the wall, he begins to ask me things, Richie, people things, and then known associates goes and enters the conversation. 

Now why, pray tell, would something like this happen, Richie?

Could it involve something you might want to get off your chest?

S’okay. I think we’ll leave the gag right where it is. Truth be told, I got this. You see, once I realized what the man was on about, well, you know me and you, we ain’t ever been the tightest of compadres, but we’ve been alright with one another. Small jobs here and there but never with nobody ever getting hurt. This is me, always has been me. I might be soft for it, sure, but it has always allowed me to sleep at night. You, though?  You went and upgraded yourself to the big leagues, didn’t you? 

What I mean to say is this: Was there anyone else with you in the van that day?  A simple nod will do. Richie?  Honor among thieves, really?  You know that’s just a buncha made up bullshit the movies would have you believe. 

He found surveillance, Richie. 

He knows your brother was with you when it went down.

I’ve also seen the footage and I see the predicament you found yourself in. I’m guessing the Mexican girls in the back of the van somehow jimmy the lock from the inside. Good for them. Seriously. But I also see that Bishop’s sister has parked too close to the back of your van, the arms of the women trying to escape the only appendages coming to see the light of day. You shoulda took off is what I think you should have done, but no, you herd the sister and the mother into the van at gunpoint and now here we are, you on your couch and me in your face. Effectively, you and your brother put this entire thing in motion. You see that?  Sure, the reins were taken over by the Abrum boys once the situation was brought to their attention, but you guys, you are the ones responsible for what it unleashed.

Brings us to now, the fourth time I meet Bishop Rider. Didn’t even hear them big black boots come up behind you, did you, Richie?  And yes, that object you feel is exactly what you think it is; the very same shotgun I told you about earlier. Seems to be pointing a little lower than it did on Marty Abrum, I think, perhaps into the small of your neck it looks like. You know what that means?  Means your face and acrobats are about to have more than a whole lot in common. Before we paint the coffee table though…before we do, I think it might be fair for you to hear about the third time Bishop Rider enters my life. I mean, in the bigger scheme of things, I can see it being pertinent to what’s about to unfold. It’s not much, not really, but sometimes not much is all you ever truly need.

I meet Batista, Rider’s contact on the inside, and it’s here that three like-minded individuals decide to take it upon themselves to do what most in this world will not.

Last thing, Richie: once you’ve caught up to him, tell your brother we made good on our word. His dogs, they ate like kings.

Beau Johnson has been published before, usually on the darker side of town. He is the author of A Better Kind Of Hate, The Big Machine Eats, and in the spring of 2020, All Of Them To Burn. Hit him up on Twitter @beaujohnson44 where he'll be sure to bore you with a combination of book selfies and "previously, on Beau." You can also visit him on Goodreads.

While first written for the collection A Better Kind of Hate, "Known Associates" made its first online appearance at crime mag Story and Grit.