“Willie, Mickey, and Duke” by Bruce Harris
Mondays Are Murder features brand-new noir fiction modeled after our award-winning Noir Series. Each story is an original one, and each takes place in a distinct location. Our web model for the series has one more restraint: a 750-word limit. Sound like murder? It is. But so are Mondays.
This week, Bruce Harris takes revenge with the help of some friends.
The soaking rain had stopped, typical of an August afternoon. It hadn’t cooled things off, only made the air more steamy and humid. The roads and walkways were moist and slick, increasing the likelihood of falls for the already vulnerable elderly population. Despite the heat, Duke sat in the car with the windows shut, the air conditioning, even at the mildest settings, too cool for his thinning blood. Years ago, the ex-Brooklyn cop staked out crack and whore houses. Now, it was high-end shopping centers.
The parking lot resembled a luxury car showroom. Duke watched the blonde nose-in to the handicapped parking spot in front of Massey’s Fine Jewelry, pull a handicapped sticker from her Louis Vuitton pocketbook, and affix it to the rearview mirror. She was all legs exiting the pearl-white Porsche Boxster. Well-dressed and lithe, she ignored the “$250 Penalty” sign for unauthorized parking before jaunting wide-eyed into Massey’s.
Duke punched numbers into his cell phone. “Willie, it’s Duke. The Gator mini-mall, east end of Worth Avenue next to La Cella’s Ristorante. Female, about thirty, just went diamond shopping. Where you at?”
“On my way. Be there in less than two minutes.” Willie, a long-time retired corrections officer from New York City, jerked the Nova into gear and headed toward the restaurant.
It would have been more efficient if Duke had made a three-way call and included Mickey, but he couldn’t figure out how to do that on his fancy new phone. He thought he had understood the millennial salesman’s lightening quick explanation of the phone’s features, but he’d forgotten most of them by the time he returned home with his new toy. He dialed Mickey. “Willie’s on his way. I’ve got a woman doing a little, or more likely a lot, of bling shopping at Massey’s. She’s been in there a couple of minutes. You close?”
Duke couldn’t see Mickey’s smile. “Yup.” Bronx born and bred, Mickey had reluctantly moved down to Florida after giving into his wife’s constant pleas. Ironically, she passed away less than three months after the couple moved to the sunshine state. Mickey, too lazy to move back north, quickly acclimated to the warmth, greenery, and dog racing tracks. It wasn’t long after that he met Duke and Willie at a bereavement group meeting and a friendship was born. He soon discovered the three lost their wives in similar ways. All three were disabled, unable to find suitable handicapped parking close to their destinations, and all three were forced to park at the extreme ends of three different parking lots. In each case, it proved fatal. Duke’s wife fell. She never recovered from the multiple fractures. Willie’s wife suffered a heart attack walking under the scorching Florida sun, and Mickey’s succumbed to a stroke while still in her vehicle.
Duke looked around, admired Florida’s beauty. Once upon a time, the palm trees, golf courses, and ocean were ubiquitous scenes on picture postcards found on metal displays in neighborhood pharmacies and candy stores. Now, they formed backdrops for selfies. Once Duke spotted Willie and Mickey in the parking lot, he pulled up behind the parked Porsche and waited. When he saw the blonde exit the store, long-handled shiny Massey bags dangling from each arm, he got out of his car and limped his way in her direction.
She looked up. “Is that your car?”
Duke looked back. “Yes.”
“You’re blocking me. Mind moving so I can get out?” She didn’t wait for an answer. Duke heard beeps as the Porsche’s lights blinked, the doors unlocked. She ignored Duke, positioned herself in the driver’s seat, and removed the temporary handicapped sticker. The Porsche’s engine came to life, the window rolled down. In an annoyed voice, “Well? Are you going to move, or what?”
Duke grinned. “I guess it’s what.” He pulled a Louisville Slugger baseball bat from underneath his right leg pant. It was, what else, a Duke Snider signature model and the source of his limp. He pounded his left palm with the meat of the bat. “Get out!”
The blonde appeared confused. “What?”
“Out of the car, or I’ll pull you out.”
Robotically, she did as told. She didn’t see Willie, now with an old Willie Mays model bat in his hands. Mickey positioned himself in front of the Porsche. The Mickey Mantle bat he gripped was a thick-handled, 35-inch weapon. The three retirees converged on the helpless woman. When the three men finished with her kneecaps, she really needed the handicapped sticker resting in the pricey pocketbook.
BRUCE HARRIS is the author of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson: ABout Type.
Posted: Oct 20, 2015
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