A Chance Meeting


“I coulda killed the bitch and been outta jail by now,” Marty said, exhaling grey smoke through his nose and thumping ashes into the overflowing ashtray on the bar. “Coulda made it look like an accident, like she fell or something.”

“The cops know when you try to make it look like an accident,” I said. It never ceased to amaze me what people will say to a complete fucking stranger in a bar.

“Did I tell you she was fucking my cousin? She won’t admit it, but I know she was. Neighbor told me he was over there all the time, when I wasn’t home. I called him on it, he said he was fixin’ this or fixin’ that, shit I couldn’t or wouldn’t fix. The only thing that sumbitch was fixin’ was her.”

“Damned shame,” I said.

“I whipped his ass, right in front of his ol’ lady. Told her what was goin’ on with him and Charlene, too. She didn’t believe me, but she’s a stupid bitch anyways. Never was too bright.”

“They believe what they wanna believe,” I said.

“Ain’t that the truth,” he said, draining his beer and slamming the bottle down on the bar with a belch.

I signaled the bartender for another round of shots and beers, and he nodded in my general direction. These small town beer joints aren’t always keen on strange faces, even if they were drinking hard and tipping well. The bartender brought the drinks and put them in front of us, and Marty quickly downed the shot then took a long pull from the beer without so much as a nod or a wink.

“I gotta head back to my hotel pretty soon. Got an early one tomorrow, and my luck it’ll be a long one too,” I said, rolling the plastic shot glass between my thumb and forefinger. “You still gonna give me a ride?”

“Sure thing, hoss. You pay the check while I drain the main thang. Be right back,” he said, gingerly slipping off the barstool and headed towards the dark hall across the bar. I threw three wrinkled twenties on the bar and pulled on my jacket and gloves.

He lit another smoke as we walked across the parking lot to his truck, a late-model lifted Ford with naked-lady mudflaps and a Confederate flag in the back window. I slowed my steps to fall in behind him, and pulled the .38 snubbie from my jacket pocket and thumbed the hammer back.

“Sure is a cold one tonight,” he said, flipping his cigarette butt away and pulling his keys from his pocket.

“I heard that,” I said, levelling the revolver at his head. “But Charlene says for me to tell you to go to hell, so you ain’t gonna have to worry about that much longer.”

He stopped and turned slowly to see the muzzle of the Ruger pointed at his face, then smiled.

“Tell her I’ll see her there,” he said, as I pulled the trigger.

~ fin ~

Greg Roberts enjoys good tequila, southern rock, motorcycled, and hard boiled crime fiction. He lives in Texas with his two sons.