A Chance to Prove It


Most folks would have called the police when they came home and saw the door like that. All half-ass open, lock scuffed-up – from a crowbar maybe? A screwdriver?

Somebody wanted inside – might have still been there. This would have been the time to step back, stay calm, call the cops. This is what most folks would have done.

But Javelle was no punk. Fuck the police. And fuck everybody who challenged his manhood with all that ‘Baldwin Hills ain’t Compton’ shit. He was a man. And fuck everybody who said he wasn’t.

So he jabbed a hand inside his duffel bag, face slanted by a grin. Then he strolled inside, eager to meet this fool with the bad timing.  “Who’s up in this motherfucker?” he demanded, growling away any trace of Baldwin Hills from his voice.

Nobody answered, but a shuffle across the floor in a distant room slowed Javelle’s stroll into a cautious creep. He now took baby steps forward, gun at his hip. Eyes wide and head on a swivel.

His bedroom had been tossed into chaos. Blankets strewn across the floor, drawers overturned on the carpet, closet door ripped off the hinges.

The living room suffered less damage, but it wasn’t pretty. Glass everywhere, wooden chair snapped in half. Somebody wasn’t bullshitting.

“I know somebody’s here. If I don’t get a answer soon, I got something for your ass.” He pulled back the gun’s hammer all menacing and shit. But it wasn’t as loud as it always sounded on TV.

A stumble snagged his attention, brought his gaze to the hallway closet. Nothing to do now but stand there and wait, gun raised and ready for anything. Maybe the dude would step out, hands up, face frozen in terror. Or maybe he’d find the aluminum bat tucked under the pile of jackets. Shit. 

“Come on out!”

He repeated it, but this time it sounded more like a question. A second repeat was even worse, his voice now sailing into the upper registers. He stopped himself just before adding a please.

“You can’t stay your ass in there forever!”

The dude inside grunted in agreement. Then Javelle heard aluminum scrape against the wooden door, shoving it open with a slow creaky whine. Shit.

“You try anything and you got a problem!” Javelle shouted at the darkness before him, backing up a step or two, wiping sweat from his fingers before raising the gun again – this time with two hands, trying to keep that sight from shaking so much. “Come on out. Please.”

And there he was – skinny, about nineteen, half-asleep or maybe high. But not scared. The dude’s eyes didn’t look right. They weren’t stretched wide like somebody scared of getting shot. And why the fuck was he smiling like a well-armed hunter watching a rabbit charging his ankle?

The first swing shouldn’t have caught Javelle off-guard – and wouldn’t have if he could’ve lifted his gaze from the floor. But instead, the bat pounded his temple, angry and raw like a left hook from a panzer tank, jolting him into a palsied bag of meat. The gun slipped from his hand like a forgotten idea.

The second swing emptied almost everything left. He stabbed at the floor with his forehead, hitting it awkward and all wrong, spine arched, arms curled backwards, the gun’s butt useless and cold against his nose.

He might as well have been a bag of staples as the dude stepped over him, casually strutting into the living room for everything he hadn’t yet taken. But Javell wasn’t done. “Come on back!” he yelled, every syllable sending blood splatters across the hardwood floor, turning his hallway into a Goddamn Jackson Pollock. “You want some more?” he garbled. “Come get some if you a man!”

Finding his footing was a struggle with the room world spinning like that. “You want some more?” he repeated, no voice left. “Come get some if you a man!”

But the dude was long gone now. Nothing left to do but keep demanding a second round while trying to scrape his ass off the floor like he’d forgotten how he got down there in the first damn place.

~ fin ~

Copper Smith lives and writes in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His deeply troubling noir can be found at Pulp Metal Magazine, Near to the Knuckle and Yellow Mama. His Jake Legato PI series can be found on Amazon. Additionally, his personal blog is AuthorCopperSmith.com.