The mud clings to Mallory’s boots like an unwanted memory, making a wet, sucking sound whenever she takes a step. Brown water quickly drowning any footprints she leaves behind as she makes her way towards the car abandoned on the side of the road. Inside it she finds a man sitting on the driver seat, stained hands pressing against his stomach in an attempt to stop the bleeding.
His head rolls toward her. His eyes, once sharp blue pools are now shallow and fading, more puddles than pools. She’s seen this look before. She’s been the cause of it more times than she can count.
“Figures he’d send you,” he says, blood trickling from between his fingers.
“Not many left after the stunt you pulled. Where you get the dynamite from anyways?”
Thin lips curve into a smile and for an instant Joe’s eyes become summer pools again. “Didn’t expect that right? Getting the sticks was easy. But sneaking them into the restaurant, that was the hard part. Did I get him?”
Mallory shakes her head. “He’s pissed, and he might have some scars, but no, you didn’t get him.”
With a sigh, Joe rests his head back. “Scars are good. Guy always cared too much what he looked like, with his pressed suits and little froo-froo handkerchief peeking out from his pocket.” He takes a breath and winces, “It’s why you’ll never move up, you know. He likes his ladies demurred and in dresses. Not six feet tall, built like a linebacker and always wearing men’s clothes.”
“They’re not men’s clothes.” It seems silly to be correcting him at this point, but Mallory somehow feels she should. “I just have them made specifically for me.”
“Point still holds. He keeps you around because you’re good at the job, but he’s never going to give you more than you have now. Dunno why you stay.”
Others have wondered the same. It’s not like the pay’s any good. And Mallory’s seen the confusion on her boss’s face whenever he’s talking to her. Like he’s still trying to wrap his head around the fact that his best guy is not a guy at all.
“You’re a loyal bitch, I’ll give you that.” Joe says.
“Where is she, Joe?”
He turns to look at her again and gives her a smile, the puddles in his eyes starting to dry out. “Fuck you, Mad Dog.”
It hurts. It shouldn’t, because at the end of the day, it’s not like they were anything but coworkers to each other. But still, Joe calling her by that name, the one normally said behind her back or at the bar after the boys have had one too many, hurts. So maybe Mallory can be forgiven for taking out her glock and squeezing the trigger. The flash of the muzzle fills the car as Joe’s body dances to the rhythm of the bullets that plug into his flesh. In a moment, the pools are empty.
Mallory stares at the wrecked inside of the car. “Fuck,” she says. “Fuck, fuck, fuck!” She’s done it again, let her temper get the best of her. No way she can go back to the boss, not empty handed. He was counting on Mallory to return his kidnapped wife to him, the woman that Joe killed eight people for.
Frantically she walks back and forth across the road, trying to find another set of tracks. She’s about to start canvassing the field when she hears something coming from the back of the car. Something that sounds a lot like nails scraping against upholstery.
Getting the trunk open, Mallory sees a curvy blond with a towel stuffed into her mouth and her hands and legs tied. Her eyes are wide, stuck in a look of fear while streams of light pepper the entire body from the bullet holes Mallory’s gun must made. Blood sill stains her nightgown.
Carefully picking up the body, Mallory carries it to her car, and then starts heading back towards the city, where she’ll take the body to her boss and tell him exactly what happened.
She might be a mad dog, but like Joe said, she’s also a loyal one.