Cobalt Blues


The heist had gone off easier than I thought and Craig had a gym bag full of money in the back seat, so I was shocked when the bastard pulled his Sig Sauer and cocked the hammer, aiming it at my head. “Keep driving, you son of a bitch,” he said.

There was enough money in the bag to keep him drunk and fed for years. But Craig wasn’t the type to save and plan ahead. He wanted everything right now.

“Put the gun down,” I told him.

Craig narrowed his gaze. “Shut up,” he said.

He pressed his big badass pistol against my temple. Pull the trigger and it’s adios. No options. I looked ahead, steering the Cobalt as the roadway curved and dipped into the New Jersey hills. The jagged gray teeth of the Pennsylvania mountains shimmered in the distance. The land was awakening from its sleep.

“You done?” I asked.

Craig glanced out the windshield and then back at me. He positioned himself to face my direction. “You think I won’t do it?”

“Put that damn gun away,” I said.

I turned slightly to look into the rearview and felt the rim of the barrel against my skull. In my mind’s eye, I saw how the firing pin would hit the primer, setting off the propellant and creating a huge amount of gas pressure to thrust out the bullet. I envisioned how the bullet would leave the barrel with extreme velocity, leaving behind the cartridge and exhaust. I knew it was as simple as Newton’s third law of motion; that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

“Where you taking me?” I asked.

“Far away from my money.” Craig’s eyes darted at the gym bag on the back seat and then back at me. “You think I don’t know what you’re up to, huh?”

“What’s that?”

“That you were going to screw me out of that money,” he said

“I drove for you while you stole it, right?”

“You think some of that’s yours, huh?”

“I don’t give a shit,” I said.

“How about Tracy?”

“My wife? What about her?”

“You know.”

“What do I know?” I said.

Craig fell silent.

“You’re a sick son of a bitch,” I said. “I’ll pull over.”

“You’ll be dead before the car stops.”

Instead I slammed the accelerator and the Cobalt’s engine panged. The dashboard

Clock read: 5:58 AM.

“What the hell are you doing?” Craig said.


Craig gripped the steering wheel with his right hand. I saw the claw of a scorpion tattoo protruding from his shirt sleeve. “Cut it out,” he seethed. He stuffed his gun between his legs and with his left hand grabbed the back of my neck.

I lunged for the gun and lost control. We hit the guard rail and slammed into the side of a pine tree that skirted the roadway. When we came to rest, all that was left was twisted metal and cash all over the roadway.

“You bastard!” I screamed through my teeth. Gripped by pain, I felt along my chest and found ribs had broken, and my ankle was twisted like an angle bracket.

He looked at me with cold eyes. Blood was coming from his ears and dripping from the corner of his mouth.

“Tracy,” he muttered.

I could see his body was jammed into the wreckage. He was worse off than I was, but he had managed to hold the gun in his right hand.

“What about my wife?” I said.

“She’s pregnant.”

I ripped the gun from his hand and squeezed the trigger. The gunshot cracked and reverberated in the distance. “You scumbag” I said.

I collected as much cash as I could and limped off, thinking about what I was going to do when I got home. She’d borne me three healthy boys and bailed my ass out more times than I could remember.

I looked back at the wreckage and could see the search light of a police cruiser pinned on the Cobalt and how the strobe lights flickered and rebounded off the tall pines and guardrail. All that flashing had cloaked me in the shadows. If I was going to make it home, I had to get moving.

~ fin ~

George Beck writes in the New Jersey shadows of the Manhattan metropolis. His last novel, Trounce, was featured in the Bostonia, which claimed that Trounce “aspires to the stark violence of Cormac McCarthy’s work and the noir-styling’s of Raymond Chandler.” His new novel, The Killer Among Us is being published by Noir Nation Books and will be released shortly.  His short stories have also appeared in Flash Fiction Offensive, and Yellow Mama magazine. He’s a PhD student, adjunct professor, and police detective. He can be contacted at