I Wish This Night Was Over This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

April 4, 2012
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The tires screeched against the asphalt pavement as the car sped away from the echoing sirens behind us. As soon as they were gone, Stevie slowed the car down and parked his sedan under a broken street light.
The bum we threw into the backseat jumps out of the car, somehow escaping his tightly wound handcuffs.
“The Houdini of the Streets,” I thought.
Stevie groaned and jumped out too, slamming the driver door shut.
“Son of a b****!” Stevie yelled.
“Calm down!” I yelled. I climbed out and closed my passenger door.
Stevie chased the bum, who ran ahead, panting his heated breaths into the cold night air.
I strolled behind them, pulling a canteen of liquor from my coat pocket, taking a warm sip from it, then slipped it back in my coat. I sighed as I watched Stevie caught the bum, pushing him into a bed of jumbled garbage bags.
“Where is he?” Stevie yelled into the bum’s dirty face.
The bum didn’t reply.
So, Stevie smashed a fist into his face. Stevie liked to do the classic beat- down method of getting leads for most of our cases.
I preferred to hand the witness or person of interest a roll of cash and give them a nice, fake smile. Of course, the pacifists always end up never getting real leads, and also lose a month’s rent worth of cash. I guess it’s easy to take cash and lie, but it’s hard to stay quiet after your face is smashed into a bloody pulp. There’s only one thing worse that can happen after that.
I watch as Stevie stretches the bum’s arm out over the pavement, then stomp down on it. A loud snap and crack echoed through the alley, followed by a high pitch scream.
I covered my ears until it stopped.
“Not even close, Stevie” I think.
Stevie was a bit too aggressive, especially with a bum that knew something as significant as a rumor heard over a simple phone conversation would be, but it’s reasonable. It’s how he dealt with the murder of his wife. It was easy to figure how badly he’d take it.
I think the real tragedy is that she told me she was pregnant with his kid before she died. I should’ve told him that, but that’d just make matters worse for him.
“I should tell him when he’s less compelled to shoot someone,” I think. I have to soon. The results of his wife’s autopsy will come in within a matter of hours, so it’s only a matter of time before he finds out, which gives less time for me to prepare.
“I bet it’s not his kid,” I think. I look over at Stevie yelling and beating the bum more and more, quickly tiring himself out.
“Ahhh, to hell with it,” I think, walking over and patting him on the back.
“What is it?” He asked, taking a moment to rest, sitting down on the wet ground and panting deep breaths.
“I need to tell you something,” I replied.
I opened my mouth, but none of the words come out. For a few long minutes, I ‘m silent.
“What is it, Frank?” Stevie asked.
I tried to force them out, but I couldn’t. It didn’t feel like the right moment. I knelt down beside the bum.
“I think he’s had enough of you,” I said.
Stevie nodded and sat back against the alley wall.
I thought of being the good cop. Then again, being the worst cop turned out to be more effective. I pulled my gun from its holster, clicked the chamber back, and shoved the barrel into the bum’s throat.
“I want you to tell me where Marizini is. Can you do that for me?” I asked.
The bum whimpered in fear.
I wondered if it was the gun or the casual tone of my voice that told him he was going to unless he told me.
“He’s at the Green- Green Street Diner! I swear he’s there! He’s there or at that sleaze pit of a hotel across the street!” The bum yelled, drops of cold sweat and tears rolling down his forehead and cheeks.
I figured he’d be at the diner. He only went to the hotel every other month, when his wife went to her mother’s.
“Thanks,” I said, then pulled the trigger, popping one into his chin. The bullet tunneled through his head, then burst the top of his skull open. Blood sprayed out like a geyser and rained onto the snow covered pavement.
“Sweet Jesus! Did you have to that?” Stevie yelled. As if he wasn’t that brutal to the bum before.
“No loose ends,” I said, holstering my gun and checking myself. Just a little bit of blood spilled on my clothes.
“Besides, if I hadn’t killed him, he would have told the others where we’re going next,” I said. Stevie shook his head and headed back to the sedan. Of course he wouldn’t find reason in shooting a homeless bum that would rat us out and get him in jail.

It’s hard to believe that I was a police detective until about seventeen hours ago. Stevie was my partner in homicide, but after the mob got their inside connections to pin us for his wife’s murder, we both became prime suspects.
It all started with him getting a call.
Some stripper had gotten shot in front of her humble workplace. Once we got there and found young Brandi’s bled out body lying on the curb next to the strip joint she worked at, Stevie and I drove off to find out who did it and why. Sometime after we started looking, an old junker crashed into our squad car and leaked out a squad of greaseball hitmen with automatic weapons. We got out, took cover and called for backup. I did mostly, while Stevie pulled out his pistol and started shooting.
Long story short, they started firing, we started firing, they all died.
Instead of calling for backup, I called an ambulance in for a cleanup.
Later on, I heard from one of our boys that they were coming with arrest warrants for both of us.
Stevie figured it was the Mob who killed his wife and wanted to get rid of anybody who would do anything about it.
So, we ran, Stevie hell-bent on finding Brandi’s killers.
And me? Well, I cared less aside from getting arrested.
So, we started looking for Marizini, one of our informants who had went silent.
“You think Marizini knows anything about who killed Brandi?” I asked.
“I don’t know, Frank. I just wish this night was over,” Stevie said.

The dark sedan slowed down and parked next to a empty, dimly lit sidewalk. The quiet silhouettes of Steve and Frank climbed out, walking together toward the diner. They stepped inside and found Marizini sitting in a booth at the back. He was a tired-looking, portly fellow dressed in a snappy gray suit, slopping his face over a large piece of apple pie. The fat man noticed them walking over and watched, wiping his mouth and hands with a napkin.
“I hear you both are in some bad trouble. The type you must have bumped uglies with the Don’s wife to get caught in,” He said.
“Screw you” Stevie replied.
“How would you even know about that, Jerry? It’s only been a couple of hours since the police reports released. Are there other guys looking for us? Do you think we can find out who?” Frank asked.
Marizini straightened himself up, yanking on the tight crimson tie around his throat, and wiping a hand over his bright sweaty forehead.
“What a poker face. You know something,” Stevie thought. Stevie and Frank sat down across from Marizini, staring at him, waiting for an answer.
Frank sat forward and clasped his hands together on the table, still staring at Marizini.
“Listen, I heard nothing, okay? I haven’t talked to anyone in months. I’m done with that,” Marizini said.
Stevie slammed a fist down on the table.
“Of course you’re out of that business! With your new Cadillac sitting outside, right?” Stevie yelled.
Marizini pushed his plate aside and sighed, then pulled out his wallet, flipping through his thick stack of bills to pay for his check.
“Let me pay for it, Jerry. Your wallet must be in such pain,” Frank said.
“Well, screw you too, Frank. I hope you met that mother of yours in hell someday,” Marizini said.
“Just tell us what you know about Stevie’s wife? Do you know who killed her?” Frank asked, giving Stevie a sorry look, “We found out earlier this morning.”
Marizini shook his head and stared outside the bay window next to them.
“I tried to get out. I really did. I have a gorgeous wife and two tough boys, and a girl on the way. I mean, I have everything to lose in this business. Those other guys have as much as I do, but they think they won’t lose it. As if they’ll never get pinched or wacked ever. So, they act like they got nothing to lose. Then, they end up losing it all at once. I don’t want to be one of those guys. He gets hurt. He gets hurt real bad,” Marizini said.
“What do you know about her, Jerry? TELL ME!” Stevie screamed.
Marizini shook his head once more, then hunched closer to them.
“Last night, a couple of Dons, some of the most powerful, took out a few of their friends in the department on a night on the town. First they wined and dined them, then ended up going to some strip joint. When one of the girls there said she wouldn’t give it up to one of the suckers. POW! One of them shoots her,” Marizini finished, sitting back. Stevie stared into empty space, imagining some dirty cop trying to put the screws on his wife, then shoots her for being loyal to her husband.
“B*****d,” Stevie thought. Tears rolled down his cheeks, but he wiped them away and looked back at Marizini.
“Who did it, then?” He asked.
“I don’t know” Marizini replied.
Stevie took one deep breath and screamed, “Who the hell killed my wife!”
Marizini reached over and patted him on the back.
“I don’t know who did it, but I can tell you where to find a guy who does,” He said.
“Where can we find him?” Frank asked.
“Well, first guy you should try finding this guy I know, Nicky. He usually spends his hours at the Trenton Jazz Club. If he’s no good, go to this place called the Black Sheen. It’s a strip club not too far off from here. A girl that works there, Chastity, was working at the same joint that night your wife was. If she doesn’t give you guys a lead, I know a guy who hires hit men AND was there that same night. Jack Loompo. He’s at the Red Dust Lounge and usually stays there until sunrise,” Marizini explained, “and Stevie, I’m sorry about Brandi. I really am. I wish I could help some more, but I can’t.”
Stevie wiped some more of his tears off and shook Marizini’s hand.
“Thank you, Jerry” He said.
Stevie and Frank said their goodbyes and left. Outside, Frank and Stevie decided on what leads to get on first.
“I think we should split up to cover the leads faster. God knows we’re already on borrowed time as it is,” Frank said.
“Fine. Who should I find first?” Stevie asked.
“You go to that Trenton club and find this Nicky guy. I’ll go to Black Sheen and find that dancer Chastity. We’ll meet at the Red Dust Lounge, talk over what we found out, and then go find Loompo. He seems like our best bet,” Frank explained.
“Got it. Do you want me to drive you to the strip joint?”
“It’s fine, Stevie. You need time to think. I’m just gonna go make a few calls back inside the diner and catch a cab after. You don’t need me to help you out.”
“I do” Stevie said.
Frank shook his head and waved goodbye, heading back inside the diner.
Stevie waved back, then climbed into his sedan and drove away.

I drove my car through the streets, a dark shadow passing through incandescent streetlights. I was tired of all this. I felt sick knowing that out there, some dirty cop sat in front of his TV, watching some crappy late night rerun, his hand halfway down his pants, wondering what could have been if he had sex with my wife the night before. He would’ve shrugged at the thought of knowing that she’s dead and that he killed her, and he would because he knew his buddies in the Mob wouldn’t let anything bad happen to him.
Then again, he could’ve been paranoid as hell, watching his door, waiting for the feds, or someone who knew he killed a stripper, to break in the door and arrest him. Maybe he was so wracked with guilt, he could barely sleep, or think, or function as a regular person should. Maybe cause he knew he was never a good person.
“B*****d,” I thought.

My day started with me and Frank heading to a crime scene. The case: homicide. The victim: a young, beautiful singer named Anne Meyer. She was found dead behind the club she just started playing shows at. Her black silk dress was torn, mostly down from the collar, exposing her bare chest. Both pieces of her undergarments were ripped off by the killer, obvious signs of rape.
What I wanted to know was if he did it before or after he killed her. I tried thinking about it through his eyes. He wanted blood, but also had a desire to ravage her.
She must have been a fighter, from the look of her red, bruised knuckles.
It looked like the sick b*****d had gotten his rocks off after he killed her.
“The horrible monster” I thought.
Frank and I worked on that case all day, searching for any clues as to who the suspect was or where he came from.
That evening, I remembered talking to the club manager about a group of suit- clad men getting a bit wild inside. He said one of them was getting a bit too friendly with Ms. Meyer after she finished her set. He told me he remembered her telling him to get security and throw the drunken a****** out.
I hated cases like this. I always did.
In cases like this, figuring out who did it and catching them was the simple part. But from then on, I had to live with the image of that girl in my head, another amongst the hundreds already burrowed into my brain.
“At least it’s Friday. Now Brandi and I can enjoy the weekend together,” I thought.

The last few weeks were rough on the both of us. She was always too busy during the weekend and worked early as a waitress and late at night as a dancer.
I could never accept her choice for both her occupations, especially since one of them kept her from spending time with me in the mornings and the other kept me from seeing her at night without watching her take her clothes off for other men.
At first, I somehow got passed it, but by then, I started arguing with her, telling her we didn’t need any of the extra money she got from dancing.
She disagreed, telling me we needed extra cash, “just in case.”
I had no idea what she was talking about.

Later that night, while Frank and I were on our way to the suspect’s high- class, penthouse apartment, we got a call.
It was from the chief, telling us to come down to the Blackstone Heights Gentlemen’s Club.
I thought it was for some lucky guy’s birthday and we were going there to congratulate him, maybe even rest in the club for awhile, and enjoy ourselves.
“If things go right, tonight” Frank said.
I had met up with him a few minutes after having a late dinner. He went to a deli a long way from the restaurant I went to, so I had to pick him up.
“Too bad. If we went earlier, we could have interrupted Mr. Dirt- Rich- Stock-Broker and his family having dinner together,” I said. The satisfaction of taking down such a scum bag and taking him away from the perfect life he ruined for himself was something I craved.
Instead, we dispatched another unit to go make the arrest.

We had to turn back the way we came and head to the strip joint. With some regret, we passed the deli I had picked Frank up from a few minutes ago.
Later, we got to the strip joint, seeing several other squad cars surrounding the entrance. At that moment, I got the feeling something was wrong.
I parked our cruiser and got out, running toward the crowd of friends and colleagues, each giving me sorrowful looks as I moved closer to the center, the spot on the ground where they all stared at before I came. I stepped closer, noticing that I stepped into a pool of dark red blood. Then I saw her, lying on the ground.
My wife. My angel. The one thing I had left to lose.
I shuddered, my eyes wide, my lungs slowly filling up with air. I shuddered one more time, fell to my knees, and cried out at the top of my lungs. I clung to her dead body until they pulled me off.
After that, I had red in my eyes as the stains on my clothes. I changed out of the bloody rags, then flew from the scene with Frank, searching for anybody that knew anything. After the mob attacked us, I realized that Marizini was our best chance for any lead, but we had no idea where he was. As I went through a tantrum in the car, yelling and screaming about Marizini, a bum walked up to my window and said he knew where he was. I cuffed the piece of s*** and stuffed him into my back seat.

On my way to the Jazz Club, I tried to keep myself together between each minute. I felt so numb. I could hardly think. I hated this too. Searching for my wife’s killers. It just continued to remind me that she’s dead.
“Brandi, wherever you are, I miss you,” I thought.
I turned left into another silent street and see the Trenton Jazz Club. I pull up into the parking spot nearest to the entrance and step out. As I walk over to the front doors, a young doorman standing there greets me and opens them.
“Thank you,” I said, and step inside.

Frank stood next to a chair in the makeup room behind the stages of Black Sheen.
In it, a girl sat slumping in her seat and staring at the mirror in front of her. She dressed in an erotic pair of black leather boots along with matching underwear.
Frank stared at the small bullet hole in her head.
“Too late, huh?” Frank said, then sighed.

Stevie walked into the Jazz Club and looked around. The room was covered in dark green wallpaper, filled with char black wooden chairs and tables, each stuffed with men and women sipping their drinks and listening to the band playing onstage.
A young man was at the piano, with two others sitting beside him, playing a bass cello and guitar.
A beautiful girl stood at the front of the stage, softly singing into her microphone. When she finished singing with her heavenly voice, Stevie applauded along with the rest of the room, then began searching for Nicky.
He started at the bar. He hunched over toward the bartender, calling to him.

“Do you know a Nicky?” Stevie asked the bartender.
“What’s his last name?” The bartender asked.
“I don’t know.” The bartender sighed and pointed toward the edge of the stage, where only a single table sat. One man sat there, laughing at a joke a man from the next act on the stage said.
Stevie walked over to him.
The man looked like a wise guy. Greased up hair, dark tanned skin, dark eyes, and dressed in a cheap tailored suit.
“What’s your name?” The Joker on stage asked.
“Terry,” The man at the table replied.
Stevie sighed and figured he may as well ask the man if he knew Nicky. He walked up to the table near the stage and sat down in the empty seat next to him.
The wise guy stopped laughing as he looked over at Stevie sitting next to him.
“What do you want?” He asked, clenching his teeth.
“Name’s Steve. Do you know a guy named Nicky?”
The man nodded and looked over behind Steve, calling out, “Nicky!”
Another man walked over and stood in front of them.
Stevie didn’t see a wise guy in the man standing before him.
He was short, pale skinned, still dark haired, but wore a dress shirt and pants.
“No, not as lavish as a mobster,” Stevie thought.
“What is it?” The man named Nicky asked. His eyes seemed to pierce Stevie as they stared at each other.
It didn’t quake him. He wasn’t in the mood to fear anyone tonight.
“I wonder if Nicky feels the same” He thought.
“Who killed my wife?” He asked.
Nicky’s eyes widened.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“This is why I always like playing poker with gangsters. They never know how to keep a straight face,” Stevie thought. He grabbed Nicky by the throat and kicked his legs, knocking him to the floor.
“Tell me who killed her!” Stevie yelled.
Nicky started struggling as Stevie choked the air from his lungs. Stevie pressed his thumbs deeper into Nicky’s throat.
Nicky choked louder and waved over to anyone who would help.
Stevie let one hand go and pulled out his gun.
Everyone that approached them backed away.
Stevie let go of his other hand and asked again, “Who killed my wife?” He stuck the gun barrel against Nicky’s head.
Nicky laughed and said, “I don’t know anything, man!”
Stevie thought it was strange that he laughed. He figured Nicky dealt with the surprise of death in strange ways.
“It does feel different at the other end of the barrel,” Stevie thought.
“You know. Marizini told me. Now tell me who” Stevie said.
Nicky laughed some more.
“I really don’t know.”
Stevie took a deep breath and shoved the barrel deep into Nicky‘s temple, his hand shaking faster in rage.
Nicky laughed more.
“Do you really want to do that? Shoot me in the middle of a room filled with people that will rip you apart afterwards?” Nicky chuckled. Then, he started laughing louder.
Stevie shook more and more. Finally, Stevie dropped his gun and ended the laughing, throwing punch after punch into Nicky’s face.
Blood dripped, then splashed, then poured from Nicky’s face.
Stevie’s shaking ended when he landed one last shattering fist. He stood up and wiped his hands off with a table cloth.
“One last time. Who killed my wife?” Stevie asked.
Nicky spat blood from his mouth and struggled to get up.
“I… don’t… know,” Nicky muttered, then laughed again.
Stevie took a deep breath and walked toward the entrance.
“But she sure would’ve been a nice piece of a**!,” Nicky yelled.
Stevie turned and fired every bullet in his chamber at Nicky’s body.

Frank held the telephone to his ear. He couldn’t believe what they told him. Stevie killed one of their leads.
“How did this happen?” Frank thought. The voice at the other end yelled more, then spoke softly again. He said more problems where on the way.
Frank didn’t need any more problems, especially since he already had enough s*** to deal with.
“So close and Stevie is going to ruin it! I guess I’ll have to deal with him then,” Frank thought, “at least he did what I was going to.”

I killed him. I killed Nicky. And it was so easy. No one did anything about it. Even the friends Nicky had counted on, the ones he threatened me with, did nothing.
“I guess no one wants to kill someone… who’s already dead,” I thought.
I couldn’t think like that. Brandi wouldn’t have wanted me to. I could never think that way. For her, that’s the least I could’ve done. Then, I remembered how she looked when I first saw her. Both times, when she was alive and then… dead.

It had been a hard day at work. Me and Frank had just closed a case we couldn’t solve. After a rampage of rapes, murders, robberies, and kidnappings, one after the other, our culprit, the evil bastard he was, sent us pictures of each person he killed, each girl he ravaged, each child he took away, as his last “screw you” to us before disappearing.
Starting months ago, we began holding the case off, first every other week, then every other few weeks. Finally, that day, we gave up.
I felt terrible. All of those innocent people, dead, and for no reason. So I went to a bar that morning after we closed the case and tried drinking myself to death. I drank every bottle I could afford, then put even more on a tab. After staring into the bottom of my last glass of whiskey, a girl tapped on my shoulder. I barely noticed her or understood what she said.
“My friend back there wants to buy you a drink,” Was what it was.
I drunkenly told her I wanted a scotch.
Her friend got up to pay for it.
I gulped the warm drink down, thanking the blurry figure standing by the bar. After I finished it, I saw the figure walking up to me. I tried waving to it, then lost my balance on the stool. I fell to the ground, passing out.
Hours later, I woke up in a random apartment. I lifted my head from an unfamiliar girl’s lap.
The girl woke up too, looking down at me in her lap.
We stare at each other for one perfect moment.
She said she was the one who bought me that last drink before I passed out.
I told her I didn’t care; she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. She was a vision of everything good left in the world. I said I was meant to pass out and wake up in her lap.
She laughed and smiled which made me feel relieved, happy, scared, uncertain, and alive at the same time. I was in love.

Then, I remember her dead body. That same girl I met after drinking myself half to death, lying dead on the curb next to the strip club she worked at. I shuddered once because I saw and realized she was dead. I shuddered again when I saw her hands clenching her stomach, not the gun wound in her chest.
I wondered why she did that. There was only one possible reason she would. But if I believed it, I wouldn’t have been struggling to find her killers.

Stevie drove silently, heading for the Red Dust Lounge. He called Frank before, telling him to head there soon and meet him.
Frank said he would, but still had to check for any other possible leads.
As Stevie stopped at a red light, he started listening to the police dispatch.
“We have a civilian casualty. One Jerry Marizini, over two hundred pounds, five eight, shot in the head, please send for paramedics,” a voice over the radio said.
“Jerry…” Stevie thought. He pictured Marizini sitting in his booth back at the Green Street Diner, head lying down on the table, a bullet wound opening up the back of his head. Another image that would keep him up at night.
“My wife’s dead. Now, Jerry, an honest man trying to live in this f****d up world, is dead too? How many people are they going to kill?” Stevie thought. Brandi’s death was one too many. And chances were that they would kill Jack Loompo too.
“No, that’s the last lead Jerry gave us. If we lose Jack, we lose the killers. I won’t let them get away with this. Not tonight.” Stevie stomped down on the gas pedal.

Stevie parked the sedan in an alley across from the Red Dust Lounge. He climbed out of the car and straightened his jacket. He noticed his hands started shaking again. He walked across the street and stepped toward the entrance door. A bouncer dressed in a black suit stood at the front, most likely hiding a weapon underneath his jacket.
Stevie moved up to the door, but the bouncer stepped in front of him, telling him he couldn’t go inside. Stevie kneed the man in the crotch, lowered him to the floor, then took the back of his head and smashed the man’s face into the sidewalk.
When he finished, Stevie wiped his hands off and stepped through the tinted glass doors.
The smell of exotic liquor and flavored smoke wafted into his nostrils.
He headed for the bar and sat on a stool. When an attractive girl kindly asked if he wanted a drink, Stevie gave her an angry look, scaring her away. Stevie ordered a beer and waited for Frank. After an hour and a half, he got tired of waiting.
“Screw this” Stevie thought, getting up and looking around.
The Lounge wasn’t that impressive. Just a few booths and some wooden tables scattering the place, except in the far corner. It was covered with oriental rugs, long place mats, and large throw pillows. A real Lounge.
Stevie figured Loompo would be there. He moved toward the lounge and found a man surrounded by several gorgeous women, smoking a pipe.
“Are you Jack Loompo?” Stevie asked.
The man shook his head.
“Just Jackie, thank you,” a voice said.
It came from a dimly lit end of the corner, where Stevie could only see the single orange light of a burning cigarette, growing brighter, then dimmer, then bright again.
“I need some information,” Stevie said.
“What?” Jackie asked.
Stevie came closer.
“A stripper was killed last night. It was my wife, Brandi. I need to know who did it,” Stevie said. Jackie got up from his dark corner and stepped forward. He wore a dark hood that covered his face.
“Come on,” he said.

Stevie followed him out the back door, through the kitchens, and outside into the back alley. Stevie stayed behind Jackie, looking down to the left end of the alley behind them. It was blocked by two rusty, old cars.
Suddenly, he heard a gunshot. He turned to see Jackie dropping to the ground. Just as he reached for his gun, a car at the right end of the alley turned its headlights on, blinding Stevie. He covered his eyes and saw a dark silhouette climb out of the car and walk over to Jackie’s body. The lights turned off and Stevie could see the figure’s face.
He saw his partner, his best friend, a man whom he trusted and thought he knew everything about.
“Frank…” Stevie mumbled.
“Yes?” Frank asked.
“You- you killed Jackie?” Stevie asked.
Frank shook his head, then looked up at the graying sky.
“What happened with the other lead?”
“I killed her,” Frank said, “And Marizini.”
Stevie didn’t believe it.
Frank killed everyone that wanted to help him find Brandi’s killers.
“But why?” Stevie asked.
“No loose ends,” Frank replied.
“But why?” Then he understood. How Frank was so close to Brandi’s strip club that night. How he was killing off every witness and lead.
“You- you killed my wife.”
Frank smirked and shrugged.
“But why?” Stevie asked.
Frank sighed and put his gun back into its holster.
“I’m a hit man, you putz” Frank replied.
“So why did you kill her?” Stevie asked, starting to lose his voice.
“Your Brandi was a whore, Steven. She messed with the wrong man and stole his money. I tracked her down and somehow she happened marry you!”
“So why are the cops after both of us?”
“Because my friends wanted to help me. It was their way of getting me off the force and getting you out of my way. Because of that last hit, because I killed Brandi, I’m getting made. From now on, no one can touch me. Not even you, Stevie.”
“You killed my wife just so you could turn into a greaseball? You piece of s***! You killed my wife!” Stevie yelled, then lunged at him.
Another gunshot echoed through the alley.
Stevie felt the white hot bullet pierce into his side, burning the flesh around it. He looked and saw Jackie getting up from the ground.
He turned out to be some kid working for Frank. And he was completely fine.
“Hey Stevie?” Frank asked.
Stevie said nothing.
“She was pregnant with your kid,” Frank said, laughing a little. He turned and headed for this car.
Stevie watched as Frank and Jack climbed into the car and drove away. He shook and screamed like a child in a tantrum.
“No! No! Nooooooo!” He cried.

A dishwasher taking a break outside the Lounge heard him and came, helping him up. He took Stevie into a back room.
When the police came, the owners and staff led them away, even when asked if they had seen Stevie. Then, they got a doctor to come and take out the bullet in Stevie’s hip. After a long, painful procedure, the doctor pulled the bullet out, then gave Stevie a stiff drink.
Stevie gulped it down, got up and walked outside. The night was over.

The dawning sun rose in the sky over the city. Stevie stood in the alley, watching it. He thought about everything that happened and began to chuckle. Then he started laughing.
“Haha, Frank. Hahaha, Frankie,” Stevie laughed even harder, “hahahaha, Frankie! Hahaha, I’m going to kill you!”

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