Johnny Cliche (short fiction)

“You’ll never walk away from this, Johnny,” he said.

“Who says I’m walking, Malone? I’m taking the train.” I kept my gun on him, and he kept his hands on the desk.

Malone smirked. “You don’t got the guts to pull that trigger. You’re a loser, Johnny. A schmuck. You’ll always be one.”

“And you’re a heartless son of a bitch,” I replied. “But you forgot one thing. I’m a man with nothing to lose.”

I grabbed the suitcase, opened it just long enough to glance at the neatly stacked bills inside.

“You aren’t going to count it?” asked Malone.

“I trust you.”

“All this for a dame? I thought you were smarter than that. Do you think you’re her white knight? Don’t be a sucker. She’s playing you. You can’t be that stupid.”

“I could be,” I replied.

She wasn’t just any dame. It wasn’t just her long legs that went on forever or those lips that tasted like heaven, or the way every head would turn when I entered a room with her on my arm. It wasn’t her warm body pressed against mine. It wasn’t the way her blue eyes could burn right into a man’s soul, unearthing passions he didn’t know he had.

It wasn’t just that.

“She’s using you,” he said.

“What makes you think I give a damn. It’s nothing personal, Malone.”

He laughed. “You pull that trigger, you’ll be just as bad as me.”

He wasn’t wrong.

I shot him twice in the head, locked up his office, and headed back to her place.

She greeted me at the door in a sheer nightgown that left nothing to the imagination. The things that body had made me do. The things I was still willing to do for it. I wasn’t a sucker. I knew the score. She didn’t love me. She wasn’t the kind of lady to love anything but money. But I had money.

She wrapped her arms around me and kissed me hard. She pulled away with the suitcase in hand.

“You want to count it?” I asked.

“I trust you.”

“Nothing holding us back now,” I said. “The world is our oyster, baby. What say we find a nice little island paradise with sandy white beaches where we can sip mai tais and make love under the moonlight.”

She turned, pointed my gun at me. She must’ve taken it during the hug.
“Sorry, Johnny, there’s been a change of plans.”

“But, baby, you and me—”

“Just don’t feel like a two way split. I’ve never been good at sharing.”

The gunshot exploded like thunder. I slid against her bed. It didn’t hurt. The red stain spread across my shirt, but it didn’t hurt.

She changed out of her nightgown as I bled to death. That body. A devil wrapped in an angel’s body. But that was how the devil was supposed to work, right?

She grabbed another suitcase she’d had hidden behind her nightstand. “Sorry, Johnny. It’s nothing personal. You understand.”

“Sure, sure,” I said. “You wouldn’t happen to have a cigarette you could spare, would you?” Everything was cold. It wouldn’t be much longer now.

She put the cigarette between my lips and lit it. She planted one last kiss on my cheek. “I liked you. But I like money more.”

She was out the door, leaving me to die alone. Then again, didn’t we all?
I thought about that briefcase full of money, buried in an empty lot on the way from Malone’s office to here and the other case, full of blank paper, being carried onto a train by a dame I’d killed for.

“Nothing personal, doll.”

I wheezed out my last chuckle as the world faded away.

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