John flipped his hand out from his pocket, then unfolded a giant map of the world. “I’ve entered the coordinates. I know where our treasure is.”
“Great work bro,” said D’angelo.
John smirked, then took a step back. “You… believe me?”
“You the treasure hunter, right?”
“Wow, that’s great, really happy to hear it. Wow, I just, didn’t think you’d believe me.”
“Nevada, actually. Nowhere near Las Vegas, I don’t think, unless it’s under it, but that’s only possible if roulette is rigged at the Luxemburg.”
“Go bro, get your treasure,” said D’angelo. He turned his back on John, and walked along the dark street toward McFlannigans.
“What about your share!”
“Keep it,” shouted D’angelo, without bothering to turn around. He had bigger fish to fry – someone was out to kill him. The messages came from an unknown number, and the fact that the predator told him to meet him at McFlannigans was a huge clue – had to be someone he met there.
D’angelo spit in the gutter, then bounced the barrel of his Easton 777 against the flat of his palm. Sunset was his prime suspect – the ominous warning, the quick getaway after taking his phone number, and the threatening pictures she’d posted on her facebook. Still, something didn’t seem right – but the only other person who he’d given his number to was John, and D’angelo was convinced John was too head-balls to be his potential killer.. Unless the lunacy was all an act.
D’angelo reached the door to McFlannigans and checked his phone. The last text told him to meet there in fifteen minutes. That meant he had three left.
D’angelo took a breath and shut his eyes. Shaky hands, thunderous heart beat – moment of truth.
He swung open the door and marched in. Mouth shut, D’angelo checked one side of the bar to the other. The lights were dimmed – closing time. If his killer was here, they could be lurking anywhere.
Place was empty, though darkness filled it.
A creak – far end of the bar counter.
D’angelo sucked in air through his nostrils and inflated his lungs. Sunset was short enough to stay hidden crouching between two bar stools. As he drew closer, the images of her posing with knives flashed through his mind.
Snapping click – same dark spot on the far side of the bar. Identical sound to Sunset’s heel slapping against the floor when she left earlier.
D’angelo stopped. Sweat dripped down his forehead. He fastened his grip around the bat, then slapped and raveled his other hand around the handle.
His teeth stayed closed while his lips peeled away. Fight time.
“Come out!” D’angelo screamed, then took three hard steps forward, arched back for a downward swing at whoever pounced out. He nearly fell forward when he abruptly halted.
“Scared the shit outta me,” he said, then shook his head. He lowered until his bum hovered over his ankles, the studied the poor critter – it was a rat, squirming away from a trap that had just snapped on its neck.
“Wrong move,” said the voice behind him.
D’angelo whirled around.
“Cost him his life.”
D’angelo exhausted a wind of breath, then pressed his hand to his heart. “Whoo-damn bro, don’t sneak up on me like that.”
He stood facing the bartender. “Can’t bring that in here.”
“What?” said D’angelo, before remember the bat he held pointed at him. “Oh, this?”
The bartender snatched it away, then took it to the front door.
“Nah bro, I need-” D’angelo stopped his sentence short when his phone beeped. He slid it out from his pocket – a new text, but this one came from a new unknown number.
Hey, it’s Summer! …So I know I seemed kind of odd when I met you tonight, but I promise (!!!) it wasn’t personal. I’m not really into you either, thought I should mention that : /. I needed to tell you something, but couldn’t do it in person, especially with where we were.
The bartender slammed the door shut and locked it up. D’angelo scoffed, then returned to the text.
The thing is, I’ve been dating Gil for a while, and he really despises you. I mean, I guess you treat him like shit or something? Hollering at him whenever you need a drink? Anyway, I just broke up with him and think it might have sent him over the edge : ( So just stay away from him… he’s kind of a convicted killer… kthanksbye.
D’angelo shook the phone back into his pocket. “Gil?”
The bartender had his back turned, grabbing something from behind the bar counter. “What?”
D’angelo creeped toward the front door.
“Can’t go out that way. Just locked up.”
D’angelo stopped in his tracks. “Where’s my bat?”
Gil the bartender rotated around, double barrel rifle in hand. He cocked and loaded it. “Seemed to hit it off with Sunset earlier. Fuck her yet?”
“No,” said D’angelo, with his hands up. “Never.”
“Shouldn’t let strangers read your phone number out loud. Could get in the hands of the wrong person.”
D’angelo’s eyes darted everywhere – no way out.
“Why don’t we take a walk… prick.”
“Just wanna go home, bro. Got nothin’ with you.”
“‘Course not. I’m just the lowlife bartender who serves your drinks, right? Nothing but the piece of shit whose girlfriend you’re fucking?”
“Just met her tonight, swear to God.”
“Save it. Let’s go.”
Gil came around then prodded D’angelo forward by poking the gun barrel into his spine. D’angelo walked toward the back door with no weapon, no plan, and no idea how he could survive this.
He opened the door, and the two walked alone into a dark alleyway. Nobody else around, nothing but a dumpster.
“On your knees.”
“Just let me go-”
“On your knees!”
D’angeled shut his eyes, then lowered.
“I never touched your girl-”
“I’m in charge, now! I pick your last words!”
D’angelo shut his mouth. Gil smacked him in the ear.
“Wish you were me,” said Gil.
D’angelo pursed his lips.
Gil punched the back of his head, and D’angelo spilled forward. Gil grabbed him back up.
A pair of headlights flashed on. D’angelo and Gil turned simultaneously – a purple civic.
“Who the fuck!” said Gil. He stormed toward the vehicle, rifle aimed.
D’angelo spun around – if he ran the opposite direction now he could make a clean getaway.
“Move your ass!” Shouted Gil. He fired a warning shot at the vehicle, taking out the passenger side headlight. The engine revved.
D’angelo noticed a cracked brick lying on the ground. He picked it up.
“I said MOVE!” said Gil. He fired another round, this one at the civic’s grill. The engine revved again.
D’angelo brought his arm back, then flung the brick at Gil’s head. It smacked him in the shoulder blade instead, doing little more than buising him.
“Motherfucker!” said Gil. He faced D’angelo again, loading another round.
Tires spun, and the purple civic floored it straight toward them. Gil grew distracted, caught between firing at the vehicle and shooting D’angelo. D’angelo stormed forward, dove forward and tackled Gil before he could take any shot. The Honda Civic plowed into them before they could hit the ground.
Windshield shattered, fragments spilling everywhere. Gunshot – bullet whizzed by D’angelo’s ear. He struggled with one arm to keep Gil from aiming at his head. Car crashed into the dumpster, and both men rolled off the hood and onto the pavement.
“You’re dead!” yelled Gil.
One of the larger fragments spilled with them. D’angelo clenched it, then sliced Gil’s throat with one swift swing of his arm.
Gil clutched his neck as he gurgled on his own blood and folded backwards, landing with a rock-hard slam to the back of his head.
“You wish you were me now, bitch!” said D’angelo.
Car door opened – the driver was Sunset, John emerged from the passenger side.
“Oh my God, I’m so sorry!” said Sunset. She covered her mouth, then ran over and hugged D’angelo.
“Forget it, ‘preciate the heads up,” he said.
“Glad that’s over with,” said John. “Now we’ve got a twelve hour roadtrip. I hope your bags are packed, or at least you can pack them quick, or maybe just leave without bags altogether.”
D’angelo pulled away from Sunset. “Hold up… whatchu doin’ with him?”
“Who, John?” said Sunset.
“I thought he told you.”
“Knights of Templar… I’m a treasure hunter, too.”
D’angelo raised his eyebrows, then let out a long whistle and nodded.
- Thomas M. Watt