“You are always fuckin’ everything up, Jack,” my wife, Yolanda, whispered to me. “I don’t even know why I bother anymore.” Alarms blared, and emergency lights flashed neon red up and down the halls of the hospital’s basement.
I shook my head and peered around the bend, gun pointed down the corridor. “We’re good,” I said. We moved slowly toward the stairs. I knew Yolanda wanted to run, because that’s just how impatient she is, but during grabs, I could always count on her to reign herself in a little.
As soon as we got to the stairs, though, she lost it. “Why did you not have your safety on?! No one was supposed to get shot. We could have been in and out!” she yelled as we ran down the stairs.
“His name was Pete,” I said. “Pete Strahan. I wonder if he had any kids.” We reached a set of double doors, each with an exit sign above them, and shoved through them into the sunlight.
“We got what we came here for. Hopefully no one saw your face,” my wife said, and yanked open the passenger side of our getaway car—a taxi, whose driver glanced at the meter and smirked. “I got shotgun,” Yolanda said.
I got in behind her.
* * * * *
In the golden afternoon glow of the kitchen in the house we rented, Yolanda sat at the table, staring at the pile of documents, a mug of hot tea steeping in front of her. I stood, leaning against the counter, and smoked a cigarette.
“Christ, Jack, that’s your third in fifteen minutes. Concentrate,” she said, her green eyes staring at me.
I nodded, once. “Don’t know why a bunch of papers are so important.” I saw the guard’s face as I shot him. His body slumped to the floor. A crimson hole steamed in his chest.
“He told us,” Yolanda said, and Pete disappeared. “They’re original hospital records.” She removed the tea bag and stirred sugar into the mug, added cream, and took a sip. She closed her eyes and smiled, all of the tension—for the moment—seeping out of her body.
I shoved the remainder of my cigarette into a little bed of ashes and lit another. “Is he on his way?”
“Yes.” She rolled her eyes.
“I just want to get this over with,” I said. “I’ve never killed no one before.”
She folded her arms across her thin chest. The sunlight made her red hair look like it was on fire. “It was an accident, darlin’. Next time, just make sure your safety’s on.”
“Just makes me nervous, is all. We sign up for a job that we don’t know no details for, don’t even know the guy’s name, then I… kill a guard, cameras everywhere—” Someone knocked at the door. I dropped my cigarette into the ashtray and stared at the window. It should be a man’s job to answer the door, but my legs felt like sun dried gum.
…a tight little story [...] a fun ride — a tale that twists and turns until it hits an ironic ending. (LA Noir)