For Mia: Kerry Cooke

Every time someone came out of the door a blast of music assaulted his ears and the smell of cigarettes and booze swirled around him. A discarded cigarette smoked and burned at the toe of his shoe. The name above the door declared ‘The Rouge Café’ in gaudy red neon. This looked nothing like a café and a lot like a seedy bar. Checking his watch for what felt like the hundredth time he reaffirmed to himself that the mark should be inside.

In a cacophony of excited giggles two inebriated women fell out of the door, one was wearing a denim skirt and white stiletto heels and the other a black leather skirt with knee high boots, they both wore a red top, cut low to expose their goosepimply breasts. When they saw Danny looking at them they both pursed their lips made smacking noises then ran off giggling, as their long bleached hair bounced behind them.

Danny watched their legs flex, their buttocks work the tight barely-there fabric of their skirts.
‘ Tarts’ he muttered to himself slipping in the door of the ‘café’. He made a quick sweep of the room with his eyes, trying to look as though he was searching for someone.

Nonchalantly he took a seat at the bar, close to the door so that he could see who came and went. The bar tender gave him a perfunctory smile as she put the requested drink on a beer mat. Danny drank it down in one long swallow.

‘Thirsty?’ He nodded and pushed the glass towards her, she filled the same glass and as she turned to walk away with the bottle he grabbed her wrist, with his other hand he held out two twenties.
‘Leave it’ she placed the bottle down and as she took the proffered money Danny watched out of the corner of his eye as the other bar tender leant down, reaching for something under the bar. Luckily when she saw her colleague taking the money she straightened up but continued to watch Danny with wary eyes. Wondering what was under the bar Danny, hoped it was not a panic alarm attached to the police, he would have a lot of explaining to do if they showed up.

Scanning the bar again musing over what he was doing he sipped slowly at this drink not wanting to get too inebriated, but needing some dutch courage.

A job. One job and he was set. One job and he could have her all to himself and that bitch whore wouldn’t even know they’d left the country for twenty-four hours.

The memory of standing on the front lawn of the fat bastard’s house with its twin garages, and white fascias mocking him came to mind. His ex-wife hurrying to get their daughter into the house as though she thought that if Danny set eyes on her Mia would turn to stone
‘Daddy. I wanna see DADDY!’ He heard the heart-wrenching scream as Mia was shoved inside the house and the door was slammed before she could make a bid for freedom.
‘I hope all of this is worth having that prick’s cock in your mouth’ he spat at Mel, wanting her to hurt, wanting her to feel cheap but she just sneered at him, resplendent in designer jeans her bought tits straining the fabric of her cream top, he wondered if she knew, or could even feel anymore, that her nipples were rock solid making her look like a street walker.

‘Oh Danny, Jealous?’

‘I want to see my daughter’ he answered ignoring her question.

‘Maintenance!’ she demanded holding out her hand.

‘MAINTENANCE! FUCKING MAINTENANCE? I’M UNEM-FUCKING-PLOYED THANKS TO YOU AND THAT FAT SHIT!’ Taking several shocked steps backwards she produced an expensive mobile from the pocket of her leather jacket.

‘Shall I call the police?’

‘I’ve got a right to see my daughter’ he said calming quickly, he didn’t fancy being arrested for ‘Breach of the Peace’ again.

‘You’ve got no rights you sad bastard! Fuck off back to that fleapit you call a home and leave me and mine alone’ she spun on her heel and went into the house.

Danny looked up at a window of the large five bedroom detached pile and saw a heart warming sight. His daughter was looking down at him and smiling. With one finger he pointed to his eye with the same finger he sketched a heart over his chest and then pointed muttering under his breath
‘I heart you.’

Mia did the same before she was wrenched out of sight and the termagant troll to whom he’d once been married glared out of the window.

But could he do it? Could he do what he’d been told to do? Half a million pounds was enough to start a new life in a country where it would take his gold digging ex-wife years for extradition and if it took ten all the better, Mia would be sixteen and old enough then to make her own decisions and Danny knew she would chose him.

‘Hey?’ He called to the barmaid she leant over the bar to hear him above the noise.
‘Do you know Hunter?’ She turned her head and surreptitiously lifted her chin towards a man that was sitting at a corner table, he was huge, muscular, with short dark hair wearing a white t-shirt and was accompanied by the most beautiful red head Danny had ever set eyes on, she was wearing a shiny electric blue top so tight he could make out every curve. She was listening, in rapt silence at what Hunter was saying to her.

‘ Thanks’. He got up leaving the bottle and went out into the night.

The stars were bright pinpricks in the clear sky making the night seem freezing. He put his hand in the pocket of his long over coat not to keep warm but to feel the cold metal of the sig saur, he knew that there were bullets in the magazine he’d seen King put them in and heel the magazine home in the butt of the hand gun before he’d handed it over.

‘ You’ll be a cop killer’ he’d said seriously.

‘ I’ll have my daughter’ was Danny’s defiant answer.

He went to the ally through which he knew that Hunter would walk home. He’d never seen Bobby Hunter before, had just been told to be in the ally because that was ‘the marks’ preferred route home. King constantly referring to Bobby Hunter as ‘the mark’ instead of him or he or using his name had started to annoy Danny, but he wasn’t about to argue with the most revered gangster in London.

It was another two hours, six cigarettes, and what felt like two frozen toes later that he heard footsteps enter the ally. Hiding behind a huge pile of boxes he waited. This was it, he was going to kill a man, an officer of the law no less for half a million pounds.

Picturing Mia’s face in his mind he stepped out the gun equipped with its silencer at his side and found himself face to face with ‘the mark’. Or what should have been ‘the mark‘. Electric blue girl stood before him, her eyes widened but that was the only shock she showed.

‘ Where is he?’

‘ Who?’ She had a throaty, sexy voice.

‘ Hunter’ they stood in a tense silence for a moment and then Danny remembered and added ‘I need his help, it’s about King’ as he’s been instructed.

In an instant her face changed, she smiled and took on a caring look.

‘I’m Hunter, Bobby Hunter, I can try and help you, come to my office, and we’ll discuss it’
Bobby Hunter was a woman!. Mia’s face smiled at him, her bright blue eyes twinkling, he imagined her holding her daddy’s hand wandering across the sand of some far distant shore and suddenly he no longer needed to think about it, she was just ‘the mark’, the target he’d been sent after. The sheer desperation of needing his daughter spurred him to lift the gun, confidence leant by alcohol the same substance that marred is moral standards. She started to shout no and tried to turn but the bullet shattered her throat splattering him in blood as she staggered backwards and landed in a pile of rubbish, one bag split spilling its putrid contents.

Her breath rattled, her dark eyes stared, the red wig had come askew showing him dark strands she raised a hand as if asking for help, then the light went out of her eyes and she was still, so very still.

Blinded by scalding tears he ran, ran like he’d never run in his life. Stopping only for a second to tear off his dark shirt to wipe his sticky face and do his jacket up so no one would know he had a bare chest. Heat pounding, muscles screaming in protest, the cold air making his respiratory tract ache, he relished in it all, in the pain, the self flagellation he needed it all to try and help his tortured soul and so he just ran, past streets, and cars people at the end of nights out, lights flashed over head, some turned to stare, but he just kept running.

Eventually the stitch in his side escalated to a crescendo and he could no longer ignore it along with the feeling of nausea whirring in his stomach he doubled up in pain and emptied his stomach in one long liquid heave. Wiping the rancid taste from his cracked lips, rubbing his watering eyes, sniffing back the snot that had ran from his nostrils he pulled the mobile from his pocket and selected the only number in it.

‘ You lied to me’.

‘ I did not lie to you Danny.’ King’s voice was mellow and calm, like what he’d done was nothing more than lie on an insurance claim.

‘Hunter was a woman’ his voice rasped and stung as he spoke, shook with emotion. It felt like he’d screamed. Had he? He couldn’t remember.

‘Hunter was a mark and by the past tense I assume Hunter is now rat food’

‘I did what you told me to do; now you do what you promised. Go and get my daughter.’

They found Danny standing at the drop off point, the gun was still in his pocket, foolishly kept by Danny for protection, King had expected as much and made sure he’d given Danny a gun that would frame him for a hell of a lot more than the murder of Bobby Hunter. King had double-crossed him. Hunter had not been a cop she’d been the daughter of one of King’s kills turned detective, dedicating her life and her career to gathering enough information to take King down and now she was dead, her office, and house having been torched earlier that night, all evidence annihilated. King had nothing but one loose end left, Danny.

Knowing he was going to get life unable to bear the thought of his daughter thinking him a monster and knowing, now surrounded by the police armed response unit, that there really was no way out he took the instrument of death from his pocket.

‘Everything I’ve done, I did for Mia. Tell her I loved her with all my heart’ he told the police negotiator before he pulled the trigger.



  1. goodstuff

    Comment by Keyser Söze — July 6, 2008 @ 8:51 pm | Reply

  2. Good read kerry!! Once again you’ve kept me captive with one of your stories. Look forward to the next.

    Comment by Debbs — July 21, 2008 @ 12:30 am | Reply

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