The lawman tapped his steel-toed boot lightly against the door. It swung open, revealing two couches facing one another. The room itself was modestly clean besides a few beer bottles lying neatly in a pile in the corner of the room. There were no bags packed to go, and the room felt much like its only occupant: at ease. The only light came from the flare of the lit-up joint that dangled out of the fugitive’s mouth. He looked up nonchalantly as he finished his hit and smoke poured out of his mouth and nose.
“Hey, what up, man,” he said casually. “Please take a seat. Feel free to make yourself at home, maybe have a drink or two or we can shoot the shit. Whatever you like.”
The lawman sauntered over and slowly sat down on the couch facing the fugitive. They cut two different figures. The lawman had on a suit and tie and his face was wearing a long-practiced grimace. The man opposite him had on a smile and sat all wrapped up in a plain white T and blue jeans. “It’s funny that you mention shit,” said the lawman “because I’d like to discuss where you’ll be taking your next one. How’s a nice, primo, super max prison bathroom sound? I hear they take good care of their inmates there. The guards might even wipe your ass for you.”
Coughing, the fugitive sat the bong down on the stand next to the couch. “You like key lime pie? Got some in the fridge that you’re welcome to. Homemade, and fresh too.”
“The man you shot, that what you did beforehand? Offer him key lime pie?”
“Listen, man, this is some serious shit that you’re steering the conversation towards. I bet you shot people before. Only difference is that you still got that badge.” He paused for a moment. “Truth is, I was only offering to be friendly,” said the fugitive, looking kind of hurt.
“Thoughtful of you.”
“Way I was raised.”
“So, key lime pie, huh? You bake?” asked the lawman as he slid his hand down to his hip.
“Yep. Wife taught me how, and ever since I was little, key lime’s always been my favorite.”
“Right, you were married. I read your file. She left you, didn’t she?”
The fugitive looked sheepish as he said, “Yeah, man, she did. You know how it is. She always on me to find a real job. Says ripping off drug dealers ain’t no kind of life. But it’s what I enjoy. Man got to do what he loves. You ever marry?”
“She left you or you left her?”
The fugitive nodded his head in understanding. Then, reaching over to the stand, he picked up a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue lying next to his bong. “How about it?” he said.
“You drink a lot of that in the military?”
“Shit, man, I think it’s why I joined the military.” Then the fugitive added, “I’ve been particular to it since I was ten.”
“Really? At that age I was more partial to bourbon myself.”
The fugitive threw back his head and laughed, and in the same instant his fingers were sliding down the front of his pants. He had pulled the gun only part way out, when the lawman drew his in one swift motion, shooting the fugitive twice in the chest. The bottle slipped from the dead man’s hand, breaking on the hardwood. Warm liquid oozed out from between the cracks in the bottle, mixing with the blood already on the floor.
Two hours later, the lawman was standing in the fugitive’s apartment after the coroner had left, talking with two cops, friends of his.
“You’re saying he dropped the bottle?” asked one of the cops.
“That’s what I’m saying.”
“You get my hopes up saying that the man has Johnny Walker, and then he has none in his fridge and he’s broken the only bottle. Are you telling me this son of a bitch didn’t even have the common decency to keep a hold of it while he lay dying?”
“What an asshole,” added the other cop.
“I wasn’t gonna drink anyway,” said the lawman. “I might just have a slice of that key lime pie though.”
Andrew Hart is a recent college graduate who got his degree in criminology. Since he was young he’s been curious about why people do the things they do and now wants to explore that question through fiction. He currently lives and writes in the great expanse of Texas.
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