Deacon clutched the wheel of the black Viper. It was a clear summer night in Denver. The job was a snooze, but it was Deacon’s last and that had him thinking. What he had going for him is most last jobs aren’t chosen, and he’d been pulling jobs for a long time. The Boss got word some tech bros in a riverside high rise were running a card game for all the transplants flooding Denver. The only obstacle was a doorman. Deacon didn’t see more than a few grand in the room. The job was to make a statement. The Boss hated what Denver had become. Deacon just hated Denver. He dreamed of turquoise water, palm trees. That’s where he was headed. San Pedro, Belize. He didn’t care about the mountains. He didn’t ski. Hated snow. Didn’t hike. But the Boss was in Denver and after two years in L.A., teaching Hollywood actors to shoot guns for the movies, it became clear he could no longer fight the darkness that beckoned him from the light.
The Viper snaked up University through Cherry Creek. Deacon lived out in Bonnie Brae in a studio above a family’s garage. More expensive than he’d like, but he could stomach the neighborhood. Gina hated it. She lived in the Highlands. But they were done. She was serious this time. Final straw, Deacon showed up, ear grazed by a bullet, lucky. Gina nursed him to health and said no more. He didn’t blame her. He’d broken so many promises.
Driving into downtown, the light bounced electric off the night. Downtown was mostly parking lots, vagrants, and lifeless buildings. Then there was the city in a city enclave the tech transplants cordoned off on either side of the St. Vrain. You could barely get in without a Patagonia sweater and a lanyard.
He slowed for a red light and tapped the wheel. The light changed. He hesitated and the vehicle behind him honked. He stopped at the next light. When it turned green, he again briefly hesitated, and the car honked. At the next stoplight, he intentionally waited. The car honked again. Calmly, he stepped out, grabbed the shotgun from the passenger seat and approached the garish SUV. The driver, an older white man, struggled out and ran as he blew out the windshield. He got back in and drove to the next light. In the rearview, all was still, and no other cars came, so he cut onto a cross street. The high rise was three minutes away. The cops would be on the scene with the SUV within five. The driver would describe the Viper. Camera footage would take hours. The flight left out of DIA at midnight.
The doorman didn’t notice him breeze by. He pressed 44 and rode the glass elevator. The city seemed lit up sleek, like a Mann film. He screwed in the silencer and removed the sawed-off from the scabbard. He knocked on unit 4407, put his gloved finger over the keyhole and kicked the door when the lock clicked. A guy went rolling and the place stopped. He laughed, holding out guns with both arms. The room was so soft. Not a hero.
The bag held fifty grand. Deacon was shocked. The boss expected seven, which he’d leave in an airport locker. The tech guys practically gave him their money and seemed to like him by the end. Real privilege is giving up your money without even having to consider it.
He called Gina on the way to the airport, no answer. That gave him hope. He’d placed the envelope on her porch with the note, and the plane ticket and cash. The condo he’d purchased was ready. Address and travel instructions were in the note.
From Belize City, he took a Cessna 208 to San Pedro. The sunrise pierced the horizon something heavenly. After landing, he wandered into town and drank Belizean rum staring at the sea. The cab dropped him off at the condo. He walked around to the beach and out onto the Palapa. At the dock’s end, silhouetted by the still rising sun, a female figure rose from a chair and walked his way.
Wilson Koewing is a writer from South Carolina. His crime fiction has appeared in Bristol Noir, All Due Respect and Rock and A Hard Place Magazine. His memoir Bridges is forthcoming from Bull City Press.