1

To say my head hurt like a mother-fucker would be an understatement. A few years ago I had a welsh try to run me over with his truck. Fucker was into Tommy for 4 G's and thought he could pack up and leave town. Tommy sent me to convince him to pay up. Welsh's wife was being the look out while mister welsh was throwing their shit into the back of his 4x4. She no sooner made us and yelled out and the welsh jumped in his truck and tried to hightail it out of there. What kind of shit leaves his wife to the mercy of a couple gun monkeys? Shit aims his truck right for me so I did the only thing I could think of and dropped to the ground. Problem is that I wasn't fast enough. Despite the clearance, the bumper caught my head and smacked it down to the driveway pavement like a linebacker clearing the way.

I didn't just see stars, I saw whole galaxies.

Slab, the six and half foot, three hundred fifty pound sack of meat that was my partner, responded accordingly by emptying his shotgun through the back window of the 4x4 to splatter mister welsh's head across the interior of his truck. I'd say that his head was probably hurting worse than mine in the moment but I'm sure he wasn't feeling a fucking thing at that point.

Until this night, that was the worse my head had ever felt. This beat that all to shit. My head was thundering, stinging, and itching like mad. I tried to block out the pain, to think back to what in the hell I had been doing that my head would be feeling like a melon in a blender when my memory suddenly came back to me in a flood of confusion.

The memories couldn't be true. If they were, then things were seriously fucked up. The pain took a back seat to the images playing out in my head. Images of Slab putting his .45 to the side of my head and pulling the trigger. There was a blinding flash and a roar of thunder, followed by an empty darkness.

Slab, the guy that had been my back up on countless jobs, had blown my brains out.

That mother fucker had killed me.

Then why wasn't I dead?

I gingerly touched the side of my head, inducing another burst of pain and a swirling vortex of colors before my eyes, but surprisingly found it to be intact. Soft, almost sponge-like, definitely not thick-skulled - insert stressed chuckle - but not sporting a brain-spilling hole. Despite no evidence of a wound, my fingers came away wet with blood, and I briefly wondered if he had only grazed me. I say briefly because my thoughts then went back to the son of a bitch trying to kill me.

Rising up on unsteady legs, I looked around and confirmed that I was still in the clearing that we had hiked a mile to reach. The clearing was where we took anyone that Tommy wanted to disappear. What ever your trespass against Tommy, if you failed to make it right, he made it wrong. If we brought you to the farm, you weren't going home, it was that simple.

It was a real farm, with cows and pigs, and crops, and shit. Privately owned and operated, just like any other farm across the country, as proven by the Government handouts that kept it afloat. Kind of a nice bit of irony that, considering that it was funded by Tommy. Small, family farm with a couple generations behind it, that struggled to survive by selling their produce at the local Farmer's Market. I made sure my wife never bought produce from this place though. I knew what made up a portion of the fertilizer and animal food.

Back stabbing bastard that he was, it wasn't like Slab to not make sure someone was dead. If he left me out here, he must have thought I was dead, which made no sense at all. It also meant that the farmers, as we simply called them, would be coming out here soon to retrieve the bodies. The two guys that we had brought out here to cap were sprawled across the ground a few feet in front of me, their own brains still oozing out of their heads, still steaming in the cold October air.

Nick and Rick Campton, the "brothers" as we had called them, had thought they were being brought out here to learn more of the business. Truth was that Tommy had learned they'd been skimming off the heroin profits. Tommy doesn't take kindly to thieves within his company. As far as I knew, there was no real evidence against them, just the fact that they handled the monies turned in, and those amounts didn't add up to match the product that had been pushed out on the streets.

I don't know what his game plan was, but I should have know that something had been off with Slab. The man didn't usually talk much, but the whole hike back into these damn woods he had kept rambling on to the brothers, telling them how they were being promoted up to being a Gun Monkey. You know, a big ape with a gun. Someone that did the hard and dirty work. Of course no one called us Gun Monkeys but ourselves, or Tommy, when he was pissed, but that's what we were.

Anyhow, Slab babbled about it the entire time. I swear he talked more on the hike here than I had heard him talk all year. I should have picked up on it, realized something was off, but he kept pulling me into the conversation, getting me to throw in my two cents worth.

He had kept me distracted.

When we had finally reached the clearing, we did the same thing we had done dozens of times before. We drew our guns and put a couple shots in each of their backs. I stepped up and put a single slug through each of their heads, making certain they were dead, then started slipping my Glock back into my holster. That was when Slab had pressed his gun against the side of my head and pulled the trigger.

Yet here I was, still alive.

I was snapped out of my thoughts as I became aware of an approaching rumbling sound, much like a tractor. The farmers were closing in. I don't know if they were expecting to find two bodies or three, but I sure in the hell was going to find out.