Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Power of Prayer

Power of Prayer
By Len Hazell

So, I’ve got the keys to the warehouse see, ‘cos it’s me that opens up on a morning. Well it’s about ten after midnight and I’ve drunk about a bottle and a half of bathtub bourbon, real gut rot, the sort of stuff you wouldn’t want to know what went in to making it.

And I’m feeling pretty bad, a sour stomach, acid mouth and a head like a stevedores armpit. So, course I don’t want to go home to another ear-aching off of the wife, no way I could deal with that tonight.

I let myself into the warehouse and drunk as I was, I decide to do the only thing left for me to do.

You see I was into Johnny Lightfinger for about half a grand, give or take a hundred, and I had no way of finding that sort of moolah any time soon and Johnny he was coming down on me real heavy to pay up.

Johnny Lightfinger was small time, strictly local, a minor loan shark done good who fancied himself a big time mobster. He was nothing, nothing but a pair of big fists and a bad attitude and sooner or later he was gonna kill someone, that someone probably being me.

I knew where everything was here and I knew there was plenty of rope in the warehouse, so I takes a sheet out of storage and goes up to the second floor.

There, like the good little Eagle Scout I once was, I ties off one end tight against the banister and put my head in a noose at the other.

Now I ain’t no praying man, I never was, but I figures it is gonna be kind of impolite for me to arrive at St. Peter’s station all unexpected like, so I puts my paws together and gets down on my knees for the first time since I was a kid.

“Hey God,” I slurs, ‘cos I was still pretty tanked. “You could get me out of this mess I guess, but you ain’t got no mind to. So, I’m takin’ my own way out and I’ll be up there widya in a few minutes, unless of course, you want’s as to pull off some big miracle for me. Ha!”

I laughed and then I sort of remembered that you’re supposed to sign off when you talks to the big man. So I say, “Armin,” and then nearly craps in my pants ‘cos right at that minute the side window of the office down stairs smashes right in.

Now I’m on the Mezzanine or whatever it’s called, and looking down I see this poor dude with a bag on his head, bein’ dragged across the warehouse floor by a bunch of hoods. Real smart guys, the type you don’t mess with, guys whose middle name is “Thee”.

And I can hear them. Big mouths, voices like they been smoking rocks since they was cradle hoppers. Hard men.

“You messed up bad, people don’t screw with me an’ live.” Says the biggest guy, kicking the schmuck out in front of him. I can hear them big hollow, sickening thuds every time the shoe finds it’s mark.

They rip the bag off of his head and Jees, even in the half light I can see, the little dude is bleeding from everywhere, his face is all swollen and bruised and he bubbles when he talks; I say talks, more like blubs.

“I’m sorry,” he gobs, spitting thick red snot with every word. “I’m Sorry Mr. DeBelasco, please.”
I know that name alright, Mickey DeBelasco, “Mickey The Boot”, on account of his liking for kicking guys in the fork with his size thirteens, very big time hood on the east side. Bad news in spats.

“I know that kid,” says The Boot. “Trouble is you’re sorry you got caught with your hand in my pocket, not that you stole from me, you sticky fingered little Putz!”

Another deep heavy empty thud and the guy on the floor starts coughing out his liver.
Then I hears a revolver hammer being pulled back, man I know that sound; I did my time in the army during the war same as everybody else, so I know my way around a revolver.

The bleeding guy screams he is sorry again but the sap hasn’t got a hope. The whole place rings as he get’s a one way lead ticket to the pearly gates.

“Jees!” I squeak. I couldn’t help it.

Mickey the Boot Swing his gun up right at me. Looks me right in the eye and I know I’m a dead man peeking.

I think, “Well, Billy one chance,” so I jump with the rope still around my neck.

Now Mickey must have been one hell of a marksman, that’s all I can say. One bullet, one shot, on the fly from the shoulder and he cuts the rope in two. I don’t know if he meant to do it or not but I crash in a heap right at his feet.

“What the Hell is this?” says The Boot. “You trying to kill yourself or something?”

My shoulder hurts, so there’s tears in my eyes, but I snarl back, “Yeah, what’s it too ya?”

“You dumb fuck,” He grunts, pulling me back on to my feet. “Don’t you know suicide is a mortal sin? You do that shit and you go straight to Hell!”

Mickey was a good catholic boy, most of the hoods were, except for them that was Jewish.
“So what,” I says like I got nothing left to live for. Mickey slaps me but good for that lip and I go down hard and find myself face to familiar face with the dead corpse and would you believe it, finally I recognise the stiff, it’s Johnny Lightfinger, the guy I owe half a grand to, well not anymore.

“Jesus, Mr. The Boot sir,” I burble. “You killed this son of a bitch. I can’t thank you enough for that.”

This throws the hood and his two goons, they all start laughing like drains.

“Guess nobody liked Johnny then,” snorts Mickey The Boot. “You still wanna kill yourself Potzo?”
I think about it for a minute.

“Don’t need to now do I.” I join them laughing and wipe the blood from my mouth. “But I’ll tell you what I’ll do for you boss. You guys get out of here; leave me your gun and Mr Lightfoot. When the cops come, I’ll say I shot him. Everyone knows I hated him.”
Mickey looks at me in disbelief. The laughing stops.

“Now why the fuck would you do that?” he demands. “They’ll give you the chair.”
I nod.

“Yeah but an executed innocent man is more likely to get in to heaven than a suicide right. I see Johnny dead, you won’t even be suspected and I get a bit of peace at last; everyone’s a winner, yeah?”

Mickey looks at me for a minute then breaks in to that evil smile again.

“You are the craziest son of a bitch’s bastard that ever walked this earth,” he says, slapping me on the back, me, like we was old pals; and then we all hear the sirens and bells coming.

He rubs the gun in his silk nose wiper, for prints, and pushes it straight into the palm of my hand; then he winks at me, all friendly.

“Okay Mr. you got a deal.” He pats my cheek and turns away, “Henry The Moose, Freddy The Fist, let’s get out of here.”

And the dumb bastards all turn their backs on me, Jesus how stupid can you get; I shot them all as they walked away.

Like I said, I know my way round a revolver.

They dropped like stones and I went to work.

Between their pockets and Johnny Lightfinger’s wallet, I got myself a couple of grand that night, a couple of nice watches and a new hat.

Then I locked up, left and went home.

I figured I’d call in sick in the morning, let some one else find the mess and write it of as a turf battle. Cops got better things to do than get killed sticking their beaks in to the business of the likes of Mickey DeBelasco; anyhow they’d be as glad as any of us to see him dead.

Still I kept the gun though just in case Elsie wouldn’t shut the fuck up when I got home.


Len Hazell is a writer, actor, performer and composer working in the UK.
He is 46 years old, a slave to his family and dogs and hopes one day to get a life.
E-mail at Bonniefans@hotmail.com