Several people seem to wonder if the woman at the bar would have gone to Maloney. I was actually surprised that would even be considered. Still, as I continue to consider writing a prequel to a book that I am unsuccessfully marketing, I couldn't help but respond to L.A., who wrote: "When do we find out if she shows up?" and SQT: "Yes. L.A. has the only pertinent question here. When do we get to see if she shows up"
L.A and SQT....this is for you. I'm still outlining this novel, but I wrote this to give me a feel for where Maloney might be at this point in his existence. And this is the last of these for a long time. I have another novel to finish and probably a few short stories. Maloney will have to wait. Unless someone here wants to publish the original novel.
Charlie stood with his hands spread away from his body. His blue eyes blinked rapidly and Maloney wondered if the man was about to start crying.
"You said you never killed no one," said Charlie.
"I never have," said Maloney, transfering the gun from one hand to the other and sitting on the sofa. He fluffed a pillow and leaned back. "It doesn't mean I won't."
"But you won't," said Charlie, the man's voice sounding more at ease. "Manny knows I'm here. Manny sent me. You better stop playing games, James, and turn over Manny's cut."
"Walk around the room, Charlie. I want to see you walk."
"What's that mean?"
"It means 'walk'.
Charlie smiled. His eyes narrowed as if he was trying to read Maloney's thought. "What's this, then?"
"That bag in the back of your car. It took me time to realize who it belonged to. At first, I was skeptical. You're not that brave, Charlie. You're not that independent. I figure, it was a matter of bad timing. Sharlene probably pressured and manipulated you, but Manny won't see it that way. He'll assume you were disloyal."
Charlie opened his mouth, but Maloney stopped him with a dismissive gesture. "I'm not the one who you have to convince. Manny might have believed you when you told him that I didn't pay up, but when he finds out about Charlene, he'll figure I'm telling the truth, and besides being the kind of guy who steals his boss's girlfriend, that you're also the sort of shlub would probably cheat him out of money. I've earned some cred with Manny. Now walk."
"Why am I walking?" Chrarlie whined.
"Because I want you to."
A knock at the door interrupted them. Maloney saw the expression of relief cross Charlies face.
"Come in," he called.
The door opened and the woman from the bar stepped in. As instructed she wore no makeup and kept her head down.
Maloney checked his watch. "9:58. That's cutting it close."
"What is this?" asked Charlie.
Maloney instructed her to sit on the floor by his feet.
"Now walk," said Maloney. He aimed the gun at Charlie's head and the man started moving, stepping uncertainly, awkwardly.
"I want to watch you move. No, not like that Charlie. I want you to strut. Don't just move in circles. Let me see you put something into it. Give us something special. Excite me."
Charlie started to move a bit more fluidly. He went to one side of the room, paused, then returned with an athletic prowess. He paused, hands on his hips. "Is that enough?"
"It's never enough," whispered Maloney. "Now walk, and if you please me, if you please us, you might just get that money that you came for."
Charlie started walking again, strutting aggressively, his shoulders swaying with each step.
"Take your shirt off."
Charlie froze. "Oh, come on, James. This is enough. I'm not taking off my damn shirt."
"Then you won't get your money."
Charlie glared at him and began to unbutton his shirt.
Maloney nodded, reaching down with his free hand and stroking the hair of the woman beside him.
"He's pretty, isn't he?" asked Maloney.
"And do you want to know the best part? One of us isn't going to live to see the dawn."
He felt her flinch under his touch. Grabbing a handful of hair, he pulled her closer. "I didn't say you would be the one. "
Charlie watched them. He dropped his shirt.
"And then, I didn't say you wouldn't, " added Maloney.