The Thug, the Nice and the Naughty
Directed by Sergio Leone
We all knew where this was leading. There was no point in pretending otherwise. This was the only logical conclusion it could come to. I kept my eyes on them as we walked, and they watched each other and me as we went to the empty helipad. I walked out to one corner, took the gun out and tossed it on the ground right before me. Church walked across the helipad backward, watching for the edge until he was at the edge. Christmas walked along the edge, choosing not to make a direct line to where she was going.
When we were all done choosing out positions, we were in the same configuration that we were in two years ago. Christmas to my left, Church to my right, and all equidistant from each other. Church had put his gun into his pant’s pocket, so he wouldn’t have so far to reach for it. Christmas just kept the gun in her hand, but kept her hand firmly pressed against her thigh.
The wind whistled around us, causing my right hand a considerable amount of pain. I raised my hands up to my face and rubbed at the knuckles of my right hand with the fingers of my left. I looked carefully at Christmas, and then at Church, then back at Christmas. I took the watch off my left wrist and placed it into my right hand, pressing my thumb against the face and then finding the two buttons on it. My hand went back down to my side, and I started to let it creep towards my belt buckle where the gun was ensconced. Church saw me, and his hand moved a little, so I backed off and went back toward my hip.
Christmas watched the both of us, her hand pressing the pilfered berretta against her warm, firm thigh. Christmas, she was predictable in ways I never imagined being. Poor, stupid, conservative Christmas. She never changed, never wanted to, always the traditional girl. She even went right to the position she had held two years ago, thinking I was dumb enough to have forgotten how she’d shot me last time. She hadn’t wanted to kill me last time, but this time she did.
Church watched me, I watched him, then we both watched her. The wind howled through the mountains, and I could feel my right hand screaming with pain. I hurt so much that a headache started to let me know that things were not going my way. It wouldn’t want to move fast enough for this quick draw bullshit and I think it showed on my face.
In fact I think it must have, because Christmas chose that moment to raise her right hand and aim the pistol. Church’s hand also moved, pulling his own gun from his pocket, where it caught for half a crucial second. My hand moved on the instant, but not the right hand. My left thumb pushed one of the buttons on it and a signal was sent.
It wasn’t a large explosion, after all there wasn’t much room for explosive material once I’d put the detonator and radio receiver into the clip of the Berretta. It was big enough though, and it caused the lower part of the gun to burst apart. When the gun exploded, it took some of Christmas’s fingers with it and there was a spray of red as she started to scream.
I calmly pulled the Webley from my waist and shot her in the head, which knocked her over and caused her to sprawl on the helipad. I could hear Church working the slide of his automatic and pulling the trigger again. I looked at him and thumbed back the hammer of the Webley.
“You filthy son of a bitch.” He yelled coming toward me. “When did you unload it?”
“Last night.” I said plucking the gun from his hand. “You see my friend, there are two kinds of people in this world, those with loaded guns, and those who atone for their sins. You atone.”
I threw the gun about ten feet away, held the watch up and pressed the second button. The clip I’d replaced in Church’s gun exploded like the first one did, proving I could have done to him what I’d done to her.
“You’re making a mistake.” He growled.
“Maybe.” I admitted. “But I’m pretty sure you know which one of us is chief badass motherfucker for the planet earth and possibly three planets in either direction.”
“You’re going to take me in then?” He asked.
“Nope.” I shook my head. “I’m going to let you walk away.”
“Walk?” He asked.
“Yeah.” I nodded to him. “You go down that ladder, start down the mountain and you can make it to the nearest town by night fall tomorrow.”
“You might as well shoot me!” He demanded.
“I might.” I nodded. “But I won’t. You’re probably tough enough to survive the walk, and you don’t want to die just yet. There are lots of dead bodies along the way that will give you their jackets, gloves and whatever else you need.”
“I’m not going to forget this Collier.”
“I don’t expect you to Corvid.” I said.
He went down the ladder though, and I heard him tramping off through the snow down the side of the mountain. I walked to the edge of the helipad to see him, a small speck, moving down the ridge. It might sound odd, but I wished him well. There was something I liked about Church, and I didn’t want to see him dead just yet. I sort of wanted to know that there was at least one person out there who wanted me dead and was able to do something about it. If nothing else it would give my paranoia a focal point.
I looked around at the dead body and the places where explosions had permanently damaged the structure. Bullet holes in the glass, dead Nazis laying in freezing pools of their own blood, elves walking to and fro now that the hard part was done. I saw a green haired figure emerge from the building. He was wearing one of the uniforms of the Elves Tactile Unit, which fortunately doesn’t spell anything cute, and had a small machine gun in his left hand. He held the gun by the clip, like you might see someone do with an old machine gun in a world war two movie. For a moment, I was stunned by seeing him both free and in an E.T.U. uniform.
“You’ve done a man’s job sir.” Dr. Grunch announced as he came across the helipad towards me. “I guess you’re done now.”
“Finished.” I said as I nodded dumbly. “How did you get into Santa’s crew?”
“Oh I always was.” He said slinging the rifle around his shoulder. “I’m a professional, just like you.”
“Not like me.” I said.
“No, you can only kill half a dozen men when they’re actively trying to kill you.” He smiled at me and pulled out a pack of gum. “I can do it when they threaten to destroy our way of life. Sadly, Santa was displeased with my style of message delivery so he let me sit in that box for a while to think about what I’d done. It was just luck that Bauer thought I’d go after your girlfriend or something if he let me go.”
He offered the pack to me, but I shook my head. He shrugged and pulled a stick out, popping it into his mouth before rolling the wrapper up and slipping it into his pocket. He looked at Christmas’s body and then at me and smiled approvingly.
“Yes sir, a man’s job.” He smiled in a way that made me want to hit him. “You know I could shoot her up with this HK, make it look like she was just shot to pieces.”
“No.” I said. “I want her to look just like this when they present her. “Let them know exactly what I did and why I did it.”
“You sure about that?” He asked me. “If it gets out.”
“I don’t care.” I snapped. “I said I’m finished and I meant it. I’m done here, I’ve cleaned up all the messes I care to.”
“What will you do instead?”
“Who cares?” I asked. “I’m done. Besides, I can send messages too. Let them wonder how much she told me and how much I told everyone else.”
“That’s going to cause trouble down the line.” He said.
“Everything causes trouble.” I said. “You going to take the body away for the bounty?”
“Don’t you want to split it or something?”
“No, it’s all for you.” I said. “Just make sure they know who fired the bullet.”
“Sure.” He said grabbing her by the shoulders and starting to drag her away. “No problem.”
I heard the thump of a helicopter again, and looked up to see a small civilian model approaching. I tucked my head down and moved off the pad to give it room, the wind was bed enough without adding to it. I decided to wait inside the building where there was central heating as well.