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Crime Drama

“911. What is the nature of your emergency?”

“Hey there”

“Hello. What is the nature of your emergency? Can you provide an address for dispatch?”

“It’s the corner of Everett and Powell, blue house with a white door”

“Sir, are you currently in danger? Can you please provide me with a name and a contact number?”

“You’re going to need an ambulance. There’s been gunshots”

“Sir, I am dispatching an officer to your location now. Please stay on the line until help arrives. Can you please provide me with a name and a contact number?”

“…”

“That’s done then. You need to get out of here before the cops show up. Give me that.”

“There’s still a strike on, Danny, and that fire is going to start lighting up Mount McMansion if the Santa Anas keep doing their thing. I don’t think we have to worry about the cops showing up in any kind of hurry.”

“Yeah, well… you need to get gone, all the same, there’s nothing left for you. Take these, there’s a clean towel in the trunk, should be an old sweatshirt you can cover up with too. Do with it as you will. Head up to your sister’s place in Eugene and lay low until the noise dies down. Get the fuck out of this mess while you still can.”

“And what about you?”

“I’m going to stay here and see if those cops show up after all. I’m done running, Charlie. I’m done looking over my shoulder. It’s time to answer for some things”

“No.”

“I want you gone. I want you to go live the rest of your life as far from my mistakes as possible. Go find a quiet place to write that novel you’re always talking about.”

“So that’s it then? I fuck off to Oregon, you fall on your own sword, and the world just keeps turning? No. Fuck that! Come with me!”

“We both know that can’t happen, we both know why. He may be a first-rate bastard, but he’s my bastard. I’m never going to be alright ending things like this. I’m too tired and too guilty to let you get dragged down too.”

“You…”

“Shh… Shh... I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. It shouldn’t have been you. He was my problem, I should have been the one to pull the trigger. I really need you to go now, Charlie. I’m going to close this chapter out all by myself.”

“I love you.”

“I love you too, baby. I wish I had stumbled my stupid way into your life fifteen years ago, then things might have been different. They ain’t though. A lot of trouble is headed this way and it would mean the world to me if you’d get clear of it.”

***

“Hrrg… hrr”

“Hey, Tony. Hell of a night.”

“Hrrg…”

“I think that the universe might be sending us a message, brother, and it’s a clever one. You see that glow up over the foothills? No… no you can’t. Here, let me help.”

“Hrr! Mmmng!

“There we are, that’s better. You see that glow up there? That’s the California summer wiping our sorry legacy off the face of the Earth. That’s everything fucking gone. The houses, the cash, the cars, It’ll all be nothing but charcoal in a few hours. Everything that we bled for all these years, everything we hurt people to get, gone to ash while we just sit here and watch it burn.

 You were right, you know that? It was all just so… easy. I always looked up to you, I always believed you when you said that you’d pull us out of that dead-end shit hole, and by God, you did it. That first big mark in Venice, man, that was a thing of beauty. That was you right in your element. It felt good to hurt people that deserved it, Tony, it was fun. It was all good pulling tricks on these rich assholes, I could even stomach the cartel shit when the money was good, but then you just had to go and bring her into it. Why’d you do that Tony? Why did you hurt the only other person I’ve ever managed to love?

“…”

“At any rate, I’m not going to let you die slow, Tony. If I owe you anything then I owe you that. I just wanted you to hear something before you go.

I’m giving them all up, every dirty cop, every border agent that took a bribe, every gun runner that ever crossed our path. I’m going to try to carve a little good out, here at the end. It’s not much, but its better than dying a monster. This is going to be the end for both of us, Tony. Good riddance.”

“Goodbye, Brother”

 ***

“Drop the weapon!”

“Hello boys, it’s good of you to finally join the party. Are those body cameras on today?”

“Drop the weapon or we will be forced to open fire”

“Officer Sidney requesting immediate backup at 118 Powell. The perpetrator is armed and considered dangerous. Please advise”

“Whoa… the hands are up gentlemen. Let’s settle down and talk for a minute. My name is Daniel Bryce and I am a professional criminal. Inside that house there you’ll find my brother Tony, I’m afraid he’s in no position to come out and chat.”

“Drop the weapon or we will shoot!”

“Here in my hand, you’ll find a list of accomplices to our crimes, including high-profile members of other criminal organizations operating here in California…”

“On your knees!”

“Ah, fuck it, you boys’ll figure it out.”

“Fire!”

“Officer Sidney reporting shots fired at 118 Powell. The perpetrator is incapacitated. Awaiting backup before completing a sweep of the property. Please advise.”

***

“This morning on writer’s corner, we are sitting down with New York Times bestselling author C.L. Riley to discuss her runaway debut novel, The Brothers Bryce.

The mystery of Daniel and Thomas Bryce took the true crime world by storm after they were killed in a dramatic shootout with Santa Monica police officers late last summer. Your recent novel not only details your own whirlwind relationship with the pair but offered intimated details of their criminal undertakings which have led to a number of high-profile arrests. If you don’t mind my asking, why now?”

“The story had to be told, Jordan. I guess I just needed a little time to figure it out. Danny left me with a powder blue Cadillac and a box of evidence. I think it was his way of saying sorry.”

“Was it enough?”

“No. They were monsters, Jordan… but even monsters have a story to tell.”

February 25, 2023 02:54

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