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by Christopher P. Mooney

With shovels for hands and an enormous face that had a lot in common with a tenement brick, Mark “Big Marky” Sullivan looked like what he was: a hard bastard. Not one of those shell-suit-wearing, always-swearing, Soprano-wannabe, plastic gangster motherfuckers; but an old-school man’s man who truly was as tough as a coffin nail.

He ran a tight crew, every one of whom knew the score. They also knew how to brandish shotguns. In a town like Dukesville, with a population never greater than a hundred thousand and a crime rate almost half the national average, where the top cop was the kid you used to bully at school, that was usually all that was required. To brandish.

Their unofficial base was a sawdust boozer, The Admiral’s Hat. The story of what happened says Big Marky is buried somewhere underneath it.

It wasn’t the blast of a rival’s pistol or even an unbelievable stroke of misfortune that brought down the man some local residents had begun to believe couldn’t die. In the end, the thing that killed Dukesville’s number one was junk. A supposedly harmless taste in the big city one night was all it took to sink the hook. In the blink of an eye, Big Marky went from a rampaging street-fighter to a hopelessly addicted all-nighter. The heroin cost him his edge. And his judgement. In order to keep up the habit, he did less planning and more low-level banging; often flying solo to hold up gravel-lot corner stores for ready cash in capers that should have been beneath him. Fearless and feared, Big Marky spent nearly two decades cementing his legend. Pathetic junky Mark Sullivan took only a handful of short months to piss it away, just so he could put mud in the vein.

His crew found him one night sprawled across the bar of The Admiral’s Hat; swollen tongue lolling out of mouth, the bloodied spike that did the job still in his arm. It’s rumoured they pulled up the floorboards and buried Big Marky then and there — something that has never been confirmed or refuted. Either way, a lowly end for the greatest villain Dukesville has ever known.

May he rest in peace.


Christopher P. Mooney was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, and currently survives in a small house near London, England. At various times in his life he has been a supermarket cashier, a shelf stacker, a barman, a cinema usher, a carpet-fitter’s labourer and a foreign-language assistant. He is now a professional teacher of French and English and an amateur writer of crime fiction, horror fiction and eclectic poetry. His stories and poems have been accepted for publication in print, online and on Kindle by Crooked Holster, Spelk Fiction, Dead Guns Press, Devolution Z, Revolution John, Out of the Gutter and Yellow Mama.

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