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by Mark Westmoreland

Scotty slid in the booth across from Peanut. Peanut mumbled into a cell phone and motioned at their waitress. When he grabbed her attention he pointed at his mason jar of sweet tea and nodded at Scotty. The waitress came over, refilled Peanut’s drink, and brought Scotty one. When she left the two alone Peanut ended his call. “What you know good, Scott?”

“Doin all right.”

“S’good. How’s your mama?”

“Been sick.”

“I hate to hear that. Let her know I’m thinkin of her.”

“She’ll like hearin that.”

“How’s Lisa?”

“Moved in with her deddy.”

“Ah hell.”

“Ain’t nothing to worry bout. She’s helpin out till he can get back to work.”

“I hear ya.”

The waitress reappeared, flipped open a notepad. “What y’all boys havin?”

“I ain’t hungry,” Scotty answered.

“Sure?” Peanut asked. “S’on me.”

“I’m good.”

“Suit yourself,” Peanut said. “Think I’m gone have the chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, no gravy.”

“You get two sides.”

“How bout coleslaw.”

“I’ll have it right out, hon.”

“Thanks, Angie.”

“Peanut, I want out.”

“Damn, right to business, huh?”

“Ain’t no sense dancin round the subject.”

“You thought this through, Scotty?”

“Enough to know I want out.”

“You want more money?”

“Don’t need the money.”

“Been hearin you talkin to Murdoch.”

“That don’t mean nothin.”

“You remember my uncle Waylon?”

“I remember.”

“You know he wanted out.”

“And he ended up dead.”

“I’m the one that killed him.”

“He was workin with the GBI. You know that ain’t me.”

“Just want you to understand the consequences of what’s bein asked for.”

“Peanut, I got no problem fuckin up anybody you send my way.”

Peanut leaned back in the booth and burst out laughing. He said, “Scotty, one thing I’ve always liked about you is you’ll piss up a tree and don’t give a shit who it rains on.”

“Let me go’n you’ll never hear from me again.”

Peanut smoothed out his beard, said, “I’m inclined to do what you ask, Scotty, if you’ll do something for me.”

“What’s that?”

Peanut brought out his cell, unlocked the screen, opened a picture. He slid the phone across the table.

“This’s Murdoch’s son,” Scotty said.

“I want him dead.”

Scotty looked from the phone to Peanut. “He’s just a kid.”

Peanut shrugged. “Might as well get him outta the picture fore he’s old enough to cause me trouble.”

“I’m not doin it.”

Angie sat a plate of chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes in front of Peanut and a bowl of coleslaw next to it. “Thanks, Angie.”

“You welcome, sweetie.”

“You want me to kill Murdoch, fine, or some of his men, whatever, but I ain’t killin no kid.”

Peanut rolled his utensils from his napkin, said, “Have it your way, Scotty.”

Scotty slid from the booth to leave but Peanut stopped him. He said with a mouth full of food, “You oughta consider what’s best for your mama. Think about Lisa’n her deddy.”

Mark Westmoreland is a Georgia native living in Oklahoma. He is a Georgia Bulldogs fan, comic book enthusiast, and pro-wrestling junkie. He has been published in Near to the Knuckle and Out of the Gutter, and blogs at www.bulletsandkudzu.com.