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by Paul Heatley

“Where’d you take my dog, boy?”

There’s blood on Dee’s jacket. Dee reckons Bobby knows where he took the dog. “I buried him after.”

“You didn’t bring him back here?”

“You didn’t wanna see him.”

“I didn’t want him to go. But you took him. Now you’re sayin you think I wouldn’t wanna say goodbye to my fuckin dog?”

“I’m sorry, Bobby.”

“I told you he wasn’t ready.” Bobby’s voice shakes. Dee can’t tell if it’s fury, or upset. He loved that dog.

“You were right.”

Bobby gets out his chair, steps from the darkness and into the light. Dee flinches. Bobby’s eyes are red. There’s a bottle of whisky on the floor. Bobby wipes his face. He wears a white vest, marked with wet stains that are either teardrops or sweat.

Bobby slaps Dee, hard. Splits his lips, knocks a tooth loose. “Who’d he fight?”

Dee rubs his jaw. He’d been expecting worse. “Ruiz.”

“You fuckin kidding me? What did you think was gonna happen?”

“Spike coulda taken him–”

“Spike didn’t. He wasn’t ready. Take me to Ruiz.”

***

“Tell the truth, Bobby, I was surprised when I saw your dog get in the pit.” Ruiz sucks on a cigarette through gold-plated teeth, blows smoke in Bobby and Dee’s direction.

“He wasn’t ready,” Bobby says. “I didn’t bring him.”

Ruiz shrugs. “It’s not my problem, brother. It’s done.” Ruiz was enjoying post-fight celebratory drinks when Dee called. They stand now at the rear of the bar, in an alleyway lit by a flickering streetlight. Trash is piled by the exit, rats can be heard scurrying amidst it, and the air stinks of piss and vomit. “Besides, you got a problem, take it up with your boy there.”

Dee shuffles his feet.

“If I’m not here, they don’t fight,” Bobby says. “You know that.”

“The kid was real insistent.”

“I don’t give a shit. He’s just a kid.”

Ruiz flicks what’s left of the cigarette. It lands at Bobby’s feet, the embers bounce over his boots. “What’re you out here bustin my balls for, man? What the fuck you think I’m gonna do for you?”

“The dog that killed Spike, it’s mine now.”

“Fuck you.”

“You broke the rules. You knew.”

“Ain’t no rules, dumbass. You think this whole thing is somethin it ain’t. No honour out here, you stupid motherfucker. Just death and cash.”

“I’ll take the cash, too. You gotta learn a lesson, Ruiz.”

“Man, how many times can I tell you to fuck yourself?”

Bobby steps closer. “I won’t ask you again.”

“So don’t.”

The two men lock eyes. Ruiz makes to speak, the light glints off his teeth. The words don’t leave him. Bobby grabs his shoulders, sinks his teeth into his throat. He tears out a chunk, spits the flesh, keeps Ruiz upright as blood sprays, holds him until his legs give out then dumps him on the ground.

Bobby looks at Dee. “Let’s go, asshole.”


Paul Heatley’s stories have appeared online and in print for a variety of publications including Thuglit, Fried Chicken and Coffee, Horror Sleaze Trash, HandJob, and Crime Syndicate, among others. He is the author of six novellas, available from Amazon for Kindle. He lives in the north east of England.

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