TITLE: Murderous Justice
GENRE: Adult Thriller
Carl stopped and assessed the younger guy standing between him and the general store’s back entrance. The guy’s name was Steve. Carl knew this the way everyone knows everybody in a small town. In contrast to Steve’s shag, Carl kept his hair cut short and his whiskers shaved close. Fat didn’t hang on him, but his middle-aged metabolism gave him more girth. Pulling wrenches eight hours a day provided endurance. Carl figured he could hold his own against these kids that lay around shooting people in video games all day and night.
Drugs? Carl stood before the guy unnoticed. He had just closed his shop, wanted to buy a gift and then be home. No biggie to say, “Excuse me.”
Steve did not change his stance but did say, “Oh, hey, Carl. How’s it going?” His speech sounded clear enough.
“Sure, sure. It’s all good. Need to get past you is all.”
“No problem.” He shook out a cigarette and slipped his lips around it. “Light?”
Steve dug through his jacket pocket. “I know I’ve got a lighter here somewhere. Oh, here we go.” Steve sucked the flame into his cigarette. He let out a plume of smoke slowly. He went for another puff.
Carl stepped forward. “Steve, it’s cold out here.”
Steve didn’t take that second drag. Instead he looked at Carl with menace in his eyes. Must be drugs, Carl thought. That was the only explanation for this weird encounter.
Steve squinted and stepped to the side.