By William Brandon III <>

 Published by Transplant Press


Severing Ties


One minute, fifty seconds. Hurry up guys. please hurry up! Gunshot. O. Christ this is it! I step inside to witness the boys mowing down everyone in sight. I step back outside and cock my 9mm. I'm the point man. I see all things at all times. I am an observer. I pick out details like a hawk spots a rodent rustling grass at one thousand feet. This is my part in the insidious plan. But today everything has gone wrong. The boys made a pact before we began pulling gigs together that if one civilian gets shot. every civilian dies. Once someone gets capped. it is no longer just a bank robbery, it becomes murder one. There can be no witnesses. "Let's GO! GO. GO, GO!" Into the car, the force of acceleration makes it impossible to fasten my safety restraint right away. "What happened, what caused all the chaos?"

"Some John Wayne motherfucker went for the alarm, so I dealt with him. What was I supposed to do, if it's between the Family going to prison, and some worthless lard-ass rent-a-cop getting waxed, I say bon voyage Tubby!" Mike always struck me as the type whose finger was poised on the trigger because he was dying for a reason to squeeze. Shut the Fuck UP! We're not in the clear yet. you ladies sit back and try to look like the rest of the zombies in this city. Got it?" Jake was our efficient, and somewhat unstable head honcho. The phrase "nerves of steel" never had a clear-cut definition until Jake walked the Earth. We drove down Sunset Blvd. to UCLA and ditched the getaway car. We continued from there in four different vehicles, North, South, East, and West. I traveled south on the 405 Freeway in my black 5 I'>Mercury. I must have smoked an entire pack of Pall-Malls on the way to Costa Mesa. The world was spinning, and a sudden realization struck me. I was indirectly responsible for the deaths of twenty innocent people. My stomach cramped, and I wondered if the money I would receive in three weeks would compensate for the guilt. I loosened my necktie, in hopes that this oppression would subside. It didn't. I felt as if the pinstripes were a felonious precursor. My God, incarceration was not an option. When the pigs darken my doorstep, I pray they are packing Kevlar, because Dean O'Leary will not go quietly into that gentle night. No if s, ands, or buts, I go out shooting. The 405 FWY started backing up around Long Beach, so I jetted down to PCH. What was I doing? This was my third gig with the boys and I wondered when it would be enough. We were already monetarily set for life, but with our obsession came a built in obsession with the actual acquisition of money...forcefully making it change hands. It was in our blood. But my blood was beginning to thin after the fiasco I witnessed this afternoon. Was I losing my edge?

Possibly...probably. Maybe I should pack it up and head out to Vegas where I belong. What if we were all thinking the samc damn thing, but none of us had the guts to say a word? I certainly hope so.

Exactly three weeks later I strutted into the Knight at the brazenly early hour of I OPM with a fresh shave, fresh haircut, and a new suit. When I walked in, the boys were seated at our booth in the back. The trademark cloud of cigarette and cigar smoke obscured my vision of Mike, Jake, and Stretch. I walked up to the bar and gave Tony the Barkeep a firnl handshake and ordered a beer.

"Where 'ya" been Dean-o?"

"You know, here and there It's good to see you Tony. So what do you charge for a beer these days?"

"It's on the house Dean-o, it's good to have the boys back in the old dive! You boys hear about those hoods that robbed that piggy bank in LA? Got away scot-free! Lucky bastards!"

"On the house you say? Make that straight Gin. Wait, make that a double."

"You're a real bastard Dean!" "That's what I hear Tony...that's what I hear."

I joined the boys at the booth. exchanged how-do-you-does, and had a seat. We sat around and had a bullshit session for about an hour. and then Jake stood to commence the meeting

"Okay Chaps, everyone's here, let's get down to business. Everyone's cut is one million flat.


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