A Deadly Game Conclusion
The Best Made Plans ...
It is late afternoon when Starr gets the call from Tenderfoot to meet him at the old Hawkins Mill Refinery. That place has been out of business for years, but it is still a place where all the undesirables meet. She is sure that this will be the makings of a great story—that is if she survives. The words of her best friend and precinct adjutant Raymond Borkowski — “One day, Starr ...” resonant in her mind.
It is dark in this part of town—even when the sun is shining. Starr finds that very strange. However, considering the type of low-life that hang around that part of town ... I wouldn’t shine there either.
“You must be lost, Missy.” A burly man says to Starr as she exits from her burgundy Lexus.
“I got a call from Tenderfoot.” Starr replies looking the man dead in the eyes without flickering. He gives her a wide smile.
“You must be Starr Brannigan. The boss was right about you ... a little package that packs a lot of power.” Huff says in approval.
“Enough with the flattery already—let’s get on with it.” Starr says and follows Huff through the warehouse doors.
“Well, well, well if it ain’t the notorious Starr Brannigan.” Greets a gruffer voice than Tenderfoot. Starr recognizes it as the Crow. “And how is your dad?”
“Son-of-a ...” However, before Starr can complete her endearment she sees Tenderfoot with a gun pointed straight at his temples.
“Yes, I got your buddy here and we’re going to play a game that I know you will enjoy—Russian Rowlett.” Crow announces.
“Is that right?” Starr retorts never taking her eyes off Tenderfoot for one minute.
“And, guess what? I bought a brand-new gun for the occasion.” At first Starr is a little disconcerted until she sees that it’s a shiny new Colt 45.
“Alright pigeon ... what are we playing for and who am I up against?” Starr replies, her confidence returning at full-force.
“It’s Crow and you’re playing against my best man, Albert “The Torch” Bailey. If you win—I let both you and Tenderfoot go. I also leave your fine city.”
“And, if I lose?” Starr replies well aware that the odds are in her favor, that is as long as she can go first.
“Two people die ... you and Mr. Tenderfoot here.” The Crow states smiling. Starr looks over at Tenderfoot who on the surface seems calm. He knows that Starr has never lost at Russian Rowlett and hopes that this will not be the first time.
“I don’t know about this Boss.” Replies an extremely nervous Torch.
“What’s the matter Torch, you scared of a little girl?” Tenderfoot taunts and is slapped in the face by the back of a gun.
“There’s no need for violence—not just yet anyway.” States the Crow and Starr walks over to Tenderfoot, takes out a dainty handkerchief, and proceeds to wipe the blood from Tenderfoot’s face.
“Enough of the mothering, little Starr. Bring your cute little bottom over here and let’s get this game going. And, to show that I’m a gentleman—you can even go first.” The Crow states, much to the relief of Starr.
Oh—Oh, You Lose ...
The two opponents sit face-to-face with the gun at the center of the table. Starr puts the bullet in the chamber and spins it. But, before she can place it to her head, the Crow takes the gun from her and spins it again. “For Luck.” He says with a smile.
This is a deviation for Starr. Her thoughts go to her family and she begins to wonder if this is the way that its finally going to end for her. “Can’t live forever.” She retorts with a smile. “At least, I won’t be some dried-up old maid sitting in a rocker with a shawl and a cup of warm milk.”
Starr places the gun to her head, pulls the trigger and nothing happens. Trying not to show her utter relief; she places the gun back on the table for the Torch to have a go at it. Yet, he is not as calm and confident as Starr was.
“This is stupid!” The Torch exclaims. “Why the hell don’t you do it, Crow?”
“Because wise guy, I told you to do it.” The Crow answers.
“Looks like we’ve got enough chicken here to make my grandma’s old fashion recipe for Dumplings Surprise.” Starr scoffs and everyone in the room laughs, everyone except the Crow and the Torch.
“Enough already. Look Torch, either you grab that gun, put it up to your head and pull the trigger or I will just take my automatic out and blast you myself.” The Crow threatens and with that the Torch picks up the gun, places it to his head and there is another click.
In total relief, he puts the gun back down and with a smug look on his face waits for Starr to retrieve the gun. Figuring out the pattern—Starr grabs the gun, places it to her forehead and pulls the trigger. “Click.”
Setting it back on the table, she sits back with her arms crossed and looks at the Torch. The Torch doesn’t like the way that Starr is looking at him, so he bolts toward the door. A shot rings out and the Torch is dead before he can reach the knob.
“The spineless little creep.” The Crow says as he picks up the 45, point it at Starr, then points it up toward the ceiling. He pulls the trigger and the gun fires. “Damn—how did you know?” The Crow questions in astonishment.
“Just call it woman’s intuition. Now, about that deal—” Starr replies while casually reaching for her purse.
“Oh, didn’t I tell you—I’m a sore loser.” But before the Crow can retrieve his gun, Starr pulls out her Smith and Wesson Model 638 from her purse and shoots the Crow dead in the heart. He is sprawled out on the floor before he knew what hit him with a cocky expression on his face. Like roaches, his men scatter in fear.
Tenderfoot walks over to Starr and gives her the biggest bear hug, rivalling her father’s generous embraces. “If you were a man—I’d make you my Top Lieutenant.” The Tenderfoot says looking at first the Crow and then the Torch.
“If I were a man—who knows. Since I’m not, I’ll give you 30 seconds to high-tail it out of here.” Starr says smiling.
“Fair nuff.” The Tenderfoot replies.
At that moment, taking a wad of money from his back pocket, Tenderfoot grabs Starr’s purse and shoves it inside. Then turning, he looks at the spunky young lady once more, smiles broadly and leaves the premises with a few of his trusted fellows following.
“You were lucky this time.” A voice says behind her. Starr pivots around to find Ray smiling down at her. “Looks like you got a nice little settlement to boot.”
“It wasn’t luck, my friend ... it was the roll of the chamber, or in this case the double roll.” Starr testifies, wondering what Ray is doing there.
“How did you know, Starr?” Ray questions incredulously.
“Mathematics, my friend. Now let’s get out of here. All of a sudden, I’ve got a taste for a thick, juicy Rib-Eye Steak!” Starr says suddenly feeling hungry.
“I’ll race you to the car!” Ray replies laughing.
© 2019 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS