cypress johnny got the alarm bells to calm down a bit before he spoke again. though his mind was still racing. it always did when strangers came into the bar looking for the card game. especially this late in the evening. fact of the matter, there was a game going on in the back room. there was a game every wednesday night. friday and saturday nights as well. cypress johnny moved easily down the bar to be near the register. right at the spot where underneath the bar was a door behind which was a loaded .357. keeping his hands on the bar he nudged the small door open with his right knee.
card game? yeah. ok. deal is though, gents, it’s a private game. you have to be invited by someone. someone we know and trust. understand?
the brothers looked at one another then johnny basura spoke.
ah. yeah. ok. guess that wouldn’t be us then. right, jimmy?
suppose not, bro.
well fine then, cypress is it?
cypress johnny nodded.
yeah, well alright. we’ll finish our drinks and be on our way. no sense wasting our time if we can’t join the game. if we stick around town maybe we’ll be back so you get to know us better. you know…so…maybe we can play.
long as you don’t cause trouble you guys are welcome back anytime. we’ll have to see about the card game. i hope you understand.
oh, sure. not a problem. right, jimmy?
i got none.
the brothers finished their drinks said good night and left the bar. cypress johnny was glad to see them leave. they seemed ok but there was something about the two brothers. he figured he’d be seeing them again. their next visit might not be as friendly. it had happened before. jerry powell and his biker friends popped into cypress johnny’s mind as his hand reached under the bar to touch the .357.
outside the two brothers stood on the sidewalk taking in the cool night air. there was a tinge of cow crap smell mixed in with the cool air.
yeah, johnny. let’s do it. you smell the cow shit? brings back memories don’t it?
memories of mom beating us silly with a fly swatter? dad and his belt? come on, bro. forget that shit.
sure. i was just saying is all.
yeah yeah. ok. let’s get in the car and park down the street on the other side and watch the place for a while. it’s what? about 12:30? i figure the game will fold up around 2 when the bar closes.
johnny and jimmy got in the car and moved it to the other side of the street. they sat watching jacks or better for the next hour. the two old drunks left and that was it. no one else came out or went into the bar. the street was quiet as well. hardly any traffic and no cop cars at all.
johnny stirred and spoke.
now or never. time to roll little brother. i’ll take the glock, you grab the tire iron. we take out the bartender after he tells us where the game is. you should be able to get that out of him with a whack of two with the iron. though we may not need him. the ruckus might give the game up. we take everybody out. either with the 9mm or the tire iron. grab all the cash and get the hell out of this fucking shit hole for the last damn time. we probably ought to dump this car and pick up somebody’s in there. you with me?
johnny moved the car back to the other side of the street and parked. the brothers got out of the car and johnny checked the 9mm then slipped it in his waistband at the small of his back. the spare clip was in a back pants pocket. jimmy slid the tire iron up his jacket sleeve. it would drop effortlessly into his hand when the time came to wield it. as they got to the bar’s front door johnny whispered.
rock ‘n’ roll.
cypress johnny had given the card room last call. as he began cleaning up for the night he heard the front door open. not good he thought. never any good when somebody came around at closing time. he flashed back again to jerry powell. crap. no. he thought. he quickly ducked behind the bar and went straight for the .357. it was in his hand when he heard feet shuffling inside the bar. two of them he thought. the two brothers? he stayed down and quiet. he hoped no one came out of the card room.
hey! hello? anybody here?
who wants to know?
double down. johnny and jimmy basura. come out from behind there buddy and nobody gets hurt. real slow and show us your hands.
the name basura rang some sort of distant bell but cypress johnny had no time for that. he needed to act. the shuffling feet grew closer.
come on man. get up and show us your hands.
johnny and jimmy had their respective weapons out and at the ready. cypress johnny figured the two had to armed. he made a small noise by the register then silently duck walked down to the open end of the bar. he thought by making the noise the two brothers would be concentrating on the area around the register. he was right.
last chance my man. get up and show us your hands.
cypress stayed down and peeked around the corner of the bar. johnny had a gun and he was pointing it at the register. jimmy had a tire iron and had moved silently up to the bar. he was also looking at the register. the tire iron above his head ready to strike.
déjà vu all over again thought cypress johnny. crap. he took a deep breath. held it. quickly stood up. fired two rounds into johnny basura’s torso. both rounds found his heart and stopped it. cypress johnny then swung on jimmy. jimmy was moving toward him. screaming. two more shots rang out. the rounds impacted jimmy’s head. they blew the back of his head off. jimmy fell like a tree with the tire iron clattering to the floor. jimmy and johnny basura were dead. they lay in a heap on the bar room floor. blood slowly pooling about them.
cypress johnny walked over to the two dead men and kicked the glock out of johnny’s lifeless hand. he moved the tire iron away as well. no sense taking any chances. as he was doing this the card room door was slowly opening. a head stuck out from behind it. it was that night’s card dealer.
you ok cypress?
yeah, eddie. all clear. get everybody out of here and then i’ll call the cops.
eddie went back into the room and hustled the six players out of the room and out the front door. after doing that he collected the house money and sat it on the bar. then he walked over to the dead bodies and looked at them.
you know cypress. these guys look sorta familiar.
as he said this, eddie otto was scratching a faint scar on his neck.
cypress johnny was dialing the phone.
bag the cash eddie and go home. i’ll put it away before the cops get here.
sure, cypress. sure.