But it wasn’t a real question anyway. It was banter. It was pre-gunfire tough talk from a guy who’d seen too many Hollywood movies where nobody just shoots anybody. They need a catch phrase first, or a joke, or a bible verse.
My eyes scrambled around, aching for a way out, anything.
On my left was Brodey, close to death and praying to get there soon.
On my right, the strippers. One somehow still asleep, the other high, and only slightly kicked off balance by what was unfolding.
“Navy boy, you better tell me something quick if you don’t want to wind up with some lead in yo’ ass.”
“What can I tell you D-Boss, we fucked up. I’m sorry.”
Not good enough. “Get yo’ ass down. On yo’ knees!”
I complied and prayed for no more tough talk. I wanted this over quickly.
And I didn’t expect that clack out of nowhere.
Neither did D-Boss. The smack to his head with Brodey’s shotgun came from Ruthie, sending D-Boss to the floor, his gun to the bed in front of the strippers.
One of them reached for it, but I spun, shot her before she could find the gat’s handle. I turned and shot D-Boss before he could club me from behind. Then I dragged a stunned Ruthie out of the room. It was time to move.
The boat shook with the kind of bustle you’d expect with this gunfire erupting. With the suitcases at our feet and the lifeboat yards away it all seemed so simple. So what happened next didn’t even begin to make sense.
With a trembling finger, she pointed to the lifeboat. “Uh-uh, I’m not gettin’ in that thing!”
“Ruthie, that was the plan! Come on!” The lifeboat was tiny, the sea huge and scary. But this was ridiculous.
There was no time to argue. I grabbed the suitcases, sprinted to the lifeboat. To hell with Ruthie. I almost made it to the rail before I heard a shot from behind — then I felt it.
It was a good shot for a beginner, damn near perfect. It sent my left arm spinning across the deck and knocked me face down, ass up, finished.
In the distance I could see a ship, not a friendly one. Bad news. They were Somali pirates closing in on the Pimp Wagon, probably already tallying up the booty.
With the air easing out of me and my brain fluttering off to nowhere, I turned with everything I had left and caught a glimpse of Ruthie’s mercenary glare as she gave the shotgun a defiant pump.
One final thought snapped into my head: Those Somali pirates don’t have a prayer.
Tomorrow’s Lunch Break Crime Read: It Might Be Little But It’s Loud