“Rip that tooth right the fuck out,” Al said.
“They’re all gone,” Mike said.
“I can see one right there,” Al replied.
Poor Andy Clement, a short haired man in his early thirties, was tied to the same chair in Al’s office that the late Pat Farley had been tied to the day before. All but one of his teeth were laid out on Al’s desk and Al was determined to get that last one.
“Where?” Mike asked as he held Mike’s mouth open.
“You don’t see that?” Al asked. “It’s clear as fucking day.”
“Oh,” Mike said as he picked up a pair of rusty, blood soaked pliers off of Al’s desk. “Hold on.”
“Noooo!” Andy cried. “Al I’ve told you everything I know I swear.”
“Famous last words from a malicious little prick trying to fuck me over and save his life at the same time,” Al said. “You’re not going to do both so what’s it going to be?”
“If I knew something else I’d tell you,” Andy said.
“Let us lay out the facts,” Al said. “Pat, that stinking filth bag, told me that you took my shit and now you are telling me that you did not take my shit. Either he lied to me or you’re lying to me right now. Which is it?”
“He lied!” Andy shouted. “He lied, I swear!”
“Tell me something useful and you might save your last chomper,” Al said.
Andy’s face was soaked with a mixture of tears, blood and sweat. “He…he…uhh…”
“What?” Al asked. “Be a fucking man already!”
“He took it!” Andy said. “He fucking took it and sold it and he was laughing the whole time, Al! I tried to stop him but he was all like, ‘No fuck Al I hate him and stop being such a good fucking friend to Al for trying to stop me Andy.”
Al stroked his chin and looked at Mike. “You buy it?”
Mike shook his head no.
“Pull it out,” Al commanded.
Al turned away and took a seat behind his desk, pouring himself a scotch as he watch his young protege yank out Andy’s one last tooth. The screams, the cries, the sheer terror on Andy’s face, the chilling efficiency with which Mike did his dirty work, none of it went unnoticed.
“You brought this on yourself, Andy,” Al said as Mike dropped the last tooth on Al’s desk.
The barkeep took a sip of scotch. “A mystery for the ages. Was I fucked by Pat? By you, Andy? Or did you two twats collude to fuck me together?”
Andy was struggling to breathe. “Maybe…it was…someone else.”
“Maybe,” Al said. “Shit I hadn’t even considered that possibility. The plot fucking thickens.”
Al coughed. At first it was a little. Then it was a lot. Soon it was a fit. His face turned red.
“You all right, Al?” Mike asked.
Al stopped coughing. “I’m fine,” Al replied as he closed his eyes. “Booze went down the wrong pipe I guess. Goddamn it I’m so done with this bullshit.”
Startled, Al opened his eyes and jumped out of his chair to see that the right side of Andy’s face had been blown off. Mike was standing off to the right and once again holding a smoking revolver.
“What the fuck was that?!” Al shouted.
“What?” Mike asked. “You said you were done!”
“I meant it figuratively, you dopey fuck!” Al shouted. “The whole mess exhausted me is what I was trying to say but I wasn’t actually done. I had more questions for the stupid prick!”
“I’m sorry Al,” Mike said as he holstered his gun.
“What did I tell you yesterday?” Al asked.
“Not to shoot a man in the back of the head when you’re sitting in front of him,” Mike said. “That’s why I did it from over here.”
“Well I guess you’re not that stupid but I meant the other thing,” Al said.
Mike shrugged his shoulders.
“I think!” Al shouted. “You do!”
“Oh,” Mike said. “Right.”
“You’re fucking right I’m right,” Al said. “And do not do the fucking doing until I tell you to do it! You got it?”
“I got it,” Mike said.
Al walked over to Mike, rested his hands on the young man’s shoulders and looked him in the eye. “Jesus H. Christ, kid. You got guts and you remind me a lot of myself when I was your age but you have got to learn how to take a fucking order.”
“No more killing people in my office,” Al said. “It makes a giant, unnecessary mess. I’m still finding little chunks of Pat’s brain everywhere.”
“I thought I got ‘em all,” Mike said.
“And yet they persevere,” Al said.
Al downed the last of his scotch and pounded the shot glass down on the desk. “Clean this shit up. I gotta get back to the bar. Mitsy pours suds about as good as she fucks, slowly and with a lousy attitude.”