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Easy Money: A Joe Beck Thriller

by Alastair Brown

Easy Money: A Joe Beck Thriller Free Preview

ONE

The deal was going down at Ernesto's bar on Grand Central Boulevard, sometime between nine-thirty and ten. The seller was somebody unknown, probably a mule working on behalf of a mid-level dealer, but the buyer was Darius Adamczuk. At least, that's what Joe Beck had worked out. And that's why he was on his way there.

It was the last Sunday before Thanksgiving, nine-fifteen at night, and Joe Beck was in Detroit, Michigan. He had driven into town in a black Chevrolet Camaro, a rental car that he had left parked up by the curb in a pay and display spot outside a shuttered shoe store on Woodward Avenue.

He was only out of the car a few minutes, walking up the street, maybe only fifty paces away from the corner that led to where he was going, but, already, his lips were blue and his face felt numb. The temperature was bitter. It felt like seventeen below. The air was bone-chilling. The cold was biting at his face and ears like it was a starving hound chomping down on a big chunk of roadkill.

He was wearing a pair of black boots, dark-blue straight-fitting jeans, and a fully-buttoned thick black woolen coat. A thick-looking pair of leather gloves covered his hands, and a black scarf that was streaked with flashes of charcoal gray was tightly wrapped around his neck.

A blizzard of frosty white snow whipped downward from the heavy night sky. It sucked into eyes and ears and swept across his face like Arctic ocean waves lashing the northern Canadian Tundra. The sidewalk was white, covered with a thick blanket of untouched snow that reflected the glow from the yellow vapor lights above that flanked the road. The snow was fresh, puffy and powdery, and it compacted and crunched under his boots as he moved quickly, purpose in his eyes, eager to get indoors, going over the plan in his mind.

This one's a smash and grab, he thought. Go in and take him out. Knock his teeth down his throat. Grab him by the scruff of the neck and drag him out the door and across the street. Haul his ass all the way down the snowy sidewalk to the third precinct at two-seven-eight-five Grand Central Boulevard. Check him in and fill in some paperwork. And walk back out about ten minutes later, twenty-five-thousand dollars richer, with the next wanted shitbag promoted to the top of the hit list.

Squinting through the blizzard of snow, he saw a row of cars up ahead on his right, parked up by the curb just like his Camaro. Red and blue sedans and black and white SUVs, all with snow-capped roofs, windshields, bonnets and wing mirrors. They’ve obviously been sitting there for a while, he thought, the snow whipping his eyes, a painful grin on his numb face.

He was right. They had all been parked there since the snow had started earlier that afternoon. All of them, but one. A red Buick LaCrosse with an Ohio license plate. It was a 2005 model, a classic sedan, that was otherwise in good condition, but for a few scrapes on the hood and a long crack on the driver's side wing mirror. It was parked facing north, behind a black Ford. The snow on its roof, rear windshield and trunk was light, maybe only a few centimeters, as if had only just begun to build up.

There was a woman up ahead standing beside it, by side of the driver's door. She had cupped her right hand over her eyes to shield them from the snow and she was gazing in through its windshield. She looked to be in her early sixties. She had peachy skin, short gray permed hair that was brushed with flashes of blonde, and thick gold-rimmed glasses across her eyes.

She was relatively small, and round, maybe only five-four, and she cut a plump figure in her uniform: dark heavy-duty boots, navy-blue pants, a navy-blue anorak, and a navy-blue peaked cap with a black visor. She was wearing black woolen gloves on her hands and had a gray-and-black-checked scarf wrapped around her neck. In her left hand was a black parking enforcement ticket machine.

Beck watched her exhale white clouds of warm breath through the bitter winter air and snow as she punched the Buick's details into the machine. Walking closer toward her, he saw the machine spit out a small white ticket from the top. It curled out from its end like a sale receipt from a grocery store's till. He thought nothing of it, and neither did she, because there was nothing to think. It was just another illegally parked car getting another ticket.

Neither of them knew it was a getaway car.

She tore the ticket from the roll and drew a transparent plastic bag from the front pocket of her jacket. Quickly slipped the ticket inside the bag, before it got wet or the bag filled up with snow, then sealed it shut by running her right forefinger and thumb along its stick and seal end. She, then, leaned forward and slapped it down on the Buick's front windshield, placing it onto the thin covering of white snow and tucking it underneath its black wiper blade.

Noticing Beck, another hardened soul braving the grim night conditions, now just a few paces away from her and grimacing against the cold, she smiled. It was more of a grinning-and-bearing-it sort of smile than a pleasant one.

He nodded his acknowledgment, teeth gritted and a stern look in his eyes as the freezing snow swept across his face.

Their interaction was brief, lasting maybe only a second, before it was interrupted by a dirty-looking, uncouth scroat of a man who emerged from a liquor store up ahead on his left, a few paces beyond the Buick's hood, right behind the woman.

He was small and thin-framed. He was dressed in brown boots, dirty ripped blue jeans and a plain, tired-looking gray t-shirt that was stained with black cigarette burns and brown lager splotches. There was a black ski mask over his face. Only his eyes and lips were visible, the skin around them chalk white. He was carrying a full-looking brown paper bag in his left hand and a blood-stained machete in his right. Its blade curved to a point at its tip and it looked to be about fifteen inches long.

He paused, briefly, seeing the woman at his vehicle. What the fuck? he thought. Who the fuck’s she? I can't afford a ticket, not here, not tonight. He tossed the brown paper bag to the ground and dived toward her, quickly knocked the peaked cap from her head and snatched her by her hair, then yanked her head backward and did the unthinkable.

He raised the machete up to her neck and, right in front of Beck's eyes, pressed the cutting edge of its blade against her skin and whipped it backward and to his right, slicing her throat from ear to ear.

It all happened so fast that the woman didn't even know what had happened. She had seen the tall dark-haired man walking toward her, embracing her grimacing expression through the blizzard of snow, then she felt her hat being knocked off, followed by a sharp, shooting pain tearing through her scalp as somebody tugged on her hair. She felt her head jerk backward and slam against something warm. Something with a beat. Maybe somebody’s chest. Then, she felt the sharp and somewhat warm and sticky edge of a blade slice into her neck. And, next thing she knew, she was falling toward the ground.

She screamed and slumped forward to the cold, snowy sidewalk, landing face down, gagging and choking and twitching in shock as a torrent of crimson blood spurted from her throat, sloshing the fresh white powdery snow a grisly dark shade of red. The next thing she felt was the last thing she remembered. It was the intense chilling sensation of the snow biting against her face like it was a seething army of termites gnawing through a plank of wood. It burned her nose and mouth and cheeks and chin, biting at every inch of exposed skin. She died right there and then, freezing cold and her face feeling like it was on fire as she lay face down with her throat cut on the snow by the side of the illegally parked Buick.

Joe Beck paused as it happened, his eyes open wide and an incredulous look on his icy-cold face, unable to believe what he had just witnessed. He stood there, momentarily frozen in time, absorbing what had just gone down right in front him in the middle of the street. He looked at the machete in the guy's right hand. Its blade was streaked with dark-red blood. He thought of the image of it slicing the woman's neck like a hot knife going through a block of butter and glanced down at her body lying lifeless not more than a few paces from his feet. He thought of her falling to the ground, the blood spurting from her throat, and how she must have felt the chill of the snow on her skin as she died. Then, he looked back up at the guy. And reacted.

A menacing scowl taking hold of his face, he stepped toward the guy and balled his leather glove-clad left hand into a huge football-sized fist. Swung it back and, then, upward with all the might he could muster and dropped the guy where he stood.

Just one shot. That was all it took. But it wasn't just any shot. It was a savage uppercut straight to the guy's mouth and nose.

Beck's fist smashed his teeth and shattered his nose. His face felt like it had been blasted by a sledgehammer. His mask crumpled and his head snapped back. His legs whipped up from underneath his body and he flopped backward. The machete fell from his grip, landing silently on the white powdery snow, smearing it red and orange with blood as the back of his head smashed hard off the frozen curb. He died on impact. A broken nose and jaw, a fractured skull and a trauma to the brain.

Beck steadied himself after the scuffle. He sucked quick, deep breaths of the icy air while looking around and taking stalk of what had just happened, now temporarily feeling immune to the cold. His heart was pumping, the adrenaline howling through his body and the blood screaming through his arteries and veins.

The female parking attendant was lying face down on the blood-soaked snow a few inches from his feet by the side of the car. Her killer was lying behind her. He was flat out on his back on the sidewalk, adjacent to the gap between the hood of the Buick and the trunk of the black Ford, facing up at the sky. His body was in the shape of an X with his arms and legs spread apart and fully extended and his head dangling over the curb. He wasn't moving. The machete was lying to his right on a blood-stained patch of snow.

Shit, he thought. He just cut her throat like he was slicing a hock of ham. Right in front of my eyes. Shit. He looks dead. I just reacted like anyone would've. Only hit him once. But the back of his head hit the ground. Hard.

The snow began to fall heavier, the two bodies and the machete quickly beginning to disappear underneath a thin blanket of frosty white snow. Figuring he was now standing right at the heart of a murder scene, one of the bodies a victim of his own fist, he realized he couldn't hang around, especially not when he had some place else to be. He couldn't afford to get caught up. Not tonight. He glanced around, making sure nobody else was on the street ahead of or behind him and looked up at the corners of the adjacent buildings for cameras facing onto the scene.

There was nobody there and no visible cameras.

He glanced down at the bodies once more. And that was when he noticed the brown paper bag. It was lying on the snow, on the road, tucked in by the white, glistening curb just behind the back left wheel of the black Ford, lying a few paces beyond the guy’s dead body. Still in a state of fight or flight and not thinking straight, he wondered what it was. He stepped forward and leaned down and lifted it up.

It felt light but full. The paper scrunched in his grip. He heard the sound of coins jingling inside. Then, remembered the guy holding it when he came out of the liquor store. That was when he realized what it was. He opened it up and glanced inside.

It was stuffed with exactly what he thought. Money. Just as he had anticipated. Notes and coins of varying sizes and denominations. All shoved in. Tens, twenties and fifties at the top; quarters, nickels and dimes at the bottom. All in all, maybe three-thousand dollars’ worth of money. Money that was, most likely, from the cash register of the liquor store.

Thinking that nobody had seen a thing and that it was unlikely that there would be anybody still alive who would miss it, going by the fact the guy had come out the liquor store with the blood-stained blade and nobody had run out after him, he grinned and unbuttoned his coat. He stuffed the brown paper bag inside, wedging it against his chest, then quickly re-buttoned his coat and moved to walk away. But that was when he heard the crunching sound of footsteps in the snow and the sound of a woman's voice shouting toward him from the other side of the Ford and the Buick.

"Hey, what's going on over there?" she called.

He froze on the spot. His heart sank. His insides throbbed. Who was it? What had she seen? Those were the questions that shot through his mind seconds before he turned his head and looked over the Ford's roof.

There was a woman coming toward him, walking across the street from what looked like a salon on the other side of the road. It was the only establishment that was lit, that looked open. It had a large frosted glass window and a frosted glass door. The sign above both was white with gold writing that said: Angel’s.

The woman was tall and slim, maybe five-ten, with blonde hair. She was wearing black Chelsea boots with smart dark pants and a white parka jacket with a black fur-lined hood. It was fully zipped with the hood up over her head. She was holding what looked like a cell phone in her right hand. A white smartphone, as far as he could tell through the white-out of snow.

"What just happened over there?" she called, stepping closer, taking slow, steady steps through the snow, looking awkward in her heels, careful not to slip or topple over.

At first, he said nothing. He just stared at her through the blizzard. Thinking. Wondering what she might have seen, worrying about whether or not she saw him lift the brown paper bag of cash. He stepped back down the side of the Buick.

"Hello?" she called, still walking his way, having crossed the street, now only maybe ten or fifteen paces away. "Can you hear me? What's going on over there?"

Her face came to the forefront from underneath the white blanket of the blizzard. Her features were small and her skin looked soft. Her eyes were big and brown and appeared to be glowing with life. Her eyelids were tinted with a dark, smoky eye shadow. And her cheeks looked lightly touched with blusher. They were razor-sharp, almost like they could be used grate cheese. Her face was striking. And tanned. She was beautiful.

"Hello?" she called, again, her voice louder than before.

"I can hear you," he answered, finally, turning around to face her.

"What's going on?"

"There's been a murder."

"Wait. What?" said asked, stopping where she stood, about five paces away on the other side of the Buick.

He nodded. "Somebody just killed a parking attendant. He came out of the liquor store behind me. Killed her right in front of me."

"What," she said and stepped closer, but stopped after taking just two steps, now standing by the trunk of the Buick, the woman's body and the crimson patch of snow around her head visible around the side of the car. Her eyes widened and her jaw dropped. "Oh, Jesus. What the hell?"

Beck nodded, slowly. He pointed to the guy in the ski mask, then at the liquor store. "Yeah. Like I said. This guy just killed her. He came out of the liquor store with a machete. She was ticketing his car. He grabbed ahold of her head and cut her throat."

The woman said nothing. She stepped forward and looked over the trunk of the car. She saw the guy Beck was talking about lying there on the snow beyond the woman. He was in the shape of an X, a white frosty covering over his body. Then, she saw the machete. It was also lightly covered. She made out the shape of its blade and saw the slick of red underneath the freshly fallen snow. She looked back at the dead parking attendant and, then, at Beck, a mix of shock and questions burning in her big brown eyes.

"I saw it. It all happened right in front of me," he said.

She flicked her eyes back to the guy lying on his back on the snow and took a light breath, then looked at the parking attendant and, then, back at Beck. "You said he killed her?”

He nodded. “That’s right.”

“Then, what happened to him?"

"He was standing right in front of me with the machete in his hand. I thought I was going to be next, so I just reacted. I hit him."

She flicked her eyes back to the guy and nodded, slowly. "He isn't moving. Is he..."

Beck nodded.

"Oh, Jesus. I'm calling nine-one-one."

Beck's eyes widened. He couldn't let that happen. He shook his head. "No. You can’t do that. There's nothing they can do."

She looked back at him, curiously. "What? What do you mean by can’t? How is there nothing they can do?"

He wiped the snow from the left side of his face and pointed to the parking attendant. "Well, she's dead already. There's nothing they can do to save her." He paused and pointed to the guy. "And so is he. So, they can't damn well come and arrest him. They come out here, all they're going to find is two dead bodies and a machete lying by the side of the road."

"Exactly. Which is why I'm calling them," she said and raised her cell phone in front of her face and began to key in the number.

Beck closed his eyes and shook his head. No other choice, he reached into his coat, past the brown paper bag of money and drew his gun. A silver Smith & Wesson 5906. A stainless-steel semi-automatic pistol he had picked up from a guy in South Dakota for a few hundred bucks, having paid an extra hundred for it to come with its serial number filed off, rendering it not only unregistered but also untraceable back to him. It was completely anonymous, and fully loaded with a full magazine of ammunition plus a bullet in its chamber.

He pulled it from his coat and held it in his right hand, his right forefinger looped through its trigger guard, its muzzle pointing downward at the snowy sidewalk, hesitant to raise it, thinking just the sight of it would be enough. "I wouldn't do that, if I were you," he said.

She looked down at the gun and gasped. Her pupils dilating like she was standing in a dark, candle-lit room. "What the?"

He shook his head. "I can't let you make that call."

"Why? Was it? Did you?"

"No,” he interrupted. “I told you what happened. He killed her. And I hit him."

She said nothing. There was a suspicious look on her face.

"I just can't let you make that call," he added. "Not tonight."

"Why not?"

"Because there's a drug deal going down at a bar around the corner. And I'm on the way there to pick somebody up. I can't afford to get caught up in local police bullshit."

She kept silent, processing what he had just said, still looking at him through suspicious eyes. She was questioning who he was and, from the way he answered her question, also whether or not he was maybe a police officer, or a federal agent. But, also, at the same time, wondering whether he actually maybe killed both of them himself.

"It's unfortunate that you've stumbled across this," he said. "But I've told you what happened. And there's nothing you can do. There's nothing the police can do. Hell, there's nothing more I can do. So, put your cell phone into your pocket and just walk away. Go back into your salon and lock up for the night. Then, go home. Shelter from the snow. Make some tea. Watch TV. Forget you ever saw me. And Forget you ever saw this."

She nodded, slowly, taking light breaths of the icy winter air, realizing that he was probably not the type of guy to mess with. She moved to do as he said, lowered her cell phone to her pocket, then stopped, swallowed hard, and said, "I can't."

"Wrong answer," he said and shook his head, then raised the gun, arcing its muzzle up through the air. The snow swept across its barrel and stuck to its sides. It turned white and frosty in seconds.

"Wait!"

He nodded his head, once, as if to gesture her to put away her phone, the muzzle of his gun now pointing toward her face.

She slipped her cell phone into her pocket.

"That's it. Now, go," he said and flicked his eyes across the street to her salon.

Her eyes filled up. She shook her head. "I can't."

He looked at her, curiously, his eyebrows having narrowed over the bridge of his nose. "Why not?"

"Because,” she said and exhaled a stressful sigh.

“Because what?”

She sucked a breath of the frosty air. “Because I'm in trouble.”

“Trouble?”

She nodded. “And, from what I've seen here, I think you might be the only person who can get me out of it."

"Out of what?"

She said nothing. She flicked her eyes to his gun.

He lowered it.

She closed her eyes and exhaled, relieved.

"Out of what?" he asked, again.

"A money thing."

“A money thing?"

She bit down on her bottom lip.

"Either you tell me, or..." He said and glanced back down at his gun.

"OK. OK," she said and swallowed, hard. "It's three men. They came by my salon yesterday, demanding that I pay them four-thousand dollars."

Beck winced as what she had said sunk in. He had seen this type of thing before. He knew exactly what it was. "The three men, you know who they were?"

She shook her head. "No. I've never seen them before. Please, can you help?"

He put his gun into the front right pocket of his coat and nodded. "Tell me exactly what happened."

"They came in sometime around three o'clock. One of them told everyone to leave. The other two turned three of my clients out onto the street. Then, one of them closed the door and stood across it. The other one took a seat on one of my salon chairs and the guy who told everyone to get out walked toward me. He pulled a knife and said that, if I want to stay safe and stay in business, I had to pay them the money."

"OK," he said, nodding. "What did they look like?"

"They were white. Big and tall. Broad-shouldered. Like you. Except they had tattoos. And short, severe hair cuts. The guy who spoke sounded foreign, like he wasn't from here. He looked foreign. Actually, they all looked foreign."

"What did he sound like? Where would you say they were from?" Beck asked.

She shrugged. "I don't know. Europe, maybe? It was definitely a European accent."

Interesting, he thought, Darius Adamczuk popping up in his mind, considering he was a Polish immigrant. "OK. And did he say who they were? Or who they were there on behalf of? Did he mention any names?"

She shook her head. "No. Nothing like that at all. They just said I had to pay up, otherwise there would be consequences."

He nodded. That was a typical party line. "Did they say by when?"

"Yeah. They said they would be back tonight, shortly after ten. And that I had better have the money ready and waiting for when they show up."

"Tonight?"

She nodded, slowly, desperation in her eyes.

"And I take it you don't have it?"

She nodded, again.

"Have you called the cops?"

She shook her head. "I can't."

"Because...?"

"Because they said they would kill me if I did."

There were tears in her eyes.

He nodded, unsurprised. "Then, it sounds like you're in a whole world of shit, lady."

She nodded her agreement, worry on her face. "Please. I don't know what to do. And I don't have much time left. Will you help me?"

He took a moment to think about it and decided he would, but that he would be coy about it.

"I've somewhere else to be right now, just like I said. But suppose that I do. Suppose I come back shortly before ten. Suppose I'm there for when the men come knocking. What's in it for me?"

She looked down at the dead parking attendant and the blood-stained snow, the outline of the machete and, finally, the dead guy lying flat out with the ski mask over his head. She gestured her hand, open-palmed, in a circular motion. "Whatever this is, whatever's gone down here, it stays between us. You do whatever you have to do and come back by ten, I'll look the other way. I won't say anything about any of this to anyone. I promise."

"How can I be sure?"

"I'll swear to it on my son's life. If you help me, I'll help you."

Beck didn't have kids, and he didn't want any, either, but a mother swearing on her child's life is about as good a verbal commitment a man can get, almost like having it written in blood. That he knew, for damn sure.

"Fine," he said. "I'll help you."

She smiled, relieved. "Thank you."

"OK. Now, go back inside your salon and draw the blinds. Do something to keep yourself occupied between now and ten o’clock. I'll be back shortly before then. I'll knock on the door three times, so you know it's me."

"OK," she said, relief on her face, sounding as if a weight had just been lifted from her shoulders. "OK," she said, again, and turned around and walked back across the white snowswept street.

Beck watched her disappear back into the salon. She closed the door and drew the blinds, just as he had instructed. She kept the light on but walked off to the back of the building. He watched her silhouette through the frosted glass and light-gray blinds disappear off to the salon's rear.

The street around was still deserted, but he couldn’t leave the scene as was. Even though the snowfall had covered some of it up, the scene was still obvious. A blind man would have noticed the bodies. And, then, he would’ve called the cops. And they would have uncovered the machete, then looked at the footsteps around the scene, undoubtedly tracing them back to Beck’s black Camaro. He knew what he had to do. And he realized he had to do it fast because the deal in Ernesto's Bar was about to go down any minute from now, which meant he was already late.

He glanced at the now snow-covered dead woman and dead guy and, then, the red Buick and quickly thought it through. Plan in mind, he dipped the dead guy's pockets, finding nothing but a pack of cigarettes, a light and a key for the Buick that was illegally parked up at the curb. It was exactly what he was looking for.

He tried the lock. The car’s doors clicked open. He opened the driver's door, leaned in and popped its trunk. It also clicked open. He darted around back and opened it up, then hurried over and reached down and lifted the dead guy up from the ground by his underarms. He was petite. Thin-boned and scrawny. He doesn't weigh much more than a newspaper, Beck thought as he hauled him up into the air and slung him over his shoulder, then walked around the back of the car and slammed him down into the trunk. The car's suspension dipped, but not by much.

First problem solved, Beck looked back at the parking attendant and her blood sloshed across the snow. Just a poor old woman, a mother, a grandmother, caught up doing the right thing in the wrong place at the wrong time by the wrong person. He sighed and shook his head, then flicked his eyes back to the trunk of the car, looking inside, beyond the dead guy's body. There was a plastic red gas canister on the left, a couple of dark-gray plastic grocery bags lying on the floor of the trunk underneath his body, what looked like a silver spanner and a black tire iron inside one of them and, then, exactly what he was hoping to find. A compact snow shovel. It was tucked underneath the plastic bags on the right.

He leaned in and reached under the dead guy's body and swept the bags aside, yanked the shovel out and laid it down on the snow by the curb. It had a black steel head and a thick wooden handle. It was the solid sort of shovel all cars should have in their trunk in the heart of winter. It was perfect for the task at hand.

He hurried over to the dead woman's body, grabbed her by the ankles and dragged her foot-first to the back of the car. Her gaping throat traced a carmine trail of blood across the pathway of snow it slipped over as he dragged her down past the side of the Buick. At the back of the car, he lifted her up, carefully, making sure not to get any of her blood on his clothing, and tossed her in the trunk beside her killer.

Second problem solved, he thought and looked down at the melting puddle of blood-soaked snow where the woman had lain and, then, the smearing red slick that led to the back of the car.

He leaned over and grabbed the shovel and quickly used it to scoop the bloody snow up from the sidewalk. He tossed it into the trunk of the Buick, throwing it over the two dead bodies as fast as he could, like he was throwing salt onto a frozen path. It all went where it was supposed to go, but scattered everywhere inside, over the gas canister, into the grocery bags and into the creases and folds of the dead man’s and woman’s clothing.

It wouldn't matter, he thought. The car would sit in that spot for days, weeks, months, even, before anybody found it.

He was right. After a few days, the city’s Parking Violations Bureau would assume their enforcement officer was MIA. They would try to contact her, but she wouldn’t reply. They would, then, assign the route to somebody else. That person would see the car there every day, parked illegally, sitting in the same spot, and they would slap a new ticket on its windshield each time. It would take maybe sixty days from today for the first one to go unpaid long enough to raise questions. An automated system would trigger the ticket to go to default status and alert the 36th District Court. The 36th District Court would reissue the fine. But it would go unpaid. And, so, the details would be passed on to the Secretary of State’s office. The Secretary of State would try to cancel the driver’s license, assuming he had one. But their letters would go unanswered because he was lying dead in the trunk. And as the parking tickets mounted up, so would the severity of the infringement. The vehicle’s details would be passed on to the Detroit Police and they would start looking for him, trying to determine his whereabouts. They would also have the vehicle impounded. It would be uplifted by a tow truck and driven down to the pound where it would be logged and dumped in a slot beside about a thousand other seized cars. They would search it, eventually, but it would take a while. And, when they did, they would be able to close their fugitive-at-flight case and replace it with a murder investigation. But, by then, it would be too late. Beck would already be off in the wind. And there would be nothing to find, anyway, because the snow would either have melted away or new snow would have fallen, covering up what was there, and he was careful not leave any identifiable evidence at the scene other than his footprints in the snow along the sidewalk.

Beck shoveled the last of the crimson snow into the back and tossed the shovel in after it, then he scooped up the machete and threw it in, too, and locked the car with the key. He tossed the key into the trunk somewhere between the man, the woman, the shovel, the snow and the machete, and slammed the trunk shut. Then, glanced at his watch.

Nine-forty.

Shit. Realizing he was late, he quickly looked around and made sure nobody else was about, that nobody had seen what he had just done, then hurried north and looped around the corner onto Grand Central Boulevard.

Copyright © Alastair Brown, 2020

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Easy Money is held copyright © by Alastair Brown as at its respective creation date. All rights reserved. It, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any form without permission. Anyone who displays, reproduces, copies, creates derivative works, or sells textual, photographic, video, audiovisual programs or other content related to this creative work/publication for commercial or non-commercial purposes without permission violates intellectual property laws and is liable for infringement of intellectual property rights.

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