“15 Minutes. You’ve got 15 minutes. You come back without the money, bullet. You come back with less than enough, bullet. you don’t come back, she gets a bullet. What d’ya reckon? Maybe I’ll slip her a little something else before I pull the trigger. Then I’ll cut her into fucking tuna chunks, find you, and guess what you’ll get?” Vic cocked the pistol and fixed his eyes on Sean. Sean’s eyes darted between the gun in his girlfriends mouth and the eyes of the devil holding it. His mind paced between his two beady brown eyes trying to figure out how everything got flipped upside down. How he wished he didn’t smoke that second blunt, if his mind could only work a little harder, think a little faster, maybe he’d be able to find a way out of this.
He was good at that. He was good at getting out of tight spots, it’s something he prides himself on. Where other men would give up, let the situation play out and call it destiny, Sean would find a way to carve out his own and make everything right, at least for the following moment because despite Sean’s resourceful character he could never quite hold his life together. If he was straight with his rent then he owed his dealer, if he didn’t owe his dealer then he owed his mom, a loan his mom didn’t really get a chance to accept or decline.
On top of this he was balancing a zealous cocaine habit, a healthy diet of wine and weed and some industry grade glue when money was tight to stick it all together. Now more than ever he regretted the obscene amount of money he spent on fuelling these habits. What a fool! Where was he gonna get £5,000 cash now? The most he’d ever had at one time was £900 and that was for his 18th birthday. He’d spent all that in 2 nights too and all he has to show for it is a dead best friend, a criminal record and the heavy weight of guilt threatening to break his sanity.
Shit. Shit shit shit. Think Sean, think.
“Okay! Ok! I can get it! I can get it to you!”
Vic raised his empty palm and slammed the table with a force that a threatened to displace anything not nailed to it “Attaboy! There’s my clever sheep!”
“B-But I need more than 15 minutes. I have a cousin, he lives on the other side of town, he owes me big time! He said he had some money for me yesterday. I can go get it!” The words were flooding out of his mouth faster than his mind could compute. Every word was breaking news to Sean. Since his mind was failing, his tongue had stepped in and though it had the speed and agility to distract, it lacked the foresight and intelligence to resolve the real problem. Just like Sean.
“Ohhhhh Seany Seany Sean, I’ve given you a chance before do you remember?”
“That was different, this is rea-”
“Shut your filthy fucking mouth Sean! This is the problem with you baggys, you talk so much shit you can’t smell it on your breath.” In the crack between one moment and the next Vic shoved the butt of the jet black Baikal into the bridge of Nikki’s nose and in the same instant that Sean heard the crunch of her nose breaking, he found the barrel of the gun glaring at him, daring him to do anything but breathe. Not a word was uttered but Sean understood that the slightest twitch from him would mean a hole in his skull. “Here’s what’s gonna happen Sean”. He knew he should be paying attention, he knew that the words in his ears would be the difference between life or death but he could not give them the attention they deserved. His eyes were fixed on Nikki, toppled over onto her side, unconscious. Blood freely flowing out of her nose, staining her teeth before meandering across the bleach white tile floor. The lagoon of blood next to her head was growing.
“Let me help her! The Blood! Pl-”
2 shots burst just outside Sean’s left ear. He felt the heat of the shots burn his ear and his ear drum rupture. After the shots, deafening ringing ensued. He cupped his hands around his bleeding ear in an effort to shut out the piercing ring. He stumbled forward, past Vic, and onto the dining table. Stealing breaths between cries of agony. An indistinct shout caught the attention of his undamaged ear, he turned to find Vic staring at him with savage intent. Vic straightened his midnight blue Armani suit and moved towards him. One carefully tailored Berluti in front of the other. Then, as if consumed by some kind of spell, he softened his countenance into an almost friendly sight.
“Sean. Listen to me” Sean was still nursing his ear. Half leaning on the table and half turned to see Vic so he could read his lips since he couldn’t hear every word over the searing pain swelling inside his head. “Outside there is a Car, in that car there is a suitcase. On that suitcase is an address. You will drive to that address, exchange that suitcase for another suitcase and then what will you do, Sean?”
“I-I I bring it back to you?” The words snuck out of his mouth and trembled under the cover of his breath as if they them selves did not want to be in the same room as Vic.
Vic stretched out his free hand and cupped the back of Seans neck, pulling Seans writhing body to it’s feet. With mere inches separating the two Vic snarled “Wrong Seany boy” Vic’s whiskey stained breath invaded Seans nostrils making him nauseous. “You’re going to kill the man you meet and anybody else in the room then you’re going to bring me both cases.”