Outlaws by Robert Ragan

Blue Collar Noir, Crime Fiction, Fiction, Punk Noir Magazine, Robert Ragan

So many people want to be outlaws. They want the adrenaline rush that comes with the gunfire. They don’t realize the blood remains on their hands long after it’s washed off.

Devin would make fun of you for having a conscience. He had the best work ethic of any thief out there. Creative when putting together scheme’s, he was an artist when pulling a stick-up. Escape routes mapped out beforehand, every angle covered, everyone involved, well-armed, and prepared.

I tell him, “The word going around is a team of feds has taken over the case. Don’t you think we should lay low for a while?”  Devon’s smile fades, squinting his dark eyes, deeper in thought he says, “Of course they had to bring in the feds.” Devin made it clear that he wasn’t slowing down.

It will never stop now,” he says, “We’ve crossed the wrong people.” Devon explains how laying low would have us off guard. “You don’t hold up high dollar drug transactions and take off with someone’s re-up without repercussions.”

So you want to be a true outlaw? Don’t think law enforcement is the only enemy. They want to lock you inside a cage to rot. Other criminals you cross would rather find you somewhere and make sure you begin to rot much sooner.

Before the feds found me dead or alive, I told Devon I wanted out. Exhaling cigarette smoke, he pulls down the brim of his black baseball cap, looking into my eyes but hiding his own.

Now he was roasting me. Laughing. “What are you going to do clock in and work a nine-to-five?” Devin says, “With your criminal record, they’ll throw your application in the trash as soon as they run a background check.”

“Oh, so you going to get on welfare,” smiling he says, “I should go apply myself. Get everything we can out of this crooked ass government, but still make real money our own way.”

Shaking my head, I say, “Real money? You’re the only one with a nice car or anything to show for that real money.”

He was slick, calm, and collected but saying that I managed to strike a nerve. 

Removing his hat revealing his shaved head he says, “I made smarter decisions with my money. It’s not my fault you have stupid expensive habits.”

Devin says, ‘Do what you want, but don’t come back later when you want back in. You know how many hungry criminals would like to make money with me?”

I told Devin he was slipping, “Remember when you said all those hungry criminals wanted to take your money? ”

Acknowledging my hard work, he says, “You are an honorable thief, but there has to be someone else out there I can trust.”

I left that day determined to make a change. It was hard to look forward to the future. For the things I’d done, the law could come and pick me up at any time.

They were investigating crimes we’d committed. Even Devin wondered exactly what they had on us. Inevitably he was right, I couldn’t get a job anywhere just random under the table work. All that money I blew right away then struggled to pay my bills.

I’m below rock bottom right now, contemplating doing some stick-ups on my own. Not major drug and gun runners. No, maybe a couple making a withdrawal at an ATM. Put the pistol to her brand new hairdo, and he’ll make the largest withdrawal possible in a hurry. Hell, I might make them take a ride, she’ll drive while I hold the gun on him, we’ll visit a few ATMs.

I learned from Devin to analyze every possible outcome. Try to see everything coming.

Behind-the-wheel she might try to save the day. Only she won’t be a heroine with her boyfriend’s brains splattered all over the back seat.

If I let them go they won’t come back for revenge. No, they’ll run straight to their local authorities and file a report. I should tell them my name is Devin Pages.

Instead of all this, I should go see him. Not to get back in his good graces but to beat him at his own game. I know his moves, all I have to do is wait, find out where he’s stashing the money. Remember that it’s never at the hideout.

He really thinks I was an honorable thief. I’m the last person he would expect. Not only will I take the money, but I’m also taking his guns and any dope he stole too.

First of all, am I prepared to die? Once I make this first move, one of us will kill the other without a doubt. I could pull it off and make a get-way. But I’d have to disappear. Devin would be out to get me at all cost.

No, I’m not prepared to die. When I’m done before Devin takes his last breath, he’ll remember the saying, There’s no honor amongst thieves.

All you aspiring outlaws out there, are you sure this is the life you really want?

20181231_180713Bio: Robert Ragan from Lillington NC lives his life for art and writing. He has stories and poetry online at Vext Magazine, Outlaw Poetry, The Dope Fiend Daily, The Rye Whiskey Review, Drinkers Only, Under The Bleachers, Cajun Mutt Press, Punk Noir, Synchronized Chaos, and Terror House Magazine. Alien Budha Press has published his short story collection “Mannequin Legs and Other Tales”