Fire Hazard by John Patrick Robbins

Manny and Bill sat outside the rinky dink little gas station the adrenaline still coursed through their veins.

“I can’t believe we pulled it off dude! It was like taking candy from a fucking baby!”

Manny said as he was practically shaking with excitement.

“We damn sure got lucky good thing we had scoped the place out before.”

Bill replied.

He was excited too but not as euphoric as Manny.

He always followed his friend’s lead and it was largely due to his love for him.

Manny knew how Bill was but Manny barely gave a shit about anyone let alone about sex.

It had all been so fucking mundane until tonight.

When they hit the small bank just outside of the city limits was the first time Manny truly felt alive.

His only regret was that nobody had resisted.

He just loved that fear in that bank tellers eyes he wanted a mess.

This was his calling like some old west outlaw he had all the power in the world and he loved the feeling that gun in his hand granted him.

They both sat in car awhile listening to the police scanner so far so good they were a county away and almost in the clear.

Manny looked around this little middle of nowhere pit stop.

They were the only car in the parking lot these farm town pricks went to bed with the chickens and Manny thought to himself.

If he was a mad dog well why not raise some hell in the hen house?

Manny pulled his 38 and looked to Bill.

“Lets go have some fun with this backwoods fuck!”

“Motherfucker are you nuts? We just knocked over a bank and now you want to hit up a fucking gas station?”

“Why the hell not man? I just want to feel that buzz again!”

Manny was losing it and his friend Bill knew it.

“Dude you know the most we can get out of there is chump change, we got money now so let’s just grab some beers and celebrate.”

Manny laughed.

“Hell man it ain’t about the money asshole ! I just want to have some fun we can grab all the beer we want come on.”

And with that Manny was gone.

Bill would follow Manny into hell and sometimes it felt like that just where he was leading them both.

Bill grabbed his piece and followed like a well trained dog follows his master.

The guy behind the counter just stood there looking at his magazine as if he didn’t hear a word Manny had just said.

Manny looked at Bill who much like a deer caught in the headlights was little to no help.

“Man are you fucking deaf or something I said open the Goddamed register and give me the money now!”

The man behind the counter didn’t bat an eye he just looked up from his magazine leaned on the counter looking at Manny and simply said.

“Mmm no.”

“Dude are you off your meds or something?”

Manny pulled back the hammer.

“Now look short bus you hand over that money now or shits about to get real messy up in here!”

“Dude lets just-”

“Shut the fuck up Billy!”

Manny cut Bill off mid sentence.

The tall extremely odd guy behind the counter busted up laughing.

“Motherfucker what’s so funny!”

The guy from the counter was getting louder and louder.

Manny tried to scare him by firing into the ceiling the noise was deafening yet it only served to make the guy behind the counter laugh harder.

Manny couldn’t help but become slightly unnerved.

That laugh was something different it was something beyond insanity that in all truth terrified Manny.

He had to show this guy whatever his deal was he wasn’t weak he walked up to the guy just close enough to see behind the counter.

It was then he noticed all the blood and saw the man on the floor.

Manny made the biggest mistake you can ever make when taking a walk in the zoo.

Always keep a safe distance from the lion’s cage.

Manny never saw the knife coming as it plunged into his neck.

His pistol dropped upon the counter as his body crashed onto the floor.

“Manny!”

Bill yelled out as he fired.

The shot missed as the man just hopped over the counter.

Bill bolted through the door and was halfway across the parking lot when heard the shot.

He felt as though he had been drop kicked in the back as his body smashed into the concrete he felt like the wind had been knocked out of him.

Bill lay face down he was struggling to breathe.

“Hold on buddy I got you.”

He heard a voice call out.

Bill heard the door close.

Then after what felt like an eternity he heard that same doors electronic chime go off.

Bill tried to stand but his limbs would not respond.

He heard what sounded like boots on the concrete approaching him.

All the sudden he was turned over he felt like a leaf on the water.

And then he was looking at the clerks face.

“Damn your really fucked up pal, want me to call you an ambulance?”

Tears rolled down Bills cheeks.

The pain was so intense.

The man just busted out with that laugh again.

“Hell kid I’m just fucking with you I’m going to fix you right up now trust me.”

Bill struggled to speak.

“Please.”

“Shh don’t strain yourself your in shock, now let’s get you moved.”

The man said as he grabbed both his arms and began to drag him.

Bill screamed as the pain only intensified as his body was drug across the parking lot.

The man stopped just as they were almost at his car near the gas pumps.

“Shit your heavy I swear wish you had stayed in there with your buddy, that little prick was still bleeding out when I left him.”

Tex laughed as the guy at his feet only cried.

He lit up a cigarette inhaled deeply fuck it tasted good.

He stood over the guy his friend called Bill.

Took his cigarette out his mouth.

“Hey want one.”

The guy was shaking so bad he couldn’t say a thing.

“Hell kid I don’t blame you these things will kill you so they say.”

The man just stared at Bill.

Smoking and looking off into the distance.

Bill could hear what he thought was a coyotes howl.

His heartbeat was slowing the man just stood over him and smiled.

And then just like that he walked off.

Bill heard him take the handle from the gas pump listened to the sounds of it pouring upon the ground.

Felt the coolness through his jacket and smelt gas fill the air.

Tex just watched the kid lay there on the ground.

He didn’t struggle or cry out.

It was total surrender most animals simply gave up when they knew death was at their door.

It’s what always took the fun out of murder.

But the thrill was always there.

Tex put handle back.

Laughing to himself he finally broke his silence.

“Hell kid I’m so caught up in this cig I totally forgot just how dangerous it is to be smoking at the gas pumps.”

“I swear I really should have my head examined, but it’s a hell of a habit to kick.”

Bill looked into the stars knowing what was going to happen and time seemed frozen if only for a second.

He always knew Manny would lead him straight to hell, he just wasn’t aware he would meet the devil so quickly.

It was then Tex dropped the cigarette.

 

John Patrick Robbins. 
Is the editor of the Rye Whiskey Review and Under The Bleachers .
His work has been published here at Punk Noir Magazine , Ariel Chart, Oddball Magazine,  The Rusty Truck , As It Ought To Be Magazine,  The San Pedro River Review,  The Dope Fiend Daily, Piker Press.
He is also the author of Once Upon A Nervous Breakdown from Soma Publishing.
And Sex Drugs & Poetry  from Whiskey City Press.
His work is always unfiltered
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