No Loyalty by Robert Ragan

Everyone had their own God. A set of rules they lived by. Brent used to believe, but he was about to throw forgiveness out the window.

Jesus should have been able to handle his problem with Judas. A fistfight and the loser got crucified.

Brent, riding in the passenger seat, watched the world go on outside his window. Sunny, cheerful people were leaving the shopping center in their fancy cars. They didn’t understand what it was like having to deal with thieves and liars to get ahead.

Good for them. They deserved the peace of mind for doing the right thing.

You don’t see the people that Brent fit in with in the daylight. They’re mainly out at night with mangy, skinny, barking dogs, breaking the silence they moved in.

The driver named Larry asks, “Are you glad you’re out of jail?”

Scrolling through his phone, Brent says, “I kind of wanted to stay.” Larry gives him a strange look, and Brent says, “Hell yeah, I’m glad to be out! What the fuck you think?”

Behind bars, he got into it with a couple of black gang members, without a single member of his group to stand by him. These thugs made it hell for Brent.

Outnumbered, there was nothing he could do. But this only motivated him to deal with the bastard responsible for his incarceration. When the time comes, Brent will show him that he fucked with the wrong one.

Checking Larry, Brent says, “So what’s up with our people? Is everything okay?

Turning down the radio, Larry says, “Everything is fine.”

Brent studies his expression, then asks, “Has Sean been holding things down?”

Changing the subject, Larry asks, “What’s he going to do about their rivals setting him up?”

”Don’t worry,” says Brent, “I’m going to take care of it.”

First things first, he wanted a bottle of whiskey and a pack of cigarettes. Before walking in the store, he gets a call from Hendrix telling him to meet him at the warehouse.

This older man, always dressed in a nice suit and tie, was the mastermind behind all the groups criminal activities. Basically, he never got his hands dirty but still counted all the money.

Every hoodlum on his payroll knew they were getting ripped off, yet they still wanted to be in his good graces. Hendrix having your back during drama meant a lot.

Inside this dusty, abandoned warehouse, the lookouts were in place. Hendrix walks in wearing a long overcoat with Sean by his side in all black.

Hendrix spots Brent and says, “Welcome back, son!” Looking around at his men, he says, “Give him a hand, he took a lot of heat for us.” Each of them clapped their hands, but none as loud as Sean.

Hendrix motions for Brent to come near him. Standing there, he’s starts to worry when Hendricks tells him to stop playing dumb.

The boss says, “You know it was Sean who set you up.”

Stepping back, Sean says, “Bet you didn’t know Hendrix was the one who put me up to it.”

Shaking his head, Brent says, “So, all of you made me the designated fall guy.”

He had planned on scraping the skin off Sean’s face with a dull knife. Now he just wanted to blast everyone there, Hendricks more than any of them.

Outnumbered like he was in jail, there was nothing he could do. They’d already double-crossed Brent leaving him to do the hard time, the only thing left for them to do now was kill him.

The whole thing started with jealousy. Sean didn’t like Brent being at Hendrix right hand. The lies he spread eventually changed the boss’s mind.

For quite a while the warehouse was silent. Holding up his hands, Brent says, “Go ahead! Do whatever the fuck you’re going to do!”

Lighting a cigar, Hendrix says, “Sean told me about the money you stole from me.”

Looking at Sean, Brent says, “Goddammit old man, can’t you see this fucking prick is lying to you?”

Exhaling smoke, Hendrix says, “Why don’t you two just fight it out.”

Laughing hysterically and clapping his hands Brent says, “I told myself I’d get that mother fucker if it was the last thing I did.”

He stood there running his mouth, shit talking.

Sean didn’t look eager to start things off. Sick of all this pussy bullshit, Hendrix shoves Sean forward into Brent. They both start swinging but neither one of them connects with a punch.

Sean rushing forward, slips and falls on the concrete floor. Dropping to his knees, Brent begins to hit him in the face. When blood starts to fly, he grabs Sean’s hair and starts bashing the back of his head into the hard floor, over and over.

Brent says, “This is what you get for fucking with me!”

Hendrix saw enough, giving the word he says, “Shoot him!”

Larry, who picked him up from jail, raises his gun like others. They all fired shots dropping Brent to the floor.

Bleeding profusely, Sean tries to get up but stumbles. Finally making it to his feet, he says, “Sorry boss.”

Putting his cigar out, Hendrix says, “I don’t want to hear it!” Turning to his men, he says, “Shoot his ass too.”

Given the word, each one pulls their trigger filling Sean full of holes.

Blood covered the floor of this old, abandoned warehouse. Just like that, two major players in the group were let-go.

The remaining flunkies didn’t care which member moved up and took the top spot. All of them will stay loyal and do whatever the boss wants. They already saw what would happen if they don’t.

Robert Ragan, from Lillington North Carolina, has had short fiction published online at Vext Magazine, Punk Noir Magazine, Yellow Mama Webzine, Synchronized Chaos, and Terror House Magazine. In January 2020, he had his second short story collection, It’s Only Art, published by Alien Buddha Press.

Robert Ragan