Back to Bastogne

You hear about combat vets going all to pieces during thunderstorms. Grandpa didn’t mind them. With him, it was snow. Half inch of it and he was back in Bastogne, yelling about his buddy Stuart who got run over by a German tank and pushed into the permafrost. Grandpa would run outside in his pajamas screaming STUART! STUART! and digging at the ground with his bare hands until we pulled him back inside the house. We’d watch the forecasts real careful, and if there was a hint of snow we’d strap him in a chair faced away from the windows.


I Said I’d Try Anything

Honestly? That witch woman near scared hell out me, what with the smoke and the beads and all that hoodoo chanting.

They say you pay you money and you takes your choice, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about running out of that room right then and there.

D’Angelo said she’d need some of my blood to seal the deal, so I expected that part, but all the rest of it fair turned my stomach.

I swear, the only reason I went through with it was the fear she’d come after me if I backed out.


I tell you, never be a time like Katrina. That was the best. All them folks cowering in the Superdome meant one thing to us: New Orleans was unoccupied. It didn’t take much to get us a boat and a chainsaw. Bang, we was in business. East Jefferson, Algiers. All the streets took at least six foot of water or more. We’d drift up to a likely house, step onto the roof and cut our way in.  Mostly we took jewelry, it being portable, but Junior worked in a pawn shop and knew a valuable trumpet when he saw it.


Setup is Everything

The news shows like to depict Sudden Death Army members as nutjobs. There’s nothing insane about us. All of our operations are coordinated, with specific outcomes mapped out. Every detail of an assassination is planned. My last one, in Manhattan, took four months to set up. Once I had found the right apartment to shoot from, I got to know the girl who lived there well enough that she eventually gave me my own key.

On the day of the assassination, I told her she should go out of town.

Sloppy, I know, but she didn’t take the advice anyway.


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