Powder Burn Flash #376 - Bill Baber

The Hometown Blues
by Bill Baber

He had expected the visit for quite some time. Frankly, he was surprised it hadn’t happened sooner. There were two of them, one tall and thin, the other short and thick. He was the one that started to speak.

“Wake up cabron. You…” He didn’t finish because Bump shot him in the chest and then blew the short one’s brains all over the room. They had disarmed the primary alarm system but missed the back up.

Jimmy “Bump” McGinnis had dealt drugs in Bend for over thirty years-back to when he was in high school. Started out with weed, a little blow. For years, he sold to the local high school kids and the increasing influx of ski bums. In the mid 90’s, when Bend began to sprout houses everywhere, he made a fortune off of California yuppies that moved to town needing a supply of coke.

He turned on the lamp next to his bed. The talker was still alive. Bump leaned over him.

“Hey maricon, say good night.” Then shot him just under the right eye. The tall one had carried a nine, the short guy a cut off .12 gauge.

He outlasted everyone that had tried to set up shop in town. He’d once formed an uneasy alliance with a biker gang that wanted to put him out of business. They ended up splitting the grass trade. The bikers got meth, Bump got everything else.
He had been hearing that the Mexican’s were taking over everything. And hell, Bend was on Highway 97. Other than I-5, it was the only north-south route up to Canada that went through Oregon. Yakima was 150 miles north. He always thought it was an Indian word. But now the joke was that it meant Juarez North in Spanish. Fucking cartels were killing dudes there just about every day. Now they were in Bend.

Bump wasn’t sure what to do. He didn’t have the firepower or the personnel for an out and out turf war. Hell, the people that sold for him were old hippies, college kids and housewives. That wouldn’t win a battle-let alone a war. Maybe it was time to get out. That meant not just out of business but out of town as well. That didn’t sit well with him but there didn’t seem to be any other options.

His house was a couple of miles west of town on a road that turned to gravel once it hit Forest Service land. Wrapping the bodies in tarps- the short thick bastard was a bitch- he loaded them in the back of his pick-up. An hour of scrubbing residue off the walls and hardwood floors with bleach cleaned up the rest of the mess. At the end of a spur road, he dumped the bodies. They might be discovered in a month when hunting season opened. By then, the coyotes would have left nothing but bleaching bones.

When his cell rang, it displayed Laurie’s number. When he answered, it wasn’t her voice.

“Listen up pendejo.”

Then Laurie.

“Fuck, Jimmie…” her voice trembling.

“They’re going to kill me.”

Then a single shot. Then silence.

He grabbed his Ruger Mini .14 and two twenty round clips. Stuffed a .45 in his waist and hit the door running.

Her house was just west of downtown. Two minutes from his.

He turned the corner onto her street as they pulled toward him in a black Suburban with Cali plates.

Rammed them head on and jumped out, got behind the door and shot the driver through the windshield. He fell against the horn as the other three scrambled while Bump continued shooting.

One by one he picked them off, littering the quiet street with carnage.

He had a key for Laurie’s BMW and when he heard sirens, he drove away.

At a red light on Bond Street, he was thinking about what to do next.

A cherry red ’63 Impala pulled up to the light on his left. The passenger, wearing shades and a Dodger cap, smiled at him and waved. When the light changed, before Jimmy could move, the passenger shot him dead.

He had lost the war and his hometown.

BIO: Bill Baber’s crime fiction has appeared at; Flash Fiction Offensive, Powder Burn Flash, Darkest Before the Dawn, Shotgun Honey & Near to the Knuckle. A book of his poetry, Where the Wind Comes to Play was published by Berberis Press in 2011. A native of San Francisco, he lives with his wife and a spoiled dog in Bend, Or.



Another hardboiled whipcrack from Mr Baber! 

Nice one.  Enjoyed the

Nice one.  Enjoyed the "endless" quality of it.  The wave and the smile, too.  Anyway, cool.


Thanks guys!! Much appreciated...

Hometown Blues

I realize what he did and what he was, but this is the kind of character you tend to root for. Maybe because of the smile and wave, he didn't really see it coming. Hope so...

Love this. Dark and gritty and nasty and even touching, in a twisted sort of way.