“Dear God at the rain,” Warren thought as he sat under his front porch. Lightning flashed, thunder boomed, the tin rattled from the force of the thunder’s rumbling. Thick sheets of rain made it impossible to see, but in the distance, he heard the rumble of a high-performance engine and the tell-tell growl of pipes.
Suzy turned into his driveway. Warren picked up the Mossberg 590 shotgun and laid it across his lap. It was the same model he had carried in the War on Terror, and it was loaded with slugs. “Let trouble come, I’m ready for it.”
Trouble was already here, and it came in a Purple Roadrunner and had red hair. She pulled up next to the porch and stepped out. Suzy wore an emerald green dress and subdued black shoes. The dress showed off her hourglass figure, her eyes were like looking into smoky glass. Her full lips were damaged, he noticed. All the makeup in the world would not cover up the swelling from the blow she took from Smiley Jack. Suzy was still a beautiful woman, even though it wasn’t enough to protect her.
“Hiya, handsome. Is that shotgun for me, or are you just happy I’m here?”
Warren said nothing. His eyes took in her beauty, and he took a deep breath to slow down his racing heart.
“What brings you to my doorstep? And what’s all…” He finished his sentence by point at the bruise and busted lips.
“Smiley Jack wants to see you. I don’t know what you’ve done, Warren, but he’s not happy. His enforcer is missing, his redneck hitman is missing, and you are on his list.”
“So, he beat you because you didn’t know anything or because what you told him wasn’t convincing?”
Suzy sat in a rocking chair next to Warren and sighed. Tears wet her eyes, and soon dribbled down her cheeks. She looked out at the woods where deer had stepped into his yard searching for acorns.
“Why did you come back, Warren? You always found trouble here, remember?”
“You’re one to talk, Suzy. At thirteen you had every red-blooded male in town panting after you. I remember that.”
“Not every male, Warren. You never panted after me.”
“That’s not true. I just didn’t make it obvious.”
“Even now? With this beat up face. Oh, and I am unemployed. I’m sure Smiley Jack has a hole with my name on it, right next to yours. What are you going to do?”
“I’m gonna make me a cup of coffee and pay Jack a visit. It’s time we had a talk about Jacob.”
They walked into his small home and made coffee. He sat in his recliner, Suzy came and squeezed in beside him. She looked around the small living room.
“So, this is it. It’s not much, Warren, and it’s definitely not warm, but I like it. It’s kind of rugged, much like its owner.”
“Thank you. Does Smiley Jack leave the Howling Hollow?
“Never. He has a large office in the back of the club. It’s where he and his friends…break in the new girls.”
“How many friends?
“Depends on their proclivities. Sometimes it’s three or four, other times it was him and Bob.”
“Bob won’t come back. A gator ate him.”
“How many bouncers?”
“Two on the main floor. One at the door.”
“Security detail? Radios?”
Suzy shrugged. “I don’t know anything about that Warren. I’m sorry.”
“No worries. I have some things for the party.”
Warren smiled and said nothing. He reached into a hallway closet and pulled out a chest. He pulled out his flak vest, complete with magazine pouches. Warren took out a green box labeled ‘flash bangs.’ He pulled out three grenades and shoved them into three single pouches attached to vest’s left side.
He walked over to the couch where Suzy sat and reached underneath. A Pelican gun case slid out. In it was a suppressed AR-15, and a suppressed 9mm Walther. Suzy’s eyes widened in surprise; Warren winked at her.
“Now, for the party starter,” he said. In another closet he pulled out an RPG-7 rocket launcher and two rockets.
“Dear God in heaven, Warren. Are you going to kill everybody?”
“I don’t care who dies, as long as Smiley Jack does. He killed my brother.”
“The girls are innocent, Warren. They had nothing to do with Jacob’s death.”
Warren leaned over and kissed Suzy on her busted lips. She closed her eyes and tilted her head up. Warren whispered, “no one is innocent, Suzy.”
She opened her eyes and stared into the eyes of her friend. His voice was cold, his eyes unreadable.
“Get some place safe, Suzy. This will all be over soon.”