Noir: Punishment

What a night. At least Maryanne took my advice; poor Vincenzo.

I slip on my wool overcoat and derby. I leave the Topaz by the back door into the alley. My car is parked around the corner from the far end. The overcast-filtered moon lends the damp pavement dim blue phosphorescence.

I hear running. Someone grabs my left shoulder. A voice mutters, “It’s him.” Two men hold me against the brick wall. “So you’re a comedian,” sneers one.

“Here’s a joke for you,” offers the man in front of me. Are those tomato stains on his collar? “Fist, this is nose. Nose, meet fist.” I kick him high; he falls, groaning, into the gutter, clutching himself. I stomp the toes of the assailant to my right, and jerk that arm free. The assailant to my left punches me in the gut. Then I’m in the gutter too, and feet are flying. I catch one and pull it, as headlights bathe the alley.

“That’s enough,” someone says. The goons get into the car. I sit up in time to read its license plate as it pulls away; AD5N508.

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