Updated: Nov 29, 2020
“Well, it ain’t the Mona Lisa,” said Charlie, “but it’s going to net us a fortune.” The small, mustached man kept his eyes on the road while he drove down the snow-covered city streets. His gloved hands gripped the cold steering wheel. The roads were vacant and softly lit by the streetlights. The telephone poles had wreaths hanging on them from the holidays, but they weren’t illuminated. The snow made a constant creaking and crunching sound under the wheels.
“To be fair, it wasn’t exactly the Louvre, either.” said Louie. The large, burly man held a cigar the size of his middle finger in his mouth. The smoke gathered above his head. His shoulders were wider than the passenger seat, making him look even more oversized in the car.
“Thank Christ. If there had been anymore security than that, we wouldn’t have made it out,” said Charlie. He glanced at his partner-in-crime and grimaced. Waving the smoke away from his face Charlie asked, “Can you, please, put that thing out? I’m trying to get us as far away as possible and I can’t see!” He coughed for effect.
Louie grinned and burped out a chuckle. He looked at Charlie as he rolled the window down a couple of inches and ashed the cigar. “Just drive the car,” he said. He retained his smile as he rolled the window back up. The smoke had dissipated when the window was open, but once again, the car was filling up with it.
Charlie started shaking his head. “Why can’t you just cooperate with me? We’re about to make the biggest payday of our life and you want to be a wise guy.”
“The hard parts over with. All yous got to do, is drive the car, nice and easy. Just don’t attract any unwanted attention to us,” said Louie. He stuck the cigar back into his mouth, but his gaze didn’t leave Charlie, until they were turning left onto another snow-covered road. As he sucked on the end of the cigar, his face lit up with an orange glow, highlighting all of his scars. He had multiple, but the one that stuck out, stretched down his left cheek and pulled his eyebrow down to the corner of his eye.
Charlie shivered. “I know what I’m doing. You’re the one who needs to play it cool.” He kept his focus on the road.
Once again, Louie looked over. This time he held a look of shock. He gripped the cigar between two sausage sized fingers and removed it from his mouth. “You got something to say?” he asked. “Cause I feel like you want to say something, but you’re not saying it.”
Charlie took one hand off the wheel and adjusted his tie. “You know what I want to say.” He was trying to look at Louie from the corner of his eye, but he avoided eye contact.
“Here we go! I knew you weren’t going to let this go,” said Louie.
“He was doing what he was told. You didn’t have to kill him,” said Charlie.
“First off, he was a witness. Second, if I hadn’t the cops would already be on our tail. And third, what’s it matter to you?” asked the large man. He spoke loudly but wasn’t quite yelling.
“All we had to do was tie him up. He’s not even going to get an open casket, for Christ’s sakes.”
Louie started laughing. He turned his hand with the cigar over. His knuckles were covered with dried blood. “I guess I did get a little carried away, didn’t I?” As his laughter subsided, he looked at Charlie with a devious grin and put the cigar back into his mouth and inhaled, illuminating his face, again.
The sound of the crunching snow was the only thing heard for the next few moments. The two men rode in complete silence until bright lights waved across their faces from the reflecting mirrors.
Charlie leaned forward on the steering wheel. “What is it?” he asked.
Louie adjusted the side mirror to get a better angle. “Shit. Just keep driving,” he said.
Charlie started cursing under his breath. His eyes darted from the side mirror, to the rear view, to the road ahead, and then repeated rapidly. His hands shook.
“Nice and easy.” Louie said with a low growl. He kept his gaze on the passenger side mirror looking back at the car behind them, cigar held between his teeth, glowing every so often.
Suddenly, the car slammed to a stop. Louie hollered out a string of curses. Charlie, still tightly holding on to the wheel was hyperventilating. “Charlie, you moron!” said Louie, “Now, you’ve really done it.” The hood of the car was folded up towards the windshield and a telephone pole was reaching up from the middle.
The lights from the car behind them stayed focused on their rear. They heard a car door slam shut and could hear the snow beneath someone’s feet as they approached Charlie’s side of the car. A face of an old man appeared in the window. “Are you fellas alright?”
Charlie looked at the man in complete shock. His eyes wide and his mouth agape. He started to catch his breath. It was just an old man. A smile started to form and he turned in relief to Louie.
“I’m over this,” said the cigar smoking brute. He was holding a gun at Charlie’s head. A bang echoed through the street. The old man stumbled back, but Louie had climbed out and fired two shots from over the top of the car.
Louie popped open the trunk of their car, pulled out a blanketed rectangle and tucked it under his arm. He then walked to the car that was parked behind them, tossed the object in the back and drove off. As he was leaving the scene, he rolled his window down and tossed his cigar into the street.