Short Story “Shot Reverse Shot” by J.B. Toner

Suspense Magazine Winter 2020 Issue

Suspense Magazine
Winter 2020 / Vol. 090

Shot Reverse Shot By J.B. Toner


“Look, man.” I sighed out a gust of smoke. “I don’t really do torture, and my guy’s outta town for the week. Why don’t you just give me the code, and we’ll go get a drink? You know McDermott’s gonna assume you talked anyway, so you’re already out of a job.”

The guy in the chair bared his teeth in a sneer, and snarled. “The legendary Domingo Jack. You think I ain’t hearda you? Everybody’s hearda you in this town. And when word gets around that you tried to crack me and couldn’t, I’m gonna have more job offers than I know what to do with.”

“No offense, friend, but I’m not sure you’ve thought this through. Even if you survive the experience, you’re not gonna be employable.”

“Yeah, what’re you gonna do? Yank out a few fingernails? Go ahead. You just said it yourself, you ain’t a torture guy. You’re gonna lose stomach for this before I do.”

I finished my cigarette. Flicked it into the dank pool of standing water where the sewer-pipes dripped forever. Lit another.

“Well, friend, you’ve gotta do what you feel is right. But I hope you’ll reconsider while you still have enough strength to get to the hospital.” Unfolding my X-Acto knife, I leaned down and calmly slashed him open from the inner elbows to the zip ties biting into his wrists. Then, while he screamed and cursed and pumped his lifeblood into his lap, I took a pull from one of my bourbon flasks and booted up my laptop. It wasn’t easy getting a signal down here, but I knew where to stand.

“You bastard! You crazy son of a bitch!”

“Hang on, I’m logging in. Be right with you.”

“You go to Hell, Jack! I ain’t tellin’ you shit!”

“Well, you say that now, but a lotta guys change their minds after the second gallon. ’Course, by then it’s a bit late.”

He stared at me. Stared down at his spurting forearms. Struggled ineffectually. Then: “How do I know you won’t just let me bleed out?”

“’Cause you’re a big guy and this is my favorite spot. It’s way less work to let you tomato-can your way to the ER than it would be to haul your dead ass outta here.”

He hesitated.

I frowned clinically at the gushing wounds. “Say, that’s kind of a high resting heart rate you got there, friend. You might want to look into getting some aerobic exercise. I mean, you know, unless—”

“Okay, all right, I’ll give you the damn code! What the hell do you want it for, anyhow?”

“Oh, you wanna talk about me? It’s your dime, I guess. I was born on a winter’s day in the snowy glen of Donegal—”

“12EM84! The code’s 12EM84, now lemme out!”

“Hold, please.” I typed it in. “Hey, look at that, it works. I hope you weren’t counting on all those job offers.”

“Fuck you! Come on, lemme out!”

“Yeah, yeah, keep your shirt on.” I cut his right hand loose from the arm of the chair and slapped the X-Acto knife into his palm. “Sinai Medical’s twelve blocks east. You should probably hurry.”

Once I got back to my car, I took another bourbon-slug and started perusing files. I’d picked Morbidly Obese McDermott as the target of my espionage because of his well-known Hollywood ties. In the event of my real quarry getting wind of today’s shenanigans, she would (hopefully) assume I was after the portly Mafioso’s files for showbiz-related reasons.

Yep, I work in movies. D.J. Esq., proprietor of the Fight Corps: the top action choreographers in the trade. At present, we were engineering the latest installment of the cinematic gold mine that was Chase Hardrock, out-beater of your shit. It was one hell of a lot of hard work and fun, and it kept us way too busy to fret about a powerful, psychotic new Mob boss who might or might not be preparing to pursue a vendetta against us.

Nonetheless, I was fretting. My purloining of McDermott’s secrets had nothing to do with his fat fingers diddling the pie of the motion picture industry; all I wanted was one phone number.

And there it was: the private digits of Ruby Kell. A few weeks earlier, she’d ascended to the Golgothic throne of the SoCal Mafia after a cataclysmic clandestine shoot-out between the IRA and the SAS on American soil. Since then, she’d been murdering the ever-loving shit out of the Brits’ families, along with any mobsters who didn’t fancy taking orders from women and/or sadistic maniacs. And there were darker rumors—whispers of black magic and human sacrifice. She was just bad news all the way around.

For the time being, however, all I wanted was the ability to keep tabs. As long as I had Kell’s cell number, my tech-whiz of a mom could track her location to within a few yards. If the occasion should arise for us to (say) accidentally run her over a few times, it was wise to prepare the option.

As I sat behind my steering wheel in the late morning alley-shade, drinking good whiskey and making notes, my hip began to buzz. I flipped out my phone and said, “Jack.”

“Hey buddy, where you at? We’re blockin’ out Scene 24.”

Our pugilist, Joey Damascus. The dashboard clock read 11:06. I was due on set.

“Yeah, sorry, on my way. Be there in ten.”

My crew was walking through the geography of the first major set piece when I arrived. Darkson Kilmore had mysteriously returned from his apparent demise in the Gobi Desert, and his fiendish plans were finally about to—yadda yadda—fight scene. Kilmore’s wiry henchfellow had just cornered Hardrock in a defunct cathedral, and we wanted the ensuing violence to make full use of the space. Right now they were up in the choir loft.

Joey nodded to me as I walked in. “Just in time for the good stuff.”

“I am the good stuff.”

A fevered shotgun battle had exploded a half dozen stained-glass windows, and both men were now out of ammo. In the sequence we were doing next, they would duel across the shattered glass, wielding their 12-gauges like bo-staffs. While I observed, the G.I.-clad actors began a half-speed rehearsal. The execution was flawless; the choreography was tight, well-paced, and kinetic.

I heard myself mutter, “God damn it.”

Quietly present, Damascus put a hand on my shoulder. “What’s wrong, D.J.?”

“I dunno, man. It just feels like we’ve done all this before. Like there’s nothing new left to do.”

“We’ll figure it out.”


My hip buzzed again. I flipped out my phone. Didn’t recognize the number.

“Yeah, who’s this?”

“Mr. Jack, this is Sergeant Vorn with the 15th Precinct. Do you know a Declan Morrow?”

Cautiously: “I believe so.” Morrow was a soldier with the IRA. He was the real target of the Brits that whacked Ruby Kell’s predecessor. He was also the reason I’m half Irish. “Why do you ask, Sergeant?”

“We need you to come down to the station and identify him.”

“What, like, pick him out of a lineup?”

“No, Mr. Jack, not a lineup. I’m afraid he’s in our morgue.”



Death and I go back a long ways. I saw my first shooting when I was six; stabbed my first guy when I was eleven. And I’ve been drinking with corpses for as long as I’ve been drinking. So the morgue’s refrigerated occupants don’t bother me. Nor do the hard white lighting or the cold. The reason I hate the morgue is that it’s in the police station—and not even I, with all my friends and favors in high-tier middle and low-tier high places, can go there carrying the panoply of unregistered firearms without which I never roll out of bed.

Dr. Jason Grenfleur was roughly what you’d expect from a guy who cuts up cadavers for a living: neat, quiet, and a little bit dead behind the eyes. He offered neither his hand nor his condolences. “Mr. Jack?”

“That’s right.”

The tall, thin doctor stepped away from a table in the corner where a human form lay still beneath a sheet. Walked over to the long steel wall across from the room’s one door. “Here, please.”

I paced toward him, and he pressed a red button in a row of red buttons on the wall. One of the three-by-three hatches swung open, and a metal slab deployed pneumatically from within. A plume of chilled air unfurled alongside, an exhalation from Gehenna.

My father’s face.

“Is this Declan Morrow?”

I nodded. Cleared my throat. “How?” I asked.

“He was shot seven times, with three different weapons. He wouldn’t have suffered much—or at least, not long.”

“Any other bodies found with him?”

“You’d have to ask about that upstairs. I have some paperwork for you, but I’ll give you a moment.”

Unexpectedly human, I thought. He headed to the entry/exit and left the room. The door closed behind him with a double-click.

“Well, Dec—you finally did it. You broke Mama’s heart for good. I guess we’ll hash this out in Purgatory, you and I. Meantime—I don’t pray much, but desperate times and all.” I started to make the Sign of the Cross.


“Did that guy just lock us in here?”

There, in my peripherals: movement. I turned, slowly. The form beneath the sheet was sitting up.

For a split second, as I reached reflexively for the holster I knew wasn’t there, a part of me wondered if Purgatory’d come looking for me. Then I snapped out of it and sprang toward the door. Didn’t even bother trying the knob—this was clearly a setup for a hit—but there was a clipboard hanging on the wall with a nice, sharp ballpoint tucked into the clip.

As I turned back to my surprise visitor, brandishing my better-than-nothing shiv, the sheet pulled away from his face, and I froze. Once again, a shock of religious fear assailed me: I had watched that countenance contort with the pain of death. But an instant later, I realized this wasn’t quite the same face. A fraternal resemblance.

“Domingo Jack,” said the broad-shouldered redhead with murder in his gaze.

“Kor Vipuri. Been awhile.”

“Awhile, yes. Has been awhile since you kill my brother.”

“I didn’t kill your brother, Kor. Hell, we were just starting to get along. Roger Fenton popped him, and Tal self-avenged.”

“And you have been sole choreographer on Chase Hardrock ever since. Works out very well for you, yes?”

The Seven Deadly Finns were the second-best fight corps in Hollywood. It was their eldest brother Tal who envisioned the amazing free-fall Jiu-jitsu battle that put The Unmentionables (aka the “Hardrock” franchise) on the map. Imagine the Tom Cruise Halo stunt from MI:6, cross-bred with the rotating hallway fight from Inception. Sadly for Vipuri, we had a squabble with the executive producer and I, alone, survived. Call me Ishmael.

“All right, fine, you don’t need my permission to kill me. Just tell me one thing: who hit the guy on the slab over there? Was it Kell?”

“Do not know any Kell. Do not know man on slab.”

“He was my dad, Kor. I didn’t like him much, but I deserve the God-damn truth.”

He flicked a glance at Declan’s features, then back at mine. Nodded. “Condolence, Jack. You will see him momentarily.”

“Someone told you I’d be here. Paid off the doc. You can’t go into a fight for family honor with lies in your mouth.”

“We have contacts in Mob, same as you. I get call from man named Maurice. He tell me you will be here at morgue, unarmed. I do not ask question.”

Good enough. I knew Maurice. He answered to Kell. She’d shown uncanny acumen at digging up familial connections; must’ve learned about Kor’s grudge and figured him for a convenient wastebasket in which to dispose of me. Declan was already on her list anyway, so this was quite the thrifty little ploy.

I felt myself getting angry. I let it happen.

Kor put his left palm over his right fist and bowed. “Hyvasti, Domingo.”

Now, I haven’t outlived my numerous enemies by being good at fisticuffs. I’ve done it by being level-headed and creatively ruthless, not to mention a damned good shot. But although I don’t consider myself a brawler, and will always reach for a weapon first, it’s not an accident that I do martial arts choreography for a living. So, still holding the pen like an ice pick, I returned Vipuri’s bow—then I roared so loudly something popped in my throat, and attacked.

First target, hands. Clear the thorns, kill the rose. Stabbed him through the left palm—his right fist cracked my floating ribs. Enemy foot stomp—no pain, but the pressure as the arch of my left foot collapsed. I bit off his ear.

Smashing into the desk—cyclone of folders and documents—scrambling on the cold white tiles. His hands, half-crucified, striking like sledgehammers. Bone-snap in my forearm. Somehow rolling to my feet, reeling—back-spin kick, half-blocked, still hard enough to traumatize my solar plexus. Spray of vomit. Blood. Teeth.

“You die, Jack!”

Heard it before. Keep saying it, eventually it’ll come true. Need a distraction. Lurching toward the metal wall, slamming into the row of buttons. Fourteen hatches swing open; fourteen bodies slide out.

Vipuri lunging—duck behind a slab—grappling match, two men and a corpse. Dragging me to the floor—clutching at arms and legs—three bodies, four bodies, slither down on top of us. Charnel-house pig-pile.

Dad’s face—drive my elbow into it—back of his skull against Vipuri’s jaw. Stunning him just long enough. I got my hand on his crotch and squeezed with every joule of power in my being.

A horrible rending groan. Still fighting: hands on my windpipe. I reached up—cupped his face like a lover—pushed my thumbnails through his tear ducts. Scooping motion, deep inside. He screamed. They came out of his face, dangling from the nerves. Screaming, screaming. And then, my teeth in his jugular.

I stuffed him into a corpse-hole and shut the door.



There’s a technique that all directors use called, “shot reverse shot.” It’s when the camera cuts back and forth during dialogue so the audience is always oriented toward whichever character’s talking. Film School 101. And right now, that phrase was stuck in my head like a shitty pop song. Ruby Kell just had her close-up. Now it was my turn.

A key from the desk-litter got me out of the morgue, and sheer force of will got me up the stairs. Grenfleur’s coat concealed my rips and stains. I peered through the slightly ajar door to the main office, waiting for a moment when the nearest cops seemed occupied, then hobbled as unobtrusively as I could to the exit. No one gave me a second glance.

I was concussed. Everything shook and spun, and every step made me yearn to lie down and puke. I made it to my car, sent out the SOS text message, and drove unsafely to the downtown warehouse we call home.

“Jesus Christ, what the fuck happened?”

“Hey, guys.”

Damascus, Sing Ka, Tom Waits, Ma Jack: my team. My family. They got me into a chair, got some bourbon into my hands. I told the tale.

Waits said it first: “Sorry ’bout your old man.”

The others nodded. Ma took my hand. “Declan—he was not all bad. The best of him is in you, mi corazon.”

“Love you, Ma.”

“Te quiero, Domingo.”


“So,” Ka said finally. “What shall we do about Miss Kell?”

“Funny you should ask. Who’s got a pencil?” I gave Ma the number for Kell’s phone, then looked at our crazy driver. “Hey, Waits. Remember when I begged you not to run over that mob boss and you did it anyway?”

“Heh! Good times.”

“Please don’t run over Ruby Kell.”

“Chick’s a pancake.”

Ma was setting up her laptop. “Two hours, maybe, to get location.”

“All right, let’s lock this place down. Full combat readiness.”

“On it,” said Joey. “You just ease into a coma.”

“That sounds nice.”

Another damned buzz at my hip. Blocked number. I flipped it open. “Now what?”

Sweet venom: “Hello, Jack.”

Every muscle clenched. “Ruby.”

“I hear you outfought the Finn. Very impressive.”

“You’ve got a real flair for underestimating your enemy. It’s gonna get you in trouble.”

Her laugh stood my hair on end. “You’re so touchy! It was just a little prank.”

“You killed my father.” Call me Inigo.

“That was business. And you barely knew the man.”

“What do you want, you Satanic whore?”

“Don’t be tiresome. I want to talk about your future, DJ. You killed the men who killed my boss, so I’m not obligated to destroy you. See? We can be friends now.”


“You’ll do me one small favor. In return, you’ll have the fear of those who hate you.”

I felt light-headed. Between the concussion and the hideously waifish allure of her voice, the conversation was beyond surreal. “What favor?”

“I’m going to appear on set with you. We’ll let the tabloids see it. Your name has power in this town. I’ll add it to my own.”

“And what do I get?”

“Exactly what I do. Those who fear me will now fear you, and vice versa. You’d be silly to say no. Oh, and one more thing.” Ma’s phone began to buzz. I checked the caller ID and froze: it was the number I’d stolen this morning. “McDermott’s man made it to the hospital. He didn’t make it home.”



Sometimes weakness is your strongest tool. Pleading injuries sustained in Kell’s “prank,” I bought us a few days. But I was expected to convalesce quickly, and report to the set of Unmentionables 3 with the dark lady of the underworld on my arm.

Ma taped my ribs, set my radial bone, wrapped and iced my foot. Ka prepared some kind of ancient Thai potion for my head. Joey gave me a rubdown that was better than a gallon of morphine. And Waits got me a beer. “Here ya go, buddy. We was outta that fancy shit you drink, so I dipped into my private stash of Miller.”

“Thanks, man. That means a lot.”

As the red sun glided toward the western waves, we gathered on the roof (behind bulletproof glass) to strategize. Clearly, killing Kell would be trickier than we thought.

“We can’t seem to get the drop on her,” said Damascus. “It’s like she’s always ten steps ahead.”

Waits shrugged. “She’s a witch. Everyone knows that.”

“Aw come on, Tommy, don’t tell me you buy that shit.”

“Best not mock my personal beliefs in the workplace. I’ll sue your ass.”

“Yeah, good luck with that.”

“One does hear tales,” Ka mused, frowning. “Assassination victims with pentagrams carved into them, and such. And didn’t she speak to you on the topic, DJ?”

I nodded. “Somethin’ about our guns bringing a lotta souls to Satan.”

“Potentially a useful insight into her psychology.”

“Gimme a break,” Damascus growled. “Her psychology is, she’s nuts. Ain’t no such thing as magic.”

A quiet voice: “There is.” Gazing into some ultimate distance, Ma Jack added nothing further.

“Well,” I said after a moment, “whether it’s real or not, I’m pretty sure Kell believes in it. And that could be why she’s so unpredictable. We’re used to dealing with people who do bad stuff because they want money and power. Maybe Kell wants money and power because they enable her to do bad stuff.”

“Fine,” Joey conceded. “How does that help us kill her?”

“Not sure.”

“Perhaps a more pressing question is this,” murmured Ka: “do we consent to her illusory alliance?”

“Work with the Mob once, they own your ass for good,” Waits put in.

“But it buys us time to figure out how to get rid of her,” said Damascus.

“I want that bitch on Grenfleur’s table,” I said. “But we’re professionals. We do it when and how it serves our interests. Agreed?”

Acquiescent silence.

“All right, then I say we play along for now. It’s not like she wants us to shoot anybody, I’m just gonna walk around with her and let a few gossip journalists tweet about it. Meantime, I want every inch of that set booby-trapped in case she pulls any shit. Everything from harmless snares to Claymore mines. But make ’em remote-activated or something. We don’t want the coffee-cart guy getting impaled.”

Semper Paratus, always prepared: the old Boy Scout motto. None of us were ever in the Scouts—had our hands full with juvenile delinquency—but we held the high ground in our chosen field because we lived by those two words. And three days later, when Ruby called to politely request my attendance, I felt about as ready as I could.

The set was unusually busy that morning. A lot of new faces. I limped across the lot in my high-end walking cast, chain-smoking, as Ruby sashayed in my direction. She was back-alley beautiful, long-legged and reddish blonde; but her eyes were grey as gravestones, and hid the same presence underneath.

“Jack,” she purred. “So lovely to see you again.”

“Mutual, I’m sure. Let’s go pose for the press.”

She took my arm, and an eerie little frisson ran through me. Mafiosos, perfunctorily disguised as key grips and caterers, slunk along on either side of us, and three or four poofily-dressed persons with cameras—presumably Kell’s pet paparazzi—kept pace as well, dutifully snapping pictures. I nodded to Niles Rupert, director, and he nodded warily back. He wasn’t crime-connected, but he recognized this woman.

“So, darling, are we shooting today?” she asked with her lunatic grin.

“Not planning on it.” A few yards away on either side, Damascus and Ka held the flanks as we headed up to the choir loft. “We’ve still got some choreography to run through.”

The lighting was dim up there. The faux pipe organ loomed above us in the shadows. On either side of the loft was a flight of stairs, but no one followed us up.

Ruby leaned against the keyboard. “Let’s chat, DJ.”

“What’s left to say? You got your photos of us together. I thought that was all you wanted.”

“I like your soul. It’s strong and it’s dark. I want it with me.”

What had Waits said about working with the Mob? “Ruby, I work in movies. I’m not gonna be a hired gun.”

“It’s better than being a maggot-hive.”

“But not as good as being neither of those things. Why don’t you head on back to your crypt? Even you can’t beat a murder rap if you kill us in front of all these cameras.”

“Mmm, you’re right. It would be much more convenient if your own friends killed you.”

“What the hell’s that supposed to…”

I trailed off. Damascus and Ka were coming up the steps, one on either side. Approaching unsteadily. Staring. Twitching.


Kell melted back into the dimness. My friends came closer still, and I saw in their eyes that they weren’t there. I’d seen that look many times, in users of PCP.

Breathing harshly, grinding his teeth, almost whimpering in his throat, Damascus sidled up to me. I was armed, of course, but how did that help? I couldn’t shoot my brothers.

“Joey, it’s me. DJ. Just breathe, man, you’re gonna be—”

He hit me with the one-inch punch.

If not for the Kevlar, it probably would’ve crushed my lungs. As it was, it literally hurled me backward in Sing Ka’s direction with my soles three feet off the ground. And in midair, as I came flying toward him, Ka nailed me in the back with a one-inch punch of his own. I was thrown forward again, a miserable ping-pong ball, and collapsed at Joey’s feet.

I knew my spine was intact, because of all the pain. But I couldn’t move or speak, except to gasp out, “F—fuck.” The only word that covered this situation.

Luckily, Ma was watching. I heard her slapping frantically at buttons, and then the Taser-net deployed.

It’s exactly what it sounds like. Firing out from the organ, the net expanded to envelop both men with an electrified mesh and they went stumbling through the loft, bashing into props and one another, until they both fell writhing to the floorboards.

“Domingo!” she yelled in my earpiece. “Estas bien?”

“Yeah,” I wheezed. “Whistlin’ Dixie.” Slowly, doggedly, I climbed to my feet. “Where’s Kell?”

“Stairs to your left.”

Shaking off the dizziness and pain, I headed for the steps at a stumbling sprint. Kell had just taken another shot at me and mine. It was way past time for the reverse shot.



Life ain’t like the movies. We all know that. But we tend to forget truth’s weirder than fiction, and God gets away with shit no screenwriter would dare to pull. So next time your know-it-all coworker starts pontificating about how John Wick and Die Hard aren’t “realistic,” tell his smug ass about 1st Sergeant Ben Wilson, who killed over 30 enemy soldiers with a collapsible shovel; or Airman Alan Magee, who fell four miles out of a B-17 with no parachute, smashed through the roof of a train station, and was found alive on the floor below. As for me—after getting hit that hard, there was no way I should be up and running. Yet here I was.

I could hear the screams of Kell’s men all around me: Ma had activated the flamethrower turrets and was bathing them in napalm. You couldn’t swing a cat around here without hitting a fire extinguisher, so they’d all survive (although none of them would have modeling careers); and as long as there were no bodies to explain, the safety commission knew better than to report an on-set “accident” when the Mob was involved.

“Where is she, Ma?”

“Getting away. Is like cockroach. Door to your right.”

I hung a right, shouldered through the flimsy door, and found myself on the sound-stage where we were filming the portion of Hardrock’s fight that took place on the cathedral altar. It wasn’t real holy ground, of course; but it was still jarring to see Ruby Kell standing there beneath the giant crucifix.

“This silly thing,” she remarked, as if resuming a conversation. “Two planks of wood and a dead man. My symbol is so much stronger. Four points, invoking each element, and a fifth one to invoke the power of the great spirit below us.”

“Tell him I said hi.” But as I raised my Glock 18, everything…



I understood what was happening even as it happened. Kell had found a way to aerosolize angel dust, or a similar dissociative hallucinogen—and did I detect subtle hints of ketamine for ego-death?—and I’d run straight into a cloud of it. My last coherent thought was, “Pfft, Nolan already did this in Batman.” Then the cosmos went red.

Pounding crimson haze—burning gravestone eyes—infinite dark. Two planks of wood—splitting—turning to a ghastly star—fifth point stabbing downward. Figure on the star—still nailed in place—alive and shrieking—Mama. From the eyes—Hell’s laughter.

I unloaded my fully automatic pistol into the symbol that held the figure. From somewhere, I heard a crash.



For once, it was raining. The endless sunshine in this town, it’s like a yellow pit. I heard the rainfall on the roof, and felt a rare smile on my face.

“Hey, look who’s awake.”

Blinking slowly, I managed to get my lids open. Ma Jack and Tom Waits were sitting by my cot, drinking Jack Daniels. Off to my left, just beginning to stir, Joey and Ka were in beds of their own. We were back in the warehouse, and I’d never been happier to see the place.

“You shoot well, my love,” said Ma.

“Back atcha. Wait—what happened to Kell?”

“She got tackled by Jesus,” Waits said placidly.

“The hell?”

“Es verdad. You shoot cross. Christ fall on her.”

“I’ll be damned.”

“No. Not after today.”

I lay back in bed with a long sigh, letting the tension of the last few weeks start to drain out of me. “What’d you do with the body?”

“Oh, she ain’t dead.”

Bolt upright. “What?!”

Waits jerked a thumb over his shoulder. Ruby Kell was zip tied to a chair behind him, unconscious and bloody, but clearly still breathing. “Thought she might come in handy.”

“For what, scaring trick-or-treaters?”

“Naw, man, look. We spend half our damn time these days fightin’ the Mob. What if they was takin’ their orders from us?”

“Dude, there’s no way we’re gonna flip this lady.”

He shook his head. “Not her. Her right-hand guy. Maurice ain’t bright, but he’s loyal. ’Long as we got her, he’ll toe the line.”

I looked at Ma. “I can’t have a dog, but you let him bring home a Mob boss?”

She shrugged. “Short-term fix. When we have long-term, she answers for Declan.”

“All right, we’ll give it a shot. But first things first.” I reached out a hand for the bourbon. “Let’s get fucked up.” ■

Shot Reverse Shot By J.B. Toner

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