Contributor: Gary Clifton

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DEA tried a dozen ways to make a buy off this dealer "Red Fred" - white guy who operated around Grand Avenue east of Fair Park. A skinny lunk with scruffy red hair, he wore a bullet scar through his face - a little round circle on each cheek.
Boss was up my ass to bust the guy. My snitch, Willie One Nut said Red Fred hung around a crap game in a house just off R.L. Thornton Freeway. "Jes' walk in with me, toss some bread on the table, and bingo...two honkys playing like old buds. And Home, I'm gonna split, soon as you touch them dice."
Hell, piece of cake. Besides Red Fred and Me, there were five other shooters and two or three more spectators leaning on walls. Nobody seemed concerned about two white guys playing. Flash my roll, convince him I was fiendin', see if he would offer up any crank he might be holding - Red Fred's ass was about to be mine.
They kept a "good-eye" on the front door. His job was to jigger if the cops showed, not security - every guy there had at least one pistol. The good-eye flew backwards through the door, knocking two crap shooters flat. Everybody clawed for pistols.
This clone of Frankenstein, African American version, eyes stoned two days deep, wearing a brilliant tan, leather suit and waving a metal pipe materialized in the doorway. He started around the table, his eyes lasered on a skinny little dude next to me. "Sucker," he lunged for the little guy, "...I swam an ocean of shit to pay my debts and now you gonna pay yours."
Little Dude came out with a chrome plated .32 revolver, pointed it the general direction of Leather Suit and fired. Leather Suit grabbed his thigh. "That ain't shit," he continued advancing. The shooter let fly again. Leather Suit grabbed his shoulder. "That ain't shit." On he came. Little Guy held the .32 in both hands and at arms length put one in the center of Leather Suit's chest. "Oh shit," Leather Suit groaned and fell on the floor, deader than last Thanksgiving's turkey.
Half the Dallas Police Department showed up, then some DEA people. "Why didn't you draw your weapon and intercede?" the DEA honcho asked..
"Did...hid beneath the table, got out my piece and saw everyone else down there all holding at least one pistol. I opted to stay alive to tell this interesting story."
Turned out the dead guy was called "Rain". He was wearing a brand new nine hundred dollar, moleskin suit, whatever that is. The morgue found the receipt in his pocket. Should have used the cash to buy a pistol - better range than a chunk of pipe in a gunfight. They funeralized Rain in his moleskin suit - must have found brilliant tan tape to cover the holes.
Two nights later, they found Red Fred in an alley down the street - his head beat in with a tire iron. Nope, I didn't do it. Turned out his name was Sylvester Crabbepool. That's reason enough to kill that rascal.

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Gary Clifton, forty years a cop has about forty short fiction pieces published or pending with online sites. He's now out to pasture on a dusty north Texas ranch.
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