Broken Doorframes And Bullets
“He named his dog Cat?”
“Yes, he did.”
“That’s the same kind of man who steals bibles from motel rooms.”
“They still have Bibles in motel rooms?”
“I think so. When was the last time you actually stayed in a motel like this one?”
“Oh, it’s been a long time. Maybe twenty-five years ago. I was driving across the country from Florida to California. I stayed at a few of them on that trip, and they all had bibles in the drawers.”
“Did you read them, or just check the drawer to see if they were inside?”
“I haven’t read a bible since grade school. And even then, I didn’t read them. I just looked at them because I had to.”
“You’re not a God-fearing man?”
“Oh, I believe in God. But jamming his greatest hits into the drawers of motel bedside tables, along the main arteries of the country, ain’t how I think He wants to be remembered. Get on the clock. I think that’s our guy, coming from the office.”
“What’s he holding? Is that a beer in a paper bag?”
“Looks that way. But we wait, only for a second. We don’t want him running again. We corner him in his room and let fate determine if he makes it out of that room alive.”
“I guess he better hope there’s a bible in there. Especially if he needs last rites and all that.”
“Don’t say dumb shit like that, please. That’s the kind of thing the idiot cop says in a movie.”
“This isn’t my first rodeo, Marshall.”
“Then act like it, Vanbury. Because you don’t want your last words to be cliched lines from bad movies.”
“Jesus. If it wasn’t so damn dark out here, you could see me rolling my eyes. But we’ll do it your way. Respect your elders and all of that.”
“Okay, he’s been in there long enough. Let’s move, Vanbury, and let me do the talking.”
“Afraid I might say something stupid?”
“That’s exactly what I’m worried about. I don’t need him laughing himself to death.”
“Fuck off, Marshall.”
“Gladly, Vanbury. Gladly. Now let’s take care of this.”
They knocked first, hoping that Clayton Felt would open the door. When there was no response, Marshall pulled his revolver from its holster and took two steps back, rolled out the kinks in his neck, and then smashed the door in with a single, powerful kick. Vanbury moved out from the corner cover and dropped down to one knee; his own 9mm leveled into the room.
“Clayton? It’s Marshall Sawyer and Steven Vanbury. We know you’re in here, son.”
“Do us a favor and come on out.”
no sound but a lone car gliding along the highway behind the motel
“Tell me something, Clayton. Do they have a bible in that room?” Vanbury asked.
Marshall shot him a look of contempt. The kid can’t help himself. Probably raised on too much Netflix.
Something moved in the room beyond the bed. Marshall fired one round into the far wall, sending a spray of wood paneling showering down.
“Last chance, Clayton,” Marshall started. “Can we please just talk this through? It only ends badly for you if you stay in there.”
Vanbury crept into the room, scooting along on one knee, gun leveled with his eyes.
Behind them, a man watched from the parking lot. He was holding a plastic grocery sack.
“What are you fellas doing?” the man asked.
Vanbury turned to address the man. Marshall kept his eyes and his gun trained on the room.
“We are men of the law, sir. And in this room is a violent criminal. I sugg-” Vanbury never finished his sentence.
Clayton saw the cop from under the bed. The man had turned his back. Idiot, he thought. Fucking rookie. And then he fired two shots that tore the cops head off.
Marshall knew the mistake the moment Vanbury turned away from the room to address the man. The air had bristled somehow. It turned electric. First, there was the violent report of the gun, shaking the air in the room to deafening levels—and then blood from his partner’s head as it exploded onto both the carpet in the room and the sidewalk.
Vanbury crumbled to the floor. The man in the parking lot dropped his plastic grocery sack and ran off. Marshall fell to his stomach and fired three bullets under the bed. He heard a grunt and a shuffle and knew that he had fired true. At least one of his bullets had found a home inside of Clayton Felt, the man known in some circles as The Butcher of Nashville. Marshall thought of him as just another sick fuck. Either way, the sonofabitch wasn’t getting out of this room alive.
“It’s over, Clayton.”
another grunt from the other side of the room.
“It’s late, I’m tired, and I just want to go home, son.”
shuffling from under the bed
Marshall fired three more bullets. He heard a loud scream and smelled copper in the air. The blood from Vanbury’s head was still rolling down the doorframe.
Under the bed, only silence.