Jed Ralston sat at a corner table in Freddy’s Diner picking his teeth while he considered his next move. The meal the waitress served up was edible but what she offered for dessert sounded downright lip smacking. If you enjoyed her type. Jed’s tastes ran to higher quality restaurants and women.
He had it from a reliable source that Freddy’s was the last place his brother, Chance, had been seen. If it wasn’t for the broken fingers and toes, he might’ve thought the source had lied to him. Jed studied the waitress who was sitting at the counter with Freddy. He paid special attention to the hard look on Freddy’s face as the two of them whispered and nodded in his direction. He dropped a twenty on the table and headed for the door.
“What’s your hurry, Mister?” asked the waitress sliding into the space between Jed and the door. “Don’t care for the dessert selection?”
“Not particularly.” he said, moving to step around her.
Freddy grabbed Jed’s arm. “That ain’t no way to treat a lady, Mister. We don’t hold with strangers pushing our women around.”
Jed shook his arm free. “But it’s okay if we toss them twenty bucks and fuck them?”
The man waded in, both arms swinging, but years of practice landed Jed’s fist on Freddy’s jaw and he was down for the count. The waitress was bee lining for the back door, but Jed grabbed hold and spun her around.
“Three days ago,” he said. “The pair of you played this game on another man, didn’t you?”
“You’re hurting me, Mister.”
“It’ll hurt a lot more if you don’t tell me what I want to know,” said Jed. He pulled a picture of Chance out of his pocket and shoved it under her nose. “The kid. What happened to him?”
“I never seen him,” said the waitress. Jed twisted her arm up behind her back. The sound of the bone snapping brought a scream. “Okay, okay. I saw him.”
“Where is he?”
“How the hell should I know?” The bone in her arm broke through the skin and she was screaming again. “Mister, I don’t know anything more than he stopped here to eat and left.”
“Who’d he leave with?”
“Beats me. He drove here in a car, I assume he drove away the same way.”
“Now that would have been impossible since his car was stolen out of your parking lot by the young man he was traveling with.”
“How’d you know that?”
Jed smiled, “Let’s just say I have my ways.”
The waitress’s eyes widened. “Who are you, Mister?”
“Someone you don’t want to mess with.” He twisted her arm a little more, watching the blood drip to the floor while she squealed in agony.
“He didn’t have a key for that fancy briefcase cuffed to his arm so Freddy took him out back and chopped off his hand. He was gone when we went back to bury his ass.”
“Where’s the briefcase?”
“What do you want with an empty briefcase? We went to all the trouble of cutting off his hand and there wasn’t a damn thing in it.”
Jed pulled his gun. “Thank you for the information, ma’am. It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.”
The waitress looked almost relieved until the gun was pointing directly at her. Her body slumped to the floor beside Freddy who was finally waking up.
“What happened to the kid with the briefcase?”
Freddy started to speak, but a glance toward the door whitewashed his face.
“Right behind you, big brother.”
Jed turned to find his brother standing in the doorway, a bandaged stump where his hand used to be. “You should have called.”
“I wanted to finish the job myself.”
“I can understand that, but you still should have called.” Jed handed Chance the gun and watched him put a bullet in Freddy’s head.
“You still have the diamonds?”
Jed wrapped his arm around Chance. “I hope you weren’t too fond of Ricky.”
“Prick double crossed me, what do you think?”
“That it’s a good thing I killed the motherfucker. Glad to see you, kid.”