The second installment of Perspectives (you can read the first part here - oh, it's a trilogy by the way). Reading it now, I think it could have been better, but I've decided to leave it it's original form. Enjoy (I hope). 



The Deal

            By Rajeev Mishra


The Docks, 10:50 pm.

"This isn't fifty thousand dollars! The deal was for fifty, not thirty-five! What kind of crap are you trying to pull here?!" I said to the man across the pier from me.

"Look. This is what the boss said that the merchandise was worth."

"How the hell do I know that you didn't just keep fifteen grand for yourself, huh buddy? I'm sure your boss wouldn't take kindly to knowing that you're ripping off his customers."

"Look here bud. Mr Noir's word is the same as God's word as far as I'm concerned. I would never go against him. He said he would pay thirty-five grand and no more. That's all that the stuff's worth, okay!?"

I said fifty thousand over the phone. That was the deal. It was always the deal. Mr Noir pays the negotiated price for the goods. And then here comes this new rookie thug who tells me that Mr. Noir isn't paying the price. How do I know he isn't lying? Then again, what if Mr. Noir has changed the deal?

"Okay, okay," I say. "How about I give Mr. Noir a ring on my cell phone?"

"No. No deal. You hand over the merchandise and we pay you, or you go straight to the bottom of the bay."

"Hang on! What's the deal with that? Just one phone call. Come on." That bastard must be lying to me. I begin to reach for my phone.

"Don't move!" he yells, moving his hand into his coat pocket.

"Fuck!" I move my hand away from my phone and onto my piece. "Bang!" He fires off a shot at my left shoulder. With lightning speed, I draw my Smith and Western and shoot him three times in the chest. His body goes limp and seems to fall almost in slow motion. The force of the bullets push his body backwards through the air. Then it splashes into the water beneath the pier. The black leather suitcase full of money goes into the water with him.

I fall over in pain, clutching my left shoulder, which is bleeding profusely. Damn it! I'm up to my neck in trouble now. What do I do? Mr. Noir is going to have my ass if this rookie was telling the truth. I flee the scene. I have enough contacts in high places to not be pinned for he killing. Lucky me.


The better part of town, 10:15 pm.

That was a week ago now. My arm is still healing. I haven't heard from Mr. Noir yet. He called you; you never called him. That would be against the rules. It's not a good sign. I've tripled my guard, just to be on the safe side.

"Briiing! Briiing! Briiing! Briiing!" The phone rings.


No reply.

"Hello? Hello? Hey!"

Nothing. Damn, I hate it when people do that. I mean it's just plain annoying. If they're playing a joke, they should at least try and do something funny or stupid, not just say nothing. That's just pointless. Probably some dumb punk kid. What's wrong with kids these days?

Anyway, I'm sure Mr. Noir's forgotten the whole thing by now. I mean, it was probably his people that covered up the whole fiasco anyway. When the story came on the news, it scared the crap out of me. The story was all over the place, television, Time Magazine, all of the major periodicals. And then, boom! The next day it's gone. No one was talking about it, no one was reading about it. It was just gone. Someone must have not wanted the story to carry on, so they stopped it. The only person that I know with kind of power is Mr. Noir. He must have his guys in every damn business there is. Definitely very useful, especially in his line of work.

If he did cover it up, is that good or bad? For instance, he may have covered it up, to cover my ass. You know, so we could keep doing business together. Or he could have hushed it up so he could get to me. If there was no investigation, then there would be no gang links. And that would make picking me off  as easy as pie. Think about it, my death could be made to look like a regular old mugging or a simple case of aggravated robbery, nothing to do with deals and gangs. What am I saying? Mr. Noir would never do that to me. Would he? Nah, we've been dealing for way too long for him to cross me. And he knows I have people of my own. Yeah, I've got power, just like him. Aw, who am I kidding? Mr. Noir is power. He snaps his fingers and the fucking mayor comes to attention. Man, I'm really in the crapper. What the hell do I do now? I can really feel the sweat building.


Then the paranoia washes over me like a high speed wave. Along with huge gushes of fear and panic. That phone call earlier. What if that was Noir, or one of his men? What if they were trying to find out if I was at home or not? And now they know. They're planning something. Something bad. I can feel it in my bones. Damn it, why didn't I think of that before? I pick up the phone.

"Johnson, hello? Yeah. Get some of your boys and double the guard around the perimeter. Send some more up to my personal quarters, maybe two or three. Go!"

That should do it, hopefully. Jesus, I've got to calm myself down. I walk to the drinks cabinet and pour myself a gin and tonic. It's quite strong, I can see the oily swirls spiralling around in the glass. After a few sips I begin to reassure myself. Mr. Noir's not out to get me. That's not his style. Can't be after me. I'm good to him and he's good to me. We have a working relationship, that's how it's always been. For the past ten years we've been dealing. One little skirmish with a rookie thug isn't going to change anything. I'll be okay. Nothing to worry about. If it's nothing to worry about, then why on earth have I tripled my protection? Jeez, I must be going crazy. The heat is definitely on.


It's been an hour now. I'm still feeling paranoid. I've got another drink, but this one's devoid of any tonic. I tried lying down and sitting down, but I'm just too anxious. There's no way I can relax right now, so I'm standing and occasionally walking, but not sitting. Damn! I'm so stupid. Mr Noir's men are probably waiting out on the street for me to walk out there. Well, I'm staying here. I'm not going out ever again. What am I saying? I can't stay here forever. I've got a business to run. Well, technically I could do everything from here, no. No! I can't live the rest of my life in fear.

"Rustle, rustle." Something makes a noise outside.

"What was that? I pull out my piece and take a good look around. There's nothing to see. It was probably the bushes or cats or something. I'm really losing it. I begin pacing across the room. Get a grip! Get a grip!


The glass shatters and everything goes black. I'm on the floor. I can't hear anything. I can't control my body, it's shaking. I yell for help, but no words come out. All I can feel is excruciating pain. I look to the window, but all I can see is complete and utter darkness. The kind you dream about as a kid, afraid to go into the dark. And now I know why. I knew this would happen one day. It's what you expect in this business from the day you enter into it. Damn. The pain is worse, it feels like a thousand nails pushing into my bones. There's so much blood, it's everywhere, it's as if I'm looking through red cellophane. Oh God, please help me. I know I've never been the nicest guy on the planet, but I've never really asked for anything until now. I suppose it's what I deserve, isn't it? Bad things happen to bad people. No doubt, I'm a bad person. Shame I didn't do anything worthwhile with my life. I remember my parents telling me that I was going to make my mark in this world. That I would make a real impression. Well, here I am, lying in a pool of my own blood. Does the stain on the carpet count as a mark? That doesn't matter now, because I'm dead.

Then there was the second shot. My whole life really did flash before my eyes, just like they always tell you. It was a good life, up until the ending, which I ruined. I shouldn't be dead. I shouldn't…be…dead. I…shouldn't…be…dead. I…shouldn't be dead. I…




        Rajeev Mishra   (1999)