Fourteen

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Rags was not going to go up there alone. He wanted to bring Curly along, but at the same time he wanted to keep Curly out of it. This was going to be a nasty business, and his little brother didn't need to be involved. He thought about asking Jockstrap but quickly dismissed that notion. Jockstrap was way too stupid. He couldn't be counted on for anything, not even to tie his own shoes. That left only Fripperone. It was fitting. After all, Fripperone had started all this, in ways he could not even imagine, and he owed it to him. Besides, Fripperone was eager and willing to go. He could hardly wait for Rags to gather together his jalapenos and orange peel.

"Come on", Rick said. "It's getting dark already. What if we miss him? And anyway, what do you need that crazy stuff for? It's not even edible. I'd bring pretzels if I was you."

"I know what I'm doing", Rags retorted, but did he? He doubted himself. He had been so sure, not so long ago, the night he had lured Dave Connor up to the park under similar pretenses. A certain person was going to be there. A deal was to be made. Easy money. Easy pickings. The look on the man's face when the knife twisted in his guts still haunted Rags' dreams. He could hear the sharp, rough grunt still echoing in his head on awakening in the middle of the night.

He was ready for anything, he told himself. He'd brought a flashlight, a gun, and a knife, as well as the culinary requirements, among other things. Rick kept pestering him to get with the program.

"Holy Toledo", Rick exclaimed. "It's getting late. Come on."

"Let's go", Rags declared as he packed his final bits of business. They were going to hike up the hill. This way they could keep to the shadows, not be seen and even less, be identified by some car make or model. Rick was not thrilled with the idea. He was overweight and out of shape, and already sweating heavily by the time they reached the park entrance. There they stopped as Rags took his bearings. He pulled a compass out of his bag and gauged the direction.

"Don't tell me we're lost", Rick puffed. "We're only at the damn entrance."

"I know where I'm going, boss", Rags told him. He knew that just by saying 'boss' he could get Rick to shut up for at least a minute or two. Of course he remembered exactly where he had murdered Dave Connor. How could he ever forget? He saw that site in his mind every day whether he wanted to or not. He took his leader right there, through the woods, off the path, to the very spot and when they got there, he stopped, and gaped, not believing what he saw.

The grave he had so carefully filled in was completely re-opened. Not only that, it was twice as wide, and twice as deep.

"I don't remember it being this big", he whispered to Rick.

"It wasn't", said a voice from behind them. They turned, and in the half moon light saw the figure of a woman standing there. She was tall, quite tall, and very thin. Her thick black hair fell around her face and partially covered the eye patch over her right eye. She was wearing a denim miniskirt, black stiletto boots, and a white dress shirt. She carried something long attached to her belt on one side, and what looked like a rope coiled around her waist.

"Holy mother!", Rick nearly shouted. "Damn! Don't you look good?", he exclaimed. The woman flipped her hair and smiled, fully revealing the patch and a thick red scar slashed into her forehead above it.

"You like what you see?", she said coyly, and took a step closer. Rags took a step back. Her whole face was streaked with dirt and maybe more. He was getting a bad feeling all over, but Rick took a step toward her, raising his arms with his palms up in some sort of gesture meant to be welcoming and reassuring. 

"What's your name?" he asked in his best flirtatious voice.

"Call me Racine", she replied.

"Nice name", Rick said. She came closer and he drifted in her direction too. To his amazement, Racine began unbuttoning her blouse. One button, two buttons. Rick was practically drooling already. His hands were itching; he wanted to rip that shirt right off her. Racine rapidly unbuttoned the rest of the shirt and pulled it off to reveal her naked chest, which would have been lovely were it not for the gaping wound oozing blood from the left breast.

That was enough for Rags. He screamed and ran off as fast as he could through the woods. Rick was stuck in his tracks and could only stare as she uncoiled a whip and lashed out with it. It grabbed him around his legs and toppled him like a dead tree stump and he fell, straight into the wide open grave. He could do nothing but look up, petrified and trembling, as she leaned over the side and smiled at him.

"My good friend Jimmy Kruzel says 'hi, remember me?'", she said, as she pulled a revolver from behind her back, and shot him right between the eyes.

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