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Baby’s First Noir Part 9 (end)

Baby’s First Noir
Part 9

He had planned to go to Petey the Possum’s, but not to hurt him. He was just going to scare him and explain why it was wrong to have friends like Chipper and Chopper. When he got there though, he saw Bertie the Bunny and Wally the Weasel going in. Then he heard Petey scream.

As he ran across the opening toward Petey’s tree, he saw something he had sort of expected. Billy the Badger came running out from the bushes, gun in hand. Billy stopped when his eyes fixed on the squirrel. He looked confussed for a moment, until his old friend hissed at him.

“Wally and Bertie.”

“You stay here.” Billy said aiming his big paw at him. “I’ve got to call for back up.”

Petey screamed again, but this time the scream was cut off by a sudden sharp shot and a flash of light. The two animals looked at the tree and headed quickly for cover as Bertie was shoved out of the door, followed by Wally.

“I tolds you, nones of that on the ‘tard.”

“Just having some fun with him.” Bertie said.

“Nones of that.” Wally repeated as they walked away.

“They’d get off.” The squirrel said standing up and starting to stalk the two of them.

“You can’t.” Billy said, grabbing his arm.

“Take your hand off me Billy.” He snapped. “If you’re not going to take me in, then just leave me the hell alone.”

Billy watched as he stalked after them, wondering if he should follow.

Outside of Benny’s Dinner, Wally made a phone call.

“He went nuts.” Wally said into the phone. “Started cutting bits of the tard off.”

Had they been watching carefully, they would have seen a grey squirrel slowly moving towards them. They might also have seen the small mouse who served as owner and short order cook, coming from the other direction. Bertie stared at the ground though, and only looked when the squirrel deliberately kicked a can across the street.

“Wally.”

“You don’ts talk.” Wally snapped.

“Fuck.” Bertie said as he saw the squirrel pull a knife from his pocket and depress the button that snapped the blade into place.

Bertie started to reach into his pocket, but there was suddenly a weight on his back. Wally turned to see the mouse, in white pants and a t-shirt, leap on Bertie’s back and wrap a length of wire around his neck twice before pulling the ends tight. Bertie made a sound like “GACK!” before all sound was cut off. The bunny reared back and the two of them smashed into the phone booth, toppling it over.

Wally watched the phone as he fell over, and the glass shattered around him. His face was cut by the falling shards and his snout was broken when the phone snapped off and crashed into his face. He was just getting to grips with the pain of this when there was a new sharp, painful stab in his side. A paw pressed his head against the glass and pavement and someone started to talk to him.

“I wasn’t going to kill Petey.” The squirrel said. “You shouldn’t have either.”

A fresh lance of pain went up from his neck, where the squirrel had slashed across the vein. He could feel himself bleeding out, and still tried to pull himself from the wreckage of the phone booth. He died before he could so much as pull himself up though, and he slumped back into the booth.

“How are you Benny?” He asked, looking at the dead weasel.

“Fine.” Benny said, putting his foot into Bertie’s back and using his full weight to make sure that the bunny was dead. He started to make a swinging motion, pulling the ends back and forth. “Just making sure.”

The thin metal wire cut in deep and the white fur around Bertie’s neck started to turn pink. Benny let one end go and made a quick knot, yanking hard to make sure the air would remain cut off and left Bertie in place. He then pulled out a pair of small wire cutters and snipped the ends away, so as to take the wooden dowels he used for handles with him.

“Been wanting an excuse to kill this bastard for years.” Benny said. “Damn Vichy collaborator gets to come over here and kill our people.”

“Yeah.” The squirrel nodded. “They killed Petey.”

“I know.”

“Can’t let Big Tony get away with that.” He reached into Wally’s coat and extracted the hand gun, checking the shells and replacing the one fired round with a fresh shell he found in Wally’s pocket.

“You could you know.” Benny said. “Just let it end with these guys.”

“Can’t Benny.” He said. “So long as weasels and Vichy scum can come over here, like the war never happened, and kill decent forest folk like that.”

“You think you can make Big Tony pay?”

“Sure.” He said.

“Good luck brother.”

He left Benny, and started his way to Big Tony’s. It was surprisingly close, even though Benny’s place was no dive, it was not in the better part of the forest. One would think that Big Tony could afford to live somewhere else. He slid the revolver into his pocket and went looking for him.

It wasn’t hard to get into the night club, wasn’t hard to get to Big Tony. The whole thing seemed just a little too easy, but he didn’t let that bother him. There were small red squirrels dancing on the stage, wearing far less than the Morality Board would allow if their influence could ever penetrate this sort of place. He saw Ruby, waiting the tables, as he walked in. Better not to let on he knew her though, better not to get her involved.

“Hello Tony.” He said standing across from the massive fat raccoon as he approached the table.

“You can’t talk to Big Tony.” A goonish looking stoat said grabbing his arm.

“Tell your stoat to take his hands off me, or I’ll make him eat them.” he said, smiling at the large crime boss.

“HA!” Big Tony announced. “I like that, have a seat.”

“I only came to find something out.” He said, sitting down and letting his hand drift into his pocket. “Did you send Wally and Bertie to get Petey tonight?”

“I want to have a talk with Petey.” Big Tony said. “Some friends of his have gotten themselves into some trouble with me and I want to know if he was involved.”

“Like robbing somebody and setting him on fire trouble?” he asked.

“Was it you?” Big Tony asked, merely curious.

“Damn right it was.” He said, pulling out the revolver and pointing it at the middle of Big Tony’s mass. “And why do you say talk when Bertie and Wally killed the poor possum?”

The music had died, everyone was watching the squirrel pointing his gun at the raccoon. The entire room held its breath, waiting for the next thing to come.

“All I wanted was to talk to him.” Big Tony said. “Wally called me and said Bertie got out of hand. What he did to Petey was mercy.”

“Mercy?” the squirrel asked, and fired four times into the big fat raccoon.

He then turned and fired into the skull of the stoat sitting next to him, but another gunner fired and he felt knocked off his feet. He fell to the floor, but managed to turn around and shoot the second stoat off balance. He got to his feet, grabbing a gun from one of the fallen and put to more rounds into the second stoat’s head. He started to stumble out of the club and without realizing she was there, found himself leaning on Ruby.

“You shouldn’t be here.” He told her as they stumbled out into the night. “Go home, spend all the acorns, buy a place in the city.”

“You just hush now.” She said as she tried to move him along, but the weight was too much for her.

He fell down, under the glow of a solitary street lamp. She cradled his head as he lay, gasping and trying to remember what you were supposed to do if you got shot. He couldn’t remember, bleed out seemed like the obvious answer. There seemed to be sirens, but they were far off in the distance.

He could have sworn he heard Billy’s voice, asking what happened, but it didn’t seem to matter anymore. Nothing matters, just let it go. All the pain is over, all the struggle is gone. Ruby will be fine, she’s a rich squirrel now. She won’t even be able to enter her tree for all the nuts stuffed in there, she and just leave for the city tonight and find a nice safe place. He could feel a comforting coldness, and there was some kind of music, and a warm dark coming in. He closed his eyes, and embraced the darkness.

“So it’s over.” Owl said. “Big Tony is gone, and the whole thing is wound up in a nice little package.”

“It’s not.” Billy said. “There’s all the nuts that Ruby had, there was some situation that the group was in dutch with Tony about.”

“She just happened to get them.” Owl said, while stuffing his pipe. “Who cares how? If we find out those were Chopper’s nuts, what good does it take to give them back? Let this one close, and let nice people get away to the city.”

“But…” Billy said. “The Law.”

“The law is an ass.” Owl said, lighting a match. “Listen, take your retirement. I’ll shuffle the books a little, make it that your time is up. I think this forest has gotten to you. You deserve time away. Take it.”

Billy left Owl’s office, left the tree, and thought about just leaving the forest entirely. He felt like a fraud, like a shadow puppet of a police officer. There was no law, no order, just a level of corruption that some animals felt comfortable with. The corruption was so endemic, that it was just a question of who was it corrupt for?

Billy took Owl up on the offer, taking his retirement soon after that. He left the forest and soon got a nice place in the city. It even had a pond, where he could go fishing on occasion.

Some time later, he happened to look Ruby up and went to have a look at her. She was living in a swanky hi-rise, with her daughter, a young red and gray squirrel. He didn’t talk to her, just had a look and left. They looked happy and he had no reason to interfere.

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April 6, 2012 - Posted by | Fiction |

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