Bill is Dead by K. A. Laity

“Yeah, but my point is that no one is the person they were at four am.”

“I still don’t know what you mean.”

“Listen, Peter Cook used to say that you could have any woman in the world if you kept her up talking past three am.”

“Peter Cook? Said that to you?”

“Fuck no, you dickless wonder. Not to me. Just said, as in it was reported that he said …”

“Reported where?”

“It doesn’t make any difference! My point is …”

“You keep saying that, but you don’t seem to be getting to the point.”

“If you’d shut the fuck up and listen for a few minutes, I could tell you about it. It was Old Bill, see.”

“Bill is dead.”

“Yeah, I know Bill’s fucking dead. I’m trying to tell you what happened and why nobody knew the real story.”

“And you do? Do tell.”

“I’ve been trying to do so for the last half hour.”

“Well, I haven’t been‹”

“Just shut up for a few minutes, ass-wipe, all right? See, it’s the four am factor.”

“People not being what they were at four am.”

“Yeah, that’s it. You know Bill.”

“Not well‹”

“But you knew him enough to say he wouldn’t be the kind to shoot ten people down.”

“He had hidden depths.”

“Depths! He had a fucking lunatic within. But so do we all.”

“At four am, I’m hazarding a guess.”

“Fuck yeah. What happened was his neighbours.”

“The Grigores?”

“No, they’re great people. It was those brothers on the other side.”

“Oh, the Woods. Ha, both dumb as a post.”

“Absolutely. Stupid as a bag of hammers. Well, they’d won at the track that day …”

“What track?”

“How should I know what track? It don’t matter anyway,”

“I just thought …”

“Okay, shut up. So they won at the track that day and decided to have a big party. The works, broads and booze and all their likewise mentally-challenged friends.”

“I remember that. I think I got an invite.”

“It wouldn’t surprise me. Not the first time, not the last, but it went on awful late. I expect there had been a certain amount of Bolivian marching powder to keep it going ’til all hours, since they started late afternoon.”

“You need that to keep going.”

“Word to the wise, my son. So anyway, Old Bill has been having a bad day.”

“Not because of the party?”

“At first, no. His wife after threatening for twenty years, does a runner. Seems she met a new guy on line and they were running off to Budapest.”

“Budapest? Where the hell is that anyway?”

“I don’t fucking know. One of those countries that used to be Russia. Anyway, so she lights out for the territories after giving him a piece of

her mind and then … guess what?”


“His dog gets run over.”

“Aw, a shame that. I can’t fucking stand it when people hurt animals.”

“You’re a prince. Do you march with PETA?”

“I would if I could get next to some of those naked supermodels.”

“Anyway …”

“Yeah, anyway I can.”

“Shut the fuck up. Anyway, Old Bill is broke up about the dog and the wife …”

“I bet the dog more so.”

“Maybe. Anyway, so Old Bill’s consoling himself with some the very finest Lagavulin …”

“You think Lagavulin is best? What about Laphroaig?”

“What is this? Taste test your favourite whisky night? Shut the fuck up. So Bill’s hoisting a few and feeling a right bad funk coming over him and he’s had no tea except some takeaway he could barely choke down and the music’s thumping and the people are laughing and singing a long and it goes on and on and on until finally it’s four am and he just decided that’s the end of it.”

“What’s he do?”

“He gets out that old Colt revolver …”

“That museum piece? Didn’t he say it was too valuable to ever shoot. Just polished away like he was wanking over it and tried to show it off here to the lads every Saturday night.”

“That’s the very one. Apparently it shoots just fine, because he stepped over to the Woods’ maison and whipped it out and started shooting every one in sight. Cool as a the proverbial cucumber as he reloaded and shot more of them. Hysteria, screaming, blood everywhere.”

“Well, those Wood boys were no great loss. The street’s better off with them gone.”


“So, what, were they too loaded to get off a shot at him?”

“I guess they were well past it. All the hoods and hookers there and nobody got a shot away at him. Things are different at four am.”

“So what happened? Cops shoot him?”

“No, he got run over.”


“Yeah, they figure it was the same guy who hit his dog.”

“That’s fucked up. On purpose?”

“Nobody knows. No one saw it. Who’s hanging around at four am anyway?”

“Shit, You want another pint?”

“Yeah, cheers mate.”


K. A. Laity’s PELZMANTEL from
“Laity is a very remarkable sorceress indeed.” — Elizabeth Hand

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