“She’s out,” Brookes said breathlessly as he ran into O’Malley’s bar that afternoon.
“Who?” O’Malley asked with a snort, but we all knew. He kept on polishing glasses as if it didn’t mean a thing to him, but his face grew a good bit paler.
“Bambi!” Brookes said, slamming his fist on the bar. “What the hell are we going to do?”
Jerry Bellows started to babble, a torrent of words like a air from a bladder, but O’Malley raised one of his gargantuan hands to silence him. “She’s just out she’s not going to be any trouble. Don’t want to be back inside, not this time.”
Bellows gaped at him. “You think she’s going to just forget about that night? Just going to say, ‘that’s all right, lads. Let’s let bygones be bygones.’ Will she? Fuck!”
“Shut the fuck up,” Hank Davenport scowled at the little man. “You don’t know she’s coming here.”
“He’s got a point,” Vince West put in, wheezing a bit as usual, as if climbing up on the bar stool had used up the last of his energy. “Even if she’s not on her way here right now, she’s going to come back here and want to start a ruckus.”
“The hell with her,” O’Malley said, his face set in a stubborn scowl. “This is my bar and what I say goes.”
“Fuck that,” Bellows said, his face growing redder by the minute. “She’s not going to forget what we did. My sister’s best friend’s cousin was in with her and all she talked about was getting out and getting back here to pay us back. Fuck, I should have gone to another bar.”
He put on his coat as if he were ready to suit action to words, but didn’t move from the spot, frozen by his own feckless fear. Brookes stood next to him as if planning to follow him out.
“Everyone should just calm the hell down,” O’Malley said with as much authority in his voice as he could muster “It’s not like she’s going to roll in here with a couple of six guns and shoot up the place like some old timey saloon.” They all laughed nervously.
Davenport gave a short bark of laughter like a bulldog. “I still think that maybe—”
The door slammed open. The late afternoon light gave a lustre of unexpected beauty to the crowded street and framed with elfin beauty the form of Bambi Woods in the doorway. There came a moment of silence as all the eyes in the pub turned toward her silhouette. As one man they held their breath and then she stepped inside and they all just as quickly looked away. O’Malley hastily polished the already gleaming glasses. West wheezed over his pint. Brookes and Bellows stared at each other as if somehow in mute conversation, while Davenport smoothed out the wrinkles in his racing form.
Bambi stood regarding them all with a sneer on her glossy pink lips. For someone just out, she looked awfully good. Brookes had the passing thought that she must have popped into Sonja’s on the way because her tawny golden tresses had that just primped look that women always had in photo shoots but soon disappeared, generally ending the night held behind their heads as they puked.
It wasn’t the leopard print jeggings that drew their attention or the low cut pink tank top that hugged her curvy form that captivated their gazes. It wasn’t even the garish stripes of Lewis Hamilton replica leather jacket.
It was the pair of Glocks in her hands. One had pink electrical tape wrapped around its handle, but they looked lethal enough.
“Hey now, Bambi,” Brookes said, nerves jangling his voice. “I heard you were getting out.”
She turned her head slowly toward him and he winced. “Brookes.” Her voice came out flat and affectless.
Not that it was unusual. There was something unnerving about the lack of emotion in a girl so pretty, he thought. If only she would smile now and then. “Hope you’re keeping well, and your family, too—”
Without warning she shot him right in the face and he went down with a shriek of pain. Bellows echoed his shriek and leaped away from his friend. West, trying to get off his stool, tangled his feet in the rungs and toppled over with a grunt, putting his hand into the blood spurting from Brookes’ face as the latter writhed across the dusty floor. An unexpectedly high-pitched squeal emerged from West in his surprise as he tried to shove himself away from the gore.
With a clock-like movement of deliberation, Bambi swung her arm slowly in an arc toward the struggling West and fired. The bullet hit him in the eye and he stopped moving almost at once, his blood pooling on the floor with Brookes’.
Davenport and O’Malley whipped behind the bar, while Bellows made a desperate lunge toward the gents. He hadn’t gone more than a couple steps when Bambi spun around to her left and shot from each gun. The bullets hit him in both legs and he collapsed to the floor, screaming in agony.
Bambi walked over to him as if she were strolling along the high street. “For the love of god, Bambi!” Bellows shrieked.
“What?” She asked him that bored drawl she always affected. “What you sayin’?”
“Don’t kill me, Bambi. I’m begging you!”
“Why shouldn’t I?” She sniffed and laughed. He could see the sticky candy gleam of her lip gloss as she spoke.
“I didn’t do anything! You know I didn’t! It was them!” He pointed helplessly at where the other lay dying or crouching behind the bar. O’Malley shot him murderous looks.
“You didn’t do nothing? That right?” Bambi spit out the words like they were a sub-par salad. “You were laughing though, weren’t you? Cheering them on?”
“I-I don’t remember doing that,” Bellows said, cringing.
Bambi walked over and leaned close to his grimacing face. “I do.” She reared back and shot him in the chest twice. There was no sound then but the slow exhalation of his last breath.
As she stood, however, the blast of a shotgun echoed. Like angry bees, the shot bit her skin, making a series of holes in the arm of her leather jacket. Bambi swore and spun to the right.
“Dammit, Hank,” O’Malley swore, sweat popping out on his brow. “You jostled my arm.”
“Fuck you,” Davenport swore back, doing his best to get behind O’Malley as Bambi stalked toward them. Guns raised, she managed to get off her shots before the barman’s hammer clicked and his shot sprayed wild, making holes in the tin ceiling and the West Ham 1965 European up framed photo as he jerked back against Davenport. One bullet blew a hole through his cheek, the other through Davenport’s neck and they both went down in a tangle behind the bar.
O’Malley sobbed as he saw Bambi’s baby pink platforms step around behind the bar. “I’m sorry, so sorry, we’re all sorry,” he babbled, hands up, the shotgun forgotten.
“Sorry,” Bambi said, holding the guns out in front of her as her dead eyes stared down the barman. “You think ‘sorry’ is going to make it all better?”
“I’m not saying it will make it all better,” O’Malley said, trying to wink the blood out of his eye. “But give me a chance to make it up to you, Bambi. Please.”
She seemed to think it over. “No.” She shot him in the chest and smiled with grim satisfaction. Then she stepped over the corpses to the old fashioned till. Hitting “no sale” she popped open the drawer.
Lifting up the cash organiser, she found it. With a coo of delight, she grabbed the iPhone. There was a smudge of gunk on Hello Kitty’s Swarovski crystal face which she rubbed off with her thumb.
“Nobody fucks with Bambi’s phone,” she growled at the corpses at her feet. Dropping the phone in the pocket of her jacket, she considered the cash drawer. Grabbing a few handfuls of cash but leaving the rest, she stuffed them in her pockets, too.
She stared at the dead men, her face serious for a moment. She picked up the Glocks again, thrusting one into Davenport’s hand and the other into O’Malley’s. They could CSI the scene, she knew. But who would bother? Bunch of old loser drunks.
Bambi stepped across the bar to the door, looking to make sure she hadn’t tracked any blood with her. She stopped at the threshold and fished out her phone again. For the first time a genuinely happy grin broke across her face.
She kissed the sleek screen. “I’ve got my life back,” she whispered to Hello Kitty. Tapping the screen, she made the call. “Siobhan! I’m out. Let’s go paint the town red.”
Bambi closed the door on her way out. The only sound in the bar was the hum of the refrigerator units.
K. A. LAITY is the author of The Claddagh Icon, Owl Stretching, Unquiet Dreams and many more. Her stories have appeared in Drunk on the Moon, Spinetingler, Near to the Knuckle, A Twist of Noir, Pulp Metal Magazine and ACTION: Pulse Pounding Tales. See a complete list of her publications at www.kalaity.com