Emet removed the knife from the throat of the grey-haired man on the floor. He wedged a black-booted toe beneath the man’s shoulder and nudged him over on his side. He bent down and grabbed the man’s wrist, lifting his arm. With a precise, almost surgical skill, he severed the ring finger and caught it as he let go of the wrist.
Emet took a plastic sandwich bag from the pocket of his black leather jacket and stuffed the finger—still wearing the ring—inside, proof that the job was done. He stuffed the baggie back in his pocket (along with the knife) and knelt there for a moment, muttering a few foreign words under his breath.
He stood up and walked to the door, loud music blaring from the discotheque as he exited the small back office. He worked his way through the crowded disco, fighting the swaying and grinding bodies of couples dancing to “I Wanna Kiss You All Over,” and a few whores who thought that the tall, muscular, handsome man with curly black hair might make an excellent customer for the evening. They would have been disappointed that he had neither the inclination nor the equipment needed for the enterprise. He also didn’t have much money, which would have depressed them further.
He exited the bar through the front door, taking no precautions whatsoever to conceal his identity. He didn’t need to. If all went according to plan, he would be dead by the time the police started asking questions.
He walked away from the building, the intense blue and red neon flashing “Boogie Wunderland” behind him. He found a taxi parked on the street and got into the back seat.
“Where to?” the cabbie asked. He was middle-aged, fat and balding.
Emet made no answer, but coughed loudly.
“I said, where to, buddy?” The cabbie was getting pissed. And nervous. He could smell trouble, and this big motherfucker reeked of it.
Emet’s mud-colored eyes glazed over and he started wretching violently. He bent over, gagging.
“Hey, hey!!! No pukin’ in my taxi, you son of a bitch. Get out!” The cabbie started to reach beneath his seat where he kept his peacemaker .38 Special, but saw Emet straightening up in the rear view mirror.
Emet opened his mouth and pulled out a piece of paper. The taxi-driver’s jaw dropped. The paper looked dry.
“Go here, please,” Emet said in a deep, hoarse voice. He handed the driver the small, torn sheet of a memo pad.
The driver took the paper (it was dry) and noted the address. He looked even more confused.
“Do you know who the hell lives here?” he asked, but Emet just sat there, staring straight ahead and spoke no reply.
“Do you know him?” the taxi asked.
Emet was silent.
“Aw, fuck it. It’s your dough.” He turned the key and the taxi’s engine vroomed. The driver pulled away from the curb and drove into the night with Emet sitting silently in the back seat.
Emet didn’t have much in the way of a brain, but his instinct made up for it. And his instinct told him that the taxi driver, although his name wasn’t inscribed on the list of deeds, would have to be dealt with.
“I can’t believe you fuckin’ know him!” the cabbie driver said.
As quiet as the whisper of a snake sliding up behind it’s prey, Emet reached into his pocket and fingered the handle of the knife.