It’s with a hefty dose of shame I realise it’s been a whole year since i posted the most recent, and indeed penultimate episode, of The Patron. Our hero was in dire straits when last we met! So the tension should be about ready to explode, if you can remember any of what happens without the recap….
One of the joys of writing is writing stuff just for you, and one of the joys of a blog is you can force that writing on other people too. Of course you can just not read it, but that would hurt my feelings.
The Patron was my attempt at an enjoyable little pulpy noir story written mostly for fun, and partly just to give me something to write when the writing tank was feeling a little empty. So anyway, after some heckling this weekend, here’s the final chapter of The Patron. Dedicated to Babs, because she’s potentially my first weirdo superfan, although she didn’t ask for my autograph. Alarmingly she does now know where I live however.
So, The Patron!
The Patron : Part 11.
“Babe?” The Patron’s voice cracks at the question.
“Is o…k babe,” the response fumbles through the static of the phone call.
“Are you ok?” he asks, grip tightening on the liver bird top of his cane until he wonders why it hasn’t shattered.
“S’ok. Just a couple of guys, up to no good.”
All the while The Boss just grins, a tight smile that reaches up to touch the scars on his face. The big guy behind is still shifting nervously, one huge hand engulfing the other. Snap. He cracks a knuckle. Snap. Another one. It echoes around the metal of the engine room, strangely loud over the hum of the engine.
“They started causing trouble in the neighbourhood. Don’t be scared. It was just one little fight.”
“And now?” he asks. Snap. The big guy looks over at The Boss, down at The Patron’s back again.
“Well, Feefee made quite a mess,” he can hear the smile sliding down the call. Snap.
“You really should call her Molly you know,” he replies, the grin slipping back onto The Patron’s face.
“Are you coming home?” she asks, the crackle different this time.
He glances up, The Boss standing ahead, his breath wheezing in and out through the gap of his smile. Around him there are the shadows of men holding guns, all threat and bluster filling the dark corners of the room. And behind him, he glances up. The big guy stops, bent over about to snap the last knuckle. The Patron holds his eye.
“I might be a little late.” Time to dance.
He throws the phone straight at The Boss, who stumbles back in confusion. There’s a roar, the sound of something big moving behind. The Patron laughs, too late big man, too late. The cane cracks backwards, smashing against his temple. The big man drops with a groan. The Patron turns, twisting the liver bird to let the blade free. The sheath goes flying, smacking another thug between the eyes.
“GET HIM,” The Boss screams, spittle flying from the ruins of his face.
There’s a roar as they all charge. A single bark of laughter responds. The first to reach him is the first to die, a blade darting in and out of his heart. He drops before he knows he’s struck. Another one follows behind, drops from a sword through the groin to scream on the floor. A thug with a knife comes in high, roaring. The Patron drops, taking it on his blade. He lashes out with one foot, cracking a knee. Twisting full circle past he cuts across the thugs throat. He’s gone before the spurt of blood.
There’s a crack of gun fire. A spark as a bullet ricochets next to The Patron, he twists and dives behind a pile of whirring machinery.
“The engines you idiot,” a voice hisses in anger.
The Patron twists, circling the machine. Footsteps echoing over metal. He peers around the corner, two thugs, backs to him. Soft step, in out, in out. Two corpses slump against the floor.
Snap. The Patron turns fast as he hears it. A fist cannons against his jaw. He smashes against the machine, cane flying from his hand to clatter against the floor.
“Goth ya,” The big man says through the blood streaming from his nose.
Always one who wants to tango. The Patron kicks at a knee, lands on a thigh like rock. A fist curls round towards him. Hands up in guard, it still almost smashes him to the floor. Another fist to the gut. Air rushes out of The Patron. He wants to be sick, but he turns, trying to make room. A big, meaty hand pushes him back.
“Let’s dance then,” The Patron says.
Punch, hook, punch. The big guy covers guard. A flurry of blows to the stomach barely faze him. The Patron pushes off the metal with the foot behind him, leading with an elbow. It cracks against the big guy’s nose, sending him reeling back. A knee to the gut, like rock again.
A grunt and a punch, smashing against The Patron’s ribs. I’ts like a jackhammer smashing up the dirt. Something goes with a pop and a lance of pain up his side. The big guys right fist curls round again, aiming for the Patron’s head . He ducks back, hand slapping out to add momentum to the blow as it sails past his face. The big guy’s turning off balance now. The Patron kicks out at the back of his knee. He drops with a crash against the metal of the floor.
He grabs the bull thick neck in front of him, squeezing with all his strength. The big man roars, surging to his feet. Somehow The Patron holds on. He clamps down with everything he’s got, one arm hooked around the other. The big man flails around, pulling at the arm but he can’t get the leverage. He lurches backwards, smashing The Patron against the metal behind.
The Patron winces as the pain rushes up his side. The big man stumbles forward, then flies backwards to smash against the metal a second time. The Patron almost falls loose, somehow holding on. A single foot is pressed back against the metal. The neck bows forward, ready to smash backwards. With a roar he pushes backwards.
The Patron kicks with the foot against the metal, twisting his body against the bulk of the big man. He turns through the air, arm still locked. And with a snap something gives. The big man falls against the floor, eyes staring backwards from the twist of his broken neck.
The Patron staggers to his feet, blood leaking from the side of his mouth. He breathes in, slow, heavy, feeling the rasp of something grating inside him as he does. He bends down, tears leaking from his eyes to grab the cane, leaning heavy on it as he staggers towards where he’s last seen The Boss. He had a job to do still.
“Where are you hid…”
The crack of gunfire echoes through the room.
The Patron drops, a burst of blood from his chest.
“Here.” Wheeze. Step. Wheeze. Step. Getting louder.
The Patron refuses to cry out as he turns, blood leaking from a ragged wound in his chest. Somehow the pain in his ribs is gone though, just a dull ache now as he twists round. Each breath gurgles against the metal.
The Boss is there, the Patron’s pea shooter in his hand. There’s a thug behind him, itchy finger scraping against the edge of his Kalashnikov.
The Patron’s head drops, slumping against the blood leaking onto the metal floor. The gurgling stops.
“You always thought the good guys should win,” The Boss mumbles, tears leaking from his eyes as he approaches. He stops. “Check him,” The Boss mutters.
A foot pushes against The Patron, turning his body. The sword cane flicks out, into the thugs chest. The gun falls. The Patron catches it, sticky hands slippy on the trigger. With a scream of rage he turns, gun pointed at The Boss.
Behind him he can hear the pound of feet, the click of triggers and fingers ready to use them.
The Boss stares down, pea shooter trembling in his right hand.
“The good guys never win,” The Boss screams, looking down at his brother.
“But sometimes, a draw is good enough,” The Patron replies.
The Boss lunges, arm darting up with the pea shooter. The Patron just smiles, twists his arm to one side and pulls hard on the trigger, sending a wave of bullets ripping into the engines.
With a crack and a roar the room explodes, flames reaching out to drag them both down.