July 18, 2012 by jamesessj
Crime lord Alvin Tumes was angry. He was livid. He was outraged. He was apoplectic.
“I want him dead! His wife, dead! His children, dead! His dog, dead!”
His majordomo, the tall, broad-shouldered Greek who went only by the name of Stavros, listened with equanimity. His features did not change under Tumes’ verbal onslaught. Stavros might have been made of stone, for all the indication he gave that he was present and attentive.
His fury somewhat spent, Tumes glared at the Greek as if daring him to speak.
Stavros dared. “I’m sorry, Mr. Tumes, but he is not married. He has no children. And he does not keep a dog.”
Tumes threw up his hands. “He’s gotta have friends — coworkers — neighbors –”
“He spends his free time in solitary pursuits, he lives alone, and his dwelling is an abandoned warehouse.”
Tumes’ face was turning redder and redder. “His parents — brothers — sisters — no, don’t tell me. He was a siblingless orphan.”
Stavros nodded philosophically. “You’re ahead of me, Mr. Tumes.”
Tumes pounded his fist on his desk. “No friends, no family, no ties of any kind…who is this man?”
Stavros lifted the wig from his scalp and in one quick motion removed his false nose, chin, and eyebrows.
“He’s Calvin Copp,” said Calvin Copp, raising a .44 Magnum and leveling it at Tumes’ chest. “He’s an ex-cop.”
* * *
Alvin Tumes sat against the wall, drenched in his own blood. A curl of smoke pirouetted up from the barrel of Copp’s revolver. He’d fired three times. Once in the chest, once in the throat, once in the face. Yet somehow Tumes was still breathing. The crime lord was living up to his reputation: hard to kill. His cold eyes stared up at Copp. Copp raised the gun a second time.
“Your reign of terror is over, Tumes.”
Tumes coughed up a wad of sticky red phlegm and struggled to mouth the words, “Wait — before you finish me — I gotta know — who the hell are you?”
“I’m Calvin Copp. Ex-cop.”
“Ex-cop? What do you do now?”
“I’m an ex-cop.”
“So you used to be a cop.”
“But what are you doing now? Are you a P.I.? A special agent? A vigilante? A bounty hunter?”
“What does it matter? I’m an ex-cop.”
“Look,” said Tumes, sitting up a little, “who do you work for?”
“I don’t know,” Copp said. “I don’t ask too many questions. Unlike some people I could mention.”
“You don’t know who you work for? Who signs your paychecks?”
“I have direct deposit.”
“So money just shows up in your bank account and you don’t even think to wonder where it comes from?”
“I don’t pry into personal affairs.”
“They’re your personal affairs!”
Copp turned his pistol at an angle. “See this finger, Tumes? It’s gettin’ awfully itchy…”
Tumes spat out, “I just wanna know who it is who’s destroyed my entire operation and is about to do me in!”
“I told ya twelve times already. Copp. Ex-cop.”
“Jeez, it’s like talking to my ex-wife.” Tumes’ eyes suddenly got big. “Holy crud — ex-cop, ex-wife…” He stared at Copp. “Teresa hired you to take me out?”
“I just do as I’m told, Tumes.”
“Yeah, but who’s telling you–”
Copp’s Magnum blasted away. Three more bullets punched into Tumes. The crime lord’s body twitched, then lay still.
“Not every question has a complicated answer,” said Copp. “I’m Calvin Copp, ex-cop.”
* * *
Next time, on Copp, Ex-Cop:
“Yeah, but if you’re an ex-cop, that means you ain’t a cop no more, which means you gotta be workin’ for somebody other than the cops, right?”
Copp fired another round into the terrorist. The man’s head exploded.
“Ain’t these people,” said Copp, “never heard how curiosity killed the–”
A gray-yellow cat skittered across the basement floor in front of him. Copp fired twice. The cat was catapulted across the basement, slapping against the far wall. It crumpled into a heap on the floor.
Copp took a step closer. The cat was still alive. Its lips were moving. Copp leaned down.
“Ex-cop,” the cat was saying softly, “implies that you’re no longer in the Police Department’s employ–”
Cats are rumored to have nine lives. Copp put ten slugs into this one, just to be sure.