Marlon walked into the living room. He wondered at the rubbery smell hanging thickly in the air.

His gaze panned from the plush, overstuffed scarlet chesterfield, across the elegant, mahogany coffee table that held the box of uneaten pizza, and there his gaze lingered. It had been a while since he had eaten. The chopped mushrooms, peppers, onions looked good, and his mouth watered. Sniffing, though, he recoiled. "Soy cheese," he grunted, "Damned vegan."

"Is that some sort of backhanded compliment?" Stewart wryly asked from his hiding spot behind the piano forte. In his hand was a cocked .44 revolver.

"Enough of this lunacy, Stewart," Marlon spat, "Hand over the diamond." Marlon knew there was no way he could pull his Colt 1911 automatic out of the shoulder holster in time. Perhaps the tough guy routine would buy him a moment to think.

"Courageous Marlon, zealous to the end. You know how complicitous we are in this affair. Donald cannot walk away with everything. Not after all the work we did on this heist. I thought we had an agreement, you and I, to skim a little, to take what is rightfully ours from that carnivorous backbiter. Oh well, time to clean up that mistake."

Stewart fired the pistol, and the room shook with the weapon's concussion. Glass baubles tinkled on shelves around the room. Marlon, from his vast experience with getting shot at, saw the tendons of Stewart's hand flex a half second before they completed the fateful squeeze. He dropped to the floor and rolled, the bullet grazing his left shoulder. He would always have the two inch long scar there as a souvenir of his last moments with Stewart. As he rolled, he pulled out the automatic. A half-second later, Marlon fired back and left an exquisite little hole in the center of Stewart's forehead. The mess on the wall behind Stewart was less pretty. He fell dead.

Marlon walked over to Stewart's body and patted down all the pockets. Finding the ten karat rock in the left breast pocket was not terribly difficult.

He walked out the way he came in. Embittered, he decided he would sooner take a hollow point in the gut than pull another job with a vegan.


This was my entry in the The Great E2 Fin de Siecle Fiction Challenge. It didn't do very well, but coming up with an entry was still a lot of fun. See the rest of the results here.

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