Arthur looked at himself in the mirror and glared.
The salt and pepper was slowly increasing at his temples, lending him an air of seniority that he didn’t particularly like but didn’t detest either. After all, Arthur Flint was a man who never really cared for his looks, women came easily to him, as did his natural swagger and laid-back charms.
What he was truly angry about, in his reflection, was the fact that his brown eyes were beginning to develop crow’s feet and they only served to heighten the similarities between his father and the man who stood slim and tall before him in the mirror.
He had spent most of his adult life overseas, fighting someone’s else war, in a desperate attempt to get away from the long, notorious shadow cast by his overbearing, powerful father.
Now he had finally been sent back home, to the highlands and dark forests, and much to his annoyance, he cast an uncanny resemblance to his father to everyone with eyes and half a brain.
Arthur turned away from the mirror in disgust and went to his closet where he picked out a neat flannel shirt, threw on a skinny black tie and a dark blazer that offset his dark jeans and brown Chelsea boots.
Moving over to his bedside table, Arthur thoughtfully placed a weathered Casio G-Shock watch on his left wrist, a silver ring on his right hand and then picked up a large appendix holster, housing his customised Glock 22 with a Surefire X300U light attached to the bottom of the rail.
Arthur looked at the weapon and sighed heavily before slipping the entire weapon system in between his underwear and the front of pants, adjusting his belt as he did so, to ensure the entire package was snug and hidden. The only thing left was the tin star that he liked to clip to his belt. He slowly ran a hand over the silver polished metal, that made the difference between crime and law and reminded himself of the oath he took.
Now he was ready for work.
Running a hand through his long wavy hair, Arthur placed a wide-brimmed hat on his head and headed out into the blinding sun and heat.
Arthur Flint! yelled his boss, Morgan Crewstone, as Arthur was about to leave his desk for lunch. Frowning in puzzlement, Arthur slowly approached the office of his formidable boss and peeked his head through.
You rang boss?
This paperwork … bad news for you.
Why? What’s up with it?
He got away. Jumped his bail officer and now he’s loose.
Arthur moved his entire body through the door and scowled. He took the proffered manila folder and flicked it open with a practised hand.
Jody Davies. That sonvuabitch. How is the officer?
Not good. Lacerations across his neck, after Jody used his handcuffs to grab him. He died on the scene, after getting shot twice by his own gun.
Arthur winced. He could already picture the ugly scene. Jody using the element of surprise to jump the officer as he taking him out and then digging the steel cuffs into the man’s neck. But then ….
Was there an accomplice? Jody couldn’t have gotten free without some help.
Crewstone nodded approvingly at his best Marshal.
The bail officer managed to shoot the guy who helped spring Jody. He’s alive, but in intensive care. Wont be talking for a while. According to the forensics, the second guy had spiked the car’s tires and then tried to shoot the bail officer. Somehow in the scuffle, the guy got shot, and Jody broke free from his cuffs and then killed his bail officer. He left the scene on foot apparently.
So, I guess it falls down to me to find this guy and bring him in again …
You got 24 hours, Flint, before the trail runs cold. Crewstone paused and with a stern look in his eyes, sarcastically said By the way, do your level-headed best to bring this one in alive?
Arthur didn’t bother responding. He merely nodded wordlessly and tipped his hat. Escaped convict or no … he had to get lunch first. No manhunt could start on an empty stomach, and he was going to start his right, with a few buttermilk fried wings, and sweet corn at Princes.
His stomach sated, and his mind razor sharp, after the distractions of his stomach had been dealt with, Flint paid a brief visit to the crime scene and put himself in the mind of Davies. Which way would he go? Looking south up the road, Flint thought about what was further up …. the border to Tennessee was at least a solid 2 hours drive, whereas North, the way Flint had came, was towards Lexington, the closest town and best way to find a car.
Then there was always the possibility that some kind hitchhiker had come along and given a man in an orange jumpsuit a lift.
Flint dismissed that as improbable, before recalling the gas station he had passed on his way here.
Sauntering back to his car, Flint drove the 7 minutes to the nearest gas station and casually entered the store, the doorbell ringing annoyingly to announce his entrance. He noted with cold amusement that the attendant was not at his usual post behind the counter. But then he could merely be on a toilet break, judging by the Be back in 5 minutes. Don’t steal nuthin’. sign on the counter.
Making his way to the back of the small store, past endless rows of snacks, chips and quaint road necessities, Flint stopped by the refrigerated section and grabbed himself a can of Red Bull and a pack of gum. Still pretending to browse, he waited patiently, when to his surprise, the attendant actually came back.
Flint walked up to the register and placed the items on the counter.
It was then, he noted the attendant’s nervousness, and the way how his brown eyes kept darting behind Flint, and the slow beads of sweat running down his face into the collar of his white Visit Kentucky for a Swell Time! shirt.
Flint’s eyes raised in consternation, as he noted the mirror behind the attendant and was in the process of lifting his shirt to pull his Glock, when the sound of a shotgun racking in a shell stopped him cold.
Marshal Flint … is that youse? exclaimed Jody excitedly as he moved close to observe Flint more closely. Having ditched his orange jumpsuit, he was dressed similarly to the attendant with the same with Kentucky tourist shirt, and a pair of loose jeans. He was a ferret of a man, unpleasant and possessing a vicious streak.
Jody Davies …. said Flint in a low, threatening voice.
I’ll be gawddamned. I knew it was youse. The cowboy Marshal in the flesh. Didn’t think they would send youse after me again. Did ya miss me?
Next time I won’t.
Hahahahaha. Funny one Marshal. Especially considering I’m the one with a scatter gun aimed square at your back. I still remember the last time youse pulled on me. Still got the scar from when the docs got your bullet out of my damn chest.
I’ll be sure to write a complaint letter to the docs for letting you live.
Davies laughed scathingly. Gawddamn Marshal, I’ve forgotten just how cool youse are in the face of death. Now time’s-a-wastin and I got somewhere to be. So take that gun of yours out, nice and slow. Any funny business and both youse and the fatty gets it.
Flint slowly took out his Glock 22 and raised his hands once more.
Now toss it where the sun don’t shine and don’t forget that back-up I know youse got somewhere.
Flint threw both his service weapon into the corner of the store and the much smaller Glock 19 he kept in the small of his back.
Good job Marshal. Now throw me back the keys to your car … I’ll be gone before you know it.
Flint smiled at the reflection of Davies in the mirror and slowly pulled the keys of his car out. In an act of defiance, he flicked the key directly back at Davies, hard and swift.
The key rattled against the shotgun, throwing Davies aim off, as he tried to catch the keys before they striked him in the face. The move bought Flint precious time, as he threw himself over the counter and tackled the attendant to the floor. Buckshot exploded above their heads, a second too late.
Without hesitating, Flint pinned the attendant to the floor, as he grabbed a bottle of bourbon from behind the counter and aimed it directly at Davies, who racked in another load and manages to shatter the glass mid-air.
Alcohol sprayed the immediate area, blinding Davies. Moving quickly, Flint dove for the two pistols he had thrown into the corner and as his body hits the floor, another shotgun round perforated the snack stand near him.
Grabbing his Glock 22 with his right and his Glock 19 with his left, Flint, spun around on the floor and began pumping rounds through the air. Davies ducks through the hellfire and manages to scrabble out the front door, the bell ringing above the echo of gunfire.
Scrabbling upwards, Flint looked at the attendance and yelled whether he was OK. The man nodded meekly and Flint waited by the door and poked his head out. Immediately ducking back, Flint crouched as the door’s glass exploded inwards towards him, the roar of a shotgun shot across the Kentucky wooded landscape. Holstering his Glock 19 in the small of his back, Flint checked the load of his Glock 22 and did a swift mag change.
Hearing the sound of his car starting up, Flint risked a move and ran out the door and laid flat on the ground as he saw a shotgun barrel stick out the window of his car.
But it clicked empty.
Smiling coldly, Flint raised his pistol to fire, when the car stopped and a pair of hands popped out the window.
Frowning, Flint stared as Jody Davies came out with a shit-eating grin on his face. The distance between them was at least 60 feet.
OK! Hokay! Marshal, youse got me again. I ain’t gonna cause youse no trouble deadeye.
Davies kept walking towards Flint, until they were now down to 30 feet.
Youse got me Marshal. Come on, now, just slap the cuffs on me and git it over with.
Flint suddenly smiled as he understood what was going on and holstered his Glock 22 in its’ appendix holster. The exact opposite of what anyone would do in this situation.
Davies froze, as he read the cold look on Flint’s face. His bluff had been called out. Flint knew about the officer’s weapon he had stolen.
Standing there with his hand on his hip, Arthur Flint stared at Jody Davies’ brown eyes and flashed the U.S. Marshal star near his trigger finger under the twilight sun.
I want you to be very aware of one thing, Mr. Davies. The last time we did this tango, it didn’t end so well for you. Are you sure you want to be dancing this close again?
Cos I don’t pull, unless I shoot to kill.
Somehow … the last time, I made a mistake with you.
I don’t plan on repeating that err.
So … what is going to be Jody? We gonna settle this like regular human beings, or outlaw style?
Jody Davies looked at Arthur Flint and felt his own resolve hardening. He had the drop on the Marshal just a second ago, didn’t he? There was also no way he was going back to prison. That wasn’t an option. Besides the Marshal had to clear his shirt to draw his Glock. Maybe it would get caught on the shirt. Maybe his finger would hit the mag release and all his ammo would drop out.
The last time they had drew, Davies knew that he almost caught Flint out. Just maybe, ol’ Jody was actually faster this time.
There was only one way of finding out. Davies felt his hand slowly creep back to the big pistol he had tucked in the waistband of his jeans.
Arthur Flint kept his eyes trained on Davies the entire time. The moment was coming. The tension was rising. Jody Davies had no intention of going down without a fight.
Besides, there was the fact that he had killed an officer of the law.
Flint was old-school … an eye for an eye, may the best man win. There were too many dumb, stupid hicks out in the world, to lose sleep over the murder of another.
The way Flint saw it, if a man was willing to die for his ill cause, it might as well be his sword that killed him.
The seconds ticked over, but it felt like hours. Davies felt his hand start to bead over with sweat and it getting increasingly clammy. The silence was unlike anything he had ever experienced. The whole world seemed to shrink until it was just the figure of Arthur Flint, standing there, as cold as death, his hand on his hip, the U.S. Marshal star glinting in the sun, seemingly burning a hole in his mind with how bright it was. The hat he wore, covered his left eye just so, all Davies could see was the cold glimmer in Flint’s right emerald.
A wind blew through both of them, Davies felt he was getting colder, despite the searing heat of the twilight sun.
Marshal .. I just got one thing to say to youse …
I’ll see youse in …
Davies’ right hand whipped behind him and grasped the cold steel of the gun.
Flint’s shirt flew up and his hand grasped the warm metal grip of his Glock 22, and the weapon was flipped from side to straight in a nanosecond and spoke twice eloquently.
Davies’ right hand was still outstretched, far away from the silhouette of Flint, when he fell to the ground, a stunned looked on his face, that slowly replaced by pain. Flint, with his Glock 22 still at hip height, fired once more, his arm now outstretched, finishing off the convict that tried escaping.
Looking down at the pool of blood that was creeping across the front of the Kentucky shirt and behind the lifeless eyes, Arthur Flint holstered his Glock, kicked away the gun, and took out his phone.
This is U.S. Marshal Arthur Flint. I’m going to need a ambulance and a coroner. The Jody Davies case is resolved.
What? No … It’s not for me. There’s a civilian who needs looking after.
Huh? Yeah. It was legal.
He drew first. I shot him.
Drawing heavy and I mean …. excessive inspiration from one of my all-time favourite shows, Justified, Flint & Powder was actually slow to start but then once I remembered some of my favourite episodes and lines, the flow and unravelling of the story became a lot easier. In fact, the final line is stolen verbatim from the first episode.
I shall be waxing lyrical about Justified soon, once I rewatch a couple more episodes. Rest assured there will be plenty of quotations about that show and my big man-crush on Timothy Olyphant.
While I have yet to read any of Elmore Leonard’s work, I do plan on doing so very soon, as a good crime writer is always of interest to me.
In addition, I stole from Ian Fleming, his habit of writing literal phonetic spelling of certain words, like youse or gawd to add extra flavour to the reading experience.
Hope it was fun reading! This was more in line with being a short story than it is a screenplay.