Grizzled Justice

I now present the last page of my crime novel ‘Grizzled Justice’. First published in 2003, it reinvented the buddy-cop genre by mismatching bickering partners 15% more than had previously been seen, and making their loose-cannon behaviour 8% more unorthodox. Enjoy!



Flann O’Coonassa

Page 362 of 362

…shaved my nipples, and the majority of my pubes. It all grew back ginger for some reason. Never did figure out why.”
“Sarge, why are you telling me this?” asked Stenson, reloading his gun.
“Can’t say exactly,” replied McDiesel, striking a safety match against his own stubble to light a cigarette. “Guess it’s my way of telling you, you’re all right kid. Sure, you go by the book, and you bust my chops, quoting regulations and what not.”
“It’s true, I do that,” interrupted Stenson.

“Shut up,” snapped McDiesel. “My point is, after Pachanski was decapitated, I never thought I’d want another partner. But I’d rather you watching my back than any of those jackasses down at the precinct.”
“Thanks sarge.”
“Shut up,” said McDiesel, stubbing out the cigarette on his own eyeball. “Let’s finish this.”

Both men bounded from behind the empty barrels into a maelstrom of gunfire. Stenson followed a regulation shoot-and-move pattern, flawlessly replicated from his academy training. Not for the first time, McDiesel threw out the rule book, ambling through the warehouse, shooting henchman after henchman in a higgildy-piggildy, unorthodox fashion. At one point he stood still without cover, bullets whizzing by, to answer a text from his estranged daughter.

“U WERE NEVER THERE 4 ME OR MUM,” read the message.
“MOM STILL LOVES YOU,” said another text.

 One by one the stooges fell, until the warehouse was strewn with open-eyed corpses. The gunfire petered out. Stenson, breathless, joined McDiesel in the centre of what was now a congregation of corpses. Stenson smiled. “Shut up,” replied McDiesel.

With stealth, a final goon peeped from behind a stack of crates and trained his gun on the duo. McDiesel, harnessing a streetwise sixth sense that can’t be taught in any book or manual, drew his oversized revolver and fired into the air. The bullet severed the chain of an enormous overhead chandelier, crashing it to earth upon the would-be assassin.

“A chandelier in a warehouse?” mused Stenson, mouth agape.
“Go figure,” said McDiesel, essentially putting the plot-hole to bed without satisfactory explanation.
“That’s some pretty unorthodox, grizzled shit you just pulled McDiesel.”
“You French-kiss your mother with that mouth, Stenson?”
“My mother’s dead,” replied Stenson. McDiesel laughed heartily. Still unsure of the joke, Stenson followed suit, laughing nervously.
“Shut up,” said McDiesel, removing his scrotum from his trousers and striking a match among the ginger sproutings.

Suddenly, a shot rang from the shadows, and Stenson’s impeccably ironed shirt reddened. He began to slowly fall. McDiesel could easily have caught him, but it wasn’t his style, and Stenson respected the machismo. After letting Stenson’s head bounce off the concrete, McDiesel took a knee and blew smoke into his face.

“You’re going to be OK kid.”
“I’m so cold McDiesel.
“What are you, shitting me? It’s a hundred degrees outside.”
“I ain’t gonna make it McDiesel.”
“That’s statistically probable. I’ll grant you that.”

“Will you do something for me, McDiesel?”
“Name it kid.”
“My sweetheart…Jessica,” drawled Stenson, weakening with every word.
“She being cheating on you? Want me to slap her around a little?”
“No…no. Tell her…tell her….I…love her.”
“Bit fruity, isn’t it? How about I tell her you like her?”

Stenson gurgled, wet himself, and passed on to the big precinct in the sky. McDiesel blessed himself with the wrong hand, in the wrong direction, opened Stenson’s eyes, lit a match on one of his comrade’s eyeballs, re-closed his eyes, and let a guttural yell.

“We meet again, Mr McDiesel,” came a voice from the shadows.
“Just a second,” answered McDiesel. “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.”

Into the light stepped Dr Blackhorn, kingpin of the drugs empire Stenson had given his life in fighting. One hand pointed a gun at McDiesel; the other was held around the throat of Stacey, McDiesel’s on-again off-again girlfriend who hasn’t been mentioned until this point.

“Blackhorn, I might have known.”
“Pretty obvious, I would have thought old boy,” replied Blackhorn in his refined, aristocratic English accent.
“He hurt you Stacey?”
“A little,” wept Stacey, “he twisted my arm up behind…”
 “Shut up. Let her go Blackhorn. This is between you and me.”

“Mr McDiesel, you have been quite the thorn in my side,” said Blackhorn with superb manners and dreamy elocution. “It was my understanding that you’d been suspended? That the mayor and the DA had grown tired of your unorthodox methods? Tired of explaining to the media why you continually lay waste to entire apartment blocks and fleets of cars in an uncompromising pursuit of utopian justice?”
“Yeah, captain took my badge and piece. But I don’t need no badge to track down scum like you.”

McDiesel fidgeted the trigger on his gun. Blackhorn tightened his grip on Stacey’s neck, drawing his human shield closer.

“Enough of this charade, Mr McDiesel. Drop your weapon, or the girl dies.”
“She means nothing to me. Go ahead. Kill her.”
“Come now Mr McDiesel,” said Blackhorn in a lilting swankiness that makes the queen sound like a two-dollar hooker in comparison, “lower your weapon.”

With that, McDiesel raised his gun and shot Stacey. Shocked, Blackhorn loosened his grip and Stacey flopped to the ground. Labouring the point, McDiesel shot Stacey several more times. Both men then shot a single round at each other, and each man collapsed to the ground. Nobody moved for several minutes.

“McDiesel, you…son…of a bitch,” muttered Stacey.
“Shut up,” replied McDiesel, lighting a match across the flesh wound millimetres above his heart — the 84th flesh wound of his career. He stumbled to his feet and lurched to inspect Blackhorn, who sported a bullet wound in the middle of his forehead. McDiesel put out his cigarette, opened Blackhorn’s eyes, struck a match against his eyeball, and lit another cigarette.

Soon the warehouse was awash with dazzling blue lights as a flurry of squad cars and ambulances swarmed the crime scene.

“She’s going to make it sergeant,” said a paramedic. “Nice shooting, you avoided all her vital organs.”
“Huh?” replied McDiesel.

His arm in a sling, McDiesel strode from the warehouse smoking two cigarettes at once. At the entrance he happened upon Captain Norfolk.

“I’ve gotta hand it to you McDiesel,” said Captain Norfolk, “you get results. I might not agree with your grizzled attitude, or your loose-cannon methods, but damn it, you bring home the bacon.”

Smiling, Captain Norfolk returned McDiesel his badge and piece. Grinning through his perma-stubble, McDiesel lowered his pants, wiped his ass with the badge, threw it away and continued walking. Farther along, he was confronted by the overzealous reporter who had endangered the whole mission in pursuit of a scoop.

“Sergeant McDiesel, do you have any comment on what went down here tonight?” he asked.

Without breaking his stride, McDiesel removed his arm from its sling and punched the reporter unconscious. A little farther along, McDiesel was again confronted, this time by O’Reilly from Internal Affairs.

“We’re going to need you to sit down tomorrow and explain all this Sergeant,” said O’Reilly. “There’s 154 dead bodies in that warehouse, and all we found was 45 dollars worth of cannabis.”

Again without breaking stride, McDiesel un-slung his arm and punched his tormentor unconscious. Finally free of the melee of reporters and police, he sat into the driver’s seat of his car.

“Hello Cornelius,” came a familiar voice from the passenger seat. It was Imelda, his ex-wife. “I love you, and I want you back,” she said tenderly. McDiesel un-slung his arm, punched her unconscious, rolled her from the car, and drove into the rising sun: ever-villigant, and ever-ready to live life on the edge.


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Rant by is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Copyright © 2009 Flann O'Coonassa