“Who’s that with you, Terry? Don’t seem like I know him.”
“He’s got some problems, needs a place to flop. He won’t make no trouble, Rudy.”
“Looks pleasant enough. He got a name?”
“Don’t know, he didn’t say and I didn’t ask. Them’s the rules, right?”
“That’s what I heard, Terry. Bring him over so I can have a look.”
The stocky stranger was sitting on a cement ledge, smoking one of the butts Terry dug up for him from a paper bag stuffed in his jacket pocket. He may have looked pleasant enough to Rudy, but this guy was anything but pleasant. His name was Andrey Shevchenko: Ukrainian born with a long history of violent behavior. Menial stuff really; a bone-breaker, mostly, until six years ago when he killed his mother and sister. He was doing two consecutive life sentences at the state pen when he escaped the night before last. Now he needed to hide, and where better than with the homeless? No one paid any attention to the homeless. They were all morons and nut cases.
Shevchenko followed Terry over to meet the head reprobate, Rudy. He seemed agreeable enough– maybe too agreeable. He accepted Shevchenko into his group without any hesitation. He knew from surviving in prison that cliques tended to be suspicious of newcomers and membership had to be earned. The Ukrainian didn’t dislike Rudy but he felt it was time Rudy retired from office.
“What should we call you, stranger?” asked Rudy as he lit a whole cigarette.
“Tony will do.” Shevchenko hungrily eyed Rudy’s fresh cigarette.
“Okay, Tony it is. Welcome to the neighborhood. Now, if you’ll excuse me…”
“Hey, is that it? What am I supposed to do?”
“Whatever you need to do to stay alive, Tony.”
The only way Shevchenko was able to eat was by strong-arming Terry into bringing him food and occasionally, cigarettes. He was sure he knew how the system worked and felt cocky about how easily he managed to survive. That is, until Rudy summoned him and warned him about leaning on Terry to get him whatever he needed. It seemed the dummy was Rudy’s pet and off-limits. That’s when Shevchenko decided it was time for a new boss. He planned the next night to eliminate Rudy with the knife Terry had stolen for him that morning. Only things don’t always work out the way you planned…
“Your plan worked, Rudy.”
“Yes it did, Terry. Thank you for hitting him over the head at just the right time. Would you hand me my knife there? Isn’t it interesting how people think just because you’re homeless, you can’t read a newspaper?”
“It was me who read about him, huh Rudy? What are we gonna do with him?”
“Well, Terry, we could eat him.”
At that remark, Shevchenko, bound and gagged, knew terror for the first time and showed it in his eyes. Rudy laughed.
“Use my phone, Terry, call Jethro. There’s a nice bounty–usual cut for him.”
Word Count: 500
Prompt: An escaped prisoner hides from police within a group of homeless men.
Many thanks to Thain in Vain for hosting the FFC