Use a Gun, Go to Jail

Use a Gun, Go to Jail

by Leroy B. Vaughn

By eight thirty in the morning the off-duty Rampart cops were already coming into the Tick Tock bar. Crazy Al, the bartender was washing shot glasses that the lazy ass night bartender had left for him, and the two hot dogs sitting near the pool table were talking about their shifts that they had finished one hour before coming to the bar.

“We get a 415 in progress at the Tin Lizzie over on Formosa and I come through the door with my sap in my hand, just in time to see this two hundred pound bull dyke plant her engineer boot into the belly of another dyke. I sapped the big dyke up-side the head and probably saved the other bitche’s life. This big old Samoan dyke was really making a boot factory out of the other dyke’s ass.”

“Was the Samoan named Bob Ulee?” The other cop wanted to know.

“Yeah, you must know her. The other dyke goes by the AKA, Vine Street Betty.”

“Know em both. Two tough chicks,” he said. Both cops stopped talking as they watched a stranger walk into the bar.

Crazy Al didn’t need bullshit about who was or was not tough. He spent ten years in the Army, two of those years in the Korean War. He had killed a shitload of Chi-Coms in Korea, but these two hot dogs and all of the other tough guy cops that hung out at the Tick Tock didn’t know that. They just knew not to fuck with the big guy with the gray crew cut that always wore the red baseball cap with the mean looking woodpecker smoking a cigar on the front of it.

Crazy Al didn’t miss anything and his eyes turned towards the door as the little man walked into the bar.

“Fucking Victor Charlie” the Rampart cop with the bomber jacket said to his drinking buddy as the little man walked towards the restroom.

“You better plan on having a drink,” Crazy Al mumbled to himself as he watched the man in the baggy street clothes walk into the restroom. The sign on the restroom door said ‘Customers Only’. There was another sign above that one that said, ‘Use a gun, Go to jail’.

All of the Rampart cops and the highway patrol officers—or triple A with guns as the Rampart boys called the C.H.P.—thought the sign was a waste of time. The new Police Chief designed the sign. It was the mid 1970’s and the city had gone to shit. Street gangs were running wild in the Rampart Division, but they were Hispanic gangs. This little dude that was in the restroom was Asian.

The off duty cops knew that something was going down, they just didn’t know what. The cop wearing the bomber jacket unzipped the little pocket on his left shoulder and pulled a .25 auto out of the pocket and held it under the open front of his jacket, while he placed his left hand on his beer bottle.

The other hot dog pulled a revolver with a three-inch barrel out of a holster behind his right hip and placed the revolver under his right leg.

Crazy Al looked at his wristwatch. The little gang banger had been in the shitter for almost five minutes now. He would give him two more minutes and then go in there and see if this asshole was shooting up smack or sniffing glue.

Yump Nyugen was very nervous as he washed his face, trying to calm down. He had been a petty criminal since he was thirteen years old, but he was mostly a shoplifter and purse snatcher. He didn’t know this area at all and was thinking that he should have asked a few questions before deciding to caper in L.A. He lived in Orange County and was planning on catching a bus back to Santa Ana, after he pulled this job.

If there was one thing that Crazy Al did well, besides killing North Koreans, it would be his ability to read people. Crazy Al should have been a cop, but he had enough regimentation in the Army and six months of that time was spent in the stockade. Besides, he liked working in the dive bar two miles from where he had grown up.

Yump Nyugen looked into the mirror as he pulled the replica .45 auto out of the back of his baggy pants. He looked at the replica gun and convinced himself that it looked real. One of his homies had told him that you couldn’t go down for armed robbery if you used a fake gun.

Yump took his oversized shirt off and covered the gun that he held in his right hand as he walked out of the restroom.

Crazy Al stopped wiping the shot glasses and pulled his two-inch Bull Dog .44 Special out from under the bar and placed it on the ledge of the bar in front of him covering it with a towel, just before Yump Nyugen walked out of the bathroom.

Two hookers came in for a drink and sat down at the end of the bar as Yump walked past them.

Crazy Al said, “I’ll be right with you,” to the women, never taking his eyes off Yump Nyugen’s arm.

The hooker with the spaghetti strap top was surprised that Crazy Al had not taken the time to notice that she was not wearing a bra, while her girlfriend put bright pink lipstick on.
Crazy Al had seen her ample knockers, but had more serious things on his mind.

The off duty cops saw Yump’s arm with the shirt thrown over it and the cop in the jacket placed his hand on his buddie’s arm and whispered, “Hold on.”

Yump approached Crazy Al and raised the arm with the shirt covering it and said, “This is–”

Crazy Al made the Bull Dog bark from under the towel, firing three shots before the bandit finished his sentence.

The hookers looked at the dead body lying on the floor and the hot dog in the t-shirt said, “Double tap to the chest and one to the forehead,” to his buddy, while they both admired Crazy Al’s shooting style.

The next day, a highway patrolman changed the sign on the restroom door. It now read “Use a fake gun, Go to the morgue.”

Crazy Al was telling the dark haired cop groupie, “Can you believe that asshole tried to rip me off with a toy gun hidden under his shirt”, while he poured a shot of peppermint schnapps for her and she made goo-goo eyes at her new hero.

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Leroy B. Vaughn
Leroy B. Vaughn’s short stories, both true and fiction have been published in eight print magazines, eight e-zines, one newspaper, four pod-casts an anthology and another writers book. He is a retired law enforcement officer living in Arizona. He will make one of his short books on free to readers of The Flash Fiction Press. Use coupon # ZU62P for The Free Lancers.

6 thoughts on “Use a Gun, Go to Jail

  1. Good atmosphere but could you give the reader some doubt about how the story will end?

  2. Thanks for the comments Guys.
    A.G., good suggestion. That would have probably worked better.
    Peter, I don’t think it could have ended any other way at the Tick Tock.

    1. Thanks Susan,
      You look too classy to be hanging out at the Tick Tock, unless you’re doing some plain clothes detective work.

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