Homicide sent out Harper and McCoy, both old-timers.

“Shots fired, Kamanski’s Pawn,” the radio crackled. “Unit twenty-seven, can you handle, code two?”

Harper, driving, looked over at McCoy. “More damned fools committin’ suicide.” He rolled his unlit cigar stub. “Think they’d learn.”

McCoy picked up the microphone. “Homicide twenty-seven, responding code two.”

Photos of thirteen fools who’d tried to rob Kamanski’s Pawn, alone or in pairs, decorated the front window, all dead on the floor or strung from the doorway to the curb outside. Every thug in Dallas knew the place was forbidden territory – or should have. Solomon Kamanski had survived Auschwitz and at 84, retained a certain resolve not found in every citizen.

Number fourteen’s body was sprawled just inside the threshold, pistol beside his hand. Several feet further, yellow tape circled unlucky number fifteen on the sidewalk, his pistol on the cement halfway back to the door.

Kamanski leaned on a glass counter. “Tol’ them suckers they was makin’ a mistake.” Ancient, with a permanent forward stoop, Kamanski spoke in a tired old man’s voice, a faint trace of middle European still attached. “Tried to tell ‘um, they was doin’ it all wrong. They didn’t listen and I hadda give ‘um one barrel each.” Camera on a strap around his neck, he followed Harper outside.

The detective knelt over the dead man who was face up, eyes studying eternity somewhere above.

“Bad news, Sol.” Harper looked up, chewing his cigar stub. “This mope ain’t shot. Heart attack, I think. You missed. Musta scared him to death.”

“Harper,” the old man said. “Old age is hell. Gonna hafta get a shotgun that’ll hold more shells.” He touched a match to his pipe. “This mean I can’t put this sucker’s picture in the window?”

2 thoughts on “DEAD CERTAIN

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