adapted from the story "l'eternite" by joris-karl huysmans
originally appeared in the march-april 1951 issue of gut-slamming tales
illustrated by konrad kraus
i opened the door and walked into the room.
audrette was standing at the window, looking out at the rain.
she turned to face me. she had a .357 magnum in her perfect pink fist.
"this is how you do it," she said.
she put three slugs in my chest.
i never had a chance to say a word.
a shadow fell across my face.
audrette looked past me.
"dave," she said.
it was my partner, dave flaherty.
i knew i was in good hands. dave would avenge me, and take care of this two-timing frail.
he would either blow her away right here if she made a false move.
or take her down to the station - first stop on the way to the chair, where they would fry her pretty little carcass up like a piece of bacon on the grill at mom's diner at four in the morning with the fog coming in off the docks…
"you did good, baby," dave said. "real good."
audrette shrugged. "it wasn't that tough."
dave laughed. "here, let me have that."
she handed him the .357. he put it in the pocket of his trench coat and they fell into each other's arms.
they embraced for what seemed an eternity. there wasn't much i could do about it.
and i might as well get used to eternity.
finally they broke apart.
"plenty of time later, baby, " said dave.
"all the time in the world," audrette murmured.
"right now we got things to do."
"do i have to go down to the station?"
"nah. i'll go over to the bowery or the docks and find some poor slob to pin this on. some ham-and-egger just off the boat from palermo or vladivostok. "
"all right." audrette looked down at me. "just think, we'll never have to listen to his pathetic typhoons of hot air again."
dave chuckled. "you mean how he won the war and all?"
"the war? i thought he won all the wars."
dave laughed again. "i got to get going." he kissed her again, pulled his hat down straight on his head, and left.
audrette moved away from my body, back into the shadows.