Short Story
                                            Lloyd Kills A Pizza
                                                                    By William Quincy Belle


    Wally finished cleaning the slushy machine. When there wasn’t anything interesting on the little portable
TV kept by the cash register, he occupied himself by doing various odd jobs around the store. Things got
boring after ten o’clock on a weeknight. By now his high-school buddies were home, and anybody coming
in was on shift-work.

    He looked at the clock. It was a few minutes after eleven. Should he dump the pot of coffee? Wally
could never tell if a late-night trucker might pass through on his way to who knows where, needing caffeine
to go along with a sugar fix, the sure-fire nighttime recipe for staying awake. Besides, his shift was over at
midnight, and Burt would want to make a fresh pot when he came in to take over. Leave it up to him, then.

    A ping sounded. Wally gripped his cell phone and thumbed at the display. He smiled at the text
message from Marcie — “What are you doing?” — then touched Favorites and held the device to his ear.

    “Hello?”

    “Hi, Marcie.” Wally leaned against the counter.

    “Hi, Wally.”

    “What are you doing?”

    “I’m having a snack before bed.”

    “Already?”

    “Not all of us work till midnight. Some of us get to bed at a decent hour.”

    Wally chuckled. “I wish I didn’t, but university is next year, and I need as much money as I can get.
Tuition’s expensive.”

    “I suppose I need to do the same.” Marcie sighed. “I was hoping to avoid having to spend my evenings
and weekends working. School keeps me busy enough.”

    “It’s not that bad. Besides, you have another two years until university. You can afford to wait.”

    She sneezed.

    “Gesundheit.”

    “Sorry.” She sniffed. “So, are we on for Saturday night?”

    “Of course. I’m taking my sweetie out to dinner and a movie.”

    “Oh? Am I your sweetie?”

    “Well... yes... I...”

    “I’m teasing you, Wally.”

    “Marcie, you know I like you.”

    “Yes, I do.”

    “That’s why I asked you out in the first place.”

    “Yes, I know.”

    “And you accepted.”

    “Yes, I did.”

    “That means we’re dating.”

    “Yes, it does.”

    Wally pursed his lips. “I feel exposed here, vulnerable. You’re not going to say anything else, are you?”

    Marcie laughed. “You know I adore you, Wally.”

    “I like to hear it.”

    “I’ll say it more often.” She paused. “My mom and dad are going away for the weekend.”

    “They are?”

    “Yes. They’re going out of town to visit friends Saturday and Sunday. They have a reservation at a bed-
and-breakfast.”

    Wally stared off into space, rubbing his chin.

    “I thought...” Marcie’s voice became a murmur. “I thought you could sleep over Saturday night.”

    “You mean...” Wally’s voice cracked.

    “Yeah. The guest bedroom is free, so you can have a room all to yourself.”

    “What?” He held the phone away from his ear and looked at it in disbelief. Marcie’s laugh rang out from
the speaker.

    “You big silly. You’ll sleep with me. We’ll sleep together. In the same bed.”

    “Oh.”

    She giggled. “Maybe we won’t sleep at all.”

    Wally’s eyes widened. “Oh!”

    “I’ve got to go. Don’t work too hard and don’t stay up too late.” Marcie made a smacking noise into the
phone. “Good night.”

    Wally set the phone down on the counter. He paused to think about the weekend and shivered. “Whew.”

    He looked over at his schoolbooks. Algebra didn’t seem appealing, so he walked over to the magazine
rack and looked over the selection. National Enquirer? Too dumb. Time? Heavy for this late at night.
People? That seemed mindless enough. He fished out a copy, went back to the counter, and thumbed
through the pages.

                                                                                    ***

    “Listen, fucker; it’s cash or no deal.” Lloyd, twentysomething felon, ne’er-do-well, and drug dealer
extraordinaire, placed the joint to his lips and inhaled. This was good shit. He lounged back in the
armchair of his sixty-dollar-a-night motel room, touched the speaker button on his phone, and set it on the
table.

    “Hank, you tell your friend I don’t do business on credit. I’m not a friggin’ bank. If he wants drugs, he has
to have dollars.” He took another toke. “You guys are the well-off, soon-to-be high-school graduates. I’m
the poor dropout.”

    “Okay.” An exasperated sigh came from the phone. “You’re the boss.”

    Lloyd took a long puff and held it. “It’s just business.” His voice squeaked.

    “Can we drop around and see you later?”

    “When?”

    “Let’s say close to midnight.”

    “Fine.” Lloyd coughed. “Just you and your friend. Nobody else.”

    “Okay.”

    “See you at midnight, Hank.” He ended the call as he pinched the end of the joint and sucked in the last
puffs of weed. He got up and flushed the roach down the toilet.

    Lloyd walked to the middle of his room and stretched. “Damn, I’m hungry.” He fished out a five-dollar bill
from his pocket and grimaced. “I’m not going far on that.” He glanced at the clock radio. “What can I get for
five bucks to tide me over till the rich kids show up?”

    He put on his jacket, stuffed a baggie of pills into an inside pocket, and retrieved his gun from his duffel
bag. He didn’t always carry it, but considering he was carrying product, he thought he should have back
up. A few years ago, some yahoos had recognized him and stolen his stash after beating him up. He
decided that if he were going to continue in this line of work, he would be better off having overwhelming
power. The piece cost him, but what’s the price of peace of mind?

    Lloyd walked across the motel parking lot and started down the main road. There must be a fast-food
place along here. A few cars drove past, and he looked away to avoid staring into the headlights. He
crossed in front of a pizza outlet and thought a medium with two toppings would be nice. Unfortunately, he
didn’t have enough money, so he’d have to be content with something less expensive. Damn, it’s always
the money. If he had enough of that, Lloyd’s other problems would fall into place. Isn’t that how things go?

    Down the road, he saw the word convenience emblazoned on a sign. How convenient is this? He
stepped up his pace now that his goal was in sight. A buzzer sounded as Lloyd stepped through the door
and sized the place up. The entire store was empty except for the high-school kid behind the counter
watching a small TV. This gave him an idea. It was getting toward the end of the evening and the end of
the shift.

                                                                                    ***

    Wally had glanced in Lloyd’s direction when he came in the door but turned back to his magazine,
engrossed in pictures of the new, up-coming starlets of Hollywood. He was so captivated he didn’t
understand at first what the stranger at the counter had said. Wally looked up from the hot babe and turned
toward his customer. “Sorry?”

    The man remained silent. It was a moment before Wally realized the man was holding out his hand. He
held a pistol, like on the cop shows. What the hell?

    “Give me the money,” Lloyd said.

    Wally stared at the gun.

    “Give me the money. Open the till, and hand it over.” Lloyd gestured with the gun toward the cash
register. “Come on, dipshit. I’ve got the gun. You do what I say, no questions asked.”

    Wally remained transfixed by the weapon. This was surreal. Don’t people only get held up in the movies
and on TV?

    At the end of the counter, Wally’s cell phone rang. Last week, he had experimented with various
ringtones and selected a space-age siren. It was bizarre and loud, but just the thing he needed when he
left his phone somewhere and couldn’t find it.

    Lloyd turned his head toward the noise. Wally grabbed the gun and yanked, but Lloyd’s grip was firm.
Wally twisted the weapon to the right, but Lloyd pulled back, dragging Wally forward, on top of the counter.
Lloyd wrenched the gun to the left, and there was a bang. The two of them froze.

    A red stain grew in the center of Wally’s chest. He let go and looked down at the blood. He stumbled
back, and with his back flush against a display cabinet, he slid down onto the floor.

    Lloyd came around the counter. He punched the keys of the till until the tray opened. He pocketed his
gun and used both hands to gather the bills and change. Wally stared ahead, glassy-eyed. Lloyd stepped
over Wally and said, “Stupid fuck,” and left.

    Wally sat on the floor for the next forty minutes. At the twenty-five-minute mark, a customer drove in and
filled up his tank. He paid by credit at the pump and never entered the store. He did note nobody was at
the counter at that moment, but what business was it of his? At fifteen minutes to midnight, Burt came in to
relieve Wally, finding him behind the counter in a pool of blood. He phoned 9-1-1, but Wally had already
been dead for ten minutes.

                                                                                    ***

    Lloyd stopped at the pizza parlor and bought his favorite: pepperoni and mushroom. It cost $12.95,
which left less than ninety dollars. He swore there should have been more money in the till, but he told
himself something was better than nothing.

    He was in his motel room watching a movie on TV and finishing the pizza when the police kicked in his
door. Lloyd froze with the last slice held up to his mouth with both hands, staring at three cops with
revolvers drawn. He didn’t resist.

    Two of them cuffed Lloyd and bundled him into a cruiser, while the third conducted a quick search of the
room, turning up the gun. Thanks to a witness across the street from the store, the police had zeroed in on
the motel. The two cops who had detained Lloyd stood outside the motel room door, looking at the
murderer sitting in the back of the police car.

    “A hundred bucks,” the first cop said. “That’s all he got.”

    “What a moron,” the second said. “Hell, if you’re going to shoot somebody, do it for a million bucks, not
a hundred. Christ, he’ll be lucky if he ever sees the light of day again.”

    
END
About William Quincy Belle

William Quincy Belle is just a guy. Nobody famous;
nobody rich; just some guy who likes to periodically
add his two cents worth with the hope, accounting for
inflation, that $0.02 is not over-evaluating his
contribution. He claims that at the heart of the writing
process is some sort of (psychotic) urge to put it down
on paper and likes to recite the following which so far
he hasn't been able to attribute to anyone: "A writer is
an egomaniac with low self-esteem." You will find Mr.
Belle's unbridled stream of consciousness here
(http://wqebelle.blogspot.ca) or @here
(https://twitter.com/wqbelle).
To read other short stories,
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