You one shifty motherfucker you know that.

He smiled. So did the crippled nigger on the porch; you could barely see him in the dusk. But you saw the gleam of his teeth by a light burning inside the shack.

I believe you done went and got the clean drop on me in this here pitiful scenario.

Oh yes.

You a hardcase? One a those?

Yes yes he thought. A hard case. One a those. He kept his hand relaxed and the short oiled bluemetal barrel pointed at the nigger's chest. Nigger smiling still. Holding the wheelchair wheels lightly with those fast big boxer's hands. A sawn off double-bore shotgun propped in easy reach and the nigger's unearthly calm suddenly seeming as wired and duplicitous as a cobra's.

Know what to do next? the nigger said.

Don't blink, he thought. Don't blink at the sweat. Let it sting a little. You can still see through it.

Shoot you.

Thes right. If you got the man in those raggedy assed pants of yours. Then go on in and clean up those others, bang bang bang, if you can get to it fast and if they drunk or asleep. Then take that money and dash outa here like a devil's on your tail. Think you got the man in you?

He felt a shiver start and he squelched it down.

Don't blink, he thought.

His sweat oiling the .38's waffled plastic grip, but the barrel still not wavering with his nervous belly-surge; nigger watching him, eyes steady, holding the rubber treaded wheels softly in those big fast hands.

Ready any second to fly at him like Lucifer.

Then saying again in a clear, not unkind voice:

No choice in it, son. If you got the man in you, shoot. Shoot me dead.

Louisiana, Goddamn.