All Shot Up

All Shot Up by Chester Himes Read Free Book Online

Book: All Shot Up by Chester Himes Read Free Book Online
Authors: Chester Himes
Tags: Mystery
opened up; or they might have even opened up before he finished shooting. Anyway, the man on the ground never had a chance.”
    “And you were standing there watching all the time?” Grave Digger asked.
    “Yes, sir, like a fool. I saw when Snake Hips was hit. At least I knew he was hit because he went straight down. He didn’t fall like they do in the motion pictures; he just collapsed. I don’t know who shot him, of course; but it was one of them up there beside Mr. Holmes, because the man in the car had quit shooting by then. I figure it was the white man who shot him, because he was the one who was holding his pistol so high.”
    “Don’t you believe it,” Coffin Ed said. “That son wasn’t throwing bullets that wide apart.”
    “His number came up, and that’s that,” Grave Digger said. “And you didn’t see the man on the ground catch his.”
    “Next time I noticed him he was just lying there like he had gone to sleep on his stomach, but to tell you the truth, sir, I wasn’t paying him no attention especially. I was waiting for the three cops—heistmen I mean—to leave so I could go out and get Snake Hips. Then when they did leave I thought what was the use—he was dead; I knew he was dead when he went down; then I remembered I wasn’t supposed to move a dead body. So I just stood there.”
    “And even then you didn’t call the police,” Coffin Ed accused.
    “No, sir.”
    “What in the hell were you doing then? Hiding when it was all over?”
    The bartender lowered his eyes. When his voice came it was so low they had to lean forward to hear it. “I was crying,” he confessed.
    For a moment neither Grave Digger nor Coffin Ed had anywhere to look.
    Then Grave Digger asked, in a voice unnecessarily harsh, “Did you see the license of the Buick, by any chance?”
    The bartender got himself under control. “I didn’t exactly look at it, I mean make a point of it—looking at it, I mean; then I couldn’t see it too well; but it clicked in the back of my mind that it was a Yonkers number.”
    “How did you notice that?”
    “I live in Yonkers, and I was thinking It was fate that the car carrying the murderers of Snake Hips came from the place where I live.”
    “Goddammit, let’s bury Snake Hips,” Coffin Ed said roughly. “Give us a description of the two men who got out of the car.”
    “You’re asking me more than I can do, sir. I really didn’t look at their faces. Then the orange neon light from the bar sign was shining on them, and that makes faces look different from what they actually are; so I hardly ever look at faces outside. All I know is one man was black—”
    “Not half black?”
    “No sir, all black. And the other one was white.”
    “Foreign.”
    “It didn’t strike me that way. I’d say Southern. Something about him reminded me of one of those Southern deputy sheriffs—sort of slouching when he moved, but moving faster than what it looked, and strong. Something sort of mean-looking about him, sadistic, I’d say. The kind of man who thinks just being white is everything.”
    “Not the kind who’d be welcome in here,” Grave Digger said.
    “No, sir. The fellows would be scared of him.”
    “But not whores?”
    “Whores, too. But they’d take his money just the same. And he might be the kind who’d spend it on cheap whores.”
    “All right, describe the car.”
    “It was just a plain black Buick. About three years old, I’d say offhand. Plain black tires. Just the ordinary lights, as far as I saw. I wouldn’t have noticed it if it hadn’t been for them.”
    “And they drove off toward Eighth Avenue?”
    “Yes, sir. Then people came from everywhere. A man came in here from Blumstein’s and telephoned the police. And that’s all I know.”
    “It’s been like pulling teeth,” Grave Digger said.
    “All right, get on your coat and hat—you’re going to the station,” Coffin Ed said.
    The bartender looked shocked. “But I thought—”
    “And

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