A Shot in the Dark - Part I
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"So… do you want to tell me what was that?" Even keeping the calm in his voice, Roberto did not stop shaking his right leg, a sign of immense nervousness.

"Well. We were there. In peace, taking care of everything. Until, suddenly, some…" Pedro tried to explain himself, until he was interrupted by his superior.

"Okay. Let's skip the story. How did you manage to let not one, not three, but five of them into my fucking shed?"

"Look. We did everything right. We checked the area, the security guards were at the door, only those who had their nome on the list came in. Boss, everything was perfect. I don't know how they got in, I'm telling you."

"Look…" Roberto said slowly, trying to stay calm. "This is at least the third time you've managed to fuck something simple. First it was the delivery. Then it was Rogério."

"Oh… True, there's Rogério…"

"And now you come up with this? Three of us, not dead, but taken by the fucking Superintendence? You've gotta be kidding me. If one of them says a thing, I swear I'll kill you myself. It's amazing how you manage to cause more problems than…"

A pothole in the road caused the two men to sway sideways. Roberto took a deep breath, looking out the window at the immense amount of green mountains and beige plains that spread across the landscape. The man ran a hand through the belt of his pants until he found his cold revolver.

"Alright, Pedro, let's do it like this: this was your last chance. I dont know why the hell Carlos likes you, but you're not going to get away with this so easy. If I don't skin you until we get back, I'll make sure he does. Do you understand me?"

"Yes, boss… Got it…" Pedro responded, tightening his hands on the vehicle's steering wheel.

"Get out of there already." Said Roberto, opening the truck door.

Moving to the rear of the vehicle, Roberto unlocked the lock on the door and opened it, revealing two wooden boxes of different sizes. Within a few seconds, Pedro had reached his superior's side to help remove the load.

"Come on. Let's get the biggest one first." Said Roberto, getting into the vehicle.

As he lowered the last box beside the warehouse door, Roberto felt a drop hit his forehead. He looked up at the sky, seeing almost black clouds approaching the compound where he was standing. "It's gonna rain." He told Pedro as he pulled the door key out of his pocket. "Let's get this over with."

The warehouse looked bigger on the inside than on the outside, even having a suspended platform on which were some shelves and a lever. The men carried the boxes to the back of the first floor, having bumped into each other a few times, given the darkness of the place.

"Pedro. Get up there and turn that light on, I have to see the shipment report here."

"Okay, wait a minute."

When Pedro turned his back to Roberto, Roberto took his revolver out of his pants, waiting for Pedro to start climbing the ladder. When the man placed his hand on the ladder, Roberto slowly began to pull the revolver's hammer, until he cocked the gun. "He didn't hear it…" Thought Roberto, as he pointed the gun in the direction of his employee.

For a split second, the entire place was illuminated by the flash of the shot. Pedro held on for a few seconds on the stairs, in silence, until he finally fell back on the floor. Roberto approached Pedro to make sure the man was dead. "Fuck it." Thought Roberto, shooting a few more shots to the body's head.

Roberto soon turned on the light, checked the documents, left the warehouse, locked the door and returned to the truck. Before starting the vehicle, he dropped his head on the steering wheel, wondering what his superiors would say about the situation. Looking down at his feet, Robert could see a small bloodstain on his shoe.

"Fuck. It sprinkled on me. Not even dead you collaborate."

Roberto approached the immense SERPRO building, already thinking about his speech. The man stopped the vehicle in the underground parking lot, got out of the truck, locked the door and headed for the elevator. As he waited, Roberto noticed that he was sweating cold, even though he wasn't nervous. "Motherfuckers." He thought. "One thing I ask, just one, and he couldn't even do that. Who's going to be fucked now? Me. It's always me."

The doors opened, Roberto pressed the button for the sixth floor and leaned agaisnt the wall. "Well, boss." He said to himself. "I had everything organized, the buyers were all there, the products were already on stage and everything was going exactly the way I had planned. Only, all of a sudden, the Praça bastar…" The doors opened again without warning, which made Roberto take a slight fright.

The man left the elevator and went to the secretary's desk.

"Good afternoon." Said Roberto. "I'm here to see Carlos."

"And you are?" Questioned the secretary.

"Roberto. Roberto Gusmão. I came here last week. And the week before. I come here often, how can you not remember my face?" Said Roberto, starting to raise his voice.

"Just a moment, I'll let Mr. Dierick know. You can have a seat over there." She said, pointing to the bench with one hand picking up the phone with the other.

Roberto sighed and sat down on the bench, thinking again about what he was going to say. "Bastards. Those pieces of shit in uniform. They came all of a sudden, boss, breaking everything willy-nilly. But look on the bright side, we just lost…"

"He is ready to receive you, Mr. Gusmão." Said the secretary, interrupting the man's thoughts.

"Thank you very much." Said Roberto, in a sarcastic tone, walking quickly towards the room.

He walked into the office and closed the door behind him, seeing his boss standing in the corner of the room, looking out the window at the landscape outside. Hearing the door close, Carlos turned slowly.

"Roberto! Oh my friend, I hope you have some great news for me, because I've heard some not so good stuff out there."

"Well, boss. You know that, as usual, I went there, organized everything, left Pedro in charge, as you asked me to, and went back to House Two, as usual. But then…"

"Roberto." Carlos said, interrupting his employee. "You know I don't like to hear 'but', so I'll just ask the questions, alright?"

"Yes, boss."

"Excellent." Carlos went to his desk and took a glass and a bottle from one of the drawers. "Let's firstly go to the thing that caught my attention." He said as he filled his glass. "Where's Pedro?"

Robert swallowed hard.

"Well… He kind of… He…"

"It's okay, Roberto." Carlos said, before taking a sip from his glass. "You killed one of my employees, again."

"I mean, boss, it is not…"

"Look." Carlos said, interrupting Roberto again. "This must be the fourth time you've done this. And honestly, I don't care. I liked Pedro, yes, he had a brain like the one of a fish, you ordered it and he did it. But that's not the most important thing, it was just a note I wanted to make on your file, of all the shit you've done. But now comes the most important question, Roberto. How many?"

"How many?"

"How many boxes have you lost?"

"Boss, I…"

"Answer my fucking question!" Carlos said in a yell, slamming his glass down on the table.


"And how many were sold?"


"And the rest, where is it, Roberto?"

"It's in Warehouse Eight."

"So you're telling me that out of about nine hundred million cruzeiros in merchandise, I made…"


"And at the auction, how many became history?" Asked Carlos.

"Theirs three, ours four."

"What do you mean? So how come there's only you here?"

"Well, the other three of us, apart from Pedro, were kind of taken by the…"

"You've got to be kidding me."

"No, boss, they managed to take three."

"Let me see if I understood." Carlos said, as he loosened his tie and took another sip from his glass. "Not only did you make me lose over six hundred million cruzeiros, you also let five of my men die and the Superintendence took three of them? Is that right?"

"Yes, boss."

"And there are two boxes left in the Warehouse?"

"Yes, boss."

"So what the fuck are you doing in front of me yet?" Carlos asked, again yelling. "If the others who carried the boxes went to hell and you're the only one who has the fucking key? While the military has our guys on a leash?"

"So you want me to…"

"Of course you idiot! For today!"

"But who will…"

"I don't fucking know." Said Carlos, putting his hand to his forehead, trying to calm down. "Arthur is downstairs, call him."

"Boss, I just want to say that…"

"Just get out of my fucking office, Roberto, we'll see it later."

"Yes, boss." Roberto said at last.

Roberto stopped the truck at the center of the compound, followed by Arthur on a black Charger. Roberto got out of the vehicle looking at the sky, seeing that the rain was starting to get heavier.

"Come on, I don't want to be here too long." Roberto said, taking his revolver out of his pants as Arthur carried a 1911. "And watch out, they might be in the warehouse."

The men ran through the rain until they reached the warehouse, where Roberto saw that the front door was still locked. "Maybe we did it." He thought as he quickly pulled the key out of his pocket, hurriedly opening the door.

"Shit" Exclaimed Roberto, walking around the first floor and seeing the back door of the place completely open. "Motherfuckers!"

"Hey, what's that?" Arthur asked, pointing to Pedro's pale body being devoured by flies.

"Doesn't matter anymore." Roberto said coldly. "Come on, maybe we can still catch them."

Roberto closed the retractable back door and locked the main warehouse door, running with Arthur back to the vehicles.

"Let's go to the car." Roberto said.

"What about the truck?" Arthur asked.

"Fuck the truck, we can only find them in time this way. Let's go, get a rifle from the trunk and get in right now." Finished Roberto, putting his revolver in his pants and taking the wheel of the vehicle.

About an hour had passed, the car's headlights illuminated the dark road as Arthur tried to dry his rifle with his shirt.

"Finally." Roberto said, seeing the dim light of the olive green truck just ahead. He accelerated the car until he was within three meters of the soldiers, then maintained his speed and distance.

"What now?" Arthur asked.

"We wait. At some point they're going to make a mistake, and their barracks is far away. I can't lose these boxes."

Approximately half an hour passed, until the truck honked.

"Hey! Go ahead!" The soldier driving the vehicle shouted.

"Get ready, Arthur." Roberto said, placing his revolver in his left hand, already aiming for the truck.

"Hey! Can you hear me? I said…" The soldier was interrupted by Roberto's shot, which hit the truck's rearview mirror.

"Shit." Said Roberto. "Fuck this, start shooting. I will try to get to their side."

Arriving on the outskirts of the municipality of Senador Canedo, to Roberto's surprise, the truck did not enter the city, taking a street that led to the industrial area of the region. The two men in the car knew very well what was in that location, and they knew very well that getting close to the area would be suicide.

"Fire with all you've got, Arthur!" Exclaimed Roberto, who was firing his revolver without even aiming at any specific point on the truck.

The streetlamps were beginning to light up the street when one of the soldiers managed to shoot a bullet into the car's windshield.

"Son of a bitch!" Shouted Roberto, dropping his revolver on the floor and covering his right ear with his hand. Realizing that it would no longer be possible to continue the confrontation, he slowed the vehicle and turned onto a random road to enter the residential area of the city. The car continued down the street, until it stopped at the edge of the sidewalk.

Arthur sighed in relief, gripping his rifle tightly as Roberto squeezed what was left of his ear, his blood staining all over his shirt and the car seat. Orange streetlamps illuminated the empty street, while the only sound that could be heard was the barking of dogs around the city.

Roberto reached for his revolver, pulled the hammer again, and slowly pointed the gun at Arthur.

"Why? Why didn't you hit them?"

Arthur was silent, observing the man's deplorable state.

"Answer me, fucker!" Yelled Roberto, putting the barrel of the revolver to Arthur's forehead.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you."

"Give me a reason not to do it. It was just to hit them. You've got a fucking rifle in your hand, all you had to do was hit them."

"Carlos sent me with you for a reason."

Roberto's eyes widened, realizing the mistake he had made as he slowly lowered his weapon, his hands trembling.

"Look, don't worry, we can end this right here. But yeah, it was your last chance, and you failed." Said Arthur coldly. "Carlos was already aware of the auction issue long before you went there to talk to him."

"But I… I didn't…"

"Look, Roberto, you know the options as well as I do. Since you really helped a lot, I'm giving you the chance to end this here and now, in a second. I know you, and I think you deserve a decent exit, or would you rather go back and hear what Carlos has to say?"

Roberto stood for a few minutes, saying nothing, until he dropped his revolver and opened the car door, heading for the sidewalk. He sat on the ground, leaning agaisnt the side of the vehicle, as blood dripping from his ear stained the concrete. Arthur got out shortly afterwards, rifle in hand.

"Yeah, I'm sorry and all. Mind getting into the trunk? Kind of saves me some work."

Roberto got up, opened the compartment and curled up inside that tight space, without saying a word.

Arthur was approaching the huge SERPRO building, already planning his speech. The man stopped the vehicle in the vacant lot behind the place, got out of the car, locked the door, and headed for the building. As he waited for the elevator, Arthur began to think about what he was going to say. "Well, boss, unfortunately we weren't able to get the boxes in time, but we know where they are. Roberto was killed during the confrontation with the soldiers, so we don't even have to worry about the whole process of 'firing' him. Anyway, if you let me make a suggestion, I think it would be wise to act as soon as possible to…"

The doors opened, and Carlos stepped out of the elevator, a large black briefcase in his right hand.

"Oh, Arthur. Come with me."

The two men left the building, and headed to the vacant lot, to get into the car Arthur had used to get there. Carlos sat in the passenger seat, leaving his briefcase on the floor of the vehicle as he removed his tie.

"Let's go to House Two. Now tell me, Arthur, where's our friend? I mean, I really doubt you ended him on your own, even more so when I asked you to bring him back. I really wanted to formally say goodbye."

"Well, boss, he ended up with a hole in his forehead because of the confrontation with the soldiers. I'm sorry."

"And can I have any guarantee of that?"

"Oh yes, it's in the trunk."



"Great, but put it in the bathtub at the house later, I don't want the smell of dead bodies around."

"Okay, boss."

"Anyway, from what I'm seeing they still have the boxes, right?"

"Yes, boss."

"Fucking shit. It's the third or fourth time this month alone."

"Well, boss, about that, I have a suggestion."


"I think if we gather everyone soon enough, we can go to the factory in one go, and we can just take the boxes and get out fast enough so we don't have any major problems."

"Perhaps. But I have to think. On one hand the military has given us a lot of work, and we need that merchandise, but on the other hand we might only piss them off more, which would give us even more work in the future. I don't know, Arthur, when we get to the house I'll ask the others."

"As a side note, boss, I'd like to ask…"

"You can stop right there, Arthur. Show me the body first and we'll talk later."

"Yes, boss."

The small apartment in the three-story building appeared to be able to house a maximum of two people, but still, six men lived there. There was a small living room with a table in the middle, a sofa and a small television. The living room extended onto a balcony and a stove in what should have been a kitchen, while a small hallway led to a bedroom and a bathroom. The place was poorly lit and the musty smell could be felt in every room. Carlos was just ordering four green plastic chairs from the Tula Móveis store, while Arthur was just getting rid of the body he had brought to the place.

"So?" Asked Carlos, as he hooked up the phone and tucked away the documents he had taken from his briefcase.

"It is already there, boss, all set." Responded Arthur, wiping the blood off his hands with a cloth.

"Great. Everyone, come here." Carlos waited a few seconds, until all six men were positioned around the table. "As you know, we've been having a lot of trouble with our friends in uniform lately. We're losing people every day, and the merchandise issue fucks up even more the whole thing. Anyway, the people above me want me to do something, and that's what I will do. In a few days you're going to break into the factory, grab everything you can and get the hell out of there. That's all."

"What do you means "that's all'?" One of the men asked. "Do you want us to show up in a factory with at least thirty soldiers in it? I mean, with all due respect, boss, this seems impossible to me."

"Don't worry, I would never send you empty handed to die. The point is, we can't just blow up the place or kill them all, that would be suicide, we'll just have to try and steal the stuff without them realizing it. That simple."

"How are they not going to notice, boss?" Arthur asked.

"Of course they will notice the theft, they just don't need to realize it was us."

"And how will that work?" Arthur asked again.

"I'll give you the details later. For now you just need to prepare. That's it. Arthur, come with me. And get the car fixed soon, I'll be back here in two days." Carlos said at last as he walked down the stairs to reach the sidewalk.

"Where do we go now, boss?" Arthur asked as he closed the main door of the small building.

"Talk to some of our acquaintances. They will make this operation much easier, but the price will be high." Carlos replied, while waiting for a taxi to appear in the street. "That's why we need to get as much out of the factory as possible, to cover all our debts."

"And who's going to help us with that?" Arthur questioned, seeing a taxi approaching where the two men were.

"Nothing but a beautiful pair of eyes." Finished Carlos, opening the vehicle's door.

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