ONE I turned the Chrysler onto the Florida Turnpike with Rollo Kramer's headless body in the trunk, and all the time I'm thinking I should've put some plastic down. I knew the heap was a rental, but I didn't like leaving anything behind for the inevitable forensics safari. That meant I'd have to strip all the carpeting in the trunk, douche out the blood with Clorox, and hope Avis took a long time to notice. I should've just taken a second and put some plastic down. Shit. "Slow down, Charlie. You'll flag us." Blade Sanchez popped a Winston into his mouth, crumpled the pack, and tossed it into the backseat. I grabbed the cigarette out of his mouth and jammed it into the ashtray. "You light another one of them fucking things, and you're in the trunk with Rollo." "Christalmighty, that's my last one. Jesus, Charlie. What the fuck?" He pawed at the cigarette, but I'd smashed it up good. "I just said slow down is all. You want the state police should pull us over and find Rollo?" It's your fault he's back there, I thought. But I slowed down. He was right, and that made me like him even less. "You botched this good." "So you keep telling me," said Blade. Me and some of the other boys had been riding Blade Sanchez hard about his lack of originality. We called him "Blade" because he always whacked his marks the same way: a quick flick of his stiletto, an ear-to-ear smile. That's a sure way to tip your hand, doing it the same way every time. Not quite as bad as leaving a thumbprint, but it sure helps the profilers put together an M.O. when you fall into a pattern. Everyone knows what everyone's up to. It's just the difficulty proving it that keeps guys like Blade out of stir. Now me, I'd never, ever developed bad habits or fallen into a routine, and as a result my name wasn't on a single piece of paper in a single precinct in any state in the union or the District of Columbia. Anyway, we were riding Blade pretty good about his knife at O'Malley's over beers. And mostly we were kidding, but he was getting pretty sore, because he knew it was true. That's when guys get the most sore, when they know something's true. It was the night before we got this Rollo job, and Blade pulled me aside and practically begged me to let him be trigger man. He already knew I didn't want to work with him, and now everyone was on his case about his knife, so he was all eager to show he could bump this Rollo guy in some new and improved way. As if me and the rest of the boys still wouldn't think Blade was a moron. So I had a couple of drinks, and he wore me down. And before I knew what I was saying, I told him he could do Rollo, only don't screw it up or he'd have all of our balls in a vise. Of course, it all went to shit. I should have known better. When I picked up Blade the morning we were supposed to whack Rollo, gray clouds hung heavy in the winter sky but didn't quite threaten rain. All January the temperature hadn't dipped below fifty. Got to love the Sunshine State. Blade had a fresh box of doughnuts all tied up in a yellow ribbon. I though maybe they were for us. "Hands off," said Blade. "They're for Rollo." "Last meal?" Blade tapped a finger against his temple. "Research, compadre, research. Old Rollo's a doughnut junkie." Rollo's neighborhood looked like something God had scraped off His shoe. Dull brick buildings hunched along the wide street. Every third car was stripped and up on cinder blocks. The front lawns were yellowing postage stamps of dying grass. I pulled the Chrysler into an empty spot across from Rollo's rented house. Blade looked up and down the street shaking his head. "Whoever said crime don't pay must've been thinking of Rollo." I didn't answer him, but I understood. It was like any oGischler, Victor is the author of 'Gun Monkeys' with ISBN 9780440241287 and ISBN 0440241286.