VINCENT VEGA'S DILEMMA

Starring: Vincent Vega, Rod Parker, Alice Preston, and Jules Winnfield

- - - - - - - - - -

Vincent Vega went careening down the cracked street through the slum of old Los Angeles in the dirty old fuel guzzling sorry-excuse-for-a-Chevy that he was borrowing. His face and hands were smeared in blood, as was his white shirt soaked. Despite all the chaos that had just erupted around him, he'd managed to keep his cell phone by his side. Quickly dialing the number, Vincent put the phone to his ear and waited for a response.

"Yeah?" answered a deep voice from the other end.

"It was an ambush!" Vincent yelled into the phone, "A fucking ambush, man! She knew exactly when we were gonna be there and she was fucking waiting for us!"

"Are you okay?"

"What!" Vincent screamed back, "Do I sound fucking okay to you!"

"No."

"Yeah, well that's cause I'm not! Rod's dead! Rod's dead… and I'm… I'm lucky to still be alive!"

"Where's Alice?"

"She's dead too. Her body's in my truck."

"Are you getting rid of it?"

"Don't worry, I'll take care of it! Are… are you even listening to me? Rod Parker is dead! But I'm telling you… she knew we were coming! She had a full arsenal and everything, waiting to blow Rod and I to Hell when we arrived. She… I finally managed to kill her, but it wasn't easy."

"Okay. Where's Rod?"

"Rod's still back at the apartment. You need… Jesus, man… you need to get rid of his body pronto."

"Why didn't you take his body with you?"

"His body is the least of our problems! First thing you might want to start worrying about is the apartment, which – at the current moment – is flooded with blood! It's everywhere, man! Across the fucking windows, the carpet, the wall, the ceiling… and the neighbors are bound to have heard the gunfire! I'm telling you, man… you better hurry!"

"Alright. I'll put someone on it."

"Thank you. What do you want me to do with Alice's body?"

"I dunno. Just get rid of it. And I never want it to come back to haunt me, so when I say get rid of it… I mean get rid of it."

"Alright. Don't worry."

Then he hung up. And that was that.

- - - - - - - - - -

Rod Parker was lying dead on the blood splattered living room rug, and the woman Vincent had come here for was now sitting on the couch next to him.

"It's a damn shame." Vincent told her, "He was a really good guy. I mean… I didn't know him that well. But what I did know of him, he… he was a good guy. Fuckin' shame."

Vincent pulled out a self-rolled cigarette (he always kept a couple of them in the inside pocket of his coat), clicked on his silver lighter, and lit his smokes.

"You want one?"

He held one out to the woman, who took it and stuck it in her mouth.

"Thanks." she told him, and Vincent leaned over and lit it. She took a puff, and he snapped the lighter shut again. The two sat back for a moment then, just thinking of everything that had just transpired.

"So I guess I better get out of L.A.?" she asked.

"Yeah." Vincent nodded, "Yeah… that would probably be a good idea."

"What about you, Vincent? Won't you get in trouble?"

"Not if they don't find you. For all they know, you're dead. Remember?"

"Yeah…" the woman swallowed, "Jesus – if they had sent anyone else, I might be dead right now."

"No. You would be dead right now."

"How… how did you know it was me, if you don't mind me asking?"

"It was the Barracuda. There was the… you know... the scratch on the side. Remember when that happened? Me trying to fit between those two cars?"

Vincent and the woman both chuckled.

"Jesus." continued Vincent, "That was a while ago."

"Peggy. Remember her?"

"Yeah." Vincent laughed, "I remember Peggy Sanders. 'Bout 5'3''? Short black hair? Reminded me of that Janet lady from Three's Company. Yeah – I remember her. What about her?"

"That whole thing she had about the scratch and how she refused to talk to you cause of her car?"

"Oh yeah… right."

They shared that moment of silence, and then Vincent took a drag of his cigarette and stood up.

"But we have this whole thing we have to take care of."

"Right. The room. What are we gonna do?"

"We need to make it look like you killed Rod Parker. So first thing… we need to make sure the bullet in his head isn't found."

"How are we gonna do that?"

"I'm gonna need an axe."

"A what?"

"An axe. A hatchet. Something big and sharp."

"Well I hate to break it to you, Vincent. But I'm not exactly accustomed to keeping big old axes in my two-roomed apartment."

"Well do you know where we can get one?"

"I dunno. There might be one out by the fire escape. Hold on, I'll go check."

"Kay."

The woman left the apartment for a moment. Vincent stood over Rod's dead body. One single shot to the head was all it had taken, and the guy had gone down immediately. Vincent then stood up, glanced around the apartment. The walls and ceiling, though crumbling they might have been, were white.

"Good." thought Vincent, "Good."

And he began inventing the story he was going to tell to Wallace: It was an ambush. She was waiting for us. She shot Rod. I managed to take the gun away, but she still had a hatchet nearby – which she used to hack at Rod, who wasn't entirely dead yet. She came at me, but I managed to take her down before she could do anything. He hadn't figured out the rest, but he was getting there.

The woman returned axe-less. She shook her head as she re-entered the apartment, and exhaled.

"The fire escape didn't have one."

"Well fuck." swore Vincent, "We need to do something. Make it look like you… whatdyacallit… ambushed us."

"Ambushed you?"

"Yeah."

"Two hit men come barging in here with .45 automatics to kill me, a little owner of a dry cleaner's shop… and I ambush you?"

"After we're done, I doubt they'll be any loose ends."

"Vincent. You'd have to be a complete dumb ass to believe a story like that. I'm sorry, but that's just not that convincing."

"I can make it sound convincing."

"Yeah, maybe at first. But when your boss really thinks about it, he's gonna see how ridiculous that story is and then he's gonna confront you about it. If you can't cover your ass-"

"I dunno. I've seen some pretty fucked up things in this job. I mean – I'd believe it if someone told me that-"

"Yeah, well - that's not saying a lot, Vincent."

"Well then you think of an idea! 'Cause that's only thing I can think of!"

The woman thought for a moment. And, although she still considered this to be one of the stupidest ideas she'd ever heard, she also realized that Vincent was, in fact, correct. There didn't seem to be any other option (at least one that sounded more credible than Vincent's).

"Alright." the woman said, "Fine. Here's what we'll do. You two entered, and I was still asleep-"

"At 9 A.M.?"

"Sometimes people like to sleep in."

Vincent cocked his eyebrow.

"So…" the woman continued, "You and Rod enter the apartment. I'm still asleep, okay? But it's nine in the morning, and I'm ready to wake up at the slightest sound. The door opening wakes me up, I remove a .45 from my bedside table-"

"That takes care of the gunshot."

"Yep. So I grab the gun. You two come in through my bedroom door. First – I shoot Rod in the stomach."

With that - Vincent whipped out his .45, and pointed it straight down at Rod's stomach. BLAM! A section of Rod's belly exploded, showering the nearby walls with blood. The woman jumped, and then glanced up at Vincent - who was already holstering his pistol.

"Okay." said Vincent, "What next?"

"Right…" the woman still seemed a little shocked, but managed to continue, "I shoot him in the stomach."

"We've clearly established that."

"Yeah… okay. So he staggers back, still alive. I shoot him again – this time in the head."

Vincent started to reach for his gun again, but stopped.

"Wait… he's already been shot there."

"Yeah. No need to do it again. He tumbles into the living room, falls on the floor. So we've got him where we want him to be. Now I'm about to come after you, but you get me first. A single shot to the head – please don't demonstrate – and I'm dead. You take me, put me in your trunk, dispose of my body, go home, have some breakfast, and you're set. Any questions?"

But Vincent seemed reluctant, and was shifting around uncomfortably from foot to foot.

"Vincent…?"

"Doesn't that seem… I mean it just seems kinda simple."

"That's a good thing."

"I know. But… but it just seems like there could be too many holes that we're not seeing."

"Like what?"

"Like… if you shot Rod in the belly when he was in your bedroom, than why is his intestines splattered across the living room wall?"

"Well we could have corrected that if your trigger-happy finger hadn't decided to blow a hole in his belly while he was lying on the living room rug."

"Uh, yeah… sorry about that. I'll get you a new rug if you want."

"That's not my point! My point is: it's your fault this little loop hole has been created, which means it's your job to fix it."

"Okay." said Vincent, "Here we go. Rod and I come in through the front door, but you're sitting in the living room watching the news. We're expecting you to be asleep, so the last thing we suspect is that you're going to be sitting there with your .45 automatic. You immediately shoot at us, Rod gets hit in the stomach, and-"

"That… that's retarded." interrupted the woman, "I don't sit and watch the morning news with a loaded gun on my lap."

"Alright, then I give up." Vincent exhaled, throwing his arms up, "Why don't we just have you wake up from all the commotion of us trying to break into your apartment, take the gun out of your drawer, and come into the living room at the precise moment that we come in. This prompts you to instinctively react by shooting Rod in the stomach, then again in the head. He falls, I draw, you die. I take you to my car, bada bing bada boom… and the rest is history."

The woman stood there for a moment in silence, reviewing Vincent's plan in her head. Finally, she smiled and nodded.

"That sounds good. Let's do it."

"Alright." said Vincent, "So we've got the body in the place. Now all we have to do is get out of here."

The woman nodded again. And at that moment, something passed between her and Vincent. But it was just for that moment. No longer.

"Thanks, Vincent." the woman said.

"You're welcome, Alice." Vincent replied.

Only moments later, Vincent and Alice went strolling out of the apartment into the complex parking lot.

"So where are you going now?" Vincent asked her.

"I dunno. Up north, maybe. Away from this place."

Alice's 1973 Plymouth Barracuda sat in one of the parking slots. It caught Vincent's eye as they approached it.

"That really is a beautiful car." said Vincent, "I'd give anything to drive it again."

"You can do it now if you want."

"Nah. I better not. Still got work to do."

"Right. Well I must say… I always thought that car would kill me. I never thought it would save my life."

Vincent then stopped at the edge of the sidewalk. Alice continued down to the driver's door, pulled it open, stepped into the Barracuda and shut the door behind her. The engine started up moments later, and Alice rolled down her window.

"Well..." said Vincent, "Good luck. Keep in touch. Lemme know how you're doin' in a month or two."

"That I will." Alice promised him, "Good bye, Vincent."

"Bye."

Then she pulled out of the slot, put on the gas, turned out of the apartment complex and onto the main road, then went driving off into the morning sunlight.

Vincent stood there for a moment, thinking about everything that had just happened. Somehow or another, Rod's blood had managed to squirt from his stomach all the way up to Vincent's face. He wiped his hand across his forehead, getting his hand slightly bloody, though noticed that the majority of it had already dribbled down onto his white shirt.

"Shit." Vincent said aloud, "I look like a fucking axe murderer."

Slowly, he crossed the parking lot over to where an old white Chevy was parked. He opened the driver's door, crawled in, and shut it behind him.

"Alright…" he told himself, "You can do this."

Wasting not another second, Vincent turned the keys in the ignition and revved the engine. As soon at it had the means to, the Chevy shot backwards out of the slot and came to a grinding halt. Then, its tires squealing, Vincent put the Chevy in drive and went tearing out of the parking lot, making a sharp right out onto the main road.

He went careening down the cracked street through the slum of old Los Angeles in the dirty old fuel guzzling sorry-excuse-for-a-Chevy that he was borrowing. His face and hands were smeared in blood, as was his white shirt soaked. Despite all the chaos that had just erupted around him, he'd managed to keep his cell phone by his side. Quickly dialing the number, Vincent put the phone to his ear and waited for a response.

"Yeah?" answered a deep voice from the other end.

"It was an ambush!" Vincent yelled into the phone, "A fucking ambush, man! She knew exactly when we were gonna be there and she was fucking waiting for us!"

"Are you okay?"

"What!" Vincent screamed back, "Do I sound fucking okay to you!"

"No."

"Yeah, well that's cause I'm not! Rod's dead! Rod's dead… and I'm… I'm lucky to still be alive!"

"Where's Alice?"

"She's dead too. Her body's in my truck."

- - - - - - - - - -

The old Chevy slowly pulled off the main road into the "North Hollywood Oaks" apartment complex. It reminded Rod Parker of a Best Western hotel in the middle of Arizona. The man in his passenger seat, a cheap laid-back hit man with long greasy black hair named Vincent Vega, lived in one of these already (it was on the other side of town, but that didn't make a difference), so he didn't associate it with anything else other than the complex that he himself lived in.

"This the place?" asked Vincent.

"Apparently." Rod replied.

"Hey, man. Don't give me that. We need to be sure this is the place. I don't wanna be hitting the wrong apartment."

"Well… you got the address?"

"No, I didn't bring it. I thought you were gonna bring it."

"What? I never said I was gonna bring it."

"I know, but I thought maybe you… you know… were gonna bring it."

"No, man. I didn't bring it."

"Well shit." Rod looked exasperated, "Okay, look. She drives a Plymouth Barracuda. It'll probably be parked in front of her apartment, so just… just watch for one of those. Okay?"

"Plymouth Barracuda." said Vincent, looking surprised, "No kidding?"

"Nope."

"What year?"

"Hell if I know. Early seventies, maybe. It's a classic. Nice ass car. Wait… there it is."

On the other side of the parking lot, sitting in one of the slots, was a black 1973 Plymouth Barracuda. Rod pulled the Chevy into a nearby slot, and stopped the engine. Vincent loaded his own .45 automatic pistol, and then he and Rod stepped out of the car.

"Where's your gun?" Vincent asked, slamming the car door behind him.

"You already asked me that."

"Oh yeah..."

Rod popped open the trunk of the car, reached in, pulled out his own pistol, then shut the trunk and looked up at Vincent.

"Do you remember what floor it was on?" Rod asked.

"No. But it was twenty-something, I think. So what would that make it? Second floor?"

"Yeah, probably. Well, wait…" Rod glanced around, "No, that would still be the first floor. Oh hell, I dunno. You see where that Barracuda's parked?"

"Yeah…"

"It's either parked in front of the door on the first floor or the door on the second floor, right? So whichever one starts with the number two… that's probably the one we're looking for, right?"

"Makes sense."

"Good. Let's go."

The two crossed the parking lot over to where the Barracuda was parked. With every step, Vincent was getting more uneasy about this. But everything seemed to be in order… so why such an edgy feeling? Knocking people off was a daily activity for Vincent, and he had never had this feeling before. Never. So why should this be any different?

"Nice car." Rod remarked, as he and Vincent slipped by the Barracuda, "Hey, Vince? You want a new car?"

"I'm already getting one."

Suddenly – he saw it. A long distinct scratch across the Barracuda's driver's door. Vincent stopped cold in his tracks. Oh my God.

"I don't believe it." he said aloud.

Immediately, Vincent knew what was wrong. And suddenly this thought crossed him that maybe they were about to kill someone who's life was actually worth something. He'd never had this dilemma before. It had always been the same deal: enter, eliminate, leave. But this time… this time he was having second thoughts.

"Vincent!"

Vincent's head snapped up at the sound of Rod's voice. Suddenly he realized that he'd been standing still for the last few seconds, staring at the long scratch across the driver's door. He blinked a few times, and then continued toward the apartment doors.

"Sorry…" said Vincent. Rod was giving him a strange look.

"You okay?"

"Uh…" Vincent seemed hesitant, "I dunno. Something… something doesn't seem right about this."

"Vincent," Rod said, stopping and looking at his friend, "There's nothing to worry about. She owns a dry cleaning shop. I wouldn't worry much about retaliation."

"No, it's not that. It's… it's something else. I… I dunno if I can go through with this."

Rod didn't even respond. Vincent Vega saying he couldn't go through with a knock off was on par with Dave Starsky saying he was gonna get a flattop. It just didn't happen.

"What do you mean?" Rod asked.

"I mean I don't know if I can kill the person in that apartment."

"Why not?"

"It's just… it's a long story. But I don't think I can do it."

"Vince – this is your job. If you do not do this, Marsellus will have both our asses served up on a silver platter with French fries and ketchup. You want that to happen?"

"No."

"Okay. Then let's do this."

Vincent just gave a hesitant nod. The two of them approached the apartment door on the ground floor. A pair of numbers nailed on the wall to the right of the door read: 27. Rod glanced over at Vincent, and raised his eyebrows.

"This must be the place."

"Yup."

Vincent and Rod both clicked the safety off their pistols and placed their fingers on the trigger.

"Ready?" asked Rod.

"Yup."

BLAM! Rod blew a hole through the cheap door lock, and the door creaked open. The two hit men stepped into the living room. It was a tiny place. The white living room was obviously the main room, adjoined directly to the kitchen – which was tidy as possible. A door at the back of the living room obviously connected to the room to a bedroom, and it was this door that the two men went for.

Upon approaching it, Rod blew the door off its hinges and the two of them went into the bedroom.

"You know…" said Vincent, "That wasn't entirely necessary. The door wasn't locked."

"Oh."

But their target, a young woman, was nowhere to be seen. The bed was unmade, indicating to them that she was still in the apartment. But it wasn't at first apparent where she had gone.

"Where is she?" asked Vincent.

His question was immediately answered by the sound of running water – the bathroom shower.

"She's in the shower."

And before he'd even finished that sentence, Rod went for the bathroom door. Deciding not to waste his bullets, he instead yanked open the door and stepped in.

The woman, standing naked in the shower, barely had time to let out a surprised gasp before Rod had grabbed her wrist and yanked her out in the bedroom.

"What are you doing?" the woman screeched, resisting against Rod's powerful grip.

"Shut up." was all Rod said. He dragged the woman out of the bedroom and back into the living room. This whole time, Vincent stood there doing nothing. He wasn't sure what he should do, because while his job was telling him to do one thing – his feeling was to do something else.

"Help!" the woman screamed, just as Vincent stepped back into the living room.

"Sorry bout this, lady." Rod told her, obviously not sorry at all. With that, he aimed his pistol straight down at her forehead and was about to pull the trigger…

"Rod." whispered Vincent. Rod glanced up, and suddenly found himself staring straight into the barrel of Vincent's .45 automatic.

"Vincent. What are you doing?"

BLAM! Vincent fired.

Rod's face blasted apart, his head was immediately thrown backwards, and the contents of his head spattered across the living room rug as he crashed to the ground – instantly dead.

Vincent was silent for a moment, then took several deep breaths, and holstered his pistol. The naked woman was still lying on the ground, obviously petrified beyond comprehension. Vincent took a moment, and then slowly looked down at her.

"Your name wouldn't happen to be Alice Preston, would it?" he asked.

A look of astonishment suddenly crossed the woman's face.

"Alice Preston?" she repeated, "Yes… that… that's me. Why? Who… who are you?"

"It's me." Vincent managed to say, "Vincent Vega."

Alice's look suddenly changed from astonishment to utter disbelief.

"Vincent Vega?" she choked, "I don't… I don't believe it."

"Believe it." said Vincent, and took a seat on the living room couch, "If it wasn't me, you'd be dead right now."

"Vincent… what… what happened to you?" she stuttered.

"I'm a hit man." he told her, in a matter-of-factly voice, "This morning… I dunno. I was supposed to kill you. But then I… I mean when they told me, I didn't know it was you. All I was told was this address and that I was supposed to kill the single resident, who lived by herself. I didn't know it was you. And when I found out… I dunno… I just couldn't go through with it."

"You were hired to kill me?" Alice asked, "But… but why?"

"I dunno. I go where I'm told, kill who I'm told, and don't ask questions. You're lucky I figured out it was you."

"But… but why didn't you-"

"Because I remember how you treated me. Really nice. I appreciated it so much… I just didn't… I couldn't find it in myself to kill you."

Alice slowly stood up, walked over to Vincent, and sat down next to him.

"But won't your boss be mad that you killed one of your own guys?" she asked.

"He's not gonna find out." said Vincent, "And even if he did – he would be more mad at me for not killing you, than he would be for me killing Rod."

"So what are we gonna do?"

"First off – I think you should go put some clothes on."

"Okay. Hold on…"

Although she went back into the other room to change, she could still hear Vincent talking.

"You need to leave L.A. as soon as possible." Vincent continued, "If they find out you're still alive, they'll kill me and kill you."

"I'll leave right now." Alice shouted from the other room, "I've can come back later for my possessions."

"No." Vincent said, "I mean… yes – most definitely leave now. But have someone send you your stuff. Don't come back for them."

"Alright…"

Moments later, Alice came back into the living room fully clothed. She sat back down on the couch next to Vincent, who was staring at Rod's body – wondering what exactly he was going to do now. The first step, he knew, was analyzing exactly what his situation was.

Rod Parker was lying dead on the blood splattered living room rug, and the woman Vincent had come here for was now sitting on the couch next to him.

"It's a damn shame." Vincent told her, "He was a really good guy. I mean… I didn't know him that well. But what I did know of him, he… he was a good guy. Fuckin' shame."

Vincent pulled out a self-rolled cigarette (he always kept a couple of them in the inside pocket of his coat), clicked on his silver lighter, and lit his smokes.

"You want one?"

He held one out to the woman, who took it and stuck it in her mouth.

"Thanks." she told him, and Vincent leaned over and lit it. She took a puff, and he snapped the lighter shut again. The two sat back for a moment then, just thinking of everything that had just transpired.

- - - - - - - - - -

The garage door flew open, and the two men came strolling in.

"..but I want it back without a scratch, or I'll beat your motherfuckin' ass to the ground. We clear?" said the first one.

He was black, had an afro, and looked like a cop straight out of a 1960's television show. But he wasn't a cop. Far from it, in fact. His name was Jules Winnfield, and he was about as cheap a gun for hire as the man who walked in beside him: Vincent Vega.

"Don't worry." Vincent assured him, "You're car is gonna be fine. It's not involved."

"It better not be. Strictly transportation. I don't want no dead bodies in the trunk or any shit like that."

"No dead bodies?" Vincent whined, "Than what the fuck are we supposed to do with them? Drag 'em behind the car?"

"Okay fine." Jules told him, "But I want all the blood and brains and shit cleaned out when you're done."

"Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Don't worry bout it."

"Whatdya mean don't worry bout it? I'm gonna worry about until I get my car back and it doesn't look an army ambulance on D-Day. As a matter of fact – why don't ya go get your own motherfuckin' car to haul around dead motherfuckers?"

"Yeah, I'm workin' on it. I got my eye on this Malibu. A friend of mine is one of them used car guys. You know… the guys who usually walk around in coats and ties and tell you their piece of shit cars are actually worth buying?"

"Yeah…"

"Anyways – he's gettin' me a pretty good deal."

"How much?"

"I dunno yet. But he said it was gonna be a pretty fuckin' good deal. Even if it's not, though – it's not I buy a new car annually. In fact, last car I had was when I was in high school. That's how long it's been."

"You went to school?"

"Shut up, smart ass."

"No seriously? Did you graduate?"

"No, of course not. I left the third year, but I had a car for a little while. It was a 1973 Plymouth… uh… Barracuda."

"You still have it?"

"If I still had it, I'd be driving it." Vincent replied, giving Jules a stupid look.

"Why'd you get rid of it?"

"I gave it to a friend of mine."

"Whoawhoawhoa…" Jules had to blink a few times to see if he was awake, "Wait a second. You gave your 1973 Plymouth Barracuda… lemme repeat that – GAVE your Barracuda to a friend? Maybe it's just me and my personal sense of worth, but doesn't giving your friend a car – especially when the giver is someone in your rather limited financial situation… god knows what it was like in high school – doesn't giving a car away seem a little… how do I put it without sounding like a motherfuckin' prick... excessive?"

"No. She was, you know, a friend when I needed one. I mean I know it sounds kind of pathetic, but you know. I dunno. Alice. That was her name. Anyway she… you know how they have those shitty high school dances - like prom and shit?"

"Yeah. I wasn't born yesterday."

"Yeah well, I dunno if you ever went to one of those things alone, but you kinda start to feel like a loser if no one wants to dance with you. But I had it doubly 'cause no one wanted to dance with me even when I asked them to."

Jules chuckled, seeming not too surprised.

"What's so funny?"

"Nothing. Continue."

"Nah, man. You're fuckin' laughing at me! I'm not gonna tell a story if all you're gonna do is laugh at it!"

"Sorry, man. I'm just amused by your story."

"Yeah, fine. Well to make a long story short, Alice was the only person there who seemed to find me to be an okay guy, you know? We got our picture taken and everything. So we because friends and shit and maybe went out a few times, and that's really bout it. So when I was done with school, I gave her my car to thank her."

"Man, I've seen women driving cars. That's nothing but a motherfuckin' disaster. She probably totaled your car ten minutes after you gave it to her."

"Didn't have much a chance." Vincent chuckled, "I kinda did it for her."

"What?"

"Yeah… a big old motherfuckin' dent. Right across the driver's door."

"Shit…"

"Yeah, I was pretty pissed."

"Either way, it was a car. I mean… you don't just give away a car. That's insane."

"That's not insane! What she did really meant a lot me. I mean… okay, if it had made me homeless or something for some reason… then yeah – I could see where it might be insane. But look at me now! I'm not homeless or nothin'."

"No. You're one step up."

"Fuck – I think you're tryin´ to piss me off."

"And since I'm the one letting you use my car to drive your recently deceased around in, it is within my written rights to piss you off if I damn well please."

With that, Jules dangled the keys from his fingers in front of Vincent's face.

"Just don't scratch it up."

"Don't worry." said Vincent, as he snatched the keys and stepped into the car.

"Man, would you stop sayin' that?"

"Saying what?"

"Don't worry. It's pissing me off. Don't ever say it again."

"Don't worry." replied Vincent, and immediately drove off before Jules could reply. Vincent turned out onto the main road and drove for a few moments, thinking about today's assignment.

His boss, Marsellus Wallace, had made it perfectly clear what he was supposed to do:

"It's a small apartment, number 27, in the North Hollywood Oaks apartment complex building in North Hollywood. There's only one resident there. A woman, dry cleaner store owner, and she doesn't usually leave her house until a little after ten A.M., so you should have plenty of time. I want her vanished from the face of this planet without a trace. I gave Rod Parker all the other information you need. He's gonna be working with you on this one, clear? Good. Let me know once it's done."

Vincent picked Rod Parker up a few minutes later.

"Move over. I'm driving." Rod told him when he got there. Vincent scooted into the passenger seat, and Rod took over. Then off they went.

Crossing town was relatively easy that early in the morning, due to the relatively small amount of traffic they were considering.

"You ever consider getting a new car?" Rod asked, not even glancing over at his passenger.

"It's not my car. Why?"

"Why do you think? It's a piece of shit car."

"Yeah, well, like I said… it's not mine."

"Whose is it?"

"Jules'."

"Who?"

"Jules Winnfield. He's a black guy? Afro?"

"I think I know him."

"So tell me about the target." Vincent interrupted. He had no desire to go through this whole car discussion a second time. "Why's she a target?"

"Hell if I know." said Rod, "Marsellus doesn't tell me shit like that. All I know is that she owns a dry cleaning shop, lives alone… lived in L.A. her whole life. Hell, that sums up just about everything."

"Name? Age? Anything?"

"Nope. I really wasn't told much. Just where to find her and what to do when I get there."

"Enter. Eliminate. Exit." replied Vincent, "Stick to those rules and you can't go wrong."

With that, Vincent snapped open the cheap lid to the glove compartment and shoved his hand into the box. His hand shuffled around for a few seconds, knocking several small items out onto the floor in the process (just for the record, the objects were: a receipt for Greasy Joe's Steak House, one of those little plastic trolls with the purple hair, a pencil, and a coupon for gas), before he finally found what he was feeling around for: a .45 automatic.

"There's only one in here."

"I put mine in the trunk."

"Oh."

Then he clicked the compartment shut again.

"Hey, hey…" he told Rod, as his eyes shifted from the closed compartment to the windshield, "I think this is where you wanna make that turn. Yeah… look there's a sign for North Hollywood Oaks apart-"

"Yes, Vincent, I'm not blind." Rod assured him, "Thank you."

The old Chevy slowly pulled off the main road into the "North Hollywood Oaks" apartment complex. It reminded Rod of a Best Western hotel in the middle of Arizona. Vincent lived in one of these already (it was on the other side of town, but that didn't make a difference), so he didn't associate it with anything else other than the complex that he himself lived in.

"This the place?" asked Vincent.

"Apparently." Rod replied.

- - - - - - - - - -

Jules Winnfield was waiting in his garage, when a blood-soaked Vincent Vega came driving up in the Chevy. The white car sputtered into the garage, then came to a stop. Vincent climbed out, Jules watching him.

"Fuck, man." said Jules, "What happened to you?"

"Ambush." Vincent told him, "The target knew we were coming, man. Rod didn't make it."

"Who?"

"But it's okay… I made it out. The target's dead… I've disposed of her body… cleaned the trunk and everything."

Jules clicked open the trunk and looked inside.

"Wow. That was a pretty fuckin' good cleanin' job, man. So good, in fact, that I have a hard time imagining that a body was even in here in the first place." And as he said those words, he gave Vincent a slight knowing look. Vincent didn't even notice.

"Good." commented Vincent, "That's what you wanted, remember?"

Then with a cock of the eyebrow and a slight grin, Vincent Vega turned and walked out into the morning sunlight.