Contract For A Hit

Copyright ©1981 John Wm Beckner - All Rights Reserved

Just before my wedding day,
The plot my friend Dave tried to convey.
Dave was my dealer and soon-to-be best man.
I was to take him to the hospital, that was the plan.

He wasn’t sick, but he was on a mission,
He had to see a patient, for the plan to come to fruition.
He came back to the car, extremely angry,
Of the debt to his dealer, he would soon be free.

“William beat Connie, half to death,” Dave said,
“His fate is sealed, he’ll soon be dead.”
He said that we would take William with us,
He would repay his debt, there’d be no fuss.

He asked if I was currently packing, 
He’d need a gun, and he was lacking.
A .38 special was in the glove box,
We must be stealthy so we could outfox.

“William thinks we’re picking up a brick,
“The scheme is to kill him quick.
“I told William we’d give him a pound,
“Do you know a place where a body won’t be found?”

I knew a place behind Twelve O’clock Knob,
So Dave could shoot him and finish the job.
Dave said I would only have to drive,
He would assure William was no longer alive.

He tucked the .38 into his belt,
I said I wouldn’t participate, it’s how I felt.
If William had damaged this woman so badly,
Why would he visit her, why didn’t he flee?

In any case, he got into the car,
He wanted to go with us, he wanted to know how far.
“It’s just on the other side of the mountain,” I said.
This short drive I was beginning to dread.

We passed a joint, to ease the strain.
And snorted some crystal, to heighten his pain.
We finally arrived at the chosen site.
Unbeknownst to me, there’d soon be a fight.

We got wasted before the drama would unfold,
Jim Beam and pot didn’t stay the cold.
William sat on top of the trunk,
His fate was sealed, this woman beating punk.

I stayed behind the wheel as Dave got out,
Dave was going to kill him, I had no doubt.
While William sat on the trunk of the car,
Dave did something I thought bizarre.

Dave said to William, “I’m going to kill you.”
“Now?” William asked, his answer bizarre too,
William jumped Dave, the fight was on,
William, of course, would be the combatant that won.

Jumping from the car, baseball bat in hand,
I tried to knock his head into another land.
I swung for a homer, his head did I hit,
But he popped back up in just a little bit.

Dave cried out, “He’s got the gun!”
As expected, this day had just become unfun.
William headed for the tree line,
He turned towards us with the gun that was mine.

Dave then said something as stupid as could be,
“Shoot me ‘cause I was going to shoot you!” said he.
William thought a little, pointing the .38,
William said, “No,” so dying tonight wasn’t my fate.

To my surprise, William called the next day,
He said with my life I would finally pay.
William would kill me on my wedding day,
Exactly when or where, I could not say.

I told my sister and my older bro’s,
They couldn’t come to the wedding as danger arose.
But my younger brother was in a car on the hill,
He had my back, and if necessary would kill.

I told my dad to bring his .22,
Would he need to use it? I had no clue.
A hired gun carried a .45,
It was simply to keep me alive.

I believed the wedding went without a hitch,
But I found out later there was a glitch.
I went up the hill for my brother to see,
I saw William instead down on one knee.

Shotgun pointed at William’s head,
“Please don’t kill me,” William simply pled.
“You were coming to kill my brother, you fool,”
My brother Tony was being very cool.

“To kill you or not is not Johnny’s decision,
Your head blown open is what I envision.”
I said to Tony, “It’s your choice, of course,
But I don’t think we need deadly force.”

The 20-gauge Tony did cock,
William shuddered with the shock.
Tony fired the weapon in the air,
“I missed this once, you should say a prayer.”

Tony said, “We have two other brothers
“And many cousins, friends and others.
“You mess with one of us, you mess with us all!”
Tony let him know his ass better haul.

William was never again seen,
Seattle, I heard, was his new scene.
I appreciated Tony all the more,
He said, “We’ll always be the brothers four.”


I wrote parts of this poem soon after my wedding in June, 1978. But I didn’t finish it until 1981, hence the 1981 copyright date. For those who knew me “back in the day”, I was heavily into drinking and drugs, especially for a 5 year period from age 16 to 21. I graduated from high school at age 16 in 1976, just after the rape and murder of my girlfriend, which was the catalyst that sent me off the deep-end, starting my 5-year self-destructive journey. But that is another story (and a book and many more poems).

My dealer (and best man at my wedding) had been given the contract by his dealer (a mafioso from New Jersey) to kill William. William was having an affair with the guy’s wife, got into a fight with her, beat her up, breaking her nose and eye socket, and putting her into Roanoke Memorial Hospital. I knew William through Dave, my dealer.

Three days before my wedding date, the events outlined in the beginning of the poem occurred. Dave asked me to drive him to the hospital to visit Connie, the mafioso’s wife. I waited in the car while Dave visited her. When he came out, he told me how bad Connie looked. But, surprisingly, Dave said William was also visiting Connie. Apparently, they had made up.

Dave said his dealer had a contract out on William and he was going to fulfill the contract. He had invited William to go with us on a large buy. William had agreed. Dave asked if I knew a place where he could kill him and dispose of the body. He said I would only drive and would not be involved in any part of it.

I don’t mention it in the poem, but the .38 that Dave was going to use belonged to my future wife. He asked me if I had a gun and I said her gun was in the glove box. He was going to use that. The poem covers everything else.

I do want to note that my brother Tony’s actions were heroic. Obviously, his words were poetic license, but he actually had William on his knees, holding him at bay with a 20-gauge shotgun. Tony did tell William that there were four of us Beckner brothers and lots of Beckner cousins and that what you did to one Beckner would cause other Beckners to hunt you down and kill you. I was really proud of my little brother. He didn’t back down when the real action started. RIP Tony!

The end of the story? Within a week, William was back in the good graces of my dealer. The weirdness of the drug trade…