Friday, May 8, 2009

DRAGONSLAYER

It’s not the first time someone tried to kill me. Won’t be the last. As you can see, I’m still alive.
And fucking pissed.

Don’t they know that I’m the hardest motherfucker out there? You don’t try to kill Trey. Fools keep coming at me and I keep knocking them down. They gotta learn. I will put them all down.
And if that librarian gives me the stink eye again, I’ll knock her the fuck out. But I gotta be cool and I’ll let her live, this time.

I let the Nerd live. Should’ve broken his pencil neck.

We arranged the meet at the park where he made the drop in the first place. Not too creative, I know, but this is a big town and without a car, you don’t have a lot of options. And I don’t want to be another homeless dude on the bus, getting stared at. Imagine being a homeless guy on a bus with a bag full of one hundred grand. Like a baby seal at a shark party.

So it’s night at the park. Late and no one’s around. All the joggers and teenagers are long gone. Even the smell of the cheap bud from the parked cars has drifted away in the dry air. Still not used to no rain. Feel like a cactus in this town. Gotta find water wherever you can. Water and money.

That’s why I wanted to squeeze every drop from the Nerd. Get my cash and get out. An honest deal. Trey is a straight up guy. I make a deal and stick with it. I was ready to hand over the black bag.

I could’ve been disappeared by now. That kind of money would get me real far and forever gone. If the Nerd had dealt straight up, I would’ve been set. But he thought he was harder than me and I’m still broke. And fucking pissed.

I heard him coming in the quiet park. Even in lame-ass high-tops, the Nerd bounces and scuffs and a deaf dead guy would know he was there. But all I cared about was the bag. Duffle bag with the name of the software company written across the side. Subtle motherfucker. The bag looked heavy and that worked for me.

Nerd looked nervous as hell and glanced all over the place. His jaw was clenched shut and he had to talk through grinding teeth. “You have the drive?”

Hard and cool, I made it look easy. “Let’s see the money.”

He stalled and shook like a shiver ran up and down his back.

I’ve bought and sold weed hundreds of times. It’s illegal, in case you don’t know. Never had a problem. One person has the money, the other the weed. Trade one for the other. Smooth. I’ve been there. I’ve handled worse. Much worse.

I understood that the Nerd was nervous. This was foreign territory for him. But that stall wasn’t just virgin nerves. Virgins are no fun. I’ve been there, too. Couple of times. One time, I’m ready and lined up and she’s laying back and then puts her hand on my shoulder. I knew then it was over. The look in her eyes. The other virgins were ready in their eyes and their bodies just needed to relax. This girl, that little stall told me she had other ideas. Stop.

No more virgins for Trey after this. I saw the same look in the Nerd’s eyes as that girl. He had other ideas. But he wasn’t going to call off the deal. He was going to change it. “I’ve got the money right here. I want to see the drive.”

“You don’t trust me?” Why should he? He doesn’t know that Trey is a straight dealer. You need to know that. I never wanted things to get out of hand. I just want my share and to get gone. I never asked for any of this. I could still be in Ballentine.

He said something about not knowing me and how I stole the drive in the first place and why should he trust me. I told him to open the bag, let me see the money. Once I see it, he can drop it on the ground between us and I’ll tell him where I stashed the black bag.

Except for his hands, his whole body clenched up. His hands were shaking. And that look in his eye. I knew I would find out his change of plans soon. He could barely grip the zipper on his duffle. It opened slowly and he reached in.

I was ready. I told you it wasn’t the first time someone tried to kill me. I’ve looked down the barrel of a gun and I’m still sitting here to write this. In Nam, they tried to kill my dad all the time. He made it back. He raised me and now I’m as hard as him.

The Nerd went into the bag and I expected him to come out with a Glock and start pumping. Trey isn’t stupid. I set the meet up next to a tree and stood my ground when the Nerd had come with the bag. Now, with his hand coming out and his eyes wide with fear, I jumped behind the tree and waited for the caps to pop.

Instead I hear the Nerd swearing and scuffling and running around the tree toward me. I dodge away and see what’s in his hand. No gun. A motherfucking dagger. Are you kidding? Where did he get a shining silver dagger? Like he’s fighting dragons away from princesses. But instead of an orc, it’s me he’s trying to skewer with that thing.

And he’s mumbling about how the buyer’s going to kill him if he doesn’t deliver the drive because they’re ruthless and it’s all my fault and we’re both fucked and I have to give him the drive.

When someone’s trying to put a seven inch piece of steel through me, I don’t want to do what they’re asking. Fuck them. Fuck the Nerd.

Running’s what got me to Los Angeles. Don’t want to run. I let the Nerd make a play for me. He was sloppy and wide and looked like a drunk girl pissed at her boyfriend. The dagger never had a chance. Neither did the Nerd.

I grabbed his wrist and yanked him into my fist. One in the face. I didn’t have time to soften him up in the gut. He needed to know I meant business. Don’t think the Nerd’s ever been punched in the face before. He didn’t handle it like MMA. Dude went down. Rolling in the dirt and holding his face and coughing and heaving like he was going to puke.

I picked up the knife and felt his clammy sweat on the metal handle. He was still squirming and I thought about putting him out of his misery, but Trey isn’t a cold killer. Just because he wanted me dead doesn’t mean I’m going to bleed him while he’s on the ground. Hell, his play for me was more like a joke.

The joke was on me. And I’m sure you saw this coming. The duffle bag was filled with junk mail. It was his fucking recycling.

At least the Nerd was man enough to get off the ground. He flinched when I came at him. There was a blood and a good welt on his cheek. That’ll take some explaining at the office. Maybe you work with him. You’ll know where he really got it. Or maybe you’re his wife. I saw the ring.

And I have his address. With the knife to his throat, I got his wallet. He tried to tell me how the buyer was furious and they’ll skin all of us if they don’t get what they were ready to pay for.

“Your fault,” I told him and pushed him back into the dirt. The Nerd was learning to hurt and got back to his feet faster. And he ran into the dark neighborhood at the edge of the park. Let him go and be scared and maybe he’ll be ready to deal again. For more money. Now he knows I’m serious.

He thinks the buyer is ruthless? Trey is ruthless. If he had just paid me like we had agreed, it would be cool and he could sell to the buyer and everyone would be happy. But he fucked up and now I’m not happy.

I’m fucking pissed.