Tuesday, May 19, 2009

IN THE DOOR

Sig isn’t reading this. That inbred motherfucker can’t read. But he can sniff. He’s been circling around this town like a shark in that Valiant.

Someone tipped him. Don’t know who, but I have ideas. Sons of bitches. If Sig finds me, it won’t be some lame stab with a Hobbit dagger. He’s all business and I’ve seen him handle a 9mm.

And he’s fucking up my plans with the Nerd. I figured on hanging at the park where the drop went down in the first place. The Nerd would show up eventually, tail between his legs and finally want to make a deal. Every time I camped out, though, I heard the rumbling of the Valiant.

In Ballentine, that sound brings out the high school boys like the ice cream truck. Sig was rolling with the bud. He’s selling the good stuff and everyone was buying. I never liked hearing his Plymouth. We had tangled a few times, over a girl or a motorcycle we each wanted. He won every time. It wasn’t enough for him. Seemed like he’d never be happy until I was out of town. Maybe I’m too sexy. No doubt.

Finally I’m out of town and he comes chasing. Circumstances changed. It isn’t about who’s taking Shelly to the lake anymore. It’s about payback. We both have a score to settle.
I’m in no shape for a showdown with Sig. He’s rolling heavy and I have a stupid-ass medieval dagger. Not much of a fight. But I can’t run. Still looking for my payoff. So I bounce from spot to spot, always hearing the Valiant like the thunder of a coming storm. Two parks are off-limits. The lumber yard where I sometimes get work is too exposed.

You’re telling me to get out of town or hide in one spot until he leaves. You don’t know Sig. After what happened in Ballentine, he’s not going to leave until he has my scalp. Or I put him under.

That means I can’t wait for the Nerd to come to me. I have to flush him out. When you hit a man, hit him where it hurts. Mrs. Nerd.

“I told you I have a gardener.”

He hadn’t called. She was thin and ready to snap.

“This isn’t about the trees.”

“I’ll call the police and we have neighborhood watch and someone’s already seen you.”

“You’re not going to call the cops,” I gambled. “Because you don’t know what kind of trouble he’s in and you don’t want to make it worse.”

Her eyes turned into slits, like she wanted to saw me in half like a tree and count my rings. I held up the Nerd’s driver’s license. Then her eyes got wide.

I started slow, so she’d listen. “He’s into some heavy shit and there are a lot of people looking for him. I’m one of them. But what I want is quick and simple. If he deals with me, the machine kicks into gear and everything runs smoothly again.”

I knew I had her when she looked over my shoulder, checking to see if anyone was on the street and saw us. They weren’t. So much for bullshit neighborhood watch.

Mrs. Nerd moved aside and let me into her house.

The door closed and she was all questions. Where is he? What is he wrapped up in? How did I get involved and how long will this last? I kept her in the dark, said it was for her own safety. But I did tell her I was the one who put the bruise on the Nerd’s face. She took a step back and finally looked at me, dirty and hungry (but still good looking) in her fancy living room.

She was worried again, like I had lied my way into her house and now I was going to kill her or worse. Trey has plenty of experience with the ladies, but I never had to put on my smile and tell one how it was a good thing that I punched her husband in the face.

“I had some trouble in Washington state,” I started. “Some bad guys forced me out of town. So I’m down here and trying to scrape up work, but it’s a tough town. Couldn’t even find a friend or get enough money for a roof over my head. I was sleeping in a park. And that’s when I saw the drop. Small black plastic bag in the bushes. My father was in the army, fought in Vietnam. I’m an American and the idea that someone was spying on our land was too much to take. I grabbed the bag, thought about giving it to the cops or the Feds. Then I saw the guy that came for the drop. Badass. Probably has the cops on the take, so Trey has to lay low. Then I see your husband, looking for the bag because the Badass probably told him there was no drop and that means no money.

“Your husband looks like a decent guy and I figure he’s in over his head.” That got a knowing shake of the head from Mrs. Nerd. He must always be over his head and she’s the one that has to do the laundry. Didn’t seem like she had a job or wanted one. Never knew a woman who could afford to not work. I guess maintaining her image in this rich part of town took up all her time. With a screw up like the Nerd, messing where he shouldn’t be, keeping up appearances would be a full time job. We were simpatico, both on common ground with the Nerd. I had her hooked and reeled her in, “Maybe I could help him. I followed him to his work and got in touch. We meet and I tell him how I can be an ally in all of this. He’s a soft dude and I’m hard from rough living. We could make a good team and get what we want from the buyer and make a good deal from everyone. And secretly, I’m thinking about a way for your husband and me making money, then turning the bad guys over to the cops. Everyone wins. Except the spies that are fucking up our country.

“But your husband got other ideas. In our second meeting, he comes at me with a silver dagger.” Mrs. Nerd blinked here and I knew that she had seen that knife before and wondered what the hell her husband was doing with it. I was rolling and had to finish the story. “I wasn’t going to let him kill me. I fought back, landed a right into his face and he ran. He left his wallet behind, that’s how I found you. And if I can find him, we can wrap all of this up. I understand why he got scared, but I really want to make this work out best for everyone.”

Her eyes went narrow again. She digested. And what do you think she did? Call the cops? Pull out a .357 and put a hole in me?

To answer your questions, let me just say that Trey is freshly showered, free-balling it in the Nerd’s sweats while my clothes are in the wash. I’m writing this on Mrs. Nerd’s laptop computer and she’s fixing me a sandwich. I’m about to plug in the flash drive from the black bag.

The dagger is on the desk, just in case.