Friday, August 7, 2009

MY SECRET

I couldn’t tell you. Anyone who’s reading this. Tokyo, or someone else. It was too important, too fragile a secret and I felt if I told anyone it would break in my hands. And then I’d be fucked. Don’t like keeping secrets from you, Tokyo.

It went down the day after you brought me the burgers. I still have the note you wrote. It’s in the pocket of my jacket. Weather’s hot, but there’s no way I’m taking off this jacket. Tough like a second skin. And it keeps the note close.

I climbed down from the rooftop just before sunrise and no one saw me. Back to Santa Monica. Most everyone’s driving in this town, but you can cover some distance on foot if you have the time. And summer has long days for walking. Bright sun makes it dangerous, though, when you’re tempting the wolves.

Early morning recon. Town was waking up and I was on the street, watching the delivery trucks and the lines at the coffee shops. I was hunting again and it felt good. There’s a real satisfaction in watching someone who doesn’t know you’re there. Kind of gives you a hard on.

Which I know is a little sick, considering I was watching Sig, but you gotta take your thrills where you can. He was in a park where other homeless dudes were waking up. He looked like hell, but he didn’t look bad enough for my liking. I figure he doubled back after our fight on the beach. He had all night to find his Glock in the bushes. So I kept a good distance. Which was all part of the plan. Recon. Hunting.

Sig left that park and I followed from a distance. He made the rounds, checking for me at other parks, the open air mall and out in front of Jasmine’s condo building. He ate food out of garbage cans. I haven’t had to do that.

Part of hunting is baiting. At the next park, I let Sig see me. Two, three hundred yards away. I pretended I didn’t know he was there and kicked around in some plants like I was looking for something. Kept him in the corner of my eye, so when he started to come toward me, I bailed and got lost quick in the city streets. He couldn’t follow me after that. But I did what I needed to. Sig smelled fresh blood and would be ready when I wanted him.

Didn’t see you jogging today, Tokyo. Maybe it’s best you lay low until I finish this.

After I lost Sig’s bloodshot eyes, I dropped some coins into a payphone. Mrs. Nerd was awake. Golf day with the ladies.

“You get a new seven iron?”

“I’ll play without it.”

“I have the money. Tonight, at the park where it all started and the Nerd ended.”

“What time?”

“Just after dark.”

“One point six million. He came up with it that fast?”

“I think it’s just a drop in the bucket with this guy.”

“You couldn’t squeeze him for more?”

“We were lucky to get the money and not a bullet.”

She wanted to get this over with. “Tonight.”

“I need something else from you, to frame up the guy I want.”

“What?”

“Get on your hands and knees. Clean the ashes out of your fireplace, where you burned your clothes. Give them to me in a plastic bag. They’ll be perfect.”

“Fine.”

“See you after dark.”

I had the rest of the day to kill. But that didn’t mean I could go to Disneyland and Hollywood Boulevard. The cops still wanted me for the Nerd’s death. Mrs. Nerd wouldn’t help me on that until she had her money. So I had to stay out of sight from the SMPD, Sig and anyone else who wanted a slice of Trey.

I kept walking. Headed out of Santa Monica and found parts of this town I’d never seen. This place goes on forever. You can walk from one side of Ballentine to the other before lunch, even if you slept in. Two bridges over the river, and if you can’t find either one of those, it’s a short swim. Los Angeles is like a whole other planet. No, like a solar system, and each part of this town is a planet with different life forms and buildings. And I don’t belong on any of these planets.

Don’t know where I belong anymore. Don’t know where I’ll go when I get my payoff. Just want to rest and eat and not worry about who wants to kill me.

Sun started setting and I walked back into Santa Monica. Ate a good burrito during the day, drank an orange soda and stayed out of the sun in the bushes by a freeway overpass.

Dark came and I was a couple of blocks from the park where it all started. Could see some people there, silhouettes in the streetlights. An SUV circled the park a couple of times. I figured that was Mrs. Nerd. And I was right. She took her car to the curb and stalked cautiously into the park.

But not cautious enough. If you kill someone, throw the knife where no one will find it. Ever. There’s a whole ocean out there and Mrs. Nerd ditched the knife in the dirt. And if you get blood on your clothes, burn them, but then take the ashes and throw those in the ocean, too.

Because if you’re not careful, then the guy that you’re trying to pin the murder on might turn on you. It wasn’t hard, especially after she tried to smash my head in with the golf club. Hell, even the phone number was toll free.

That’s my secret. I called the cops. It was the only way I could see getting out from under the Nerd’s murder. I wasn’t going to take the fall. Who better to hang for it than the person who really did it.

Called the cops twice. The first time was to tell them about the knife somewhere in the bluffs and that they should take a hard look at the wife and her fireplace and to see if any knives are missing in the kitchen. Someone must want a promotion, because when I called the second time and talked to the same detective, he said that they had looked at Mrs. Nerd before and after I called and wanted more details to build a case. I gave him Mrs. Nerd, at the scene of the crime with a bag full of ashes that had been her bloody clothes.

I watched her silhouette standing there, then lights blazed all around. She stood frozen as a bunch of people in police jackets circled her. They got closer and closer until all their shadows swallowed Mrs. Nerd.

That’s what you get for fucking with Trey.

Maybe the Nerd is resting in peace now. Those are the only people who can rest. The dead ones.