Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Prescott (part 2)

The air was thick with dried sweat and desperation. You see this scene in urban areas across the country. Men with a limited grasp of English huddled in the parking lot behind a grocery or liquor store. Back East they would be huddled against the cold. Here it was the wind. It tore through the parking lot - sandblasting anything in its way.

The best workers went early. Now, it was the dregs. The ones too lazy or hung over to show up on time. The ones who usually have something else on the side. The ones I wanted to talk to.

It would’ve been easy to spot my guy back home. Gang colors and ink have a way of announcing who you are. Here I’d have to pick up on subtler clues. The guy by the dumpster. Designer jeans. Blue hoodie that hid his hands all morning long.

I shadowed him from the opposite side of the street. Not as much cover as the time I had to whack Don Alfonso, but doable. I followed him to a rundown house with a patch of dirt for a yard. This passed for a slum in Prescott.

I went around back and slipped in the kitchen. The floor was littered with empty beer bottles. Mexican brands I didn’t recognize. A garbage bag full of marijuana in the corner. They weren’t too worried about raids.

I heard the distinctive click of a hammer being pulled back. A voice said, “You’re in trouble now, esse.”

He held the gun sideways in that stupid banger pose he’d probably seen in a dozen movies. He didn’t realize that pose decreased his accuracy by roughly 50 percent. And it got worse every shot after the first.

Guns have a finite range of efficacy. He was too close. One move and the gun was mine. I pistol-whipped him and he fell. He wiped his mouth and stared at his bloody hand.

“Did you rob the Tick Tock Diner last night?”

He stared at me.

I kicked him in the ribs. “Did you rob the Tick Tock Diner last night?”

“Si.”

“Who was your partner?”

Silence.

I pistol-whipped him again. He spit teeth like Pez.

“Who was your partner?”

“Guillermo.”

“Where can I find Guillermo?”

“No se.”

I hit him again and again, breaking his nose.

“His girlfriend’s. On Wildflower.”

“You’re going to show me.” I grabbed him by the collar and dragged him out the back door.

1 comment:

pattinase (abbott) said...

You have nothing to dread with writing like this.