Copyright 2018 Dell Sweet. All rights reserved.
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This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places or incidents depicted are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual living persons places, situations or events is purely coincidental.
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Cover and Interior Art Copyright 2013 Dell Sweet
Friday morning: Mistakes
The headlights swept the area of the lookout and then flicked off. Ben waited to see what would happen next. The car had parked right next to their own car, but they weren’t in it. They were a hundred yards up, just inside the tree line.
The door opened and a light came on. A voice: “It’s the right color maybe it is them,” the voice said. A young, thin black man stepped out into the circles of light cast by the headlights and stretched his legs.
The driver, a shorter even skinnier white kid, got out and looked around. “I don’t see them,” he said. He lit a cigarette and then shut the car door. “Yo ho,” he said loudly. “If you’re here speak up. We know we’re late.”
The silence held. Ben put one finger to his lips so Ed wouldn’t be tempted to answer.
“Told you. They’re fuckin’ long gone,” the black kid said.
Ben made a follow-me motion and headed over to the car. Not really sneaking, but walking quietly. He held his gun at his side and Ed did the same.
Both men were smoking now and looking out at the city lights. Ben walked right up to them and then purposely ground his foot into the gravel to make a noise. Both of them screamed and jumped.
“Where the fuck have you two been?” Ben asked. He actually was mad but he was even more relieved and trying hard not to laugh at the way they had screamed.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” the black kid asked. He seemed to recover the quickest. “We don’t know you.”
“Yeah?” Ben asked. “Do you know Carlos by any chance? Are you two sorry looking fuckers Daryl and Danny? Huh? Would that be you two?”
“Man, there ain’t no call to cuss,” Daryl said.
“No? Then explain why you’re almost twenty-four fuckin’ hours late?” Ben asked.
“Car broke down. Carlos only gave us enough for this shit box and it broke down,” Daryl said.
“For twenty-four hours?” Ben asked.
“Hey, man, we had to get a part, okay?” Daryl asked.
“What part?” Ben asked.
“The mother fuckin’ alternator, okay, white man?” he asked.
“No need to go in that direction,” Ben said.
“Yeah? Then get off my fuckin’ back,” Daryl said. “And put those guns away unless you’re gonna use them.” He pulled a gun partway out of his own pocket. It looked like a Chinese made 9 mm.
Ben was tempted to shoot the kid just for the threat, but he slipped his pistol back into his jacket pocket, walked over to the Ford’s trunk, unlocked it and swung up the trunk lid. “You ready or what?” he asked.
Up The Hill
It felt like he broke his kneecap when he slammed it into the bottom of the dashboard. He must’ve dozed off. When he had come awake, he heard them talking and realized the deal was finally going down. He jumped out of the car, rubbed the knee for a second and then started down the hill at a quick pace.
It was maybe a quarter mile and he wasn’t in bad shape, but he wasn’t in great shape either. It was the goddamn cigarettes. That was what was the worst of it. Killed your wind. Heart, lungs, bad shit. He had to stop soon before they fucking killed him.
By the time he got close to the lookout he had to stop and catch his breath. He didn’t want them to hear him breathing heavy. He wanted to sneak up on them. He finally caught his breath and crept forward into the woods that surrounded the lookout area.
Daryl opened the trunk of the Toyota and picked up the blue duffel bag. He tossed it to Ben and Ben caught it deftly. Ben stared at him until Daryl broke the stare.
“If you want it any time you can have it,” Ben said softly.
Daryl’s eyes cut back up. “What’s that supposed to mean, white boy?” His hand plunged into his jacket pocket.
“Words to an old song,” Ben said and smiled. The smile didn’t extend to his eyes. His eyes said, ‘If you want a piece of me you can have it.’ Daryl looked away again.
Ben set the bag down and ran the zipper. He pulled a few bricks out, counted and then looked back at Daryl who refused to meet his gaze. His eyes kept sliding way.
“A little short,” Ben said.
“My ass,” Daryl said.
“It is going to be your ass,” Ben agreed quietly. “There are two and two missing. See this mark?” He turned one of the bricks over to show a mark in the shape of a star. “I know that mark. That mark tells me a lot. Where it came from, which clan made it. And what it is. Pure heroin. I mean pure. Hasn’t been touched. From Torres, deep Mexico.” He turned the other brick upside down. A double circle with a triangle. “Also pure. This time cocaine. Almonte’s crew, Ecuador. I know this stuff, like I said. And I know what should be here. Two and two missing. Cough it up.” His gun magically appeared in his hand.
“Hey, man,” Danny said. “I think we need to calm down. Why you wanna kill someone right off the bat, man, huh?”
“Where is it?” Ben asked. He set the duffel bag into the trunk, and switched the gun to his shooting hand. “I don’t necessarily want to kill anyone, but I will. I have no problem with that.” He lifted the gun and aimed at Daryl’s head.
“Hey,” Daryl started.
“Drop the mother fuckin’ gun,” a new voice said. “Don’t think about changing positions… I mean all you fucks. All of you. Starting with you, wise guy. Bring that gun down.”
The man who owned the voice stepped up behind him and pressed the barrel of a gun to Ben’s neck. Ben’s hand dropped and the man took the gun from him. “On the ground out flat, Hands behind your head,” the man told him.
He took Ben’s gun and dropped it into the blue duffel bag. He took Ed’s gun, then Daryl’s, and Danny’s last. He checked the cars, found the other 9 mm in the glove box. He took Ed’s bundle of cash when he searched him, whistling as he did. He dropped the cash and the three cheap, black 9 mm guns into the blue duffel bag, which he set into the open trunk of the Ford. He holstered his own weapon and flipped the safety off the small Chinese gun Daryl had been carrying. He stepped back and tripped over the curb.
The gun went flying and all hell broke loose. Ben jumped up and caught Ed’s elbow dragging him backwards fast. Daryl and Danny grabbed the brown suitcase, threw it on to the back seat of the Toyota and jumped inside.
Ben had been just about to make his own move when the cop made the mistake of tripping, playing right into Ben’s game plan.
The cop found his feet, got his own gun back into his hands and then ran for the woods. Ben got his other gun from his jacket, passed the 22 to Ed, and palmed the silenced 9 mm himself. They both duck walked around to the front of the Ford, got to the door, levered it open and got in. Ed crawled across to the passenger’s seat while Ben jumped into the driver’s seat. A shot came from behind them, staring the rear window and passing through the fleshy part of Ben’s shoulder. Ed leaned out the window and opened up on Daryl who was leaning out of the driver’s side of the Toyota trying for another shot. He apparently had no idea how to use the gun. He ducked downward into the car when Ed fired back.
“Ed, you gotta drive. You gotta drive, Ed” Ben said. He held his shoulder as he slid across the seat and they switched places.
Ed was nervous, but he got the car going. He started to turn around to see where he was going, but another shot starred the glass and he simply floored the Ford and dropped it into reverse.
The Ford leapt backwards, smashed into the rear quarter panel of the Toyota and pushed past it. The Toyota skipped across the gravel as the Ford screeched past it, spun around, and came to a stop pointing outward. Ed floored it and started out of the turnout.
Daryl had the Toyota started a second later. “We got to get them, Danny. We got to get them or were dead, man. We got to.” He spun the wheel hard left on the Toyota, jammed the gas pedal to the floorboard and slewed around, clipping the stone wall and then screaming out onto the blacktop; chasing after the Ford.
Ben managed to get his cell phone out of his pocket and punched in a number.
“I’m coming to you,” he said… “Like a dream… A bad fuckin’ dream… I’ve been shot… Not bad, but be ready for me.” He clicked off the phone and shoved it into his pocket. “I’m gonna tell you where to turn. Don’t sweat it. This is part of the plan, only it was supposed to be just the cop, not these dip shits. Now it’ll probably be both… I can shoot: If I have to take them out I will… You understand, Eddie? You got me? You drive. Turn when I tell you, we’ll be fine. Drive hard, but don’t lose them. They stole from us, we have to get that back, plus the cop was probably parked farther away. We have to give him time to reach his car and follow us.”
“Good…” He took a deep breath. The pain was heavy in his shoulder. Maybe a fractured bone, maybe worse. Or maybe just the freshness of the wound. “Okay, turn left at the bottom of the hill. First left, that will get us on our way.” Ben told him.
Up The Hill Again
He made it back to the car and nearly passed out. He couldn’t open the door. The door was stuck, and then he remembered he had locked it. He reached into his pocket for his keys but the pocket was empty. He searched his other pocket, his coat, but there were no keys.
He yelled. “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” He slammed his fists into the top of the car over and over again. He finally turned around, leaned back against the car and then slid to the ground.
He stayed that way for a while, he had no idea how long. Finally, the rage passed and he got back to his feet and walked off down the hill in search of the keys.
Thankfully most of the lookout was well lit. Still, he didn’t find the keys until he was at the absolute end of his journey. They were on the ground amid some scuffed up earth, just about a foot past the curbing he had tripped over.
He pocketed the keys just as the sound of distance sirens came to him and looking out over the city he saw the red lights heading for the park. He sighed and began to run once again.
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