Raymond was awakened from a sound sleep at 2:45 in the morning. It was Margie’s ring-tone.
Margie’s normally unflappable voice was shaking. “I need to have you come over NOW!” and she gave him an address.
Raymond called a rental truck and was at her apartment in fifteen minutes. The elevators were not working, undoubtedly due to a lack of repair parts. Raymand was breathless after dashing up the five flights of stairs. The door opened as he walked up to it. Apparently, Margie had been listening for his footsteps.
Stepping into the short hallway on the other side of the door he almost tripped on an enormous man who was laying face-up on the floor. The man was either dead or unconscious.
Since the man was lying beneath the bead curtains in the hallway, Raymond had a pretty good idea of what had happened.
“When did this happen?” Raymond asked.
Margie gave Raymond a cold look. “You are supposed to ask me if I am ‘OK’ first“ she said.
Raymond thought, “I can see she is ok...but if that helps her calm down….”
“I apologize. I don’t know what I was thinking. Are you and your mother OK?” he asked solicitously.
At the sound of Raymond’s voice, Margie’s mother poked her head around the corner. This was Raymond’s first time of ever seeing her. She was wearing a night-gown and a doo-rag around her hair. She looked every one of her sixty years.
“I am just fine, young man. Thanks to you and your electrician buddy. That really knocked him on his ass, didn’t it!” the old biddy spouted.
Margie sighed. “I am just fine, too. But I don’t know what to do about HIM.” she said, pointing at the giant.
The man probably weighed a good hundred pounds more than Raymond and there was no way in hell he was going to be able to move him alone. Raymond was a bit leery about calling the cops because he thought they might take a dim view of his electrocuting innocent thieves.
Raymond took his pulse and it was strong, so the option of cutting him into pieces and removing him in chunks was not an option. While taking his pulse, Raymond noticed a dozen plaster stalactites had impaled the giant's forehead. Looking up, he saw a bruised patch of plaster where the giant's head had bounced off the plaster. It was common practice to texture the plaster to hide the fact that the apartments were made of pre-cast concrete.
Raymond put on his thinking cap and thought for about half a minute. Then he pulled out his phone and dialed one of his AA contacts.
It answered on the third ring. “Hello, this is Raymond. Am I talking to Winkin’ or Blinkin’?
Winkin’ and Blinkin’ sporadically attended AA meetings. They were in their mid-thirties and worked physically demanding jobs like unloading trucks, humping drywall and hodding concrete. They were both a few inches above six feet in height.
They both suffered from excrutiating allergies that made their eyes itch; hence Winkin’ and Blinkin’. Their physical condition was exacerbated by the cellars and other cockroach and rodent infested places they tended to live. They did not care what you called them as long as you paid cash.
“You got Blinkin’” the disembodied voice replied.
“I got a job for you.” Raymond said.
“Couldn’t you have called in the morning?” Blinkin’s asked.
“I got a job for both of you, right now. And it pays extra if you can get it done in the next half hour.” Raymond said. Raymond was getting a bit worried that Andre, the name Raymond chose for the anonymous man, was going to wake up.
“Do you have a hammer, a baseball bat or a big knife in the house?” Raymond asked.
“Nope.” both women answered in unison.
“Would pepper spray work?” the old biddy asked.
“Yep. Great idea. Get all your pepper spray and aim it at his face. Let him have it if he starts to move.” Raymond commanded.
Raymond kept looking at the giant. Something seemed out of place but he just could not put his finger on it.
“Margie, do you have your work camera with you?” he asked.
“Sure. Got it with me all the time.” she said.
“Put a fresh SD card in it and take a bunch of pictures of this guy. Get his face from several angles. I have some friends who might be able to tell me something about him.” Raymond requested.
Margie had taken about ten pictures, including ones of the front and sides of his face when Winkin and Blinkin knocked on the door.
Raymond let them in.
They whistled when they saw ‘Andre’ stretched out on the floor. “Damn, he is a big gomer, isn’t he.”
Blinkin sniffed. “He pissed and shit himself, didn’t he?” as he looked at the dark stain in the crotch of the man's shorts.
In the excitement (and the smell of what seemed like twenty cats) Raymond had not even noticed. “Yeah, I guess so.”
“What do you want us to do, get rid of him?” Blinkin asked. Blinkin was pretty sharp for having just been awakened.
“Precisely. The elevator is out so you will have to carry him down the stairs. Throw him in the alley and make it look like he is a drunk who passed out. With any luck he will forgot where he was when he passed-out.” Raymond said.
Raymond paid them each a day’s wages in cash. It took both men grabbing an wrist to drag him out into the hallway where they spun him around. Then each man grabbed an ankle and started dragging him toward the stairwell.
Being LA, there was no risk of nosy neighbors opening doors to see what the banging and thumping was. Folks in LA have a strong sense of self-preservation.
Raymond pulled the door shut as the men started huffing-and-puffing.
Coming to the stairwell, Blinkin said, “I got this.”
Winkin said, “Rojas said to carry him down the stairs.”
Blinkin looked at Winkin in disbelief. “Are you nuts. Fuck that shit. This guy deserves whatever happens to him.” and with that Blinkin started dragging the giant down the stairs, the back of his head thumping concrete with each step. The back of Andre’s head was a complete pulp of bloody flesh by the time Blinkin had dragged him down five flights of stairs.
On the street, they dragged him around the corner to the service alley. They took the opportunity to pillage his pockets and recovered a wallet with $20 Sedelia and a couple of knives.
“He still don’t look like no street bum.” Winkin said.
The two men pondered that for a bit when Blinkin said, “Well, I guess we better do something about that.” He unzipped his fly and started urinating on the unmoving man. Winkin suddenly had an urge to urinate as well. By the time they were done, the man’s clothing was soaked.
Looking around, they found an empty bottle of Everclear which they wedged beneath his massive arm
He still did not look like a street-bum. His shirt was still too clean. Winkin gave him a kick which smeared part of his shirt with muddy urine. Getting into the spirit of things, both men gave the giant a head-to-toe boot-stomping.
“Guess that will have to do.” Blinkin said. It was a grand day when he and Winkin got paid a day’s wages for twenty minutes of work and were able to pick up an extra $20 and two knives to boot.
Upstairs, in Margie's apartment, the old biddy said, "You might as well spend the rest of the night here. No sense in you going back to your place when you gotta go to work in a few hours.
Raymond looked around at the cluttered apartment. Every surface was buried in magazines, dolls and cats, cats, cats. "Where would I sleep?" he asked.
"I dunno. I am sure you will think of something." as she pointedly looked at the door to what must have been Margie's bedroom. "I am sure we will all feel safer and sleep better if you stay."
And with that the old biddy entered her own bedroom and slammed the door shut.
Hi ERJ, just a very slight bit of constructive criticism. First, let me say that your stories (I've read them all a couple of times now) are very interesting and capture my imagination. But when you're writing dialogue between folks, I think using contractions would make the conversations sound more believable. So, you'd replace "What is your name, son?" with "What's your name, son?" --The second phrase reads more like how somebody would speak, whereas the first phrase sounds more robot-like. Just a thought on how you could improve your excellent stories.ReplyDelete