They got a van ready for me out back of the warehouse. Arm’s guy pulls the woman along by the arm. Kid’s still hanging onto her, nearly falling ’cause that fucker just keeps pulling them across the lot. Not giving a shit if they’re keeping up or not.
I swear, that fucking kid falls once and I know I’ll end up going old school on that fat fuck. I don’t have to and that’s just as well, I s’pose. It’s more shit I just don’t fucking need.
If she belongs to D’Angelo, neither of these fuckers is gonna hurt her for real anyway. Wouldn’t dare. Or she’d be hurt plenty already.
D’Angelo’s made. Just like Arms, and nothing like Arms. There’s made and then there’s made. Arm’s ain’t much better’n me, no matter what the fuck he tells himself. Just a fucking go-between for other guys to use. To get done what they need to get done.
Tony D’Angelo is a whole other fucking ball game.
I don’t know a fuck of a lot about him, except to know that he’s high up. Definitely higher than Arms and probably higher than Teddy. Or why would Teddy be going out of his way to do shit for him? That fuck don’t lift a finger to help anybody unless there’s something in it for him.
So what’s he doing it for?
Don’t exactly expect Teddy to get on the phone and fill me in on what the fuck’s really going on, either. Don’t even think Arms knows, or if he does, he’s guessing like me. The only one of us with any sort of a fucking clue what’s going on is the broad, and she don’t exactly look like the talking type. At least not the talking to me type.
“Get your filthy fucking hands off me!”
She’s in the back seat of the van with the door open, the kid right beside her. Still hanging on like she’s the only thing in the world. Arm’s guy is all fucking shit-eating grins as he holds his hands up.
“Just making sure you’re buckled in. Don’t want you smashing in that pretty face in an accident.”
She looks at him like something she’s just scraped off her shoe. Don’t blame her. She ain’t buying it. Me either. Even I caught the threat in that. The sooner we’re outta here the better.
I check her out in the rearview mirror. Fuck, she’s pissed. Buckles in the kid next to her and glares at the fuck who’s still standing there with a stupid fucking grin on his face. Like he’s impressing somebody.
She’s not too happy with me either and shoots a dirty look at me as she pulls the kid closer to her. Don’t even pretend to act like I’m sorry. What, like I could apologize? It’s not like I got a choice either. And whether the broad knows it or not, I’m the better option. Not much better but at least I’m not pawing at her in front of her kid.
“What, Taylor? I was just try’na buckle her in.”
Fucker’s still try’na play it like some sorta stupid grab ass joke. Like we should all be laughing at it. Idiot.
“Don’t know if Tony D’Angelo’s gonna be all that happy if he hears about it,” I says.
I don’t know if that’s true or not but it lands on the dumb fuck like a bomb. Kills all the humor like that, dead. Fuck actually looks afraid for a second. Eyes all over my face to see if I’m serious but I ain’t giving him shit.
Maybe sometime in the next week he’ll forget all about it but I don’t think so. I think he’s going to be worried about what he did to her until he’s sure he won’t get whacked for it. Let him sweat. It’s a good thing he don’t know shit all either. Knows enough to be afraid and that’s always worked for me. Works for her too.
Name’s Rita. The kid’s Chris. I guess short for Christopher or some shit. That’s all I got from Arms as far as what the hell to call her. Don’t think she wants me calling her ‘the broad’ all the way to Vegas. Even I’m not that stupid.
She looked pissed enough to spit when she heard Arms say the kid’s name. If she wasn’t getting dragged out across the parking lot, I think she would have made a run at him for it. Didn’t do that over her name, but over the kid’s. Story there.
I’m not gonna find out shit all here, not with that stupid fucker still looking at her through the window. Like some dumb fuck at the zoo. Never seen women before or something.
Map’s on the seat next to me and I unfold it. Look at where I’m supposed to go next and refold the map so’s I can see where the hell I’m going. Not that I need a fucking map in Brooklyn, I don’t need directions, but Teddy’s got some dumb fucking set up he wants me to follow. So he can track me. Or just to fuck with me.
Bunch of hoops like I’m a goddamned trained seal. Except I don’t think they shoot seals if they drop the ball, or whatever the fuck it is they do.
I guess it’s to keep me on as short a leash as possible. If I’m talking on a cell phone, I can be anywhere, right? Teddy wants to make sure I’m at certain spots at certain times. I have to call in from there, so he knows I’m where I’m supposed to be.
Doesn’t fucking trust me. No surprise there. Teddy don’t trust nobody. Chains? Chains’d tell you to do something and then you were expected to just fucking do it. God help you if you didn’t get it fucking done.
If you called him about some stupid shit? He didn’t want to hear shit about where you were at that moment; that you were parked at a gas station or something. Just come back and tell him when it was done and that’s that. Fuck, I can’t even imagine just calling him to shoot the shit about the time of day.
Teddy actually fucking hires guys to answer his phones. And I mean phones, more than one. Like fucking secretaries, can you believe that? Unfuckingbelievable. It’d be funny if he wasn’t so serious about it all. Dead fucking serious.
I got a call to make in a few hours, outside the city. The notepad that came tucked inside the map says it’s a gas station. There’s money for gas in the van, and food. The broad doesn’t look like the kinda person that’s gonna be all that happy about eating shit from a gas station but I doubt they asked her. Then I got to call Teddy.
Another look at Rita in the back seat. She still hasn’t said a word to me. Yet. The kid looks like he’s asleep, his sides rising and falling. Hitches every once in a while, like maybe he’s still crying a little in his sleep. That fucker Teddy. I can’t believe he’s got me doing this shit.
Won’t look at me, not that I’m trying or anything. Just holds her kid, rubbing his back, and looks out the window.
Sure as fuck can’t be for the view. Warehouses turn to boarded up and gated storefronts. It’s not even dark out yet and there’s all kindsa guys dealing shit right out in the open. Nobody’s gonna stop them. Nobody comes down here if they can help it. Nobody’s gonna stop us either. We stand out a little, sure as fuck, but not enough down here to matter. The cops aren’t gonna bother anyone down here. In their eyes, when shit goes down, it’s no humans involved.
I’m used to it but I don’t think she is. Watches everything, like she’s not entirely sure that the guys on the street won’t come right up to the van. She holds the kid a little tighter when we stop at a light and a knot of the fuckers cross the street right in front of us. They don’t dare look at me but get brave eying her. Nothing’s gonna happen but she don’t know that.
Makes me glad the kid’s asleep. Fuck, I don’t know where the hell that thought came from. I’m going soft, I swear, but kids shouldn’t have to see that shit. My old man never let me see that shit when he was alive. Didn’t have much choice later on when he was gone. But before that, I had no fucking clue.
For a few years I tried to keep Matty from seeing it. Thought it was right but what the fuck did I know? Some shit you can’t escape no matter how much you want it. And Matty? He was born to this shit, even if he wasn’t made for it. Which he wasn’t. I guess I always knew that. I should have stopped him from going to Wibeaux insteada just going with him. Stopped him from seeing his old man before we left maybe. I doubt it would have done a fuck of a lot of good though.
Matty ended up following his old man. Didn’t want to but did it anyway, like he couldn’t do anything else. Even when it looked like he was getting out, it followed him anyway.
I ended up like my old man. I’m older now than he was when he bought it. Maybe that’s an accomplishment.
Makes me think about the kid in the back. Whose kid is he and what’s he gonna turn into? Shaking my head again, wondering where the fuck that shit’s coming from.
It’s being on the road. Always makes me think shit, when it’s quiet. It’s not like the company’s all that great either. Another hour we drive like that. Me thinking, the kid sleeping, her not looking at me, saying shit all. Boarded up shitholes turn into apartment blocks and ugly fucking tract housing. Still shitholes. Less people around.
In the back, the woman dozed off and on. Looking more tired after. Whatever sleep she’s getting isn’t doing her a hell of a lot of good. The last time she did it she woke up with a jolt, looked scared. The kid started to fuss at being moved all of a sudden, whining.
She’s muttering nonsense shit at him, rubbing his back and rocking slightly. I remember seeing my mom do that when she was still alive. Every time she was around a kid that started to cry. Didn’t matter whose kid it was neither or if she was holding him at the time. She’d just start to rock back and forth a little bit. Hardwired, I guess.
“I’m hungry, and I have to go pee.”
She’s getting agitated when she can’t quiet him down. Looking around the van. Outside. Only lastly at me. Resents the fuck out of me too. She doesn’t trust me, that’s a given. I wouldn’t trust me either. She doesn’t want to ask but the kid won’t let up.
We’re not at the first stop yet but if I don’t stop soon, the kid’s gonna piss himself back there. The van’ll stink and the kid’ll be wet and bitchy. It’s not like those fucks packed clothes or anything, it’s just her and the kid and me and that’s it. She’ll hate me more than she already does. Not that that’s a big deal but it’s a long fucking way to Vegas. A bitchy woman is just gonna make that worse.
Spot a gas station two blocks over and head for it. Already off my route.
Copyright © November 2008 xxxevilgrinxxx