Novels

Profiles (part2)

February 20, 2015

Who Loves Ya Baby

 

It wasn’t enough to dress the part you had to act the part or fall prey to stronger handlers, who’d steal your bitches and mess you up. His threads made a statement, a statement that said ‘watch out, I be bad and got the power’. You also had to be prepared to back it up, which he did when needed. And Reese was bad when anyone crossed him. The Johns that tried to split without paying found themselves in an alley with the crap beat out of them, minus watch rings and whatever cash they had in their wallet.

He had to be tough on all levels; his string of ladies paid up or had their face carved up. Rebellious girls foolish enough to stiff him were called Reese’s pieces after he got done with them. They didn’t work anywhere or for anyone after that. He favored the old fashion straight razor to keep his herd in line, keeping a gun for when things got seriously ugly. The girls pressed their trade based on their looks; a scar here or there tended to diminish their value. Reese wasn’t the worst of the pimps on the street, many beating up their girls regularly, for the hell of it. That was bad business and he was a businessman. Keep your girls happy and fixed was the way it was.

Reese was pissed off when he got wind of the exchange between Crazy May and Weise. No one hits his women except Reese. If the white bastard shows his face again, Reese had plans to fuck the dude up.

“Get yo black ass back on the street, bitch,” he hollered. “You got no money fo me and its still early. Where’s Jaunita? You hang with her, right? I ain’t seen her all night. She thinks she’s on vacation? I put the bitch on permanent vacation, she don’t show pretty soon.”

Crazy May had heard this speech before, tapping her foot while he spun his tirade. Reese liked to sound bad, though he rarely took action unless seriously provoked. She tolerated his abuse because the man had a main line of drugs she needed to get it on. He slapped her around a few times but always came through with the heroin. She got hooked on the junk when she was thirteen, nine years ago. One of her mother’s boyfriends tripped her out on the stuff, deflowering her at the same time. She’d mainlined ever since.

“Juanita got a John, she work late fo da man,” said May. “He pays good. You’ll see!”

Reese slapped May to vent his anger, she reeling back against the wall from the blow. “Damn right he pays,” yelled Reese. “I’ll cut ‘em both if he don’t.”

May walked away without saying goodbye, such formality not necessary in this line of business. The factory workers will be getting out and she could pick up a couple hundred or so. The men got paid yesterday and hadn’t had time to blow it on booze and gambling. A few wanted to owe her he money until the next week. There were no freebees with her or Reese.

Reese was upset for more than one reason. Some big dude called Jaba was moving into his turf, talking shit to his girls, giving them free drugs. The man was looking to ace Reese out and take over his whole operation. Reese patted the gun tucked under his arm right next to his straight razor.

 

The fool, Jaba was going to have to back off or find himself dead in the morning. Don’t nobody care ‘bout no wasted pimp in this town, he thought. They take his ass out with the garbage.

 

Crazy May just finished shooting up when Weise caught up with her again. May too dazed to resist, Weise seizing this opportunity for a free lay, taking her before she could put up a fight. She protested trying to managed her mind and body through the fog in her head. The heroin was high grade, better than usual, making that hard.

In the back seat of his car Weise forced himself on her, whispering, “Your black ass isn’t worth much now, is it? You whores want to be treated like someone special. Well guess again.”

He dumped her on the sidewalk pulling away, satisfied with his conquest. Quickly she read the license plate fixing it to memory. She had a talent for remembering numbers and will let Reese know who the asshole was that screwed her and didn’t pay.

 

 

Night Encounter

          A fine drizzle had settled on his windshield. The weather channel had predicted a chance of rain but the system never quite made it in. Weise decided to stop at a 24 hour market not far away. Sex made him hungry and he knew he didn’t have any food at home. At this hour the place would be almost empty so he won’t have to wait long in a checkout line with the uneducated masses. He smiled to himself as he parked his car near the front of the store.

 

I got the best from that hooker and have Hannah Lundquist tomorrow night, he thought. She’s not that pretty but she’ll do fine for the rest of this week. She’s going to have to take good care of me to get that C.

 

At three o’clock in the morning the market shut off some of the outside lighting to save energy. The front of the store well lit; in contrast the parking lot was darker than normal hours. There was enough light to find your way to the door the reflection off of the wet ground helping. On his way through the lot he bumped into someone in the shadows.

“Watch it, jerk!” barked Weise his sarcasm sharp as ever. “You just learn to walk or too stupid to notice people?”

“Huh?” grunted the person

“Probably can’t figure out an intelligent answer, either,” added Weise as the automatic door open to the market. “Why did God make people like you, if there actually is a God.”

 

These kind of people are exactly the sort I see in my classroom, he thought. Human fodder taking up valuable space instead of getting the menial job they deserve. If I were God I’d choose to thin out these idiots, arrange the world so responsible people could live in peace.

Reports

           Callum whistled when he sat down at his new desk picking up the reports on top. Mrs. So-and-So stabbed Mr. So-and-So when she discovered his affair. Gangbanger Gary robbed the Quickie Pick making off with thirty dollars and change, killing the clerk for good measure. They were all like that, no mysteries to solve with plenty of witnesses to verify the murders.

These were the easy ones, better than trying to find a murderer that left little or nothing to catch them. A study had been done regarding solving homicides that had not been witnessed. The study indicated murders had to be solved within forty-eight hours or the trail got very cold, requiring more hours than most police departments could afford. In bigger cities many murders went unsolved for this very reason unless the victim was important or someone notable. Callum didn’t agree with the injustice of this, the rich getting better service than the poor.

Homicide wasn’t new to him since he studied all facets of police work and had occasions to deal with them in vice. There were murders in vice generally involving one of the girls or pimp getting greedy. Turf wars sprung up all the time the unfortunate ending up dead in some alley. It was easy fingering the perpetrator because someone always finked or the murderer left enough evidence to implicate him.

Callum’s mind drifted for a few minutes smiling at what Lisa told him the night before. She was going to be a mother and he, a father. All that remained was a quick wedding and a nursery to be painted. Lisa’s mother didn’t know yet, who would surely object to the marriage until she found out about the baby. She would forgive the match she did not approve of if it meant being a grandmother. Lisa assured him her mother will come around.

Just then the phone rang. The officer on duty called to inform homicide that they had a stiff at 122 Hanover Street.

“Guy’s been dead awhile,” reported the beat officer. “Doesn’t look like robbery. Guy still has his wallet and none of the usual things seem to be missing. Might want to get down here quick; the manager of the market is having a fit. A dead guy in the parking lot doesn’t draw a lot of business.”

So much for the easy cases, thought Callum. Maybe this guy has some obvious enemies. That would be nice.

 

Hours Before

          Two other cars sat in the parking lot some distance from the store, obviously those of the employees. They had to park all the way to the back so customers could get a good space in front, not that this particular store was over crowded. No other cars were there. Weise bought a chicken roasted the way he liked it, still warm. The deli section of the market did a good job on them, spicing the chicken with some unknown combinations that made it better than the fast food chicken places. Some chicken for a late night snack and then top it off with some mocha fudge with almonds ice cream, he’d bought two days before.

He shoved the bag of chicken across the front seat noticing an odd smell, like grease or oil. He’d better take his car in a have it checked for leaks, Weise wrinkling his brow, unhappy with potential car problems.

 

I hate bringing in my car; those mechanics take you to the cleaners when they work on your car, he thought. Maybe the smell will go away, some freak thing with the car. It could have been the hooker; those streets in that part of town are filthy. Bitch might have had something on her shoes.

 

Weise was about to start the car when a hand grabbed his head and mouth pulling him backward. The headrest kept him from being pulled all the way to the back, his arms helpless to break the hold. He tried to yell out but was silenced when something cold and sharp was pushed into his neck followed by warmth spreading on his shoulder and chest, blood, his blood. It was painful but lulling as his brain tried to ascertain the cause of his discomfort. In a minute or two he felt nothing at all.

 

No Excuse

          Javier Mendoza had spent the entire evening shampooing the carpet in George Russell’s office. The cleaning was quick but the drying time took forever, the heater on a locked timer. He missed his daughter’s birthday party and would probably get fired since the carpet was still wet. He always shampooed on Friday nights so there was plenty of time for the carpet to dry. Overnight was impossible.

He had gone out of the office briefly to grab a burrito for dinner. The little place around the corner was pretty good but not as good as his wife’s cooking. He didn’t have much of a choice. With all the windows and doors opened Javier set up fans to help the drying process, the outside humidity not helping the situation. Russell’s office had no window that opened so it got indirect circulation slowing the progress.

The alarm company called the office every couple of hours to verify why the alarm was turned off. George worked late some evenings and forgot to set the alarm before leaving, the alarm company used to this routine. Javier did not answer the phone because he was forbidden to do so. Each time the message machine announced the alarm company’s concern. Javier did not know that they also called George Russell several times until he instructed them not to call anymore.

Javier was asleep, curled up on a row of chairs in the waiting area of the office when George arrived in the morning. He rudely kicked the chair to wake Javier and then motioned him to the office. Reaching down he felt the carpet, damp but not soaking wet. It was unlikely to be completely dry until the middle of the afternoon.

“Well?” bellowed George. “How am I going to have my meeting with this wet carpet? Huh, huh?”

“It is only a little damp, Señor Russell,” said Javier trying to make the best of the impossible situation. “No one will know if they do not touch it.”

“I will know,” grumbled George. “No excuse!”

“I try to make it dry quick but I cannot,” reported Javier in defense. “The rain makes it so.”

“What rain?” growled George. “It’s clear as a bell outside.”

“Ah, si. but it was raining last night, very late,” returned Javier. “Everything outside was wet.”

“I don’t want to argue about his,” snapped George. “Get your stuff out of here and don’t bother coming in anymore. You can forget getting paid for this too; I don’t pay for services I don’t get.”

Javier packed up his cleaning supplies and loaded it in the back of his truck. None of the other businesses along this strip were open yet, though one car sat a few spaces away from Russell’s Mercedes in the shadows of a planted tree. He couldn’t see anyone in the car but was too distraught to care. He needed this job; his family would suffer, especially his daughter who was to have her coming out party in a couple months. But to argue would be futile and perhaps dangerous since George might spread the word to other clients of Javier’s.

 

No Class

           A note was taped to the door of the lecture hall. Professor Weise’s course was to be suspended for an indefinite period of time.

Hannah Lundquist looked confused.

“I’m supposed to f…uh, get tutored by him tonight,” she muttered. “He was gonna give me his address so I could get there. How can I do that now? I gotta pass this class or my mom will shit.”

Most of the students wandered off, some glad the class was cancelled and others worried they have wasted weeks of work only to have the class terminated.

“I wonder what’s going on with Professor Weise,” Garrett said out loud to no one in particular. “He run out of Viagra?”

“That’s not very nice. Maybe he’s sick,” replied Rosalie staring at the note. “I hope it’s nothing too serious. I need this class, too. It’ll cost me an extra semester if it get’s dropped.”

“At least I won’t be late to my next class now,” returned Garrett. “I’d really like to get this class out of the way so I don’t have to listen to his insults any more. I don’t know why someone hasn’t beat the crap out of him. He treats all the guys like lepers and kisses up to the girls. They put out and get As. That’s a hundred percent sexism. Hey! Maybe somebody did beat him up.”

“Sexism? Nice try, Garrett. Now you know how women feel being singled out. My mom went to college and was told by her professors not to waste her time. Told her to get a job as a secretary and marry some guy with a good job.”

“Did she?”

“Ha! Hardly. My mom finished top of her class in law school. She’s an attorney, you know. She liked family law and did that for several years before meeting my dad. He was the attorney for the other spouse in a divorce case. They argued the case, got married and still argue, though not about the law.”

Garrett liked the fact that Rosalie this confidence. A lot of the girls played dumb to make the guys feel superior; that was just plain wrong in his book. Sooner or later you find out she’s not what you thought and then there would be the unhappy breakup. Yeah, he liked Rosalie a lot. He still didn’t have the guts to tell her so and she wasn’t about to make it easy.

Later, around the Quad students were in a hubbub about a murder. The rumor was out that Theodore Weise had been killed, the details not forthcoming. The dean was forced to find a quick replacement to take over the class, angry parents complaining about the money paid for the class. At first Rosalie passed the gossip off as rumors but then several of the staff members supported the claim giving a few particulars.

 

Who could have hated the man enough to kill him, she wondered?

 

Aftermath

          Blood still stained the plastic handle of the ice pick as he pulled it out to feel it in his hands. The chrome finish glistened in the light from his table lamp throwing streaks of light in his darkened room. He sat for a while reliving the moment he had thrust it into the man’s neck without hesitation. The point, sharp and fine found no resistance as he pushed it deep into the artery, life’s blood spurting out. The man’s body emptied and vacant, was no longer rude.

There was a card in the backseat of the man’s car, a woman’s name and phone number, perhaps another rude person or perhaps the name of another victim of the dead man’s rudeness. He should let her know that the man was no longer a problem, his rudeness silenced with this beautiful tool. Yes, it was a tool of swift justice, the avenging angel in chrome and plastic, the voices told him.

Of course, he could not tell Ernest about his strike against injustice and rudeness; the man did not understand the seriousness and would tell others. They would not let him continue with his work. That would not be acceptable. He tilted the lamp to illuminate a photograph in a wood frame. His mother and father were quite young in this photograph, her hair dark and long, he slender and tough.

His mother was gone now, his father too. She had been a good woman; never a bad word passed her lips. His father, well, he was very different from her, rude, tactless, evil and mean to the bone. He was a killer, a killer of good things, a killer of happiness and joy. His father killed their dog because it barked too much, bashing it with a shovel until it stopped whining. Then he killed both of the cats with a gun because they defecated in the garden beds, though mother didn’t mind. Nothing was ever good enough for him and he voiced his displeasure in every possible rude way a person could imagine. That was nothing compared with the beatings, insults, leather strap, willow branch and wooden pole.

 

It was the wooden pole that woke me up, thought the murderer. My father gave me the gift of sight when he beat me with it. I slept for months; they called it a coma, and then I realized my special purpose. My job was to eliminate rudeness, the bad things. So my father had to be pushed down the cellar stairs; it was my duty, the voices said so. I had to hit him hard to be sure he did not wake up again, the same shovel he killed the dog with. Mom would never have to listen to his insults again. She would never have to hear the words ‘whore, lazy, bitch’ and a variety of others. She cried when father died but I know she was happier.

 

Late Payment

          “Yes I know, it was only one late payment,” said George Russell on the phone. “But your contract clearly spelled out the provisions of payments. My agent explained it to you in detail; it’s our standard contract.”

“I sent the late payment in as soon as I could, Mr. Russell. I don’t even think it was a whole month late. I can’t see how you can cancel my policy so fast. I’ve had your insurance for ten years.”

“Listen!” barked George. “I’m not going to waste my time telling you low-life scum about policy contracts; that’s something you should have checked out beforehand. Anyone with a fifth grade education can understand that. Now if you want to reinstate your insurance policy we will have to start from the beginning, a new policy. Your old claim is not valid since you were late with your payment and you will have to pay a higher premium because of that recent accident. Now you’re a risk and stupid to boot.”

There were several minutes of silence and then the person hung up. George’s life was falling apart at the seams as it was; he didn’t need some sorry son-of-a-bitch milking his company. He was in the business of making money not handing out free money to people who forgot to pay their premiums. Thinking of money his soon to be ex-wife wanted a larger settlement, claiming physical abuse from him. His lawyer encouraged him to agree to the settlement and be done with it. George wasn’t too sure his lawyer wasn’t sleeping with his wife and planning a vacation in the Bahamas.

He hadn’t worked all these years to turn it over to his whimpering, money-grabbing wife. So what if he knocked her around a little bit; he was only teaching her a lesson, which she never seemed to learn. Everything would have been fine; if she hadn’t been so nosey, she would never have found out about his tryst with the neighbor across the street, which was no big deal. It wasn’t as if he loved her; it was strictly fucking. And he wouldn’t have had to sneak around in the first place if his wife put out. He called her the Virgin Queen, though he had his doubts about the attorney he thought was banging her. Her appointments with him lasted well into the early hours of the morning. That didn’t sound like legal consultation to George.

To top it off he had to find another janitor for the office. The agency sent him a few referrals each one with a Hispanic surname. He was becoming tired of explaining what he wanted; these south of the border losers were all alike. What kind of brainpower did it take to empty wastebaskets and vacuum the carpets?

 

The Warning

          Eighteen-year old Juanita Alvarez shivered in the front seat of the car as it moved down the expressway and out of town. It wasn’t the temperature that made her shake but the possible repercussions if Reese caught her and her need for crack. Kicking the addiction was no picnic and she’d been off the stuff for two days, fighting the temptation to find her dealer, selling her body to him for the drug.

Crazy May was the one who told her to quit before she ends up dead. It was only a matter of time before Reese cut her up or killed her. She didn’t bring in enough money and had turned down a couple tricks because she was afraid of them, no excuse in Reese’s book. You lay with anyone who has the cash; that was his only philosophy. They could even get a little rough, as long as they didn’t do any serious damaged to his merchandise, bruises heal. Only Reese was allowed to mark up his girls.

A woman scarred or gimped played on his second and third string of hookers, allocated to the cheap, crappy parts of town, where men weren’t so particular. The girls there turned tricks for twenty bucks, usually working all day and night to get enough money to eat. Drugs were their only escape from the horror and disgust they lived in. Many of them died out; disease killed some and evil men pushing beyond the limits set for Reese’s premium girls.

Brian Anderson didn’t know about her life when he met Juanita. She seemed like a nice kid to him, who never told him exactly what she did for a living. When the truth came out, he asked her to leave with him, get away from that lifestyle and start new. He promised to take care of her and treat her right, a condition she had no experienced prior to this time. She believed him and now was on the road to upstate New York, where he did some special farming.

 

Reese Shaka Franklin had decided on a showdown with the new pimp operating on his turf. Showdown was not the correct word for what he planned to do; this wasn’t the OK Coral where you stood in front of your enemy waiting to draw. No, it wasn’t going to be like that at all. Stealth and cunning mixed with unfair advantage was the way he wanted to bring this off. He was going to hurt the brotha’ bad, maybe kill him. Reese wasn’t going to lose any sleep over the demise of some newbie pimp shakin’ down his talent, handing out drugs for free; that was going to end one way or another.

The word came down that Jaba was a big mutha-fucka who carried a small cannon under his coat, a 44mag. The word also suggested he was as ugly as his name, a Star Wars Movie character from long ago. Reese was only five-foot-nine without his elevator shoes, weighing in at one hundred and forty five pounds. The word out, Jaba out-weighed him by double with a little muscle behind it. That was fine with Reese since big men tended to be slow; speed and tactics was Reese’s main advantage.

It wasn’t hard finding Jaba dressed up in his bright yellow coat and green pants, passing out drugs to the girls like it was candy. He looked just like a pimp out of the sixties with that outfit, the dude watching too many old movies, recreating a stereotype. Reese watched Jaba slowly move down the block laughing and jiving with the girls. In about ten minutes he was going to be jiving with a straight razor.

Reese circled around, positioning himself down the alley a block away. He didn’t have a plan except to scare the crap out of the fat dude and cut him, maybe. He also had to make sure blubber boy didn’t pull out that nasty piece under his coat, speed and surprise.

Jaba strolled down the block like he owned it, his belly sticking out with the ruffles from his shirt leading the way. He stopped short of the alley trying to light a cigarette. The wind kept blowing it out. He moved to the alley ducking his head inside to light the cigarette, a face staring at him, smiling. A quick slash with a razor cut away the front of his jacket, digging deep into his gut. He fumbled forward unable to back out of the alley. Another slash from shoulder to hip put Jaba on his knees.

“You keep away from my ladie sucka,” yelled Reese. “You wanna play the man, you find yo’self another place to move it.”

Jaba had one hand on his gut and the other on his chest trying to keep everything inside that belonged there. The cuts weren’t that deep but bled like a road kill. He looked up a Reese first confused and then angry, his right hand moving toward the gun inside his jacket; Reese was prepared. A final slash across the throat brought an end to the warning; Jaba was not going to have to make any decisions, blood filling the alley.

 

 

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