By Cindy and Walt
He put his hand on his crotch and asked, “You want this?”
“I don’t know what you got?” I asked.
He opened his fly and showed me a very average sized penis. “Suck it,” he said. “You Anglos do it so much better.”
“Not here, too public,” I said turning to walk into the lady’s room. I peed then returned to the club. I never thought I would be glad there was no hallway outside a ladies room. Martinez was still waiting.
“Come we will go to my car,” he said.
I followed him outside. When we got outside he led me to a jacked up older car. It looked like a crew car. I wished I had known about this, we could have just used it, I thought. He slipped me into the rear seat then he sat beside me and worked his penis out of his pants.
“Now Puta no more stalling,” he said. He pulled my head down painfully. I took his penis in my mouth and began to nurse on it. It took only seconds for Jeremy to reach into the car and hit him with the needle. We both held him till he was completely out.
“Let’s get the Impala over here and get him inside,” I demanded. A few people came out of the club so I expected his crew to come out shooting at any moment. It didn’t happen thank god. The people who came out mostly ignored us. I said drunk to the others. We got out of the parking lot with nobody really questioning us. The people who frequented that club sure as hell didn’t know us on sight.
When we got to the community center, we checked to be sure no one had followed us. Then we loaded the Q10 leader into my truck where he slept peacefully. “Probably the best he had since he was a kid,” I said.
“He sure as hell has no worries at the moment. That is about to change though,” Alice said almost bubbly. I had to wonder if Andrew did a psychiatric evaluation on her.
Alice followed Jeremy while he took the stolen car back to the parking lot. With just a little luck it would be days before they found that the car had been taken out for a joy ride. By the time they found out hopefully the tape would have been erased.
I drove directly to my house and ran in to pick up the black canvas bag by the door and a medium long camo hunting coat. I was back in three minutes. Martinez didn’t move a Muscle. I drove him up to the cabins on the old church property. I waited for Jeremy and Alice to show. It took them a half hour after I arrived at the Cabin, but they made it without incident.
It took all three of us to get the younger man inside the cabin. Jeremy and Alice wore knit ski masks which could be pulled down when Martinez began to come around. Which is exactly what they did. I didn’t bother he had already seen me. He either had to be convinced we were thorough or he was going to have to die.
I had a fire going in the cabin when he came around. “So you decided to rejoin us,” I said.
“What is happening here?” he asked.
“Oh well, we are going to have a little conversation, that’s all,” I said.
“About what?” he asked.
“About your involvement in this,” I said sliding the note from Carlos’ windshield in front of him.
“I had nothing to do with this. Q10 had nothing to do with it,” he said.
“You did see the signature on the note,” I asked.
“Fuck you Puta,” he said.
“He isn’t taking me serious, should I convince him that he needs to cooperate?” I asked it of Jeremy who nodded his hooded head.
I very quickly used the bush pruners to harvest the first joint of the little finger on his left hand. Then I hit the wound with the propane torch to cauterize it. If there had been a neighbor within five miles they likely would have heard him scream. The smell of burned flesh was sickening, but I forced myself to smile like a complete idiot.
“Now that I have your attention, and you have proved you are macho for your gang members, let’s get down to helping each other. No one ever has to know.” I slipped digital pad in front of him. On the pad was a picture of Jose. “Have you ever seen him before?” I asked.
“Fuck you,” he said. I quickly cut off another joint of the same finger then cauterize the wound.
“Come on tough guy don’t faint like a little puta,” I said slapping him.
“Water,” he said weakly.
“You can have all the water you want, when you cooperate. Now do you know the young man?” I asked it while twirling the clippers in my hand.
“I have never seen him before,” he said.
“I believe you. See that wasn’t so hard. So Q10 didn’t kidnap and kill him?” I asked.
“No, we didn’t kidnap him or kill him,” he said.
“Do you recognize this man,” I said changing the picture in the pad to the picture of the man who took the ransom money.
“Him, I do recognize,” he said.
“Well Martinez, he set your ass up for this,” I said.
“This piece of shit did this to me?” he asked very upset.
“You guessed it. He might as well have hung the target on your back. Now we have to talk about your final disposition,” I said.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“I have two options. I can kill you and drop your body in a lake to wash away any trace evidence,” I said sounding like a cop. I knew the county cops were dirty, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch to think they would do the questioning of Martinez. “Instead I could let you go, if you gave me your word this ends right here and now between us. I will even let you make an anonymous call to the cops. One where you name the kidnapper, or you could question him yourself. If you do that, I will give you a cell phone number to call and leave a message.”
“So should I go with the guaranteed course of action, or should I trust you. So can I trust you?” I asked.
“Yes, you have done nothing I wouldn’t have done,” he said carefully choosing his words.
“Good, now you have seen my face so you might be able to track me down, but you have not seen the faces of my two friends. If anything happens to me. If I have an auto accident or I walk in front of a car or become the victim of a drive by shooting, Mrs. Martinez, your mother, will die a very painful death.” I showed him a picture of her at home working in her garden. Then there is your older brother. Your girl friend and your baby, and lest I forget your dog Satan. So do you get the picture, or should I kill one of them tonight to prove I’m serious.” I had no idea if anything I said was a bluff or not. I doubted that it was. I had feeling Church Camp would not appreciate having spent all the money on us, to have a punk like Martinez and Q10 thug wannabees mess it up.
He had looked at me with hate in his eye at first, but it had changed to respect mixed with a healthy dose of fear. “Remember this, they know you, but you don’t know them,” I said it then I hit him with more horse tranquilizer.
We left him outside the county dog pound with a blanket to keep him warm. I had a feeling he was going to be pretty miserable for about a week.
We cleaned up the cabin before we all drove home and rode our trikes to breakfast. I even spoke to the SMP officers. “Did you get those reflectors for your uniforms?” I asked.
“No, but we did get our jack boots out of storage,” one said and the others laughed.
“You are a fucking psychopath,” Jeremy said with a laugh.
“I for one love it,” Alice said. “Do you expect to hear from Martinez today.
“No idea, he could easily sleep all day or be in the hospital emergency room. If he went there the cops have him,” I said staying very cool.
“Let’s all go home and have sex,” Jeremy suggested.
“I’m going home and sleep. You should do the same, just in case you have to kill his mother tonight,” I said.
“Yes, but I want another biscuit. I had no idea torture makes one so hungry,” Jeremy said way to casually. Who were these fucking people, I asked myself.
I did go home and I did nap but it was only for a couple of hours. It was 10 AM before I got moving even though I had been up an hour drinking warmed over coffee and staring at the fire. It was then that I got the idea.
I called the man who manufactured my stoves in the garage outside his house. “Hey Essi, I have a suggestion for you. Since the power goes off every time it snows, why not put a tempered glass door on the stove instead of steel. That way there would be light in the cabin even without the electricity. Just a thought,” I said. I never claimed that I didn’t have the mind of a bipolar bitch. He said he agreed and would look into it.
I found Martinez’s message on the line by noon. “Our friend says he found the package in that condition, so he used his knowledge of how we operate to process it. He also said the man who left the package was one of yours. We are even. Do not ever come back to my club again.”
“Right,” I said to the message machine that had just finished playing his message. “So,” I said aloud in my empty house. “I’m pretty sure the man who collected the ransom didn’t lie. Well at least not for long. So was it Bradshaw’s husband. My money was definitely on him. He was suspect number one. Suspect number two had to be Joan herself. She was known to lie, so I couldn’t believe her statements to me.
Finally Carlos called, “Senorita Rose,” he started to cry. I wanted to make it easier for him but I couldn’t unless I wanted to put my cover in jeopardy. “I’m sorry Seniorita but Jose is dead. The police found him last night but didn’t identify him until today.”
“I am sorry Carlos. Is there anything I can do for you or Nita?” I asked.
“No Senorita Rose, they killed him. The police said he had been dead all along. I will repay you the money,” he said
“Don’t worry about that right now,” I said. “So the police said someone killed him. Do they know who?”
“It was not Q10. It was someone else. A North Americano I think. There are some things that point to it,” he said.
“Well, I hope they find whoever did this,” I said sadly. “Please is there anything I can do?”
“No but I will let you know if anything comes up,” he said.
“Very well,” I replied. I could have asked him about work, but I was trying to act like I didn’t know anything. I was also leaving messages for Joan Bradshaw every half hour. I went to College Hill, then called back to the police on the burner phone where Martinez had left the message. I suggested that Joan Bradshaw and her husband should be questioned. Then I cleaned and disposed of that phone. The cops might be able to pull up the one message I had received on it. I really didn’t care if they did.
I returned to the Country Store and hung around the rest of the day. Nothing happened until I got the encrypted message from Silvia Porter. I had to run out to get a USA Today tabloid at the Walmart store in the plaza. Then I had to go back home to decode it using the book code past on the tabloids.
Your friend Joan Bradshaw’s body was recovered after your call earlier today. Her husband is missing and believed to be on the run. Sometimes the best we can do is point someone else in the right direction. It’s not near as much fun as cracking heads, but it has to do. SP
That son of a bitch, I thought. It could have been me he was after just as easily as Jose. Hell, it probably should have been. Hell, it might still be,” I thought. I took the shotgun out of the cabinet and left it where it would be easy to reach. I was ready for the prick, so I didn’t expect to see him.
Six AM found me riding the racing trike down the road. I was marginally ahead of Jeremy. When we hit the driveway to Hardees it was neck and neck but the drive was uphill and I hit it at the better angle. Jeremy had to stop pedaling to get control of the trike. I was able to roll on into the parking lot under power, so I beat him to the handicapped space we had made the official finish line. I was smiling when Jeremy pulled in behind me with Alice right on his ass.
I had never seen the man who stepped out of the entrance to the restaurant. I figured he was Joan Bradshaw’s husband because he was holding a nasty little automatic pistol on me. I had his full attention for me.
“This was all your fault,” he said raising the pistol to shoot me.
Did my life flash before my eyes? No. There was also no bright light and nobody welcoming me home. Probably because Jeremy shot him before he shot me. As soon as I realized I was alive, I turned to Jeremy and said, “I had no idea you were carrying.”
“Somebody has to watch your ass. You are way too valuable to our new friends,” he said with a smile.
“When the cops finish with us, breakfast is on me,” I said. I looked down at Bradshaw and said, “Maybe I better think about carrying more than a BIC pen.” Then I looked into Jeremy’s face and said, “I guess not as long as I have friends like you two.”
The guys from the State Motor Patrol Service came rolling in first. They were off duty but they still secured the scene. Jeremy surrendered his weapon, then stood by with his paperwork.
“So what’s your version of what happened,” the cop asked. I told it just like it happened.
“Did you know your friend was armed?” he asked.
“It came as a huge surprise to me,” I said. “But I sure am glad he was.”
They transported us to the station after allowing us to buy breakfast to go. I paid for anyone who came to the counter. Cops, forensic people, coroners, everyone including Alice and Jeremy. The cops probably shouldn’t have accepted the food, but it was clear case of self defense. That and Bradshaw was wanted for questioning in his wife murder.
I was sorely tempted to put them onto Jose, but decided it would open more areas for me to get caught up in his shit, if I volunteered anything. I expected that Andrew or Sylvia called Morris because the rural enforcement division helped me slip out of the rear of the station. It wasn’t hard because Jeremy was the story.
It was after 2 PM when I got home. I was allowed to stop by Hardees for my trike. Mine was the first one to leave the parking lot. Jeremy and Alice’s trikes were still parked in the single parking space we had occupied. I sat down with a diet coke and looked on the Internet to see what was new on the world news. As usual nothing seemed to change from day to day.
I tried to stop it, but I continued to see Jose every time I stopped moving. I had no idea what that said about me. I mean I was super pissed at the kid for being involved with Joan. Even so I never wanted anything like this to happen to him. The little prick was haunting me, I decided.
Then I thought about Joan. I hated that during our last conversation I had been so rough on her. I should have remembered that not everyone was able to see themselves and admit what they saw wasn’t pretty. It also wasn’t like I was moral or anything. Maybe if I had gone along with the two of them I could have somehow stopped Joan’s husband. I had no idea what I could have done but it was possible that I could have done something.
I sat around agonizing over them both. I apologized to both of them for the way I left things with them. I hoped they could forgive me. I guess I was so distraught that I asked them to forgive me. I was rescued from my depression by a call from Jeremy.
“So Jeremy are you calling to demand payment for saving my life?” I asked.
“Actually quite the opposite. I feel more alive right now than I ever have. I have felt more involved with life since my very first day with you. Alice said she felt the same way. So you don’t owe me, I owe you. Whenever you need a favor, you just ask,” Jeremy said.
“Jeremy you know I love you and Alice both. We are family now more than anyone I have known since my early childhood,” I said.
“Good cause Alice and I feel the same,” he said.
“There is nothing you could ask me that I wouldn’t do for you two. I just wanted you to know that and I have not had anything to drink or smoke,” I said with a smile in my voice.
“Wait a couple of days and see if you still feel that way. If you do I can think of a few things,” Jeremy said with a laugh.
“Okay, I’m going to make dinner now then go to bed early,” I said.
“Then good night Rose,” Jeremy said.
I looked over my email from everyone. The Church Camp gang were very sympathetic. I was sure that Andrew was in touch with Jeremy. I would hope they offered him a friendly ear. If Jeremy needed to talk, I would prefer it be to one of us.
I didn’t feel like pretending anything that night. The last couple of days had been too real. I figured I really just needed a full night sleep. I hadn’t even had my short night’s sleep for a few days. I got under the covers and tried to sleep.
“You know I wanted to make love to you,” the voice that woke me said.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“You have no idea how hard it was to be around you after I saw you and Joan doing what you did. I could imagine how good that mouth of yours would feel on my cock,” the voice said.
“You know you are too young for me,” I said.
“No I don’t know that. You know I would love you better than any of those guys you are fucking,” he said. “So come here an let me show you. You know that you want to experience what Joan saw in me,” he said.
I woke up almost in tears. I wasn’t crying for Jose or Joan, I was crying for me. His life had meant nothing to me, except how it related to me. Then I realized all my relationships were really about me. I had no real interest in other people at all. I wondered if that were true of everyone.
I stumbled down to bring the embers back to life before I started the coffee warming and the fire ring burning for my later shower. Even the morning ritual didn’t drive the two of them from my mind. There was a new realism trying to make its way to the front of my fucked up mind. It was a concept that people didn’t really exist unless they were with me.
I mean Jeremy was probably screwing his sister but so what. Jose had been screwing Joan and it got them killed, who cared. Well the fact that Joan’s husband almost killed me mattered. The fact that he stood there on the sidewalk of Hardees restaurant mattered to me. But did the why of it matter, I didn’t think it did.
The fact that Jeremy shot him bothered me. Not for Jeremy or Bradshaw, but I was concerned about the damage it might do to my cover life. I wondered what the fuck was wrong with me that I felt nothing. Except how it effected me and my cover. Maybe one needed to be a sociopath to function as an undercover operative. Or maybe we all were a sociopath to some degree. If that were the case, I was on the top of the curve for sure.
I needed to get moving so I tried to clear my mind, but first there was some old business I could take care of before my trike race to Hardees. I pulled up the school’s web site, then entered my Id. I was still authorized to download the class to which I was registered, so I set the desktop monster to download all the lessons for the drawing class. It could finish the download while I was out to breakfast, I decided. I wanted to finish the course, but I also wanted to see Joan once in a while. I didn’t know why.
It was part of my cover to go visit Carlos and Nita. I had a feeling there would be much crying and all the other things that go with grieving. Maybe not being able to do those things caused those dreams. Jose visiting me wasn’t the only one who visited me in the night. Going to sleep wasn’t my only problem staying asleep was also a problem.
As I tried to understand my motives I realized that I hadn’t destroyed Jose’s phone to protect the dead boy, nor had I done it to protect the reputation of a College professor who was having an affair with a minor. I also didn’t do it to protect the family from finding out their son wasn’t perfect. I did it to hide my involvement and to protect my own ass. His involvement with me could blow my cover. He had sex in my house with an adult. Even if I wasn’t the adult, I could be in the shit since I was the only one living who could be held accountable.
Those damn pictures I thought. I could only hope there were no recognizable nudes on the net that could be traced back to Jose, or that no one would bother. All this self doubt was a hell of a way to start the day.
“Hello,” I said into my ringing burner phone de jour,
“We are on the way,” the voice of Jeremy said.
“I’ll try to be out front,” I said. I quickly put on my three layers of clothes and went to the trike. They were waiting at the end of the drive. I knew they couldn’t have been waiting long so I swung the trike around in a hard turn and took off with the slight advantage. I heard the word “Bitch” coming from Alice as the two of them began their attempt to catch me.