Fifty dollars wasn’t going to get me two new rugs. It wasn’t going to get me one new rug, but it could get me a couple shower curtains, and I could make that work. I walked the block back to my building and ducked down the alley to where I parked my car.
I had an old police cruiser that had been stripped down for resale at a police auction, then stripped down again by thieves outside the owner’s apartment. It was missing the radio, the heater panel and the passenger seat. The passenger doors were crashed in and the hood was a different color than the body of the car, but it got me from place to place when I could afford to put gas in the tank.
I kept the car parked in the alley behind my building. There’s a nice spot on the opposite side from the garbage dumpster that allows a clean straight away into the street. It’s convenient for those times when you gotta get outa dodge quick. Of course, it’s a no parking zone, but I have my ways around that too.
I bent over and unlocked the yellow boot I keep wrapped around the front driver’s side tire. I picked it up a couple years back at a fire sale hosted by, probably, the same guys that stripped down my ride in the first place. I rigged the thing so it didn’t need a key, so I could slap that sucker on and off at will. That coupled with a couple fake parking tickets I kept under the wipers and I could park just about anywhere for a day or two before the cops even bothered looking twice.
I drove the three miles to the mega box discount store figuring it was the best place to find dead body wrappers. My intuition proved insightful as I found plastic shower curtains on sale for nine dollars. I grabbed two of the most opaque patterns I could find and tossed them in the blue basket of the shopping cart. Two curtains meant I’d only spent eighteen dollars of the fifty-four I had on me so I swung the cart down the aisles and navigated over to the liquor department.
I tossed two jugs of Evan Williams bourbon into the basket and pointed myself towards the front of the store. At the service counter I grabbed two packs of Pall Malls and paid for the bourbon and curtains. I left the store with a dollar and ninety-seven cents and enough smokes and drink to get me through the weekend.
Once I was back to the car I realized that I had forgotten to pick up twine to wrap the bodies. I thought briefly about returning one of the bottles of whiskey to buy some string but decided that the cost benefit return wasn’t really worth it.
Back at my building I drove around the block a couple times to make sure that there weren’t any Fed types hanging around all sneaky like. Once I was satisfied I put the car back in the alley, locked down the boot around my tire and grabbed the shopping bags from the back seat and headed up the back stairs.
I lit up a Pall Mall as I stepped through the back door into the hallway. I choked on the smoke as, predictably I suppose, there was someone waiting for me outside my apartment. This guy wasn’t the same ilk as the goons this morning. He was thin and delicate looking, well dressed in a gray suit and had shiny slicked back hair. He leaned nervously against my door jamb until he noticed me, then stood up strait, shoving his right hand conspicuously into his trouser pocket.
“It’s been a long day,” I said approaching my door, and the man standing in front of it.
“Are you Bishop Church?”
He was nervous, agitated, speaking in staccato bursts and shifting his weight from one foot to the other.
“It’s been a long day man, can we maybe do this tomorrow?”
“Do what?” he asked looking confused.
I gestured at him
“I don’t know, whatever it is, whatever you’re, whatever we’re about to do, can we do it in the morning.”
The left corner of his mouth dropped and he looked a little defeated. He turned his body slightly like he was going to leave, then stiffened and straightened back up. I saw his right hand ball up in his pocket and he turned back to me, his face twitching.
“So that’s a no?” I said.
“I want you to stay away from her.”
I emptied my lungs and dropped my shoulders.
“I’m serious,” he spat. “I don’t know,” he looked me up and down, “what she sees in you, but she’s mine and we’re gonna work it out, and you need to stay far away from her. Got it!”
I didn’t know for sure what she he was talking about, but considering the day I’d had, I had a pretty good idea.
I glanced at his hand shaking in his pants and at his face, quickly becoming soaked in nervous sweat.
“You’re gonna shoot yourself in the foot,” I said.
“What?” he said.
I stuck my hand into my jacket to get my keys. The man’s face went white and he jerked his right arm up, but his hand got stuck in his pocket and he lost his balance. A loud crack filled the hallway and the man howled and fell to the floor screaming.
“Told you so,” I sighed.
He was just laying there holding his foot and screaming. I stuck the key in the door and opened my apartment.
“Come on, I said, let’s get that bandaged up.”
He looked at me helplessly and I bent over and lifted him up and helped him hobble into my place. I set him down on one of the folding chairs, dropped the shopping bag on the floor and found the switch to turn on the lights. Then he started screaming again.