One Thumb

I’m a man on a mission. It shows in my face and nothing is going like I want it to. Red lights, grandma drivers, school buses all seem to be obstacles put before me in a weird test of patience. It gives me time to reflect on the last four hours of my life.

No one expects a helicopter to land in front of them while they’re standing on a rooftop getting ready to put a bullet in an assholes head, but there it was—big and black and not a marking on the damn thing. I would say the pucker factor made diamonds, but there wasn’t time to puck up.

Two guys dressed in assault black garb jump out and stroll my way like there wasn’t any care in the world and it’s a normal thing to see a dude on his knees with a barrel to the side of his head.

So, you’re, the Mighty Mo,” creep one says to me and I just stand there like a douche-bag full of vinegar. “Hurry the fuck up already. Someone’s waiting to see you.”

Creep two doesn’t say anything. He stands there looking creepy. But that first guy likes to hear himself talk.

Listen, we get it. Lenny was a fucking asshole and Bernie here is about as big asshole as they come.”

Bernie had to breathe a little sigh of relief when they landed. Now he doesn’t know what the hell to think. And for the first time today we agree on something.

Creep one looks at creep two, doesn’t say anything, he just looks at him. Creep two pulls out a pistol. I pull mine away from Bernie’s head to swing it around on him and before I can pull the trigger he already has. Bernie’s head splats all over me. It didn’t even look like the creepy number two guy even takes aim.

Quick and the dead, Mo. I said we were in a hurry.”

He looks to the second creep again and the guy moves in on me, well, to Bernie. Now Bernie’s dead weight, but it doesn’t matter to the second creepy guy in black. He reaches down and power clings dead old Bernie up and walks him to the edge, tosses him like he’s nothing.

Okay. Can we go now?” creep one says.

I’m standing there looking like a mouth breathing window-liker.

Who the fuck are you guys?” I say.

Guys on a schedule,” creep two says as he thumbs towards the ‘copter, “Get the fuck in.”

I was flown to an abandoned warehouse down by the 12th Street bridge and told to go inside. She knew how to make a grand entrance, Assistant Director Jillian Donovan. Or, rather have me make it. I was mentally thrown back for a loop when I first saw her and she caught it immediately.

I’m gonna pretend like you thinking you’re meeting with a man isn’t the first insult of the day,” she says. “Walk with me, Mo, let’s have ourselves a little chat.”

I look around, there’s a creepy third guy wearing a black tie with Snoopy prints, bodyguard, secretary, who the hell knows.

Don’t worry about Curtis,” she tells me, “he’s only here to kill you if you don’t do what I want.”

It’s an odd way to make an introduction. Me sizing him up instantly, him not even giving me the same consideration. Fucking self-assured asshole.

That get your attention?” she says.

And for the second time in an hour I’m a speechless moron wasting space and air on planet earth.

We head up some steps on the side of the massive room to an office on the second level that had been cleaned up from the rest of the place.

This is my office while we’re in town,” she tells me and I guess I’m supposed to be impressed.

High end,” I say like a smart ass punk with nothing else to offer.

She doesn’t let me get to her, which means she thinks she’s dealt with types like me before. But I don’t have a type. There wasn’t a mold to break because I wasn’t cast. I grew from the years of sludge build up around shit in the wastelands. Years of having to do what needed to be done, because someone had too. But with a code, no kids, no women. There’s a whole other story there she couldn’t have known anything about.

We’ll meet here,” she’s telling me, “as often as I think we need to.”

The words, what the fuck, don’t come out of my mouth but their craved on my face.

That’s what I remember about what the hell had happened. Now, testing my patience were two old ladies walking in the crosswalk. Fate put one on a walker and the other wheeling an oxygen canister behind her. Screaming at them to move their asses doesn’t seem like the right thing to do. So I sit and stew like a Sally Buttsnark.

Twenty minutes later I found myself slamming on the brakes in my driveway and running up to the door. My name is Mo Dizzle, I can never forget that part of me. What it means to a lot of other people, is prayer.

By now it’s a sure bet people have figured out Mo Dizzle is one of two things, crazy, or, maybe someone people should listen to. There’s a history between Papa Jack and me. The kind of history that let him think waiting for me on the inside of my house was a good idea in theory.

He’s sitting on the couch. Little Danny and Ma are chatting him up like a lost uncle returned home from a war someplace. One Thumb and Little Smiles are making peanut butter sandwiches in the kitchen. Just a normal day.

I catch Ma’s eyes and she sees my face and knows this is wrong on about five different levels.

Mo, we’ll get out of the way and let you guys talk business,” she says. Then she turns and smiles at Papa Jack and grabs up Danny and starts walking out of the room.

Thanks, Ma,” I tell her. I wait for her to leave then turn my attention to the asshole sitting on my couch. “What’s going on Jack?”

He doesn’t say anything right away. He looks me over and sees the blood from Bernie’s fucking head painted all over the bottom part of my shirt and in my crotch. Points at it and says, “Work?”

Yeah, it’s done,” I tell him, “we’re back to even. Now get out.”

Papa Jack starts laughing out loud. Like I’m doing the improv night at Stanford’s Comedy Club. Little Smiles and One Thumb hear it and come into the room smiling, wanting to laugh but not knowing the punchline.

What?” Little Smiles says.

Papa Jack slaps his leg and stands up, “We’re leaving, Son,” he says to them.

He meets me at the door and stops, One Thumb and his boy trailing behind him. “Going out, on your own, is not okay. Add Bernie to the list of fucks you took out without my say so, or my cut. You know how much that bald-headed prick earned for me?” he says, “I did not say, that, or any of this was okay. We’re not in the vicinity of even. You’ve got some work to do, Pal. Don’t keep me waiting, I’d hate sending flowers to you.”

I don’t say anything, I just stare like I’m just not impressed anymore. He walks out, so does his boy. One Thumb stops and hands me half an eaten PB n J and wipes his thumb-less hand on the front of my shirt with a chuckle and a wink. “That’s some good shit,” he says.

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